Someone very close to James Nightingale now knows he shot Mercedes McQueen in Hollyoaks.
The lawyer has already been unnerved this week when he arrived home from Jesse Donovan's funeral to find a note on his doorstep with an anonymous threat, warning: "I know you shot Mercedes."
In Tuesday's (February 25) first-look episode, James's (Gregory Finnegan) frantic search to figure out who was behind the threat revealed that his fellow shooter Grace Black (Tamara Wall) received a similar note.
Liam (Jude Monk McGowan) intervened to suggest that the culprit may well be Sylver (David Tag) or John Paul (James Sutton), if they'd overheard any secrets during pillow talk.
"Either Sylver or John Paul is messing with us," Liam deduced. "You need to find out which one it is, and deal with it!"
When Grace went to get to the bottom of the mystery with Sylver, she was taken aback when he admitted he'd rather be married to her than Mercy.
Grace misconstrued Sylver's words as a marriage proposal and accepted — leaving the muscle-bound McQueen contemplating what he'd just done.
"Steady on, babe, I can't breathe," he begged as she hugged him.
Later, Grace was gleeful over her supposed proposal and quickly threw the news in Mercedes' face until John Paul slammed Grace and Sylver for being insensitive to his sister.
"The nerve of you two," he complained. "Do you really have to rub her face in it? I'm really sorry for everything your family has been through, but that doesn't give you the right to disrespect my family!"
He then warned: "I'd do anything to protect my family, and I'll tell you this: Anyone tries to do anything to hurt her, and they've got me to answer to!"
John Paul later told James that he would go "as far as it took" to fight Mercedes' corner, spooking the lawyer even further.
"You're a mess. Sort yourself out," John Paul demanded.
Seeing all of this only sunk James further into his panic over the shooting and threats, so he took more sleeping pills to drown out the pain.
Little did he know that another note had arrived — only this time it was his mother Marnie Nightingale (Lysette Anthony) who found the message: "Crocodile tears at Jesse's funeral — Even though they shot Mercedes McQueen."
Tuesday's first-look episode closed on the shocking cliffhanger of Marnie realising that her son was responsible for Mercedes' shooting!
"James, was it you?" she demanded in the closing moments of the episode.
Hollyoaks airs Mondays through Fridays at 6.30pm on Channel 4, with first-look episodes airing on E4 at 7pm.
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