In the crypt, a horrified Ava shows Charlie her phone screen.
Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI

Sarah finds Eric on his phone paging through the shots from the photo shoot. She sits at the bar alone, explaining Xander is working late at his new job for a pharmaceutical start-up called Red Nax. She also delicately recounts her house call to Rachel. He flinches and asks how it was seeing her. She doesn’t think she’ll ever recover from losing her.

Sarah knows Eric is thinking that Xander is to blame. He confirms it. She understands, but credits Eric with helping her get past her own rage to see that Xander is a good and decent man. Eric is trying to find forgiveness for Xander since he’s her husband now. She vows he’s truly changed and would never again do something so terrible.

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Eric leans across the Brady Pub bar to Sarah. A glass of white wine sits in front of her.

At work, Nicole pages through the photo shoot pics on her laptop, as Rafe arrives with sushi. When she conveys that she hasn’t heard about the election, a snarky Rafe notes it’s because she’s been busy moonlighting as Eric’s top model. He wishes he heard it from her instead of Jada. She explains it was spur of the moment and shows him the steamy photos. He angrily wonders why he’s looking at his wife draped over her ex-husband. Nicole explains it was Alex’s idea after he saw their chemistry. Rafe bristles and implores her to admit they still have feelings for each other.

When Nicole insists nothing is going on, Rafe accuses her of gaslighting him. “This thing with you and Eric never really went away, did it?” Nicole tears up and says Eric is her past, but Rafe is her future. They’re friends and co-workers, and that’s it. He hears her, but it sounds like she’s trying to convince herself of that. Nicole wants to go home and talk about it, but Rafe doesn’t think there’s anything more to say. Eric bursts in to talk about the photos and Rafe storms out.

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Sitting at the Basic Black conference table, Nicole explains to an angry looking Rafe

Eric wants to run after Rafe to explain, but Nicole is tired of fighting her feelings and pretending she’s not jealous of him and Jada. Teary-eyed, Eric says he’s trying to do the right thing and respect her marriage. But no matter what he does he always finds himself in the same place… with her. He pulls her in for a passionate kiss.

In the DiMera living room, EJ explodes when Ava won’t answer her phone. In the crypt, Ava laughs over the fact that EJ won’t stop calling and ignores the call. Charlie nestles his chin on her shoulder and tells her how proud of her he is.

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At Basic Black, Eric and Nicole wrap their arms around each other and kiss

Xander puts on the clown mask and enters the garden shed to a bound and gagged Susan. He brought her a sandwich, but she’d rather go home to her catfish nuggets. Her taunts over what he’s doing sends him out of the shed. Xander calls Ava and warns if she doesn’t get him his money, he’ll let Susan go.

At the mansion, Tony finds a seething EJ who relays that Ava had Susan kidnapped. Ava calls demanding twenty million dollars. After he wires the funds, she will text him a location to collect his mother. Ava hangs up, and Charlie says he’s never loved her more. Back in the mansion, Tony offers to help EJ move around funds, but EJ assures him that won’t be necessary. Tony asks if he’s going to pay the ransom. EJ responds that he will do whatever is necessary to bring his mother home.

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In the creepy clown mask, Xander crouches next to Susan, who is tied to a chair in the garden shed.

Bonnie races into the Kiriakis mansion to tell Maggie Chanel’s been arrested for murder. They move on to talk about Xander and Victor’s issues. Maggie reveals it’s her and Victor’s anniversary and she can’t even celebrate with family because of their feud. Bonnie vows to get the family back on track.

Bonnie calls Sarah and reminds her it’s Maggie and Victor’s anniversary. She orders her and Xander to come to dinner. Later, a thrilled and grateful Maggie finds Bonnie preparing for the dinner party. Bonnie asks about steel centerpieces she once saw that would be the perfect table accent. Maggie tells her they’re in the garden shed.

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Clown Xander returns to Susan to tell her she’ll be going home soon. She’s thrilled but wonders how he can live with himself. Upon spotting his wedding ring, Susan wonders how his wife feels about her man being a low-down kidnapper. She psychically calls for Mrs. Clown to reach out to her wayward husband and put a stop to his wicked plan. Sarah calls Xander’s phone. He gags Susan and steps out of the shed to answer his phone. Sarah begs a reluctant Xander to come to the dinner party.

A thrilled Maggie greets Xander and Sarah at the mansion. She explains Justin is in Arizona, Victor isn’t down yet… and Bonnie is headed to the garden shed. Xander’s face falls. Meanwhile, Bonnie enters the shed and finds a bound and gagged Susan.

On the phone at the mansion, EJ says, “Let me know when it’s taken care of.” Tony assumes he wired the money, but EJ says not exactly. In the crypt, Ava gets an alert on her phone. She assumes it’s about her money, but instead, it’s a photo of Tripp bound and gagged with a gun pointed at his head.

Next on Days of Our Lives: Jada faces betrayal, and EJ gets the upper hand.

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See who’s in it for the long haul and whose problems are too big to overcome in our Days couples photo gallery below.