In Devon's office at the Hamilton-Winters Group, Tessa became an overachiever as Devon's new assistant. Tessa hoped her good works might help her regain trust after she'd plagiarized lyrics for a song from Mariah's personal journal. Devon reminded Tessa that keeping her demoted position in his firm was dependent on her avoiding trouble. Tessa promoted her ability to recognize talent and her eagerness to track performers' contract agreements with competing labels. Tessa was taken aback when Devon assigned her to take coffee orders from her fellow office workers.
After Tessa commenced her tasks, Noah showed up lugging a box filled with her belongings. Noah said, "Here is all your stuff from what used to be our place. I didn't really feel like looking at it anymore, you know?" Tessa, raising her voice, told Noah she'd already apologized, and she demanded to know why he wanted to hurt her. Devon interrupted and told Tessa and Noah that their argument was disturbing the staff. Devon told Noah that he was acting as if he, not Mariah, had gotten burned.
Noah pointed at Tessa and replied, "Oh! He thinks I'm talking about a few song lyrics that you stole from Mariah." Noah explained to Devon that when they, along with Tessa and Mariah, had traveled to San Francisco, Tessa and Mariah had "made out with each other." Before Noah left, he said, "Now you know what that song's really about." After Noah left, Tessa told Devon that the kiss between her and Mariah had happened unexpectedly. Tessa recalled that after the unexpected encounter, she'd insisted that she and Mariah just be friends.
Tessa cried that she'd never intended to cheat on Noah, much less with his sister. Devon noted that Tessa had likely not intended to ruin a record deal with him, either, as he'd been dating Mariah at the time. Tessa admitted her role in betraying Devon and others, and she apologized to Devon. Devon said they'd have to try their best to move on.
After Devon left, Charlie stopped by to see his uncle. Tessa told Charlie that Devon was in a meeting. Charlie said he had time to visit and was eager to know more about Tessa because he was a fan. Charlie asked Tessa what it was like to make a living performing and recording her music. Tessa replied, "You know, it definitely has its ups and downs."
Devon showed up at Crimson Lights and found Mariah helping out. Mariah told Sharon her visit with Devon shouldn't take long. Sharon replied, "Take your time." After Devon greeted Mariah, she asked him to drop efforts to have her sign off on Tessa's use of the stolen lyrics. Devon explained that he'd learned who Mariah had been referring to in her journal. Mariah said she'd never meant to hurt Devon and hadn't known how to process her feelings for Tessa. Mariah added that she hadn't been able to stay in a relationship with Devon as long as she'd remained conflicted. Devon recalled that Mariah had ended their relationship.
Mariah berated herself for taking too long to break up with Devon and never explaining what had been going on. Mariah admitted that she hadn't wanted to cause additional problems for Tessa, Noah, Devon, or even herself. Mariah added that she had no intention of embarking on a romantic relationship with Tessa. Mariah acknowledged that Devon should be furious. Devon said he couldn't be angry at Mariah because "the heart wants what it wants." Devon assured Mariah that they could still be friends. Mariah thanked Devon and embraced him.
After Devon returned to his office, he was surprised to find Charlie chatting with Tessa. Charlie explained that he'd hoped to land an intern position to fulfill a credit requirement. Charlie said he hoped to learn more about recording singles and discovering and mentoring new artists. Tessa advocated for Charlie and noted that he had a healthy curiosity for the business. Devon promised to set something up for Charlie after discussing it with Lily first.
Charlie was excited as he walked out the door. Tessa, addressing Devon, said, "Well, I guess you found my replacement." Devon assured Tessa she'd remain employed if she didn't cause problems. Devon offered to walk out with Tessa, but she declined, claiming she still had work to do. After Devon left for the day, Tessa retrieved a sleeping bag from a credenza and spread it out on the sofa.
At the Genoa City Athletic Club, Billy and Phyllis were seated in the lounge when Ashley joined them. Billy asked Ashley if she'd changed her mind about quitting Jabot. Phyllis left to make a phone call so Billy and Ashley could talk. Ashley, replying to Billy's question, explained that she had no plans to return to Jabot as along as Jack was there. Ashley insisted she wouldn't dwell on the past because she'd received a job offer from Victor. Billy, shocked by Ashley's news, picked up Phyllis' mojito and gulped it.
Ashley explained that she and Billy had quite different relationships with Victor. Ashley added that she had once loved Victor and shared a child with him. Billy noted that he and Victor shared a mutual loathing. Billy advised Ashley to investigate and take her time before making a decision. Ashley asked Billy to keep quiet about their conversation. Billy agreed, but he told Ashley that if she took the job at Newman Enterprises, it would be a kick in the crotch for Jack.
At Cane and Lily's house, Cane stepped into the living room and summoned Lily. Cane was excited about Sam's reaction to a bird that had landed on a windowsill. Lily was pulling on her coat and said she was headed out the door to attend meetings with Victoria. Lily noted that she'd be late, so Cane should order dinner for the kids, the nanny, and himself. After Lily left, Cane seemed lonely.
Cane turned to Mattie for company, but she explained that she was behind on her reading. Mattie admitted that her home life since Cane's return with Sam hadn't been the same. Mattie added that she hadn't yet gotten over how Cane's past actions had hurt Lily. Cane recalled the night of the fire on Halloween, when he'd been uncertain if Mattie and Charlie would be rescued. Cane explained that the near-fatal event had made him realize that he would do anything to rebuild his family, no matter how long it might take. Cane glanced at his watch and said Lily was likely stuck at the office. Mattie agreed to help the nanny with Sam while Cane went to Lily's office to convince her to have dinner with him.
Ashley called Lily and asked to meet at the Genoa City Athletic Club. Ashley asked Lily to share her experiences at Newman Enterprises. Lily said she frowned on gossip and couldn't share confidential information. Ashley explained that she'd quit Jabot and had received an offer to join Newman Enterprises. Ashley explained that she'd only accept a top-level position managing multiple divisions.
Lily said she was curious about the way Victoria would react because she was second in line to Victor. Lily expressed concerns that Victoria likely considered Ashley to be an adversary. Ashley explained that Victoria wasn't aware of the job offer. Ashley asked Lily to keep their conversation private. Lily warned that Victoria had become overly focused on becoming the next Victor. Lily added, "If you accept Victor's offer, then I'm sure there'll be shake-up and the ground floor of something new and exciting, which would be the perfect fit for me." Lily said she would welcome working under a different boss.
Cane stopped by Newman Enterprises and greeted Victor. Victor said, "It's not often that the CEO of Chancellor Industries shows up unannounced." Cane said he was just a husband in search of his wife. Victor said he'd seen Lily leaving the office. Cane said he thought Lily might be in a meeting with Victoria. Victor explained that Victoria was out of town. Victor received an important call and excused himself.
Cane phoned Lily, who was sitting alone at the Genoa City Athletic Club. Lily answered and immediately noted that she was buried in work. Cane replied, "Meetings with Victoria?" Lily agreed that Victoria was relentless. Lily said she'd return home after her meeting was over. After the call ended, Cane seemed troubled.
After Lily returned home, she apologized to Cane for cutting off their phone call. Lily complained that she'd be busy the next day. Lily added, "Victoria was like that all day. It was just go, go, go. It was exhausting." Cane nodded. Lily said she should head straight to bed to get rest. Lily kissed Cane on the forehead before walking toward the bedroom. Cane seemed baffled. As Lily exited the room, Cane whispered, "Yeah, goodnight."
Ashley stopped by Victor's office. Victor said he'd been studying the company budget to determine whether or not he could afford to hire Ashley. Ashley replied, "Any conclusions?" Victor replied, "Turns out we can." Victor said he supposed that Ashley had compiled a list of demands.
Ashley began by insisting that Victor would have to delegate some autonomy to an Abbott. Victor acknowledged that Ashley had run a multimillion-dollar company, so he wouldn't demote her status. Ashley demanded a seat on the board and an unrestricted development fund. Victor agreed and said he hoped Ashley would embrace the title of chief innovation officer because it reflected her iconic standing in the cosmetics industry. Ashley said Brash & Sassy should be included among the divisions she'd manage. Victor agreed and said he'd deal with Victoria's reaction.
At Chelsea and Nick's penthouse, Chelsea collected her handbag and told Nick she was set to meet clients for a fitting. Nick said he planned to paint the bathroom during her absence. Chelsea suggested that Nick leave the task to professionals, but Nick held up his hands and announced that he would take pleasure in doing the job himself. Chelsea stroked Nick's hands and said, "Well, these hands have lots of special talents." Nick said he wanted to have Chelsea's surprise ready for her when she returned. Chelsea quipped that she'd be surprised if Nick wasn't passed out on the floor from paint fumes.
Chelsea stopped by Crimson Lights with a peace offering for Sharon. Chelsea gave Sharon a cookbook filled with soup recipes, including Faith's and Nick's favorites. Sharon noted that Nick had always enjoyed home-cooked meals. Chelsea recalled an earlier conversation with Sharon during which Chelsea had lamented that Nick had broken a bottle of perfume, a last gift from Adam. Chelsea said that when Nick and Christian had moved into her home, they'd become a family. Chelsea explained that Nick's presence was a gift because he made everything seem effortless. Chelsea apologized to Sharon for past thoughtless comments. Sharon replied, "You shouldn't give it another thought."
Chelsea looked uneasy as she made her way to the patio and took a seat alone. Seconds later, Hilary breezed in, took a seat at Chelsea's table, and said, "I just came from the most amazing doctor's visit." Chelsea stopped Hilary and warned her not to pretend they were friends. Chelsea said she didn't care what happened to Hilary. Hilary bought Chelsea a cup of coffee and told her to consider it an olive branch. Chelsea glared at Hilary and replied, "You exposed my entire ex-grifter, con-artist past to the entire world, and you think you're going to make it up to me with a latte?"
Hilary apologized to Chelsea. Hilary explained that both she and her show were different. Hilary added that her personal goals had changed, so she was striving to be the best woman she could be. Chelsea wasn't persuaded by Hilary's contrite actions. Chelsea said, "People don't change. They are who they are, and then they stay that way. They only thing that changes is their ability to hide it, sometimes even from themselves."
Billy and Phyllis were enjoying coffee in the main dining area at Crimson Lights when a jubilant Hilary joined them. Hilary explained that she'd just left her doctor's office. Hilary said, "It turns out that my ideal time to get pregnant is now, so all I need is a donor." Phyllis quipped, "And you don't mean cash to pay for medical expenses." Hilary searched inside her purse, where she'd placed a business card from a reputable sperm bank. Hilary didn't immediately locate the card, but a list of qualities she demanded from a sperm donor tumbled out.
Billy picked up the list and read it aloud. Billy noted that Hilary sought a donor possessing good looks, athleticism, and a good sense of humor. Billy smiled and said, "I mean, this is me, of course. When do we get started?" Phyllis and Hilary laughed nervously. Phyllis perused Hilary's list and advised her to remain flexible because few men could meet all expectations. Phyllis added, "You know, just give it some time. Let nature do its bit." After Hilary left, Billy mused about him and Phyllis having a baby. Both stated reasons why they shouldn't, though they seemed to leave open the possibility.
Nick prepared his bathroom for painting. While cleaning and removing a vent cover, Nick discovered a hundred-dollar bill hidden inside a ventilation duct. He reached his hand inside the duct again and withdrew a few more bills. Again, Nick reached higher inside the duct and appeared to be shocked by what he discovered. After Chelsea returned home, she entered the bathroom and noted that the painting was taking a long time. Nick said, "Yeah, this job got a little more complicated than I thought." Nick stood up and moved to the side, revealing stacks of banded cash. Chelsea, her mouth agape, looked at Nick before glancing at the cache of money he'd extracted from the ventilation duct.
Victoria seethes over Victor's new hire
At Hamilton-Winters, Tessa tucked her sleeping bag back into a cabinet. Devon walked in and noted that she was there early, and he instructed her to swing by legal to pick up some contracts, since he hoped to acquire GC Buzz that day. Tessa questioned why he'd do that when it wasn't the image he wanted to present, but Devon asserted that Hilary's new approach was poised to blow up. Tessa warned that Hilary might revert to trash and gossip, and Devon wondered if Tessa was concerned about being in Mariah's orbit again.
Tessa assured Devon that she was fine being around Mariah if he was, and she reiterated that Mariah had kissed her and not the other way around. Devon swore that he wasn't judging Tessa or Mariah, and he encouraged Tessa to admit if the kiss had had a deeper meaning. Tessa maintained that it had totally taken her by surprise, and while the kiss had been sweet and beautiful, the moment was gone. Tessa expected that Mariah wouldn't forgive her for using the lines from the journal to write a song, and she was okay with never knowing what could have been.
Mariah arrived at GC Buzz and was surprised to find Hilary there early. Hilary explained that she'd wanted to organize her thoughts about the sale, since she'd told the bidding companies that she'd make a decision by the end of that day. Hilary anticipated that it would be the start of a new era by that night, but Mariah grumbled that for rest of them, it was the start of looking for another job.
Hilary was flabbergasted when one of her bidders stopped by to double her original offer. The executive explained that there were rumors that other companies were interested, and she wanted to get Hilary before the competition did. Mariah eavesdropped as Hilary promised to give the woman an answer by the close of the business day. After the prospective buyer left, Mariah begged Hilary to tell her that it wasn't a done deal yet. Hilary confirmed that it wasn't official, but she would be a fool to pass it up.
Hilary assured Mariah that nothing had been said about replacing existing staff, and she swore that she would do everything she could to try to keep everyone on board. Mariah argued that trying wasn't the same as making the deal contingent on it, but Hilary figured that the bidding company wouldn't have offered that kind of money if they planned to disembowel the show. Hilary prepared to tell the other companies that they were no longer in the running, but Mariah realized that Hilary really intended to start a bidding war.
Later, Mariah joined Hilary at Top of the Tower for a work lunch, and Hilary bragged that she'd just broken the heart of one of the bidders by declining his offer to buy GC Buzz. Mariah complained about Hilary's choice of restaurant, and Hilary wondered why Mariah had a problem eating at the place her brother managed. Mariah spotted Noah and hesitantly waved to him. He approached and coolly asked if Mariah wanted something, and she asked if he preferred that she leave. He told her to do what she wanted because she would anyway. Hilary realized that Mariah had alienated both Tessa and Noah, and Noah reported that he and Tessa were over, too.
Mariah cornered Noah at the bar and asked if they could talk. He assumed that she didn't want him to spill her secret to Hilary, and Mariah called herself a terrible sister and said she was ashamed of herself. She acknowledged that she never should have kissed Tessa or kept it from him, and she was sorry things hadn't worked out. Noah suspected that Mariah wasn't with Tessa only because Tessa hadn't wanted to be with her. Noah figured that Tessa had never loved him the way he'd loved her, or she wouldn't have experimented elsewhere. He was glad it had happened then instead of years down the line, and he proclaimed that Tessa was all Mariah's if Mariah still wanted her.
Victoria and J.T. stepped off the Newman elevator, and she thanked him for picking her up at the airport. He said he'd missed her, but she teased that she'd only been gone one day. He mentioned that he'd be working from home that day, and she blew him a kiss and headed to her office. Victoria was shocked to see Ashley sitting at the desk, and Ashley surmised that Victor hadn't gotten in touch with Victoria. Victoria pointed out that she'd only been gone 24 hours, and Ashley remarked that a lot could happen in a day -- like Ashley starting work at Newman.
Victoria snapped that her father wouldn't hire the competition or create an extraneous position that Newman didn't need, but Ashley revealed that she'd resigned from Jabot. Ashley added that her job at Newman was to innovate across the company while overseeing Brash & Sassy, and Victoria indignantly questioned why Ashley had walked away from her family business. Ashley explained that she'd gone to arbitration and lost, so Victor's offer had been a blessing for everyone. Ashley chirped that it made sense to alleviate Victoria's workload, but Victoria bristled at the idea of someone else taking over her favorite division. Ashley reasoned that it was a perfect fit, since she'd been creating fragrances and makeup lines before Victoria had even been in the business. Victoria picked up the phone and demanded to speak with her father immediately.
Victoria burst into Victor's office, and Victor voiced surprise to see her back that soon. She barked that he had hired Ashley and put her in charge of Brash & Sassy, but he insisted that it had been a calculated move based on the needs of the company. Victoria accused her father of giving Ashley a pity job just because she and Jack had had a falling out. Victoria insisted that she was capable of handling things at Brash & Sassy and being COO, but Victor urged her to learn how to delegate.
Victoria snapped that there were too many cooks in the mix, but Victor stood by his decision to snap Ashley up before the competition did. Victoria groaned that it would create headaches for her, but Victor anticipated that Ashley being there would weaken Jabot. Victoria realized that it was all about one-upping Jack, but Victor stressed that it had been a good business move, and he believed Victoria would agree once she thought it through. Victoria sighed.
Victoria returned to her office and reasoned that she'd be freed up to focus on the bigger picture. Victoria supposed that Ashley would have an office on that floor, and Ashley reported that it was being renovated, so Victor had told her to use Victoria's office because he'd thought Victoria would be traveling. Ashley offered to work from home, but Victoria steeled herself to coexist in the same office for one day. Ashley recalled that they'd both had front-row seats to Billy and Jack's antics because of personal issues, and she hoped that she and Victoria could lead by example.
Ashley announced that she'd be making some changes to Brash & Sassy, since the company would have gone under if Victor hadn't saved the day. Victoria bitterly questioned whether Ashley intended to tear things up and start over, and Ashley stated that there was room for improvement. Ashley planned to call a staff meeting at Brash & Sassy to tell everyone about the changes, since they had to elevate the game to play on the same level as Jabot. Ashley claimed that she wanted Victoria there because Ashley valued her opinion and knowledge. Victoria coldly replied that Ashley's idea about working from home had been innovative, and she decided to test it out. Victoria hurried off.
Over the phone with Abby, Ashley considered herself to be Victoria's ultimate threat. Ashley pointed out that Abby was the only other Abbott at Newman, and Ashley needed a very strong ally.
At the penthouse, Nick was stunned that he'd found $250,000 in the bathroom air duct, and he assumed that Adam had put it there. Chelsea noted that Nikki and Victor had also lived there before, and she speculated that Nikki had left it there in case she left Victor again. Nick argued that his mother had more than enough money, and Chelsea conceded that it had probably been Adam. Nick recalled that Adam had built a secret passageway and installed cameras in Connor's room, but he wondered why Adam would stash money. Chelsea reasoned that it would hide any paper trail, and Nick guessed that the money had resulted from something shady. He wanted to go to the police.
Nick made a phone call and reported that the police wanted him to take the money to the station so they could check the serial numbers and determine if Adam had done anything illegal. Chelsea protested that Adam had become a legitimate businessman, but Nick questioned how much one guy could have changed. Nick thought the fact that the money had been hidden indicated that it had been obtained illegally, and he wanted the authorities to check the bills to avoid any surprises down the road. Chelsea agreed that they should confirm the money was clean, and Nick headed out.
At Crimson Lights, Sharon was surprised when Nick ordered decaf, and he explained that he was hyped up enough that day, since he'd just been at the police station and was waiting to hear something back. Sharon was curious, and Nick asked if Adam had ever mentioned having a significant amount of cash stocked away at home. Sharon didn't recall anything like that, and Nick revealed that he'd found an insane amount of cash inside the penthouse wall and that he was waiting to hear if it was safe to spend.
Later, J.T. ordered some coffee from Sharon, who asked if things were any better with Reed. J.T. regretted blowing up at Reed in public and assuming the worst when all his son had been guilty of had been not charging his phone. Sharon figured that all kids grew out of their irresponsible phase eventually, but it didn't mean parents were done having issues with their children. J.T. wondered if something was going on with Noah. Sharon replied that it wasn't her story to tell, but she'd been accused of playing favorites.
Sharon inquired whether J.T. had decided how long to stay in town, and he responded that he might be there for good. Nick overheard and stated that it better be his answer, considering J.T. had just moved in with Victoria and her kids. J.T. defended that he hadn't meant to sound hesitant, but he was still sorting out custody arrangements with Mac and wanted to be a good father to all his kids. J.T. stepped out, and Sharon thought she recognized the look on Nick's face. Nick hoped that he was wrong for Victoria's sake, but he thought her reunion with J.T. hardly seemed like a recipe for success.
Nick approached J.T. on the patio and apologized for taking the protective brother thing too far. J.T. recognized how it looked for him to move in with Victoria before his divorce was finalized, but he hoped that Nick would eventually realize that J.T. and Victoria being together was a good thing. J.T. contended that he and Victoria had had time to grow up and figure out who they were, and they'd both realized that they were better together. J.T. recalled that he'd had a vision of how his life would turn out, including being with Colleen forever and writing hit songs on a legendary label, but it hadn't happened.
J.T. said he'd pondered why he hadn't pursued his dreams harder and why Colleen had died so young, but he'd eventually made peace with it. Nick shared that he'd asked himself the same questions when Sage had died, and he still had trouble accepting it two years later. J.T. noted that two years wasn't that long, and he asked how Nick had moved on. Nick replied that he'd been lucky to fall in love with an amazing woman, and J.T. planned to make the most of getting another shot with Victoria. Nick wished them luck, and the men shook hands. Nick excused himself to take a call.
Mariah arrived at the coffeehouse and updated Sharon about Hilary not lifting a finger to help her staff keep their jobs. Sharon's mouth dropped open when Tessa walked in, and Sharon stepped away over Mariah's protests. Mariah mentioned that she'd heard Tessa and Noah had broken up, and Tessa imagined that Mariah felt vindicated to know that Tessa had lost everything. Tessa remarked that Mariah had gotten what she'd wanted. Mariah retorted that she hadn't even gotten close to what she wanted, and she stalked off.
Tessa followed Mariah to the patio and asked what she'd meant, but Mariah ordered Tessa to stop lying to her and herself. Tessa implied that it wasn't too late for them, and Mariah wished Tessa had said that months earlier instead of shooting her down, stringing Noah along, and stealing from her. Mariah thought that whatever they'd had or might have had didn't matter, since too much bad stuff had happened, and there was nothing left.
Nick returned home and informed Chelsea that the money was clean and that the police had agreed that it went to her as Adam's next of kin. Nick handed her the bag of cash and suggested that she decide what she wanted to do with it. Chelsea opted to put the money in the bank for the kids' future. She was in awe as she handled the wads of cash, and she wanted to make a contribution toward Nick's housing project to help the less fortunate. Nick amorously stated that it was hot to talk about donating to a good cause, and they kissed.
Victoria returned home and told J.T. that she'd decided to take a mental health day after she'd learned that Victor had hired Ashley as Newman's chief innovation officer. Victoria complained that according to Ashley, Victoria and Ashley were equals who both reported to Victor, and Ashley had oversight over Brash & Sassy. J.T. pointed out that Ashley had tried to get Jack out as Jabot's CEO, and he wondered how long it would be before she went after Victoria's job. J.T. pressed Victoria to tell Victor what she really thought, and he blasted Victor for using his kids like chess pieces. Victoria vowed to make her father listen, and the doorbell rang. Victor arrived to have a chat with Victoria.
J.T. privately told Victoria not to be afraid to give it to Victor with both barrels, and he retreated upstairs. Victor asked why J.T. had seemed riled up, and Victoria reported that J.T. thought it was cruel that Victor had given the division Victoria loved to Ashley. Victoria continued that she couldn't agree more, and she wondered how many times Victor was going to make her prove herself. Victor swore that it wasn't about the past but the future, and he assured her that he was grooming her to take over the company one day. He advised her to make Ashley feel welcome, but Victoria spat that it would be his job, since she planned to go to Paris to check on Abby's progress with the expansion. Victoria dared Victor to challenge her on it, but he simply told her to give her sister a hug for him.
After Victor departed, J.T. hissed that Victor had gotten his way again, and he groused about Victoria having to take a business trip that would keep her away even longer. She insisted that the Paris trip had been her idea to keep involved with Brash & Sassy and make sure Ashley didn't influence Abby against Victoria. J.T. was glad that Victoria had asserted herself, but he wasn't happy that she was leaving town again. They kissed, and he said it reminded him of what he'd be missing. She promised to make it up to him when she got back.
Hilary stopped by Hamilton-Winters, and Devon took it as a positive sign. He commented that most people would think they were crazy to do business together again, but he was very proud of what she'd done with the rebranding of GC Buzz. Hilary reported that she'd received a range of offers, including some larger than his. She suggested that he increase his bid to stay in the running, but he informed her that his budget was stretched to the max. He tempted her with something else he could offer besides money -- they knew one another, and she knew that he wasn't a faceless corporate raider out to appease the shareholders.
Devon announced that he planned on making Hilary's staff part of the Hamilton-Winters family, and he wanted to help her achieve her dreams. Hilary claimed that Devon had given her a lot to consider. Devon replied that he'd known that she'd stopped by to tell him that she was going to sell to the highest bidder, but he could see in her eyes that she wanted to choose Hamilton-Winters and have him help her take her career to the next level. "Are we going to get the band back together or what?" he asked.
Jack accuses Ashley of running straight to the enemy
At Chelsea's, Nick was lying on the couch while Chelsea was "making it rain" by throwing her money all over him. Chelsea stated that they would never know where Adam had gotten the money or why he'd stored it in the air vet, but she knew where she'd spend some of it. She showed Nick a site on her tablet. She'd arranged for Nick to receive a private lesson in do-it-yourself construction. She told Nick that Mark had been in the construction business for twenty years. He was up to date on all the technologies and techniques that would retain the original integrity of a building.
Nick thought it sounded pretty cool, but he wanted her to spend the money on fun things for herself. Chelsea reminded him that he'd become excited about the welding he'd done, and Mark would be able to show Nick all the new fun gadgets. Once Nick completed phase one, then they could move onto phase two, which would be at the Athletic Club. Chelsea warned Nick there wouldn't be a phase two if he didn't complete phase one.
Nick was about to leave to meet with Mark when Noah arrived. Nick felt that Noah needed to talk and asked Chelsea to push back his meeting with Mark. Nick asked Noah if it was about his breakup with Tessa. Noah confirmed it was and added that there was much more. Noah admitted that he'd made bad choices in his life and his career. He'd wanted to trust Tessa, but she'd disappointed him. Noah felt lost. Nick said that if Noah was upset because they hadn't continued their business at the Underground, Noah could work with him renovating the apartment building.
Noah claimed he wanted to find his own way. Nick advised him to do some exploring, and when he found his passion, to go for it. Noah asked if he'd made a mistake breaking up with Tessa, but Nick said that if there was no trust, there was nothing. Just then, Chelsea reappeared on the stairs. After Nick and Noah left, Chelsea put the money into a bag and left. She'd made sure that no one saw her leave.
Lily returned home and saw that Cane appeared anxious. He told Lily that he'd been called into work for an emergency meeting, but he didn't have anyone to take care of Sam. Lily offered to look after him. Cane didn't want to impose on Lily and said he'd postpone the meeting, but Lily urged him to go. After Cane left, Lily approached the bassinet and told Sam they'd be just fine.
At GC Buzz, Mariah kept asking Hilary whether GC Buzz had a new owner. Hilary emerged from behind a screen, grumbling that the dress didn't fit. Mariah said that happened because Hilary had made an enemy of the woman who'd provided her with free clothes and alterations. Mariah suggested that Hilary go to Chelsea and beg for forgiveness. Hilary rewarded Mariah with a dirty look.
Hilary confirmed that she'd sold GC Buzz. Mariah asked who the new owner was. Devon said he was. He'd arrived with Tessa. Mariah told Hilary that it was a bad idea and added that coming full circle indicated that they hadn't made progress. She wanted Hilary to tell Devon that she'd changed her mind about the sale.
Hilary claimed that by selling GC Buzz, they would become part of a media powerhouse. Devon had clients, and he'd go on the show for branding partnerships, more press, and a higher budget. Mariah stated that because of the sale, she'd be spending more time with the woman who stole her journal.
Hilary realized that Mariah didn't want to be around Tessa. Mariah threatened to quit. Hilary said that Tessa was a paid gopher, but Mariah had a slightly higher standard, and she should get some payback. Mariah refused. Hilary said she'd sold the company as a package deal. Mariah was part of the package and would get a raise.
Tessa told Devon that the contracts were ready to be signed. Hilary and Mariah approached, and Hilary suggested that they sign the contracts, using Mariah as their witness. After Devon and Hilary signed the contract, Devon invited everyone to proceed to Hamilton-Winters to celebrate with Champagne.
In Jack's office, Jack was distracted while Lauren made a pitch about Fenmore's having a Wi-Fi lounge where their customers could recharge their devices. Phyllis added that they could ramp up their social media presence with stylish geotech filters. Lauren told Jack that they would need some minor renovations and a technology upgrade. They'd need some cash flow. The ladies noted that Jack was distracted and called out to him. Jack suddenly stood up and told Lauren and Phyllis that he'd get back to them, and he rushed out of the office.
Phyllis told Lauren it was Jack reacting to Ashley's resignation. Lauren was afraid that the feud between Jack and Ashley would damage Jabot and, by extension, Fenmore's. Lauren claimed they didn't have the time for Jack to process Ashley's defection. She said she was sorry that Michael hadn't lost the case for Jack. Phyllis claimed they would have to use what they had.
Phyllis knew that Jack considered them as his allies because they'd stood by him during Ashley's crusade against him. They had to find a way to use that to their advantage.
Jack found Ashley in the lab, packing up her things. He stated that he hoped she'd come to her senses and had decided to stay. Ashley told him that she hadn't changed her mind. Jack accused her of running to the enemy. Ashley responded that Victor had offered her a package that matched her abilities and skills, and asserted that she didn't see Victor as an enemy, but rather as someone who valued her contributions.
Jack demanded that Ashley turn in her security pass and computer. She would no longer be welcomed at Jabot. Jack assumed that she knew she couldn't share any of Jabot secrets with any competitor. Ashley assured him that she wasn't taking anything to Newman's that didn't fit in the moving box. She claimed she was excited about all the new ideas she'd be able to explore.
Jack commented that she'd had a million opportunities to go to Victor and had been married to him, yet even then, she'd shown loyalty to John's company. Jack wanted to know why she was going to the dark side and if it was to spite him. Ashley laughed and told him that he wasn't the center of the universe. She said she was excited because she had a variety of avenues to pursue.
Jack warned Ashley that she'd never rise to the top at Newman because Victor and Victoria wouldn't allow it, since it was a family- owned company. Ashley assured Jack that she wouldn't just be handling cosmetics; she'd be overseeing some of the makeup lines, but she'd be dealing with different divisions -- an opportunity she'd never been afforded at Jabot. She confirmed she'd be reporting directly to Victor, not Victoria. Ashley reminded Jack that she also had family there: Abby, family she could count on.
Jack claimed that the only thing he'd heard in her speech was that she'd be reporting to Victor, the man who'd caused their family more pain and damage than Jack cared to remember, and Ashley was lying right in his path. Ashley spat that she wasn't that na´ve, and she'd learned never to put her trust in one man. With all the years that Victor had known about her paternity, he'd never used it against her. Ashley pulled out her Jabot pass from a drawer and threw it at Jack.
At the Athletic Club, Cane opened his computer and watched as Lily rocked and sang to Sam. He saw the change in Lily as she put Sam back into his bassinet. Cane grabbed his briefcase and computer and rushed home. When he arrived, he saw Lily handing Sam over to Bridget. He told Lily that he'd seen her on the baby cam and knew she was having a difficult time. Cane confronted Lily about the lie she'd told about being with Victoria. Lily admitted she'd lied, but she reassured him that she couldn't resent the baby. Cane wanted to have some time alone with Lily, and he invited her for a date night.
Phyllis and Lauren were outside Jack's office. Phyllis told Lauren they had to tell Jack that Ashley had been allotted too much for her R&D budget. It had been wasteful, and that money needed to be allocated to Fenmore's. At that moment, Jack returned in a foul mood. Lauren and Phyllis wanted to talk to him, but Jack barked that he'd heard what they'd said and warned them not to push it. Phyllis claimed that they wanted to make money for Fenmore's and Jabot.
Hilary arrived and wanted to share news with Jack. He growled that he was busy and told her to set something up with Gloria. Hilary refused to be ignored. Jack gave her five minutes.
In Jack's office Hilary told him that she'd sold GC Buzz to Hamilton-Winters. Jack angrily asked if she was there to gloat and put another knife in his back. Hilary assured him it wasn't a betrayal because GC Buzz wasn't just The Hilary Hour -- it was a production entity waiting to expand with more projects and specials. Joining with Hamilton-Winters would give them funding and access. She assured Jack that Jabot would remain the sole sponsor of The Hilary Hour.
Hilary had assumed that Jack's relationship with Neil through the foundation would be a good thing. Jack yelled that Neil wasn't the problem; Victor was. Hilary assured him that Victor had nothing to do with GC Buzz. Jack angrily stated that Victor was Hamilton-Winters' biggest PR client. Jack asked Hilary how long it would be before the show that he sponsored would be pushing Newman products. Hilary claimed it would never happen. Devon and Neil might own GC Buzz, but she still controlled it. It was her voice, her message, and her face.
Jack stated that Hilary couldn't predict what was going to happen, and he knew the Newmans better than she did. Hilary claimed she'd had her share of the Newmans and asked Jack to trust her. Victoria would never allow Newman products on Hilary's show. Hilary claimed her loyalty was to Jack, and she promised not to let him down.
Outside Jack's office, Lauren and Phyllis discussed Scott. Lauren was happy that he wasn't in a war zone and hoped he'd return one day, but in the meantime, she didn't want him in Genoa City because of the Sharon/Abby debacle. She felt the change would do him good. The discussion turned to business. Phyllis felt that they needed to convince Jack about their plans for Fenmore's. Phyllis claimed that they were both board members and a force to be reckoned with. Phyllis was certain she'd be able to convince Billy that it was a solid investment, and once Billy was on their side, they'd speak to the other board members. It was possible that Jack wouldn't have enough votes to oppose them.
Hilary emerged from Jack's office and told Lauren she'd had a problem returning an item she'd purchased at Fenmore's. Fenmore's claimed they had no record of the sale. Lauren thought that was odd. Ravi arrived, and Phyllis told him about the online glitch. Hilary explained that her assistant had tried to return a dress that Hilary had purchased online from Chelsea 2.0, but she'd been advised that there was no record of the sale. Ravi said he'd check it out and get back to them.
Noah was with Victor at the bar at the Athletic Club when Tessa arrived and ordered a bottle of Champagne. Victor asked if Noah would be attending the celebration, but Noah advised Victor that he and Tessa had broken up. Victor claimed that he'd never forget that Tessa had stolen Nikki's gun. Noah chose to leave. Victor reminded Tessa that he'd offered her one hundred thousand dollars to leave, but Tessa had refused. She'd been left with nothing to show for it. Victor warned Tessa not to cross a Newman again.
Jack joined Victor at the bar and congratulated him on his new hire. Victor thanked Jack for pushing Ashley out of Jabot and asked Jack what was next - and wondered if he'd file a lawsuit. Jack told Victor to treat Ashley with the respect she deserved.
Nick arrived at the entrance of the Athletic Club at the same time as Ashley. He asked if Ashley knew anything about Victor and Jack getting together. Ashley said they were probably discussing Ashley's new position at Newman. Nick never would have believed that that would happen. Jokingly, Ashley said she hadn't handed over her trust fund to Victor. Nick laughed and claimed he was much happier.
Cane took Lily to the movies. He put his arm around her, and they started to kiss. When gunshots on-screen scared Lily, she accidentally dumped her container of popcorn on the woman in front of her. Lily apologized, and she and Cane left.
At the Hamilton-Winters office, Devon complimented Tessa on her hard work. Hilary arrived. Devon poured the Champagne. Mariah arrived and grabbed a glass. Devon and Hilary walked away to give Mariah and Tessa a chance to talk. Tessa pointed out that they'd be working together and needed to figure out a way to get along. Mariah swallowed the rest of her Champagne and marched out.
Ravi arrived at the lab to say goodbye to Ashley. Ashley claimed that she'd left several times before, but this time, it felt final. Ravi wished her the best. Ashley asked him not to allow Jack to push him into something unethical, and she wanted Ravi to remain the moral compass that Jabot needed.
Later, Phyllis was in the lab, taking measurements, when Ravi arrived and told Lauren and Phyllis that he'd found a mirrored site designed to look like the Chelsea 2.0 section of Fenmore's. He explained it was a phony duplicate -- a letter was removed from the URL, and it was made to look like the person was going to the verified site, but it was a fraud. Many crooks used that tactic to sell cheap or stolen goods.
Lauren was shocked and wanted to know how long the site had been draining customers from Fenmore's and defrauding them. Lauren was worried that their customers believed that Fenmore's was sending out second-rate products. Lauren accused them of stealing from her and ruining her family name. Ravi confirmed that so far, he'd only seen Chelsea 2.0 copied. Phyllis said they needed to fix it immediately. Lauren said they needed to warn Chelsea.
At the Athletic Club, Mariah bumped into Noah. She told him that Devon had dropped Tessa from the label, but he'd hired her as his assistant. She said that Devon had purchased GC Buzz, and she'd be working with Tessa. Noah said he couldn't help her with the big picture, but he had a short-term solution. Mariah asked if it was a medically induced coma, but Noah suggested that she help him save the universe. Mariah said she'd squeeze saving the universe into her schedule. Mariah and Noah went to the movie theater.
Nick sat at a table, waiting for Chelsea to arrive with phase two of her surprise. Being impatient, he sent her a text message asking where she was.
In the meantime, Chelsea stood in front of Adams crypt. She pulled out a screwdriver and removed the door with Adam's name on it. She placed the money inside and screwed the door back into place.
Phyllis offers J.T. a new gig
At GC Buzz, Mariah answered a call from Devon and playfully asked if she had to call him Mr. Hamilton. He didn't think so because they'd seen one another naked, and she wondered if nothing had changed with her once again being his employee. He asked her to stop by his office for a meet-and-greet with the Hamilton-Winters staff, but Mariah protested that she was really busy. He recognized that networking was the last thing she liked to do, but he firmly stated that it wasn't a request. She agreed to head over.
At Hamilton-Winters, Tessa handed Devon some files as Mariah arrived. Tessa asked if she should reach out to the rest of the staff, but Devon announced that the meeting was just for the two women. He explained that the tension between them was palpable from the second they stepped into a room together, and Mariah prepared to leave. Devon insisted that he didn't want that kind of vibe in the office, and he urged them to work things out for their own sakes. He left for a meeting, and Tessa figured that Mariah might as well stay, since they couldn't run away from one another forever.
Tessa wanted to talk about the song, but Mariah snapped that it was never getting released, and she assumed that Tessa was trying to fight it. Tessa insisted that she was trying to apologize, since Mariah's journal had been private, and Tessa hadn't had any business reading it, much less stealing from it. Tessa swore that she was sorry for what she'd done, since the desperate, selfish act couldn't have been more wrong. Mariah thanked her for finally admitting it.
Tessa added that although she'd completely mishandled things, she and Mariah had written a good song together. Tessa reiterated that Mariah's words had inspired her, and she thought they could have been amazing songwriting partners if she'd been honest from the start. Mariah stressed that they couldn't go back, but Tessa thought they could find a way forward. Tessa whined that Mariah had been the first true friend she'd ever had, and she couldn't stand that she'd lost Mariah because Tessa had fallen for Noah.
Tessa regretted that she'd ruined everything for everyone, and she wished that she'd fought harder for her friendship with Mariah. Tessa swore that she'd do anything to fix it, and she believed that Mariah wanted that, too. Mariah asked what Tessa expected, and Tessa introduced herself and inquired whether Mariah wanted to hang out sometime or if Mariah hated her too much to do that. Mariah replied that she could never hate Tessa.
Mariah said she had to get back to work, and Tessa followed her to the door and thanked Mariah for hearing her out. Mariah returned to work and plugged a flash drive into her computer. She listened to Tessa's song. Meanwhile, Tessa listened to the song at Hamilton-Winters. Tessa closed her laptop as Devon walked in, and he asked how things were between her and Mariah. Tessa reported that they were better.
At home, J.T. prepared to leave, and he called out for Reed to hurry up. Reed popped out of the kitchen and stated that he was ready, but he needed his English book. J.T. objected when he saw Reed eating cookies for breakfast, and Reed implied that J.T. should have gotten him up on time. J.T. lectured that Reed was capable of setting his own alarm clock, and he figured that Reed's textbook was in his room if the teen had done his homework the night before. Reed revealed that he'd left the book at school, and he began to stalk off. J.T. barked that they weren't finished.
J.T. stressed that it was about respect, and Reed found it ironic because J.T. didn't respect him. Reed questioned how his parents could move in together without talking to him first, and J.T. explained that they'd thought Reed would be happy to be a real family. Reed groused that he didn't even remember his parents being together, and the only real family he'd had there had included Billy. Reed assumed that his father wouldn't be cool with him being late for school, and J.T. told him to have a good day. After Reed left, J.T. left a message for Victoria, testily reminding her of her plan to check in and asking her to call as soon as she could.
At the Ashby home, Lily descended the stairs and discovered that Cane had recreated Paris in their living room, complete with music, paintings of France, and a fancy table setting. "Bonjour," he greeted, and he acknowledged that it wasn't an original idea. Lily recalled that it was like what she'd done for him years earlier, and he explained that he'd thought they needed to reconnect. They kissed, and she didn't notice her phone buzzing.
Cane dressed up as a waiter and presented Lily with a menu. She marveled at how he'd pulled everything together while she'd been getting dressed, and he mentioned that Mattie had helped. He asked if there was anything else he could do for "Madame," and Lily invited him to join her. He reported that he'd cleared his schedule for the day, the twins were at school, and Bridget had Sam, so he hoped Lily had time for more surprises. She asked how many, and he replied that it depended on whether or not she had to go to work. Lily figured that Victoria was out of town, so no one would mind if she wasn't in the office that day.
After breakfast, Lily complimented the chef, and Cane recognized that it wasn't often that they had a quiet morning. She stood up to get more coffee, but he urged her to stay and talk to him. Lily surmised that he was worried about her feelings about Sam, and she conceded that she couldn't help but think about how the baby had entered their lives. Cane encouraged her to be honest and tell him what she needed, and she praised him for doing a good job of figuring it out on his own. She declared that being there with him was perfect.
Cane's phone rang, and Cane told J.T. that it wasn't a good time. J.T. notified Cane that he'd completed his assignment, and he wanted to meet to discuss what was next. Cane curtly told him to talk to Billy, but J.T. preferred to work with Cane because Billy didn't take work seriously. Cane said he had to go, and he hung up. Lily pointed out that Cane hadn't needed to cut J.T. off, but Cane insisted that he had.
At the Athletic Club, Ashley left a message for Lily, asking her to call back. Ashley switched over to another call, and Nikki hoped that Ashley had time for a chat. Ashley wondered what it was about, but Nikki thought it was best to talk in person. Ashley informed Nikki that she was at the club, and Nikki said she'd be there within the hour. Nikki abruptly hung up.
Later, Lily arrived at the club and greeted Ashley. Lily gushed that Cane was treating her to a spa day, and Ashley asked if Lily had gotten her message. Ashley invited her to have a seat, and she revealed that she'd finalized her job with Newman. Lily congratulated her, and Ashley asserted that it was imperative that she surround herself with people she trusted. Lily swore that Ashley could count on her, and Ashley divulged that she'd be overseeing several divisions, including Brash & Sassy.
Lily voiced surprise that Newman Towers was still standing after Victoria had found out, and Ashley explained that she wanted to expand the entire division to not just rival their competitors but to blow them away. Ashley clarified that she didn't want to destroy her family's company, but she wanted the world to know what she was capable of and to see what Jack had lost when she'd walked away. Ashley wished that she had been able to create a legacy at Jabot, but Jack had made that impossible, so she had to make her dreams happen someplace else.
Lily inquired about what role she would play, and Ashley anticipated that Lily's management and marketing skills and connections to the modeling world would go far. Lily thanked her for the vote of confidence, but she worried that things might be tricky with the politics at Newman. Ashley declared that there wasn't a challenge she couldn't handle, and Nikki interrupted. Lily departed, and Nikki suggested that she and Ashley get a private table. Ashley suspected that Nikki didn't want her working with Victor, but Nikki indicated that it couldn't be further from the truth.
At a secluded table, Nikki reiterated that Ashley was a wonderful addition to Newman. Ashley thought Nikki seemed a little too enthusiastic, and Nikki agreed to stop lauding Ashley's skill set and make it all about herself. Nikki asserted that she and Victor were a united front in matters involving their family's success, and Ashley expected that Nikki was going to tell her to keep her paws off Victor. Nikki explained that she wanted to ward off any misconceptions, and she swore that she wouldn't get jealous or cause any problems for Ashley, personally or professionally.
Ashley recalled how territorial Nikki had been in the past, but Nikki revealed that, while she and Victor were stronger and better together than apart, they no longer had a traditional marriage. Nikki noted that Ashley and Victor had been married and shared a child, and she suspected that he'd be interested in relighting the fire. Ashley countered that it didn't mean she was, but Nikki granted Ashley her permission to get as close to Victor as she liked.
Ashley was surprised by Nikki's suggestion, given that Nikki had once faked a terminal illness to keep Ashley away from Victor. Nikki acknowledged that she'd needed to be in the middle of Victor's universe. However, she'd moved past it, and it was incredibly freeing to live her life on her own terms. Ashley thanked her for the open-door gesture, but she had no interest in rekindling anything with Victor. Nikki stated that it was perfectly fine with her if Ashley changed her mind.
Lily returned home, and she excitedly rambled to Cane about being on Ashley's team. Lily stopped in her tracks when she spotted a massage table, and Cane reminded her that he'd surprised her with a massage when they'd first gotten together. He rubbed her body in the candlelit room, and he kissed her shoulder and her face. She recounted him doing the exact same thing years earlier, and he asked if she remembered what had happened next. They kissed passionately.
Lily and Cane cuddled on the couch, and she thanked him for the surprises. He said there was more, and he handed her a gift. She gasped when she opened a bracelet, and he called it a reminder of how he shouldn't take any moment with her for granted. He placed it around her wrist and pledged his love. He proclaimed that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her, so he hoped that she would marry him all over again. She exuberantly replied yes, and she declared that she had never stopped loving him and that she never would. They kissed.
At the penthouse, Nick presented Chelsea with coffee and kissed her neck to express appreciation for the amazing day he'd had the day before. He kissed her on the lips as thanks for the prior night, and she joked that she should give him presents more often. He inquired whether she'd banked the rest of the cash, and she assured him that it was safe and sound. Nick wanted to make sure, but the doorbell interrupted them. Chelsea let in Phyllis, who explained that she'd been trying to reach Chelsea because there was trouble.
Phyllis revealed that Chelsea's business had been the target of a scam, since someone had created a copycat website of Chelsea 2.0's online store, and people had been led to believe that they had been buying from Fenmore's when they'd really been dealing with an unknown entity. Phyllis added that the clothes that the spoof site had sold were genuine, and Nick surmised that it had to be an inside job. Phyllis theorized that someone in the distribution chain had been stealing stock and selling it online. She continued that they'd shut the fake site down, but Ravi had warned that the crooks usually opened another one.
Phyllis announced that Fenmore's was conducting a full investigation to expose whoever was behind it, and she promised that they would track the culprit down. Chelsea asked Phyllis to let her know immediately if there was any news, and Phyllis was confident that it wouldn't be long before they had the bad guys arrested. The women hugged, and Phyllis left. Nick consoled Chelsea.
Later, Chelsea and Nick returned from getting some fresh air. He commended her for handling the curve balls she'd been thrown like a champ, but he sensed that things were starting to get to her. Chelsea saw no point in getting upset, since Phyllis was dealing with the problem. Nick noted that Chelsea had seemed uncomfortable earlier when he'd mentioned Adam's money, and she stepped away. He pressed her to tell him what was bothering her about the money.
Nick guessed that Chelsea had put money into the housing project and doing nice things for him because she felt guilty. He imagined that money from her dead husband falling out of the wall had stirred up serious emotions, and Chelsea wondered what Adam had intended to do with the cash. Nick assumed that Adam had left it behind for her and Connor as a way of being able to look out for them, and she mentioned that Adam had talked about having a backup plan. Nick questioned why she hadn't told him that before, and he assured her that she didn't have to hold anything back. They hugged.
At Crimson Lights, J.T. sent a text message to Victoria, asking her again to call. Phyllis observed that it looked like J.T. was trying to burn a hole through his phone, and J.T. hoped it would ring if he stared at it long enough. He confided that he wasn't feeling any job satisfaction and that he and Reed had gotten into it again. Phyllis prompted him to go on, and J.T. admitted that he hadn't been able to get in touch with Victoria, so it felt like the world was conspiring against him. An empathetic Phyllis recognized that they didn't know one another well, but she thought they had common interests. She offered a friendly ear.
J.T. talked about his breakup with Mac, and he thought it was for the best. Phyllis understood that he felt doomed to fail at every relationship, but she brightly stated that she was proof that it was possible to get it right the next time. J.T. admitted that he'd hoped for a perfect reunion with Victoria. Phyllis said there was no such thing, but she was sure they would figure things out. Phyllis thought Victoria knew how lucky she was to have J.T. back, and she believed that everything would work out, not only with Victoria but also with Reed. Phyllis advised J.T. to keep putting himself out there, and Reed would believe that his father was there to stay and that J.T. was fighting for him, not against him.
J.T. marveled that he hadn't thought it was possible for Phyllis to turn his day around, but he still wished Victoria would call. Phyllis surmised that Victoria was working around the clock again, and J.T. groaned that it was hard to accept that Victoria was so into her job that he got pushed aside sometimes. Phyllis sympathized that he wanted to be Victoria's priority. He recognized that it would be easier if he had a job he was passionate about, but Chancellor wasn't exactly inspiring work. J.T. complained that he was capable of doing a lot more than Cane and Billy had given him, and he wanted to put his skills to use. Phyllis realized that she could use J.T.'s help.
After Phyllis filled J.T. in about the dummy website, he informed her that he'd handled similar cases before. Phyllis wanted to hire him to investigate the crime, but he balked because he was technically exclusive to Chancellor. Phyllis argued that it wasn't her fault that Cane couldn't keep him busy, and she suggested that J.T. consider it a confidential side job that he'd be well compensated for. J.T. thought that it sounded exciting and challenging, and she asked if they had a deal.
Over the phone, Phyllis told Chelsea that she'd hired a top fraud investigator to start working on the case right away. Chelsea inquired whether it was someone she knew, and Phyllis informed her that J.T. was doing it as a favor on the down low. After they hung up, J.T. thanked Phyllis for her reassuring words and the great opportunity. He received a call from Victoria, and Phyllis stepped away. He answered the call and expressed relief to hear from Victoria, since he had a lot to catch her up on. After he confirmed that everyone was okay, he thinly disguised his exasperation when she cut him off to go to a business meeting.
The owner of the spoof site is revealed
At Hamilton-Winters, Devon instructed Tessa to start monitoring the online comment threads and summarizing what people were saying about the streaming service and its artists. Hilary burst in and declared that she was ready to move in. Devon asked what she was talking about, and she informed him that she was ready to move into her new office, since she was part of Hamilton-Winters. Hilary asked him to point her in the right direction so she could unpack her things, and Mariah stumbled in with an armload of boxes.
Devon pointed out that he'd never said Hilary could have an office, but Hilary argued that she'd turned her TV show around and created something with obvious value. Devon recognized that they'd struck a mutually beneficial deal, and he'd agreed to keep all of her staff on the payroll, but he hadn't offered her an executive position. Hilary barked that if he wanted The Hilary Hour, then he got Hilary, and she told him to take the deal or leave it. Devon lectured that making impossible demands wasn't the way to start a partnership.
Hilary reminded Devon that he'd told her that she'd be part of the Hamilton-Winters family, and those words had convinced her to take a much lower bid than others she'd received. She repeated his comment that they knew one another, and he'd known that her dream was to be a part of something bigger. She wanted a corner office with a window and enough space to percolate her ideas, and he replied that she'd have it -- at GC Buzz. Devon pointed out that they didn't just hand out executive positions and corner offices, and Hilary decided to park her stuff right there until he figured out a satisfactory solution.
Hilary announced that she had to go for something important, and Devon couldn't believe that she was about to rush off after all the drama about getting a bigger presence. Hilary huffed that she knew her value, and she wasn't afraid to demand to be recognized and compensated. Devon instructed Mariah to take Hilary's belongings back to GC Buzz, but Hilary barked not to touch them, or she and Devon were done. Hilary flounced out, and Devon left for a meeting. Mariah recognized that Hilary was a royal pain, but she gave Hilary credit for knowing what she wanted.
Tessa made arrangements to pick up Devon's shirts, and Mariah imagined that it was a weird shift for Tessa after recording in the studio. Tessa said she was grateful to have a job and an opportunity to earn back the trust she'd lost, and they discussed their mutual shock over Devon buying back GC Buzz. Mariah remarked that Devon had known what he was getting himself into, and Tessa hoped it wouldn't be awkward that she and Mariah both worked for Devon's company. Mariah reasoned that she needed the job, too, and they'd hashed things out the day before. Mariah mentioned that she'd found the USB drive with Tessa's song on it, but Tessa stressed that it was their song.
Devon returned and was surprised to see that Mariah was still there. Mariah noted that she and Tessa could talk without any bloodshed, and Tessa sarcastically credited the teambuilding exercise at Devon's employee gathering for two. Devon pledged to do whatever it took to get the best out of people. Hilary returned and asked if Devon had taken steps to make things work for her, and he argued that she'd taken what he'd said out of context. She barked that if he wouldn't give her a place in the company, there were plenty of people who would. Hilary stormed out as Devon chased after her.
Mariah asked if she could leave Hilary's stuff there while Devon and Hilary figured things out, and Tessa invited her to do so. Tessa left for the post office, and Mariah looked around the office for a good spot. She opened the cabinet and found a sleeping bag along with some of Tessa's clothes.
Tessa jumped when she discovered that Mariah was still in Devon's office, and Mariah showed her where she'd stashed Hilary's stuff. Mariah watched Tessa carefully and asked where she'd been living since her breakup with Noah. Tessa fibbed that she'd rented a room not far from there, and she answered a call. Mariah eyed the cabinet that contained Tessa's things.
Devon followed Hilary to Crimson Lights, where she yelled for him to leave her alone. He wondered how she expected to be taken seriously when she was acting like it was a game. He asked if she was having second thoughts about the deal, and he implored her to talk to him. Hilary confided that it was a huge day for her because she'd just had her first fertility treatment. She lamented that the process was bizarre and technical, and it wasn't how she'd imagined it would be when she'd first thought about having a baby.
Nikki stopped by to see Reed at Victoria's house, and he asked if he was in trouble. She wanted to see how things were going while his mom was away, and he replied that they were fine. Nikki recognized that J.T.'s return to town had been rough, and she imagined that it had been quite an adjustment for Reed for his parents to suddenly reunite and move back in together. Reed inquired whether she was there to check in on him or his dad.
Reed admitted that things had been tense because J.T. had been all over him about everything. Nikki questioned whether Reed would rather his father not care, but Reed thought there had to be a happy medium. Nikki implored Reed to start acting like an adult by reaching out and making an effort to have things improve instead of storming up to his room. She reasoned that being charming and agreeable led other people to drop their guards and be nice back, and the negative expectations would eventually melt away.
Nikki asked if Reed had been practicing his guitar, and he revealed that he'd been really into it when the Underground had hosted open mic nights, but things had changed. Nikki shared that she played the piano more when things were bothering her, and she offered to pay for him to take a few more lessons from Tessa. Reed doubted that Tessa had the time after getting a record deal, but Nikki informed him that things hadn't worked out. Nikki thought Tessa could use the money because she was going through a few challenges.
At Crimson Lights, Nick met with his contractor, Arturo, about upgrades to the building for low-income renters. Arturo informed him that the electrical work would take an extra three weeks to complete, and he provided Nick with a quote. Nick was aghast that it was 20 percent more than the original bid, and he protested that it would be a huge problem. Arturo argued that the work was needed for the building to be in compliance with city code.
Across the coffeehouse, Phyllis was impressed by how fast J.T. had worked on investigating the spoof site, and he commented that whoever had started it was greedy and had made mistakes. He reported that he'd tracked down the registered owner of the site -- Alexandra West. He added that he only had a name and no other information, but it was a place to start. Phyllis wondered if they should get the police involved, but he said it wasn't that simple.
J.T. figured that Alexandra West was probably an alias, and he contemplated where to start looking. Phyllis spotted Nick and didn't recognize the guy who he was talking to, but she realized that she was just being nosy. She thought it made sense that the pirate was using an alias, and J.T. urged her to consider whether she wanted him to rack up billable hours to find out who Alexandra really was. Phyllis thought it would be worth it to see the thief behind bars, but J.T. suspected that the culprit had already moved on to their next target. Phyllis was bothered that someone in the supply chain had been selling Chelsea's designs, and it infuriated her to think about them getting away with it.
J.T. suggested that he invoice Phyllis for the time he'd put in, and he'd keep investigating on his own. She was shocked that he'd work for free, and he figured that she could give him a bonus if he found something important. J.T. added that he could do his work for Chancellor in his sleep, and he needed a challenge. Phyllis recalled J.T.'s smile when Victoria had called, and she asked how the conversation had gone. J.T. reported that it had been brief but good, and he understood Victoria's hectic schedule.
J.T. mentioned that he'd decided to take Phyllis' advice and trust that everything would work out fine, since she'd made him realize that he'd been expecting too much. Phyllis warned that it was a trap to compare what he and Victoria had then to what they'd had in the past, since people remembered things as being better than they really had been. She suggested that J.T. take advantage of the time Victoria was away by doing some "guy things" with Reed that they both liked. After Phyllis left, J.T. looked wistfully at an old carving in the wall of his and Colleen's names inside a heart.
Meanwhile, Nick protested that Arturo's new terms would put the project over budget, but Arturo asserted that the wiring was shot, so it would take more time and materials than expected. Arturo explained that he'd provided an estimate and not a firm bid, and he hadn't known what he'd encounter until he opened things up. Nick griped that it wasn't a personal job for the Newmans but a low-income housing project, and Arturo was appalled at the insinuation that he was jacking up the price. Arturo maintained that the building had to pass all its inspections, and he was letting Nick know what had to be done to get it up to code -- unless Nick wanted to cut corners.
Nick countered that he expected Arturo to do the work for what they'd discussed, and Arturo complained that Nick was out of touch with the real world. Arturo chided Nick for strapping on a tool belt and pretending to be a working stiff, and they continued to argue. Nikki interrupted and asked what the problem was, and Arturo contended that her son was having a hard time accepting that the faulty wiring would take more money to fix. Nick considered getting more bids, but Nikki suggested that they discuss it over a bite to eat. Arturo agreed as long as she was picking up the bill, and Nikki told Nick that she'd take it from there.
At the penthouse, Chelsea threw her sketchbook aside and looked stressed. Phyllis stopped by with an update about J.T.'s progress, and a stunned Chelsea blurted out that she'd thought it would take weeks. Phyllis asked if Chelsea knew an Alexandra West, but Chelsea didn't think so. Phyllis explained that Alexandra was the registered owner of the bogus site, and she believed it had to be someone in the supply chain who had access to the merchandise. Chelsea volunteered to go through her contacts, and she looked worried as she opened her computer.
Chelsea and Phyllis found nothing in their search, and Chelsea noted that there was no one with even the same initials as Alexandra West among the people connected to her designs. Chelsea figured that they'd reached a dead end, but Phyllis revealed that J.T. had offered to keep digging on his own time, and she planned to give him a fat check when he found the person behind the fake site. Chelsea thanked her for pursuing it, and Phyllis hissed that she was "mad as hell" that someone was taking advantage. Chelsea showed Phyllis to the door and seemed perplexed.
J.T. returned home and pulled out his guitar, and Reed walked in as J.T. began to play. Reed was surprised that his father still had his old guitar, and J.T. admitted that he hadn't played in a while, but he'd just seen something that had reminded him of the days when he'd been serious about music. J.T. strummed, and Reed was impressed. J.T. insisted that he had been good back in the day, and he'd even inked a record deal, but it was a long story about how he'd lost it. Reed wondered why J.T. hadn't signed with another label or marketed his music on his own, but J.T. said it had been a different time.
J.T. regretted that he might have given up too easily, and he didn't want to see that happen to Reed. J.T. urged Reed to make the most of his talent, and Reed mentioned that Nikki had told him that he should start taking lessons with Tessa again because she'd been dropped from her streaming label. J.T. recognized that the music business could be rough, and he understood what it was like to have his dreams ripped out from under him.
Reed grabbed his own guitar and joined in to play with J.T. J.T. remarked that Reed was further along than he'd thought, and Reed requested that his father play one of his original songs. Reed inquired about J.T.'s favorite song that he'd written, and J.T. recalled that he'd written it for a special girl on Valentine's Day and played it in front of a room full of people. Reed marveled that he hadn't known that side of his dad, and it was like J.T. had been a whole other person with a different life. J.T. told Reed to remember that when he had kids of his own one day, and he offered to teach the song to his son.
Later, Reed found J.T. on his computer, and he asked if it was what his father did all day. J.T. revealed that it was a side hustle that he'd picked up to track cybercriminals. J.T. discovered a bank account in Genoa City under Alexandra West's name, and Reed asked if his father was a hacker. J.T. insisted that he was one of the good guys, but he had to get through the bank's firewall to access the account.
At a bank, an employee hoped that he hadn't kept "Ms. West" waiting too long. Chelsea sat across from him, wearing a wig and a hat. The banker assumed that she wanted her usual withdrawal of funds in cash, and she instructed him to also close the account. The banker handed Chelsea the cash, and she was adamant that he close the account right away. The banker turned to his computer, and moments later, J.T. cursed. Reed asked what had happened, but J.T. raced out.
J.T. arrived at the bank and requested information on a recent account. The same banker who'd helped Chelsea said he wasn't at liberty to discuss his customers due to privacy rules, but J.T. asked to take a look at the security footage in conjunction with a criminal investigation. The banker demanded to see his badge, and J.T. explained that he wasn't a cop but a consultant for a major corporation, investigating a case of cyber fraud. The banker ordered him to return with a warrant. J.T. warned that they were dealing with a woman who the bank wouldn't want to protect.
In her car, Chelsea cut up her fake ID. She removed her wig and hat and threw them out the window.
At the Athletic Club, Nikki was glad that Arturo had agreed to sit down with her. She was impressed by the list of people he'd done electrical work for, and he suspected that she was buttering him up. She insisted that it was a compliment, but he guessed that she was trying to sweet-talk him into reducing the cost. Arturo stressed that it would take a lot of man hours to make the apartments safe, and he'd already offered a fair price, so she was wasting her time. Nikki asserted that she didn't waste time or money, and she couldn't turn a building into safe, affordable housing if contractors added zeroes when they saw the Newman name.
Arturo applauded Nikki for doing charity work, but his business didn't work pro bono. He wondered what people would think if he told them that the Newmans weren't willing to pay a fair price, and she proposed that they handle it like two competent people rather than getting lawyers involved and spreading gossip about one another. They renegotiated their deal, and they shook hands on it. She encouraged him not to rush off, and she offered him more wine. He figured that they shouldn't let it go to waste.
Nikki asked about Arturo's knowledge of all the trades, and she figured that it was how he knew what people were worth. He replied that he knew from their character and how hard they worked. He doubted it made sense to someone in her position, but she found it funny that everyone assumed that she had been born wealthy. She continued that people couldn't imagine that she'd spent part of her life in a different environment, doing jobs that the ladies at lunch would rather die than do. Arturo thought it sounded like a story, and Nikki told him to wait there, since she'd be right back.
Moments later, Nikki declared that she'd taken care of the bill, and Arturo thanked her for the meal and the company. She mused that she hadn't been looking forward to the long ride home, so she'd decided to spend the night there. She displayed her room key and asked if he cared to join her. Arturo took Nikki's hand and led her upstairs. Phyllis' mouth dropped open when she spotted them from the bar.