Nick hires Brooke as his new lead designer; Thorne hides his pain with booze and pills; Ridge gives Ashley a ring box
It’s all about work at Forrester Creations, as Nick and Brooke are crunching numbers and brainstorming about the future of the company. They decide that what they really need is a brand new designer – one that can stand up to Eric’s and Ridge’s design genius. Brooke volunteers for the job, telling a skeptical Nick that, although her expertise is in marketing, she has been studying design a lot lately and knows the business inside and out. Besides, she says, she needs something to distract her from sitting home alone and in the quiet now that the kids are gone. Nick is hesitant, but he says yes and gets a quick, exuberant hug from Brooke. He wants to tell Taylor about the decision, and gets ready to leave so he can tell her in person. Brooke reminds him not to tell Taylor about what happened on The Marlin because “it’s never going to happen again.”
Meanwhile, Felicia is trying to calm Eric’s nerves by reminding him that they don’t even know for sure if Nick is going to hire Brooke. “Nick may be a lot of things,” growls Eric, “but he’s not stupid.” Felicia, not knowing that Nick has just hired Brooke as his new lead designer, tries another tactic with Eric – telling him not to worry because their design team is head and shoulders above Nick’s. Eric and Stephanie begin arguing again about whose fault it is that this has happened, but Stephanie is distracted when she remembers that Thorne should have been in the office and she hasn’t seen him lately. Felicia tells Stephanie that she’s been watching Allie for the past couple days because Thorne’s “been so busy.” Thorne bursts in at that moment, happy and full of energy. He’s surprised to hear that Brooke may be working with Nick now, but, like Felicia, isn’t worried about it. Thorne announces that he’s going out with “Alanna,” one of the new models tonight. Alanna comes in and Thorne, trying to introduce her, has a hard time remembering her last name, but laughs about it and heads out to a preview at The Beach Club.
Ridge and Ashley are at home playing cards with Hope, R.J., and Abby. The kids run upstairs to play and Ridge tells Ashley that she’s made things so much easier for the kids by being there. He tells her she has a maternal side and that she’s “smart, beautiful…incredibly sexy.” They do a little kissing and then Ridge says, “Feels right, doesn’t it?” He tells Ashley that a couple months ago he was feeling lost and getting used to the idea of being alone. Ashley says that for a couple of years she was running, but the Forresters have become a second family to her. “I guess I don’t have to run anymore,” she says. She tells him that for a long time she thought he was being pulled in two different directions – hers and Brooke’s – but now she’s convinced he knows exactly what he wants. It’s clear that the two of them would like a little alone time together, which is fortunate because Ridge has already arranged for Stephanie to take the kids overnight.
Alone in Nick’s office, Brooke is looking through some files when Taylor walks in. Having come to the office to find Nick, Taylor is surprised and not too happy to find Brooke there instead. “What are you doing here, Brooke?” she asks. At first Brooke lies to Taylor, telling her that she just stopped by to see Nick. But when Brooke nicely asks Taylor about her doctor visit, Taylor presses Brooke, asking her why she’s being so nice when just yesterday she blamed Taylor for the judge’s decision to take away her kids. Brooke comes clean – admitting that Nick has hired her. Taylor thinks it’s a bad idea. “I know you’re married and I respect your marriage and I wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize it,” Brooke tells her, but Taylor admits that she doesn’t believe Brooke for one second. She tells Brooke that she thinks things are too volatile right now and that she doesn’t think it’s healthy for Brooke to be working alongside Nick when she’s still in love with him. But Brooke convinces Taylor that she would never do anything to jeopardize getting her kids back, and Taylor reluctantly agrees.
Thorne and Alanna enter The Beach Club ready to party. Immediately Thorne grabs a glass of champagne and wants to dance. Alanna excuses herself to “powder her nose,” leaving Thorne alone. He pulls out his wallet to pay for a drink and finds himself instead looking at a picture of Darla. Quickly he closes the wallet and pulls out a bottle of pills. He shakes a few into his hand and washes them down with a gulp of champagne.
After Stephanie leaves with the kids, an alone Ridge and Ashley are feeling very romantic. There’s lots of kissing going on, some wine, a fire. They’re on the couch and things are getting heated up. Suddenly Ridge reaches into his pocket and pulls out a ring box. He sets the box on Ashley’s knee. “What is it?” she asks, shocked. He tells her she has to open it to find out, leaving her (and the rest of us) wondering if he's about to pop the question.