Oregon Trail: Claire (Hayley Erin, l.) lures Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott) to the Pacific Northwest.
After informing Nikki that her great aunt Jordan suffered a fall at her house in Oregon and broke her leg, Claire laments that she needs to travel west to check on Jordan and arrange for someone to stay with her. Unaware that Claire is being far from truthful, Nikki urges her assistant to take all the time she needs. “Nikki had no idea what she was in for when she hired Claire, who quickly insinuated herself in Nikki’s life,” says Executive Producer/Head Writer Josh Griffith. “Claire has learned to compartmentalize her feelings around Nikki so Nikki is not at all suspicious that Claire isn’t being honest, because Claire does nothing short of acting like the dutiful assistant.”
Claire goes on to explain that ever since Jordan learned that Claire is working at Newman Media, Jordan has become Nikki’s fervent admirer, impressed by all that Mrs. Newman has accomplished. “Claire has earned Nikki’s trust so Nikki suspects nothing when she hears Claire’s aunt is a big fan of Nikki,” Griffith notes. “Nikki is, of course, flattered but also finds the praise a little embarrassing. However, Claire tells her boss to accept the compliment because it’s well deserved.”
Claire then reveals that Jordan wanted to thank Nikki in person for taking a chance on her grandniece and was actually coming to Genoa City this weekend to do so before she was derailed by injury. Nikki is surprised when Claire then asks if it’s Nikki would be willing to make the trek to Oregon to meet Jordan. “Claire talks a good game when she tells Nikki that a visit from her would greatly improve her aunt’s mood and condition,” Griffith says. “The fact that Claire has been a stellar assistant is not lost on Nikki when Claire asks her for this favor. Nikki has no idea that Claire’s plan hinges solely on her bringing Nikki to Oregon, so she has to pull out all the stops to make sure Nikki accepts her invitation”
Nikki, who was already planning to visit her sister, Casey, in Denver, responds that she will consider Claire’s request. She then leaves the office, leaving Claire behind to worry that her boss might not take the bait. Back at the ranch, Victor encourages Nikki to grant Claire’s wish, but Nikki questions his motives. “At first, Nikki is hesitant to leave town because of all of the family drama,” Griffith explains. “However, Victor encourages Nikki to go on the trip as he thinks it’s a great opportunity for her to get a well-deserved break.”
The next day, Nikki surprises Claire with the news that they are taking the Newman jet to Oregon so Nikki can meet Jordan; then she’ll head to Denver. Nikki instructs Claire to arrange her own flight back to Genoa City following her visit with Jordan. A thrilled Claire profusely offers thanks, then steps out into the hallway and sends a text that reads: “It’s all set. Get everything prepared.” Griffith teases, “Nikki’s world is about to be turned upside down as Claire’s true agenda for the trip is something she never imagined.”