Belle offers Chloe chocolates on Days of Our Lives

Jill Johnson/JPI

Rafe comes home with flowers for Ava, who is happily ensconced in the kitchen cooking dinner. They make out, but realize they need to “get it out of their system” before Nicole arrives to join them for dinner. While unpacking the groceries, Rafe whips out Duke, the stuffed bear he and Nicole share custody of. He figured dinner would be the perfect time to hand off the stuffed animal… who, once alone with Rafe, begins talking to him. (Oh dear.) Duke’s advice? Get out while the gettin’s good, because Rafe is about to chow down with his new love and an ex. Nicole arrives with Rafe’s favorite bottle of wine. (“Well, you tried it once and said you liked it, so I decided it was your favorite,” she explains.) He hands over Duke, who continues talking (although only Rafe can hear). As Nicole cuddles the creature to her bosom, Duke says — I kid you not — “You dirty dog, look at you! You’re licking your chops wishing you were where I am right now!”

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Rafe holds a bouquet of flowers as he kisses Ava in his kitchen on Days of Our Lives

While Nicole and Ava are making dinner, Duke continues to chat with Rafe, saying he “likes havin’ two good-lookin’ fillies fuss over you.” Did I mention that Duke talks as if he’s straight out of a John Wayne movie? Duke suggests Rafe is feeling guilty about the fact he’s drawn to both women. (Or, as Duke puts it, “hog-tied.”) Suddenly, Rafe grabs the bear by the throat and shouts, “Shut up!” Unfortunately, while he’s the only one who can hear Duke, both women are shocked by Rafe’s outburst. “What are you doing?” asks Ava. “And why are you doing it to the bear?” follows up Nicole. Rafe stutters through a really bad explanation, claiming he talks to Duke like a fellow cop. Soon, the trio is laughing the incident off.

Rafe strangles stuffed bear Duke in his kitchen on Days of Our Lives

Shawn and Brady meet up at Julie’s Place, where Rachel’s dad is picking up chicken fingers. (Apparently, she’s now old enough to have done a study and determined Julie’s has the best chicken fingers in town.) The reason Shawn wanted to get together? The department has released Kristen’s personal effects. Among them? A pic of Chloe that’s been carved up. Brady kicks himself for not having seen through Kristen’s disguise. (Join the club, dude, we’ve all been kicking you for that one for a while!) Brady insists that the woman who kidnapped Chloe is not the one he fell in love with. And while Shawn tries to say that it wasn’t Brady’s fault, he has to own that he was drawn to Chloe and Kristen clearly picked up on that. As for whether Brady and Chloe could ever have a shot at getting together, he points out that Philip is already putting the moves on her…

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Shawn and Brady talk at Julie's Place bar on Days of Our Lives

Overhearing Chloe saying goodnight to son Parker, Philip asks, “Is it creepy to be jealous of a 10-year-old-kid?” And Chloe’s right in saying, “Yes!” Getting to the point, Philip asks the million-dollar question: “Do I stand a chance with you?” Things get awkward when Philip won’t drop the topic, but Belle’s arrival gives Chloe a reprieve. With that, Philip exits to go pick up dinner from… why wouldn’t you know it, the very place where Shawn and Brady are discussing him!
While catching up with Belle, Chloe admits she’s somewhat charmed by Philip, but she can’t help thinking about Brady, who is still in the picture. “He has so much to sort out, and I feel like I would just complicate things,” Chloe muses. And then there’s Philip, who was so kind to her in high school and never thought of her as Ghoul Girl. Belle adds that Philip doesn’t have the baggage (read: Kristen) that Brady does.

At Julie’s Place, Philip arrives just in time to hear Shawn mildly trash-talking him. “Are you still so threatened by me?” asks Philip. The two men clash, with Shawn accusing Philip of having Chloe “holed up in that crypt you call a home” and trying to push Brady out of the picture. “You’ve had your chance with Chloe twice,” says Philip. “You need to stop screwing up my chance to finally make her happy again!” In turn, Brady and Shawn each accuse Philip of being the kind of guy who only thinks about himself. “If Kristen walked through that door right now and told you to come with her,” says Philip, “you’d turn into a zombie and follow her out of here!” But Brady insists he’s seen his ex for who she really is. When finally Philip walks away, the other men admit that sometimes, they both want to strangle him.

Abe visits Marlena to say that Eli is throwing a surprise party for Lani to celebrate their first anniversary. Abe invites her and John, but they’re previously booked. When Abe says that he’ll be bringing Paulina as his date, Marlena is taken aback, given that she thought the woman drove him crazy! Abe admits his opinion has changed, and that he’s been helping Paulina develop her plans. But Marlena can’t help wondering how Tamara will feel about him dating her sister! Abe says he’s leaving that conversation up to Paulina, but Marlena thinks her longtime gal pal would take the news better if it came from Abe. He agrees to take her advice into consideration.

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Paulina, Abe and Lani in front of the Sweet Bits sign in Horton Square on Days of Our Lives

Meanwhile, Paulina is making what should be a very private call in a very public face, the Horton Town Square. Of course, Lani walks up just in time to hear that her aunt is keeping something from Abe. Hard as Paulina tries to change the topic, even talk of Lani’s adorable babies can’t throw their mom off the trail. She wants to know what’s up! Eventually, Paulina says she’s ready to level with her niece. “My whole project for the square… it’s a lie,” admits the older woman… if only in her mind. Instead, she tells Lani a lie about having been involved with someone right before she arrived in Salem. But Lani — proving she’s a first-class eavesdropper — says she heard her aunt say Abe couldn’t know anything about “it.” What, she asks, is “it”? Paulina continues to evade, although she’s clearly being eaten alive by guilt. Shifting the conversation slightly, Paulina admits the whole Horton Square project makes her nervous because there’s so much that could go wrong.

Abe arrives and says he’s excited about the marketplace, because it will be his “legacy as mayor.” He then presents her with a building permit that must be posted before she can begin construction. The idea of doing something so public clearly makes her even more uncomfortable. Lani excuses herself, saying she has to swing by the grocery store because she’s cooking Eli a special anniversary dinner the following night. Abe immediately says she can’t do that, realizing that it will ruin Eli’s surprise party plans. But Lani is determined to cook, and Abe reels himself in before he can give away the surprise. “You are much better at keeping secrets than I am,” he says to Paulina, and she clearly is in no position to disagree!

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Philip and Chloe kiss in the Kiriakis mansion on Days of Our Lives

When Philip gets back to the mansion, Chloe admits she and Belle were talking about him. “We were remembering how close [you and I] were in high school.” He says they never had a chance to find out where it might go, and she suggests perhaps they’ll have that chance now. “I don’t want to rush things, but I do really like you, and I don’t know, maybe we could make this work,” she says before giving him a kiss.

At Julie’s Place, Shawn encourages Brady to do what he thinks is right. “I will… soon as I figure out what the hell that is,” the other man says, staring at the scarred picture of Chloe as Shawn exits. Walking out of the restaurant, Shawn runs into Belle and they compare the conversations they had with Brady and Chloe, respectively. Belle admits she feels bad for her gal pal, because “she’s really torn between the two of them.”

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Brady looks at a photo while sitting at the bar in Julie's Place on Days of Our Lives

After dinner, Nicole raises a toast to wonderful friends. Rafe apologizes for having been a downer, but the women say they both appreciate him more than he can know. Nicole picks up Duke, saying he can sleep in her bed tonight. “Get that look off your face partner,” quips the bear. “It’s not like you’re going to bed alone! But you have a decision to make, and you know it same as I do!”

Next on Days of Our Lives: Ben dreams of Ciara, and Claire and Allie make a gruesome discovery.

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