December 1,1999
 

Caitlin tried to convince her brother to help with her plan. She wanted to kidnap Trey before social services could take him. And even if social services didn't take him, he didn't deserve the life they had as children with a drunk for a mother. Didn't he remember what kind of childhood they shared? She reminded him of their mother keeping them up past midnight while she drank. Didn't he remember the fights their parents had in front of them? There was only one choice as Caitlin saw it. She and Trey would go in search of Cole. Sean worried that this might destroy their mother. Caitlin needed an answer. Would Sean help her or not? He couldn't say no to his sister. She had been helping him his whole life. So this meant that he would go with her to Europe? Anything she needed he would do. Caitlin then said that she would go to the bank and make sure they would have enough money to live on in Europe. If they were really going to leave Sunset Beach, Sean needed to make one last stop. He went to say goodbye to Emily. AJ invited Olivia into his arms. He wanted to help her stop drinking. Annie was shocked when she saw Olivia accept his offer. How could this be? The voodoo potion was supposed to be guaranteed. And with that thought, Olivia left AJ's arms. There was something pulling her back to the alcohol. And something in her simply didn't want to stop. AJ had seen all he needed to. He said his goodbye to Olivia. She stopped him. She didn't want him to leave her. If he would only give her another 24 hours, she would find the strength to stop. But she'd already had more time than he thought necessary. Tobias found it unbelievable that Olivia had chosen her addiction over her lover. Annie was happy to hear that this changed everything as far as he was concerned in regard to control of Gregory's estate. But what exactly did that mean? Tobias left Annie to think about that while he went to check on Olivia. He thought that if Olivia rested for a bit perhaps she'd be more like her old self. Annie said that this was her old self. The sober Olivia was the stranger to this house. And let's not forget about Olivia seducing Annie's father while she was married to Gregory. Tobias thought that Annie was being a bit harsh. Annie said that someone had to point out all this. Someone had to think about the welfare of Trey and the estate. Tobias called for Rose to help him. They took Olivia upstairs. Caitlin came home. She sent Rose out to get her mother a special vitamin drink. With Rose out of the house, Caitlin and Sean would have time to pack up Trey and quietly leave. They would be long gone before anyone noticed. While Caitlin was getting Trey ready for the trip, Olivia walked in the door. Just where did Caitlin think she was going with her son? In his room, Gregory phoned someone. He explained that he hadn't been able to go through with his lunch because his wife had started drinking again. Annie would just have to get her little surprise another day. Annie stepped into his room. What was this about a surprise? Emily told her mother that she had cleared her afternoon to be with her. She thought Bette could use an understanding ear. There was nothing Bette could think of that needed to be said. She was hurt by what Olivia was doing. There was so much pain in that house right now. They were all suffering. Even Sean? -- asked Emily. Bette had to admit that yes, even Sean was in a great deal of pain. She could see that her daughter still had feelings for him. Did Emily have second thoughts? In some ways, yes. But she felt secure in her decision to move on. She thought that somehow her choice not to sleep with Sean when they were dating was a sign that they weren't meant to be together. Did Bette think Emily could ever love anyone the way she loved Sean? She assured her daughter that she would find love again. This was a guarantee. After all, Bette had been married many times. And each time she had loved her husband wholly. But Emily shouldn't expect to love anyone the way she did the first time. That was something special that couldn't be repeated. But her next love would find new ways to complete her. Bette showed up at the office to have her feature copy checked. She was proud of turning it in early. AJ came in behind her. He told her that he had failed. Olivia had chosen alcohol over him. So did this mean that he and Olivia were over? It seemed likely. But he couldn't give up Olivia without a fight. There was one last thing he could try. But he would need Bette's help. He realized that he had no right to ask her, but he was asking anyway.

Derek kissed Meg with great intensity. Meg was looking for a way out of this without being obvious that she didn't want to be with him. When his cell phone rang, she thought it best that he answer it. He said that nothing could be as important as what they were doing. She suggested that the call might be about Benji. Well, he couldn't deny that. In fact, when he answered, there was an urgent message. Tess insisted that he come home pronto. After hanging up, he told Meg that he would have to leave. Meanwhile, Tess was at home with an unconscious Casey. When his cell phone rang, she turned it off. Whoever was in need of a lifeguard would have to find someone else. This one was out of commission permanently. When Derek walked in, he panicked. What had Tess done? Why was Casey bound up on the bed and conked out? She explained that she'd caught him in her room with the fake passports in his hands. She didn't have any choice. But what would they do now? They couldn't very well do the same thing they'd done with Tim. People would notice. Derek suspected that Sara and Meg were behind this. Well, if they couldn't continue with plan A, they would just have to switch to plan B. Tess started to get anxious, but Derek reminded her that they had already agreed on this. If their original plan went sour, they were going to use the alternative. They would have to take care of all three of their troublemakers. And they would start with Casey. Sara became impatient waiting for Casey. She decided to call him instead. But when she did, she got a message saying that his mobile unit wasn't working. This was most confusing because he always had his phone on. Where was Casey? And what was going on? Meg was glad to see that her sister was still at the shop. Sara explained that it wasn't by choice. It was Emily's day off and there was no one else to cover her. Plus, Casey had come by. He found out about their plan and put a stop to it. He had the key to Ben's house. She had promised him that she wouldn't do anything until he called. With all the issues they had about lying, she had no choice but to stay put. Meg felt the need to rush things along. Ben was about to leave town. There wasn't a lot of time left. She said she would call Casey. That wasn't an option either. Sara had been trying to call all afternoon. His phone was dead.

 
December 3,1999
 

Annie falsely assumed that Tobias had chosen to make her the executrix of Gregory's estate. Tobias had a wicked sense of humor. Why would he take her to lunch here? He said that she was the one who had pulled him out of the house. He had wanted to stay to take care of Olivia. But if Olivia was out of the picture and so was Annie, whom did he plan to give control to? Tobias said that he would keep control himself. He would move to Sunset Beach. In deference to his nephew's memory, he couldn't give Annie anything. She panicked. How could he do this? He had led her on. He had let her believe that she would have a pipeline to that money. He explained that she had shown no real interest in Trey. She had made no effort to get a real job. In fact, she'd done nothing but concentrate on getting Gregory's money. She pointed out that she had taken a job at the Liberty Corp. But Tobias said she never went to work. What if she got Jude to give her a recommendaton? Would he reconsider his decision? She left to get Jude to talk with him. Gregory sat alone dressed as Tobias. He ordered a nice piece of German chocolate cake. It seemed as though he was going to be able to have his cake and eat it too. Jude tried to get some work done in his office. Looking across the office, he remembered his magic night with Annie on that sofa. After that, she had let him down time after time. They were supposed to have lunch today and she didn't even come through on that. Annie came in and asked what she could do for him. There was nothing she could do that didn't need to be done three hours ago. If that was the case, then there was something he could do for her. She wanted him to call Tobias and state that she was invaluable to the company. This was amusing. Jude couldn't risk his reputation in the business world with such garbage. She pleaded that with this simple call she would be out of his hair for good. He took the business card (with the phone number where he could reach Tobias) and burned it. Had he lost his mind? What about the time when she had helped him with those figures? He said that he could buy a calculator for that. She wasn't asking for something she didn't deserve. Even as a child, she had been pushed aside and overlooked. Jude insisted that she leave his office for good. This was the last straw. If she weren't gone in five minutes, he would have security remove her. She imagined that Jude would be working with Tobias and excluding her completely. The frustration of being shut out caused her to wipe his desk clean, throwing everything on the floor. She sat in his chair crying. Jude reached around with a tissue to comfort her.

Pseudo nun Amy offered her newfound spiritual understanding to Emily. Emily wasn't buying this. Not only did she not get the whole nun thing; she wanted to know why Sean was leaving Sunset Beach. Amy was astonished by that newsflash. What did Emily mean? Where was he going? This was a complete shock to her system. Emily could see that Amy didn't know anything about his exit. Amy said she had to go stop him. Emily didn't see why it should matter to Amy so much. She had given herself to the Lord. Or was this just another stunt to get Sean? "And what if it was?" asked Amy. She had no time to waste talking to Emily. She had to go stop Sean. Emily said that it wouldn't do any good. Amy assured her that she could talk to him in a way that would make him stay. She barreled out in hopes of stopping Sean. Olivia collapsed on the sofa in utter despair thinking of the loss of her children. She couldn't let them leave. She would call the police, but the sight of the alcohol stopped her. When the police answered, she hung up. Rose came in to check on her. She told Rose that her children had left. Sean and Caitlin had taken her baby as well. She had lost everyone. Even AJ had left her. And this was all for a bottle of alcohol. Rose said she was right. They should have gotten rid of that bottle last night. But Olivia stopped her from taking it. She couldn't stop drinking. Rose begged her to put down the bottle. Unfortunately, Olivia's compulsion was worse than ever. This time the bottle was consuming her. Rose prayed for God to help her, but Olivia said prayers wouldn't help this time. There was nothing anyone could do. When Maria von Mantrap came in, Rose was amused by the get-up Amy was wearing. Amy didn't want to hear it from her. Did she know where Sean was? Rose confirmed that Sean, Caitlin and Trey were all gone. He had left a note for Amy. In the note, he said goodbye. He was glad that she had found her calling at the convent because he was sure that his mother wouldn't let her stay at the Richards house. Olivia walked back into the room. If her world wasn't already falling apart, she would find Amy's costume somewhat amusing. Amy was distraught that Olivia's drinking had caused Sean to leave. This wasn't supposed to happen. She could've stopped this.

Carmen walked toward Antonio's office, still thinking about the fact that she'd seen Ricardo standing. She thought Antonio should know what was going on with his brother. Was everything okay? -- Antonio asked. Carmen wasn't really sure. That's why she had come. She remembered promising Ricardo that she wouldn't say anything. So she only told Antonio that she was worried and that Ricardo had asked her not to betray his confidence. If Ricardo had asked her to keep a secret, Antonio thought she should do just that. Normally she would, but this was too important. They were interrupted by a phone call from Ricardo. When Antonio told his brother that Carmen was visiting, Ricardo asked to speak to her. Emily came in to speak to Antonio regarding Amy's new religious vocation. He stepped outside to counsel her. Emily asked if Antonio had indeed given Amy permission to join the convent. He confirmed that Amy had been to see him, but he had turned her away. That's when he learned that Amy hadn't given up. Emily told him that Amy was strolling around in a nun's habit. He stopped a nun walking through the hall to ask if she knew anything about this. She said that Amy had come to her and asked to borrow the clothes for a paper she was writing for a class. When the nun learned that she had been duped, she was very disappointed. Father Antonio said that all would be all right. He thought perhaps he should go find Amy. Emily thought things would work themselves out. Carmen came out of his office. She said she would talk to him more tomorrow. For now, she was going to visit with Ricardo. Ricardo stared at a picture of himself with Gabi and Antonio. He didn't even know who those people were anymore. But they would have to pay. Tonight was the night for revenge. Gabi joined him on the bed telling him how nice their night together had been. He agreed. There was a favor he wanted her to grant him. He wanted to go away with her. There was a timeshare he had up the coast. He thought it would make a perfect getaway, but he wasn't sure it was wheelchair-accessible. He wanted Gabi to go check it out first. But she shouldn't go alone. He asked her to take Antonio along. And there was no time like the present. Would she go tonight? She didn't understand why he was pushing her to be with Antonio. He assured her that his motives were pure. He simply felt that no one could look after her better than Antonio in his absence. He claimed to have already checked with Meg and Vanessa. Neither could do it. This could help him in trusting her alone with Antonio. She said that his brother was a very busy man. What if he couldn't go either? Ricardo thought they should call to ask. Ricardo got an unwelcome surprise when he learned that his mother was at the rectory. He asked Antonio to put her on the phone. Then he asked Gabi to go check the mail. With Antonio out of the office (talking with Emily), Ricardo had a moment of privacy with Carmen. She admitted that she had come to tell Antonio that Ricardo could walk. He insisted that his mother leave the rectory immediately. She had sensed that something was wrong when she was with Ricardo, and her fear was even stronger now. Antonio should know and she was going to tell him. Ricardo backtracked apologizing. If she came to his house now, he would explain everything to her. But she had to leave the rectory without saying anything to Antonio. She agreed. When she got there, Ricardo was still alone. What was so urgent, she wondered, that he needed to send his wife away so he could talk to his mother in private? Ricardo said that he was just trying to save up his surprise -- and not let anyone know he could stand up -- so he could eventually show off. He only needed a little more time to get ready. Carmen knew that her son was keeping something from her. Why was he lying to her? Lying? Gabi and Antonio walked in, wondering what Carmen was talking about.

 
December 6,1999
 

Carmen asked her son to stop lying to her. Ricardo insisted that he wasn't keeping anything from his mother, but she knew otherwise. Gabi and Antonio walked in. Was Carmen right? Was Ricardo lying to his mother about something? -- Antonio wondered. Ricardo admitted that he had been lying to all of them about something. He said jokingly that he was a drug kingpin. Antonio thought his brother's remark was funny, but still asked if Ricardo was seriously keeping something from them. Ricardo pointed out that he was stuck in this bed 24 hours a day. His life was an open book. Carmen reluctantly said that maybe she had read her cards wrong. Ricardo asked Antonio to get some new records out of the basement for his jukebox. Gabi went to show him where they were. Alone with his mother, Ricardo asked what she thought she was doing. He had told her how important it was that she keep his secret. But Carmen just didn't understand why he would want to keep such incredible news from his brother and his wife. Ricardo threatened his mother. If Carmen breathed one word to Antonio or Gabi about his walking, it was over between the two of them. He would never speak to his mother again. Antonio came back with the records. What was going on here? Ricardo said that his mother was just leaving. He asked Gabi to give him a few minutes alone with Antonio. She offered to wait on the patio. Outside, she found Carmen still hovering. Inside, Ricardo asked Antonio to take Gabi up to the cabin. It would be helpful if they could go tonight. Antonio said that was out of the question. There was a special class at the mission that he had to run tonight. He would be happy to go up tomorrow afternoon. Ricardo really needed him to go tonight. Outside, Gabi asked Carmen to tell her what was going on. Carmen thought perhaps she should let Gabi know.

Vanessa came home to find cardboard cut-outs of Michael, Antonio, and someone that seemed to be her, except the face was cut out. It was a wedding party. Michael said that if she chose, she could be part of the picture in front of her. She didn't understand. She had already said yes to his proposal. But Michael had a new plan. He wanted to move the wedding date up to December 31. It would be an exciting event. She thought it would be rushed. Considering their hectic work schedules, there was no time to prepare the kind of wedding they had talked about throwing. If she wasn't going to give in easily, then he had no choice. He was going to have to pull out the big guns. And with unbelievable timing, the doorbell rang. Vanessa opened the door to her mother. What a beautiful shock! Until now, Vanessa had believed that her mother would never recover. It was so good to see that she had her life back. Lena was thrilled with the New Year's Eve wedding plans. Vanessa said that those plans hadn't really been settled yet. Lena seemed disappointed by this. She said that she needed to use a phone in privacy. It turned that she still had one more treatment to go. She would only be able to stay the night. Meanwhile, Michael had promised big guns, as in plural. He handed Vanessa an envelope. In it she found four ticket for a cruise to Africa. But why four? He planned to take her parents along too. She found his offer odd, but romantic. He offered to explain his choice, but she stopped him. She would move the date up.

Annie sat in despair as her life fell apart. She hadn't gotten the money or the guy. Jude handed her a tissue. He admitted caring for her. His ordering her out of Liberty Corp. was just business. Things weren't working out at the office. But as much as he knew he shouldn't, he did care for her. She needed to know if he had true feelings for her. He thought that he did, but he didn't feel as though he truly knew her. She feared that if he really got close, he wouldn't like what she truly was. She had done some horrible self-serving things lately. And as it turned out, it was all for nothing. Tobias would not be making Annie the executrix of the estate. She thought maybe he was right to do so. It seemed that everything she touched fell apart. Jude thought that perhaps this was ultimately going to be good for her. She might finally figure out that she didn't need Gregory's estate. She only really needed someone to take care of her. He moved in for a kiss. Just then, Amy burst into the room. Jude thought the language he now heard coming from the lips of a nun (as Amy was still dressed) was a bit much. Annie was interested in what Maria von Mantrap had to say. She asked for a moment alone with Amy. What did Amy think she was doing busting in like that? Amy told her that Sean was gone for good. He had left town because of Olivia's drinking. And Olivia was only drinking again because of Annie's potion, so Annie had some answering to do. If she thought she could brush Amy aside, she would find out exactly how bad Amy could be. If Annie didn't help her bring Sean back, Amy would tell everyone what Annie had done to Olivia. AJ made a surprise appearance at Bette's. He had come at least partly because of Olivia. Bette agreed that they had to help her stop drinking. He said that he needed Bette in his life. He took her in his arms for a kiss. And then Bette awoke. The doorbell rang a second time, this time in reality, and it was AJ. He had come to talk about Olivia. There was something he needed help with. They needed to plan an intervention. It was the only hope they had of getting Olivia back. Emily came in with the news of Sean's leaving town. Bette and AJ were shocked by this development. AJ called his voicemail to see if he had any news. He said there was a message from Caitlin. This was more serious than they thought. He told them that Caitlin and Trey were gone too. He and Bette felt that they needed to check on Olivia immediately. Emily would be fine alone. Olivia and Amy got into a snarkfest over Olivia's drinking and Sean's departure. Amy hinted darkly that Annie might somehow be involved. Amy thought back to Annie threatening to tell Sean about the love potion. But Amy could see now that she had lost Sean anyway. This was partly Olivia's fault. If she hadn't made Annie hate her so much, Sean would still be here. Olivia demanded that Amy tell her what Annie had to do with Sean leaving. Amy wouldn't answer the question. She only said that Annie would help her bring him back. She added... that is, if Olivia didn't love the alcohol more than she did her own children. Olivia slapped her. Amy was more than willing to have an all-out fight if that was what Olivia was looking for. Tobias came in. Amy excused herself to go find Sean. When Tobias learned that all the children were gone, Gregory almost blew his cover. He yelled at Olivia asking how she had let this happen. She picked up on Gregory's tone. He ignored that, slipping back into his Tobias character. He had come to take care of the children and now they were gone. What he meant was that he was here to protect the welfare of Trey. It was not Caitlin's place to do so. He thought that Olivia should go upstairs and search Caitlin's room for clues as to where they might have gone. Alone, Gregory lost it. He had not gone through all of this to see Cole brought back into their lives. Jude walked in as Tobias threw a glass against the wall.

 
December 7,1999
 

Amy threatened to blow the whistle on Annie if she didn't help her get Sean back. "You are way out of your league," responded Annie. Amy would tell everyone of Mrs. Moreau. She didn't need proof because everyone already knew that Annie had it in for Olivia. However, to strengthen her case, she would take them to meet with Mrs. Moreau. If Annie wanted to stop this, she must find a way to get Sean back in town pronto. Had Amy lost her mind? -- Annie wondered. What had happened to make that "empty little mind" of hers think that she could come in and order Annie around? Anyone who connected Annie with Mrs. Moreau would also make that same connection with Amy. No one would look at her love potion (the one she'd used to seduce Sean) very favorably. And of course the rest of Sunset Beach would merely pity a poor little girl who had to drug a man to get him in her bed. And even then, she couldn't keep him there. With her last sting, Annie started to leave but Amy wasn't finished. Amy's only reason to keep her mouth shut about Mrs. Moreau was Sean. Now it looked as though he might never come back. If Annie didn't help her get him back to Sunset Beach, she would start singing like a canary. Annie warned her not to become a singing nun quite yet. This was much more serious than a silly game of trying to land a boyfriend. Amy had drugged a man to get him into bed. That was a crime. If Amy said anything, she would end up serving 10 to 20 years. Furthermore Annie would tie Amy to everything she had done to Olivia. If Amy thought that simply swearing her innocence would help, she was really foolish. Everyone in town knew Amy to be a conniving witch. But what Annie seemed to be missing was that Amy had nothing left to fight for. If she went to jail, she would have a roof over her head and three meals a day. Without Sean, she had no reason to live. The last ounce of pleasure she could find would be to take Annie down with her. She would love knowing that Annie was in the next cell over. Bette stepped into the fray, wondering what these two fine ladies were up to. Tobias suggested that Olivia look in Caitlin's room for clues as to where the children had gone. Gregory had not gone through all of this to see Cole brought back into Caitlin and Trey's life. He threw a glass against the wall. The crash of the glass nearly struck Jude in the head as he entered. Tobias refused to answer any of Jude's questions, only stating that he barely knew him. Jude should mind his own business. But the whole business unraveled in a matter of minutes when AJ and Bette came in asking Olivia if Caitlin had really taken Trey and gone to find Cole. Jude was shocked by this information. Had Cole contacted Caitlin? No, he hadn't, but she'd gone to find him anyway. Tobias and Jude made plans to track them down. Olivia wanted to help, but AJ and Bette insisted on having a private moment with her. Bette suggested that if Olivia wanted to do something to help her children, she would get sober. Couldn't she see what her drinking was doing? She had fought to get Trey back in her life, and now she had let him go so easily. Neither AJ nor Bette could stand by and watch Olivia's downfall. They would both walk away if she didn't stop drinking. This was her last chance. Olivia knew that they were right about everything and she couldn't stand it. They had said nothing to her that she hadn't said to herself a thousand times. She knew fully well what she had done. Bette promised Olivia that her children would come back if she stopped drinking. AJ offered to get her any help she needed. Olivia asked for some time alone with AJ. Bette left to go check on some work. Tobias went to see what Jude had found out. Jude was upstairs making inquiries everywhere. He was ordering reports from every major newspaper in the world. Jude looked at a framed photo of Caitlin on her desk and remembered promising her that Cole would come back to her. Downstairs, Olivia thanked AJ for everything he had done for her. He sensed that she was saying goodbye. She was. She was setting him free. Upstairs, Tobias wondered if Jude had found any leads. He had not as of yet. But before Tobias could go, Jude said, "This isn't working out as planned. Is it Gregory?"

Gabi asked Carmen to confide what was bothering her. Carmen was very worried about Ricardo. Gabi asked for specifics. Carmen thought back to the night when she had walked in on Ricardo standing. She also remembered his serious tone in asking her to keep his secret. Carmen insisted that she was only worried about Ricardo and Gabi. Gabi offered that she and Ricardo had experienced some rough spots but things were looking up. She sensed that Carmen was keeping something from her. Carmen then claimed to be worried that Ricardo might be overdoing it. Gabi promised that she would watch over him. Carmen could see that Gabi was telling her the truth. She excused herself. At home, Carmen looked for council from her cards. She could see trouble for her children. But which one? Ricardo asked his brother to take Gabi up to the cabin tonight. Antonio was more than willing to help his brother, but he needed to wait until the next day. Ricardo persisted. This was very important to him; it had to be done tonight. Antonio didn't understand why his brother was so annoyed about a one-day postponement. Antonio had a Communion rehearsal at the church tonight and he simply couldn't skip it. Ricardo apologized. He was just frustrated, being stuck in the bed. He explained that he wanted Antonio and Gabi to go check out the cabin now, because the time-share was running out and he was still hoping to plan a honeymoon with Gabi. Antonio said he would phone the church to see if he could find a replacement for tonight's rehearsal. Ricardo wondered what Gabi and Carmen had been conferring about for so long. Gabi said that his mother was worried about him. Had she said anything specific? No, but Gabi felt as though Carmen was keeping something from her. Antonio returned from his phone call with good news -- he had found a priest to replace him tonight. He and Gabi could leave right away. Not soon enough for Ricardo. With this last move, he would finally have his revenge. He reviewed each step of his set-up plan: planting a bag at the airport, placing fingerprints on a glass, and making sure Michael knew about a special life insurance policy. These two would never know what hit them. Antonio and Gabi were finally on their way. Gabi stopped to pick up the mail. She hadn't noticed an envelope from the insurance company marked urgent. This seemed like something she need to handle before leaving.

Brad realized, as he talked to Emily, that she wasn't listening to anything he said. He tested his theory by telling her he'd been out on a date with Chelsea Clinton. She apologized for being distracted. It was something about Sean. He wondered what trouble the rich boy had gotten himself into this time. She didn't know, but Sean was gone. Gone for good. Brad hid his pleasure in hearing that Sean had left Sunset Beach. Could this be a tactic to get her back? It wasn't Sean's style. Brad thought Amy would freak when she learned about Sean's departure. Too late. Emily had already told her and she was "nun too happy." Where had Emily seen Amy? She told him that she had visited the church. Brad wondered if Amy was trying to pull a Julie Andrews routine. She had missed one step, though, because Sean didn't have a flock of children for her to become governess to. Emily felt like a fool, forever believing that Amy was her friend. Brad offered that Emily was just a kind, trusting person. He thought back to Amy saying that if she got Sean, it would leave a clear path for Brad to pursue Emily. Now Emily was sitting right next to him.

 
December 8,1999
  Gabi stopped on her way out when she saw a letter from the insurance company. Had Ricardo signed up for a life insurance policy without telling her? He thought it was probably just something related to his accident. If Gabi and Antonio would just go ahead and hit the road, he would go through the mail. It was the one thing he could do. Antonio thought it looked too important to put off. Ricardo urged them to let him take care of it. If they were going to make it to the cabin tonight, they needed to hit the road. With them finally out the door, Ricardo got out of the bed. Everything was finally lined up in place as he looked at the insurance policy. Antonio and Gabi drove toward the cabin. She thanked Antonio for changing his schedule. She didn't know these back roads at all. Antonio thought it might be better if she did. He wouldn't be out here tonight if his brother hadn't insisted on it. When they got to the cabin, things looked fine to Antonio. He again mentioned his suspicion that Gabi had been keeping something from him for a while. She said that anything she may have lied about was for Ricardo's sake. Antonio asked Gabi to tell him what she had lied about. Meanwhile, Ricardo was at home setting them both up for the revenge of a lifetime. He made sure that all the paper trails pointed to Gabi. With everything in order, he called Michael. There was something that he thought Michael would want to see. Ricardo said he had something to show Michael that he couldn't show to Gabi or Antonio. It was something that was going to change everything. Bette interrupted an intense conversation between Annie and Amy. Annie started to explain, but Bette had already heard enough. What was Amy holding over Annie? -- Bette wondered. Annie claimed that she was trying to turn a new leaf. If Bette wanted to talk about this further, they should go out to eat. Amy insisted on staying to make sure Bette heard both sides of the story. It seemed that Amy would be telling a much different version than the one Annie had in mind. For starters, Bette didn't buy the whole nun thing. Annie agreed that Amy had gotten into the whole nun thing a bit quickly. Bette found her niece entertaining, but she was interested in hearing what Amy had to say. Amy pulled back, saying that perhaps Annie was right. Maybe she had just gone too fast in focusing on her spiritual side. Annie promised to help Amy through this. On that note, Amy took her exit. Bette didn't buy a word of what had been said. She looked at Annie for a real explanation. Why was it that her aunt never trusted her? -- Annie pouted. Bette didn't have time for these foolish games. Her friend was in real trouble right now. Annie scoffed at the idea of worrying about Olivia. Bette asked if she had any feelings at all. Couldn't she see that Olivia was bleeding to death emotionally? What Bette didn't get was Annie's hatred of Olivia. Bette pointed out all the help she's received from Olivia through the years. The drunk that they now saw wasn't the real Olivia. She was a human being who didn't deserve what was happening to her. Annie couldn't let go of all the pain Olivia had caused her. Bette begged her to be more compassionate. Then Bette saw something in her eyes. Did Annie have something to do with this? Annie said that she hadn't placed the glass in Olivia's hand and make her drink. Bette pointed out how much in common Annie and Olivia had. Annie's need for love was just as strong as Olivia's need for the bottle right now. Bette feared that Annie was headed down the same road of destruction as her friend. Olivia didn't want to let AJ down. He had asked her to make a choice between the alcohol and him. She knew that she couldn't ever be sober again. AJ insisted that he had spent too much time fighting to be with her. He couldn't just walk away so easily now. But Olivia was out of strength to fight. She had used up most of it saying goodbye to her children. AJ wasn't going to let her give up so easily. What was so different this time about her drinking? -- he demanded. There was just no stopping it this time, she said. No matter how many times he looked at her with that terrible pity in his eyes. He should do them both a favor and get out. He followed her as she went upstairs. A bit later, Jude walked him back downstairs. AJ hoped that Olivia would begin to see things more clearly, but she had said it wouldn't happen this time. Jude asked his boss to promise him that he wouldn't destroy himself over Olivia. AJ said he suspected that he might have to rely on Jude's friendship in the coming days. Amy entered the Richards house as AJ headed out. The sight of her in a nun's habit defied commentary. She asked if anyone had heard from Sean. Jude stopped her from going upstairs, explaining that there was no news. He had some things to say to her. He wanted to know what was going on between her and Annie. She said that everyone would know soon enough unless she and Annie came to an agreement soon. What did that mean? Like she said, he might know soon. Now she needed to go take care of some things. As did Jude. Jude hung up the phone in frustration while searching for Caitlin's whereabouts. Gregory came in, dressed as Tobias, wanting to know if he had found out anything. Jude said, "This isn't going as planned, is it Gregory?" Very quickly, it became clear that they were in cahoots. Jude reminded him that he was here to help Gregory. He was here to make sure that Gregory got what was his. But it was more than that for him. There were scores to settle. Things had gone well with getting Jude into the company and his becoming a trusted confidante to AJ. Gregory reminded Jude that he was also supposed to be Caitlin's friend. He should know where she went. Jude assured Gregory that Caitlin would be back. This was her home. Gregory ordered Jude to get Caitlin back now. Olivia walked in while Gregory was ordering Jude to find Caitlin. He slipped easily back into his Tobias character. Olivia talked to Tobias about AJ's refusing to leave her be. She said that AJ just wouldn't understand that she wasn't going to get better this time. It seemed as if she had jumped out of an airplane and was free falling. All that she longed for now was to hit the bottom even if it killed her. Tobias was the only person she could confide in this way. He was the only one that didn't judge her every move. Tobias suggested that Olivia had been awfully brave since the death of his nephew. Could it be possible that she hadn't fully let go of his memory? She laughed at the idea that she might be missing Gregory. "Not for one split second," she said. What Tobias didn't seem to understand that Gregory had been a real terror. Why should she respect him now that he was dead? He had done nothing but hurt everyone he came across. Tobias thought that she only saw his nephew's bad side. She was glad that Gregory wasn't here to see her alcoholism back in full force. She suspected that he would throw a party to celebrate her downfall. With that she passed out. Gregory said that his wife was in for one heck of a surprise, because he was alive and well.
 
December 9,1999
 

Derek entered to find Casey awake. He thought that it was time for Casey to call Sara with the little speech he had prepared. Casey said he would never do anything that would put Sara or Meg in danger. If Casey needed a little incentive to do as he was told, then so be it. Tess brought Maria into the room. Either Casey would call Sara, or Maria would die. Maria didn't understand what Casey had to do with this. Tess said that Casey, Meg and Sara were all guilty of meddling. It came down to this. Either Casey would do as Derek said, or Tess would kill Maria in any way she liked. Maria urged him to do nothing. "They're going to kill us anyway, Casey. Don't do it," she said. Casey sat silently. Derek gave Tess permission to kill Maria. Casey said he would do anything they wanted to stop the killing. Tess insisted that Derek talk to her outside immediately. They had wasted so much time that she had to leave. It was time to pick up Benji and get him packed to go. Derek said he would be fine alone. This was his favorite part. Inside, Maria took the opportunity to fill in Casey on everything. She told him that Ben had been kidnapped several weeks ago. They were all sure to die, and if he got the Cummings girls involved, they would meet the same fate. She tried to untie him, but Derek came back in time to stop it. Now Casey had a choice; he could either call Sara or watch Maria die. Derek set the phone in front of Casey and warned him of what he could and could not say. To erase any doubt of what might happen, Derek sat next to a gagged Maria with a knife. Casey stated his words to Sara very carefully, trying to place some clues along the way. Derek complimented him on saving Maria's life with his hands tied behind his back. Now that the call had been made, what was next? Derek didn't think Casey would like the answer. Casey had served his purpose and would now only prove to be a nuisance. It was time for him to die. Sara thought back on everything that had happened since she had last seen Casey. It was as if he had disappeared from the face of the earth. She was worried that something horrible had happened. Meg tried to think of more upbeat conclusions. Sara thought it was possible that Casey had gone to Ben's after taking the key from her. She couldn't just sit around wondering and waiting, not after what happened to Tim. Meg pointed out that Casey hadn't been gone long enough for them to be alarmed. He hadn't missed work. There was nothing the authorities could do. Besides, if Casey had gone to Ben's, he could take care of himself. Sara agreed that Ben would be no match for Casey in physical combat. (She didn't know about Tess and the fire poker cranial-conking, obviously.) She finally heard from Casey. But the call didn't seem to make a lot of sense at first. Meg asked Sara if he was all right. What had he said about his mother? His mother was the clue. Sara knew that he was in trouble. Carmen searched her cards for answers. Instead of telling her about her sons, the cards focused on her daughter. She could only find clues, but no clear message about what was happening to Maria. She thought back to the day she had warned her daughter not to leave Sunset Beach with Ben or she would die. The signs in the cards now were too ominous. She left to warn Maria. After arriving home, Tess got Benji ready for his night out with a friend. There was only one more day before his big trip with his father and her. Benji asked if his mother would be there. Tess, knowing that she was his real mother, answered with an affirmative. When the doorbell rang, she assumed that it was Benji's friend's mother. But to her dismay, it was Carmen, needing to see Maria immediately. Carmen freaked at the news that Maria had gone out of town. Tess said that Carmen would have to calm down.

Ricardo set the final stage of his revenge plan in motion. Michael came over in response to his summons. There was something that Michael needed to see. With great determination, Ricardo stood up. Michael cheered his great success. Michael was sure that the family would be glad to see this. Ricardo said that he had tried to call Gabi and Ricardo, but neither of them was around. Michael couldn't believe that neither was here for such an event. Of course, it was all part of Ricardo's plan. He was planting a seed of doubt about Gabi. She was supposed to be helping Antonio at the convent, but neither was anywhere to be found. Michael helped Ricardo back to bed. Had he thought of checking with his mom? Ricardo didn't want to cause his mom any undue stress. Michael said he would check to see if Vanessa might know where Gabi was. He promised to call when he got home; then he left. Ricardo was pleased to see how easily he could arouse Michael's suspicions. He then called Michael's answering machine, leaving a message that Gabi and Antonio were probably at a time-share up the coast. He said that he would drive up and surprise both of them. He couldn't wait to show them that he could walk After hanging up, Ricardo muttered, "By the time he gets that, I'll be long gone, but not forgotten." Now he would see how his brother and wife liked having their lives blown apart just as they'd destroyed his. He would leave the life he once had behind. But when Ricardo opened the door, Michael asked where he thought he was going. Antonio asked Gabi what she had lied to Ricardo about. She swore that she loved both Ricardo and Antonio. Each lie was to protect the other. Antonio insisted that she tell him what she had lied about. If she trusted him, she would tell him what she'd been keeping to herself for so long. Gabi finally broke down. She told him that Ricardo knew everything. That seemed impossible. How could he know? Who told him? Gabi said that Ricardo had seen the tape. She added that Ricardo had known about their indiscretion even before his stroke. Antonio realized that they were responsible for his brother's illness. Gabi confessed that she had known for months that Ricardo was on to them. Antonio didn't understand why Ricardo had made Gabi endure this alone. Antonio vowed to go see his brother right now and ask for forgiveness. Gabi stopped him. That was the one thing he could never do. Ricardo believed that a discussion between the two brothers would destroy the family. If Antonio went to Ricardo, then her husband would know that she had betrayed him again. "And what about you? Has Ricardo forgiven you?" asked Antonio. There was no easy way to answer that question, but Gabi tried to explain. At first, she hadn't thought that Ricardo would ever be able to forgive her. But now she honestly believed that the worst was behind them.

 
December 10,1999
  Ricardo packed up his belongings, anxious to leave his present life behind and make his brother and wife pay. His plans got sidelined, however, when Michael met him at the door. Just where did he think he was going? -- Michael asked. Ricardo had only started walking today; he certainly wasn't ready for an outing. Ricardo admitted that perhaps he was acting a bit prematurely, but he was hoping to surprise Gabi and Antonio. Michael found it odd that Ricardo's wife and his brother would be up the Pacific coast at a romantic cabin together. Ricardo suggested that they were only getting it ready for Gabi and him to use later on. Michael continued to insist that Ricardo wasn't going anywhere tonight. It was a dangerous proposition. And Ricardo didn't even know where this cabin was. What if Ricardo needed help? Ricardo compared his love for Gabi to the love that he believed Michael had for Vanessa. Ricardo confessed that things had been hard for them since his stroke. Being able to walk again was the brightest thing that had happened to him in months. Michael had to let him go -- and show Gabi. Michael reluctantly agreed. Ah, finally, Ricardo would be able to carry out his plan... or so he thought. Suddenly, Michael added that he would drive Ricardo up to the time share. This was not the answer that Ricardo was looking for. Luckily, Michael got a beep on his pager, reminding him that he was late for an appointment with another patient. He made Ricardo promise to stay put until he got back. It was the easiest promise Ricardo could make. With Michael out of the house, Ricardo could see to it that his brother and wife got what they deserved. Later, when Michael returned, he found a note saying that Ricardo couldn't wait to see Gabi and had already left. A CHANGED MAN? Antonio needed to know if Ricardo had forgiven Gabi. Moreover, he needed his brother's forgiveness. He couldn't live with such secrecy. He couldn't walk around holding such secrets. Gabi warned him that if he confronted Ricardo, he might alienate his brother forever. What she didn't understand was that Antonio might have already lost his brother. Gabi said that Ricardo had been dealing with their betrayal in his own way. It didn't matter whether they agreed with his method; she was only trying to honor him now. But Antonio knew his brother. Ricardo hated as passionately as he loved. The reason that Carmen and Maria and Antonio had kept this secret from Ricardo was because of the vengeance he was sure to exact. That's why his mother had asked Gabi to leave town that night. It was as much to protect her as to punish her. Gabi insisted that he had changed. She begged Antonio to listen to her. She and Ricardo had gone through so much to get to where they were. Her husband had forgiven them both now. Antonio believed that if his brother had truly forgiven him, he wouldn't be holding on to this secret. But she insisted that Ricardo was a new man. He had sworn his love for her and Antonio. Ricardo showed up and stood outside the cabin, watching the two people he hated so much. Antonio praised Gabi for the courage she had shown in keeping all this to herself. He knew that she had done it for Ricardo's sake and for his. He would never forget it. She thanked him with a hug. Ricardo stood outside, not surprised that Gabi and Antonio had found their way into each other's arms. PSYCHIC MOM Carmen came to the Evans house, desperate to see her daughter. Tess suggested that Carmen please calm down in front of Benji. Carmen assured her grandson that everything was fine; she only needed to find his mother. Tess said they didn't know where Maria was. Carmen knew that Tess was lying and said so. Benji's friend and his mother arrived to pick Benji up for his sleepover. With the child out of the house, Tess ordered Carmen to leave at once. Carmen could sense that something was very wrong here and refused to go before learning where her daughter was. Tess sniped that she was hired to watch Benji, not Maria. Carmen could sense evil in the house, and Tess was at the center of it. She finally left, certain that she needed help to save her daughter. She went directly to Ricardo's house, only to find a note that he had gone away. Omigod... what was Carmen going to do now?! She needed her boys to help her save Maria. Where could she turn? She searched her mind for a clear plan. If Ricardo and Antonio couldn't help her find Maria, she would have to find someone else. She looked to her cards for the answers. The cards told her to seek help from another woman. STAND BY YOUR MAN Sara panicked knowing that Casey was in trouble. On the phone he had called his mother "Aileen," but her name was Alex. Sara was sure that Casey was trying to give her some kind of clue. Meg thought Sara was overreacting. What was she going to do -- call the authorities? There was no real evidence to tell the police about. Well, if Sara insisted on worrying, Meg decided they might as well do something constructive. Meg volunteered to help her find Casey. They left the shop on a mission -- hoping to turn up some clues to Casey's whereabouts. They realized that it was futile to contact the authorities until they had some better idea of what was going on. Sara felt that searching Ben's house would a smart place to start. Meg thought she might have another key to Ben's house. She rummaged through old boxes. "What kind of person just throws a loose key in a box?" asked her sister. While searching, Meg found a special trinket that Ben had given her one night after making love. She just didn't know what had happened to the man she once loved. Sara found the missing key. The sisters started to head out, but were stopped when Carmen appeared at their door. She needed help. This was ridiculous; they didn't have time to deal with this crazy lady. But Carmen refused to take no for answer. TO KILL OR NOT TO KILL Now that Casey had made the phone call to Sara, Derek had no more use for him. In fact, he would only prove to be a nuisance. It was time for his death. Maria struggled to get the gag off her mouth. She screamed for Derek to stop. When he turned to quiet her, Casey managed to loosen his hand restraints. Once free, he attacked Derek. He was definitely stronger than Derek, but Maria distracted him, screaming for him to grab the knife. In the fracas, Derek seized Maria by the throat, after successfully recapturing Casey. Derek scowled that if Casey moved, they would both die. He then kicked Casey, knocking him out again. Maria begged Derek to stop the killing spree. The more bodies he left behind, the harder it would be to keep his plan on track. Derek seemed amused that Maria was trying to appeal to his good side. Didn't she understand that Casey was no longer of use to him? The only reason she was still breathing was because he needed her to carry out the plan. Derek grew annoyed when Tess called. Didn't she understand that he was in the middle of important work? She said that he couldn't kill Casey, because the luckless lifeguard just might be their only hope. Afterwards, Maria asked what Tess had told Derek. She tried to get information from him. Where was Ben? Derek would tell her nothing. She was back in her old holding cell. He said she should feel free to scream all she wanted; no one would hear her. All alone, Maria moved her chair across the room, close to a desk. She hoped to use the desk to cut the ropes that were binding her hands. It worked. She then began picking the lock with a hairpin. That too worked! She slipped out of the room just moments after Tess led Derek away. Tess didn't believe that Sara and Meg had stopped pursuing them. She told Derek about her disturbing visit from Carmen. Derek wasn't concerned about Carmen, because nobody really paid her any mind. But she did have a detective as a son, Tess pointed out. Yes, a paralyzed one, Derek said. Derek felt they had to get rid of all their obstacles tonight. Meanwhile, Maria searched for a way out. In the basement, she came across a covered body. She choked back tears, believing it was Ben.
  December 13,1999 STALKING HIS PREY Ricardo stood outside watching Gabi and Antonio in the cabin. Antonio was telling Gabi how proud he was of her. She had kept secrets that hurt her. But he knew that she had done it for Ricardo and for him too. He hugged her. Watching this embrace made Ricardo recall all the events that had led to this moment. It sure hadn't taken them long to find a way back into each other's arms. Gabi told Antonio that she had only done what she had to do. Antonio was relieved that this weight had been lifted. Now they could finally get on with their lives. Outside, Ricardo fumed. If Gabi really believed he had forgiven her, she never knew him at all. Antonio confessed that a part of him would always love Gabi. And she told him that a part of her heart would always belong to him. It was the first time since they'd made love that Antonio didn't fear that they might get carried away again. It was a testament to love that they had made it through this. Well, now that they had checked out the cabin, they should head back to Sunset Beach. Just then Gabi found a loose spot in the carpet. Antonio decided to fix it before they left. As he headed out to the car for his tools, Ricardo was busy smearing blood stains on the car door handle. Ricardo managed to finish and move away before Antonio could find him. Antonio retrieved his tools and went back inside to tack down the loose carpet. Gabi couldn't help smiling when he accidentally tacked his pant leg along with the carpet to the floor. They had a good laugh. This had started out as a trip that neither of them wanted to take. Nevertheless, it had turned out to be a good way to resolve things and move on, they both thought. DISTRACTED BY DISASTER Vanessa thumbed through magazines, planning her New Year's Eve nuptials. The bridegroom-to-be, Michael, looked distracted when he came in. She asked if he had seen Casey. Meg was looking for the luckless lifeguard. No, Michael hadn't seen him, but Vanessa could tell that he still wasn't really listening to her. She tested him by suggesting they have their wedding reception on the pier. They could just give their guests fishing poles and let them catch their own dinner. He readily agreed. "Michael!" she cried. He admitted that he was distracted -- worried about Ricardo. Michael told her how Ricardo had suddenly regained the ability to walk and how he'd taken off to some cabin up the coast to surprise Antonio and Gabi. Vanessa felt that Ricardo wouldn't do anything too dangerous; he was a cop, after all. She thought it would be a wonderful surprise for Gabi and Antonio. Meanwhile, Ricardo had already left the cabin area and moved on to his next location. He phoned Michael from there. Speaking in a panic-stricken voice, he blurted out that he couldn't believe what he had just seen. Michael asked him to calm down and speak more clearly. "How am I supposed to calm down when I just saw my wife and my brother making love?" he responded. Michael offered to come get him. Ricardo then pretended that Gabi and Antonio were standing right next to him. He spoke their names, screamed, "No!" and shot his gun in the air. THE OTHER WOMAN'S HELP Meg and Sara were perplexed when Carmen showed up at their door. What did the agitated fortuneteller mean by saying they were Maria's only hope? Carmen declared ominously that evil was living in Ben's house. She felt that Tess had done something to her daughter. Meg brought Carmen inside; she then asked Sara to step outside for a moment to chat privately. Meg believed that Carmen was on to something. She feared the Maria's disappearance might have something to do with Tim. Sara thought it was time to take action. First Tim, then Casey, and now it seemed Maria might be in trouble, too. They came up with a plan: Meg would stay here with Carmen while Sara went to look for answers at Ben's house. Carmen was desperate for help. She had no one else to turn to. Would Meg please help her save her daughter? Promising to do her best, Meg said she needed to know Ben's whereabouts. Carmen didn't know that, either. The frazzled woman said that Tess had told her nothing. She only knew that if Benji had not been there, Tess wouldn't have even let her in. Where was Benji now? Carmen explained that he'd gone to spend the night with a friend. Meg said it was very important that she remember which friend. Once Carmen came up with the name, Meg was off like a shot. When Meg arrived at the sleepover, Benji wasn't so pleased to see her Meg promised that she only wanted the best for him. In fact, she needed to talk to his mommy. Did Benji know where Maria was? He said no, but his daddy did. SO MANY CAPTIVES, SO LITTLE TIME Derek assured Tess that Carmen was no real threat. They simply had to concentrate on carrying this plan out. If they were going to finalize things tonight, it was time to move into action. Derek would take care of Maria first. Tess asked about Ben, but Derek said he had already been taken care of. What did Derek mean by that? Was he dead? No, just drugged and unconscious Tess worried that they wouldn't be able to get their hands on the money after all their hard work. But Derek had it covered. He had been moving funds into an offshore account. They would have plenty to live on. Tess thought it was important for Casey to make one more call to Sara, since the Cummings sisters and Carmen might be on to them. Derek considered this silly, but if Tess wanted to waste her time, she should feel free. Meanwhile, he was going to dispose of Maria. Once the last steps were accomplished, he planned to burn the house to the ground with all their captives in it. Tess let Casey use the house phone because the cell was dead. When they dialed the gift shop, the call was automatically forwarded to Sara's cell phone. She was in Ben's house. Casey talked very carefully so that Sara knew he was in trouble. He ended the call telling her that he loved her. And with that, Casey felt Tess should be satisfied that Sara knew nothing. But Tess couldn't lose the feeling that something was still wrong. Casey insisted that Sara was still at work and suspected nothing. Tess wasn't buying it, though. She kept trying to figure out what bothered her so much about the call. She realized that a bell she'd heard in the background belonged to the cat back at the Evans house. Sara was searching the house! Tess was right. While the nutso nanny was busy using her deductive reasoning skills, Sara had already found the fake passports. Tess called out for Derek, but when she received no response, she decided to take matters into her own hands. She raced to the house and caught Sara with papers in hand. Well, this time Sara would be very sorry that she had stuck her nose into other people's business. SEARCHING FOR A WAY OUT As Maria looked for a way out, she found Ben's body in the basement. She feared that he had met the same fate as his twin brother. What a relief when she realized that he was still breathing. While she fought to wake Ben up, Derek was upstairs preparing to kill her. He readied a hypodermic needle, but was surprised when he entered the cell room and found it empty. Meanwhile, Ben talked in his hazed state believing that he was with Meg and not Maria. "I love you, Meg," he said as Maria struggled to save both their lives. He really did love Meg. It had been Meg all along. Maria couldn't think about that right now. If they were going to survive the wrath of Derek, she had to move quickly. Ben finally came around enough to realize that Maria was standing over him. She asked if he thought he could walk. Sneaking up behind them, Derek responded for the woozy Ben. He said the answer was no..
  December 14,1999 THE HONESTY OF A CHILD Meg looked to Benji for answers, but the little boy still didn't trust her. He thought that she only wanted to get rid of his mommy and him. Meg admitted that she and Maria hadn't gotten along recently, but that was something she wanted to change. In fact, that's why she needed to talk to his mommy. Benji said he didn't know where Maria was, but his daddy did. In fact, Benji, Tess and his dad were all going to meet Mommy tomorrow. They were going to have an adventure. Meg asked if Benji remembered Casey. Had the boy heard Tess mention him? "Are you looking for him, too? Did you lose all your friends?" the innocent, young lad asked. She agreed that her friends were lost. When she found them, they'd have some secrets to talk about. Benji noted that Meg was just like Tess, who had secrets too. Could Benji tell her about Tess' secret? He said that Tess had a box with a secret compartment. He explained how it opened. Meg was armed with helpful information. She thanked the little boy for his help and headed off. Meg continued to worry. She got no answer from Sara on her cell phone and Ben's house was empty. She decided to break in. With great determination, she went straight to Tess' room, grabbed the box and left quickly. She didn't even look inside the box until she got back outside. The secret compartment was just where Benji said it would be. There she found papers and pictures. The pictures were shots of Ben and a pregnant Tess. Her confusion was cleared up when she turned the picture over and saw that it had been printed in Seattle. She had been dealing with Derek all this time. She waited for him to come home. Eventually, Derek showed up and entered the house. This was supposed to be his last visit to his brother's home. When the doorbell rang, he greeted Meg with a smile. "Hello Derek," was her response. SINS OF THE TWIN Maria realized from Ben's groggy mumbling that he really loved Meg. It had been her all along. But Maria couldn't think about that at the moment. Ben had to get up and walk. Suddenly, Derek sneaked up behind her and hissed that the gig was up. He was not pleased with her escape attempt. Ben spoke up, telling his brother to leave her alone. It was Ben that Derek wanted, anyway. But Derek wanted it all. He planned to have everything that Ben possessed. This time was going to be different. In fact, maybe it was time that he filled in Maria's memory about her sojourn in Seattle. Ben should know what Derek had already done. He and Tess had been working on this for a long time. They had kidnapped Maria long ago and kept her drugged up in Seattle. Ben then learned that Benji wasn't his son. So, you see, maybe Derek did have something that Ben lacked. Now Derek would have the satisfaction of knowing that Ben and Maria had died painfully. Maria grabbed something handy and tried to attack Derek. She wasn't successful, however. He tied her up next to her ex-husband. Ben asked Maria to tell him that Benji was their son, but, by this point, she knew that Tess and Derek were the child's real parents. Benji had only been conceived as a means to inherit Ben's money. No matter. As far as Ben was concerned, Benji would always be their son. As soon as they escaped from this house, they would continue to raise him as such. Maria told Ben that screaming would do no good. The house was sound-proof. Ben promised her that somehow they would get out alive. ANOTHER CAPTIVE Tess held Sara captive at gunpoint. This time Miss Cummings would regret sticking her nose into other people's business. Sara tried to distract her attacker, hoping to get away, but it didn't work. Sara then lunged at Tess, but that didn't work so well either. Tess managed to get back on her feet. When she did, she pointed the gun right at Sara's face. If Sara didn't calm down and start following orders, she would never see Casey again. Tess led her back to the house where all the prisoners were being detained. When Derek saw what Tess had done, he freaked. Was she out of her mind? Why had she brought Sara here? She told him about finding Sara at the house with the fake passports. He didn't understand why Tess was at Ben's house. While he was in the basement, Tess was supposed to be watching Casey. Sara only then realized that she was looking at Derek, not Ben. They escorted her into the same room with Casey. Derek stood guard over Sara and Casey, while Tess went to get Benji. The timetable had just been moved up. Casey begged Derek to let Sara go. They tried to fight their way out, but Derek locked the two of them in a closet. To make sure they wouldn't get out, he nailed the door shut. He found a match and torched the place. Meanwhile, Tess went to retrieve Benji from his sleepover and learned that Meg had been there. ARMED WITH EVIDENCE Ricardo phoned Michael and announced that he had just seen Antonio and Gabi naked in bed together. This was a nightmare! He couldn't believe it was happening. He then pretended that Gabi and Antonio were standing right in front of him. He screamed, "No!" and shot a gun in the air. Quickly, he hung up the phone. Michael panicked not knowing what to do. Michael didn't even know where the cabin was. With Vanessa in tow, he raced over to the police station and consulted with Spencer and the DA. Their initial attempts to locate Ricardo proved difficult. Michael didn't want to think the worst of Antonio and Gabi, but he had to pass along the information that Michael had given him. He had to tell them that Ricardo had just seen his brother and his wife in bed together. Vanessa jumped in, arguing that nothing in this story made sense. She knew that what Michael had said was true, but she also knew that Antonio and Gabi were both devoted to Ricardo. The DA recalled the day she had visited Ricardo. On that occasion, Ricardo had assumed that Gabi was at the police station, but the DA knew that wasn't the case. She now insisted that she and Spencer get right over to Ricardo's house. They needed to find out where this time-share cottage was. Michael and Vanessa stayed behind to file an official police statement. Vanessa urged Michael not to put Gabi and Antonio's names on the paper before getting some more information. Michael admitted that he knew even more than he had already revealed. If Gabi was really having an affair with Antonio, what Michael knew could make them look guiltier than sin. FINAL FIXINGS Gabi and Antonio packed up the vehicle. He felt a momentary shiver. Was it a bad sign? Gabi teased that he was starting to sound like his mother. Being a priest, Antonio wasn't supposed to be superstitious, but having a psychic for a mother made that difficult. Gabi thanked him once again for helping her get the place ready for Ricardo. Now that Antonio knew that Ricardo had forgiven him, he felt even more strongly that he owed Ricardo a lot. It was time for them to head back to Sunset Beach. But they couldn't leave before fixing a flat tire. Once the tire was changed, they finally started out for home. Back in Sunset Beach, they were surprised to find Spencer and the DA searching the house. What had happened to Ricardo? Strangely enough, everyone else wanted to know the same thing. ITS NOT OVER TILL IT'S OVER Ricardo knew his plan was going well. He had planted enough doubt in Michael's mind to make a police search inevitable. Now he moved on to phase B -- giving them the evidence they would need to put Gabi and Antonio behind bars. Back in his priest garb, he went directly to the airport. There he made sure that the janitor, the same one who had seen him rent the locker, noticed that he was carrying a gun. The janitor warned that Ricardo would get in a lot of trouble for bringing a weapon into an airport. Ricardo assured him that it was a fake gun, a prop he intended to use for lecture purposes. He made sure to seem nervous as he headed off quickly. The janitor then called for security and told the guard about seeing Father Antonio twice -- this time carrying a gun. Ricardo hid around the corner, pleased to hear the information being passed along.
  December 15,1999 UNWELCOME INFORMATION Tess went to Zach's house to bring Benji home from his sleepover in the middle of the night. She was pretty upset when she learned that Meg had been there earlier to talk to the boy. What had Meg and Benji talked about? Zach's mom didn't know. She had left the two of them alone. Tess was not pleased with the response. Zach's mom wasn't pleased herself. She didn't really like people coming into her home in the middle of the night and cross-examining her. Tess left without taking Benji. She said she'd come back in the morning. DANCING WITH DANGER Still at Ben's house, but hoping to make a fast getaway, Derek wasn't expecting any visitors. He was pleased, however, when Meg rang the doorbell. She admitted that she knew the truth. How was Derek doing? She pranced in seductively. He didn't know quite what to do with her. She added that she was in love with him. He wasn't entranced by her little act. Couldn't she come up with something better than that? Derek didn't feel as though he was facing a woman who loved him. She admitted being a little scared. This was something different, after all. Derek suspected that this was nothing more than an act. She wasn't surprised that he questioned her motives. She figured he would either see her as a problem that needed to be eliminated or he would test her. Derek seemed to opt for plan B. He asked Meg how she had known it wasn't Ben when he kissed her. The intensity was different, she replied. When Ben had left for Seattle, she had let him go. And yet when Derek came back on the scene, it all felt different. She continued with her little game. He played along, but still wasn't buying her act. He was convinced she was still in love with Ben and always would be. She disputed that. Meg told Derek that the test needed to be more physical. She suggested that she was the only one risking anything here. After all, he could still flunk her at the end of the test. Was he afraid that he couldn't compare to Ben? He gave into her moves. They kissed. As the kiss grew passionate, Meg grabbed his gun. He shouldn't be foolish enough to think she wouldn't rid the world of his worthless self. What she really wanted was for him to tell her where Ben and Maria were. He refused. If she killed him, she certainly wouldn't find Ben or Maria. He didn't believe she had the guts to shoot him either. When Tess walked in, Meg was faced with a new dilemma. Which of them would she shoot if push came to shove? Tess admitted that it was always possible that Meg would kill both of them. Of course if she did that, she would never find her sister. The shock of learning that Sara had been taken hostage stunned Meg. It gave Derek just enough time to grab the gun back from her. Now, even though she had said all those horrible things to him while she was holding the gun on him, he offered to take her to see Ben. TEAM WORK Ben wanted to concentrate on finding a way to escape. Maria was on board, but the question was how. There was a tool close by. If they worked together, he thought they might be able to cut themselves loose. Eventually, Ben managed to grab the tool. While he worked on trying to cut the ropes, Ben apologized for getting Maria into this mess. She said that he was an honorable man. He didn't lock her in this basement; his brother did. And even though Ben loved Meg, he had always treated her with respect. Ben admitted that Meg was the woman who had his heart. But for now, they should concentrate on freeing themselves. With a little more effort, Maria was free. He told her to climb through the window, but she wouldn't leave without him. He urged her to go for help. No way. Until she broke the chain that bound him, she would not leave. She almost had the lock broken, but not soon enough. At that moment Derek, Tess and Meg all showed up. Maria's pretending to still be tied up didn't fool Derek. He had her stand up so that taunt both of Ben's women side by side. Before Ben died, Derek wanted him to watch both his women die. LOCKED AWAY WITH LOVE Sara tried to rouse Casey, but he remained unconscious. Sara really started to panic when she thought she smelled smoke. Taking a moment to calm herself down, she realized there was no smoke. She was letting Derek's threats terrify her. Beating on the door with her fists offered no solution either. She sat down next to Casey. He wouldn't be in this mess now if it weren't for her. Well, no matter what happened she would always love him. If she had to die, at least it would be with the man she loved. UNEXPECTED GUESTS Gabi entered her house to find Spencer and DA Steele rummaging through her things. Where was Ricardo? That was a question all involved wanted to know. DA Steele hoped that Gabi would be able to answer it. But she thought he was safe at home. If he was missing, someone must have abducted him because he couldn't walk. The DA contradicted that as well. It seemed that Ricardo could walk. This news sounded ridiculous to Gabi. But the DA said that Michael had confirmed the story. She would need to get statements from Gabi and Antonio about what had gone on tonight. Gabi readily agreed to do anything necessary to find her husband. The DA asked Gabi and Antonio to wait outside while she and Spencer finished searching the house. Spencer didn't understand why the DA hadn't mentioned Ricardo's frantic phone call to Michael and the gun shots that Michael had heard. She said she suspected that Gabi and Antonio had been lying to Ricardo for a long time. She had to proceed very carefully with them now. THE INVESTIGATION BEGINS At the stationhouse, Vanessa asked Michael if he'd revealed everything he knew about the Gabi/Ricardo situation in his police statement. He hadn't. Something about this whole mess seemed wrong to him. He finally told Vanessa about the life insurance policy and the will that Ricardo said Gabi had drawn up. Vanessa shared something troubling of her own. Gabi had told her that she had hurt Ricardo in the worst way. Could that have meant an affair with Antonio? Did Michael believe the gunshots he'd heard on the phone were tied in with the new will and life insurance policy? Suddenly, Antonio and Gabi were escorted into the stationhouse. Gabi asked Michael and Vanessa what they knew about all of this. Why hadn't Michael told her that Ricardo could walk? Why had Ricardo kept this a secret? All Michael knew was that Ricardo had wanted to surprise her. The DA steered Gabi and Antonio into an interrogation room. Privately, the DA asked Michael and Vanessa if there was something else they would like to mention. Michael had nothing to add except that Gabi and Ricardo seemed very happily married. Vanessa suggested to Michael that they start searching for Ricardo. At least then Michael would feel as though he were doing something for his friend. Meanwhile, Antonio was getting fed up with the repeated questioning of information he had already given the cops. What was going on here? Did they believe that Antonio and Gabi had something to do with Ricardo's disappearance? HAUNTED BY HIS CONSCIENCE Ricardo settled into his new digs. He might as well get comfortable. Relaxing, he thought about the fact that Gabi and Antonio were just entering their own personal hell. Settling down to rest, Ricardo drifted off to sleep. In his sleep, Gabi and Antonio asked why he was doing this to them. They both loved him very much. Gabi was his loving, devoted wife. Ricardo bolted upright from his nightmare. He sternly reminded himself that he must make Gabi and Antonio pay. He had every right to punish them. Dozing off again, he had another disturbing dream. Gabi and Antonio's voices continued to ring in his head. How could he do this to them? He bolted upright again. Should he stop this?
  December 16,1999 THE FINAL STRUGGLE In the basement, Ben struggled to free Maria, but he couldn't cut her loose in time. Suddenly, Derek and Tess showed up with Meg in tow. Derek said he wanted to enjoy watching his brother suffer. Yes, he intended to kill Ben, too, but first he wanted his brother to watch both Meg and Maria die. In the closet, Sara lay on Casey's comforting chest. If she were going to die, at least she would be with him. Casey finally regained consciousness. When Sara told him how they had gotten locked in the closet and how Derek planned to torch the house, he started bursting through the door. He managed to crack the wooden frame. Sara tried to stop him after seeing that he had hurt himself. But Casey refused to stop until they could both escape. He continued to bang with his shoulder until he fell through the door. Sara rushed around to untie his hands. She didn't know where any of the others were, or what Derek had done by this point. All she knew was that the house wasn't burning yet. Casey told her that somehow, while unconscious, he had heard everything that she said. He knew that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him. Just then, Derek was distracted by the sound of Casey breaking out of the closet. It gave Ben just enough time to trip Derek and attack him. (It seemed that Ben wasn't still chained, after all.) Tess grabbed the gun, but Maria and Meg teamed up to attack her. Maria chased Tess up the stairs, while Meg watched as Ben grappled with his brother. Much to her dismay, Derek grabbed Meg as his protection from Ben. He knew that Ben wouldn't risk her life. Upstairs, Maria lunged at Tess in a white-hot fury. When Tess tried to run away, Maria grabbed a vase and conked her on the head. There was the sound of a gunshot downstairs, so Maria tied Tess up and headed down there. In the basement, Ben had offered to end the confrontation if Derek would let Meg go. No dice. Then, in a moment of distraction, Derek let down his guard and Ben attacked him. They fought for control of the weapon. In the struggle, the gun went off. Meg hurried to see who had been shot. She begged Ben to speak to her. He slowly rose. She rushed into his arms with joy that he was still alive. Then she noticed movement from Derek. Ben offered to help him, but Derek wanted no help from Ben. "It's better to die than to live and let you win," he said. Derek couldn't cope with the fact that Ben actually wanted him to save him. He gasped his final breath, and his reign of terror in Sunset Beach ended at last. Casey came down to find Meg and Ben standing over Derek's limp body. Finally out of this nightmare, Sara and Casey were now ready to truly commit to one another. Meanwhile, Ben thanked Maria for all her help. He then went to take Meg into his comforting arms. A SECRET MEETING Gregory entered a dilapidated warehouse for a secret meeting with Jude. Jude thought it was time to move on with the plan. Gregory agreed, but first he wanted to remind the young man of something: Jude was being paid to work for Gregory 24 hours a day. Gregory wasn't happy that Jude had let Caitlin slip out of town. Gregory questioned Jude's motives. Jude maintained that he was driven by one thing: his hatred for AJ. He hated AJ even more than Gregory did. Jude was the only son that AJ didn't acknowledge. He was reminded of AJ's favoritism to Cole constantly. Jude felt that he'd done all that Gregory had asked of him thus far. He was in a high-level and trusted position at the Liberty Corps. And he had comfortably slid into a place in Annie's life. Gregory was ready to move on to the next step. He wanted to make sure that Annie got everything that she had coming to her. Was Jude going to have a problem delivering that? "Not at all," Jude responded. CHRISTMAS SPIRIT Annie had nightmares about losing control of the estate. She thought of Jude's promises of a better future. Mrs. Moreau appeared in her dream. She demanded that Annie admit what she had done to Olivia. Annie awoke to hear Christmas carols coming from downstairs. Rose entered the main room to find Olivia trimming the tree and dancing to Barbra Streisand's version of "Jingle Bells." Annie came in and cut the music off. It wasn't Christmas yet. Annie thought that Olivia should just go sleep off her drunken binge. Olivia thought that Annie should go to hell. Annie tried to help with the tree, but Olivia didn't want her help. Olivia noted the basic difference between them. She was alone because of her drinking, but Annie was alone because she made the lives of the people around her miserable. She insisted that Annie leave her alone to trim the tree. Going through boxes of ornaments, Olivia found one that Sean had made for her many years ago. It was his first present to her. She planned to hang it prominently on the tree, but it crashed to the floor instead. Olivia sensed that she had no control of what was happening to her life. Annie actually began to feel sorry for Olivia. Everything was a mess. She was starting to think that not even Olivia deserved this. POLICE ACTION Alone in his hideaway cabin, Ricardo reviewed the situation. Antonio and Gabi were now set up for a murder rap they would never be able to beat. Suddenly, Ricardo was struck by a twinge of conscience. They didn't deserve to spend the rest of their lives in jail, or even worse. But then images of Gabi and Antonio stopped him. They teased him for being predictable and turning the other cheek. At the police station, Antonio confronted DA Steele. Did she suspect Gabi and Antonio of doing something to Ricardo? DA Steele offered no evidence that she suspected them of anything. In fact, she now authorized Spencer to drive them back up to the cabin so that they could help with the search for Ricardo. She asked them to wait outside while she conferred with Spencer. Alone with Spencer, the DA ordered him to keep Gabi and Antonio occupied while the investigation continued. While Spencer followed the DA's instructions, driving Gabi and Antonio around back roads, the DA had a police officer retrieve the contents of the airport locker she had just learned of. The evidence began to build against Gabi and Antonio. Let's see now, there was the recently shot pistol, the insurance policy, the new will and of course the incendiary video. Ricardo had planted it all in the locker. Meanwhile, visions of Antonio and Gabi were still haunting Ricardo. But they no longer were trying to make him feel guilty for hurting them. Quite the opposite. They teased him about being spineless for thinking of putting a stop to his plan. At the same time, Antonio sat in the back of the police car with Gabi. He sensed that something was really wrong. He was sure that the DA still suspected them of foul play. Back at the station, a viewing of the video was all that DA Steele needed to order arrest warrants drawn up for both Antonio and Gabi.
  December 17,1999 UNDOING DIRTY DEEDS Annie couldn't help feeling compassion for Olivia as she saw Rose sweeping up the now broken ornament that Sean had made many years ago. She offered to clean up the mess. Rose found it an odd offer but gladly accepted the help. Amy came in and immediately assumed that Annie had made the mess. She asked how Annie planned to get Sean back home. If Annie didn't do something, she promised to tell everyone what Annie had done to Olivia. There was no need for blackmail, Annie assured her -- she intended to make sure that Sean came home soon. He'd come back when Olivia stopped drinking, and Annie hoped to take care of that before the end of the day. She planned to go to Mrs. Moreau to stop this horror. Gregory stood in the foyer listening to their conversation. Perhaps he would take a trip to see Mrs. Moreau himself. He trailed Annie to South Central. Inside Mrs. Moreau's apartment, Annie asked the talented elixir mixer how she could get Olivia to stop drinking. Annie said that watching Olivia now was like watching a person die slowly. They had to help Olivia. But Annie wasn't happy with Mrs. Moreau's response. Was Mrs. Moreau saying the drinking couldn't be reversed? Meanwhile, Gregory stopped a woman in the hall to ask about Mrs. Moreau. When the woman laughed, asking who he was, he grabbed her by the neck. She should start spilling all she knew immediately. She told him that Mrs. Moreau was a voodoo princess who explored the dark side. He should stay away from her. TORMENT Gregory was on the phone with co-conspirator Jude when a drunken Olivia burst into his room. (Fortunately, he was in Uncle Tobias costume.) He was shocked that she had already started drinking so early in the day. She suggested that he was sounding more and more like his nephew. His talking about her drinking made her remember the judgmental statements that Gregory had once subjected her to. Tobias expressed regret that none of the good things Gregory had done remained in her memories. She said that those memories were what made remembering him so hard. She left Uncle T to be alone with her troubles thoughts. Looking at pictures of her three children, she mourned their absence. How could she have allowed this to happen? She spied a bottle of liquor and was immediately drawn to it. After finishing the bottle, she sprawled on the sofa thinking of a Christmas long ago when Caitlin and Sean were still small children. They had looked to her for stability then because Gregory was always gone. How things had changed. PREPARING FOR TOMORROW Amy left the house hoping that Olivia would find the key to recovery soon. With Olivia off the bottle, Sean would be home soon. Amy ran into Brad on the beach. He was happily planning his first official date with Emily. Amy suggested that he enjoy it. There was nothing quite like a first date. But she warned that things might not go so well with Emily, unless he did exactly as Amy ordered. (Was she threatening to go public about Brad's part in the Sean/Emily bust-up? You betcha!) Amy said that it seemed Sean would be coming home sooner than planned. Therefore, Brad should leave Sunset Beach tonight and take Emily with him. THE FORGOTTEN SON As Jude prepared to leave for work, AJ showed up. Had Jude heard any more about Caitlin, Sean and Trey? They had been spotted in Budapest, Jude reported, but then their trail had gone cold. How did AJ know he could trust these operatives that Jude had lined up? Jude suggested that AJ was really asking if he should trust Jude. AJ insisted that he trusted Jude implicitly. Jude thought back to his conversation with Gregory when it was pointed out that AJ had to know that Jude was his son. AJ unintentionally solidified that thought by saying that he did think of Jude as his own child. In fact, if Jude was the one missing, he'd be searching for him just as intensely now. Before saying goodbye, Jude suggested that AJ should never trust anyone but himself. THE LOVING WIFE Antonio comforted Gabi after an all-night search for Ricardo. He promised her that they would find his brother. Gabi said she would be okay while Antonio headed over to the rectory. Before he left, he warned her to keep her cool. Neither of them could figure out why the police suspected them of foul play, but overreacting seemed pointless. Meanwhile, a police officer handed DA Steele the arrest warrants for both Gabi and Antonio. How did she want to handle this? The officer couldn't refrain from offering his own opinion that his friends were innocent of harming Ricardo. Gabi entered the stationhouse and knew right away that something was up. She demanded that someone tell her what was going on. An officer came in to tell the DA that the Ben and Maria's case was wrapping up. Steele said she would need statements from all involved. Gabi assumed that their case might have something to do with Ricardo. DA Steele coldly declared that she knew what Gabi had done -- and Gabi wasn't going to get away with it. If the DA was accusing her of something, Gabi replied, then just get on with it. DA Steele insisted that Gabi come into her office so that they could speak in private. Gabi demanded an explanation. Why was everyone looking at her as if she had committed a crime? Did the DA know anything more about Ricardo's whereabouts? No, but the DA believed that Gabi did. As the DA began to go over the evidence, Gabi was shocked. She knew nothing about life insurance policies or a gun. And she and Antonio were definitely not lovers. Really? Then Gabi would certainly appreciate the uncanny resemblance she and Antonio bore to the couple making love on the videotape. Steele called in an officer to read Gabi her rights. Gabi was being arrested for the murder of her husband. MY BROTHER'S KEEPER Antonio prepared his young students for their first Communion. Shortly before the service began, a nun stepped up to offer her support to Father Antonio. She had prayed for the safety of his brother. He thanked her, expressing his belief that God would watch over Ricardo. During the Communion service, he spoke to his congregation about the love and support of family. He had found great strength from his brother, he said, when he chose to enter the priesthood. He apologized for speaking so personally. He shared that his brother was missing and he prayed for Ricardo's safe return. Meanwhile, Spencer and two other officers stood in the back of the church. Antonio went to join them, hoping they had news about Ricardo's whereabouts. If not, why would they be interrupting the Mass? Spencer apologized for having to do this in church, but he began to read Antonio his rights. Antonio was being arrested for the murder of his brother. FISHING THROUGH HIS MEMORIES Ricardo continued to hide out in his father's old fishing cabin. His father had always said this cabin would come in handy someday. He had probably never guessed that his sons would betray one another. Ricardo searched through the drawers until he found a childhood picture of Antonio and himself. It brought back memories of the day the picture was taken. Their mother had told them that their relationship as brothers should never be challenged. It was one of the most important commitments they could keep. Ricardo asked himself how he could do this to his brother. But he felt he had no choice.
  December 20,1999 HOPE FOR THE FUTURE Annie hoped that Mrs. Moreau could help her stop Olivia's drinking. Mrs. Moreau wondered about Annie's change of heart. First, Annie had been obsessed with engineering Olivia's relapse into alcoholism; now Annie was back here asking for a spell to make Olivia sober again. Where was this coming from? Annie thought back to a conversation with Jude that had changed her mind. She didn't mention it to Mrs. Moreau, however. She said the reason for her change of heart didn't matter. She only wanted to reverse the potion. After learning that Annie had only given two doses of the potion to Olivia, Mrs. Moreau assured Annie that the potion should wear off soon. She added a warning, however. If Annie gave Olivia even another drop of the potion, the results would be irreversible. Annie insisted that wasn't going to happen. Annie would see to it. Mrs. Moreau was proud to see the change in Annie's demeanor. If Annie could change, then anyone could. Annie wished the South Central savant a Merry Christmas and rushed out to see if Olivia was recovering from her drinking bout yet. THE DEVIL AND MRS. MOREAU Gregory stood outside Mrs. Moreau's apartment conferring with one of her neighbors. She had just told him about the voodoo practices going on inside. He realized that Annie was at the center of Olivia's problems. The neighbor suggested that she could be silent for a price. Gregory grabbed her by the neck and threw her against the wall. Perhaps she would just be quiet to accommodate him. Then, he relented and left the woman with a few bucks for her trouble. He waited for Annie to leave Mrs. Moreau's apartment so that he could have his own visit with the elixir mixer. Mrs. Moreau opened the door but wasn't interested in making his acquaintance. He pushed his way in. She sensed evil all around him. Gregory took off his Tobias wig, telling her he was the devil. She demanded that he leave her home immediately. He refused to leave until she told him everything that she had done with Annie. They could either do it the easy way or the hard way. That was her choice. BACK ON THE WAGON Olivia opened the door to a gift-laden AJ. She was thrilled to see that he had come back to her. She just knew that he wouldn't abandon her. He corrected her. He could and had let her go. The gift was for Trey. In case his grandson came home for Christmas, AJ wanted something waiting under the tree for him. As for AJ's feelings for Olivia, well, that was a different story. He had planned to wait until after the holidays for that discussion. But as long as he was here, now seemed as good a time as any to hash things out. She had chosen the bottle over her children and him. He couldn't stand by on the sidelines any longer, watching her horrifying deterioration. She should know that he had to move on. He only wished her the best, but watching her destroy herself with liquor was no longer an option for him. On that note, AJ said goodbye and exited. Olivia was all alone now. How could AJ do this to her when she needed him so much? She stared at the liquor cabinet, the only friend she had left. But then a strange thing happened. As soon as Olivia started pouring a glass, the need for a drink completely left her. She was suddenly free of her desire for alcohol. She called Rose in to rid the house of the poison. Rose was glad to see that Olivia was healthy - and back to her old self -- again. Annie came home and found a non-inebriated Olivia. Amy was close behind. Both of Olivia's enemies were thrilled to see her sober again. Olivia offered that neither of them should be so happy. Now that she was sober, she had no intention of being a patsy in her own house. But first she had to find her children. Annie sat at Olivia's desk staring at a picture of her mortal enemy. She had wanted so desperately to destroy Olivia, but in the end she couldn't go through with it. She threw away the bottle of Mrs. Moreau's secret potion. On her way out of the house, Annie ran into Tobias. He was glad to see her. There was one more thing they had to discuss. SECOND THOUGHTS Ricardo packed his belongings and prepared to leave the cabin. He ran across a picture of Antonio and himself as children. He remembered a very young Antonio saying how lucky he was to have Ricardo as a brother. He recalled other childhood memories of the happy times they'd spent here at the cabin. He remembered how Antonio had once refused to join their father at the lake until they found Ricardo's fishing lure. As a child, Ricardo had felt so fortunate to have a brother like Antonio. But that was no longer true. Antonio and Gabi had ruined Ricardo's life in Sunset Beach. Well, if all went as planned, he would be in Miami by the end of the next day. REALIZING THE COST OF REVENGE Antonio and Gabi exchanged shocked glances as he was brought into the police station. Did the police really believe that he and Gabi had killed Ricardo? He turned to Spencer for answers. Spencer wasn't at liberty to say anything. But the DA was. She came in demanding that Antonio drop the act. She knew that he and Gabi were both guilty as sin. Antonio was still confused by what was happening. How could the police be formulating murder charges when they didn't even know if Ricardo was dead? Had they found his brother? The DA admitted that Ricardo still hadn't been found. Antonio pressed her, demanding to know what evidence existed that would make the cops suspect him of killing his brother. Gabi thought they should keep silent until they had an attorney to advise them. Antonio said they didn't need any protection because they hadn't done anything wrong. DA Steele gladly showed him the video evidence, which featured Gabi and Antonio making love. In shock, he asked where she had gotten that tape. She answered that it had been found in the airport locker, along with all the other evidence he had stashed there. The situation was only getting more confusing to Antonio. He had already told the DA that he and Gabi weren't in Sunset Beach at the time of Ricardo's disappearance; they'd been up the coast at Ricardo's mountain cabin. So how could the DA suspect them of any wrongdoing? Spencer handed the DA a ballistics report on the gun. According to the report, the gun had been fired on the night of Ricardo's disappearance. Furthermore, Antonio's fingerprints were all over the weapon. How did Antonio plan to explain that one? He said he didn't care what the report said. He had never seen that gun, much less fired it. But DA Steele persisted. She theorized that Gabi and Antonio had panicked and killed Ricardo when he'd surprised him at the cabin. They hadn't expected Ricardo to walk in on them while they were making love. What was she talking about? Why would she think they had been committing adultery at the cabin? The DA said that Ricardo himself had fingered them as his attackers. She handed them Michael's official police statement, and left them alone to read it. She had a hunch that once they read Michael's report, they would stop denying the facts and confess. Looking at the statement, Antonio realized that Ricardo had set them up for revenge. LEAVE TOWN FOR LOVE? Brad looked at Amy as though she had completely lost her mind. She had just asked him to leave Sunset Beach with Emily by the end of the day. If he didn't, she diabolically promised that his beloved Emily would learn how he had helped sabotage her romance with Sean. Brad thought that Amy had lost her last brain cells. How could she threaten to go to Emily with this? There was no way he could get Emily to leave Sunset Beach at all, much less by the end of the day. Besides Amy was forgetting something crucial: if she told Emily about Brad's collusion, then Sean would find out too. But Amy refused to back down. If Sean found out, so be it. As long as Emily was in town, Amy could never have Sean anyway. Brad said that Emily would never believe Amy's accusations; it would just be her word against his. But Amy had two more words for him, Mrs. Moreau. The South Central savant could back up Amy's entire story. Amy left Brad alone in the park to ponder her demands. Meanwhile, Emily happened to wander by and overhear some of the conversation. Who was Mrs. Moreau? When Emily approached Brad, she kept mum about these puzzling sound bites and merely asked if their date was still on. Yes, it was. She asked if something was bothering him. He in turn gave up no information. But Emily knew that something was up. She would find out one way or another what was going on. A HOLIDAY GIFT Bette decorated the Christmas tree with Emily's help. They shared their favorite holiday memories. Bette could see that her daughter was still sad about Sean's leaving town. Emily admitted that she was. Betty didn't entirely understand her daughter's sadness. After all, Sean had cheated on her. Bette conceded, though, that love sometimes wasn't so easy to let go of, no matter what happened. Emily suspected that her mother was really talking about AJ. Later, AJ appeared on Bette's doorstep. He mentioned that he had just been at Olivia's house, dropping off a gift for Trey. AJ added that he couldn't be romantically involved with Olivia any longer. He hoped that Bette might spend some of her holiday with him. Of course she would, she replied. How could she not be with her good friend at Christmas? AJ said he wanted them to become more than friends. Bette was stunned at first, but thrilled.
  December 21,1999 REVENGE AT ITS BEST Gregory prepared for his last performance as Uncle Tobias. He had done admirably in the role, but all good things must come to an end. After today, it would be fair to say that Annie's life would never be the same. He entered the Richards house just as Annie was on her way out. It was good to catch her because they had one last thing to talk about. He wanted to reward her for all her hard work. Annie didn't want to jump the gun, but what hard work was he talking about? Her work at the Liberty Corp. Tobias said that Jude had reported how helpful she'd been to him. Before they continued this conversation, Tobias thought they should go somewhere more private. He had the perfect place picked out. Annie was ecstatic; her day seemed to be turning out so well. Gregory knew that she was in for a shock. He took her to the place where she had exposed him as a murderer. He recalled that fateful night when he'd been forced to run and had supposedly died. Annie listened to Tobias' ramblings, but didn't really see what this had to do with naming her as executrix of Gregory's will. Tobias asked her to be patient. There were just a few other things he needed to touch on. There was the issue of Olivia's drinking. He had looked for the root of the problem. Annie said that the reasons for Olivia's drinking were unfathomable but predicted that it would end soon. Tobias said the games were over. He knew about Annie's involvement with Mrs. Moreau. He had documentation to prove it. Remember how Annie had felt compelled to expose Gregory's treachery for the good of society? Now Tobias would do the same and expose Annie. She was going to jail for what she had done. She tried to get away from him, but he grabbed her and threw her over his shoulder. Why was he being so mean to her? She had never harmed him. She fought to free herself from his grip. As she tumbled off his shoulder, she knocked his wig off. She found herself facing Gregory. A NEW BEGINNING? A police officer interviewed the survivors of Derek's wrath. Ben asked that Maria be allowed to rest. Couldn't the officer see how warn out everyone was? One of the officers apologized to Maria for the situation with her brothers. She didn't know what he was talking about. He added vaguely that it was some type of police matter; he wasn't at liberty to say more. Maria was torn between wanting to check out this police matter involving her brothers and wanting to see Benji. Ben promised to take care of Benji while she went to the police station. Meg asked an officer for a ride back into town, but Ben stopped her from leaving. He apologized for all that had happened. If he'd only been more careful the day that Derek attacked him, she could have been spared this ordeal. Meg told him not to blame himself. How could he know that his "dead" brother was in cahoots with the nanny? At least now Derek was really dead. Everything was finally over. But they both knew it wasn't over, Ben said. They had been on their way out to the altar when Tess showed up with Benji. They couldn't let Derek win from the grave. Meg said it wasn't that simple. Ben still cared for Maria and Benji. If he didn't care, he wouldn't be the Ben she'd fallen in love with. Things just weren't that simple. Ben knew that Meg needed to see her parents and he needed to see Benji, but couldn't they do this together? Wouldn't she come with him? They went to Zach's house where Benji had spent the night. By this time Zach's mom, Yvette, knew about Derek's rampage. She left Ben and Meg alone to talk with Benji. Ben told the boy they had adult things to talk about -- things that involved him. Benji asked where Tess was. She had promised to take him to see his mommy. Ben said they wouldn't be going anywhere. Tess had to go away because of some bad things she'd done. Benji had a question. If Tess went to jail for lying, would Benji have to go too, because Tess had made him lie along with her? Ben assured him that children weren't responsible for what adults made them do. LESSONS FROM THE PAST Ricardo watched a news report on television about his case. The report said that he was missing and presumed dead. But the TV reception went fuzzy before he could hear anything about Antonio and Gabi. He turned to the radio for more information and learned that his brother and wife had been arrested. Now his brother would know what it felt like to have his life torn apart. Ricardo had another flashback of Antonio and himself as kids. He focused on the time that he'd accused Antonio of cheating at a game. A young Antonio kept insisting that it was only a mistake. Returning to the present, Ricardo lectured himself that Antonio's recent behavior wasn't just a mistake. His brother had lied and cheated with Gabi. Ricardo felt his revenge was just. Suddenly, he experienced another flashback. This time the whole family was on a fishing trip, and Maria was the only one who didn't catch any fish. Her two brothers assured her that their catch was also hers. Their motto was "all for one and one for all." How could Ricardo know that years later Antonio would twist that motto to mean he could sleep with Ricardo's wife? Next Ricardo remembered Antonio bringing him to the cabin right after they'd gotten word that Maria was "dead." Antonio had promised to always be there for his brother. Ricardo couldn't stand it anymore. He willed himself to stop dwelling on the past. Staying in this cabin was messing with his head. He phoned the airline and booked the next flight out. BEHIND BARS DA Steele told Antonio and Gabi about Ricardo's call to Michael. When they saw Michael's statement to the police, Antonio realized that he'd set them up. Gabi assumed the "he" Antonio was talking about was Michael. Antonio corrected her. He was talking about Ricardo. That sounded ridiculous to Gabi. But Antonio went through the evidence with her. Had she changed the will? Or how about the life insurance policies? Had she tampered with them? The only person who could have done that was Ricardo. They both knew that Antonio hadn't touched that gun and yet his fingerprints were all over it. She had to recognize the truth: this was a well-planned revenge plot. Gabi buried herself in Antonio's arms for comfort. When the DA came back in, she suggested they hug as much as they wanted. After she finished with them, they would never touch again. Were they ready to confess? Antonio insisted they had done nothing wrong. Gabi stopped him from speaking any further until they could get an attorney. DA Steele promised that she would punish them for the murder of her friend Ricardo. They were taken to holding cells. Gabi thanked her brother-in-law for not telling the DA their dark suspicions about Ricardo. She had caused her husband to go crazy. They had to protect him. Suddenly, reality hit her. If Ricardo had done this to them, then he might be hurt or dead. Antonio agreed that they had to help Ricardo, but they first had to get themselves out of jail. LOOKING FOR ANSWERS Maria burst into DA Steele's office demanding answers. What was going on with her brothers? She hadn't been able to find anyone who would tell her anything. Carmen arrived on the scene, equally frantic. She was happy to see her daughter, but terribly worried about her sons. Carmen had spent the night at her husband's grave praying for the safety of her children. The DA told them that Antonio was in custody. As to the whereabouts of Ricardo, the DA had no idea. Maria rushed out of the room to go see Antonio. Carmen turned in anger to DA Steele. How could she put her son, a man of God, behind bars? DA Steele assured Carmen that her son and Gabi weren't behind bars on a whim. They were accused of murdering Ricardo. Carmen called her a liar. There was no way that Antonio had killed his brother. In fact, Ricardo wasn't dead. She could feel it. Maria approached her brother's cell. She now knew that he was suspected of murdering Ricardo, but she didn't believe it. Antonio could see that Maria was struggling with problems of her own. He urged her to talk to him. She just wondered where their lives had gone wrong. Their childhood had been so wonderful. Antonio agreed. He remembered how close they'd once been, like the Three Musketeers. Spencer came into the holding cell area and told Maria that she had to leave. She promised to get her brother an attorney. Gabi complimented Antonio on easing his sister's pain by bringing up the Three Musketeers. He said that Ricardo used to call them that. He suddenly realized where Ricardo must be.
  December 22,1999 BENJI AND THE FAMILY TREE Benji said he felt safe as long as he had his dad and mommy. Meg turned away to hide her disappointment at even thinking of Ben with Maria. Ben asked Benji for a moment alone with Meg. He wanted to talk to her about their relationship. Meg thought it was bad timing, but Ben disagreed. He said that one of the main things that had kept him going while in captivity was thinking about her. Benji ran back in. He wanted a Christmas tree just like everyone else. Ben agreed to get one if he could have just a few more minutes with Meg. Meg talked about the future. This wasn't the time for them to rekindle a relationship. There were some tough times ahead for Benji as he learned that Tess and Derek were his real parents. Benji was going to need Ben's love and support more than ever. Meg left so that Ben could fill Benji in about his true father. He got Benji the desired tree. As they prepared to decorate it, Benji gave his father a decoration that he had made at school. It was a piece of paper with his handprint on it, and the words above read "To Daddy." This made Ben think back to Derek telling him who Benji's real father was. He snapped back to reality and thanked Benji for the ornament. With the tree decorated, Ben called Maria's voicemail to let her know that all was well with Benji. Together they would work through this trauma. LOVE MEDICINE Casey was anxious to leave the hospital as soon as possible. With Sara's help, he tried to get up a little too soon and fell back on top of her. The doctor thought their loving affection was nice, but she was preventing him from completing his examination. He asked Sara to wait in the hall for the time being. With one last kiss, she exited the room. In the hall she encountered her parents, who rushed to her side. Joan shivered at the thought of what might have happened had Derek carried out his plan. Hank wouldn't hear any of the "what ifs." Tyus emerged from Casey's room, saying that he was waiting for some test results. Until then, Casey needed to get complete rest. Hank and Joan went to get Sara a drink, since she intended to stick close by and wait for Casey's test results. When a nurse walked past Sara, she had an inspired idea. Meg showed up to check on her sister. Sara thanked her for all her help. If Meg hadn't figured out where Derek and Tess had taken the captives, who knows what might have happened. Sara excused herself when Hank and Joan came back. They used the time to catch up on Meg's part of the story. At least she now knew why Ben hadn't seemed like himself recently. But now that she had the real Ben back, what did she plan to do? Did she hope to have him back in her life romantically? Only time would tell, said Meg. Suddenly, she had to rush off… something about a mission that she didn't have time to share with her parents. In his room, Casey wasn't pleased to have an orderly guarding him. A nurse came by, saying she had medication for Casey. The orderly could take a break while she attended to her patient. Casey insisted that Dr. Robinson hadn't said anything about medicine. Sara turned to him in her nurse's uniform and whispered that her special treatment didn't exactly come from Dr. Robinson. Casey was suddenly very pleased with this new health care worker. A MOTHER KNOWS ALL Michael and Vanessa came into the stationhouse to get an update on Ricardo's case. They ran into Carmen and Maria. Maria couldn't fathom why Antonio and Gabi were under suspicion. Carmen wondered what had gone wrong with her family. Michael spoke up, saying she could blame him. He rehashed his alarming phone call from Ricardo, explaining that he'd reported it to the police. But Michael and Vanessa didn't really believe that Ricardo was dead. In fact, they had been out all night looking for him. Carmen then conferred with her daughter and offered her own take on this bizarre situation. Why had Ricardo hidden the fact that he could walk again? For one reason only. It was clear to her that he'd been setting Gabi and Antonio up. He had to know about them sleeping together. This was revenge. Maria thought her mother was right. Ricardo had stewed over Gabi and Antonio's infidelity and hatched his plan for revenge while he was stuck in that bed. He had lost his mind. Carmen suspected that Antonio and Gabi weren't even in the vicinity when Ricardo had phoned Michael and called out their names. He'd just staged things so that Michael would report hearing a gunshot to the police. Maria said she was glad that Antonio was in jail. Otherwise, they might have a real murder on their hands. GET OUT OF JAIL FREE Meanwhile, Antonio and Gabi were stuck behind bars. Antonio was sure the he knew where to find Ricardo. He told Gabi about the cabin where their father used to take them on fishing trips as kids. He was sure that Ricardo was using it as his hiding place because he had used it before in times of stress (i.e., while mourning Maria's "death"). Gabi thought they should send a police team up there as soon as possible. Antonio disagreed. In order to truly protect Ricardo, they had to confront him themselves. Antonio said that he had to look his brother in the face and apologize. Gabi wondered how they could get out of jail and drive to the cabin. She remembered that Maria was in the process of hiring an attorney to arrange for their release. But that wasn't going to be soon enough, Antonio said. They had to get to the cabin today. Gabi had an idea. She asked the guard to get Spencer. When he arrived, Antonio explained his hunch about Ricardo's whereabouts. Spencer volunteered to go check out the cabin when he got off duty. Gabi said that wasn't an option. Ricardo wouldn't talk to him. He would only run at the sight of him. The only people who could confront Ricardo were Antonio and her. Spencer insisted that he couldn't just break the rules and release them. What she was asking him to do would cost him his badge. Gabi insisted that when they found Ricardo, Spencer would be the hero. When Michael and Vanessa showed up at the holding area to visit their friends, they found the cells empty. CHILDHOOD MEMORIES As Ricardo prepared to leave the cabin, he came across a fishing pole. The pole brought back a childhood memory: His mother wanted him to assume a fatherly role in Antonio's life. With their father gone, Ricardo had now become the man of the family. His mother asked him to help Antonio find his way in the world. She made Ricardo promise that he'd never let his brother down. Back in the present, Ricardo mumbled to himself he didn't let Antonio down by setting him up. It was the other way around -- Antonio had betrayed him. The radio reported that Gabi and Antonio were being held without bail as suspects in Ricardo's murder. Finishing off the news, the radio went back to playing holiday music. The music reminded Ricardo of a Christmas spent with his little brother on the beach throwing a football. That memory carried him to a much more recent one, when they'd tossed a football back and forth as adults. Ricardo shook off these warm feelings. He had to get on with his plan. With the plane ticket in his pocket, he was ready to go. But before he opened the door, Ricardo heard footsteps approaching. Gabi's voice rang out. She hoped that they weren't too late. FACING HER WORST ENEMY Annie fought to get away from Tobias. In her struggle, she pulled off his wig to find Gregory standing before her. He sniped that she was born asking for trouble. This time she had it in spades. How had he pulled this off? -- Annie wondered in astonishment. Gregory told her about his missing uncle, who naturally was the perfect candidate to become executor of his will. He noted that Annie had made such a fool of herself competing with Olivia for control over the estate. She reminded him that Cole had been in that contest too. Gregory had not forgotten about Cole. Who did she think had arranged Cole's disappearance? She couldn't believe that Gregory would be responsible for something that had caused his daughter such pain. Gregory said he'd have plenty of time to make it up to her. He added that he would be in Europe right now, reuniting with his children, if it weren't for the karmic retribution that he needed to dole out to Annie. Yes, Annie must go to prison for drugging Olivia. Oh no, cried Annie, if anyone should be locked up, it was Gregory! He had actually killed someone. Suddenly, Gregory changed his tune and agreed that Annie wouldn't be going to jail. Things had gone too far for that. He would have to come up with some other punishment for her. Annie renewed her struggle to break fee of Gregory's powerful grip. She ran toward the door and fell into Jude's arms just as he walked in. She told him in a panicked voice how she had just learned that Tobias was actually Gregory. If Jude didn't go call the police, Gregory would kill them both. When Jude joined Gregory in laughter, Annie knew she was in real trouble.
  December 23,1999 ANNIE TRAPPED! Annie grabbed Jude as he entered the room, hoping that her white knight had just arrived. Instead, her worst nightmare appeared before her eyes when she realized that Jude was Gregory's partner. Now what was it that you were saying about calling the police? -- asked Gregory. Annie couldn't believe that Jude had been in cahoots with Gregory all along. Jude suggested that she start believing it. He had never been in love with her. He knew when he'd accepted the job that he would have to take the good with the bad. She was the latter. Annie slapped him after he delivered his insult. Jude hoped she enjoyed it, because it would be her last act of retaliation. It became clear that the plan was to kill Annie. She knew too much. Had she not unmasked Gregory's charade, she would have simply gone to jail. But now she knew about Uncle Tobias. Gregory instructed Jude to finish her off. Jude felt that he and Gregory had to get a few things settled first. He didn't work pro bono. If Gregory wanted things done right, he'd have to pay. Jude insisted that Gregory call the bank for a money transfer if he wanted Annie taken care of. Gregory was impressed by his assistant's enthusiasm for the dollar. He called the bank to arrange the transfer of funds. Jude took the phone to check his account balance. He was pleased; the balance was larger than he'd expected. Jude turned to Annie, taunting that she should feel proud to know how much Gregory was willing to pay to remove her from his life. A teary-eyed Annie begged for her life. She didn't want to die this way. Gregory suggested that Jude take her somewhere out of town in case things got messy. Jude thought it should be done here and now. If he tried to take her out of the building, she might cause a scene or escape. Gregory agreed that the warehouse would have to serve as Annie's termination point. SURPRISE, SURPRISE AJ and Bette decorated her tree together. Bette had never imagined such a happy Christmas when she purchased the tree. AJ was glad that she'd been honest with her feelings; it had finally allowed them to find each other. Then Olivia showed up. She was rejoicing in her newfound sobriety. There was no explaining how she had gotten there; she just knew deep inside that she was going to stay that way now. AJ was happy to hear it. Olivia knew that she had hurt the people in her life by drinking. She was here to patch up some of that pain. She acknowledged how hard both AJ and Bette had tried to keep her from the bottle. They both offered their love. Olivia said that AJ's walking away from her had been part of what prompted her to stop. Now she needed to know that she hadn't truly lost him. Bette stepped outside to give AJ and Olivia some privacy. AJ explained to Olivia that he cared for her and forgave her for everything. It was just that things had happened in the last few days, helping him to see that they didn't belong together. She was so glad to hear him say this. She had come to say the same. She cherished his friendship and he was a true blessing in her life. She promised him that somewhere out there the woman meant for him was waiting. He looked back at Bette, who stood in the doorway smiling. Olivia realized that Bette and AJ had already fallen in love. AJ had to step away to take a phone call. Olivia turned to her friend of many years in great surprise. Somewhere deep down she had always known that AJ was attracted to Bette. But she'd never guessed that the feelings were mutual. Bette wondered how Olivia really felt about it. Did she hate Bette? MISSING BUT NOT LOST Vanessa demanded that Spencer tell her where Antonio and Gabi were. DA Steele had the same question. Michael accused the DA of transferring them to another lock-up facility. Knowing that she hadn't moved them, the DA accused Michael and Vanessa of helping them escape. She ordered Spencer to lock them up. Spencer couldn't follow that order. He explained that he knew Antonio and Gabi were innocent. He had set them free so they could prove it. The DA hoped he knew that he had just lost his badge. Despite that threat, Spencer refused to divulge Gabi and Antonio's whereabouts. Just then, an officer came in with a report that a police vehicle had been spotted in an adjoining county. Michael asked to go along, but the DA wouldn't allow it. She ordered an officer to stay with Spencer and make sure Michael and Vanessa didn't follow them either. Michael thanked Spencer for helping Antonio and Gabi. He'd done the right thing. Spencer said that Michael should remind him of that when he lost his badge. Vanessa had an idea of how they could help Gabi and Antonio. The officer tried in vain to stop them. IF ONLY… Ricardo packed up the last of his belongings, ready to start his new life. Before opening the door, he heard footsteps approaching the cabin. Gabi and Antonio had come to confront him. Antonio knew that Ricardo was on the other side of that door. He begged Ricardo to let them in. Inside, Ricardo was like a boxed rabbit looking for a way out. There was no apparent escape. A determined Antonio took a small log and broke the glass pane on the door. He reached in to unlock the door. But when he entered the cabin, with Gabi right behind him, there was no sign of Ricardo. Antonio stopped dead in his tracks when he saw a clue indicating that his brother had definitely been here. It was a picture of Ricardo and himself as boys. The picture had always hung on the cabin wall. It now lay on a countertop all crumpled up. No one else would have destroyed the picture. Gabi was glad to know that her husband had been here, but distressed that he was gone. If they couldn't find Ricardo, they might as well drive themselves back to jail. Antonio wouldn't let that happen. He didn't understand how things had gone so wrong. He regretted sleeping with Gabi, and then compounding the mistake by keeping it a secret. Had he told Ricardo when it happened, maybe they could have worked things out. If he and Gabi hadn't believed they were going to die in that collapsed building, they never would have slept together. Still, even after all of this, Antonio loved his brother with all his heart. Ricardo lay hidden on a storage shelf above Antonio and Gabi, listening to their conversation. He was shocked to learn that they'd only been together the one time. Meanwhile, Gabi agreed with Antonio that they should have immediately told Ricardo about their infidelity, but she'd been so afraid of losing him. It was all her fault. Antonio stopped her. She wasn't the only one to blame in this. There was only one innocent person here... Ricardo. Suddenly, the DA and a police officer burst into the cabin to round up the fugitives. Antonio tried to defend their fleeing jail, but the DA turned a deaf ear. She ordered the officer to haul them into the car. Ricardo slipped down from the shelf once the intruders were gone. Outside, Michael and Vanessa rushed up to the police car as just as Antonio and Gabi were being hustled into the back seat. DA Steele was more than annoyed to see Michael and Vanessa here. She had instructed them to stay at the station. She told the police officer to drive the prisoners back to Sunset Beach. He started the motor, but when he turned on the lights, Ricardo was standing in front of the car. CONNED INTO TRUTH Amy noticed that Brad wasn't packed and ready to leave town. She warned him that either he got Emily out of town by the end of the day or she would tell Emily everything. And she meant everything. Upon her exit, Emily approached and put on the show of her life. When Brad asked if she was ready for their date, she answered, "I don't think so. Not after what I just learned about you." Brad didn't understand. What could she have learned that was worse than what she already knew. She assured him it was far worse. If he needed a clue, how did the name Mrs. Moreau sound to him? He was shocked that Amy had gone to her. Emily assured him that she knew everything. She asked if he had any feeble defense at all. Was there any reason why she should hate him less than she hated Amy? Her plan worked. Brad spilled the truth bigtime, trying to protect himself. He said that Amy had blackmailed him. He didn't want anything to do with Mrs. Moreau. Amy had been the one to get the love potion. "Love potion? What love potion?" asked Emily. Brad realized that the story had been bluffed out of him. He immediately tried to back-pedal, but it was too late. Emily urged him not to revert to his old self. Brad was the only person Emily could depend on to tell her the truth. She asked him to tell her everything. He did as requested. He told her how Amy had resorted to using black magic in order to seduce Sean. But after Sean had slept with Amy the first time, instead of falling for Amy, he'd become more devoted than ever to Emily. So Amy had given him a second dose of the potion and then made sure that Emily learned about their bed romp. Emily couldn't believe that Brad had helped Amy hatch this plot. What did he hope to gain? He said that he'd been hoping for a chance with Emily once she was free of Sean. His words didn't soften her at all. She blamed Amy's shenanigans and Brad's complicity as the reason for Sean's departure from Sunset Beach. She was going to make sure that Amy felt the pain she had caused.
  December 24,1999 CALLING IT QUITS Michael and Vanessa rushed up to the car as Antonio and Gabi were being buckled into the beat seat. DA Steele was furious at them for showing up at the cabin. She wasn't about to allow visiting hours for escaped prisoners. She told the officer who was driving to take the prisoners back to Sunset Beach as soon as possible. As the officer prepared to drive off, Ricardo stepped out in front of the car. Gabi and Antonio were shocked to see him. The DA rushed to his side. Was he okay? Had they hurt him? Ricardo stood there quietly, suffering from deep remorse. When the DA continued to question him, he assured her that he was fine. She asked him to step inside where they could talk in private. She suspected that he might be afraid to talk in front of his would-be murderers. He followed her into the cabin. Talking quietly, he admitted that he'd done something horrible -- and he had done it alone. The DA still believed he was trying to cover up for Gabi and Antonio in some way. But Ricardo said it was time for the truth. He confessed that Antonio and Gabi hadn't tried to kill him at all. He had set the whole thing up to frame them. His plan had been in the works for weeks -- and he'd been walking for weeks. He explained that he'd wanted them convicted of murder as punishment for the pain they'd caused him. The witness at the airport had not seen Antonio, but Ricardo dressed as a priest. Furthermore, Ricardo had secretly bought the extra insurance, and the call to Michael had been a sham. The DA asked why Ricardo had done it. He explained that he couldn't live with his wife's infidelity. Outside, Gabi told Vanessa and Michael about her night of passion with Antonio. She didn't want them to read about it in the papers. Inside the cabin, the DA was devastated by Ricardo's confession. She told Ricardo that he had just ruined his career. But he knew that he had lost much more than that. The DA went outside to release her prisoners. She hoped that they would forgive Ricardo. Gabi and Antonio entered the cabin, anxious to talk with Ricardo. He admitted that he'd been hiding on a storage shelf and had overheard their conversation. Until then he hadn't known that their affair was a one-time-only encounter. He asked Gabi to look him in the eye and tell him that she only loved him. She couldn't do it, as he suspected. Antonio stopped him from leaving. Didn't they have some things to talk about? Ricardo said he couldn't let them go to prison for a murder they didn't commit, but he would never forgive them for what had happened. TRUE LOVE ALWAYS WINS Emily laced into Amy for drugging Sean and seducing him. Yes, Brad had told her everything. She knew about Mrs. Moreau and the love potion. She knew that Amy had tricked Sean into bed. Emily had trusted Amy with her friendship, and Amy had reciprocated with lies and betrayal. Did Amy really feel satisfied making love with Sean when he was drugged? Amy answered that at least she had gotten him into bed. Emily responded with a slap. Amy was such a spoiled little brat. Amy whined that she may have been born into beachfront property, but she had fought hard to stay there. Her mother abandoned her and her father died in such a tragic way. Emily felt a twinge of sympathy for Amy's hard-luck upbringing, but felt it didn't give her a license to go around town destroying other people's lives. Emily said she was going to find Sean, her man. Amy tried to stop her, but Emily assured the sad-sack seductress that her time with Sean was over. He had never been Amy's. A BEST FRIEND'S LOVE Olivia confronted Bette, and the two women hashed out their feelings for AJ. Bette admitted that she loved him. Olivia realized that AJ would be happier with Bette than with her, and asked Bette to make a deal with her. Bette had to agree to be incredible to AJ. It was a deal that Bette was more than willing to make. AJ, who'd left the two women alone to talk, came back into the room. Had he missed anything? Bette was thrilled to report that the old Olivia was back. AJ thanked Olivia for supporting his new relationship. She thought he deserved all the happiness in the world. Bette thought it was high time that Olivia found that same kind of happiness. Olivia said she couldn't explain how or why she had started drinking or even how she had stopped. All she knew was that she had to find her children. Bette sat on the sofa snuggling in the arms of her new love. They were both so glad to have finally found each other in this new way. Emily burst into the house joyfully. She was in love! There was no time to explain, she cried, as she rushed upstairs. Bette turned to AJ, and they kissed. Olivia came home to find Amy crying on the sofa. The girl came clean about the potion that Annie had used to jump-start Olivia's drinking. Olivia called for Rose. She knew that Rose had seen Annie and Tobias when she was out. She needed to know where to find them. Learning that they were at an old abandoned warehouse, she headed out the door to confront them. UNDERCOVER UP Annie was trapped and death seemed imminent. Gregory suggested they take Annie farther out of town, but Jude pointed out that they might be spotted or she might get away. Gregory deferred to Jude's wishes. Gregory sensed that Jude was hesitating in carrying out the execution. He snapped that if Jude wanted to simply stare at her some more, he should take a picture. But right now, he really wished that Jude would kill her. Suddenly, Jude turned and kicked his co-conspirator in the head. Gregory fell to the floor unconscious. Jude assured Annie that everything would be okay. He said that Gregory was out cold and would be in a lot of pain when he awoke... in jail. Jude made a phone call, announcing that Gregory was captured and ready to be picked up. Annie asked if he had known all along that Gregory was Tobias -- and a murderer. He answered affirmatively. Annie was angry that he had kept such information to himself, leaving everyone in danger. She wanted to know who Jude really was. He reintroduced himself to Annie. Meet Jude Cavanaugh, special agent, FBI. He explained the reason for this ruse. The FBI couldn't take Gregory down until they acquired the number to his secret Swiss bank account. Without that, they had no evidence. Jude added that the agency had set up his cover by getting AJ to hire him at the Liberty Corp. From there, Gregory had actually sought out Jude's assistance. Jude hadn't arranged Cole's disappearance, but the FBI had later helped find him. By this time, Caitlin and Trey were on their way to a great family reunion with Cole. Annie had one last gift for Jude. She punched him. He had lied to her and used her to get information on Gregory. He swore that he hadn't used her when they made love. He pulled her close to him, pleading that he needed her. With a kiss, Jude told Annie that he had requested a permanent transfer to Sunset Beach when this case was over. He wanted her in his life. They kissed again. Gregory stepped up behind them, knocking Jude in the head with a board. Annie feared that Gregory would kill her. He assured her that nothing else would give him so much pleasure, but there wasn't time. The authorities were on their way. Before he could get out the door, Olivia bumped into him. She was stunned to realize that Gregory was still alive.
  December 27,1999 UNDYING LOVE Jude kissed Annie to assure her that things would be okay, but things were far from okay. Gregory hit Jude in the back of the head with a board. Gregory thought it was sweet that Annie had gotten a kiss so soon before her death. But lucky for her, he didn't have time to kill her here and now. He had to get out of here before the authorities showed up. Before Gregory could escape, Olivia walked through the door. She stood there, shocked to see Gregory alive. She had never suspected that Uncle Tobias was actually her dead ex. How could Gregory let his family believe he was dead? Annie spoke up and informed Olivia that Jude, currently passed out on the floor, was an undercover FBI agent. He had been operating a sting on Gregory. The police were on their way to haul Gregory into custody. Gregory pushed past Olivia, hoping to escape. She chased after him, determined to stop him. She couldn't bear the thought of seeing Gregory gunned down by the police. Oh, really? Gregory thought she might actually appreciate another chance to grab his money. Was he supposed to believe she actually cared for him? Olivia retorted that, believe it or not, she had grieved over his "death." They had shared over twenty years of marriage and two children together. She asked him to give himself up and save his life. But Gregory said he'd rather be a fugitive than spend the rest of his life behind bars. Gregory kissed Olivia, promising she would see him again. He was like a cat with nine lives, he reminded her. Olivia refused to let him go. If he wouldn't stop running for her sake, how about for someone he truly did love? Would he stop running for Caitlin? If he ran now, he would never see his family again. His cover as Tobias was blown now. He couldn't stay away from his family forever. He couldn't survive without them. She couldn't accept that he had only come back for revenge. He needed his family. "You may escape again, but you will die inside," she warned him. Jude suddenly spoke up, saying that Olivia was right. Give yourself up, he urged Gregory. Rather quickly, Jude managed to get the upper hand and capture the twisted tycoon. Now Annie confronted the prisoner. Before Gregory was incarcerated, she had to know if he had ever loved her. Gregory said that he hadn't. She intrigued him, but he had never loved her. As he was led away by the authorities, Gregory said he was sure that he would see Annie in prison. Annie started to leave, now that the crisis was over, but Olivia detained her. Olivia mentioned her enlightening little chat with Amy. Neither of them was going anywhere before things were settled. HOME IN THE HEART Joan relaxed in the arms of her husband, relieved to have her daughters happy and safe for Christmas. Hank gave his wife a snow globe that reminded both of them of their past Christmases in Kansas. Joan asked him to admit that he missed not being there. He confirmed it with a slight smile. Joan admitted that she too missed Ludlow. She missed Christmas visits with all the neighbors and the same holiday decorations pulled out year after year. Hank stopped her, saying that he might miss Kansas, but he would never miss home. Home was here with his wife and family. BRAVE NEW WORLD Casey and Sara snuggled in bed together at the hospital. Nurse Cummings was giving him just the care he needed. Tyus walked in and smiled when he saw the new treatment that his patient was getting. He gave Casey a clean bill of health; all the test results had come back negative. He guessed that Casey had figured that out on his own, considering Casey's current position with Sara. Casey offered to take full responsibility for Sara confiscating a nurse's uniform and sneaking into his room. No explanations were necessary. Tyus suggested that they pack up and go home. Casey told Sara that he had a surprise for her at a secret location. He took her to their favorite romantic spot, which was decorated with flowers and candles. (Casey had cleverly pre-arranged this.) They reminisced about all the times he'd rescued her. On three occasions, she probably would have died had it not been for him. Sara mentioned a fourth time, which had been the bravest rescue of all. That was when he'd given her a second chance. Casey said he was particularly fond of that move himself. Now it was time to go one step further. He had a question for her. "Sara Cummings, will you marry me?" he asked as he bent on one knee. He knew that he wasn't the most successful man. He would never be a business tycoon, but... She stopped him. She didn't care what his career goals were. He was the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with . Sara shared the good news with her parents, and Hank gave Casey his blessing. SETTING HIM FREE Maria entered the visitors' room at the police station where her mother waited for news about Antonio and Ricardo. Carmen was so glad to hear that Ricardo had been found and he was fine. Her sons and Gabi were all on their way back to Sunset Beach. Suddenly, Benji ran in. He was so glad to see his mother. Ben (who had accompanied the boy) asked Maria about her brothers. When he learned that her brothers were okay, he inquired how she was adjusting to their own situation. Carmen asked what that "situation" was. Ben stepped outside with Benji to give Maria a chance to finally tell Carmen about her own tragedy. Carmen was shocked to hear that Benji wasn't Maria's biological son. When Ben stuck his head back in to make sure everything was okay, Carmen offered to check on Benji, giving Ben and Maria a few moments alone. Ben felt they had some difficult decisions to make. But the answers seemed very clear to Maria. He loved Meg. He hadn't loved Maria since she came back to Sunset Beach. They couldn't keep pretending that love was still there. Ben said he hoped they could always be friends. When he left with Benji, Maria looked to her mother for comfort. She had put up a brave front but was hurting deeply inside. She didn't know where to turn with all the hurt and chaos in her life. Carmen said there was only one place to turn. Benji loved her with all his heart. He had to be her focus. Maria found comfort in her mother's words. VISITS FROM FRIENDS Meg visited Tess in prison. Meg had come for answers and, for once in her life, Tess was going to tell her the truth. But Tess wasn't interested in talking. She blamed Meg, Ben, and Maria for Derek's death. Meg couldn't believe it. How could Tess still defend Derek? He had used her in his murderous plot to steal his brother's money. Meg asked Tess to admit that she had arranged Benji's kidnapping that day on the beach. Tess admitted nothing. Meg pushed her, insisting that Tess was protecting a man who never even loved her. Why would Derek have kissed Meg if Tess was the woman who possessed his heart? Tess lunged at the bars, raging that she should have had Meg abducted that day instead of Benji. Tess then admitted that she had staged the kidnapping at Derek's request. He had wanted what was his, and that included his son. Meg was stunned. How could Tess have used her own son as a pawn just to gain money? Tess assured Meg that all her machinations were for her son's ultimate good. He already had a better life than she ever had. Meg replied that sooner or later Benji would have learned that his inheritance had been gained via the misery of others. And now, worst of all, Tess would be separated from her son. Meg offered one last thought: the person to feel sorry for in all of this was Benji. Meg exited, leaving Tess to stew in her own anguish. A few minutes later, Maria arrived and walked toward Tess' cell. There was something Maria needed from Tess, and she was determined to get it.
  December 28,1999 FOREVER ENEMIES Olivia stopped Annie from leaving the warehouse before their score was settled. Annie tried to run, but Olivia grabbed her roughly. Olivia knew the whole story. Amy had told her everything about the potion. After all of Annie's previous crimes against her -- stealing her child and her husband -- Olivia didn't believe that Annie could stoop any lower. Yet she had proved herself worthy of the task. And for what? Money? Annie insisted that money wasn't the motivating factor. She'd done it because Olivia deserved it. Olivia asked if her family deserved all the pain. Annie wasn't going to buy into Olivia's little guilt trip. She had sat by and watched Olivia take her father away. Then there was Gregory. Annie really did love him. He too had turned his back on Annie to be with Olivia. Wasn't it clear that people preferred a real human being as opposed to a viper like Annie? --asked Olivia. That's precisely why Annie hated Olivia so much. Olivia always got joy out of telling Annie that she wasn't worthy of receiving love. Annie said that Olivia deserved everything she had done to her. In fact, Olivia deserved what Annie had chosen not to do. One more dose of the potion would have kept her wallowing in a drunken stupor forever. Moreover, Olivia would never be able to prove any of Mrs. Moreau's mischievous activities. Who would believe that black magic had brought Olivia back to the bottle? It was the one thing that Olivia and Annie agreed on. Olivia realized that she didn't have any solid proof to send Annie off to jail, although she would continue to hunt for it. Meanwhile, she intended to make sure that everyone in Sunset Beach knew about Annie's sordid machinations. And they would believe Olivia because Annie's reputation was already shot to hell -- everybody knew what a troublemaker she was. Jude came into the warehouse with news that Gregory had been hauled off to jail. A grateful Olivia thanked him and announced that she was going home to rest. Jude then turned to Annie. They still had things to settle. He kissed her, but he could tell something was bothering her. Annie said she needed Jude's help. DOING SOMETHING RIGHT Maria visited Tess in jail and said that, in spite of all the things Tess had done wrong, there was one last thing she could do right. She could give Benji the life he deserved. A tearful Tess said it almost sounded like Maria cared. Maria did care about Benji. He had nothing to do with all the evil perpetrated by his biological parents. If Tess loved her son, then she would do what was truly best for him. Tess painfully agreed to surrender custody of the child. On her way out to have adoption papers drawn up, Maria turned to thank Tess. The childless mother sat with her arms wrapped around her knees in her prison cell crying. A NEW ROAD TO LOVE Meg and Ben kissed at the door, grateful to be finally reunited. Ben received a phone call telling him that Tess had signed over custody of Benji to Maria. Meg thought it sounded like wonderful news. Ben was glad she thought so, but wondered how she would feel about the second part. As Benji's uncle, he intended to serve as the boy's surrogate father and share the parenting responsibilities with Maria. That's as it should be, responded Meg. During the last three years, Meg had learned that love conquers all. She loved Benji, and she loved Ben. Meg told him she needed to be alone tonight, but asked him to meet her at Michael and Vanessa's wedding. Separately, Ben and Meg were each planning a wonderful surprise to rekindle their love. A MEETING OF THE MINDS Carmen was so happy to see Ricardo walk through the door. She had known all along that the DA was wrong about Antonio killing him. She knew how much her sons loved one another. But when Antonio and Gabi came into the stationhouse, that love was not apparent. The DA ordered Spencer released from jail and the charges against Gabi and Antonio formally dropped. But she hinted that new charges might have to be filed. Carmen asked what she meant by that. DA Steele suggested that Ricardo take Antonio and Gabi into the interrogation room first. The three of them did as requested. In the interrogation room, Ricardo remarked that things were going to end the way they'd started. Just the three of them. Antonio spoke up. He and Gabi were human... they had made a mistake. They were only trying to protect him when they kept their infidelity a secret. But how could Ricardo justify letting his sister and mother believe he was dead? Ricardo refused to allow his brother to judge him. He had been through hell dealing with Gabi and Antonio's betrayal. Seeing the videotape was only the beginning of that personal hell. It got even worse when he had to watch the two of them hovering at his bedside, acting innocent and concerned after what they had done. Gabi screamed out. She was tired of hearing what she and Antonio had done to Ricardo. It was time to talk about what Ricardo had done to himself. Hate and revenge were two dangerous weapons that Gabi knew a great deal about. Hate and revenge toward her sister had brought her to Sunset Beach in the first place. But Ricardo had helped her emerge from that nightmare. Ricardo claimed that Antonio had given her what she needed. No, it was Ricardo who had turned her life around. She knew where Ricardo was mentally right now because she had been there herself. What she regretted was that she couldn't seem to do for him what he had done for her. With those words, Gabi turned and exited. Antonio felt sad watching his brother. He had once looked to his brother for guidance on how to be a man, but now Ricardo could no longer teach him that. Antonio had learned that a man was someone who admitted his mistakes. He was wrong for sleeping with his brother's wife, but Ricardo was wrong for this twisted game he'd been playing. Maria came into the room, so happy to see her brothers together. Ricardo apologized for alarming her and their mother. He would find a way to make it up to them. For now, he needed some time alone. Maria ran into Antonio's arms as Ricardo left the room. She loved both of her brothers very much. Antonio acknowledged her love, but feared that he and Ricardo would never be brothers again. Outside the interrogation room, Gabi sat looking at a picture of Ricardo, Antonio and herself. How had it all gone so wrong? Suddenly, Gabi knew what she had to do. She assured Carmen that things would be okay. She was going to make sure of that. CHASING AFTER LOVE Emily told her mother how Sean had been drugged and then seduced by Amy. Bette didn't buy the whole story. Was her daughter a little desperate to find a way to forgive Sean? But Emily insisted that Sean was an innocent victim here, not a two-timing cad. After all, the story had come from Brad, not Sean. Rededicated to loving him, she announced that she was going to look for Sean. Bette was shocked by these travel plans. She would not allow her daughter to go gallivanting around the globe in search of Sean. But Emily wasn't asking for her mother's permission. Besides, she was only doing what her mother had done for years -- being true to her heart. Emily was proud to have some of her mother's determination in her. Sean was her soulmate, and she would find him. But when Emily called the airlines, she encountered a slight setback. All flights were filled until tomorrow. Well, maybe this would give AJ more time to dig up some leads on Sean's whereabouts. Emily was glad she'd joined her mother in Sunset Beach. Despite their rocky road, things had worked out for both of them. Bette had found AJ and now Emily would have Sean (she had absolute faith in that). Best of all, Emily and Bette had bonded solidly as mother and daughter.
  December 29,1999 WEDDING PREPARATIONS Michael was ready to leave for church. Vanessa worried that some last-minute wedding detail had been forgotten, but Michael assured her that everything had been taken care of. He had everything under control. Before he could get out the door, Vanessa received a phone call with bad news. Her father was stuck in a snowstorm out of town. She knew that something would go wrong. Who would her mother sit with during the ceremony? And if her father missed the service, then he wouldn't be there to give her away. What was she going to do? Tyus stepped in, saying he would take on the duty. Vanessa thanked him for his offer. She left Michael and Tyus alone to discuss it. Michael knew how Tyus felt about Vanessa. Well, if Tyus was willing to give away the woman he loved, Michael had no problem with it. Tyus said he only wanted to see Vanessa happy. He knew the way to do that was to make sure her wedding to Michael went off without a hitch. When Vanessa came back in, Michael announced that Tyus would walk her down the aisle. He was happy that Tyus was the man replacing her father. He looked once more at Vanessa as a single woman. The next time Michael saw his love, she would be walking down the aisle to become Mrs. Michael Bourne. MOVIN' ON UP Meg came downstairs to find Sara and Casey kissing in the living room. Sara couldn't wait to show her sister her engagement ring. Meg welcomed him to the family. Sara was happy to think of them all as a family. Soon she would be moving into Surf Central with Casey and she assumed Meg would be moving in with Ben. Meg was moving back in with Ben, wasn't she? Meg only wanted to talk about Sara and Casey. For now, Meg and Ben had a little more to work out. Sara went into the kitchen, leaving Casey to answer Meg's questions about their marriage plans. Meg thought back to three years ago when Casey jumped off the pier to save her. She hugged him, glad that they would now be family. Sara teased them when she came back in by acting jealous to find them in an embrace. Casey left the sisters alone to talk. Sara told Meg that their parents were right; going into partnership had turned out to be a good move. Co-owning the gift shop had brought Sara and Meg closer again. She felt that she had gotten her sister back in many ways. Hank helped move his daughter's things into Surf Central. When Sara saw that he had brought her small television, she said that she'd meant to leave it behind. He had only brought it because he knew Sara used it as a way to relax. In reality, she used it as a way to escape. Sara always thought of herself and her Sunset Beach pals whenever she heard the theme music from classic TV shows. She fantasized dancing around town with her friends, her sister, and most of all Casey to the tunes from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Charlie's Angels, Friends, and of course The Jeffersons "movin' on up" opening. Well, she was "movin' on up." Coming back to reality, she turned to her father. The TV had been helpful in years past, but she didn't need it anymore. She had something much better. SEPARATE LIVES Ben told Maria he had arranged for the movers to come after Michael and Vanessa's wedding. She hadn't even started to get Benji ready for the move yet. Ben asked how Benji had taken the news about their separation. She hadn't told him yet. Benji walked in just as Ben was saying they had to tell him. It was time. Benji didn't take the news so well at first. Maria promised Benji that both his parents would always love him. She would have her own house just down the street, and he would have his own room in both homes. After finding out that his cat would be welcome in both places, Benji said that if having separate houses made them happy, then he was happy too. Ben left to get ready for Michael and Vanessa's wedding. He told Maria that he was proud to be raising a son with her. As Maria continued to pack, Meg came by. Maria said that Ben would be back soon to pick them up for the wedding. Meg had come by to talk to Benji. Maria went for a walk to give them a moment alone. Meg told the boy that he had done a really important thing the other day. Because of him, she was able to help a lot of people. She brought gifts for Benji and Franklin, the cat. Benji was having a good day. First two rooms, now two gifts. He looked at Meg. If his mother was moving out of his father's house, did that mean that Meg was moving in? Maria ran into her mother in the park. Carmen was enjoying the day, knowing that Ricardo was one step closer to forgiving Antonio. She asked her daughter how things were going in her life. Maria was happy to report that the adoption of Benji was well underway. As far as giving up Ben, it was the right thing to do. The hardest thing about setting Ben free was worrying that she wouldn't find love again. Carmen assured her that she would. Carmen had seen it in the cards. Maria trusted her mother's vision of the things, especially after being warned not to leave town with Derek. Carmen knew that death hadn't been in her daughter's future. Maria could tell that her mother had seen who she would find love with. Carmen admitted that her daughter would find love again with Ben. LETTING GO Ricardo walked the pier thinking about the events of the last few days. His brother's words haunted him about what it took to be a man. Carmen approached him. She knew that his heart was breaking. He felt guilty about what he had done to his brother. When she had talked to Gabi last night, Gabi had promised to make everything all right again. Ricardo hadn't talked to Gabi and didn't plan to do so any time soon. He hoped his mother would understand that he couldn't talk to her or anyone else about what he had done. Not yet anyway. There was one more question Ricardo had for his mother. Did she still love him? Carmen assured her oldest son that she would always love him. He went home to find Gabi packing. She stopped him from walking back out. She had planned to leave him a goodbye note. Now she could tell him in person that she was leaving Sunset Beach. Ricardo said that Gabi had been right when she'd spoken to him at the stationhouse last night . He had let his vengeance take him on a ride to hell. Gabi understood that he couldn't forgive her for what happened, but he had to find a way to forgive his brother. It was killing both of them. "You have to forgive Antonio," she said. Ricardo couldn't have this conversation. He tried to leave. Gabi stopped him. This was his home. If she was going to show him how much she loved him, she had to let him go. Her leaving would give him a chance to rebuild his life. He had his family and most of all he had his brother. She was the one who had kept secrets from Ricardo. For him to punish Antonio was wrong. For the sake of his family, Ricardo had to find a way to let his anger toward Antonio go. She picked up the last of her things and left. FORGIVE ME, FATHER Gabi came to thank Antonio for his phone call the night before. He had only wanted to make sure she was okay because he hadn't heard from her. His archbishop had approved some time off for him to go to a monastery and regain his peace of mind. The time away would serve him well. Gabi told him that she was leaving Sunset Beach. She would be gone by the end of the day. She was at the center of too much pain between his brother and him. With her gone, they would have a better chance to heal. She planned to leave town right after Michael and Vanessa's wedding. Antonio stopped her. She couldn't just walk out of his life like that. He loved her and didn't want her to leave. "Are you saying that you still have feelings for me?" asked Gabi. Antonio said that he had taken vows to God that he couldn't break. He would never be able to give himself to Gabi. She knew that he could never leave the priesthood. He would eventually take this experience and become an even better priest. Antonio thanked her for her support. She kissed him on the cheek and said goodbye. Antonio was sure of one thing now: whatever changes the future might bring, this was where he belonged. He was a priest. He went in to hear confessions. Antonio was shocked as he heard Ricardo's voice asking forgiveness for his sins against his brother.
  December 30,1999 ENGLISH PATIENCE Maria asked her mother to name the man in the cards. Carmen admitted that Ben was the man she'd seen in Maria's future. Maria wasn't happy with this prediction. How many times did she have to tell her mother that it was over with him? Her mother's visions were preventing her from getting on with her life. Carmen insisted that, in her vision, she had seen her daughter on the beach with a handsome man. It had to be Ben, because she kept hearing the word "English." But she didn't want to hurt her daughter by harping on this. She thought Maria should come to Michael and Vanessa's wedding. It would help her relax. Maria started to head home when a beach ball suddenly hit her foot. A handsome man, who'd been playing on the beach, approached her to retrieve the ball. He hoped there wasn't any permanent damage. She laughed. They struck up a conversation, learning that they had children the same age. He tentatively suggested getting together sometime. Maybe they could set up a play date with their kids. She introduced herself as Maria Torres. The magic came when she learned his last name was English. He acknowledged it was a strange last name. But remembering her mother's vision, Maria was quite pleased to hear it. FORGIVENESS Antonio was shocked when he heard Ricardo's voice in the confessional. When he called out his brother's name, Ricardo tried to leave. Antonio stopped him and demanded that Ricardo speak his mind. Ricardo said he was tired of losing. He had lost his job and his wife. He didn't want to lose anything else. "Like?" asked Antonio. "Each other," was the response. Ricardo said he forgave his brother for sleeping with Gabi, but worried that Antonio couldn't forgive him. Antonio took off his clerical collar. He didn't want to answer Ricardo as a priest, but as a brother. He said he was still honored and proud that they were brothers. Ricardo embraced Antonio. LAST SCAM Jude finished up a phone call while lying in bed with Annie. She asked him what the call was about, but he said she would have to work for the answer. He couldn't just give that kind of information out for free. Bette and AJ showed up. AJ wanted to congratulate Jude on collaring Gregory. Bette hoped that Annie would come to Michael and Vanessa's wedding. Annie said that she and Jude had something to finish up first. It had to do with Olivia. Bette pleaded with her niece to stop focusing on vengeance. Annie promised her aunt that this project was anything but vengeful. In fact, when Bette learned the details, she would be truly proud. Bette asked if this would be a good surprise or an "Annie surprise." All Annie would say was that it would be her last scam. She was going out with a bang. Bette suspected that Jude was responsible for the sudden change in her niece. She was happy to see that Annie had found love. Jude teased that it might be the ultimate fantasy for all the male guests at the wedding if Annie showed up in her nightgown, but it was probably a better idea for her to get dressed. The mention of fantasies reminded Annie of the many she'd had through the years. All her fantasies of outwitting Olivia didn't matter any longer, because she had finally learned that real life could be so much better than any fantasy. CHRISTMAS VISITS Chained and handcuffed, Gregory was brought into the visitors' area to see Olivia. Seeing him like this, she almost felt pity. He said his only fault was being too human. When someone close to him hurt him, he felt it and was then compelled to return such pain. Olivia congratulated him for doing just that. He had put his family through hell. She had to ask if he even knew the true meaning of love. Was she perhaps asking if he ever truly loved her? "More than life," was his answer. Olivia told him that a part of her had died when Sean, Caitlin and Trey all deserted her. But at least they had missed seeing Gregory in this state. Olivia added that she missed Tobias. Not the real man, because she'd never known him. She missed Gregory as Tobias. When he was masquerading as his uncle, there was a sense of caring about him that reminded her of the early days when she'd fallen in love with him. Later, at home, Olivia sat next to the Christmas tree looking at the unopened gifts for her children. She would keep those gifts, hoping for the day they returned. Surprise! The secret mission that Annie had told Bette about was about to come true. When the doorbell rang, Olivia opened the door and found Caitlin and Trey standing there. Her Christmas prayers had been answered. FRIENDS Ben walked the beach knowing that certain legends were in fact true. He made his way back home to find Meg hugging Benji. She didn't have time to tell him why she was here. Vanessa was going to kill her if she didn't get over to the church. After she left, Ben asked Benji what Meg's visit was about. Benji responded by saying that he and Meg were friends now. That was good news to Benji's father. FUTURES UNLIMITED Like any typical nervous groom, Michael paced the chapel, hoping that nothing would go wrong today. Casey reassured him that all the preparations were a-ok. Meg rushed in, late and a bit frazzled. Ben arrived, right behind her. He knew that she and Benji had patched things up. They agreed how important it was for Meg to have a solid relationship with the boy. Ben said he was certain of one other thing -- he wanted Meg in his life always. "Marry me. Marry me today," he asked. Gabi helped Vanessa get ready. The bride-to-be wasn't nervous at all. She didn't know how this day could be more perfect. She was sad, though, to hear that Gabi planned to leave Sunset Beach right after the wedding. Gabi explained that it was the only way to give Antonio and Ricardo a chance to heal. She owed them that chance. Vanessa hugged her friend. She would miss her so much. Gabi then raced out front to see if Meg had arrived yet. In the hallway, she ran into Ricardo. He thanked her for what she'd done for him. Antonio stepped out of the vestment room in time to hear Gabi and Ricardo settling things between them. Amy found Brad sitting on the beach, staring out at the ocean. She was furious, but she blamed herself for messing up her life so badly. Brad couldn't believe his ears. He wasn't used to an Amy who took responsibility for her own actions. She'd definitely changed. Since Amy needed a new place to live, Brad invited her to move into his house. True, they'd be living with his parents, but at least it was free rent. Amy was surprised that he would make such an offer. Brad admitted that he really liked her. He wouldn't have spent so much time with her otherwise. Well, they'd better get ready for the wedding.
  December 31,1999
  TOGETHER AGAIN Olivia's expression turned to pure, unadulterated joy when she opened the door and saw Caitlin and Trey standing on the threshold. They had come home. Caitlin told her mother how Jude had looked them up in London and brought them up to date on developments in Sunset Beach. She added that she had found Cole. He hadn't joined her on this homecoming trip because he had matters to straighten out with the U.S. government before he would be allowed back into the country. Caitlin planned to rejoin him in Europe while he waited for his passport clearance. She hoped her mother would take care of Trey in her absence. Caitlin quietly acknowledged that she had kept Olivia and her little boy apart long enough. Olivia's joy intensified when Sean suddenly strolled through the door, accompanied by Emily. Christmas wasn't over, Olivia declared happily, because she had gifts for all of them. Sean thanked his sister for being the real Santa in the family. She had given their mother exactly what she needed. Olivia was thrilled to see Jude come in and join the scene. She thanked him for her family's safe return. He stopped her. He wasn't really the one responsible for this reunion; someone else had done this for Olivia. A minute or two later, Caitlin answered the door when the bell rang. Cole greeted her with a fierce hug. He couldn't wait to see her so he had sped through his government paperwork. Olivia's whole family was finally happy and together in Sunset Beach. BUSY BRIDES In the chapel, friends and family cheered as Meg accepted Ben's proposal in marriage. Since there was no time like the present to get hitched, Ben suggested joining the festivities already in place for Vanessa and Michael. Meg went to ask Vanessa's permission to make it a double wedding. Michael predicted the answer would be yes. On her way out, Meg ran into Maria. Meg wanted to let her know about the impromptu wedding plans before Maria heard the news elsewhere. It wasn't necessary. Maria already knew. She had helped Ben finalize their divorce earlier today, so that this could happen. Meg thanked Maria for her support and headed off to the bride's room. Maria intercepted Annie when she entered the chapel. and told her about the unscheduled Ben/Meg ceremony. Annie offered to help her stop it, but Maria assured her that all was well. Vanessa stared at herself in the mirror. It was really happening. She was getting married today. Meg burst in with news of her engagement to Ben. Vanessa was more than happy to have another couple board the train bound for wedded bliss. Meg didn't care if she had to get married in her bridesmaid dress as long as she became Mrs. Ben Evans today. (Luckily, the dress in her bag turned out to be a beautiful white wedding gown!) Annie made a visit to the bride's room. No, she hadn't come to fight, but to offer her best wishes. Meg guessed that Maria had told Annie to back off. She was right. Annie only wished Meg lots of happiness, but before leaving added a little warning. If Meg ever gave Ben any trouble, Annie would be back -- and it wouldn't be pretty. Meg wasn't too worried. She was finally about to marry the love of her life and share a wonderful future with him. Annie's threat would never become a reality. CHAPEL CHAT Arriving at the chapel, Gabi was thrilled to see Antonio and Ricardo standing next to one another without any animosity. She never thought she would see that again. Ricardo greeted her, but before he could utter anything more than her name, she gave him his wedding ring back. She would miss him and Sunset Beach. Ricardo acknowledged that he would miss her too. Carmen stopped Gabi on her way inside. She needed to speak with her daughter-in-law. She owed Gabi a great deal of thanks for bringing her sons together. Furthermore, she apologized for any pain she had caused Gabi. She now knew that Gabi was a kind soul who deserved the best. Amy and Brad approached Bette and AJ as they lit a candle. Amy hoped that Bette would give her news about Sean. Bette only suggested that Amy let Emily and Sean be happy. Patting AJ on the stomach, Bette reflected happily that perhaps if Amy let true love come to her, she would find it in the most unexpected place. Brad figured that Amy would ditch the wedding and go find Emily and Sean. Not at all, she said. Sean couldn't give her what she really needed. In the hall, Jude brought Annie and Olivia together. Olivia grudgingly thanked Annie for bringing her children home, and added that she now only had peaceful thoughts in her heart regarding her former nemesis. Moreover, as long as Annie was here, she might as well stay for this double wedding. They could give everyone something to talk about by walking in together. FOUR WEDDING-ITES AND A FINALE With Annie and Olivia's unforgettable entrance, the ceremony began. Michael started by reciting his vows to Vanessa. She had changed his life the day she came crashing in. He promised to make her feel loved "every second of every day for the rest of her life." Vanessa responded by saying that she had learned to trust because of him. On this day she offered her heart to Michael. But before they could be pronounced husband and wife, Antonio still had to officiate at Ben and Meg's nuptials. He asked them to join hands. Ben started by thanking Michael and Vanessa for allowing them to crash the wedding. He had stood at a church altar once before to promise his life to Meg. He meant it now more than ever. Meg said that she had come to Sunset Beach with a dream of finding her true love. Her dream had come true and she never wanted to wake up. Antonio pronounced both couples husband and wife. As everyone started clapping…. DALLAS REVISITED, ONLY BETTER Meg awoke in her bedroom back in Kansas. She was still a little foggy as her mother lovingly prompted her to get herself together. This was her wedding day! There was a room full of people waiting to wish her well. Aunt Bette came in to help her get dressed. She and Tim were going to have a great marriage. But something didn't ring true for Meg in all of this. This meant she had never even met Ben. She went downstairs to find all her family, friends and rivals present and accounted for, but slightly altered. All the women of Sunset Beach had morphed into Ludlow locals. She told them about her dream -- how she had left Ludlow and gone to a place called Sunset Beach. Everyone in this room had been there, too, searching for love and happiness. Meanwhile, as Meg spoke to the assembled group, Tim (who was still the same old Tim) was busy checking out all the female guests. In Ludlow, things seemed to be somewhat like things in Sunset Beach with a few subtle changes. For instance, Olivia and Gregory were just a normal, happy couple. (Caitlin and Cole were equally contented.) Meg told Maria and Vanessa what a wonderful place Sunset Beach was. She had learned so much there about what love was really supposed to be. She looked across the room to see that Casanova Tim didn't fit her definition of true love at all. Suddenly, the doorbell rang. Meg answered it and found a handsome stranger standing on the threshold in need of a phone. He smiled at her and wondered if they had met somewhere before. His name was Ben, he said. Before he could finish, Meg completed his sentence for him... Suddenly, Meg awoke again. It turned out the real dream was her trip back to Kansas. Back in the present, she told Ben about her dream. Even in dreamland, she realized, nothing had been complete before his arrival. Ben held her close and promised that now they were finally together forever.

 

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