Joel Rush and Zulay Henao

At Esperanza's house, Eddie is getting an earful about his unwillingness to let the feud drop with Julius. Eddie turns the tables on Esperanza when he tells her that he knows she has been picking up night shifts, trying to earn enough money to free herself and Mika from Eddie's grasp.

At Natalie's place, Joey is lying in bed when he gets a text from Quan to come hang out. Quietly, Joey sneaks out of the dark house.

Across town, Alex slips out to Randal's shed to try to make peace, but Randal is surly. "I am putting my wife through hell because I want to be with you," he says.

Alex begins to cry when he tells her to go. Softening, Randal tries to comfort her, but she pushes him away.
Joel Rush, Sharon Conley and Zulay Henao

Later that night, Esperanza is working a shift at the police dispatch center when Eddie walks in. Furious, he asks where Mika is while Esperanza is working. His mood doesn't improve when Esperanza tells him she's having a sleepover at Natalie's. Eddie demands that Esperanza leave to pick up Mika, but she refuses.

Eddie calls Esperanza's supervisor, Sally, over and tells her that Esperanza needs to go. Sally balks at the idea of being left undermanned, but Eddie pulls his trump card. He reminds her of the time a year before when he pulled her over for drunk driving. Leaning hard on her, Eddie reminds Sally that he could have reported it and ruined her life, but he didn't. Relenting, Sally tells Esperanza to go home.

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Matt Cook and April Parker Jones

Natalie awakens to a panicked call from Jackie—someone has broken into Burger Fast and stolen all the money from the safe. Natalie and Lushion rush over to the restaurant and find that her incensed boss, Mr. Kym, is already there. Mr. Kym tries to fire Jackie and Natalie over Joey's mistake, but Lushion pulls the cop card and convinces him to let Natalie try to get the money back.

Back home, Natalie and Lushion wait for Joey to arrive with some kind of explanation, but Natalie jumps on him as soon as he's in the door, accusing him of stealing the money. Joey denies it, but Natalie continues to rail at him until Lushion steps in and tells her to calm down.

"I know you're upset, but that's not the way to handle it," he says. He then turns to Joey, "And you, she's got every right to believe you did it."

Joey explains how Quan came by to give him a ride when he locked up, and says that he saw his friend with a lot of money later on, but he doesn't think Quan had anything to do with the robbery. Natalie tells him that her boss will make her pay the money back—money she doesn't have. Joey bitterly tells his mother that she should quit her penny-ante job. At that, Natalie loses her composure and shoves him. Lushion restrains her, and, exhausted, she walks out.

Joey tries to leave the apartment, but Lushion pushes him back, forcing him into a grudging hug. Lushion tries to get through to Joey by telling him that his son, Frank, Joey's half brother, looks up to him.

"Even if you can't stand me, maybe we can find a middle ground for the people we love in this house."

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Amanda Clayton and Heather Hemmens

The next morning, Marcie comes home from the doctor and finds Randal working out. She tells him she's ovulating and starts coming on to him, but Randal puts her off again. Frustrated and hurt, Marcie storms out. Once she's gone, Randal locks himself in the bathroom and calls Alex to apologize for being cold.

Brad is taking out the trash when he sees Marcie alone on her front porch, glass of wine in hand. When he comes over to see what's wrong, Marcie asks him whether he would tell her if Randal were having an affair. Brad says that of course he would, but assures her that that's not the case. He convinces her to come over to his house and have a talk with Alex about it, and he tells her that he'll try to set things right with Randal.

Inside, Alex is still on the phone with Randal, her back to the door. When Brad comes in and asks who she's speaking with, Alex lies and says it's Marcie—before turning to see Brad has brought Marcie with him.

Alex forces a laugh. "Did I say Marcie? I meant Kelly!"

Brad seems to buy her answer and explains the situation with their neighbors' marriage. Alex is reluctant to talk to Marcie, but Brad is out the door to find Randal before she can protest. Alex tells Marcie that, unfortunately, she has plans to meet the other women at Kelly's house to discuss a matter for their children's school. Marcie is disappointed, but she says she'll just go for a run and shake it off.
Aiden Turner and Eltony Williams

Outside, Randal is sanding down a boat he's been working on his backyard. Brad approaches him and informs him of Marcie's suspicions. Randal says he's surprised but insists nothing is wrong. Brad suggests buying her flowers and letting her know how much he cares about her. Randal is skeptical but agrees, if only to get Brad off his back.

However, Brad plows on with his own problems, venting about Alex's lack of adventure in the bedroom. Hearing these details about his lover makes Randal uncomfortable, and he tells Brad as much. Slightly embarrassed, Brad changes the subject.

"She's looking good," he says, causing Randal to give him a stern look.

"The boat!" Brad clarifies. "Not Marcie, the boat. I wouldn't speak about your wife like that."

Brad wishes him luck with Marcie and leaves, and Randal's face twists into a glare at his friend's back.
Edwina Findley Dickerson, Amanda Clayton, Zulay Henao and April Parker Jones

Back home, Marcie is getting ready for her run when she gets a call from a client. She goes to the desktop computer to access her work email and finds Randal's texts open in a chat window. Then, as Marcie looks on in horror, he and a user named Peppa declare their love for one another in a text exchange.

Distraught, she staggers downstairs and spies Randal typing on his smartphone, unaware of what she's just seen. Without a word, she heads out to her front porch and busts into tears. After a few moments of misery, she runs next door to Alex's house. No one is home, so she runs to Kelly's.

Inside, the women have been discussing Brad's surprise party, not the kids' school. Alex has seemingly lied to Marcie to keep her out of the meeting. Kelly, Natalie, Esperanza and Alex all laugh over childhood photos of Brad, which Alex plans to use at the party. The birthday plans are put on hold, however, when Marcie arrives and tells them what she's seen. She informs her friends that Randal has all his devices linked, so she could read his live texts for herself without his knowledge.

"Do you know who it's with?" Alex says shakily.

"He just has it in his phone as 'Peppa,'" Marcie says, sobbing. "What kind of name is Peppa?"

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