Michael, still sitting in the bar on Christmas, is surprised to see Phyllis walk in dressed in a low cut top and leather jacket. He asks what she's doing in a bar like that at Christmas, but she doesn't know him! She comes on to him and he tells her to stop messing around. He wants to take her home to her family, but she says there's no one at home. He mentions Nicholas, but she doesn't know who that is. Michael says he'll take her to Daniel's place, but she tells him she's never seen Daniel since he was a baby. He asks if Daniel is with Danny, and Phyllis says Danny is dead and stalks out! Michael follows and runs into Paul, who tells him that Phyllis hasn't the faintest idea who he is, and that this experience he's having is a gift, in a sense. Michael tells him to stick his 'gift' - he's having a terrible enough Christmas thanks to his mother and father. Paul replies that Michael has no mother and father - he was wondering what it would be like if he was never born - well, now he doesn't exist!
A World Without Michael Baldwin
Michael is shown the awful truth about what the lives of his loved ones might be like if he had never existed.
Michael asks how Paul is talking to him if he doesn't exist? Paul tells him to look for the Christmas ornament Fen gave him in his pocket - Michael can't find it, or his keys, or wallet. Michael thinks Phyllis stole them, but Paul says no, she just left because she doesn't like talking about Daniel. Paul tells him that Phyllis lost custody of Daniel and Danny was stabbed, but since Michael didn't exist, and therefore, couldn't donate a kidney, Danny died and Brian Hamilton, Daniel's biological dad, took custody of Daniel! Michael still doesn't believe what Paul is telling him and wants to go to Crimson Lights.
They arrive at Crimson Lights in a world without Michael Baldwin. There are deadbeats inside, and Jana is waitressing. She is dressed as a punk rocker and is threatening to beat up the customers. Paul tells Michael that Jana's brain tumor is gone, but she can't escape her past - everyone treats her as a killer and she has staggering medical bills. Michael asks about Kevin and his 'free Jana' campaign, and Kevin and Gloria getting Jana the free surgery. Paul tells him Kevin was dealing with his own problems. Michael asks Jana about Kevin and she tells him that he's not here - he's behind bars. She shrieks at him to get the hell out! As Michael leaves, Paul warns him that for the people he's meeting - this is their reality. Michael asks if Kevin is really in prison - he can't handle that! Paul says people survive what they have to - or they don't survive!
Paul takes Michael to the prison where they see someone behind bars in an orange jumpsuit. Michael is shocked to see that it's Victor! Victor begins ranting about scumball lawyers, saying that he has been in jail for killing Ji Min Kim for a year! Michael says he spoke to the waitress and she was going to testify on Victor's behalf to prove his innocence. Paul says without Michael there, the waitress took off without testifying and Victor was convicted!
At Fenmore's, a severe-looking Lauren is serving customers. Paul and Michael arrive. He is stunned to see Lauren kick out a customer with a child. When Amber, who is an employee, apologizes to the customer, Lauren takes her to task. Lauren then turns to Michael, asking, "May I help you?" He says he wants a gift for his wife, and Lauren asks what she's like. He replies, "Sophisticated and classy - you remind me a great deal of her." Paul tells Michael that after her divorce she never met the right guy - her work has become her life. Traci Abbott comes in and Lauren serves her, but is extremely rude, warning her not to try on the clothes because she's too big, they don't fit her. Michael tells Lauren that the way she is treating people is appalling, telling her that she knows that deep down she is warm and wonderful. Lauren flips out, ordering him out of her store. Outside, Paul asks if he's had enough. Michael wants to know what is going on with Gloria - and Kevin.
Michael and Paul go up to Jabot and Gloria is there dressed in a long coat, and wishing the employees a Merry Christmas. She sits down in the reception chair and hugs a framed photo of John Abbott. Michael says to Paul, "She's not in prison? Leave it to my mother to be the one person who is better off without me!" Paul shakes his head. Jack Abbott appears and asks if he can help them. Michael says they've already found who they were looking for. They watch as Jack tells Gloria that someone spilled some red wine on the carpet - it needs to be cleaned up! Gloria removes her coat and a maid outfit is revealed. Jack also threatens to fire her if she sits at the desk again. Paul explains to Michael that since he wasn't around to defend her when she was busted for the face cream, Gloria was completely ruined. Michael goes to offer Gloria help cleaning up the stain. She notices that he has no wedding ring, and says she doesn't have family either. She then admits that she has one son, but doesn't see him. She refuses to tell him more. Paul leads Michael away.
Paul next takes Michael to an asylum and they stop in front of an isolation room. Michael hesitantly approaches and looks through the tiny window. Kevin is laying in the fetal position on a small bed. Michael goes in and says, "Kevin?" He doesn't respond right away, but soon sits up and asks if Michael is the new doctor. Michael asks how he wound up here. Kevin says women don't understand him. Michael asks how he handled that. Kevin says he didn't kill any women, but Lauren Fenmore led him on and he actually meant nothing to her. He admits that that was the first time he tried to kill himself. The next time was after Jana - she hurt him too, and he tried to kill himself with a gun, but it jammed. Michael brings up Tom, and Kevin goes ballistic. He then asks Michael to help him 'end it'! He says he can't stand the nightmares - he just wants it to be over! Michael says, "Never." Kevin says he's just like all the rest - wanting to keep him alive just to punish him. Michael tells him there is good in him, but he says it would be better if he never existed! Back outside, Paul tells Michael that this is what would have happened if he weren't around to support his brother.
Next, Paul takes Michael to the outskirts of town. They see Lauren kneeling at a gravesite - there are two tombstones - Paul's and Christine's! Paul says that Lauren comes to visit him everyday after work! He explains that he was killed by Isabella when Michael didn't appear to stop her. Paul says that now Michael knows how important he is to all of them. They listen as Lauren tells 'Paul' that she knows he never loved her as much as his precious Christine, but she loved him that much! Michael tells Paul he can't do this anymore - it's too much! They follow Lauren home. When Michael speaks to her as she puts her key in the door, she accuses him of stalking her. After she goes inside, Michael sobs against the door, asking for his life back.
Suddenly, Michael is back outside the bar where he began, holding Fen's ornament in his hand. He goes home and hesitantly opens the door. Lauren is on the phone with a worried look on her face. She turns and sees Michael, saying, "There you are!" Kevin and Jana rush to greet him, saying that he gave them a real scare. Paul comes to the door and is relieved to see Michael has turned up. Eden and Fen join the group and Michael tearfully embraces Fen. The radio speaks of a meteor shower outside, and Paul says some people believe they are a gift from the heavens. Michael wishes them all a Merry Christmas and everyone hugs and kisses!
Next on The Young and the Restless:
Murphy shows Katherine an obituary for Katherine Chancellor saying, "She kicked the bucket!"
Nikki and Victor run into one another in the stables.
Murphy and Katherine break into the Chancellor Mansion!
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