In Victor's office at Newman Enterprises, Abby slurped coffee, fidgeted with her bangle bracelet, and sighed heavily as Victoria pored over a report. Victoria asked why the report had failed to mention one particular company once held by the energy arm of Newman. Abby explained that the sale of the company had taken place in a previous quarter. Abby, noting Victoria's heightened edginess, asked about J.T.'s investigation of Victor's finances. Victor arrived and immediately demanded to know who'd been siphoning money from his personal accounts.
Victor instructed Victoria to give him an answer before J.T. Hellstrom did because it appeared as though Victor had committed tax evasion. Abby said, "Sounds to me like someone with a personal vendetta." Scott arrived. Victor told Scott that he had a project that required special handling. Victor and Victoria agreed that Abby should help Scott with the project. Victoria told Scott and Abby that Newman Enterprises didn't intend to walk away from the planned building project in Chancellor Park. Scott said they'd have to wait until the city revealed the buyer of the property.
Victoria was hesitant to wait for the city to release the name of the buyer. Scott and Abby said they'd report back as soon as they could. Scott and Abby left together. Victor asked Victoria if she believed Nick had embezzled the stolen funds. Victoria said she didn't suspect Nick. Victoria barely hid her apprehension when Victor vowed to find the guilty party.
On the patio at Crimson Lights, Nikki told Kevin that he'd be implicated, along with her, after authorities determined she was guilty of embezzling from Victor. Kevin stood up, began buttoning his coat, and announced that he'd be leaving town with Bella immediately. Kevin urged Nikki to do the same, noting that he'd warned Nikki the day she'd hired him that they'd be caught. Kevin asked if there was a chance they'd be spared. Nikki said someone might help her, though she had her doubts about a positive outcome.
Kevin and Nikki continued their conversation in private while strolling through Chancellor Park. Nikki cried that she hadn't anticipated Victor's accounts being scrutinized as part of the investigation into the sex ring. Kevin said he'd attempted to cover their tracks. Kevin explained that if Nikki stayed in the clear, so would he. After Nikki received a message from Victoria, she urged Kevin to flee.
At the police station, Paul and Christine met with J.T. Paul and Christine explained that authorities had fast-tracked the audit of Victor's personal accounts. Christine requested all the information J.T. had collected. Christine said she hoped J.T. would remain impartial despite his past connections to the Newman family. J.T. vowed to carry out his duties. Paul assured Christine that J.T. was the right person for the job.
At the Genoa City Athletic Club, Nikki and Victoria met with J.T. Nikki said she was aware she was in serious trouble. J.T. said he assumed that, like Victoria, Nikki would rather he look the other way. Nikki admitted she didn't regret what she'd done to Victor because of the way he'd treated her and Nick. Nikki said she wished she'd used different methods to get back at Victor. J.T. replied, "I wish you had, too." Nikki explained that living with Victor had been hellish while she'd been party to his vicious punishments of those he felt had wronged him.
Nikki told J.T. that she'd maintained her relationship with Victor in public because he'd assured her that his transgressions had been perpetrated out of love to protect his family. Nikki said she'd become a silent partner in Victor's vendettas but had known that one day Victor would turn against her. Nikki said that after her worst fears had become a reality, she'd become just like Victor. Nikki said that at that point, she'd vowed to never step over the line again. J.T. said he believed Nikki, but he had no choice but to turn her in. Victoria reminded J.T. that he'd be sending Reed's grandmother to prison. After J.T. left and Victoria stepped away, Nikki phoned Kevin and promised to do her best to protect him.
After J.T. met with Nikki and Victoria, he returned to the police station. Paul and Christine were eager to act on the report findings J.T. had emailed. Christine stepped into her office to read the report. Eager to obtain justice, Christine told Paul to assign officers to carry out arrests at Newman Enterprises. Christine noted that she'd already alerted a judge. J.T. insisted on going over his report with them both in person.
Victoria later met with Victor in his office. Victor suggested that Jack Abbott was the only person with the means and the animus to pull off the embezzlement. Victoria expressed doubt that Jack had reason to do it. Victor reminded Victoria that Jack had tried for a year to destroy Brash & Sassy, though Victor gave himself credit for thwarting Jack's plans by buying the company. Victoria said, "It wasn't Jack. It was Mom."
Victoria told Victor she wanted it all to go away and had enlisted J.T.'s help, though he'd declined. Christine phoned Victor. After the call, Victor told Victoria that Christine had reported that the account anomaly had simply been a bank error, so no funds were missing. Victoria was astounded. Victor promised not to do anything to Nikki after he informed her that she wouldn't face charges.
J.T. spoke with Victoria outside Victor's office. Victoria thanked J.T., and he agreed that for Nikki, the punishment wouldn't have fit the crime. Victoria asked if J.T. had chosen to defend Nikki for another reason. Before J.T. could respond, Victor stepped out and greeted him. Victor met with J.T. privately. Victor assured J.T. that his actions had made up for the past. Victor requested that he be the one to inform Nikki that she'd been cleared.
At the Abbott mansion, Traci arrived for a visit and detailed her travel woes to Ashley. Jack, engrossed in an article displayed on his tablet, didn't pay attention to his sisters, much to Ashley's dismay. Ashley asked Jack what he was reading. Jack held up his tablet and said, "It's this fawning puff piece on Chancellor Industries being the one to watch in 2018." Traci replied, "You wish someone had written a fawning puff piece about Jabot?" Jack agreed and said he intended to make a splash with Jabot that the media couldn't ignore. Traci, noting the gleam in Jack's eye, said he evidently had something splash-worthy in mind.
Cane met with Jack, enjoying eggnog and talking business in the Abbotts' living room. Jack congratulated Cane. Cane said he eagerly anticipated sharing with Jill all that he'd accomplished in such a short period of time. Jack mentioned that Chancellor Industries had recently purchased a cosmetics company that would integrate perfectly with Jabot. Cane interrupted and explained that two competitors had already submitted proposals and that Chancellor was poised to close a deal with one. Jack, taken aback, said, "You're turning me down flat?" Cane replied, "Kind of like what you did to me when I came to you, desperately seeking a job." Cane added that he didn't forget so easily, though he never held a grudge.
At the Top of the Tower, Traci and Ashley visited over lunch. Traci expressed her concern that Jack was taking on too much. Ashley agreed with Traci. Ashley noted that Jack believed he could care for Dina, compete with rivals, and run Jabot from home. Ashley said that if Jack faltered, the family and the family empire would suffer. Traci shared Ashley's concerns.
At the Chancellor estate, Jill arrived and greeted Billy. Jill noted that Billy was enjoying living lavishly, having chartered helicopters and purchased a racehorse. Jill said Billy appeared to lack the drive to accomplish success on his own. Billy noted that he'd sought fulfillment in all the wrong places. Jill explained that Billy shouldn't expect to find the true meaning of life with instant gratification. Billy said he'd decided to enjoy life and all it had to offer while he could after watching Dina slowly slip away. Jill agreed that Alzheimer's was a horrible disease. Billy added, "It's hell on earth is what it is."
Jill happily greeted Cane when he arrived. Billy and Jill admired a photo of Sam that Cane displayed on his phone. Cane and Billy were shocked when Jill suddenly announced plans to sell Chancellor Industries. Jill explained that her travels had opened her eyes to the suffering experienced by many. Jill insisted that she was eager to do good in the world and could carry out her plans after accepting a lucrative offer for the company. Cane shook his head in disbelief when Jill insisted she would devote her life to helping people in need. Cane looked to Billy for support, but Billy said, "You know the way she is when she sets her mind to something."
After Cane left the Abbott mansion, Billy stopped by and told Jack about Jill's plans to sell Chancellor Industries. Jack admitted that he'd visited with Cane, who'd been as smug as he could be about his new role at Chancellor. Jack, appearing eager to place his bid, noted that Jabot had once been a subsidiary of Chancellor Industries. Billy asked Jack if he'd call a special board meeting to determine the feasibility of his plan. Jack said he couldn't allow bureaucracy to create a delay and allow another company to snap up Chancellor. Jack asked Billy to look after Dina while he stepped out.
After Traci and Ashley returned, Billy told them about Jack's plan to purchase Chancellor Industries. Traci, shocked, said, "Jack can just go and purchase a multi-million-dollar corporation like a last-minute Christmas gift." Ashley agreed with Traci. Ashley said it was the worst time to buy another company. Ashley told Traci they should contact board members and call a special meeting before Jack went too far.
Jill and Cane returned home after visiting Sam at the hospital. Jill praised Cane for standing up for Sam. Jill also praised Mattie for donating blood to Sam. Cane noted that selling Chancellor Industries would affect his ability to provide for his family. Cane cried that the whole time Jill had been offering praise, she'd also been making plans to toss him out. Cane promised to run the company successfully, guaranteeing a stream of income that would allow Jill to accomplish her goals. Cane pleaded with Jill to give him a chance to make his children proud. Jill said she'd consider Cane's side before making a final decision.
Jack met with Jill at the Chancellor estate. They discussed Dina's Alzheimer's and the disease's impact on Dina's family. Jill praised Jack for taking care of his mom. Jack said he'd done well to care for his mom and run Jabot from home. Jack asked Jill to sell Chancellor Industries to him so corporate raiders wouldn't snatch up the company and sell it off piecemeal. Jack noted that John and Katherine would haunt him if he didn't treat Chancellor well. Jill said she believed Katherine would approve. Jack scrawled a proposed offer on a napkin and gave it to Jill. Jack laughed about having presented an offer scribbled on a napkin printed with a likeness of Santa Claus. Jill laughed and noted that it was Christmas, after all.
At Chancellor Park, Abby complained to Scott about having to work with him. Abby expressed concerns that Victoria had discovered that Abby and Scott had become involved briefly, having shared a kiss at the park. Scott discounted Abby's suspicions, explaining that if Victoria knew, she likely would've fired them both. Scott later followed Abby to the Genoa City Athletic Club. Abby insisted that working with Scott on their shared assignment would be her only focus. Abby added that she had a life outside of work that involved dating. Abby became frustrated with Scott when he queried her about dating apps. Abby left in a huff.
A surprise vote decides Jack's fate at Jabot
At the Abbott mansion, Jack and Ashley gave one another the silent treatment over breakfast. Traci brightly invited them to go downtown that night to look at the decorations, but Jack doubted that they'd be speaking. Ashley coldly asked him to pass the sugar, and he testily inquired whether she was confident in his ability to do so. Ashley retorted that she was looking at him, so he wouldn't be able to try something behind her back. Traci scolded them for being ridiculous, and she objected to Ashley calling for a confidence vote on Jack.
Ashley wished that she'd called the meeting months earlier, and Jack wondered if Traci still had confidence in him. Traci pledged to listen to both sides before making a decision. Jack admonished Ashley for putting their family in a position where they had to choose, but Ashley contended that he'd forced her to do it because of his irrational belief that he could be in control of everything. She considered it unrealistic that he thought he could run Jabot while taking care of their mother, and they bickered. Dina entered and ordered them to stop the chatter before her bridge club arrived, and she told them to act their age.
Jack reminded Dina that they were all adults, and she demanded to know why Jack and Ashley had been fighting. Ashley and Jack tried to downplay it as a business matter, but Dina insisted that they stop being condescending and secretive. Ashley revealed that she'd called a board meeting to figure out who should be in charge, and Dina realized that the board was having a vote of confidence to see if Jack should remain CEO because she was sick. Dina cried that she'd caused all of it, and Traci led her upstairs. Ashley questioned why Jack was being that stubborn when it had been his choice to stay home to take care of Dina. Jack barked that it wasn't Dina's fault -- it was Ashley's. He stormed out.
At Jabot, Gloria reported to Jack that the board members were resistant to change, but the sentiment that favored continuity was clouded by sibling rivalry. She lectured that perception was everything, and his image as the strong, stable voice at the top had eroded because he hadn't been present at the office. She indicated that one board member had abstained and that another intended to go with Ashley, but the vote could go either way. Jack realized that he needed to do some campaigning.
In the corridor, Ravi approached Ashley and referred to the rumors going around that the board might get rid of Jack. Ashley confided that she'd called for a vote of confidence, and there was a good chance Jack would win, but she was determined not to let him. Ravi suggested that Ashley slow down, and he revealed that his holiday gift to her was a trip to Hawaii with him to forget about the stress. She said it sounded wonderful, but she couldn't go. She realized that she'd been unfair to him by leading him on.
Ashley explained that it had felt good to be appreciated and desired, but she thought she'd been using Ravi to avoid thinking about work and her mother. Ravi was disappointed that he'd just been a diversion from everything else going on in her life, and Ashley called him a sexy, amazing diversion. She believed that he deserved more, but he asserted that it didn't matter that they were at different points in their lives. Ashley contended that what they both wanted mattered, and he accepted that she didn't want to be with him. She wondered if he still wanted to take the job at Newman, and he replied that he needed to think about it.
At Crimson Lights, Lauren wished she could take her mind off the board meeting and what it meant for Fenmore's. Michael pointed out that she had a lot of influence as a non-Abbott, and she realized that she could make some strong suggestions that would benefit Fenmore's in exchange for her vote. Michael wondered what would make her gain or lose confidence in Jack.
At the Athletic Club, Billy contemplated abstaining or not showing up for the board meeting to avoid anyone being angry at him. Phyllis reasoned that those options wouldn't help, and he groaned that life had been easier when Jack hadn't been speaking to him. Phyllis understood that Billy didn't want to get caught up in the family drama, but she stressed that his vote could determine the future of his family and Jabot. "No pressure then," he dryly replied.
Jack met Billy at the club, and he thought that Billy appreciated that Jabot's customers and business partners wanted stability, since Billy had helped put Brash & Sassy on the map. Billy recounted that Jack had done everything possible to drive Brash & Sassy into the ground, but Jack believed Billy understood that they'd both needed to make certain business decisions. Billy referred to Jack going after Jill's company, and Jack questioned whether Billy would rather see Cane running Chancellor. Jack recalled that he'd risked his life to save Billy in the Underground fire, and Billy admitted that he owed Jack. Jack said it wasn't just about loyalty but standing up for their dad and his legacy.
Later, Ashley reiterated to Billy that Jack wasn't capable of running the company, since they'd seen emotion cloud Jack's better judgment. Ashley added that Jack had badmouthed Billy to the hockey league, and Billy suggested that she mention that to the other board members because it might turn the tide. Billy informed her that he'd met with Jack that day, and he didn't want to go back to Jack hating him. Ashley questioned whether Billy wanted her to hate him, and she swore that she wouldn't be trying to oust Jack if it wasn't necessary for the good of the company and their family.
At Crimson Lights, Jack told Abby that he would step aside if he thought he wasn't the right person to lead Jabot. Abby figured that Ashley had her reasons for calling for the vote, and Jack insisted that he wasn't taking it personally. Abby recalled how it had hurt when Victor had shown little confidence in her by taking Victoria back at Newman, and Jack reminded Abby that he'd supported her incubator project when Victor hadn't. He swore that he had believed in her and still did, and he promised that she would always have a job at Jabot.
Later, Ashley told Abby that she'd taken the step in Jack's best interests because he'd been overextended ever since he'd chosen to be Dina's primary caregiver. Abby argued that he shouldn't be punished for it, but Ashley reiterated that he'd been making bad decisions. Ashley hoped that Jack would eventually be grateful to have the decision taken out of his hands.
At the Athletic Club, Jack reminded Lauren that he'd saved Fenmore's, but she countered that he'd done so after he'd driven off the other potential investors. He pointed out that it had been beneficial for both of them, and he asked if he could count on her support. She implied that a commitment to put more money into Fenmore's marketing budget would give her more confidence, and he replied that they understood one another perfectly.
Later, Ashley informed Lauren about Jack's plan to acquire Chancellor, and she anticipated that it would directly affect the resources available to Fenmore's. Lauren revealed that she and Jack had already made a deal, but Ashley pointed out that Jack had also made a deal to lease office space to Brash & Sassy and had subsequently raised the rent to a ridiculous amount. Ashley didn't trust her brother to keep his word, and she thought it would be irresponsible of all of them if they didn't take action. Lauren worried that a new CEO might not give Fenmore's the consideration it deserved, but Ashley promised that she'd make Fenmore's a top priority.
Phyllis was surprised when Jack summoned her to his office, since she'd expected him to be securing votes for the board meeting. Jack requested that she do something for him. Meanwhile, Ravi told Ashley that he preferred to stay at Jabot because he enjoyed working for her. She pointed out that Jabot wasn't paying him as much as what Newman had offered, and he intended to renegotiate when the time was right. Ravi explained that he liked the freedom and the work environment there, and Ashley vowed to fight to keep it that way. He assured her that she could do anything.
The board members assembled in the conference room, and Ashley handed out packets of information. She noted that Jack was late, and Billy joked that it didn't inspire confidence. Jack walked in and told Gloria to send in a chair for a late arrival, and he welcomed the newest board member -- Phyllis. Ashley protested that Jack couldn't do that, but he haughtily stated that the CEO could appoint a new board member at any time. Jack conceded that Phyllis had caused him personal pain, but he'd put the company first. Billy sent a text message to Phyllis to ask what she was doing.
Ashley volunteered to call the meeting to order, but Jack indicated that he was more than capable of doing it. He declared that he didn't need the job or the money, but they were all there because of a promise that he'd made to his father years earlier. Billy sent another text message to Phyllis, saying she looked hot, like a naughty librarian. Jack continued that sometimes he'd had to make unpopular decisions, like asking someone to step away from a temporary role, but it had been the best choice to make. Jack pledged to make the company as strong as it could be while they brainstormed their next great idea, and he expected Ashley to discover it in the renovated lab. He claimed that he was wildly enthusiastic about working together, since he couldn't make John's dream happen without her.
Ashley interrupted to offer perspective and facts, and she blasted Jack for shooting down the deal that she'd closed with Cartwright. Jack called it a bad deal, but Ashley asserted that they would have had a substantial fourth quarter if it had been finalized. She pointed out that Jack's pattern of behavior had started long before he'd asked her to step in, including a messy fight with Brash & Sassy because he'd made decisions based on personal vendettas. Ashley announced that Jack had made the kneejerk decision to buy Chancellor without consulting anyone, and she inquired whether he had any plans or projections.
Jack said he'd acted on instinct, and Ashley maintained that it was completely unrealistic for him to run the company outside the office. She mentioned the videoconference that Dina had disrupted because she'd mistaken a business associate for Traci, and Jack defended that he'd already hired more staff. Ashley reported that she'd smoothed things over, but she suspected that Jack was intent on running Jabot from home so that he could make decisions, unchecked. Jack ordered her to stop, and Ashley moved to vote.
Ashley voted no confidence, and Lauren cast her vote for Jack to stay. Phyllis supported Jack, and Ashley grumbled that she hoped Phyllis had gotten a lot for her vote. Jack objected when Abby voted no confidence, and he accused her of earning points with Victor by weakening Jabot. Abby recounted that Jack had praised her for her forward thinking, and she was certain that voting with her conscience was the right decision. Billy reluctantly sided with Ashley and Abby, and Jack berated him for coasting along on the company's profits and working against his self-interests to stick it to Jack. Billy cautioned that Jack wasn't in a good place but couldn't see it.
Traci had the final vote, and she voiced concern about how much Jack had taken on, but she confirmed her confidence in him. Ashley declared a tie, and Phyllis wondered what the solution was in the event of a tie. Abby applauded Jack for looking after Dina, and she questioned why he wouldn't step down. Jack explained that he felt a deep commitment to his employees' livelihoods, and Ashley pointed out that the company had run without him quite well.
Jack equated the failure to get enough votes to remove him with having him remain as CEO. Gloria breezed in and proclaimed that there was one board member they hadn't heard from, since Kyle's vote had just arrived via special courier. Ashley begged Gloria to open the envelope, but Gloria's face fell when she saw the contents. Gloria numbly handed the envelope to Jack, who was stunned to see that Kyle had expressed a vote of no confidence.
At the Newman ranch, Victor instructed one of his staff to set out the finest china and candlesticks and to arrange for a huge bouquet of flowers and one red rose. He mentioned that it would be a special evening for a special guest.
At Nick's home, Nikki envisioned being locked up in an orange prison jumpsuit. She snapped out of it as Nick recounted the rally at Chancellor Park, and he worried about what the anonymous bidder would do with the land. Nikki mused that it couldn't be anything worse than what his father had planned, and he noticed that she seemed distracted. Nick became concerned that there was something wrong with her health, but she assured him that everything was fine on that front. Nikki considered it ironic, given where she might be headed.
Nikki mentioned Newman's audit, and Nick asserted that Victor would never be involved in the exploitation of young women. Nikki agreed, but she revealed that the auditors had found some questionable activity in Victor's personal accounts. Nick assured her that she couldn't be held responsible for the illegal things Victor had done, and he offered to call her an attorney. She blurted out that she'd embezzled money from Victor.
Nikki assumed that Nick was disappointed in her, but he insisted that he was impressed. He wondered how she'd done it, and she vaguely replied that an opportunity had presented itself that she hadn't been able to resist. Nikki explained that she'd done it to make Victor understand how it felt to have someone else controlling his life. She admitted that she'd gotten pleasure out of it, but she might be arrested because of it. She divulged that J.T. had already figured out the truth, but he'd sworn that there was nothing he could do. She realized that she'd gone too far, and there was no escaping it.
Nikki told Nick that Michael was convinced that the prosecution would argue that she and Victor had been working together, and she didn't see a way out of it. Nick surmised that she'd used a hacker, and he suggested that the hacker testify that the transfer hadn't had anything to do with business. Nikki bemoaned that Christine and the Feds wanted to see Victor prosecuted, and they wouldn't stop until they linked him to the sex ring. Nikki recognized that she faced up to ten years in prison for committing a felony, and she groaned that she didn't look good in orange. She received a text message from Victor, who invited her to the ranch to discuss a matter of mutual interest. She insisted on going alone.
After Nikki left, Nick summoned Michael to the penthouse and informed him that Nikki had confessed to being behind the embezzlement. Michael explained that he was trying to create a defense, but it was challenging. Nick argued that the money was community property, but Michael warned that the authorities were trying to make an example out of the Newmans, so Nikki had reason to be scared.
Nikki arrived at the ranch and was surprised to find a candlelit table and romantic music playing. Victor handed her a glass and expressed appreciation for all they'd been through and who they were, so he wanted to create a perfect moment in time. She gasped when she spied a scarf on the table, and she recalled that he'd given it to her right before he'd whisked her off to an island in the Norwegian Sea because she'd wanted to see northern lights. She recalled it as a manipulation couched in romance, since they'd argued. He stepped close to her for a moment and remarked that she wouldn't have seen the beautiful sights if they hadn't argued.
Victor held Nikki's chair for her as she sat down, and she asked if he thought her life was richer because of his lies and deceit. He whispered in her ear, "Our life." He contended that they'd chosen not to be ordinary, unless she'd taken up needlepoint. "That would come in handy," he said as he raised his glass, adding, "In prison." Victor huffed that he'd woken up one morning to find out that an inordinate amount of money had been removed without his knowledge, and he'd already felt violated when he'd realized the withdrawal had made law enforcement think he had something to hide.
Nikki credited Victor for figuring out that she'd done it, but she insisted that it hadn't had anything to do with wanting to get him in legal trouble. She'd thought he'd deserved to know how it felt to be violated, but she suspected the authorities wouldn't care why she'd done it when they took her away. Nikki invited Victor to have his fun by mocking her or railing at her. Victor offered to have the charges dropped if she returned to the house and their marriage on his terms, or he could call the police and have them arrest her. He asked what she'd like him to do.
Nikki drops a multi-million dollar bombshell>
In previous episodes, Nikki had confessed to Nick that she'd embezzled money from Victor. After Victor learned what Nikki had done, he offered exoneration if Nikki agreed to move back to the ranch with him and honor their marriage. Hilary had assured Cane that Lily would come around in time. In response to Abby's query, Lily insisted she would proceed with her divorce. A majority of Jabot's Board of Directors voted Jack out as CEO.
At Phyllis' apartment, Phyllis joked that Billy might fill her Christmas stocking with coal because she'd voted for Jack to remain as CEO of Jabot. Billy claimed that Phyllis felt guilty because she'd fallen in love with Jack's younger, sexier brother. Phyllis admitted she felt a semblance of guilt, but she suggested that Billy was jealous of Jack. Phyllis explained that she'd supported Jack because she truly believed he should head Jabot. Billy recalled Ashley's concerns about Jack's inability to set his priorities in order. Billy suddenly ended his rebuttal, cuddled next to Phyllis, and said he wouldn't allow anything to drive them apart.
At the Abbott mansion, Jack phoned Kyle and left a message. In the message, Jack said he wished to know why Kyle had voted against his father as CEO. Ashley overheard Jack on the phone and told him it was okay for him to step aside to focus on himself and taking care of their mother. Jack briefly made eye contact with Ashley before resuming clicking keys on his laptop. Ashley added that Jack was no longer CEO, so he should let it go. Jack angrily replied, "That's not going to happen, Ash. As far as I'm concerned, it's business as usual."
Ashley told Jack that Jabot had yielded success in the past without Jack as CEO, and it would do so again. Ashley added that a majority of the board had decided that Jack couldn't both run the company from home and care for Dina, so something had to give. Jack claimed that the board had made their decision only because Ashley had forced the issue. Jack declared that Ashley was either jealous or resentful. Jack insisted he would continue in his role without anyone looking over his shoulder. Angry, Jack headed toward the door and ordered Ashley to take charge of Dina.
After Jack left, Billy stopped by and asked Ashley how she was holding up. Ashley cried, "Do you think I am power-hungry, overly ambitious, and destructive?" Ashley explained that her goal was to safeguard the company and look out for Jack's well-being. Ashley insisted that no one could run a company from home and look after an ill loved one at the same time. Billy replied, "I'm with you, Ash, me and my vote."
Billy asked Ashley why she was questioning herself. Ashley, fiddling with ornaments on the family's Christmas tree, admitted she'd been dealing with guilt. Billy recalled that he'd voted against Jack despite his brother's recent heroics, when Jack had rescued him from a burning building. Billy added that his vote was against a decision to buy a company without a business plan.
Billy gave Jack credit for taking care of Dina, but Billy acknowledged that Jack couldn't care for Dina and run Jabot from home at the same time. Ashley said it appeared she was punishing Jack for his decision to look after their mother. Jack, Ashley cried, had stated that she didn't carry Abbott genes, so she felt as if she was taking away a legacy belonging to him. Billy noted that Jack had treated him in a similar way his whole life, even once exiling Billy to Hong Kong before later reconciling and welcoming him back into the fold again. Billy insisted that Ashley had acted out of love because she was the only one brave enough to confront Jack. Billy assured Ashley that she should step in as CEO, and he encouraged her to convince the board to appoint her.
At the Genoa City Athletic Club, Jack was sitting alone at the bar when Phyllis joined him. Jack anticipated that, like members of his family, Phyllis believed he was running on empty from caring for his ailing mother and stewing over a bruised ego. Jack said he couldn't accept that someone else could run Jabot. Phyllis acknowledged that Jack had a hefty ego, but she insisted that no one else, especially Ashley, should be running Jabot besides Jack. Jack asked Phyllis if she'd voted for him just to stick it to Ashley. Phyllis replied, "Not entirely. Let's be honest. I don't think Ashley should be calling the shots. I think she's petty. I think she loves to wield her power over the minions, especially the ones she disapproves of."
Jack admitted he'd placed Phyllis on the board just to get her support. Phyllis asked Jack if he no longer wanted her support because it would imply that they were pals, though she didn't expect forgiveness after what she'd done to him. Jack told Phyllis he was glad she was in his corner. Jack noted that Kyle, however, had voted against him. Phyllis said something didn't seem right. Jack cited his failings as a father, a son, and a CEO and suggested Ashley had been right that he'd taken on too much.
Jack told Phyllis that Dina had said he'd been a constant to disappointment to and would never live up to John. Phyllis declared Dina's statement to be a lie. Phyllis leaned in close and told Jack he appeared to be exhausted and in need of a break. Phyllis added that Jack was also wily and smart. Phyllis urged Jack to find a way to run Jabot and keep an eye on Dina. Jack seemed encouraged by Phyllis' words. Phyllis insisted that Jabot wouldn't be the same company without Jack leading it.
Later, back at Phyllis' apartment, Phyllis told Billy that Jack, though ragged and emotional, shouldn't be removed as CEO. Billy admitted that, though not as exhausted, Ashley was emotionally overwrought, too. Phyllis mentioned that the next board meeting at Jabot would be a doozy. Billy replied, "And you're going to be there, front and center, which, let's be honest, is a little surreal. It wasn't that long ago that Jack couldn't stand to be in the same room as you. Now, you're on the board." Phyllis said she and Jack had discussed it, and it wouldn't be a problem. Billy noted that Jack wouldn't back down, so the situation wasn't likely to get better.
Jack returned home. Ashley met him in the foyer and assured him that Dina was fine. Ashley told Jack they needed to talk. Jack, calmer and appearing more levelheaded, agreed they should talk. Ashley brought up the CEO decision. Jack replied, "Look, I think there's really only one logical choice for you here. Go to the board, and tell them you want me reinstated." Ashley replied, "Well, that wouldn't make any sense at all. I'm putting myself forward as the one and only full-time CEO." Jack glared at Ashley and defiantly tightened his jaw.
At Crimson Lights, Devon and Sharon collected gifts and toys for needy children. Hilary arrived carrying bags of gifts to donate. Hilary offered to promote the toy drive on her show. Devon thanked her. Hilary explained that feel-good segments were part of her show since Jack had become the main sponsor. Sharon noted that Hilary's new format would win her the positive publicity she'd yearned for. Slightly offended by Sharon's comment, Hilary asked why it was difficult to believe she couldn't think of others above herself. Hilary sent Sharon to the bar to pour coffee so Hilary could have a private word with Devon.
Hilary told Devon she'd assist with his benevolent endeavors whenever possible. Devon praised Hilary and said her positive energy was a good fit for her. Hilary thanked Devon and added, "And thank you for not assuming that I have ulterior motives." Hilary and Devon spoke briefly about Devon's personal connection to his charity. Devon recalled living in foster homes and seldom receiving gifts at Christmas. Sharon returned with Hilary's coffee.
Hilary said she'd bought a gift for Cane's son, Sam. Hilary gushed to Devon and Sharon that Sam was a precious and tiny baby. Sharon and Devon shared grins while listening to Hilary fawn over someone other than herself. As Hilary was leaving, Devon held open the door, and they lingered for a moment beneath a sprig of mistletoe.
After Hilary left, Sharon apologized to Devon for having earlier disparaged Hilary for not being known to act on behalf of others with generosity. Devon noted that most felt the same way about Hilary. Devon asked Sharon why she felt she should apologize to him. Sharon noted that Devon, having broken off his relationship with Mariah, seemed drawn to Hilary. Sharon hinted about a reconciliation between Devon and Hilary. Devon replied, "What? No. That's not going to happen at all."
At the Chancellor estate, Hilary stopped by to give Cane gifts for Sam. Cane happily announced that Sam would be released before New Year's Day. Hilary rejoiced with Cane and noted that Sam would soon begin his new life with his dad. Cane grinned while Hilary spoke kind words. Hilary paused and rhetorically asked why people were looking at her as if she had two heads. Cane admitted that it was bizarre to witness Hilary cheering him on, but he added that it was bizarre in a good way.
Hilary presented the gifts for Sam. Cane unpacked a toy and said that when Sam was older, he'd be told that good friend Hilary had chosen the gift. Cane told Hilary about Jill's plans to sell Chancellor Industries. Hilary recalled the scandals and misfortunes Cane had weathered. Hilary praised Cane for recovering and raising himself back up and declared that it would be a mistake for Jill to sell the company. Cane received a phone call just as his doorbell rang. Hilary offered to answer the door. Cane stepped out to take his call.
Hilary greeted Lily at the door. Hilary told Lily that Sam would soon be released from the hospital. Lily was surprised when Hilary announced Jill's plans to sell Chancellor Industries. A stunned Lily failed to hide her resentment about learning news about Cane from Hilary. Hilary said, "Cane and I, in his words, are friends now."
Lily asked Hilary what kind of game she was playing. Hilary said, "This isn't about me getting the inside scoop from Cane about the baby and work. This is about you and how you thought things would be by now." Hilary reminded Lily that though things had gone wrong, Lily and Cane had shared something special. Lily insisted there would be no turning back because the relationship was over. Hilary replied, "What if it's not?" Lily became frustrated and left.
After Cane returned, Hilary told Cane that Lily had stopped by. Hilary apologized for her role in damaging Lily and Cane's relationship. Hilary admitted she'd tried to break up Cane and Lily since the day Hilary had arrived in town. Cane absolved Hilary and assumed the blame. Cane noted that he'd made the same dumb mistakes repeatedly. Cane cried that it was his fault he wouldn't be with his family for Christmas. Cane said Lily was ready to move on, so perhaps he should, as well.
At the Newman ranch, Nikki reluctantly rang the doorbell. Victor opened the door and said, "I've been expecting you. Welcome back." Nikki said she'd been unable to contact Victoria to announce the new living arrangements. Nikki said she'd wanted to explain that she'd chosen to move back with Victor to avoid being sent to prison. Victor replied, "I could've thrown you to the wolves, but I prefer to have you here." Nikki acknowledged that Victor intended to keep her on her toes.
Victor said he and Nikki were beginning a new chapter of their lives and redefining their relationship. Victor added that all Nikki had to do was accept the new normal. When a servant entered carrying Nikki's luggage, she instructed him to set the baggage in a guest suite. Victor noted that one particular guest suite had already been prepared for Nikki's arrival. After the servant left, Victor said Nikki shouldn't have expected him to share a room with her after all she'd done to him. Nikki replied, "I'm glad to see we're on the same page where this matter is concerned."
Victor explained that he expected Nikki to do her part to repair the damage done to his name socially and in the business world. Nikki said she understood and would play her part as Mrs. Victor Newman. Nikki apologized, admitting that she'd stolen from Victor and had put him in a dangerous position with Paul and Christine. Nikki, making demands of her own, requested donations to her favorite charities and permission to enjoy solo vacations. Victor added that there should be an understood agreement that she not malign his name or the company's name. Nikki agreed and noted that to the outside world, they'd appear to be a very happy, powerful couple.
Devon arrived at the ranch, having been summoned by Victor. Devon asked Victor about the project he'd had in mind. Nikki entered the room, and Victor announced that he and Nikki had decided they were better together than apart. Nikki agreed, adding that it was the best solution. Victor said he wanted the world to know that he and Nikki and their family were stronger and more united than ever. Devon agreed with Victor's suggestion that Victor and Nikki should make public appearances together. Devon offered to provide press coverage, including online articles and televised appearances. Victor excused himself and stepped out.
Devon privately asked Nikki if she was happy about her new situation. Nikki explained that her reunion had solved a lot of problems. Nikki assured Devon that she was content because she was back home. Nikki explained that it was for the best because both she and Victor had obtained what they'd each wanted from the arrangement. Devon nodded, appearing to take Nikki's words in good faith.
After Devon left, Victor queried Nikki about the stolen money. Victor asked Nikki if she'd planned to leave town. Nikki replied, "Leave town? Why would I do that? My family is here." Victor asked, "Then why did you do it? Did you want to see if you could pull it off?" Nikki shrugged and said she'd considered the stolen money to be her rainy-day fund. Victor requested that Nikki return the money to his account. Nikki said she couldn't. Victor looked surprised when Nikki explained that she'd used the money to purchase a park.
J.T. reveals that he and Mac are separated
At the Newman ranch, Nikki read a book as Victor walked in after a workout. They exchanged pleasantries, and she offered to coordinate their upcoming social engagements with his assistant. Victor received a text message about Devon's press release, and he displayed a headline about the Newmans reuniting to save Chancellor Park. Nikki quipped that all that was missing was them living happily ever after, and she compared the story to a fairy tale because it was all a fabrication.
Nikki anticipated that the press release would make people think that she and Victor were about to embark on their umpteenth honeymoon, when in reality, she'd been the one who'd outbid him. Victor clarified that she'd done so with the money she'd embezzled from him. She pointed out that she'd agreed to move back to the ranch and play the devoted wife to restore the Newman name to its former glory, so she'd done more than enough to pay him back. He reminded her that no one would know she'd committed a crime if she kept her word.
Nikki prepared to meet with a landscape architect to discuss the park, and Victor was surprised that he hadn't been invited. She clucked that he was a co-owner in name only and that she was in charge of all decisions regarding the land. He worried that it would look suspicious if he didn't show up, and she conceded that they should reschedule until they had a chance to convince their friends and family that their charade was sincere.
At the penthouse, Nick couldn't believe that Victor and Nikki had formed a united front as the new owners of Chancellor Park after they'd been on opposite sides. Chelsea said she'd given up trying to understand his parents, and she asked what they intended to do with the park. Nick read aloud that it would continue to be a memorial to Katherine, but the Newmans planned to make improvements for it to be a better resource for Genoa City residents. Chelsea brightly pointed out that the good guys had won, so Nick didn't have to put up flyers anymore. Nick questioned "what the hell" was going on with his parents, since the article had made it sound like they were back together.
Later, Nikki stopped by to see Nick, who didn't buy that she'd suddenly run back to Victor. Nikki pointed out that Nick had predicted it, since it was her pattern. She explained that she'd realized that being Victor's adversary had made her miserable and that she was happier with than without him. Nick doubted that she'd just figured that out, and he warned that she wasn't going anywhere until she told him the truth. Nikki revealed that Victor had promised to keep her out of prison, and Nick was appalled that his father had blackmailed her into returning home. She admitted that she was happy to be back at the ranch, since she'd missed being the matriarch and seeing more of her grandkids.
Nikki expected her relationship with Victor to be different, since she had no illusions that he'd ever change, but she had. Nikki divulged that she was the park's mystery buyer, and she was hungry to do more things that she'd never done before. Nick was confused because the article had made it sound like she and Victor had teamed up, and Nikki reported that she'd humored Victor by letting people think that. She revealed that she'd bought the park using every penny she'd stolen from Victor, and she gleefully remembered the look on Victor's face when she'd told him.
After Nikki left, Nick told Chelsea that his father had blackmailed his mom into an unholy alliance, and he was afraid that Victor would break down Nikki's defenses. Chelsea wondered if it might become a true marriage, but Nick worried that Nikki's happiness would be short-lived, since it was only a matter of time before Victor hurt her again.
Later, Chelsea sympathized that Nick had had a rough day, and she suggested that he open an early Christmas present to feel better. He headed over to the tree to choose a gift to open, but she seductively said he was looking in the wrong place. He turned around and found her wearing sexy, holiday-themed lingerie. She purred that he had to unwrap his present before he got to play with it, and she whispered something in his ear. He proclaimed that she was naughty, but she replied that according to Santa, Nick had been very nice. They kissed passionately.
At Newman Enterprises, Victoria and Abby were stunned to read the article about Nikki and Victor's reunion. Victoria was dying to know all the details, and she was happy for her parents. Abby was glad that Nikki was home, since she'd always believed that Nikki made Victor a better person, and she hoped it lasted.
Victor arrived at work and greeted Victoria, who asked if he and Nikki were back together. He claimed that Nikki had apologized for betraying him and that he'd let it be known that he wouldn't mind her being back in his life, since he'd never stopped loving her. Victoria inquired about how Nikki had reacted when he'd told her that J.T. hadn't followed through with the charges, and Victor replied that it had been like a weight off Nikki's shoulders. Victoria found it curious that his stance on the park had suddenly changed, and she assumed that he'd let Nikki outbid him. He fibbed that he'd let Nikki finance the project to make her happy, which was more important than putting up condos.
Later, Nikki stopped by Newman, and Victoria voiced her disappointment that Nikki had stolen the money to buy the park and deep-six the development. Nikki swore that she'd done it for Katherine, and she was certain that Victoria wouldn't have to worry about being an accessory because Nikki was prepared to pay for her crime. Nikki reported that Victor had made the charges go away in exchange for her moving back to the ranch, so she'd traded one prison for another. Victoria informed her that J.T. had submitted a report indicating that the anomaly had been a banking error, and she realized why Victor had suddenly sent her on a business trip to Hong Kong. Nikki was livid that Victor had lied to blackmail her into moving back in with him.
Nikki returned to the ranch, and Victor inquired about her day. She replied that it had been informative, and she glared at him as she declared that he'd always been a very sly devil. She mentioned her conversation with Victoria about J.T. filing a report that had cleared both Nikki and Victor before Victor had offered her the deal, and Victor feigned surprise. Nikki scolded that they'd made a pact based on honesty, but he'd proven that she still couldn't trust him. He wondered if she intended to move out.
Nikki lugged her suitcases downstairs, and she griped that she could kick herself for being drawn back into the house and believing Victor again. She explained that the luggage was for Bonnie to put in storage, and she recognized that J.T.'s report hadn't meant anything, since one call from Victor would rip Nikki away from her family. She opted to stay so that the city wouldn't declare the sale of the park null and void, and Victor called it a wise decision. Nikki pointed out that Victor was also in a precarious position, since she could tell Paul that Victor had plotted with Chloe and had helped break Adam out of prison. Victor held up a drink and toasted to staying together, since they made a formidable couple.
At the cottage, Sharon supposed that Nikki had changed Victor's mind about the park. A skeptical Scott thought something didn't add up, since Victor had assigned him and Abby to find out the identity of the new owner. Scott imagined that Nikki was happy because she'd wanted to preserve the land, and he wondered how anyone could top that. Sharon cooed that Scott was the only Christmas present she needed, and they kissed. Mariah entered the room, dressed as a snowman, and groused that she looked ridiculous.
Mariah explained that it was her outfit for the Christmas episode of The Hilary Hour, and Sharon and Scott tried to stifle their laughter. Mariah pulled out her phone and prepared to call Hilary to quit. Sharon snatched Mariah's phone away and promised to give it back after Mariah cooled off. Mariah contended that Sharon was supposed to support her decisions and that getting away from Hilary's constant torture was an excellent one. Mariah cited various instances when Hilary had embarrassed her on live television, and she feared that it would only get worse if she didn't put an end to it.
Sharon questioned what Mariah would do for work, and Mariah planned to find another job where she wasn't constantly humiliated. Sharon pointed out that it had taken Scott a while to start working again once he'd returned to town, and he mentioned an intern job that he'd held, typing up obituaries and classified ads. Sharon encouraged Mariah to consider the consequences of her actions, and Mariah decided to have a rational discussion with Hilary about not wearing the costume. Sharon voiced surprise that she hadn't known about Scott's intern gig, since she'd thought she knew everything about him. Mariah grumbled to herself that there was a lot Sharon didn't know.
Mariah changed clothes and returned downstairs, and Scott observed that she was no longer wearing the snowman outfit. She silently flipped through a magazine, and he noted that things were awkward between them. She snapped that he'd kissed another woman behind her mom's back, and he reiterated that there was nothing going on between him and Abby. Mariah was relieved when she received a message from Hilary, who'd agreed not to make Mariah wear the snowman costume. Mariah admitted that she'd had a kneejerk reaction, and Scott called her an asset to the show.
Mariah was surprised that Scott watched it, and he commended her story about a restaurant that had falsely claimed to source its ingredients locally. He added that he might have to snap Mariah up for Hashtag, and she scolded him for showing his cards too soon by trying to buy her silence. Scott insisted that she had it wrong, and they both clammed up when Sharon entered. Sharon wondered what the big secret was, and Scott implied that they'd been talking about Christmas gifts. Mariah pointedly stated that she thought there would be a lot of "expensive, shiny ones" under the tree that year.
At Crimson Lights, Paul remarked to J.T. that the timing of Victor and Nikki's reunion was odd, but J.T. reasoned that the couple had always had an on-again, off-again relationship. Paul thought it didn't smell right that it was on again the second the banking error had been discovered, and J.T. figured that the good news had rekindled some feelings. Paul expressed surprise that J.T. hadn't found anything on Victor, since he'd really believed that they'd nail Victor that time.
At the Athletic Club, Abby left a message for Victor and told him that she was happy to hear that he and Nikki had gotten back together, but she wished he'd told her himself. Mariah approached, and Abby barked that she still wasn't interested in being fodder for a tabloid show. Mariah asked if Abby was interested in Scott, but Abby called him a jerk. Mariah noted that Scott and Abby hung out a lot, but Abby dismissed it as work.
Mariah declared that her mom had been the happiest she'd been in a long time, and Mariah intended to keep it that way. Abby wondered what that had to do with her, and Mariah replied that she'd seen how Abby and Scott were around one another. Abby insisted that there wasn't anything going on, and Mariah referred to Abby's history of being the other woman. Abby pointed out that she and Mariah had evolved into becoming "friend-ish," but she warned that they'd quickly become enemies if Mariah kept it up.
Abby warmly welcomed J.T., who stared incredulously at Mariah. Mariah rattled off a brief explanation about how she was Cassie's long-lost twin who was nothing like Cassie, and she coolly stated that she didn't mind playing dirty to protect those she loved. Mariah stalked off, and J.T. was surprised that Victor and Victoria hadn't told Abby that he was back in town. He offered to buy her a drink while they caught up, and she spied Scott walk in with Sharon.
Abby and Scott squirmed as Sharon and J.T. swapped stories about their kids. Scott remarked that he'd never envisioned J.T. living the family life, and J.T. pointed out that they'd both changed, since Scott had been a writer. Sharon bragged that Scott ran Hashtag, and she encouraged J.T. to check out the sex trafficking story. Sharon mentioned that she, Abby, and Scott had been involved in taking the sex ring down, and she referred to Scott and Abby getting trapped in the storage unit. J.T. asked how long Scott and Sharon had been dating, and the couple gave different answers. Scott suggested that he and Sharon get to their table, and they stepped away.
Scott watched J.T. and Abby laughing, and he asked Sharon what she thought was going on between them. Sharon figured that Abby and J.T. had once been family and that he was married, but Scott was concerned that J.T. had quite a reputation. Sharon doubted that Abby would get into another sticky situation after Zack, and Scott turned the topic to their Christmas menu.
J.T. informed Abby that he'd completed a short-term job, so he would be taking off the next day. He asked if Genoa City had changed much, since he hadn't had a chance to check out his old haunts. He observed that Abby had definitely changed, and he admired that she wore her role as a high-powered Newman executive well. He wondered where the good spots were in town, and she told him about Top of the Tower. He suggested that they check out some places together that night, and Abby questioned whether he was asking her out on a date.
Abby prepared to leave before things got awkward. J.T. insisted that she'd misunderstood, but Abby snapped that it had been pretty clear what he'd meant. Meanwhile, Scott eyed Abby and J.T. as Sharon babbled about needing to get supplies for Faith's art project.
Abby huffed that she wasn't interested in going out with a married man, and J.T. clarified that he'd invited her to hang out, not go out. He pointed out that they'd known one another forever, but she ranted that he was married to Mac and had been married to her sister, so she wasn't interested in doing anything with him. Abby stormed off and ran into Victoria in the foyer. Abby warned Victoria to keep an eye on J.T, who had just made a pass at her.
Sharon thought Abby had overreacted, but Scott opined that J.T.'s character spoke for itself, and J.T. hadn't changed just because he was married. Sharon swore that J.T. and Mac loved one another, and she sensed that something else was going on with Abby. Sharon recalled that she'd learned at the hotline that people sometimes overreacted when they didn't have the courage to say what was really bothering them.
Victoria joined J.T. at the bar and asked if there was something he wanted to tell her. He figured that Abby had accused him of hitting on her, but he defended that she'd twisted an innocent invitation to check out places around town because it was his last night there. Victoria testily wondered if he'd considered skipping the clubs to spend time with his son, and J.T. replied that he'd see Reed the next day before embarking on his next big adventure. Victoria assumed that J.T. was returning to Mac and the kids, but he tried to change the subject.
Victoria implored J.T. to tell her if there was a problem, especially if it affected Reed. J.T. admitted that he and Mac had separated, and a stunned Victoria told him she was sorry. He explained that things had been good before they'd gone to Poland, but they'd gone downhill, so Mac had gone back to the States with the kids. Victoria asked if there was anything else he hadn't told her, and he confessed that he'd lost his full-time job.
J.T. regretted opening his big mouth, and Victoria was glad he had, but she didn't know what to say. He offered to buy the next round, and she pressed to find out what had happened with Mac. J.T. explained that they'd wanted different things, so they'd grown apart, and it killed him not to be around his kids -- all of them. He finished his drink and figured that he'd successfully bummed them out, and he promised to call Reed in the morning. Victoria stopped J.T. from leaving and invited him to spend the holidays with her and Reed.
Jack has a Christmas surprise for Ashley
At home, a half-naked Billy called out to ask Phyllis where his dry cleaning was. She rushed downstairs in a robe and told him that he wasn't the only one getting ready, and she found what he was looking for. She inquired whether he needed her to take it off the hanger for him, and he amorously suggested that she take it all off. Phyllis pointed out that there were places they needed to go, even though she wasn't looking forward to seeing Jill. Billy suggested another option.
Billy and Phyllis finished getting ready, and he proposed that they split up and meet later at the Abbott mansion for dessert. He figured that at least she wouldn't have to go to two dinners and that they'd only be apart for half the evening. She considered it cruel to make him go to dinner alone at his mother's, but he was willing to do anything to make Phyllis' Christmas Eve merrier. They kissed.
Traci, Ashley, and Abby put the finishing touches on the decorations at the Abbott mansion. Ashley praised the job Abby had done with the place cards, and Abby hoped that Billy, Phyllis, and Hilary didn't arrive with any party crashers. Dina became irritated when she heard Hilary's name, and Traci explained that Jack had invited Hilary because she was on her own. Jack spotted his place card at the head of the table and sourly questioned whether Ashley wanted the seat. Ashley begged him not to pick a fight, but Jack announced that she had decided to make her interim stay as CEO a permanent one, so her reasons for calling the vote of no confidence were becoming clearer by the minute.
Ashley insisted on avoiding talk about business on Christmas Eve. Abby agreed that it wasn't the time or place, but Jack scoffed at the idea that they couldn't talk about how they felt after the vote at the board meeting. Ashley maintained that the vote had been necessary because Jabot deserved focused, consistent leadership, but she refused to let the holiday turn into a rehash of the board meeting. Ashley commanded that they put family first and enjoy themselves, and she walked out to check on dinner. "Ho, ho, ho," Jack cheerlessly muttered.
Ashley welcomed Hilary, but Dina groaned, "Her again." Jack reminded Dina that they'd discussed it, but Hilary insisted that there was no need to cause a scene, and she politely said it was nice to see Dina. Phyllis arrived and reported that Billy had sent her as a placeholder while he was having dinner at the Chancellor estate, but he'd be there for dessert. Phyllis complimented Dina's outfit, and Hilary echoed the sentiment. Dina sarcastically exclaimed that it was a delight to have strumpets in stereo. Jack suggested that everyone head into the dining room, unless Ashley wanted to be the one to ring the dinner bell.
At the dinner table, Ashley declared that it was nice to have everyone there on a special night. She proposed that they have some wine and share stories about past Christmases to remind one another of how special that one was. Jack groused that he'd remember it for a long time, and Abby recognized that he was disappointed, but she implored him to enjoy it. Traci lectured that Jack would have a better time if people didn't tell him how to behave in his own house, and Dina didn't understand why Jack was disappointed. Jack replied that Ashley didn't want to discuss it, but Dina demanded to know what was going on. Jack dryly suggested that they put it to a vote to decide whether to tell Dina or not.
Dina refused to eat dinner with people who'd stabbed her son in the back, and she was surprised that Jack hadn't lost his appetite. Jack excused himself and conceded that he hadn't known "what the hell" he'd been thinking. Dina scolded everyone else there, and Traci unsuccessfully tried to stop Dina from walking out. Traci blamed Ashley for setting their mother off and ruining the entire evening, but Abby defended that Jack had been a pill all evening.
Traci argued that Ashley had gotten Jack fired, and Ashley spat that she didn't want to share a meal with anyone who considered her a horrible person. Traci huffed that she wouldn't stay for the debacle of a dinner, and the Abbott sisters exited separately. Abby laughed nervously and pointed out that at least Phyllis and Hilary weren't related to the rest of them, and Abby also left. Phyllis recalled that she'd been looking forward to the meal, and Hilary wondered if they would still be served.
Dina observed that the house had gotten quiet in a hurry, and Ashley thought she could have handled things better. Dina didn't see how things could have turned out well after what Ashley had done to Jack, and Ashley reasoned that she'd been trying to make things better because Jack had been pulled in a lot of directions. Dina was sure that she was one of those directions, and Ashley insisted that Dina was his top priority. Dina asserted that she still had a few marbles rattling around, and she advised Ashley to tell Jack that she still loved him and that family was more important than anything at work. Dina urged Ashley not to waste her time the way Dina had and to make amends before it was too late.
At the Chancellor mansion, Esther presented Jill with some eggnog, and Jill sipped from her glass and complained that something was wrong. Esther revealed that she'd made a heart-healthy version with no fat, and Jill snapped that there was no need to drink it. Jill hoped that Esther had kept in mind that no others guests were recovering from a heart attack, so there was no need to punish them. Meanwhile, Cane stressed that Charlie wasn't obligated to hang out there, since being at the Athletic Club with Lily and Devon would be more fun. Charlie acknowledged that it was weird doing a split holiday, but he was where he wanted to be.
Jill wished Colin a wonderful Christmas over the phone, and she expressed jealousy that he was on a sailboat off the Gold Coast while she was freezing her tinsel off. They exchanged declarations of love, and she handed the phone to Cane, who stepped away. Charlie recommended to Jill that, as a last-minute gift to his dad, she not sell the company, and Esther overheard and was shocked that Jill was selling Katherine's company. Jill and Esther bickered, and Cane remarked that he was looking forward to Billy and Phyllis getting there.
Jill greeted Billy, who presented her with gifts that he and Phyllis had bought in New York, and he claimed that Phyllis had had a last-minute business matter to tend to. Jill groused that she'd been trying to get into the holiday spirit, but Esther was making it difficult because she'd overheard that Jill was selling the company. Charlie gave Cane a gift, and Cane was touched when he unwrapped Charlie's first cross-country medal. Charlie handed Cane another one and said it was from his mom. Cane unwrapped a blue baby blanket bearing Sam's name, and he fretted that he hadn't gotten Lily anything. Charlie assured him that the night was still young.
Cane gazed at the blanket, and Jill informed him that everyone was waiting for him to start dinner. Cane claimed that he hadn't wanted the blanket to get lost in the shuffle, and she realized that he'd been caught off guard by Lily's gift. Jill asserted that dinner could wait while he called Lily, since it hadn't only been a present for Sam. Jill believed that Lily was reaching out to him, and she urged Cane to reach back.
At the Athletic Club, Mattie and Lily thanked Devon for inviting them, and he told them to prepare for a five-course feast. Mattie hoped that some of the dishes were vegan, and Lily mentioned that it was her daughter's New Year's resolution. Devon offered to talk to the chef, but Lily told him not to ruin the turkey for the rest of them. Devon remarked that they deserved a special celebration after the year they'd had, and he implored them to relax and leave their worries at the door.
Devon presented Mattie with Bruno Mars tickets to a sold-out concert, and she thanked him with a hug. He said it had been no big deal to pull some strings, especially after the hard work she'd put into the photo album that she'd gifted to him. Mattie handed out gifts from Charlie, and Lily became nostalgic when she opened a photo book of Paris. Lily admitted that she missed the city and always loved going back, and Mattie remarked that her dad did, too. Lily murmured that it had been a very special place for them.
After dinner, Devon toasted to the season and to the greatest gift anyone could ask for -- a night spent with family. Lily passed along that Neil had sent his love, and Devon recognized that not everyone was there, but no one was forgotten. They toasted to family, and Devon excused himself to check on something in the kitchen. Mattie worried that the book had made Lily sad, but Lily insisted that she would always cherish her great memories of going to Paris with Cane. Lily encouraged Mattie to keep an open heart and not miss out on the wonderful times she could have in the future. Mattie admitted that she was still mad at Cane, but she missed him, even if she didn't show it. Lily hugged her.
Lily stepped away from the table to answer Cane's call, but she was confused when Cane thanked her for the gift. She informed him that she hadn't gotten Sam anything, and Cane told her about the blanket. Lily realized that Charlie had bought the present and put her name on it, and she divulged that their son had also been clever enough to buy her a book about Paris. Cane good-naturedly imagined the antics they would have faced if the twins had been identical, and he said he had to go because people were waiting for him. They forlornly wished one another a merry Christmas and reluctantly hung up.
Hilary returned to the club and approached Devon, who was surprised that she was back from the Abbott festivities that soon. Hilary reported that she and Phyllis had walked in on a family feud, so no one had made it to the first course. Devon invited her to join them for dessert, and Hilary followed him to the bar to get Champagne. Hilary asked how Lily and Mattie were doing on their first Christmas since Lily and Cane's split. Devon lamented that they were all feeling the weirdness, since Charlie was with Cane. Hilary remarked that the Christmas spirit was having trouble kicking in, but she might have a way to nudge it along.
Billy admired Jill for showing restraint by not giving him a speech about getting his life together in the new year, and Jill quipped that she was saving it for New Year's Eve. Billy pulled Esther aside and told her that he had plans on New Year's Eve, and she begged him to take her with him. Cane told Charlie that he'd talked to Lily before dinner, and Charlie assumed that Cane knew the truth about the blanket. Cane swore that he wasn't mad, and Charlie explained that the point had been to get them talking. Cane applauded Charlie for doing a good job. Jill answered a call and told someone that they could count her in.
Lily told Devon that Mattie wanted to put the vegan thing on hold after hearing that dessert was a double chocolate cream cake, but Devon announced that he had a surprise first. Jill walked into the club and exchanged hugs with Lily and Mattie. Jill explained that she'd talked to Devon about an idea to make the evening more joyous, and Esther, Charlie, and Cane filed in. Lily and Cane gazed at one another, and Mattie hugged her father. Lily wished Cane a merry Christmas -- again. "It is now," he replied, and they embraced as their families beamed at them.
Devon declared that there was an angel on top of the tree as an added bonus, and Tessa walked in, strumming her guitar. Tessa began to sing "Joy to the World," and everyone joined in to sing along. Lily and Cane looked into one another's eyes, and Hilary and Devon exchanged a smile.
At Top of the Tower, Paul and Christine spotted Nikki, and he remarked that it wouldn't be easy. Christine planned on reeling Nikki in first before going after Victor. Nikki joined Paul and Christine at a table, and she said she'd been surprised to get their dinner invitation. Nikki inquired about whether they had any vacation plans, and the couple referred to how difficult it was to plan anything with their schedules. Christine bemoaned that she'd thought the Newman audit would never end, and Nikki abruptly changed the subject.
Christine found it odd that Nikki had left Victor alone on Christmas Eve, especially since Nikki had just moved back to the ranch. Nikki expected to meet Victor later, but Paul thought it was weird that Victor had given her a furlough on a holiday. Christine asked how things had changed for the Newmans. Nikki spoke about the charitable endeavors that she and Victor had been mapping out for the new year, and she wished more people knew there was more to her husband than him being a ruthless business tycoon.
Paul pointed out that they all knew that Victor had done terrible things, and Christine added that Victor tended to get away with them. Nikki questioned whether it was the right topic for Christmas Eve, and Paul stressed that he cared about her. He wondered, as a friend and a cop, whether her moving back to the ranch had really been her choice, and he implied that Victor had something on her that he'd used to twist her arm. Nikki said she'd be offended if the idea wasn't so ridiculous, but Christine imagined that Nikki was living a nightmare, and she offered to provide help. Paul suggested that they help one another.
Christine recognized that Victor had been cleared in the audit, but she suspected that there was more going on. Paul was confident that because Nikki had moved back to the ranch, she would have a chance to find out how much Victor had known about the sex ring as well as what else he'd been up to. Christine intended to put Victor away for a long time and grant Nikki immunity, and Nikki wondered what they thought she'd done. Paul pressed Nikki to help them, but she coldly replied that the meeting was over, and she walked away.
Paul chased after Nikki and pleaded with her to hear him out. He contended that they'd known one another too long, and he sensed that there was something she wasn't telling him. Paul swore that he wanted to help her if he could, but she told him to drop the act. He cited everything they'd been through over the years, and he insisted that he wouldn't lie to her just so Christine could charge her with something. Paul begged her to take the chance to escape Victor for good.
Phyllis called Billy from Top of the Tower and told him to skip dessert and meet her at home. She approached Jack and opined that drinking alone at a bar on Christmas Eve wasn't the fix for his problems with Ashley. Phyllis noted that it looked like he was quitting, and the Jack Abbott she knew was many things, but he was not a quitter. Jack replied that he was considering whether to back down for the good of the company and his family or to roll out the big guns and point them straight at Ashley. Phyllis cautioned him against doing anything rash without thinking about the consequences. She told him to try to have a very merry Christmas, and she headed out.
Billy returned home to candlelight and a fire in the fireplace. He asked what had happened at his family's house, and Phyllis replied that Ashley and Jack had happened. She added that it had made her appreciate the escape they'd set up there, and Billy agreed that it didn't matter what happened elsewhere because they had one another. He softly wished her a merry Christmas, and they kissed passionately in front of the fire.
Jack returned home, and Ashley apologized for what had happened earlier. He wondered if it was insurance to guarantee a harmonious Christmas morning, but she insisted that she was truly sorry. She wanted to find a way to move forward, but he figured that she only wanted to do so if she remained CEO. She was determined find a way to have a good Christmas, but he flatly stated that there was no way it would happen. He thought she'd agree when she read the document he was carrying.
Jack revealed that he'd made a small but important amendment to the corporate bylaws, and he referred to a highlighted clause. He explained that only a blood Abbott could hold the title of CEO of Jabot. Ashley protested, but he asserted that the change had been completely legitimate -- unlike her. Ashley smacked him across the face and bellowed, "You son of a bitch!" Jack calmly replied, "You're not taking my job from me, Ashley. Not ever."