Days of our Lives Recaps: The week of December 11, 2023 on DAYS

E.J. and Nicole refused to listen to Leo. Melinda orchestrated Dimitri's transfer to supermax prison. Chad rehired Everett. Alex's attempt to help Chad backfired. Steve consoled Jada on the anniversary of Marcus' death. Nicole gave a gift to Eric as an apology. Clyde ordered Stefan to sell drugs at the Bistro. Jada and Stephanie bonded over drinks. Tate refused to help Holly. Paulina was devastated when Lani's release was postponed. Nicole and E.J. spread their son's ashes. Xander and Sarah flirted. Stephanie slept with Harris. Sloan decided to tell Eric the truth. Nicole kidnapped Jude.
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 Nicole kidnapped Jude. Clyde ordered Stefan to sell drugs at the Bistro. Stephanie slept with Harris.
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Leo tries to tell Nicole and E.J. the truth about the baby

Leo tries to tell Nicole and E.J. the truth about the baby

Monday, December 11, 2023

In Horton Town Square, Melinda taunted Paulina over the fact that Abe still couldn't remember his past. Paulina scoffed when Melinda said that she had helped Sloan adopt a baby. "The only thing that can change that sadistic witch is a lobotomy," Paulina said of Sloan before sarcastically wishing Melinda a happy holiday season.

At Steve and Kayla's penthouse, Kate visited Abe over breakfast. Abe shared that, while he still had no memory of falling in love with Paulina, he was enjoying getting to know her. Kate told Abe about his wedding to Paulina. Abe said it made him sad that he remembered nothing about his past life with Paulina.

Kate said that she was cheering for Abe to fall in love with Paulina again. Kate added that she envied Abe for having a clean slate. When Abe asked why, Kate admitted that she had made plenty of mistakes in her life. Because of that, Kate added that she sometimes wished that Roman didn't remember parts of her history.

Kate said that what mattered most was finding a partner who accepted a person for what they were -- "warts and all." Abe and Kate said that they had enjoyed their visit together. Kate asked Abe to promise her that he wouldn't give up hope. As Kate prepared to leave, she smiled when she opened the door to Paulina.

After Kate left, Paulina showed Abe a bracelet that he had given to her as a Christmas present the previous year. Abe smiled when Paulina said that the person who had given her the bracelet had good taste. When Abe said that he hadn't made plans for Christmas Day, Paulina invited him to join her and Chanel. Abe said he liked the idea. After Paulina left, Abe received a text from Kate that included a photo from his wedding to Paulina. Abe smiled at the photo.

In the visiting room at Statesville, Lucas confronted Dimitri for having kidnapped Kate. Dimitri downplayed the kidnapping by saying that Kate had had a "happy ending" after being rescued. Lucas was surprised when Dimitri said that he had turned himself in to the police because of Leo.

When Lucas said he had heard that Dimitri had caused Nicole to lose her baby, Dimitri rushed toward Lucas and shoved him against a wall. Dimitri said that Lucas had no idea what he had been talking about. Moments later, Kate walked in on Lucas and Dimitri's argument, and she yelled for a guard.

Dimitri left the visiting room. Kate asked Lucas to stay away from Dimitri. Lucas said that he had become close friends with the warden, and he added that he planned to have Dimitri assigned to kitchen duty. Kate chuckled.

At Sloan and Eric's apartment, Sloan told Eric that Jude wasn't the first baby that Melinda had tried to pair Sloan and Eric with. Sloan offered another insincere apology, and she asked for Eric's forgiveness. Eric said he forgave Sloan.

A short while later, Melinda visited Sloan after Sloan had convinced Eric to take Jude to the park. Sloan told Melinda that Nicole was convinced that Jude was Nicole's baby and that Holly had arranged a DNA test. Melinda said that Sloan had been lucky. Melinda sought to reassure Sloan that Sloan's secret was safe.

Sloan said that Dimitri knew the truth about the baby, and she wondered if there was a way to "muzzle" him. Melinda said she had an idea, and she noted that the crimes Dimitri was being held for in Statesville paled in comparison to Dimitri having tried to "blow up the world" with the Alamainian Peacock in 2021.

Melinda proposed that Dimitri be transferred to a federal correctional facility. "Supermax. Solitary. No visitors," Melinda said. Sloan grew giddy at the idea. Melinda told Sloan to appreciate and enjoy every moment Sloan had with the baby. Sloan said that, if not for the baby and Eric, she would have no family left. Melinda continued to try to reassure Sloan. Sloan thanked Melinda for her help.

At the DiMera mansion, Leo told Nicole that he needed to talk to her about her baby. Nicole grew angry, and she said that she never wanted to see Leo again. Nicole added that there was nothing Leo could say that would bring her baby back. "But what if that wasn't true?" Leo asked.

Before Leo could explain, E.J. joined Nicole at the front doors of the mansion. E.J. and Nicole both yelled for Leo to leave before Leo could say that Nicole's baby was alive. Afterwards, in the living quarters of the mansion, E.J. told Nicole that he would file a restraining order against Leo. E.J. proposed that he and Nicole spend the rest of the day together, but Nicole said that she needed some fresh air and some time alone.

After Nicole left, E.J. was in disbelief when Leo reappeared through the secret entrance. E.J. huffed and threatened to call the police. Leo pleaded with E.J. to listen. Leo told E.J. that his baby was alive. Moments later, Leo lay on the floor after having been punched by E.J., who accused Leo of spewing nonsense.

Leo continued to try to convince E.J. to listen to him, to no avail. E.J. threatened to break Leo's legs before yelling at the top of his lungs for Leo to leave. Soon afterwards, E.J. stared at the portrait of Stefano above the fireplace. "You suffered so much loss, and yet, you stayed so strong. You never let it kill your spirit or drive. If only -- if only I took after you in that way," E.J. said to himself.

In the park, Nicole ran into Eric and Jude. After a moment of awkward silence, Nicole said that Eric didn't have to run from her every time he saw her. Nicole said that she had to accept that Jude wasn't her baby. Eric joined Nicole on a park bench.

Eric sought to comfort Nicole, who told Eric that she had refused E.J.'s suggestion that Nicole and E.J. try to have another baby. Nicole said that she couldn't go through the pain of losing another child.

Eric said that, over time, Nicole's pain would lessen. Nicole recalled Leo's visit to the DiMera mansion earlier. "You want to know what's strange? When I told him there's nothing he could say that could bring back my child, he said that wasn't true. What do you think he meant by that?" Nicole asked Eric.

Jude began crying in his carriage. Eric said that he needed to take Jude home. Before he left, Eric told Nicole that she could call him anytime she needed to talk. A short while later, E.J. joined Nicole on the bench. E.J. placed his arms around Nicole, who started to sob.

Back at Sloan and Eric's apartment, Sloan stared at a photo of her and Eric with the baby on her phone. Sloan vowed that the three of them would have a perfect life together. Just then, Sloan heard a knock at the door. Sloan opened the door to Leo. "I think you should let me in. We need to talk," Leo told Sloan.

Leo blackmails Sloan

Leo blackmails Sloan

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

In the town square, Chad sat in the café and read a news article about the Kiriakis baby kidnapping case. "Same story has run five times with nothing new to report. We have to do better," Chad said. Alex spotted Chad in the café. Alex told Chad that he was sorry about Stephanie and Chad's relationship. Chad snorted.

"You're so full of it," Chad said. "Okay. I'll be more specific. I'm sorry that Stephanie got hurt," Alex said. "That I'll believe," Chad said. Alex asked Chad what he had done. "None of your business," Chad said. Alex asked why Stephanie had moved out. With a sigh, Chad blamed Stephanie's ex-boyfriend, who had admitted that he was still in love with Stephanie.

"So, like any normal human being, I refused to tolerate that," Chad said. Chad told Alex that he had purchased Gwen's half of the paper and fired Everett. "Ruthless," Alex said. Alex asked Chad if he'd believed he could hide the truth from Stephanie. "You know damn well that Stephanie is a smart girl. Everett's an investigative reporter," Alex said. Chad nodded yes.

"You didn't learn anything from my mistakes? I thought it was firmly established that the whole jealous caveman aesthetic wasn't what Stephanie was into," Alex said. Annoyed, Chad told Alex that he did not need Alex's opinion. When Chad said he believed Alex would make a play for Stephanie, Alex said no.

"I'm with Theresa," Alex said. "When has that ever stopped you?" Chad countered. Alex told Chad not to take Chad's mistakes out on him. Chad apologized. "I blew it. And the only person that I can be mad at is myself," Chad admitted.

After Alex left, Chad talked to Xander on the phone about the paper. Xander argued that Everett was a good editor-in-chief. "That's why I hired him back," Chad said. When Xander told Chad that it was important to restore the reputation of the paper, Chad agreed. "It's important to me, too, because it was important to Abigail," Chad said. Paulina called out to Chad, so he ended his phone call so he could talk to the mayor.

Paulina explained to Chad that she wanted to hire SJPR to promote her new Healthy Salem program. "You should probably just call Stephanie directly," Chad said. "Is something wrong?" Paulina asked. Chad told Paulina that Stephanie had moved out. "And we haven't really had time to discuss the status of our business relationship yet," Chad admitted. "Say it isn't so! Not my dynamic duo," Paulina lamented. Chad admitted he had screwed up.

"What did Stephanie say about all this?" Paulina asked. Chad admitted he had not talked to Stephanie yet, because he did not believe Stephanie wanted to talk to him. "Of course, she wants to talk! She loves you!" Paulina said. Paulina told Chad to make certain that Stephanie understood that he was sorry for whatever he had done. "Unless you don't want her back?" Paulina asked. "Of course, I want her back," Chad said. Paulina yelled at Chad to go repair his relationship.

At the Johnson home, Steve and Stephanie were working on their laptops in the kitchen. "I think I'm going to take a walk and get some fresh air. Do you want to join me?" Steve asked. "Thanks, but I've got a lot to do," Stephanie said. Steve started to leave, then he stopped. When Steve announced that he needed to say something about Chad, Stephanie snapped, "I'd rather you didn't, but you will, anyway. So, let's hear it."

"I know you were hoping Chad was the one. Your mom and I were, too. Anyway, what's important is you gave it a good go," Steve said. Steve admitted he had made a mistake when he had talked to Chad about marriage. "Chad didn't deliver. And if that's not gonna change anytime soon, then moving out was the right thing to do," Steve counseled. Steve told Stephanie that she deserved someone that wanted to give her what she wanted and needed from a partner.

"I know I did the right thing. Especially after the way Chad treated Everett," Stephanie said. Stephanie argued that Chad had no reason to be jealous of Everett and that she had told Chad that she had no interest in Everett. "You still love Chad, I assume?" Steve asked. "That is not relevant at the moment," Stephanie said. Steve disagreed.

"If you love him, and he did what he did because he loves you and he didn't want to lose you, maybe you can give him another chance," Steve advised. Stephanie stressed that she wanted to focus on work and friends. With a nod, Steve told Stephanie that she was welcome to stay as long as she needed.

As Steve left for his walk, he ran into Alex in the hallway. Steve looked over his shoulder at his daughter. "Something tells me you're not here to see me," Steve said. Stephanie told Steve that she was fine, so Steve left. With a sigh, Stephanie explained that she wanted to focus on work. "So, I don't know what you're assuming," Stephanie started. "I'm not assuming a thing," Alex said. Alex assured Stephanie that he was not there to win her back.

"I'm dating your cousin for one thing," Alex said. Stephanie smirked. "And, of course, you'd never play the field," Stephanie joked. Alex explained that he had found Stephanie's water bottle at their apartment gym, and he returned it to her. Alex told Stephanie that he would miss how she would yell at him about wiping down the equipment. When Stephanie noted that she needed to get back to work, Alex told her that he had run into Chad in the square.

"And?" Stephanie said. "He told me what happened. For what it's worth, Steph, he knows that he's an ass. And I think that he'd probably really like to apologize if he knew that you were willing to hear it," Alex said. "I'm not. The only person he should be apologizing to is Everett," Stephanie said. Alex nodded in agreement. "Maybe he will. At some point. But he understands that what he did was wrong, and he regrets it. He obviously loves you," Alex said. When Stephanie remained silent, Alex noted that Chad appeared miserable.

"I hate getting in the middle of this more than you know, but from what I'm seeing here, it looks like you're kind of miserable, too. Are you sure this is what you want?" Alex asked. Stephanie said she was sure she had made the right decision, but she regretted that she had not said goodbye to the kids. "I love those kids so much. And I know this will be hard on them," Stephanie said. "That's your only regret?" Alex asked.

Uncomfortable, Stephanie opened the door and noted that she needed to get back to work. As Alex walked out, Stephanie accidentally dropped her water bottle on her foot, and she yelped. Alex leaned over as if to lift Stephanie up to carry her to the couch just as Chad walked up to the front door.

"It didn't take you two too long to try and pick things back up, did it?" Chad said. Stephanie rolled her eyes at Chad. "I do not believe that you would think what you're thinking!" Stephanie yelled. As Stephanie hobbled to the couch, Alex warned Stephanie to be careful with her toe. "What?" Chad yelped. Frustrated, Stephanie announced that she needed to go out. Alex offered to drive Stephanie to the hospital. "I'll drive myself!" Stephanie yelled as she walked out.

"I'm guessing that wasn't what it looked like, huh?" Chad said. Alex groaned in frustration. "No, it was not," Alex said. Alex told Chad that Stephanie had dropped a water bottle on her foot and possibly broken a toe. With a sigh, Alex asked Chad if he wanted to have a beer. Chad nodded yes.

Outside the pub, Eric was walking with baby Jude. With a chuckle, Eric pointed out where Shawn had taken Eric to fish as a kid. "One day, I'm going to take you fishing down there," Eric said. As Jude fussed, Jada exited the pub with a box. "It looks like you have your hands full," Jada said with a chuckle. Jada congratulated Eric on his new baby. "This is Jude," Eric said. Eric frowned and started to say something, but Jada stopped him.

"I'm just glad that things worked out for you. Jude here is a very lucky kid. I'm very happy for you," Jada said. Eric thanked Jada, and she asked to change the subject. Eric asked about the box in Jada's arms. "Rafe asked me to move in with him," Jada said. "I assume this means you said yes," Eric said. Jada explained that she had not decided yet, but in the meantime, she was doing "spring cleaning," just in case.

"I'm just glad things are going well with you and Rafe," Eric said. "And I hope to keep it that way," Jada said. Jada admitted that she had not lived with anyone since her ex-husband. "So, I just want to be very intentional with my decision," Jada said. "Which is always a good thing," Eric agreed. Jada and Eric wished each other well.

After dropping off her clothes to donate, Jada returned to the pub for a meal. Steve stopped by her table to say hello. Jada apologized for having been unable to join Steve and his family for dinner. "Don't worry. You have a standing invitation anytime," Steve said. Steve asked Jada if she was okay. Reluctantly, Jada admitted that she was having a rough day. Steve encouraged Jada to open up to him. Jada told Steve that she had seen Eric with the baby.

"I'm happy for him. It's just that it brought back a lot of memories. I don't know; I think I'm just emotional today in general," Jada said. With a nod, Steve noted that it was the anniversary of her father's death. "You remembered," Jada whispered. "Marcus was my first, best friend. It was him and me against the world for a whole lot of years. I could never forget this day," Steve said. Jada thanked Steve. "You have no idea what that means to me," Jada said. Steve admitted that he had gone to the pub specifically to talk to her, because he knew the holidays made the anniversary particularly difficult.

"When we lost my dad, I had bought him a Christmas present. And I was upstairs right now cleaning my closet, and could you believe that I still have it?" Jada said. Steve nodded yes, and he showed Jada a keychain that Marcus had made for him. "It's one of the only things I have left from my childhood," Steve said. Steve told Jada that Marcus had helped him be a better person. "Your dad would be so proud of you," Steve said. Jada hugged Steve.

In the park, E.J. and Nicole sat on a bench together. "That was the last thing either one of us needed, Leo Stark darkening our doorstep," E.J. said. "What could he possibly have meant about our baby, saying it's not true that he died?" Nicole asked. E.J. noted that Leo was a grifter and that he could not have anything useful to say. "I'm sure he was trying to exploit, in some way, our grief," E.J. said. Nicole wondered aloud how anyone could be so cruel.

Confused, Nicole asked E.J. what Leo could gain with such a lie. E.J. shrugged, and he noted that Leo was desperate and alone. "I'm sure he was just trying to extract some cash," E.J. said. Nicole nodded hesitantly. "Such horrible timing. Trying to give you false hope when you'd just accepted the truth," E.J. said. Nicole paled. E.J. asked Nicole if she had changed her mind.

"No. We saw it in black and white when we did the DNA test. Just, I can't stop myself from wondering, are you sure there couldn't be anything to what Leo said?" Nicole asked. E.J. noted that when Leo had been in danger of going to prison for the death of their son, Leo had not said a word. "He would have sung like a canary long ago to save his own pathetic ass," E.J. argued. E.J. told Nicole that after she had left the house, Leo had sneaked back into the house through the tunnels.

"What?" Nicole said. "I had to punch him in the face just to get rid of him," E.J. said. Frustrated, E.J. grumbled that he knew he should not have made a deal with Sloan to free Leo. "You do not deserve to see [Leo] around town. Not after what you've been through," E.J. muttered. Nicole assured E.J. that she was fine. E.J. asked Nicole if that was why she had been upset when he had found her in the park. With a shrug, Nicole admitted that she had run into Eric and the baby before E.J. had arrived. E.J. put his arm around Nicole.

"It's just too much for me. But I am happy for Eric and that he's a dad to that sweet little baby boy, but I can't help but feel compelled to want to do something for him and Sloan. I just feel terrible for what I put them through," Nicole said. "You shouldn't. You're the one who has been through hell," E.J. counseled. Nicole said she needed to do something.

Leo visited Sloan at her apartment. "You just got out of jail yesterday. What kind of trouble could you have already gotten into?" Sloan asked. Leo pointed out the bruise on his jaw, and he told Sloan that he had been assaulted because of her. "I got clobbered because I had a rare attack of conscience," Leo said. Leo told Sloan that he knew the secret about her baby.

"Or should I say, Nicole's baby," Leo added. Sloan played dumb, but Leo explained that Dimitri had told him the full story. "He promised me," Sloan grumbled. "He also told me if I were to use this against you, you'd give me anything I wanted in the entire world, you'd be so desperate to hang onto that little boy," Leo said. Leo added that watching the birth of the baby had changed him.

"For once in my life, I was willing to do the right thing, and this is what that got me. I tried to tell E.J. and Nicole the truth," Leo said. "You what?" Sloan yelped. Leo explained that E.J. had tossed him out. "Then I bravely went back, [E.J.] punched me out," Leo added. Leo explained that E.J. had reacted before Leo had been able to tell E.J. that the baby was alive. Sloan gasped.

"I'm here now because I've decided that fate is telling me that I should use the information about Nicole's baby as Dimitri intended. To blackmail the hell out of you," Leo said. Sloan glowered at Leo. "First and foremost, you are going to get Dimitri out of prison," Leo demanded. "It's impossible," Sloan said. Sloan argued that she had secured the best deal possible for Dimitri, but Leo said it was not enough. Sloan asked Leo what else he wanted. Leo said he wanted the world.

"Or do I need to bring Lady Whistleblower out of retirement. Write the whole sordid story about how Nicole is your baby's real mother?" Leo said. Eric returned home. "What the hell is going on here?" Eric asked. "I was just leaving. Apparently, it's nap time for the little tyke," Leo said. Leo complimented the stroller. "Nothing but the top of the line for your miracle baby, am I right?" Leo asked Sloan. Leo told Sloan that he would be in touch, and he left.

"I told you taking on that case was going to be nothing but trouble," Eric muttered. Eric asked Sloan what Leo wanted. Sloan argued that Leo had demanded that she find a better deal for Dimitri. "Why are you so rattled?" Eric asked. "I just missed you and Jude. And you guys took longer than expected," Sloan lied. Eric told Sloan that they had run into Jada and Nicole on the walk. There was a knock at the door. When Sloan opened the door, Nicole and E.J. were in the hallway.

"Bad time?" Nicole asked. "Not a bad time. Just a surprise. Eric was just telling me he ran into you guys," Sloan said as she invited E.J. and Nicole inside. Nicole handed Sloan a bag with a Christmas onesie. "I know this small gesture doesn't make up for all the things I put you through these past few weeks," Nicole started. Eric thanked Nicole for the gesture. Sloan agreed. E.J. took Eric aside.

"I appreciate you letting us drop by unannounced. Nicole really needed to do this to show that she was healing and moving on," E.J. said. Across the room, Sloan and Nicole stared at sleeping baby Jude. "I'd put [the onesie] on now, but he's knocked out," Sloan said. Nicole nodded in agreement, but she appeared uneasy.

In the town square, Leo noticed a donation bucket, and he peeked inside it. "Well done, Leo. You don't have a functioning conscience or two cents to your name. So where do you go from here?" Leo said. Lonely, Leo called the prison to talk to Dimitri, and he learned that Dimitri had been transferred to a supermax prison. "I know you did this, Sloan. And now I'm going to blow up your world," Leo growled.

Stefan tells Ava about Clyde's latest demand

Stefan tells Ava about Clyde's latest demand

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

At the Bistro, Ava and Harris made plans for the following night. Harris remarked that Ava seemed nervous. Ava stammered that she needed everything to go perfectly for the night ahead. As Harris prepared to leave for work, Stefan appeared. Harris wished Stefan good luck with the reopening of the restaurant.

After Harris left, Stefan shared that Clyde planned to use the Bistro to peddle drugs, in addition to the restaurant being a front for money laundering. Stefan warned that Clyde would kill both Gabi and Tripp unless he and Ava followed orders. Frustrated, Stefan bellowed that he planned to get rid of Clyde permanently.

Stefan made a remark that reminded Ava of Jake. Ava admitted that she still missed Jake, and she said that Jake had been the closest thing she'd had to a normal relationship. Stefan mentioned Harris, and he told Ava that it was dangerous to be dating a cop, given the illegal activities Stefan and Ava were involved in.

Ava inadvertently referred to Stefan as Jake before she and Stefan began to argue. Ava said that Jake had been kind and generous -- as opposed to Stefan. The conversation turned back to Clyde. Ava wondered if Clyde had only been "messing" with Stefan when Clyde had ordered drugs to be moved out of the Bistro.

Just then, a man in a black coat and matching beanie hat appeared with boxed cases of what he claimed were tomatoes. "Courtesy of Clyde Weston. You want 'em in the back or what?" the man said. Stefan's face seethed with rage.

At the Brady Pub, Stephanie was buzzed from drinking alone. Jada appeared, and she told Stephanie about her plans to move in with Rafe. At Stephanie's insistence, Jada joined Stephanie for drinks. Stephanie said that she was swearing off men, and she recalled both her breakup with Chad and her ex in Seattle.

Stephanie recalled Everett's distasteful remark that she "really (got) around" after Everett learned that Stephanie had been with both Chad and Alex in the same year. Stephanie reasoned that Everett's comment had been understandable, given that he had been in a coma after his accident.

Jada mentioned her ex, and she told Stephanie scant details about him. Stephanie asked for a picture of Jada's ex. Jada stared at the photo of her and the man who looked exactly like Everett. As Jada prepared to show the photo to Stephanie, Harris appeared. Stephanie and Jada invited Harris to join them for a drink.

Harris pulled up a chair, and he sipped a beer as Stephanie began to flirt with him. Harris stood up to head to his room above the pub, but Stephanie and Jada playfully teased that Harris couldn't leave. Harris shrugged, and he continued to drink with Jada and Stephanie, who grew more drunk.

At the Spectator office, things grew contentious when Chad told Everett that he planned to be "very, very hands-on" as owner of the newspaper. Everett said that Chad had had an ulterior motive for buying the paper. Chad told Everett about Stephanie having moved out. Everett said that he wasn't sorry.

Chad and Everett traded barbs before Chad said that he intended to run the Spectator as a way of honoring Abigail. Everett said that he wanted the paper to be the best it could be. Everett hoped that he and Chad could find common ground and work together in a civil manner. Chad relented a bit, and he noted that he and Everett wouldn't be the first tumultuous working relationship in a newsroom.

Everett said that he had been a fan of Abigail's work. Chad received a call, and he learned by phone that Thomas didn't have money for lunch. After the call ended, Chad noted that Stephanie had handled Thomas and Charlotte's lunches. Chad said that the children had been through a lot since Abigail's death.

Everett sympathized with Chad, and he said that Abigail's death had been a tragedy. When Everett said that he needed to get back to work. Chad quipped that he and Stephanie belonged together. Everett scoffed, and he said that Chad and Stephanie would never have crossed paths if not for Everett's accident. Chad was unimpressed.

In the park, Brady and Tate stumbled upon Theresa, who had been trying to stuff a trash bag into a garbage can. The bag contained the tracksuit and hat that Theresa had worn when she'd helped kidnap Victoria. Theresa was defensive and confrontational. Alex appeared, and he accused Brady of being argumentative. Brady agreed when Tate asked if they could leave.

In Horton Town Square, Brady vented about Theresa to Tate, who wasn't interested. Tate revealed that he didn't want to return to boarding school and that he preferred to stay in Salem. Brady was surprised by Tate's admission. Brady asked if Tate had made friends at Salem High School, and he mentioned Holly.

Brady asked if Holly was the reason Tate wanted to stay in Salem. Tate admitted that he liked Holly, but he said that she wasn't interested in him. Brady handed Tate his gold card. "I want you to have fun... on me," Brady said to Tate's surprise and delight. Tate thanked Brady for his gesture. Brady told Tate to have a good time with Holly, and he left. Afterwards, Tate phoned Holly to ask her on a date.

At Alex and Theresa's apartment, Alex and Theresa decorated a Christmas tree they had purchased. They then had sex under the tree.

Johnny and Chanel reignite their love over dinner

Johnny and Chanel reignite their love over dinner

Thursday, December 14, 2023

At the hospital, Sarah was delighted to receive a late-night visit from Xander and Victoria. Xander and Sarah doted on Victoria. When Sarah said that she was exhausted from her shift at the hospital, Xander said that he was there if Sarah needed anything. Sarah touched Xander's hand before hurriedly leaving.

In Marlena's office at the hospital, Marlena welcomed a surprise visit from John. Marlena said that she needed to find a better balance between her work life and her home life, and she noted that the holidays were a difficult time for many of her patients. John presented Marlena with a framed picture of Jude. Marlena said that she was happy for Eric. "And, you know, Sloan, (too)," Marlena added.

Moments later, Sarah asked if she could see Marlena. John agreed to get coffee for Marlena and Sarah as he stepped out. Afterwards, Sarah told Marlena she was terrified that she was allowing herself to be pulled in by Xander again. Sarah admitted that she could never be "just friends" with Xander.

Marlena noted that Sarah was taking her feelings seriously. Sarah said that she wished she knew what the future held. Marlena suggested that Sarah stay in the moment and enjoy Victoria while she was still a baby.

By the nurses' station, Xander asked a standoffish John for tips on how to be a better person. Xander said that John had had a "dalliance with the dark side" years earlier. Xander added that he knew that some people only thought of Xander as a bad person. "Well, personally, I think you're an ass. And a screwup. But I'm also a firm believer that people grow and change... because I did," John said bluntly.

John added that Xander needed to do right by Victoria. "Which means for you, you got to turn over a new leaf -- and this time, for good. Not just for your sake, but especially -- especially for Sarah and little Victoria," John said.

When Sarah returned, John complimented Victoria before he headed back to Marlena's office. Afterwards, Xander asked if Sarah would mind if he walked her and Victoria home. Sarah was touched by Xander's offer, and she accepted.

Later, Sarah and Xander appeared in Horton Town Square after having taken Victoria to see Santa Claus. Sarah and Xander spotted a dollhouse. Sarah proposed that she and Xander buy the dollhouse together and present it as a gift to Victoria. "As a symbol of family," Sarah said. Xander seemed touched by Sarah's words.

Back in Marlena's office, John convinced Marlena to head home for the night. John placed his arms around Marlena, and they held one another closely. "You're my everything, Doc," John said. "And you're mine. We are so lucky," Marlena beamed.

At Paulina and Chanel's penthouse, Paulina said that she hoped Chanel wasn't rushing back into a relationship with Johnny. Chanel said there was still a connection between her and Johnny and that the connection was worth fighting for.

Paulina said that she had bad news, and she shared that she had learned from Eli that Lani's release from prison had been delayed due to backlogged paperwork. Paulina was furious, and she began to sob as Chanel sought to comfort her.

Chanel offered to stay in for the rest of the night, but Paulina insisted that Chanel and Johnny continue their plans for dinner at the Bistro. Chanel hesitantly agreed. When Chanel headed to her room to change, Paulina slowly began to pat her chest.

At the DiMera mansion, Holly was giddy with excitement after Johnny had joined her as a partner for a fencing session. Holly received a text from Tate, who asked Holly out on a date. Holly texted to say that she had already made plans for the night. Holly was dispirited when she learned that Johnny had dinner plans with Chanel.

When Johnny suggested that Holly ask Tate to join her, Holly said that boys who were Tate's age were only interested in sex. After Johnny left to shower, Holly texted Tate to say that she had changed her mind about dinner.

Moments later, E.J. and Nicole entered after returning from dinner at the Bistro. Nicole was delighted when she learned that E.J. had had a Christmas tree delivered to the mansion. Nicole thanked E.J. When Holly returned after changing into dinner attire, Nicole said that she was blessed to have Holly in her life. Nicole extended the same sentiments to Johnny and E.J.

On his way out, Johnny said that E.J. had received a package earlier that day. Nicole was saddened when she said that the package had been sent by the funeral home. At Nicole's insistence, E.J. opened the package and found a wooden box. "It's his ashes. It's our baby's ashes," Nicole said as she fought back tears.

Nicole lamented that she faced constant reminders of her and E.J.'s baby. E.J. suggested that the ashes could be a way for E.J. and Nicole to gain closure. When Nicole said that she wanted to spread the ashes, E.J. said that he knew the perfect place. Soon afterwards, Nicole and E.J. stood outside the front doors of the mansion. E.J. agreed when Nicole asked him to bring her a scarf.

Alone with the box, Nicole made an emotional plea to God to ask for forgiveness and for the strength to heal. Nicole then stared at what she believed was her son's remains. "I will see you again, my angel. And your brother and your sister. And until then, you -- you will be here always, in my heart," Nicole said through tears.

E.J. returned with a scarf, and he gently placed it around Nicole's shoulders as he wiped tears from her eyes. E.J. asked if Nicole was ready. Nicole nodded as E.J. reached for the bag of ashes inside the box. E.J. held Nicole by the hand as he spread the ashes into a tree outside.

E.J. and Nicole returned to the living quarters of the mansion a short while later. Nicole spotted a small, red gift box on the coffee table. When E.J. encouraged her to open it, Nicole was touched to discover that E.J. had purchased a Christmas ornament that featured a sleeping baby boy on a white heart.

E.J. and Nicole placed the ornament on the Christmas tree as a version of O Holy Night played in the background. E.J. placed his arms around Nicole. "Every year, we'll hang this ornament together, for our son," E.J. said. "And we will never, ever forget him," Nicole added.

At the Bistro, Chanel was unhappy when she saw Holly and Tate enter the restaurant. Johnny said that he had told Holly of his and Chanel's dinner plans. Holly stared affectionately at Johnny while Chanel and Johnny disagreed over whether Holly had a crush on him. Johnny asked Chanel to put Holly and Tate out of her mind.

Chanel mentioned that Paulina was under added stress due to the news of Lani's delayed release from prison. Chanel was skeptical when Johnny suggested that he could ask E.J. to pull some strings, and she doubted that there was anything E.J. could do. Chanel relented, and she told Johnny that Paulina could use any help available.

Nearby, Tate said that he knew Holly had only chosen to accompany him to the Bistro because of Johnny. Tate said that he was tired of Holly using him to get closer to Johnny, and he fumed that he couldn't wait to return to boarding school. Holly was taken aback, and she asked if Tate truly wanted to leave Salem.

Holly said that few people in Salem understood her, and she admitted that she liked having Tate around. "You did say that you would help me with Johnny, though. Just saying," Holly teased. "Yeah, well, now I'm 'just saying' that I won't. Not anymore. And you know what, Holly? You need to wake up. It's never going to happen between you two. It's just some crazy fantasy," Tate offered.

When Holly remained undeterred, Tate grew more frustrated and stormed out of the restaurant. Holly seemed speechless after Tate left.

Back at Johnny and Chanel's table, Johnny teased that there were perks to marrying into a rich and powerful family such as the DiMeras. Chanel said that she had realized that material things didn't make her happy, and she added that she felt the need to be "courted, romanced, and wooed."

Johnny spoke tenderly to Chanel. "Wooed, huh? So, what you're saying is, you don't necessarily need to live like a queen. You just need to be treated like one. Well then, Queen Chanel, I metaphorically bow down to you, as you are the ruler of my heart," Johnny said as he and Chanel kissed.

Across the restaurant, Holly seemed defeated as Johnny and Chanel kissed.

Baby Jude is kidnapped

Baby Jude is kidnapped

Friday, December 15, 2023

In the DiMera living room, E.J. was sipping his coffee when Nicole walked in, dressed in workout gear. "I thought I would go for a walk around the lake, breathe in some fresh air," Nicole said. E.J. offered to go with Nicole, but she said she wanted to go alone. "Last night was hard, obviously. But now that I know that our baby is at peace, I am at peace, too," Nicole said.

As Nicole left the house, she stopped at the flower bed by the front porch. Nicole thought about when she had said goodbye to her son's ashes in that spot. With a sigh, Nicole walked away.

At Sloan and Eric's apartment, Jude cried. A groggy Eric and Sloan complained that they had not slept all night. Eric started to get up, but Sloan stopped him. "You did all the changing and the rocking and the feeding last night," Sloan said. Sloan said she would take Jude out for a walk. With a nod, Eric turned over to sleep. Sloan put Jude in the stroller, and she announced that she would stop by the bakery. Eric gave a half-hearted thumbs-up without opening his eyes.

Leo woke up on a snowy park bench when a child hit him in the face with a ball. After Leo yelled at the kids, he muttered that he would get his revenge on Sloan.

In the town square, Sloan pushed Jude's stroller. "At least you're not crying anymore," Sloan said. With a chuckle, Sloan noted that baby Jude loved their morning walks. Sloan's phone rang, and she reluctantly answered it. "What do you want?" Sloan asked. "Your head on a platter, for one thing," Leo said. Sloan said she could not talk because she was with the baby. "You mean Nicole's baby?" Leo snapped. Leo called Sloan a baby stealer.

"My Dimitri was sent to supermax, which means I may never see his gorgeous face again, and that is on you," Leo said. "I'm sorry. It's a federal prison. There's nothing I can do," Sloan said. Leo argued that Sloan had not held up her end of the bargain. Sloan asked Leo what he wanted.

"Money and power. Which still won't make up for the fact that I'm not with my love. And so, for that, I will hate and detest your sorry ass for the rest of my life," Leo yelled. Sloan asked for time. Frustrated, Leo ordered Sloan to meet his demands, or he would make sure that she felt the same pain that he felt.

After Leo ended the call, a shaken Sloan accidentally dropped her cup of coffee. When Sloan looked in her purse for her wallet, she realized it was missing. "I must have left it in the bakery. All right, I'll be right back, little Jude, okay?" Sloan whispered to the sleeping baby. Sloan left the stroller parked in the square as she ran inside the bakery. Someone walked over and pushed the stroller out of the square.

Sloan exited the bakery, and she gasped. "Where's my baby?" Sloan asked. Sloan cried out for help. "Somebody stole my baby!" Sloan screamed. After Sloan called the police, she called Eric and woke him up. "The baby's gone," Sloan said through tears. Sloan told Eric that someone had taken their baby from the square.

In the pub, Marlena and Roman talked about how they had never seen Eric so happy in his life. "And isn't it wonderful to have a new grandchild?" Marlena said. Roman agreed. "I think I'm getting a little obsessed," Roman admitted with a chuckle. Marlena admitted that even though she had reservations about Eric's relationship with Sloan, she believed they would make their relationship work.

"They're family now," Roman said. "And I hope that they can really enjoy the happiness that a new baby brings," Marlena said. With a shrug, Marlena said she did not know how Sloan would be able to juggle a baby and her high-stress job. "I can't imagine she'll be giving that up," Marlena said. Roman agreed, and he noted that Sloan was ambitious and driven. Marlena's phone rang with a call from Eric. "It's Jude. He's been kidnapped," Eric said.

Harris sat at the foot of his bed with a sleeping Stephanie curled up under the sheets. "What have I done?" Harris muttered. Harris' phone beeped. "Crap!" Harris yelled. Stephanie stirred awake. "Oh, no. What happened?" Stephanie stammered. Harris promised to talk to Stephanie later, but he needed to go because there had been a child abduction.

At the DiMera mansion, E.J. stared at the baby ornament on the Christmas tree. An Amber alert buzzed on E.J.'s phone. "Dear God. Another missing baby," E.J. said. E.J. noticed the time, and he called Nicole's phone to leave a message. E.J. told Nicole that he was worried about how long she had been gone, and he asked her to call and check in.

In the square, Rafe ordered Harris to interview witnesses while he talked to Sloan. In tears, Sloan begged Rafe to help her. "I left my baby right here. And left his stroller right here, and then I went inside to the bakery for just like seconds, and then I came back out, and he's gone," Sloan said. Rafe let Sloan cry on his shoulder until she calmed.

"'So, you left your baby in the stroller?" Rafe asked. Eric ran up and hugged Sloan. "Why did I even leave him for just a minute? Like, what kind of mother leaves?" Sloan said. Eric hushed Sloan, and he told her to calm down and answer Rafe's questions. Rafe asked if there had been anyone nearby. Sloan shook her head no, and she said she had been on the phone. Sloan explained that Jude had finally fallen asleep after a restless night, and she had not wanted to wake him with the noisy bakery.

"And that's whenever I went in without him. I left him alone," Sloan said. Harris returned and reported that none of the witnesses had seen anyone leave with the stroller. "Do you have any idea who might have done this?" Harris asked. After a moment, Sloan shook her head no. "I don't know anybody," Sloan whispered. Eric took Rafe aside to speak privately.

"I hate to even think this, but as you know, Nicole --" Eric started. "Yeah, she once took a baby. Sami's baby. I'm going to head over to the DiMeras' right now and talk to her," Rafe said. Rafe left.

When Rafe arrived at the DiMera mansion, Nicole had not returned from her walk. Rafe explained that Eric and Sloan's baby had been kidnapped. "We just saw them last night. Where did this happen?" E.J. asked. "At the square," Rafe said. Rafe asked about Nicole. Concerned, E.J. asked Rafe if Nicole was a suspect in the kidnapping. "I'm just trying to find the baby," Rafe said. Furious, E.J. argued that Nicole was not capable of the kidnapping.

"We just said goodbye to our own little son last night, scattered his ashes," E.J. said. When Rafe said that was not relevant, E.J. argued that the ceremony had given Nicole peace. E.J. told Rafe that Nicole had given Eric and Sloan a gift for the baby as an apology.

"I'm glad she is at peace, but I still need to talk to her, okay?" Rafe countered. E.J. was adamant that he did not want to put Nicole through an interrogation. "My wife had nothing to do with this kidnapping!" E.J. stressed. E.J. ordered Rafe to find the real kidnapper. Rafe said he understood that E.J. had gone through hell with the death of his son. "But listen to me. I am not accusing Nicole of anything, okay? I just need to talk to her. So, just be rational for a moment. I'm just doing my job," Rafe said. E.J. said he understood.

"But as you can see, Nicole is not around," E.J. said. E.J. remembered that he had a locator app on his phone. When E.J. looked at the app, he noted it said that Nicole was still in the house. "Which means she left her phone here. Which is why she wasn't answering your calls," E.J. said. "And her car is still in the driveway," Rafe added. Confused, E.J. noted that Nicole had planned to drive to the lake and walk around it.

"The lake. Which is adjacent to the square," Rafe noted. "I know where the lake is, and I know what you're insinuating. And I will repeat, Rafe, Nicole did not kidnap that child. And since she didn't have a vehicle, where the hell could she have taken him, huh?" E.J. countered. E.J. warned Rafe not to fixate on Nicole and to instead track down the kidnapper.

At the Brady Pub, Stephanie sneaked down the stairs and slipped out the back door. Leo watched her from the front door of the pub. "Why would Stephanie Johnson spend the night at the Brady Pub?" Leo wondered aloud. Leo looked down at his hand on Jude's stroller.

In the park, Stephanie ran into Tripp. "I had a rough night, which I brought on myself," Stephanie confessed. Tripp recommended Wendy's smoothie, but the ingredients made Stephanie queasy. "How have you been?" Stephanie asked. "Long hours," Tripp said. Tripp asked Stephanie if it was true that she had moved back in with Steve and Kayla. Stephanie groaned.

"Why does Dad have to tell everyone everything?" Stephanie grumbled. Tripp reminded Stephanie that he was her brother. "Sorry, it's just, I feel awful about it," Stephanie said. Stephanie explained how Chad's jealousy had driven her away. "That's pretty extreme," Tripp said. "For me, it was the last straw," Stephanie said.

"I'm so sorry for what you're going through," Tripp said. Stephanie admitted that there had been problems with her relationship before Everett had arrived in town. "You seemed so happy together," Tripp said. "Chad's still grieving Abigail, and he still thinks of her as the love of his life," Stephanie said. Tripp noted that was a tough position. With a nod yes, Stephanie added that prior to Everett's accident, he had planned to propose to her. Stephanie explained that Everett had intended to propose when he had arrived in Salem, but she had been with Chad.

"Do you think you and Everett might get back together now that you and Chad have broken up? Or are you hoping that you and Chad can work things out?" Tripp asked. Stephanie admitted that she was concerned about Chad's kids, because she had served as a mother figure to them. "I'm sure you were, but Steph, you have to do what's right for you. No one else," Tripp said. Tripp noted that kids were resilient and that they had a loving family to support them.

When Tripp noted that Stephanie had stayed with Chad after Everett's return, Stephanie explained that she loved Chad. "And have you talked to Chad after all this went down?" Tripp asked. Stephanie told Tripp about her run-in with Chad and Alex. Stephanie remembered jumping into Harris' arms and kissing him. "And then what?" Tripp asked. Stephanie said she had drunk too much, but she did not mention Harris to Tripp.

"Just call Chad. Just talk to him, okay?" Tripp said. Tripp advised Stephanie not to throw away her relationship so quickly. Stephanie thanked Tripp for the brotherly advice. "I just want you to be happy," Tripp said. After Tripp walked away, Stephanie called Everett and invited him to meet for coffee.

At the police station, Sloan asked Marlena, Roman, and Eric not to judge her. "I know I shouldn't have left my baby alone," Sloan whispered. Marlena ordered Sloan to look at her. "Nobody is blaming you. And I don't want you to blame yourself. The important thing is that we find your baby, and that should be everybody's focus right now," Marlena stressed. Sloan nodded in agreement.

"I only left him for a few seconds," Sloan whispered. Leo pushed Jude's stroller into the precinct. "It was you?" Sloan said. "It wasn't me, whatever that implies. I did find this stroller in the alley behind the Brady Pub. No baby inside. Nothing in it at all, I'm afraid. I so wish I had found your child. You're my lawyer, you got me out of jail. I owe you everything, Sloan Petersen," Leo said. Sloan clenched her jaw.

Harris thanked Leo, and he announced that he would have the forensics lab dust the stroller for prints. "I didn't touch anything but the handles, just so you know," Leo said. "Let me know if you can remember anything else that can help us locate the baby," Harris said. Leo nodded yes, and he told Sloan and Eric that he would pray for the safe return of the baby. Sloan glared at Leo as he walked out.

"Excuse me. I need to freshen up," Sloan told Eric. Sloan followed Leo out of the room, and she pulled him into the interrogation room. "You think I took your baby?" Leo asked. "Of course, you did, just to get me to accede to your outlandish blackmail demands," Sloan said. Leo argued that it did not make sense for him to kidnap the child and then hand-deliver the empty stroller to the police.

"It makes perfect sense," Sloan growled. Leo noted that if Sloan truly cared about the baby and believed that Leo had him, Sloan would have told the police. "But you couldn't do that, could you? Because then everyone would know he's not really your baby," Leo said. Sloan started to walk out, but Leo grabbed her arm. "You aren't really fit to be a mother, are you? You're mean, selfish, all things that a mother shouldn't be. And hey, maybe I do know where the baby is," Leo said. Furious, Sloan shook Leo's shoulders and demanded to know where to find Jude.

"Why should I tell you? I ask and ask and don't receive," Leo said. Sloan asked Leo what he wanted. Leo listed all the things he wanted, from a home to a job to a savings account. "I don't have any of those things. The only thing I do have in this world is your dirty little secret, which I can blow out of the water," Leo said. After Leo walked out, Sloan collapsed into a chair. Sloan noted that Leo was the kidnapper. "And now, I've gotta tell them the truth," Sloan whispered.

In the bullpen, Eric encouraged Marlena and Roman to go home. "You need to stay positive," Marlena counseled. Eric promised to call Marlena and Roman when he had any news. "They're going to find that little guy," Roman assured Eric.

At the DiMera mansion, the servants searched the house for Nicole's phone and Nicole. E.J. noted that given Nicole's history and the coincidence of Nicole's disappearance when the baby had been taken, he understood why Rafe was suspicious. "But damn it, Rafe, I know what must have happened. Someone took her to get to me," E.J. said. E.J. blamed Clyde or Ava. Rafe assured E.J. that he would investigate all angles.

When Rafe returned to the precinct, he informed Harris that Nicole was missing. "You think she took the kid?" Harris asked. "I would suspect that, although I don't know how far she's gonna get without her car," Rafe said. Rafe added that Nicole's clothes and phone were at the house, too. Sloan returned to the bullpen, and Eric asked Sloan, "What's going on?" Sloan announced that she needed to tell Eric something.

At the DiMera mansion, E.J. wondered aloud where to find Nicole. E.J. looked at the entrance to the tunnels. "Is it possible?" E.J. said. When E.J. opened the door to the wine cellar in the tunnels, he whispered, "Oh, my God." Nicole was sitting with baby Jude in her arms. "I'm sorry, E.J. I'm so sorry," Nicole said. E.J. kneeled beside Nicole and hugged her.

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