At Crimson Lights, Chelsea thanks Billy for his kindness the other day at the park. She lets him know she heard his podcast He asks, “Did you enjoy it?” She stuns him by replying, “No. I didn’t. at all.” Shocked speechless for a second, he then wonders if perhaps she doesn’t like podcasts in general. Chelsea assures him it was his in particular. Billy informs her most listeners responded positively. Chelsea muses that she must be in the minority then. Billy invites her to tell him what about his inner thoughts and dreams is so off-putting to her.
At the Grand Phoenix, Lauren arrives as Michael’s finishing a call setting up a mysterious meeting for Victor Newman. She guesses he was doing something squirrely for the mustache. Michael texts Victor, “All systems a go.” They bicker as she takes issue with the nature of his job. Michael thinks it’s time for another quick trip away and suggests a romantic weekend somewhere tropical. Lauren has so many things going on at work, but looks forward to doing it soon. Michael muses that they may be able to find time for romance now. “Do you have time for lunch… at our place… in the bedroom?” Lauren laughs. She doesn’t have time to go home… but she could get a room upstairs.
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At Forrester Creations, Sally reads a positive review of the press conference to Adam, who’s not as thrilled as she expects. Adam worried things went too well. He’s confident but can’t help get the feeling there’s another shoe ready to drop. Sally gives him a pep talk — he can handle any crisis that pops up. Adam has to be on his toes where the founder of the company is concerned. If Victoria calls and wants to come back, his father will kick him to the curb. Sally can’t see it happening. She made a bold statement by leaving, and if she loves Ashland, it doesn’t make any emotional sense. Adam warns his sister is much more complicated than Sally knows.
At Society, Nick finds his father and asks what is it that couldn’t wait. Victor just wanted him to know that he’s thinking ahead. Whatever venture Ashland and Victoria are about to embark on is going to hit a brick wall.
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In New York, Ashland enters the hotel and tells Victoria he has bad news. She has bad news of her own. Locke tells her he was unable to poach the media genius they had at Newman — Dan likes the job security there. Victoria sighs: they’re a start-up so it makes sense. She then relays that her bad news is that the investors have turned them down. Ashland gawps, “All of them?! Something’s not right here!” Victoria nods.
At Society, Nick learns Victor ordered the investors Ashland and Victoria approached not to invest a dime. He had Michael spread the word to other potential future investors as well. Nick finds this pretty cutthroat. Victor doesn’t play games and had no other choice. Nick counters, “What if this was a test from Victoria?” If she was trying to see if they believed in her or undermining her. He points out that Victor shut down her project before it could even get started and Nick will have failed her loyalty test by tipping him off. Victor shrugs, “Well, there’s that.”
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In New York, Victoria and Ashland puzzled over the investors giving vague reasons for turning them down. Ashland wonders if someone reached out to them to interfere. “This is just the kind of move your father would make.”
At Society, Victor lets Nick know that he told the investors that Ashland is dying. “Who’s going to invest in a company headed up by a man who’s dying?” Nick complains he’s walking a fine line. Victor thought he wanted to be kept in the loop. Nick appreciates it, he’s just feeling guilty because Victoria’s going to know he betrayed her. Victor reminds him they have to do whatever it takes to save his sister.
In a hotel suite, Michael and Lauren slow dance and he muses, “We still got it.” She purrs, “We never lost it.” They start undressing and feeling naughty. Michael won’t derail her day, but she assures, “Don’t rush. We have time. We’re here.” Michael kisses his wife and nuzzles her neck.
At Crimson Lights, Chelsea informs Billy the first few episodes of his podcast are mired in self-recrimination and pain from the past. Billy tried to make it feel cathartic. Chelsea found it difficult to continually listen to all that darkness. Billy gathers his podcast made her feel miserable. Chelsea thinks people want to be lifted up. She had a difficult year and needs to be pulled up out of that darkness. She wants levity and humor. Billy insists he’s not walking around under a dark cloud 24/7. She thinks this defensiveness is a sign he knows she’s right. Billy had forgotten how well she used to know him. He decides maybe she’s right. Lily joins them and Billy updates her. Lily guesses she said the podcast needed less misery. “It’s a little day.” Billy grimaces, but feels he’d better listen to them.
At the hotel, Lauren and Michael part ways in the lobby after their rendezvous.
At Newman Enterprises, Adam explains to Sally that his sister’s desire for Victor’s approval may overpower her feelings for Ashland. Sally is betting on love and advises him to enjoy his time in the big chair. He’ll prove he’s the best person for the job and she can’t wait to see him do it.
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In New York, Victoria clucks that Ashland is probably right about her father scaring off the investors. His ability to find out what she’s up to and his power are more far-reaching than he could imagine. Ashland marvels that he’d use those powers to stop his own daughter from starting a new company. He rants about the Newmans interference in his life. Victoria tells him it took him coming into her life for her to finally see it and want to push back. Ashland asks if she’s said anything to anyone about them being in New York. She denies she has spoken to anyone. Ashland knows this hurts her, but he has to ask if she’s sure she really wants to start a new life with him and leave her family behind.
At Society, Nick worries this will set Victoria off more and relays she’s not answering his calls. Victor urges him to be patient. Nick says Victoria was unfazed by Victor putting Adam in charge, but his father doubts that. Victor questions why Victoria would tell Nick about her new venture. Nick asks if he thinks she knew he would tell their father. “Are you already seven steps ahead?” Victor smirks, “You’ll find out.” Nick doesn’t like the deception, moves and countermoves. “Do you think it’s going to reunite the family?” Just then, Adam and Sally walk in.
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In New York, Victoria reminds Ashland why she had to cut ties — she needs her family to see her as a person who can’t be manipulated. Ashland agrees it’s time for her to be standing up for herself. Victoria muses that her family will soon realize she knows exactly what she’s doing. Ashland hopes he’s there to witness that moment. They decide to eat. Victoria stands behind Ashland giving him a cryptic look as he unpacks the takeout. As they eat, Ashland crabs some more about Victor trying to ruin Victoria’s life. He won’t let him thwart their dream; they’ll have to figure out something else. Victoria revisits the idea of funding the start-up themselves. “I know that we’ll be successful.” She talks him around to the idea and he decides there may be more satisfaction in doing it on their own. “Maybe you’re right. Maybe this is the best move. Let’s do this. Me and my money are all in.” Victoria beams.
Lauren walks into Crimson Lights and gets up to speed on Billy’s conversation with Chelsea and Lily. Chelsea and Lauren exit to the patio to meet and Billy asks Lily why she didn’t tell him sooner that he was morose. She urges him to relax and reminds him how many people are listening.
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On the patio, Lauren tells Chelsea she’s sorry she’s late — she can blame her husband. Chelsea teases about a little love in the afternoon. Talk turns to business and Lauren relays that Gloria told her there was tension between her and Chloe. Chelsea tries to play it off as Gloria being Gloria, but Lauren could tell she was genuinely concerned. Chelsea assures her she and Chloe are best friends and will work through it. Lauren’s relieved. She asks if Chelsea has heard from Summer. Chelsea has a meeting with her later today and wants a hint from Lauren as to what it’s about. Lauren won’t indulge her and turns the conversation to designs. Chelsea hands over her latest and then eyeballs Billy as Lauren looks over the sketches.
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At Society, Nick congratulates Adam and Sally on their promotions, and they remark on them coming to pass after Victoria ran off with Ashland. Adam notes that Nick’s not particularly invested in who runs the company and what goes on with it. Nick then surprises him by replying, “Things may be changing on that front.” Adam says he looks forward to hearing all about it and walks off with Sally. Victor, who has been looking at his phone throughout all of this, takes off his glasses and asks Nick, “What did you mean by your last remark?” Nick insists it was just a knee-jerk reaction, but Victor’s noticed his interest. Nick reiterates that they both know Adam only cares about running Newman — he just wanted to give him something to worry about, that’s all.
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In New York, Victoria tells Ashland she’ll open a corporate bank account for her new venture, and he should contact a real estate broker to find them an office building. Ashland loves the way they both look at the world the same way. He feels they’re so close to recapturing the magic they had when they first met. She croons, “Closer than you can ever imagine.” Later, while Ashland’s on the phone with realtor, Victoria texts someone to say, “Everything’s coming together.”
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Next on The Young and the Restless: Diane plays the sympathy card with Jack, Chelsea considers a new opportunity, and Nate ask Imani for a favor.
Look back on Ashland and Victoria’s romantic merger in the gallery below.
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