It’s almost lunchtime, and Ridge is on the telephone with Constantine, trying to puzzle out who was the “mystery woman” with the French accent who left the phone message for Rick. He’s determined to figure out who it was that Rick was involved with. Phoebe enters just as Ridge is hanging up, and Ridge springs it on her that he’s getting serious about Ashley. Phoebe is thrilled about Ridge and Ashley.

Ashley is busy working in the lab when Rick walks in. At first he’s friendly, asking why she missed an important dinner meeting the night before. When she’s evasive, he realizes she had been all night with Ridge. “You slept with him,’ he accuses, clearly unhappy. Ashley gets snippy with Rick, telling him that whatever happened between the two of them is over and to lay off Ridge. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” Rick says. Ashley gets serious all of a sudden, saying she feels like she has to tell Ridge the truth about them. Rick is uncomfortable, telling Ashley that he and Phoebe are “going through something” and that it’s “very hard on” Phoebe. He says he wants to soften the blow to Phoebe about him and Ashley by doing his best to make Phoebe feel not threatened by the two of them. He says he needs one more day. She agrees and the two hug, just in time for Phoebe to walk in on them. Ashley sees Phoebe over Rick’s shoulder and tries to play off the hug, saying, “So am I forgiven for missing that important dinner meeting?” but Phoebe is uncomfortable, suddenly struck with a flashback of hearing the “mystery woman’s” phone message. Ashley rushes out of the lab, leaving Rick and Phoebe alone.

Donna is on the phone when Brooke breezes in. Donna is beating herself up over having left the kids alone all night and that being part of what got CPS involved in Brooke’s life. Brooke tries to make Donna feel better, telling her it’s not her fault and to stop feeling guilty. She then switches the blame for everything to Stephanie, saying that this should have been between herself and Ridge and Stephanie shouldn’t be involved at all. She tells Donna about what happened the night before, with Stephanie not letting her see her kids and having armed guards escort her off the grounds. Donna is livid, asking Brooke why she isn’t all up in arms about this. Brooke tells her that she can only expend so much outrage on that woman, and besides, she still seriously doubts that Ridge is going to side with his mother and keep the kids away from Brooke like Stephanie wants. Donna disagrees, saying that there’s never been anything that Stephanie’s wanted that Ridge didn’t give her. Donna storms out, saying she’s going for lunch, but looking for all the world like she’s heading out on a mission.

Stephanie finds Thorne at the bar having lunch alone. She’s worried about him and gives him a little trouble about being alone, drinking, in a place where nobody would look for him. She asks how his blind date went the night before. Distraught, he says, “I wanted her to be Darla. But nobody can be Darla because Darla’s gone.” Then he tells her, angrily, that he just wants everyone to leave him alone. Stephanie takes his keys, tells him that she loves him, gives him a kiss, and leaves. No sooner is she out the door when Thorne is digging in his pocket again for his pills. He shakes a few into his hand and downs them with booze.

Back home, Stephanie answers the door to find Donna on the other side. Donna bursts into the house, saying she wants to see the kids. Stephanie tells Donna that Felicia has taken the kids to the beach, then adds that even if they were home she wouldn’t let her see them. Things get ugly between the two, with Donna telling Stephanie, “Two generations of my family have been scarred by you and I’m here to tell you there will not be a third.” She then goes on to tell Stephanie that while Brooke’s hands may be tied, hers aren’t and she intends to fight Stephanie tooth and nail over these kids. They sling nasty insults at one another, with Donna saying, “Pushing me over a balcony won’t be so easy,” and Stephanie retorting, “I don’t know. I think you’d bounce.” They argue as Donna heads out the door, with Stephanie yelling at her that she and her sister are exactly alike – “both tramps!” – and there’s nothing they can do to hurt her.

Ashley is admiring her new earrings in a mirror when Ridge surprises her by hugging her from behind. They’re acting flirty and playful when Ridge teases her that she’s got a sneaky side. Knowing that she’s hiding her history with Rick from Ridge, she thinly veils her nervousness by playing along, telling Ridge that she’s not sneaky, just private. She tells him that after last night there’s not much she could keep from him, and he says that’s good because he wants to know all her secrets. That’s about all she can take and she starts to tell him about Rick, even though she’d promised to give Rick one more day, but Ridge stops her from saying anything by kissing her and nuzzling her. Her face looks very worried over his shoulder.

Back at the bar, Thorne has dug out pictures of Darla once again – one wedding picture and one close-up face shot. He’s drinking heavily. Donna enters and is immediately annoyed at the sight of another Forrester in her midst. She tries to sling some insults, but Thorne isn’t going to play. Instead, he asks her for a ride home since Stephanie swiped his keys. He starts to get up off the bar stool and falls into Donna instead. She catches him, but when he looks up at her face…he sees Darla’s face once again. She morphs back into Donna again, but Thorne is obviously shaken by what’s happening to him.

The conversation between Rick and Phoebe is awkward now that they’re alone. Rick tries to apologize for their love-making fiasco, but Phoebe tells him not to. She’s not sure, however, that everything is going to be okay between the two of them. Rick tells her that he’s been thinking and he wants to be honest with her. He tells her that he’s been asking himself if he can be involved with her and not act on his sexual urges (quickly adding that he’s not ashamed of them), and that he wasn’t sure at first that he could do that. But then he says he started asking himself if he loved her and if she made him happy and when he answered both of those questions yes, then he realized that he can and will be with her without making love to her. Phoebe takes advantage of this “honest” conversation to press Rick about who was the other woman that he was seeing when they were broken up. Rick tries to evade the question, reminding her that she had said she didn’t have to know that information. She says it’s just that it will be something that will always be between them. She says that she now knows that he can accept her for who she is and she wants him to know that she will accept him the same way. Then she tells him that she’s figured out that it has to be someone he already knew by the way it happened so quickly. “She’s here, isn’t she?” she asks Rick. “She’s in this building.” When Rick doesn’t respond, she blurts out, “It’s Ashley, isn’t it?” Rick admits that yes it was Ashley. Phoebe is struck silent, but is near tears.