At the Genoa City Athletic Club, Victor met with Michael in the dining room. Michael asked Victor about the DesignDate debacle. Victor said his employees were attempting to distance him from it as far as possible. Michael glanced across the room, where Nikki was sitting by herself drinking coffee, and asked Victor if he planned to speak to her. Before Victor could respond, Christine, accompanied by two federal agents, arrived and asked Victor to accompany them to answer questions.
Michael protested Christine's intrusion and methods and said he'd meet Victor at the station. As Christine and the agents led the way to the exit, two photographers from the media intercepted them. Victor blamed Christine for alerting the press. Victor stood before the cameras and insisted he would clear his good name and reveal that all allegations against Newman Enterprises were false. Victor then looked the other way toward a smiling Nikki as she waved her hand.
At Crimson Lights, Phyllis, Billy, Nick, and Chelsea, all sporting sunglasses, ambled in seeking caffeine. The foursome had just returned from an impromptu flight to New Orleans. All made remarks about having enjoyed themselves. Phyllis momentarily removed her sunglasses, but she quickly slid them back on and said, "I think it's back to the harsh light of reality." Like Phyllis, the other three seemed to be suffering from hangovers accompanied by headaches and fatigue.
Nick and Chelsea later talked privately. After Chelsea called her nanny, she told Nick that the children had enjoyed a calm, low-key weekend. Nick replied, "Unlike us." Nick berated himself for his behavior, but he noted that Billy and Phyllis had needed no encouragement to act recklessly. Nick added that Billy had thrown money around and acted irresponsibly. Chelsea said she appreciated Nick for being practical and grounded. After Chelsea said she had to get to work, Nick sarcastically replied, "Me, too." Chelsea suddenly remembered the fire and offered sympathy. Nick said he wasn't sure what he might do next, but before making a decision, he would swing by the police station and ask Paul about the investigation.
At Jabot, Billy groped and kissed Phyllis in the elevator. When the doors opened, Phyllis struggled to free herself from Billy's clutches and noted that she was at her place of work. Billy took Phyllis in his arms and leaned with her across Gloria's desk. When Jack emerged from his office, Phyllis rolled out from under Billy, claiming she'd been searching for staples. Jack said he was aware that Billy had used the company jet, though it had been surprising to see Phyllis' name on the passenger list. Billy and Phyllis said they'd traveled to New Orleans. Jack said he surmised that the couple had made up. Jack told Phyllis to check her work email.
After Jack walked away, Phyllis checked her email on her phone. Phyllis read the message from Jack aloud and learned that Ashley would take over for him temporarily. After Jack returned, he explained that he would be stepping aside to take care of Dina, due to her stroke. Phyllis said Jack wouldn't be able to tolerate Dina for more than two weeks. Jack didn't get into an argument with Phyllis and kept mum about what was going on with Dina.
After Phyllis left, Jack thanked Billy for not revealing that Dina had Alzheimer's. Billy gently suggested that Jack reveal the truth about Dina to prevent gossip and speculation. Jack said he couldn't, and he told Billy not to say a word. After Billy left, Nikki arrived to meet with Jack. Jack apologized for his behavior after he'd angrily dismissed Dina's attack on Nikki. Nikki apologized for having spewed harsh words about Dina. Teary-eyed, Jack told Nikki in confidence that Dina had Alzheimer's. Nikki offered sympathy. Jack said he was taking a temporary leave of absence to care for Dina.
Nikki suggested that Jack hire qualified professionals to help. Jack refused, but Nikki warned that taking care of an Alzheimer's patient was often as devastating to the caregiver as the disease was to the patient. Jack refused to abandon Dina and cried, "I can't punish a sick woman for ancient mistakes." Nikki offered to help Jack. Jack declined and said it was time for him and Nikki to step away from their relationship. Nikki blamed Dina, but Jack said it was his choice. Nikki, sobbing, said she respected Jack for his decision and cried that she'd miss him.
After Jack left, Phyllis and Billy returned and talked about career changes. Billy said he had no intention of returning to the corporate world. Phyllis complained that Jack had left her to answer questions from panicked employees at Fenmore's. Phyllis said she'd pretended to listen while daydreaming about Billy and their life outside of the office. Billy noted that though their relationship had once become boring, they'd fixed it. Phyllis agreed and said, "Living life on the edge is way more appealing." Billy promised to use his no-limit credit cards to make life exciting and just a little dangerous.
At the police station, Paul pored over a report of the evidence collected after the fire at the Underground. Paul noted the use of an accelerant, which had led officials to conclude arson as the cause of the blaze. Outside Paul's office, in the booking area, Victor told Christine he wouldn't answer questions until his attorney was present. Christine suggested that Victor had something to hide. Victor said Christine sounded like she didn't believe in due process or the truth.
Nick arrived and asked Victor why he was at the police station. Victor said Christine was about to question him about Design Date. Victor mentioned the mysterious fire that had destroyed Nick's bar. Victor insisted that authorities could never pin the fire on Nick. Paul took Nick aside and told him it appeared that Nick might've had a motive for arson. Nick admitted that Victor had set him up to take away the Underground. Nick said he'd even jokingly told Chelsea he'd rather burn it down than hand it over to Victor. Nick insisted that when he'd left his bar on Halloween, everything had seemed fine, though he'd had no idea that the teenagers had hidden inside.
Paul told Nick that after Reed had heard Nick leave, Reed had reported hearing someone enter through the back door. Nick said it couldn't have been him because he'd gone home to be with Chelsea. Nick suggested that the second person might have started the fire. Nick listed his dad among those that might've set the fire. Paul watched as Nick sorted through a box of evidence collected from the bar.
Nick held up a scorched photo of a man. He studied the photo, enclosed inside an evidence bag. Paul asked Nick if he knew the identity of the man. Victor approached and identified the man as Brent Davis, Dina Mergeron's ex-lover. Michael arrived and asked Victor to join him in Paul's office, where Christine was waiting to question him. Before Victor walked away, he again confirmed Brent Davis as the man in the photo.
In Paul's office, Christine explained to Victor and Michael that her colleagues had stepped aside to let her question Victor. Michael reminded Victor not to volunteer information and to answer truthfully. Christine asked Victor to define his relationship with Zack Stinnett. Victor said Abby had discovered Zack because he'd developed a dating app. Christine replied, "An app you signed off on." Victor noted that he'd had Zack vetted.
Christine pointed out to Victor that Zack had run unlicensed massage parlors in Chicago. Christine asked if all Newman employees received dinner invitations at the ranch. Victor replied, "He's not a Newman employee, he was my youngest daughter's date." Christine, noting the company's windfall from Design Date, asked how arrangements for sexual interactions had been recorded. Christine became belligerent and suggested that Victor had known what was going on because his hands-on approach to business was well established. Victor insisted he was a legitimate businessman. Christine reminded Victor that he'd once had his corporate rival kidnapped and had hired a look-alike drug lord to stand in for the kidnapped rival.
After Christine suggested that Victor had attempted to shift the blame to Abby, Victor replied, "Is that a question?" Christine explained that Zack had laundered profits from his sex ring enterprises through small businesses and LLCs. Christine asked Victor if he'd set up such a business for Design Date. Victor replied, "No." Christine also asked Victor about meeting with Natalia and about using his own or business funds to have sex with one or more of Zack's prostitutes. Victor said he hadn't done either.
After Christine became frustrated, Victor said she couldn't get over the fact that a judge had commuted his prison sentence. Christine, noting that the leaders of the sex ring had kidnapped girls and forced them to have sex, asked Victor when he planned to do to regard those matters seriously. Michael replied, "Perhaps when you show us proof that my client was directly involved or had knowledge of Stinnett's crimes." Victor insisted that Christine was incapable of being objective. Christine glared at Victor.
Victor told Christine that during a recent hunting trip with one of her supervising colleagues, he'd learned from that colleague that Christine wouldn't be allowed to continue her vendetta. Christine noted that she also had supporters. Christine said her colleagues were cheering her efforts to use every possible resource to pursue the investigation. After Michael said he and his client had finished and intended to leave, Paul entered and blocked the door. Paul announced that the weapon used to kill Zack belonged to a member of the Newman family.
At the Abbott mansion, Dina sat on a sofa and flipped through the pages of a magazine. Jack sat near Dina and said he intended to spend more time with her. Dina said she'd rather Jack not hover over her and suggested that Jack spend time with his lovely wife, Patty. Jack replied, "Mother, Patty and I have been divorced for years." Dina said she planned to enjoy quiet time and a cup of herbal tea. Jack offered to help, but Dina refused help and headed toward the kitchen.
After Dina stepped out, Nick stopped by to talk to Jack. Nick explained that he was trying to determine what had happened at the Underground. Nick held up his phone and displayed a picture he'd snapped of the scorched photograph of Brent Davis. Nick said, "This photo was part of the evidence GCPD collected that night, after the fire." Nick added that Victor had identified the man as Dina's former lover. Jack confirmed that his mom had become involved with Brent Davis before she'd moved to Paris.
Nick asked to speak to Dina, but Jack refused, saying his mom "wasn't in a good way." Nick said he was seeking answers because he'd been accused of committing arson. Jack again refused, saying his mom had "other issues." Nick said he was aware of those issues, considering that Dina had stabbed Nikki. Jack vehemently refused Nick's request. Nick warned that he wouldn't drop the matter.
After Nick left, Jack questioned Dina about being out of the house on Halloween night. Jack asked Dina about visiting a bar that had burned down. Dina said none of what Jack was saying sounded familiar. Jack continued and noted that an album had gone missing from the stereo cabinet the same night. Jack said he'd later found the missing album, The Moon and Back, sitting on the turntable. Dina, addled, said she would've remembered had she taken the album and later returned it.
Jack played the album. Dina reacted after Jack asked her if she'd kept an old photo of Brent Davis. Dina berated herself for becoming involved with Brent because it had caused Ashley pain. In a flashback, Dina recalled striking a match and holding it under the tattered photo of Brent. Sobbing, Dina said, "I was there that night. Wasn't I? Do you really think I could've caused that fire? Oh, my God, Jack, what is happening to me?" Jack held Dina in his arms and comforted her.
At the Genoa City Athletic Club, Nick told Chelsea about the photo of Brent Davis. Chelsea said she thought Nick might be onto something, though she couldn't see Dina as an arsonist. Nick said he couldn't understand why Jack had acted defensive and shifty, even throwing out another theory altogether. Nick, exhausted, began to doubt his thoughts about the fire. Nick and Chelsea admitted that they were tired after their trip. Chelsea rested her head on Nick's shoulder.
Billy and Phyllis entered the Genoa City Athletic Club, chipper and bantering loudly. They joined Nick and Chelsea at the bar. Billy ordered drinks all around and said he intended to revive the party, including all the instances when they'd become "partners in crime." Nick said, "That thing in New Orleans will never be spoken of again." The two couples touched their glasses together before imbibing.
Abby turns the tables at a press conference
At Crimson Lights, Nikki told Paul that her injury looked worse than it was. She hoped that he hadn't wanted to get together to talk about Dina, and she wished the charges would be dropped. Paul indicated that ballistics had shown that Zack had been shot with Nikki's gun, but Nikki had no idea how her gun had ended up in a seedy motel. Paul pushed her to think about how it could have happened.
Nikki sarcastically theorized that in spite of the fact that she'd just been stabbed, she'd gotten into her car, driven out to a motel, and shot Zack then begged Scott and Abby to say one of the victims had done it. Paul inquired whether Nikki had taken the gun with her to the Newman party, and Nikki replied that she hadn't, but perhaps she should have. Paul speculated that someone might have taken the gun from her purse, but she maintained that she hadn't had it. She recalled that she hadn't taken it with her when she'd moved off the ranch, and she couldn't remember the last time she'd seen it. Paul relayed that Victor hadn't been able to tell him what had happened to it, either, and all Paul knew for certain was that someone was lying.
Paul wondered why Nikki even owned a gun, and she explained that Victor had wanted her to know how to operate one because he'd wanted her to be safe. She swore that she wanted to help, but she was just as surprised as Paul was that her gun had been involved in a murder, even if the victim hadn't been a loss to society. Paul cautioned her against saying such things in a public place, given her history. Nikki repeated that she didn't know how she could help, since she had no idea who'd stolen her gun. Paul warned that the problem wasn't going away, since the gun had never been reported stolen, and the authorities had no choice but to focus on Newman Enterprises and Victor.
Tessa entered the coffeehouse and spied Nikki talking to Paul. Scott asked how Tessa was doing, and she replied that she'd been about to ask Paul if he had any update on her sister. Tessa fretted that she wanted Crystal home, but she was worried that the police would arrest Crystal if they found her. Scott reiterated that Crystal was the reason he was alive, and Tessa wondered if he could change Crystal's name when he published his story. He grumbled that he wouldn't be naming any names because Victoria had made sure that there was no forum to publish the story in.
Later, Nikki approached Tessa, who said she hadn't wanted to interrupt Nikki and Paul. Nikki stonily said she and Paul were done, but she and Tessa were just getting started. After Nikki filled Tessa in about the gun, Tessa incredulously asked if Nikki thought Tessa had stolen it. Nikki told her to drop the act and reminded her of the kindness and generosity Nikki had shown her. Tessa swore that she was grateful for everything Nikki had done, but Nikki accused Tessa of taking the gun and giving it to Crystal. Tessa confessed that she'd taken the gun but that she hadn't known it was Nikki's.
Tessa wailed that she'd done it for Crystal's sake, since Zack had murdered Natalia, and Tessa had thought Crystal would be next. Nikki coldly remarked that she hadn't realized that she'd invited a safecracker into her home, and Tessa explained that she'd seen the combination in a stack of papers while they'd been preparing for the benefit. Tessa recounted that she'd found two guns in the safe and taken the smaller one. Nikki snapped that Paul had been grilling her for owning the gun that had been used in a homicide, and she imagined that the police would be interested to know how it had gotten into Crystal's hands. Nikki warned that Tessa could be considered an accessory -- or worse.
At the Abbott mansion, Jack answered a call from Hilary and claimed that he was working from home. She hoped that Dina would be interested in appearing on The Hilary Hour to provide an update on what she'd been up to since she'd sold her company to Hamilton-Winters, but Jack protested that his mother had stepped away from the public eye. Hilary tried to sell him on the idea, but he fibbed that he had a call on the other line and abruptly hung up.
Paul dropped by to inform Jack that the D.A.'s office had been in contact to set Dina's trial date as soon as possible. Paul reported that Nikki wanted to let it go, but the D.A.'s office was determined to send the message that no one was above the law. Jack snapped that Christine needed something to run her next campaign on, and Paul warned that prison was unavoidable. Jack conceded that his comment about Christine had been out of line, but it was about more than just the battery charges, since he thought arson needed to be added to Dina's list of crimes. Jack revealed that Dina had likely started the fire at the Underground, but she wasn't going to do time for the fire or the stabbing. Jack handed over Dina's medical file.
Paul reviewed the file, and Jack confirmed that Dina had Alzheimer's. Paul realized that it changed things, and Jack contended that there had been no way that his mother had known what she'd been doing when she'd stabbed Nikki and started the fire. Jack recalled that he'd only put together what had happened after a conversation with Nick, and he'd seen the devastation on Dina's face when he'd jogged her memory. Paul imagined that the D.A.'s office wouldn't see any upside to prosecuting someone in Dina's condition, and he intended to recommend that the criminal charges be dropped. Jack said he owed Paul, but Paul insisted that it wasn't a favor but simply the right thing to do.
At the cottage, Mariah informed Sharon that she and Devon had decided to just be good friends, like they should have been from the beginning. Sharon argued that it was good to take a chance, but Mariah groaned that she'd looked like a complete loser. Mariah refused to be a walking pity party, and Sharon stressed that self-care was important. Mariah reported that she'd gotten up that morning and showered, and she contemplated getting a hobby. Sharon acknowledged that Mariah was deflecting, but she agreed not to push.
Mariah inquired about the menu for Sharon's fancy dinner with Scott, and Sharon remarked that they were both good at changing the subject. Sharon understood that Mariah was hurt, but she encouraged her daughter to try to stay open to surprises, since sometimes the right person showed up unexpectedly, like it had with her and Scott. Mariah observed that she and Sharon were very different, since Sharon wanted to talk about emotions and feelings, whereas Mariah would rather chomp on glass. Mariah thought Sharon would never understand how it felt, since hearts had shot out of Scott's eyes as soon as Sharon had poured him a cup of coffee.
Mariah lamented that she'd put herself out there and been shot down hard. Sharon pointed out that she'd also had her share of romantic misery, but Mariah thought everything seemed solid with Sharon and Scott. Sharon mused that he'd been different since he'd gotten back, and Mariah chalked it up to the trauma. Mariah helped set the table and offered to make herself scarce, and she asked if Scott had responded to Sharon's text message. Sharon guessed that he was caught in traffic, and Mariah hoped he didn't take Sharon for granted, since he would have to answer to Mariah if he did.
At Newman Enterprises, Victor proposed a toast to Victoria's return to the company, but she pointed out that he'd already done that. He suggested that they toast to those who'd attempted to destroy them being destroyed in the process. Victoria complained that the authorities were going after them because they couldn't go after a corpse, but the police couldn't prove that they had been involved because they hadn't been. Victor revealed that the gun that had been used to kill Zack belonged to a Newman.
Victoria was stunned to learn that Nikki's gun had been used in Zack's shooting, and Victor figured that Nikki had taken the gun when she'd moved out of the ranch. Victoria assumed that it had been stolen, and Victor noted that it would be very difficult to distance Newman from the sex ring scandal. Victoria groused that Abby had dropped it on their doorstep, but Victor defended that Abby hadn't done it intentionally and that she'd gone through "hell and back" with Zack. Victoria pointedly stated that Abby had known the combination to the safe where the Newmans kept their guns.
Victor argued that Abby wouldn't have taken a gun to the Newman party, and even if she had, Zack wouldn't have been able to lock her up in the storage facility if she'd had a firearm. Victor wondered if Victoria was suggesting that Abby had killed Zack, and Victoria speculated that Abby had been scared for her life, so no one would blame Abby if she'd shot him. Victoria thought that generating sympathy for Abby would soften the fact that she'd recruited Zack into Newman.
Lily arrived at work and tried to access Hashtag, but she saw a message saying that the website was under construction. She told Abby that Hashtag's site wasn't working, but she'd expected it to cover everything that Abby had gone through. Lily admired Abby's strength, and Abby thanked her for saying that, since all she'd heard had been how she'd been an idiot for not realizing that Zack had been a criminal mastermind. Lily questioned how Abby could have seen through Zack, and Abby bitterly suggested that she ask Victoria, who had an answer to everything.
Abby told Lily about Hashtag getting the axe. Lily figured that some business decisions weren't easy, but it was their job to back up the COO. Abby ranted that Victoria considered it to be Abby's fault for not knowing what Zack had been up to, but she argued that Victoria hadn't had any idea about what Billy, Cane, and Juliet had done. Lily thought Victoria had seemed different since she'd returned to Newman, and she saw more shades of Victor surfacing in Victoria. Abby thought Victoria had always been the same.
Victoria asked if Abby had a moment, but Abby tried to make an excuse to get away. Victor requested that Abby join them to discuss something together, and they stepped into his office. Victoria explained that mitigating the sex ring scandal was crucial, so they had to put distance between them and the bad publicity. Victor divulged that he'd been questioned by the authorities, who were trying to construct a case against them. Abby asserted that Newman's reputation meant a lot to all of them, and Victoria asked Abby to give a public statement to let people know that the company had never been complicit with Zack and his criminal activities.
Abby agreed to compile a statement, but Victoria announced that she'd already written one. Victoria added that they'd scheduled a press conference for later that day, and she instructed Abby to read exactly what was written. Victoria prepared to head into meetings, and she directed Abby to deliver the statement with honesty and plenty of humility. Abby insisted on discussing it further, but Victoria curtly replied that there was no time, and she ordered Abby to read the statement verbatim. Victor dismissively stated that he and Victoria had business to discuss, and Abby stormed out.
Abby ran into Scott in the hallway, and he asked if she was okay. She handed him the statement, and she complained that she was supposed to play a victim who should be pitied by announcing that everything had happened because of her inexperience and naiveté. Scott remarked that the statement made Victor bulletproof, and Abby scornfully read aloud a passage about how Victoria would assume all future responsibility for acquisitions to ensure that business would once again be conducted to the highest standards. Abby spat that she couldn't read it with a straight face, but Scott suggested that she should -- with a little editing.
Later, Victoria explained to Lily that they'd let people at the press conference know that Abby was relatively new to serious business, and they'd play up the sympathy angle regarding her mistakes. Lily argued that Abby hadn't done anything intentionally, but Victoria huffed that the damage had been done, and they had to fix it. Hilary sauntered in and declared her intent to stream the press conference live. Victoria threatened to have security throw Hilary out, but Hilary contended that Victoria would still be employing a con artist if Hilary hadn't exposed Jordan. Lily asked what Hilary was talking about, and Hilary invited Lily to check out the archives to find out about her biggest fan's major issues.
At the Athletic Club, Abby and Scott pored over the statement and made changes to their liking. She opined that it had been a mistake for Victoria to shut Hashtag down, since the sex trafficking story had been important, and Scott vowed to find a way around it. As they continued to make edits, Scott teased Abby for not being able to spell, and she joked that he just couldn't read cursive. Scott received a text message from Sharon, and he mentioned that she was making dinner for him. Abby pushed him to go to the dinner, but he refused to let her go to the press conference by herself.
Jack entered the club and greeted Victor, who said he had a press conference to attend. Jack guessed that it had to do with Newman backing a sex trafficking operation, but Victor clarified that his company had been blindsided. Victor instructed Jack to tell his mother to stay away from Nikki, and Jack replied that it wouldn't be an issue, since he and Nikki were no longer seeing one another.
Lily approached Jordan at the club bar and expressed her disgust that he'd conned lonely women. Lily chided Jordan for never passing up the chance to take a shot at Cane while acting like Jordan was much more decent. Jordan admitted that he'd screwed up in the past, but he maintained that Cane had broken her heart by cheating on her, and Jordan had just wanted to make her happy. Hilary joined them, and Jordan got up to leave. Hilary remarked that she'd been waiting to see the back of him for a long time, and Jordan ominously stated that he'd left her something to remember him by.
Before the press conference, Victoria approached Abby to talk through what was about to happen, and she assured Abby that it was okay to get emotional. Abby insisted that she had it, and Victoria said they'd start as soon as Victor got there. Abby cheerfully replied that she could wait. As Sharon waited for Scott at the cottage, Scott asked Abby how she was feeling. Victor entered, and Victoria stepped to the podium and addressed the controversy over the Design Date app.
Victoria proclaimed that their company was devoted to transparency, so they felt a statement was in order, and she introduced Abby. Jack, Lily, Hilary, and Mariah watched the conference on television at the Athletic Club bar as Abby began to read her prepared statement. Hilary received a text message and was surprised to learn that something had been uploaded to the GC Buzz site that she hadn't authorized. Everyone's phones began pinging with notifications, and Mariah quipped that there were a lot of pictures that showed a lot of Hilary. Hilary screeched Jordan's name.
Abby declared that the worst was over, and she'd taken a few days to reflect on what had led to the disturbing events. She personally apologized for what had happened, and she offered to clear up some confusion surrounding the facts. Abby explained that all of them had been duped by a master manipulator, and she admitted that she'd developed Zack's idea as part of her incubator project and that Newman had absorbed the project. She added that she'd received support and expertise from her father, and they'd done their due diligence, not knowing that Zack had been taking advantage of them. Abby asserted that Zack alone had been responsible for everything that had happened.
Abby continued that she and Scott had been portrayed as victims, but it wasn't how they saw it. She proclaimed that they'd stood up to a violent criminal without thinking about the cost, and they'd exposed Zack and his activities when others hadn't. She recognized that some people wanted to blame her for the impact it had had on Newman, including her father and her sister, but she pointed out that Victoria had only recently become COO after her relative inexperience had cost her at her failing company. Abby announced that everyone could read about Design Date's ties to the sex trafficking ring on Hashtag, and she made it abundantly clear that there was no blame on her side of the podium for anything that had gone down.
Devon comforts a distraught Hilary>
At the Top of the Tower, Victoria told Noah about Abby having altered the prepared speech she'd delivered to the press. Victoria added that even though she'd shut down Scott's blog, Hashtag, it was still up and running. Victoria complained that Abby seemed unable to separate her personal and professional lives. Noah defended Abby's right to set the record straight by refusing to take the fall for her deviant boyfriend. Noah did note that Abby no longer seemed to hate Scott, even jokingly referring to herself and Scott as "the dynamic duo." Victoria, fuming, insisted she wasn't through dealing with Abby.
At Sharon's house, Scott apologized to Sharon for missing the gourmet dinner she'd prepared for him. Scott explained that he'd been detained while helping Abby defend herself to the press. Scott added that he and Abby together had brought much-needed attention to the sex trafficking story. Sharon expressed concern that Scott had again placed himself in Victor and Victoria's crosshairs. Sharon added that Abby was a magnet for drama and suggested that Scott take a break from his "partner in crime."
Scott vowed to make it up to Sharon by taking her out for dinner and dancing. Sharon's joy was interrupted when Abby stopped by to talk to Scott about his article. Abby was pleased with the article, saying that telling the story from Natalia's point of view was incredibly moving. Sharon, visibly annoyed, announced that she had to open the coffeehouse. Abby asked if she and Scott could stay behind to talk. Sharon, annoyed, told them to lock up before leaving.
Sharon planted a kiss on Scott's lips before she headed out the door. After Sharon left, Abby asked why Sharon had seemed tense. Scott explained that Sharon felt Abby was a bad influence. Abby laughed off the notion and said she had a plan to circumvent Victoria's intention to terminate their positions at Newman Enterprises.
At Newman Enterprises, Victoria met first with Abby. Victoria berated Abby for delivering an impromptu speech instead of shouldering the responsibility for her misguided and damaging actions. Victoria continued her barrage and blasted Abby for colluding with Scott. Abby interrupted and said she'd save Victoria the trouble of firing her. Abby said, "I quit!" Victoria glared at Abby. Abby met Victoria's stare with a self-satisfied grin.
After Abby stepped out, Scott entered Victoria's office. Victoria told Scott she was aware that Abby and Scott had both vowed to quit. Victoria had a check ready, and she thanked Scott for protecting Abby from Zack. Scott said he didn't need compensation for doing the right thing, but he accepted the check as payment for the article he'd written. As Scott was leaving, Victoria received a text message from Power Communications about the impact of Scott's article.
When Scott stepped out of Victoria's office, Abby had a storage box ready so he could clean out his office. Scott explained that Newman Enterprises would continue publication of Hashtag, so he wouldn't be quitting. Abby, taken aback, expressed anger that Scott had betrayed her. Scott said that he'd even received a bonus for writing the Design Date article. Abby cried, "We made a pact. I quit. You quit. Does that sound familiar?"
Scott explained that Power Communications had phoned Victoria and praised the success of Hashtag and his article. Abby noted that she, too, had played a part in dismantling the sex ring. Abby cried that it wasn't fair that she'd ended up getting booted out of her job. Scott replied, "Technically, you booted yourself." Abby told Scott that she'd never forgive him for double-crossing her.
In the aftermath of the release of her private, personal photos, Hilary fielded calls from advertisers who wanted to yank all of the commercials from The Hilary Hour. Hilary begged the buyer, Judith, not to bail, but when Judith apparently implied that Hilary had posted the photos herself, Hilary angrily hung up the phone. Chelsea entered Crimson Lights at the tail end of Hilary's phone call and sarcastically mentioned that Hilary had to be "so embarrassed having all [her] naughty bits exposed for all the world to see." Hilary countered that she was not embarrassed because she looked good in the photos. Chelsea did not relent, saying that Hilary had gone from "semi-respected journalist to amateur porn star in the click of a mouse." Chelsea went on to praise Jordan for sticking it to Hilary, adding that it was nice to see that some people got what they truly deserved.
Hilary approached Sharon and grumpily asked for a refill on her coffee and a Cobb salad. Before Sharon could relay the message to the chef, Hilary nixed the salad and just asked for her refill. Sharon acknowledged that she'd seen Hilary's "personal photos" and offered Hilary the entire carafe of coffee. Hilary told Sharon to keep her opinions and judgment to herself. As Hilary walked away, Sharon chased after her and told Hilary that she was going to tell Hilary exactly what she thought of the situation.
"What happened to you is wrong," Sharon stated as Hilary pursed her lips and shifted her weight onto one leg. "I am so, so sorry for what you're going through," Sharon continued. Hilary wondered why Sharon was being so nice to her. Sharon said that while she disagreed with a lot of things that Hilary had done -- especially her treatment of Mariah -- she did not approve of the way Hilary had been exploited. When Sharon offered to use her contacts from the crisis hotline to help Hilary, Hilary lashed out that she was "nobody's victim" and had everything under control.
At the Genoa City Athletic Club, Devon looked at one of Hilary's nude photos on his cell phone. Charlie showed up and asked Devon was he was looking at. Devon quickly changed the subject, and the two sat down to talk. Charlie asked if could serve as an intern at the Hamilton Winters Group. Devon agreed that they could talk about the idea, but Devon couldn't help but think that Charlie had more than that on his mind.
Charlie bowed his head for a moment before admitting that his entire world had been turned upside down by the recent events involving Cane and Juliet. Charlie expressed his concern for Sam and how the baby was "so tiny that no one can even hold him." Charlie worried that his being concerned for Sam was disrespectful to Lily. Devon assured his nephew that Lily would never want Charlie or Mattie to feel that they had to choose sides. Devon urged Charlie to be the best Charlie that he could be and said that everything would work itself out.
Charlie listened to some of the music that Devon was overseeing and decided to text one of his friends to share the news that he'd be working for Devon. As he picked up his phone, Charlie's face grew somber. He told Devon that he'd just realized that he was late for a meeting at Crimson Lights. Devon offered to drive Charlie to the meeting, but before they could leave, Devon got a phone call from Hilary.
Hilary surmised from Devon's tone that he'd seen her photos. Devon asked if there was anything that he could do to help Hilary. Hilary asked if Devon could meet with her because she had a proposal for him.
Devon arrived at Crimson Lights and ordered a coffee. Sharon told Devon that she was sorry that things had not worked out for him and Mariah. She thanked him for always being kind to Mariah and having been a part of Mariah's life. Devon thanked Sharon for her kind words before sitting down at a table with Hilary. Hilary promised Devon that their meeting would be worth it. Hilary pitched an idea to Devon that involved Hamilton Winters sponsoring The Hilary Hour. Hilary suggested that the partnership could allow for Devon's musical acts to get national exposure on her show.
Across the coffee shop, Charlie and his friend laughed as they looked at something on a mobile phone. Devon got up, marched across the room, and snatched the phone from the two teens. Devon blasted Charlie for looking at Hilary's nude photos and said that by looking at them, Charlie was as wrong as the person who had posted them. Devon told the two young men to leave because their presence was insulting to Hilary. Devon returned to his table and told Hilary that he would have to pass on sponsoring her show. It was not for any of the reasons that Hilary thought -- the scandal and their divorce. Instead, Devon said that Hilary's brand of gossip did not align itself with Hamilton Winters' portfolio and mission.
Devon drove Hilary home, but they stopped for a drink at the bar. Over drinks, Hilary cried as she told Devon that she was devastated by Jordan's decision to release her photos. Hilary conceded that she did not like being in situations that she could not control. Even though she'd deleted the photos from her web site, Hilary knew the photos were out there on the Internet and would never go away. Hilary acknowledged the irony that she'd made a name for herself by exposing people's secrets on her show, and she was someone whose own secrets had been exposed. Hilary thanked Devon for being there for her. They parted ways, agreeing that after all that had gone on between them, they were still "friends."
Paul met with Nick to tell him that the fire at the Underground had not been Nick's fault. Nick was relieved to hear the news and admitted that he'd begun to doubt himself. If the fire had not been caused by arson, Nick wondered what the cause had been. Paul replied that it had, in fact, been arson. Nick surmised that whoever had entered the bar after he'd left had to be the culprit. Paul nodded in agreement. Nick was angry to learn that, in spite of Paul knowing who had set the fire, no arrest had been made. "How are we gonna get this person who torched my club?" Nick asked. Paul replied that they were not going to get the person.
Chelsea returned home and learned from Nick and Paul that Dina had started the fire at the Underground. Like Nick, Chelsea wondered why Dina had not yet been arrested. Paul explained that no charges would be filed, but before he could offer an explanation as to why no charges had been filed, Nick blurted out that because Dina was rich and an Abbott, she would skirt the charges. Paul asked that Chelsea and Nick keep quiet so that he could finish telling them what he needed to tell them. Paul said that Nick would be getting a check to cover the damages to the club.
Nick assumed that the Abbotts would be the ones footing the bill. Paul stated that Nick's insurance company would be cutting the check because they had been informed that Nick had not been responsible. The insurance company had also agreed not to hold Dina accountable because of "extenuating circumstances." Nick and Chelsea both demanded to know what kind of circumstances allowed someone to burn down someone else's property. Reluctantly, Paul informed them that Dina was suffering from Alzheimer's. Nick and Chelsea looked at each other in disbelief.
Nick apologized for his brusque treatment of Paul. Chelsea said that she and Nick had suspected that something was wrong with Dina and offered their support to the Abbotts. Paul said that he was sure the Abbotts would appreciate that.
Once Paul left, Nick told Chelsea that it had to have been difficult for Jack to come forward with the truth about what Dina had done. Nick also could not help but wonder how he'd cope if either of his parents were to be diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Nick reiterated that at the moment, he could not stand Victor, but he also confessed that he still loved his dad. Later, Chelsea showed Nick an invitation to a tree lighting that they had gotten from Victor. Nick took the invitation from Chelsea's hand and noticed that the mailing had been addressed to Chelsea, Connor, and Christian. Nick urged Chelsea to go to the tree lighting, but she said that they should all stay home and have a tree lighting party of their own.
Later, at the Top of the Tower, Noah greeted Sharon and Scott as they arrived for their dinner date. Before they could get seated, an angry Abby whisked by. Scott excused himself to talk to Abby, saying that they had not parted on the best of terms. When Scott tried to sit down next to Abby, she told him that all the seats were taken. Scott urged Abby to rescind her resignation. Abby said that she had too much pride to go back to Victoria. Scott offered to pay for Abby's drink, but she declined.
Scott again apologized to Abby for seemingly backing out of their agreement. Across the room, Sharon asked Noah if he thought that Abby might have feelings for Scott. Noah said that Abby would be in for a "world of hurt" if she did have feelings for Scott because it was obvious that Scott was only interested in Sharon. Sharon then announced that she was going to show Scott "exactly how crazy" she was about him.
Cane gets bad news about Sam
Lily approached Charlie at Crimson Lights and suspected that he'd left the house early because he'd been trying to avoid her. Lily relayed that Devon had told her that Charlie had been ogling Hilary's photos, and Charlie blamed his friend. Lily lectured that Hilary hadn't given her consent to have the photos posted and that people continued to violate her privacy when they looked at them. Lily understood that Charlie was curious, but she urged him to remember that the naked women he saw in photos were human beings. She questioned how he'd feel if someone posted photos like that of Mattie, and Charlie became incensed.
Charlie couldn't imagine his sister letting some guy take advantage of her that way. Lily recounted that she'd once met an older guy in a chat room who had seemed nice, but she hadn't realized that sometimes people lied to get what they wanted. She confided that she'd ended up giving the man her virginity and that she'd contracted a STD. Charlie grimaced, but Lily preferred that he have too much information than not enough. Charlie said he was sorry about what had happened to both her and Hilary, and he wished he'd never seen the photos. Lily pushed him to apologize to Hilary in person.
Charlie told Lily a funny story about the frogs in his biology lab, and she suggested that he ask his dad what his favorite food had been while growing up in Australia. Charlie promised to do it the next time he saw Cane, and Lily revealed that she'd seen them having dinner at the Athletic Club the other night. Charlie wondered why she hadn't joined them, but he realized that it might have been weird. Lily swore that she hadn't wanted it to be, but she conceded that it probably would have been awkward. She inquired about how Cane was doing, and Charlie urged her to call Cane if she wanted to know.
Later, Cane joined Lily at the coffeehouse. She told him that Charlie had gone to apologize to Hilary, and Cane offered to talk to him, too. Lily imagined that the twins would love to see Cane, and Cane pointed out that they could have had the conversation over the phone. Lily said she'd also wanted to know how Sam was doing. Cane reported that his son was still in NICU, and he was spending every moment he could with the boy. He mentioned that Esther was putting the nursery together, but he'd been too busy to hire a nanny.
Lily assumed that work was good, and Cane proudly revealed that there had been an uptick in profits since he'd returned to Chancellor. He felt relieved to be moving forward with his life. Cane answered a call and said he'd be right there. He reported that it had been Sam's doctor, who had sounded serious. He rushed out.
Later, Lily arrived at the hospital to make sure that Sam was okay. Cane informed her that the news wasn't good, and he divulged that Sam had been diagnosed with a heart condition shortly after he'd been born. He continued that Sam had been put on medication, and he hadn't said anything because he'd thought it had been nothing to worry about, but the medication was no longer working. Cane brokenly revealed that the doctor had told him to prepare for the worst.
Ashley found Jack decorating the Abbott mansion. He opened the door to two men, who hauled in a gigantic tree. Jack declared that he wanted it to be the greatest Abbott family Christmas ever for their mother's sake. Dina joined them and commented that it was quite a tree, and Jack gushed that the smell of it was one of his favorite scents in the world. Jack reported that he'd carried down the ornaments and Christmas albums, and he added that there was an eggnog recipe with Dina's name on it. Dina quipped that he was competing with Dickens by summoning the Ghosts of Christmas Past.
Jack was determined to have a big, old-fashioned Abbott Christmas. Dina huffed that Mamie had always handled all the preparations while Dina had hosted the parties, and the rest of it was for the birds. Dina walked off to have some breakfast, and Ashley warned Jack not to get his hopes up too high, since their mother made Scrooge look like a saint. He refused to be discouraged, and he hung an ornament on the tree.
Later, Jack smiled at the first ornament that he'd ever made, and he asked if Dina remembered helping him make it. He recalled Dina and Mamie joking about getting the glitter out of the carpet, but Dina complained that he'd spelled "Jacky" with a "y" instead of an "ie." Dina insisted that she'd had nothing to do with it, but Jack thought the point was that she'd get to be part of their family traditions. He showed her Ashley's first ornament, and he pointed out one of a little bird that Dina had never let anyone else hang because it had been her favorite.
Dina lamented that Jack could have told her that he'd just picked the ornaments up that day, and she wouldn't have known the difference. Jack led her over to the tree to hang the bird ornament, and he pointed out that when they looked at the tree, they'd know that they'd decorated it together. She placed it on the tree and curtly asked if they were done.
As Christmas carols played, Jack excitedly prepared to turn on the lights on the tree, and Dina sourly agreed to do her best to be dazzled. Jack flipped the lights on, but most of them quickly fizzled out. Dina groused that only a fraction of the lights worked, and she questioned whether he expected her to jump up and down and start clapping. Jack explained that he wanted things to be festive, and he was disappointed that all she could do was criticize. She wondered why he bothered when she didn't care, and she walked out.
Later, Dina remarked that it ran in the family that the Abbotts were good at business but terrible with practical things. Dina admitted that she hadn't been a good mother when her children had been growing up, and she doubted that she was much better then. She requested a little alcohol with her medication, and Jack joked that he wouldn't tell if she wouldn't.
Dina recalled a year that John had decided to buy her an extravagant sable coat, and Jack figured that she'd loved it, since it had been one of the few things that she'd taken with her. Dina said she'd told John to spend his money on the business, but Jack imagined that his dad had wanted to show her off. Dina suddenly asked who he was talking about, and Jack replied that they'd been discussing his father. Jack changed the topic to his first marriage to Phyllis, which had taken place in that room on Christmas Eve. Dina marveled that it had been a beautiful wedding, but she realized that she hadn't even been there.
Jack inquired whether Mamie had really done all the decorating, since he'd believed that they'd all helped out. Dina thought it was the way he wanted to remember it, but the reality had been different. Jack figured that it explained why he was inept at decorating, but he thought they could still make it an amazing Christmas. He suggested that Dina go upstairs and rest while he took care of things.
At GC Buzz, Hilary called Jabot and asked to speak with Jack, but Gloria pretended not to know who was calling. Hilary snapped that Gloria knew who it was, and Gloria informed her that Jack was out on a leave of absence. Hilary ordered Gloria to get her a lunch date on Jack's calendar, but she hung up when Gloria taunted that she'd seen Hilary's nude photos. Mariah told Hilary that their sponsor for the following day's show had pulled out because of the racy pictures, but Hilary contended that they'd done so because they were no longer interested in syndication. Mariah dryly assumed that their guest had also canceled because she had to wash her hair instead.
Over the phone, Hilary freaked out when she learned that her commercial had been canceled. She recognized that her contract had included a morality clause, and she was stunned to hear that people had threatened to boycott the product. After she hung up, Charlie stopped by to apologize for looking at her photos. She was sure that Devon had read him the riot act, and Charlie revealed that his mom had, too. Hilary admitted that she should have been smarter than to pose for the pictures, and Charlie asked why she had done it. She explained that it had seemed like a fun idea at the time and that she'd trusted the person who'd taken the photos, but it had been a big mistake.
Hilary called Barry and hoped that some of his clients would be interested in being on her show. Her expression darkened when he voiced surprise that The Hilary Hour was still on the air, and she assured him that GC Buzz was doing just fine. She bragged that she'd be taking her show in a new positive direction, with no more salacious gossip or exposing people's secrets and lies, but she blew up at him when he wanted nothing to do with her.
Hilary crossed over to Mariah and demanded to know where she'd gotten her soda and muffin. Mariah pointed out that the kitchen was always stocked, and Hilary ranted about how much it cost to provide unhealthy snacks. Hilary threatened to cut back on freebies like paid vacations and clothing allowances, and Mariah surmised that the show was in trouble. Mariah speculated that the nude photos had made Hilary the story, and whatever journalistic credibility Hilary had possessed had gone out the window.
Mariah could tell by the way Hilary was acting that things weren't good, and she wondered if she needed to start looking for a new job. Hilary fibbed that Mariah couldn't be more wrong, since Hilary had connections, and Jabot would kill to sponsor the show. Hilary intended to turn GC Buzz into a "lean, mean fighting machine," but she invited Mariah to get all the free snacks she wanted by working for her mother at Crimson Lights. Mariah stepped away to compile a list of potential new guests. Hilary looked worried.
Gloria protested when Ashley walked into Jack's office, but Ashley clarified that it was the CEO's office and that she was the CEO. She dared Gloria to get a job elsewhere if she had a problem with it, and she ordered Gloria to fetch her all the files on Fenmore's. Gloria huffed that Jack had read them on his computer, but Ashley preferred hard copies. Ashley rattled off instructions for Gloria to set up meetings with the department heads, but Gloria planned to call Jack before she made any changes. Ashley firmly stated that Jack was taking a leave of absence, so Gloria had to deal with the fact that Ashley was in charge.
A frustrated Ashley searched through the files, and Ravi entered as she wondered why the paperwork was such a mess if Jack read his files on his computer. Ashley surmised that Jack had let his work slide because Dina had distracted him, and Ravi explained that he'd switched Jack to a cloud-based server so that the files could be accessed from anywhere. Ravi sat down at her computer and copied the files to her desktop, and he asked what else she was looking for. Gloria groused that Ashley had a lot of requests, and she defended that Jack had never let his work slide. Ravi offered to set up the system he'd built for Jack for Ashley to use, and Ashley called him a lifesaver.
Phyllis arrived for a meeting with Ashley, and Ravi asked whether Ashley needed him to stay. Ashley gushed that she didn't know what she would have done without him, since he was the only person in the company who knew what she needed. Gloria asked if they were ready to begin. Ashley dismissed Gloria, who protested that Jack had always insisted that she take notes. Ashley griped that Jack wasn't there but that he was still trying to control everything in the office.
Phyllis broached an issue with transportation, since Fenmore's contract with their trucking company expired at the end of the year, and negotiations hadn't been going well. Phyllis worried that their rates would skyrocket if they didn't lock something in, and she mentioned that Jack had said he'd look into it, but time was running out. Phyllis asked if they could count on Ashley for help, and Ashley considered it to be further proof that Jack had been distracted, since he hadn't even consulted her about the issue. Ashley swore that she'd handle it, and she stressed that Jack wouldn't be handling anything while he was on sabbatical.
Gloria pointed out that Ashley had a lot on her plate, so Ashley should let Jack follow through if he wanted to. Ashley snapped that the point was that he hadn't been following through, and she questioned how they could function if Jack kept information from her. Gloria offered to coordinate with Jack, but Ravi asserted that Ashley was the boss and that he could help her get the information on her own. Phyllis prepared to contact Jack to get things rolling, but Ashley repeated that she was in charge, and she demanded that there be no more consulting with or deferring to Jack. Ashley caught Gloria sending Jack a text message and became furious that Gloria had been sending him updates the whole time. Gloria argued that Jack outranked Ashley, and Ashley ordered everyone out.
Phyllis snatched the phone out of Gloria's hands, but Gloria noted that the phone was password-protected. Phyllis sarcastically offered to provide the code the next time she left her phone in Jack's office. Gloria corrected that it was Ashley's office, and she groused about Ashley's insecurities. Ravi chided Gloria for being disrespectful and unprofessional, and Gloria stalked off.
Phyllis applauded Ravi's efforts to cheer Ashley on when she'd been ready to lose it, but Ravi bemoaned that Ashley just saw him as a loyal employee. Phyllis advised him to be patient by giving Ashley time to realize that she had something special with him, but Ravi said he couldn't wait forever for Ashley to decide if she was interested. He realized that he had to know when to walk away, no matter how hard it was.
Meanwhile, Dina returned downstairs and gasped at the brightly decorated living room, complete with a fully lit tree. Privately, Jack thanked Mrs. Martinez for stopping by with her family on short notice to get the house ready. He asked her to keep their decorating adventure to themselves, since he wanted his mother to feel the magic of the season. Mrs. Martinez covertly departed, and Ashley arrived home. An impressed Ashley wondered how they'd managed to do it, and Dina gave Jack all the credit. Jack contemplated what they'd get in their stockings that year, and Ashley grumbled that he'd only get a lump of coal from her.
Ashley and Jack argued about work, but Dina interrupted to invite them to have eggnog because it was Christmas Eve. Jack played along and suggested that they open some gifts, but Dina wanted to wait for Traci. Jack poured Dina some more eggnog and teased her for being a party animal. Ashley stepped away and sent a text message to Abby to invite her to dinner. Abby replied that she already had plans, and Ashley wistfully stared at Dina and Jack remembering good times.
Jack told Dina that dinner was ready, and she informed him that she'd remembered the ornament that he'd shown her earlier. She confirmed that she'd been the one to help him make it, and she'd told him to spell "Jacky" with a "y." Jack shared the same memory. Dina acknowledged that her memory would go in and out, but it would mostly go, and she wanted him to know that she loved him, "now and always." Jack replied that he loved her, and they embraced.
Ravi ran into Gloria by the Jabot elevator and asked if she was leaving, and she scornfully queried whether he was the timecard police. She inquired whether he had any big plans for the evening. He said he planned to head home to watch television after catching up on work. She cooed that she'd love a quiet night at home with a box of chocolates and a racy novel, but she had an active social calendar. After Gloria left, Ravi received a text message from Ashley, summoning him to a room at the Athletic Club and instructing him to show up with his toothbrush.
Ravi entered the room at the club and found a lingerie-clad Ashley. She handed him a drink and told him not to say a word. "Just get undressed," she ordered.
Victor makes a veiled threat
Ravi and Ashley descended the stairs at the Athletic Club, and he remarked that the night before had been a surprise. Ashley hoped it had been a good one, and she spotted Abby in the dining room. Ravi offered to leave so that there wouldn't be any awkward questions, and Ashley said she'd see him at the office.
Over breakfast with Lily, Abby insisted that clinking their glasses together was mandatory. Lily questioned whether they should be celebrating, since she'd been looking forward to being work buddies, and Abby's resignation had been a pretty drastic move. Abby defended that Lily hadn't seen the statement that Victoria had wanted Abby to read to accept the blame for Zack's actions. Lily sympathized that what Zack had put Abby through had been a living nightmare, and Abby contended that every second of it had been horrible.
Ashley approached and voiced surprise that Abby wasn't at work. Abby proclaimed that she'd quit because Victoria had wanted to turn her into a corporate scapegoat, but she'd declined because her mother had raised her right. Abby invited Ashley to join her for another mimosa, but Ashley said one of them had to work. Ashley asked what had made Abby resign, and Abby suggested that her mother watch the press conference online. Abby revealed that the speech Victoria had written for her hadn't been the one Abby had read, since Victoria had wanted her to take responsibility for Zack's criminal activities.
Ashley was shocked that Victor had wanted Abby to take the blame, and Abby revealed that she'd quit before they'd been able to fire her. Abby figured that Victoria had been looking for any excuse to get rid of the competition, but Abby was free and happier than she'd been in weeks, so it was their loss. Ashley left for work, and Abby inquired about what had been going on with Lily. Lily revealed that Cane's baby had heart issues, so Cane was meeting with a doctor to see if there was anything they could do. Abby regretted going on about her insignificant problems, and she encouraged Lily to join Cane. Lily admitted that she was worried about the baby and that she couldn't help but worry about Cane, too.
Nikki entered Victor's office and huffed that she didn't appreciate being summoned. Victor countered that he hadn't appreciated being summoned by the authorities about her gun, but Nikki argued that everyone knew who had pulled the trigger. Victor griped that the authorities were trying to tie him to the sex ring, and the gun had given them reason. Nikki snapped that he'd been the one who'd wanted her to have the gun, and she told him not to blame her if it was giving him problems.
Victor explained that he was trying to make sense of it to get the authorities off his back, and he refused to let anyone tear down the company he'd built. Nikki crossed the room and closed the door. She relayed how she'd unknowingly given Tessa the combination to the safe, and she hoped that Victor appreciated her honesty. She prepared to leave, and he coolly asked whether she'd stopped by the ranch on Thanksgiving because Jack had cut her loose. She firmly stated that she'd wanted to see her family on the holiday, and she passed by Ashley on her way out. Ashley stormed into Victor's office and blasted him for pushing Abby out of a job after everything their daughter had been through. Victor asked what she was talking about.
Victor said he'd been out of town, but Ashley ranted that he didn't have control over his executives, since Victoria had let Abby walk away. Ashley figured it was what happened when he played favorites with his children, and she chided him for repaying Abby that way when she'd been nothing but loyal to him. Ashley spat that Victoria was just like him, and she imagined he was proud. Victor asserted that he made the decisions, and he pledged to fix things with Abby. Ashley preferred to have Abby back at Jabot, where she'd be appreciated and not casually dismissed.
Ashley sauntered out and ran into Nikki, who said she was sorry to hear about Dina's diagnosis. Ashley thanked her, and Nikki mused that it was happening while Ashley was taking over Jabot. Ashley explained that Jack had stepped down to take care of their mother, but he refused to accept any help. Nikki asked how Ashley was doing, and Ashley admitted that the situation had put things into perspective. Ashley confided that she'd made a promise to herself that she wouldn't miss out on anything because life was too short.
At Jabot, Ravi handed Ashley some reports with an overview of Jabot's technical side. She was grateful that he was helping her understand what was going on after her brother had kept too much information from her. Ashley added that she appreciated Ravi's change in wardrobe, and he replied that he'd appreciated the night before. She admitted that it had been hard for her get her focus out of the office, but she'd been able to forget about what was going on at home and work and live in the moment.
Ravi set up Ashley's devices to auto-sync with one another, and she thanked him with a kiss and gushed that she didn't know what she would do without him. He started to head out, but she stopped him and addressed the night before. Ravi understood if it had been a one-time thing, since he had no expectations. Ashley wondered if he wanted to do it again, and he offered to make arrangements for dinner and the opera. She opted to keep things low-key by not planning too much and keeping things more impromptu. Ravi agreed, but he looked clearly disappointed as she dived back into work.
At Crimson Lights, Scott made plans over the phone to meet someone. He informed Sharon that Abby's press conference was still paying dividends, since Newstime Now wanted him to sit down for an interview with Kerry Forrest. He enthused that it would be wider exposure for the article and for Hashtag, but Sharon was surprised that he'd agreed to it without getting Newman's approval. Scott asserted that he ran the publication, and he couldn't say no to the publicity.
Sharon worried that the woman questioning Scott would be an aggressive shark who smelled blood in the water, but Scott considered the interview to be a win-win for everyone. Sharon contemplated what would happen if the interviewer cut him down on live television because she was jealous that he'd pulled off an exclusive. Scott insisted that he hadn't done anything to be envious of, and Sharon declared that she was behind him as long as he didn't develop a big ego. He figured that it would be "yesterday's news" soon enough, but she thought his bosses at Newman might disagree.
Victoria entered the coffeehouse and extended her condolences to Cane about Juliet. Victoria imagined that it was a difficult time for him, and he reported that Sam wasn't getting stronger and that the medication wasn't working, so he had to see a specialist to find out about his son's chances. Victoria empathized that it was terrifying, but Cane replied that she didn't have to pretend that she cared about him and his son.
Victoria mentioned that she had a friend who'd recently had a premature baby, and she gave Cane a referral to the doctor her friend had raved about. Victoria swore that she was genuinely concerned, and Cane thanked her. She added that Reed had been premature, but he'd eventually become perfectly healthy. Cane regretted the time he'd spent trying to keep Reed away from Mattie, since he'd realized that none of it really mattered after Sam had been born. Victoria promised to send good thoughts for both Cane and Sam, and Cane departed.
Later, Lily arrived at the hospital, and Cane asked what she was doing there. She replied that she wanted to be there for him and Sam, and she wondered what time his appointment with the specialist was. Cane informed her that she'd just missed the doctor, and Sam's only option was to have surgery. Cane bemoaned that his four-pound baby boy had to go through cardiothoracic surgery.
Cane accessed a link that the doctor had given him for information, but he became overwhelmed by the details. Lily offered to read it to him, but a nurse approached Cane about donating blood. The nurse assumed that Lily was Sam's mother and urged her to also do it, but Cane clarified that Sam's mother had passed away. Lily still wanted to donate, and she assured Cane that she'd been in remission for years, so she was medically clear to do it. They sat down to fill out forms, and he softly stated that she didn't have to do it. Lily insisted that she wanted to, since Sam was all that mattered.
Cane joined Lily after they'd given blood, and he informed her that the tech had told him that the hospital would use her blood for Sam's operation. Lily thought Cane would be a better match, but he considered it ironic that she was a better one because her blood had antigens that would help Sam heal faster after surgery. Cane marveled that if his son made it through, it would be because of her.
At the penthouse, Chelsea instructed Nick how to position their Christmas tree, and he joked that he and the tree were officially dating. She declared that it was perfect, and he pointedly stated that he only picked the best as he put his arm around her. She marveled at their first tree, and they kissed. He began to pull out a box of ornaments, but she announced that she'd ordered a new set to have a fresh start. Nick objected to using the new ones.
Nick retrieved his own ornaments, and he complained that Chelsea's new ones looked like they belonged in a museum. She teased him for preferring kitschier décor, but he called his dented plastic balls and stale popcorn strings traditional. He pulled out some mistletoe and inquired whether it was too kitschy. Chelsea contended that the dusty fake greenery didn't mean anything unless there was a good kiss behind it, and he leaned in to prove that he was up to the task. They kissed passionately, and she agreed that the mistletoe could stay.
Nick and Chelsea decided to play the card game war to see which ornaments made it to the tree and which ones went back into the box. They took turns excluding one another's ornaments, but she paled when he selected a particular one to put back in the box. Chelsea revealed that Adam had given that ornament to her the year before, and Nick insisted that it go on the tree. Chelsea pointed out that they were creating their own memories, but Nick thought they could do it and still honor Adam.
At a television studio, Kerry thanked Scott for being there, and she commended his writing. She indicated that their site had had a lot of hits since they'd linked to his article, and he stressed that it was an important story. She believed that part of the fascination was over what he'd personally gone through to get the scoop, but he said the key had been that he hadn't gone through it alone.
Nick greeted Abby at Crimson Lights and asked how she was holding up. She guessed that he'd seen the press conference, and he praised her for not pulling any punches. She grumbled that Victor and Victoria hadn't shared his enthusiasm, so Abby had quit. Nick welcomed her to the club, and they exchanged a high-five. He invited her to a tree-trimming party at the penthouse, and she noted that it was on the same night that Victor was hosting the tree-lighting event. Her face fell when she received a text message, and she left to tend to some unfinished business.
Meanwhile, Victor asked Victoria if it was true that Abby had resigned. Victoria figured that it was cleaner that way, since Abby had shown that she obviously didn't want to be a team player. Victoria assumed that Victor would have fired Abby if she wasn't his daughter, but Abby had quit in a huff, and Victoria hadn't fought it because Abby hadn't taken her position seriously. Victor lectured that Victoria should have handled it differently, since Abby didn't have Victoria's experience and knowledge. Victor asked if Victoria was jealous of Abby, but a beep on the intercom interrupted them. Victor gave instructions to send someone in, and Abby entered.
Abby turned in her identification badge and swore that she hadn't stolen any office supplies. Victor refused to accept her resignation, but Abby asserted that it hadn't worked out for her because he'd chosen a new COO who was in charge of the company. Victor received a text message from Devon, imploring him to turn on the television. Abby was offended when Victor interrupted their conversation to turn on Scott's interview.
Kerry mentioned that Newman was facing a criminal investigation because it had funded Design Date, and she imagined that Scott was in a bind by having to publicize his employer's troubles. Scott defended that Victor was an honorable man who'd been shocked and disgusted by Zack's crimes, but Victor had let Scott's article be published uncensored in spite of Newman being wrongfully accused of profiting from sex trafficking. Scott added that Victor's own daughter had been kidnapped and that she'd been the reason he'd made it out of the storage unit. Scott credited Abby with being tougher than he was, since he had lingering issues after being held captive during a stint overseas.
Abby shut off the show and snapped that she wasn't there to see Scott get more press. Victor acknowledged that it had been reckless of Abby to change the speech, but he would have done the same thing if he'd been in her place. He applauded her for deflecting the blame from both herself and the company, and he was adamant that the company needed someone with her talents. Abby conceded that it was nice to hear, but she didn't think Newman was big enough for two daughters. Victor left it up to Victoria to convince Abby otherwise, and he stepped out.
Victoria prepared to get to work, but Abby waited for Victoria to convince her to return to the company. Victoria haughtily stated that she'd seen Abby lap it up when Victor had extolled her virtues, and she thought Abby had already decided to return because she needed Victor's approval, but Abby just wanted to make her squirm. Abby agreed to return, but she wanted a bump in title and salary and an office near those of Victoria and their father. Abby added that she would report directly to the CEO and not Victoria, since she wanted her autonomy restored.
Victoria said she'd discuss it with Victor, but Abby insisted on doing it herself. Abby added that she'd also been watching Victoria, and every complimentary word that Victor said about Abby had been like a knife to Victoria's ego. Abby recognized that Victoria didn't want her there, and she would never forget that Victoria had given Scott a big, fat bonus while letting Abby walk away.
At Crimson Lights, Sharon told Nick that she'd signed Faith's permission slip for a trip to the museum, and he wondered if that had been why Sharon had wanted to get together. Sharon mentioned the changes that had happened because of Zack, and she admitted that she'd realized that she loved Scott when he'd gone missing. She wanted to ask Scott to move in with her and Faith, but she wanted to get Nick's thoughts about it first. Nick worried that Faith might get jealous of Scott's claim on Sharon's time, and Sharon promised to be conscious about it. Nick reported that the girl thought Scott had a cool job, and Sharon mentioned that Scott was being interviewed on television right then. Nick suggested that they watch it.
After watching the interview, Nick reiterated that he didn't like Scott, but he gave Scott props for giving Abby credit. Nick told Sharon that he had no objection if she wanted to live with the guy, but he didn't want to join them for any cozy dinners.
Kerry commended Scott for being natural and polished, and he appreciated her getting the word out about the story. She mentioned that the show had an opening for an on-air reporter, and she offered to hook him up with the executive producer if he was interested. Scott said he was definitely interested, but he was surprised that the show would have a reporter in Genoa City. Kerry revealed that the job would be based in New York.
Victor dropped by the penthouse, and Chelsea informed him that Nick wasn't home. Victor said he was there to see her, and he inspected the tree. He had expected her to RSVP for the tree-lighting ceremony, and she told him that they wouldn't be able to make it, since it was time that she and Nick started their own traditions.
Victor imagined that Chelsea was enjoying creating a family with his grandsons and Nick, and he contemplated how Nick would react if he learned that the foundation of their family was based on a lie. Victor recognized that Nick saw Christian as his own, and he warned, "Don't you destroy that for him." Victor ominously urged her to attend his party, and he walked out. A distressed Chelsea clutched Adam's ornament.