Nikolas is lying on the terrace unconscious in his black tux. When he comes around, he sees a white mask on the ground and screams. Then words "Eleven hours earlier" come up on the screen.

Sam and Lucky are among the first to arrive at Wyndemere. When Liz walks in solo, Lucky beams in her general direction and Sam doesn't look pleased.

Alexis is waiting for the launch when Jerry approaches her with compliments about how good she looks. She tells him not to even think about showing up at the ball. He says that a storm is brewing and he intends on making sure that the people he cares about are safe. And, if she's lucky, she might get to dance with him. Ric and Skye approach the launch and Jerry simply says, "The wind is shifting, this night could get a little messy."

Patrick and Leyla are approaching the castle entrance as they run into Robin who is coming alone. She politely tells them to enjoy their evening.

Next, it's Scotty who is waiting for the launch. As he stands alone, he is knocked out by Johnny and dragged into he bushes. Johnny takes his invitation, puts on his mask and gets on his way to the ball.

In the mansion's foyer, Alfred is greeting guests. He tells Alexis that her date isn't on the list ands he scowls at Jerry's arm around her waist. "Somehow that doesn't seem to bother him," she says. When Skye and Ric arrive, she asks Alfred if Monica and Edward have arrived yet and learns neither will be able to attend.

Kate arrives by herself and talks to Jax for a minute. Carly reminds her that the little magazine she wants her husband to finance was her idea, remember? Kate scrunches her eyes and asks her if they've heard from Sonny.

Trevor has already arrived when he gets a phone call from the Zacchara house. He is told that Anthony hasn't returned and Johnny is gone now too. The guard says that if the Spencer girl is at the ball, that is likely where they are heading.

In their private room, Nikolas wants a moment alone with Emily before they greet their guests. He breaks down and cries as he tells her that he's afraid that "this thing" will kill him and that only bothers him because he won't be able to wake up with her every morning. He's breathless, but is able to get four more words out, "Will you marry me?" She gleefully tells him that she will be honored to spend a long and happy life together. He pulls a ring box from his tux pocket and tells her that he will love her forever. They kiss and then remember that they have guests waiting.

Luke enters the mansion and says that his wife, Tracy Quartermaine Spencer, is late but will be joining him later. Scott appears from the bushes and accuses Luke of hitting him on the head and stealing his invitation. Luke calls him riff raff, slips the guards some cash and leaves Scott behind yelling.

Logan and Lulu arrive, followed by Georgie - on Coop's arm! She tells him that she couldn't bear to come alone and he seems pleased with the invitation. She says that she's not much of a dancer, but her sister is. Coop asks if that is why she invited him? Georgie says that she only wants him to give Maxi one dance. Across the room, Maxi is approached by a masked Johnny who asks if he can be her date. She sees that Coop and Georgie are arm-in-arm so she says "why not?"

The guests are all ushered into the ballroom and Nikolas welcomes them all. He makes a lovely speech about the endowment he is making to the hospital in Alan's name and then announces his engagement to Alan's lovely daughter. Liz hugs Em and Nik makes a point of telling her that he's glad she came. Lulu hugs Nik, followed by Lucky and finally Alexis. He asks why Jerry Jax is there and she says it's better that he's with her than alone. Nikolas glares but doesn't say anything.

Nikolas asks Emily for the first dance and they begin a lovely formal waltz with all eyes on them. Lucky walks out on the terrace and finds Liz watching alone. They are both thinking about the same thing - the time they sneaked into the first Bacchanalia in their jeans and sneakers and danced on the terrace. She says that they thought they would feel like that forever and he admits that the memory of that night got him through more than a few bad times. Then he says, "Elizabeth Webber, may I have this dance…for old time sake?" Liz doesn't hesitate, just offers her hand and they dance the same formal waltz that is going on inside. Sam comes out and sees them.

Inside Em and Nik have finished the first dance and the rest of the guests are invited to join in. Jerry and Alexis, Patrick and Leyla, Skye and Ric glide along the floor. Lulu and Logan don’t get that far however. Luke cuts in on Logan and Lulu gladly dances with her father. After the song ends, Nik and Emily tell them that they wish Laura would have seen them dancing together. Luke graciously tells Nik that his mother would be very happy with his engagement.

Outside, Scott is still arguing with the masked guards who are checking invitations at the door. Finally he is allowed entry and, as usual, Luke can smell him before he sees him.

(NOTE: FIFTEEN MINUTES IN THE MIDDLE OF TODAY'S EPISODE WERE PRE-EMPTED BY A LOCAL BREAKING NEWS STORY.)

Luke has pulled Logan into the study with him and tells him that Lulu may have come to the ball with him, but she ain't going home with him. Lulu finds them and asks what's going on, but Luke just smiles.

Out on the terrace, Liz and Lucky are finishing their dance. Liz comments that they have come full circle now. Lucky leaves her, but she's not alone for long. Sam comes out applauding Liz's "con job". They immediately start slinging insults. For starters, Liz tells Sam that she's evil because she knows that Jake is Jason's son and yet she stood there and let him be kidnapped. Sam quietly listens as Liz goes off on her. Finally Sam delivers a lethal line about the fair trade that they've completed. "You got Jason's kid and I got your husband." From this point it's a true cat fight. They grab each other's "up do" and yank with all their might as their body's twist around like wrestlers. Among the insults that are flying, one jumps out of Sam's mouth, "Jason will never love you." Lucky comes out on the terrace and pulls them off of each other. He asks what's going on and Sam dares Liz to tell him what they're fighting about.

Inside Carly and Jax are having fun together, but as soon as she sees Alexis, she sees a chance to check her cell phone. She pushes her husband into Alexis's arms for a dance.

Spinelli and Nadine look nice together, but the second he has a chance, he tells Lulu that he's only come to keep an eye out for her. She gladly accepts his offer to dance. Also on the dancer floor are Patrick and Carly. She is too distracted and politely excuses her self. She reaches for her phone and types "I need to 2 C you." Across the room, Nikolas offers Robin a dance and she happy to oblige.

It all seems so glamorous and romantic on the inside, but outside is another story. Anthony Zacchara has shown up and started beating the stairs with a pipe.

NEXT ON GH:

Carly texts "Study in 10 minutes."

Nikolas tells Emily that she might want to reconsider her promise to marry him.

Diane warns Jason that someone's going to wind up dead.

Alexis gives a blood-curdling shriek.

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