At the police station, Gina continued pretending to be Hope while trying to get away from Rafe. "Something important came up --" Gina began to explain. "We're about to find out who actually tried to kill Jennifer -- your cousin! What could possibly be more important than that?" Rafe countered -- just as Abigail emerged from one of the conference rooms. "We know who pushed my mom off the balcony!" Abigail excitedly announced, drawing a nervous gulp from Gina -- who was relieved but also confused when Abigail elaborated that Rolf, not Eve, was the true culprit.
Rafe rushed off to the Salem Inn after Abigail recalled which room Chad had gone to for the recent meeting with Rolf. Abigail followed Rafe, but Gina stayed behind -- and sneaked off to the makeshift palace as soon as the coast was clear. "I have been calling and calling you! Why did you not pick up? [Listen], you must hear this -- you are not going to believe it --" Gina began to tell Stefano. "Rolf pushed Jennifer Horton off a building," Stefano summarized. "That was you?" Gina realized. "Principessa! You think I would really abandon you in your moment of need?" Stefano replied with a shrug.
"How did you do it?" Gina wondered. "When you called and said that [a] forensic expert had been called in by my son -- meaning he works for DiMera -- I realized I might have some sway over him," Stefano explained before summarizing a phone conversation that had taken place earlier, while Buck had been alone in a conference room at the police station, attempting to restore the original surveillance footage. "What if the police find Rolf? He could talk, and then --" Gina began to fret. "Wilhelm? Never! He is as loyal as they come," Stefano insisted, waving a hand dismissively.
"Thank you. You truly did save the day -- and my life," Gina acknowledged with a smile before giving Stefano a hug. "Don't you forget it," Stefano replied, causing Gina's smile to fade in an instant.
Meanwhile, Rafe tried to contact Hope at the police station, wanting to report that Rolf had already checked out of the Salem Inn. "The desk sergeant said that Hope [already] left for the day," Rafe explained to Abigail with obvious confusion after ending the call. "[But she told us] she was gonna stay at the station [and] handle things," Abigail recalled, also confused. "[Yeah...but she also told me] that she was gonna go to Hong Kong to see Shawn and Belle -- you know, for the holidays," Rafe conceded, assuming that might be why Hope had taken off so abruptly. "Shawn and Belle are coming here for the holidays," Abigail protested.
Suddenly even more confused, Rafe and Abigail began comparing notes on Hope's recent strange behavior.
At Titan, Ciara tried to laugh off Xander's accusation that she had tampered with his lockbox, but he remained suspicious. "I've caught you alone in my office twice, [and] the first time, you had your back to me, [and] when I told you to turn around, you hesitated...and then I got a call about my missing daughter and took off... I wonder -- if I had stayed, would I have discovered [that you were] trying to make off with my box?" he mused.
"You are being seriously paranoid. [I mean], let's say I did want your box -- [it's] made of fireproof steel, [so] how would I even get it open? [By] using my nail file?" Ciara dismissively argued. "How about a drill?" Xander knowingly countered, surprising Ciara. "I heard a very annoying, very loud noise in the house the other night, [and] Sarah told me it was you, trying to open some old box with an electric drill..." Xander continued. "Oh, that box -- yeah, no, that was just, um, an old keepsakes box [of] stuff that I kept from high school, [and I had] misplaced the key... [It's] purely a coincidence," Ciara explained, trying to stay calm.
"Right... [Then] why don't we just nip over to the mansion, and you can show me this other box? I do love mementos..." Xander skeptically suggested. "I have a lot of work to do --" Ciara countered before starting to rush off. "Don't bother -- you're fired," Xander declared, stopping Ciara. "I don't think [my grandfather's] gonna be too psyched [to hear] about you axing his beloved granddaughter," Ciara warned, causing Xander to back down. "Bring that keepsake box when you get the chance. I'm very curious to find out what was so important," Xander demanded. "I'll bring it in tomorrow morning," Ciara coolly promised.
At Statesville, Ben stared in shock at the dead rat that had been hidden under his bedding. "What the hell...?" he curiously muttered.
"I see you got my gift," Clyde began while approaching Ben and Will's shared cell and casually leaning against its barred door. "Appropriate, don't you think? A rat for a rat," Clyde continued, glaring at Ben. "I thought you were still in solitary," Ben admitted. "I just got out -- [but], of course, I wouldn't have been there in the first place if you hadn't ratted me out for accidentally stabbin' you," Clyde replied.
"You okay, by the way?" Clyde wondered. "Like you care," Ben snapped. "I do care...which makes it all the more upsettin' that my own flesh and blood would sell me out -- [especially] for some fairy," Clyde derisively countered. "I didn't take Will's side; [I just] told the truth -- you attacked him for no reason," Ben summarized. "William is a loose end which needs to be tied up!" Clyde insisted. "You're gonna stay the hell away from Will -- or you will deal with me," Ben warned with a scowl while reaching through the barred door and grabbing Clyde by the shirt collar.
"Watch your tone, son," Clyde countered, grabbing Ben's wrist and returning the scowl. "And since when do you care so much about Will Horton, [anyway]? Where's all this loyalty comin' from all of a sudden?" Clyde continued as Ben pulled away. "It's not 'sudden' -- [it's] taken a long time, [but] over the past few months, Will and I have come a long way; we're...kind of...friends [now]...sort of," Ben explained with a shrug. "Huh. [You know], I've seen [this] happen to guys on the inside [before]..." Clyde mused while smirking at Ben, who was clearly confused. "Instead of a Brady, [now] you want a Horton!" Clyde pointedly summarized.
"Somebody should call Ciara and tell her she's got some competition!" Clyde continued. "Oh, save your breath, Pop -- you know damn well [that] I am in love with Ciara. [But] you and I have caused Will Horton enough pain already, [and] I'm not gonna let you pile it on," Ben countered. "Man, I've stood by you when nobody else did; I have always been by your side --" Clyde began to protest. "If beating the crap out of me on a regular basis [is] being by my side, then yeah, Dad, I guess you have," Ben agreed. "It's time for you to forget about the past and focus on the here and now!" Clyde insisted.
"You are on death row -- and while you've been dillydallyin', I've been tryin' to save your life! [You know], you'd be a free man right now if it wasn't for that gal pal of yours --" Clyde continued. "My 'gal pal' is working harder than anybody right now to clear my damn name, so you can quit your picking on Ciara -- and stay the hell away from Will," Ben countered.
"You're unbelievable! You got one appeal left before you're worm food, and all you can think about is protectin' your little 'friend' against your big, bad daddy! If I were you, I'd get my priorities straight! [Look, it's time for you to] go to plan B -- [to] stop wastin' your time with appeals and attorneys, and start thinkin' outside the box!" Clyde advised before starting to walk away.
"And give my best to your cellmate, would you?" Clyde requested with a wicked smirk before disappearing from view.
Evan entered the Brady Pub and approached Kate, who preemptively gestured to a sign behind the bar. "'We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone' -- [and] I am refusing you, [so] beat it," Kate snapped. "[I just] want to apologize [for] what happened between me and Sonny," Evan explained. "You mean that little kiss that you were discussing over breakfast? Believe me -- I've heard enough about it [already]," Kate grumbled.
"Rafe told me how important your grandson Will is to you, so I just wanted to make something clear -- I am the one that kissed Sonny; it wasn't the other way around. [And] I don't expect you to give me a pass, [but] I just wanted to make sure that you know that Sonny did nothing wrong," Evan stressed. "Did Sonny send you here to offer up this mea culpa?" Kate wondered. "No, no -- this...this was all my doing, because I don't want any unnecessary tension between you and your grandson's husband," Evan clarified, drawing a nod of skepticism from Kate.
"Will and Sonny haven't seen each other for months --" Kate began to fret. "They're seeing each other now, [though] -- Will called Sonny [earlier and] asked him to go out to the prison," Evan revealed. "Hmm. Maybe I got through to him..." Kate mused. "You told Will about the kiss," Evan guessed. "Oh, you're damn right I did -- I went to Statesville, and I told him that we have a predator in our midst," Kate confirmed. "Okay, I'm not a 'predator' --" Evan tried to argue. "Good -- [then] do the right thing, for you and for Will, [and] stay away from Sonny," Kate advised.
"That's not gonna happen," Evan insisted. "Seriously? I really don't need this -- I don't need to be worrying about some guy hitting on my grandson's husband!" Kate protested. "As long as Sonny is married, that is not going to happen, [either] -- at least not with me -- [but] Sonny and I are [going to remain] friends," Evan clarified. "Well, just so you know, you're not the first person to try to break them up...but no one's gonna do that -- especially not a nanny-come-lately. It's just not gonna happen," Kate stressed. "I sincerely hope you're right," Evan declared before exiting the pub.
At Statesville, Sonny joined Will in the visitor's lounge, and they greeted each other awkwardly. "[I was] surprised that you called -- I mean, you made it very clear that you didn't want me to visit anymore... So, uh...what's changed?" Sonny began. "My Grandma Kate came here earlier, and she told me that if I didn't reach out to you now, I could lose you forever," Will explained.
"Kate told you about Evan," Sonny guessed with a groan. "She told me that, uh, you two kissed," Will confirmed. "It's not what you think, okay? [Look], Evan doesn't have any family in Salem, so I invited him over to Uncle Vic's for Thanksgiving, and he left his scarf behind, so I went to Rafe's to return it, and then...you know, the kiss just kind of happened," Sonny clarified.
"Okay," Will numbly replied. "Okay? Because I didn't initiate it, [and] it didn't go any further, so...it's not a big deal," Sonny insisted. "My grandma seems to think that it was..." Will pointed out. "That's because Kate overheard Evan and me [talking about it] at the pub, and she took the whole thing out of context, okay? [You know], I'm actually kind of pissed off that [she] would run to you about this -- [I mean, she] loves you, and I get that, but she needs to mind her own damn business," Sonny complained. "Well, you -- I mean, you know how protective she is..." Will reasoned with an apologetic shrug.
"I don't know what she told you, but trust me -- Evan and I are not a thing," Sonny stressed. "Not yet, anyway..." Will quietly muttered. "Evan knows that I'm married to you, okay? And that's never gonna change --" Sonny began to assure Will. "Maybe it should," Will hesitantly suggested, surprising and confusing Sonny.
"When my grandmother was here, she told me to stop pushing you away -- she told me that I should fight for my husband -- but I realize that you are not just my husband; you are [also] a human being...with needs...and I have put you in an impossible situation, because not only did I take your mother, I took your husband, too," Will continued. "What happened to my mother was a horrible, tragic accident...[and] me not coming to see you is your choice! You ordered me to stay away!" Sonny countered. "And you have -- and now you're in prison, too," Will summarized.
"I don't feel that way!" Sonny insisted. "Come on, Sonny -- [we] don't see each other anymore, [and we] don't talk to each other anymore; [we're] strangers now, [and] it's only because you are a good, faithful, loyal man [that] you have stayed in this marriage," Will argued. "I'm staying because we took vows --" Sonny began to stress. "I know...and if I don't speak up now, you will hold yourself to those vows forever -- you will go on living in this limbo indefinitely -- [and] I can't let you do that," Will countered. "'Let' me?" Sonny pointedly repeated. "Yeah," Will unapologetically maintained.
"Be honest with yourself. Given...what I've done...and how you feel about it -- how you will always feel about it -- what...what kind of marriage can we possibly have?" Will reasoned as a tear rolled down Sonny's right cheek. "What are you saying?" Sonny wondered. "I'm saying I want a divorce," Will clarified, leaving Sonny speechless.
"We need to face reality, Sonny -- I'm not getting out of here anytime soon...and even if I did, I...I could barely look at you, because...all I see is the pain in your eyes...and your father's..." Will reasoned. "You saw my dad?" Sonny managed to respond. "Yeah -- he was here, meeting a client, and we ran into each other...and he was so incredibly kind to me --" Will began to elaborate. "Because he loves you like a son," Sonny stressed. "And I love him...but I took away the love of his life, the mother of his children... [And he] was so gentle and understanding, but the look on his..." Will continued.
"How are any of us ever gonna be able to get past this?" Will concluded. "We've talked about this a thousand times, okay? It's not gonna be easy, but we are trying, so hard, to find forgiveness --" Sonny tried to assure Will. "And maybe you will forgive me someday...but you're not gonna forget; it's always gonna be here, between us, [and] you don't deserve to live that way...[and] I'm not gonna let you," Will countered. "Is this about Evan?" Sonny wondered. "No, no -- he's just a...he's a catalyst; he's...he's the push I needed to make this decision," Will clarified.
"And I'm glad that I did," Will stressed. "Okay, look, I just think [that] you need to take a deep breath, [and] you need to see that you're overreacting, okay? Just like your grandma --" Sonny tried to argue. "No, I'm really not. I think about us all the time -- what...what we have left, what...what we're holding onto..." Will began to counter.
"Maybe you still love me -- I...I don't know --" Will continued. "Will, yes -- yes, I still love you --" Sonny confirmed without hesitation. "Well, then, let's love each other; let's love the -- the -- the memory of us, and -- and what we were... But let's admit that we are not that anymore, and we're never gonna be that again," Will suggested.
"[Which means that] there's no reason for you not to be with Evan...or, you know, any -- anybody else -- any other person you want to be with --" Will reasoned. "You're not hearing me --" Sonny tried to protest. "No, you're not hearing me! I want you to be happy in this life, and that's not gonna happen as long as you are tethered to me!" Will countered. "I'm not 'tethered' to you, Will, okay? We're married, which means --" Sonny tried to argue. "I know what it means...[and that's] the very reason why we shouldn't be," Will maintained.
"What about our daughter?" Sonny asked. "I miss Ari every day...but I know she'll be in good hands with you and Gabi," Will replied. "You can't do this! You can't cut yourself off from us! Please!" Sonny desperately protested. "Sonny..." Will hesitantly began, resisting the urge to place a hand on Sonny's chest. "You always said I was your anchor -- one that didn't weigh you down -- but that's exactly what I'm doing now. I should be keeping my promise to love you and protect you, [and] I can still do that -- I need to do that -- by setting you free. Please, don't fight me on this. You know it's the right thing to do," Will continued.
"When you told me to stop visiting you, I guess I knew that our marriage was over," Sonny conceded after wiping away another tear. "Neither of us had the courage to say it at the time -- which is why I'm...I'm saying it now... And I'm so sorry -- for everything," Will stressed. "Yeah -- me, too," Sonny replied. "Bye, Sonny," Will quietly stated before exiting the visitor's lounge. "Goodbye," Sonny whispered after the door swung shut.
"Listen, man -- my father's out of solitary," Ben began when Will returned to their cell. "I need you to watch your back. I'm gonna keep my eye out, too, but --" Ben continued before realizing that Will wasn't really reacting properly to the serious matter. "We have to figure out a way to keep you safe from my father!" Ben urgently insisted, forcing eye contact with Will.
"I don't really, uh...care about that right now..." Will admitted, dropping the brave act that had been adopted for Sonny's benefit earlier. "Sonny was [just] here...and, um...my marriage is over," Will explained with a heavy sigh.
Meanwhile, Evan spotted Sonny while passing through the park. "How'd it go with Will?" Evan asked as Sonny stared blankly at the ground.
Marlena urges John to kick out Hope
At the hospital, Brady talked to Marlena about his daughter. "If I can help, please let me," Marlena said. "That night was such a blur to me," Brady admitted. With a smirk, Brady asked Marlena if she thought he was crazy for repeatedly getting involved with Kristen. Marlena noted that Brady was connected to Kristen by a child and that it was not strange to be drawn to her. As Brady rose to leave, Marlena invited him to join her and John for dinner. "I don't want to be a third wheel," Brady noted. "Oh, no. That ship has sailed," Marlena said.
"Hope" returned home to the penthouse, and she presented John with a bottle of wine. "Doc is going to be working late at the office, so it looks like it is going to be just the two of us," John said. Over wine, "Hope" told John about how new technology had revealed that the video of Eve had been doctored and that Rolf was the one to blame for Jennifer's fall.
"Rolf is free to make another attempt on Jennifer's life, all because I refused to believe Abigail," "Hope" lamented. John assured "Hope" that she had not failed. "You are one of the most amazing women I have ever met," John said. "Do you really mean that?" "Hope" asked. John told "Hope" that he meant it. "Hope" pretended that she was devastated that it had taken an investigation by a cub reporter to discover the real culprit. John reminded "Hope" that only new technology had been able to expose Rolf.
As "Hope" continued to ramble about how she had let down the people of Salem, John chuckled and put his arm around her to calm her. John pulled "Hope" against his shoulder to hug her. "You didn't let anyone down. I'm not going to let you blame yourself," John said with a chuckle. Marlena walked in.
"Hey, sweetheart. I wasn't expecting you until later," John said as he jumped to his feet to greet his wife. "I see that. What's going on?" Marlena asked. "Hope" told Marlena about Rolf, and John jumped in to note that "Hope" was upset that she had not learned the truth sooner. Marlena suggested that "Hope" help Rafe track down Rolf, but "Hope" demurred and said that Rafe was handling the situation. When Marlena asked for time alone with John, "Hope" said she would be in the kitchen.
Marlena warned John that "Hope" had grown too emotionally attached to him. "You're not doing her any favors. Hope needs to make a life for herself again. She needs to find a man or not find a man. What I know is, I want my man back," Marlena said. John assured Marlena that she had him. Marlena told John that "Hope" needed to move out of the penthouse and back into the Horton family house for Christmas. John agreed it was a good idea. With a nod, Marlena announced that she would go pick up dinner and leave John alone to break the news to Hope.
At University Hospital, J.J. slept in a hospital bed as Julie thanked Eli for telling her about J.J. Eli explained that J.J. had made him promise not to tell his parents or his sister about his condition, but J.J. had failed to ask him not to tell Julie. "I knew he was despondent over the loss of Haley, but drugs?" Julie said. Julie asked how Eli had found J.J. Eli told Julie about his trip to Rome. Julie was shocked to hear that J.J. had held Kristen at gunpoint. When Gabi texted Eli, Julie offered to sit with J.J.
After Eli left, a groggy J.J. woke up. "Where am I?" J.J. asked Julie. Julie told J.J. that Eli had returned J.J. to Salem, and she begged J.J. to let her call his parents. "I don't want them to see me like this," J.J. said. Julie nodded. "Were you really trying to kill Kristen?" Julie asked. J.J. told Julie that he would have shot Kristen if Lani had not intervened and talked him down. Confused, Julie asked why Lani was in a convent in Rome. J.J. told Julie that Lani and Kristen were at the convent to take vows as nuns.
"I'm sure they want redemption, but I hardly think they are qualified to be brides of Christ," Julie joked. Julie asked J.J. to promise her that he would never point a gun at Kristen again. J.J. agreed. As J.J. groaned in pain from withdrawal, Julie promised to support J.J. in any way she could.
Julie rushed out of the room and ran to Marlena's office to seek help for J.J.'s pain. Brady was there. Concerned, Brady asked what was wrong. Julie reluctantly told Brady about J.J.'s situation. When Brady asked Julie why Eli and J.J. had been in Italy, Julie hesitated before she told Brady that they had been with Kristen. Julie told Brady about the trip and how J.J. had almost killed Kristen. With a nod, Brady noted that it would make sense for Kristen to return to the convent where she had convalesced previously.
"She has become a nun," Julie said. Brady stared in shock. Julie said she had no other details, and she asked Brady not to tell anyone about J.J. Brady agreed.
As J.J. sweated and shook in his hospital bed, he imagined that Haley visited him. J.J. told Haley that he had failed her. "I didn't want you to get revenge, J.J. I want you to find peace," Haley said. J.J. asked how. Haley urged J.J. to let go of his pain and the drugs. Haley begged him to help people and save lives like he had saved her life. "You got to get off the drugs and get on with your life. Will you do that for me?" Haley asked. J.J. nodded yes. "I'll do it for you," J.J. whispered. Haley disappeared.
In a hotel room, Kristen and Lani agreed that the only thing they wanted to focus on since they had left the convent was getting revenge. Kristen said she was thankful for her time at the convent, but she was also thankful that J.J. had confronted her.
"He made me realize that I need to stop playing a victim and do something," Kristen said. With a chuckle, Kristen told Lani that she had made arrangements for pampering. When two masseurs arrived, Lani worried aloud that Kristen had ordered escorts, but Kristen assured Lani that the men were just there to give them massages.
While the men massaged the woman, Lani complained to Kristen about Gabi. Kristen told Lani that with her DiMera stock, Kristen had leverage over Gabi. Lani agreed that control of DiMera Enterprises was the one thing that Gabi wanted more than getting revenge on Lani for killing Stefan. With a smile, Lani suggested that they give the stock shares to Gabi in exchange for releasing control of Julie's pacemaker.
"That stock is going to stay right where it is. With me," Kristen said. Kristen explained that her stock shares were her ticket to regaining control of the family business. "For so long, my father favored his sons. Now it's my turn," Kristen said. "You deserve it," Lani said. Kristen promised to help Lani torture Gabi. After the masseurs left, Kristen confided to Lani that control of her family's company was meaningless without Brady.
"I have done terrible things to the people that [Brady] loves, and he only gave me a second chance because of our child," Kristen said. Kristen worried aloud that Brady would not be interested in her. Lani told Kristen that she was strong, courageous, and compassionate. Lani assured Kristen that, together, they could achieve anything they wanted. Kristen thanked Lani for being her friend. "I know exactly what we are going to do," Kristen said.
In her bedroom at the DiMera mansion, a worried Gabi left a voicemail for Eli, begging him to call her back. "Trouble in paradise?" Chad asked from the doorway. Gabi yelled at Chad to get out of her room. Overly confident, Gabi told Chad that she was certain Eli would walk through the door with Kristen's shares at any moment. Chad pointed out that Eli was clearly not returning Gabi's calls.
"I don't understand why she wouldn't take my offer," Gabi said. "Where do I begin?" Chad said with a smug smile. Chad said he was sure his position at the company was safe, unlike Gabi's. "I happen to know that Kristen is not signing over her shares to anyone," Chad said. Gabi called Chad's bluff just as Eli walked in.
"Perfect timing," Chad said. With a grin, Chad left. Gabi asked Eli what had happened in Rome. Eli told Gabi about his run-in with Lani at the convent. Hesitantly, Gabi asked Eli if he had felt anything for Lani when he'd seen her. Eli assured Gabi that his feelings for Lani were in the past. When Gabi asked if Lani was the reason Eli had not been able to talk to Kristen, Eli told Gabi about J.J.
"No wonder Kristen wasn't in the mood to make a business deal. I understand why she turned you down," Gabi said. Eli explained that Kristen had not turned down Gabi's offer because he had not talked to Kristen about it. Gabi was furious.
"J.J. almost shot Kristen. She was on her knees with a gun pointed at her head, and [J.J.] was a drugged-out mess, and I had to get him out of there," Eli argued. When Gabi asked Eli if he understood how important those stock shares were to her, Eli asked her if they were more important than J.J.'s life. Gabi stressed that she cared about J.J., but she suggested that Eli could have asked Lani to watch J.J. so that Eli could talk to Kristen before leaving.
"I was not about to ask Lani any favors," Eli grumbled. When Eli noted that Kristen and Lani had been on their way to take their final vows when he had last seen them, Gabi complained. Frustrated, Eli told Gabi to get a new "errand boy." Eli announced that he would sleep in the guest room.
"I'm sorry. Please don't go," Gabi said. Eli stopped at the door. Gabi apologized. "You did the right thing to take care of J.J. I was an idiot to be focused on Kristen's shares," Gabi admitted. Eli softened. "I know how much this deal means to you, but there is more to life than business, money, and power," Eli said. Gabi agreed, and she thanked Eli for keeping her grounded. Gabi kissed Eli.
Chad marched into the Brady Pub and asked Kate for a glass of Champagne. Chad informed Kate that Gabi had been unable to secure Kristen's shares of stock. "Now all I have to do is get those shares and present them to my father. Redemption," Chad said. With a shake of his head, Chad said he understood how Stefano had found out that Chad had lied to him about the trip to Rome because the only person Chad had told was Kate.
"Did you tell my father that I lied to him?" Chad asked. "Why would I do that?" Kate asked. Chad reiterated that he had only told Abigail and Kate about the lie. Kate called Chad paranoid. "I haven't been in touch with [Stefano], and I don't want to be in touch with him," Kate said. Chad asked Kate how Stefano had found out then. Kate argued that it would have been easy for Stefano to figure out that Chad had not boarded a plane for Rome.
"I'm going to call the convent and track down Kristen," Chad said. Chad's phone rang. It was Abigail. After the call, Kate asked what was wrong. "Rolf was the one that pushed Jennifer off the balcony," Chad told Kate. Chad explained that the video had been doctored.
"I hope that doesn't mean my father was involved," Chad said. Kate asked Chad if he believed Stefano would have any interest in Jennifer. "I have to find out. One way or another," Chad said as he walked out. Kate pulled out her phone and called Stefano.
From her hotel, Kristen called Gabi's phone and left her a voicemail. "I understand that you're interested in my DiMera stock. Let's talk," Kristen said. Once the call ended, Kristen smiled at Lani and told her they had completed the first step to reuniting with Eli and Brady.
Stefano tells Rolf to flee from Salem
Rafe entered the DiMera mansion while Chad was in the process of composing a text message: "Father, we need to talk about Rolf."
"We need to talk about Rolf," Rafe began, startling Chad, who naturally assumed that the wrong person had just seen the text message -- and knew, as a result, that Stefano had resurfaced. "Abigail told me that you met with [him] recently," Rafe continued. "That's right," Chad confirmed, relieved that the familiar wording of Rafe's opening statement had been purely coincidental. "What was the meeting about?" Rafe asked. "Just DiMera business," Chad replied with a shrug. "Did he happen to mention any future plans to you?" Rafe wondered. "No," Chad reported, shrugging again.
"Okay... Well, if he happens to reach out to you again, or if you remember anything that might help me, please let me know," Rafe requested. "I will," Chad promised.
As soon as the coast was clear, Chad finished composing the interrupted text message: "Where the hell is ur mad scientist? I need to know. Now!!" Chad sent the text message and soon received a response from Stefano: "Why do you want to reach Rolf?" Chad wrote back: "He tried to kill my wife's mother." Chad quickly received another response from Stefano: "I assure you I knew nothing about this." Scoffing, Chad wrote back: "I hope that's true. But you are going to turn him over to the authorities or I'm out of your life forever. One way or another, Rolf will pay for what he did. If you don't help me make sure that happens...I am no longer your son."
Stefano read Chad's threat with obvious concern then carefully responded: "I had nothing to do with what Rolf did. But I give you my word -- Jennifer Deveraux has nothing to fear from him anymore." Scoffing again, Chad wrote back: "Make sure of it. If anything happens to my mother-in-law, my wife, or anyone I love at that man's hands, I will track you down. I have enough info to do it."
Abigail burst into the Horton house while Jack and Jennifer were still dancing together in the living room. After apologizing for the interruption, Abigail began explaining how Rolf, not Eve, had been conclusively identified as the person who was truly responsible for what had happened to Jennifer at the Bistro the previous year. "I shouldn't be surprised...[but] there's still something about this that just feels so off... [I mean], I guess I just thought [that] when we finally figured out what happened that night, [then] all these memories would come flooding back to me..." Jennifer mused after hearing the whole story.
"Maybe I can look at the footage, and it'll trigger something," Jennifer decided. "Well, it's at the police station --" Abigail began to protest. "It's a little late, [and you] just got back from the hospital --" Jack tried to add. "I want to see it," Jennifer insisted, already starting to exit the house. "All right," Jack and Abigail grudgingly conceded in unison while flanking Jennifer, who was still having trouble moving without some sort of assistance.
Rolf entered the makeshift palace while Stefano was in the midst of a phone conversation with Kate, who had called to warn that the police were suddenly convinced that Rolf, not Eve, was responsible for what had happened to Jennifer at the Bistro the previous year. "I must be going now. Goodbye, Katerina," Stefano said before ending the call, leaving Kate's questions about the matter unanswered.
"Ah, Rolf -- thank you for coming," Stefano began while warmly patting Rolf's shoulders. "I am always at your beck and call, Mr. DiMera," Rolf stressed while returning Stefano's gesture.
"What can I do for you?" Rolf wondered. "Well, Rolf...I am afraid I'm going to have to ask you to make the ultimate sacrifice [because], unfortunately, my very persistent daughter-in-law Abigail won't stop investigating her mother's fall from the balcony, [which] has put Princess Gina in terrible jeopardy...[and] if they can tie her to Jennifer's fall, all of my plans will be ruined -- [but], even worse, I will lose Marlena forever... [So], in order to protect Gina, I had to intervene with our forensics expert and have the video footage altered. We needed a scapegoat --" Stefano explained. "And you chose me," Rolf concluded.
"We needed someone recognizable, someone believable..." Stefano explained with an apologetic shrug. "I know it may seem unfair, after you've been nothing but loyal --" Stefano began to acknowledge. "No, no, no, no -- I know my place. I have no illusions about my standing. I am but a pawn in the Phoenix's game," Rolf declared, waving a hand dismissively.
"I'm afraid we have another complication..." Stefano admitted before showing Rolf the string of text messages from the earlier exchange with Chad. "You think he could find you?" Rolf asked. "Chad is a clever boy, [and he] can be quite resourceful," Stefano replied. "My friend, I'm afraid the time has come for you to go -- [I mean], you're a wanted man, and Chad is on the warpath, [so] I can't have you around [anymore]. There's a private plane waiting for you on the airstrip. Leave now, under cover of darkness. [And] I want you to have a token of my appreciation for all your years of loyal service..." Stefano continued.
"Please, please -- [that's] not necessary --" Rolf tried to protest. "I insist -- you earned it," Stefano replied while fetching the portrait that had hung in the DiMera mansion for decades. "I'll have it delivered to you when you've established yourself in a safe haven," Stefano promised. "That would be wonderful -- [then] the eyes of Stefano DiMera will always be upon me," Rolf raved.
"You're a good man, Wilhelm Rolf," Stefano declared. "It has been my life's honor to serve you," Rolf stressed. "Ciao, my friend," Stefano concluded while hugging Rolf.
At the police station, Jennifer admitted with a sigh of frustration that the new surveillance footage hadn't jogged any memories. Meanwhile, Rafe received word that Rolf had been spotted on the outskirts of town.
At the Evans-Black townhouse, Gina continued pretending to be Hope while chatting with John, who vaguely revealed that Marlena had just rushed off to take care of something. "Oh... [Then] I guess it's just the two of us for dinner, after all," Gina declared with a smile. "[Actually]...we're not gonna be having dinner [together] here tonight...or any night, for that matter," John replied, causing Gina's smile to fade in an instant.
"I think it's time that you move out," John awkwardly continued. "I see -- [so], Marlena wants me out, [and] she's left you to do the dirty work," Gina bitterly summarized. "That's not --" John tried to object. "Yes, it is," Gina countered. "Does she feel insecure about your relationship? [I mean], does she think that you have feelings for me?" Gina wondered. "[Because, you know], what I feel for you is more than friendship," Gina admitted, stunning John. "I never expected this -- it totally took me by surprise -- [but]...after my divorce from Rafe, I was lost, and you took me in, and you cared for me, and you were my rock..." Gina reasoned.
"And whether you want to admit it [or not], you feel something for me, too -- I know it," Gina argued. "I mean, Marlena was away for months, and I was there for you, [and] we connected, [and]...if you weren't married, [then who knows] how far [things] might have gone between us [on that night when I spilled wine on myself here]," Gina continued. "But I am married. I am married to the most wonderful woman in the world, and she is the best thing that has ever happened to me. And that woman that I love -- the only woman for me, now and forever -- is Marlena," John gently but unyieldingly countered.
"John..." Gina began to protest, fighting back tears. "I'm not in love with you. [And] you deserve to be with a man who can love you back. [So], I think that you need to -- to pack up your stuff and go," John maintained. "Okay..." Gina quietly agreed before quickly gulping down a full glass of wine. "I'll send for my things..." Gina decided before exiting the townhouse -- and breaking down outside.
Marlena entered the Brady Pub and warmly greeted Kate, who responded in kind. "Roman told me about Mackenzie's illness. I am so sorry," Kate stressed. "Thanks...[but], right now, the person I'm most concerned about is Hope," Marlena replied. "Do you think maybe I'm out of line here?" Marlena asked after telling Kate about what had just happened at the Evans-Black townhouse. "No -- you are most definitely not the bad guy here. You're the best judge of character I know, so if you feel something, it's probably right," Kate, who had learned nine months earlier that Gina was masquerading as Hope, vaguely warned Marlena.
"Are you sure she's gonna be all right with us breaking up John and her dear, dear, sweet friend Marlena?" Gina wondered after Stefano let Kate in on the fact that Hope was no longer around. "What did you say?" Kate incredulously countered. "I am not okay with [that] -- at all! I mean, I don't care about Steve Johnson -- or Hope, for that matter -- but I am not on board for hurting Marlena!" Kate insisted.
"We do not need her," Gina dismissively assured Stefano. "Yes, we do! Katerina is vital, and we need to work together!" Stefano tiredly countered. "All right...as long as one thing is clear -- crystal clear: you may be Marlena's friend, but if you breathe a word to her, or try to ruin what we have been working on, you shall be quite sorry," Gina warned Kate.
"You would never be able to take John away from [Marlena, because] she's one of the best people I know -- she's beautiful on the outside and on the inside -- and John is utterly devoted to her, as she is to him," Kate warned Gina. "And you, of all people, should know that," Kate reminded Stefano. "You can believe whatever you like, Katerina...but what I need from you [is] to know that you will not breathe a word to Marlena -- or anyone else. Do you understand?" Stefano threateningly countered. "I'll help you with the business end of things because that's what I signed on for...but nothing more," Kate stressed. "Fair enough," Stefano agreed.
"[And] I swear to you...if you do anything to hurt Marlena, you'll deal with me," Kate warned Gina, who just smirked in response.
"There's something I need to tell you..." Kate hesitantly admitted to Marlena, struggling to keep Gina's secret. "I want to tell you...that...you are the love of John's life, and no one will ever come between the two of you," Kate continued, deciding not to betray Stefano. "And that's all I can say," Kate concluded with a shrug, clearly uncomfortable.
Gina entered the makeshift palace and listened numbly as Stefano explained that Rolf was in the process of fleeing the country. "He wasn't very happy about having to take the fall for you, but he handled it like a true soldier," Stefano proudly summarized. "Yes, well, if he had not been so careless with that flash drive, [then] I never would have had [to push] Jennifer off that balcony in the first place... I wish him a safe journey," Gina tiredly replied. "And you call me cold..." Stefano mused. "I was being sincere," Gina insisted. "[But] I have my own problems right now," Gina admitted before telling Stefano about what had just happened with John.
"This is all because of your Queen of the Night -- she is the reason John has asked me to move out! [Although] I do not blame her -- [I blame] you, [because] you have been so focused on DiMera Enterprises and that son of yours that you have taken your eyes off the prize! [You know], the reason we came back was to break up John and Marlena, and we are further away from our goal than ever!" Gina argued. "Perhaps I have been a bit distracted...[but] I'm not giving up, all right? It's time to take our plan to a whole new level," Stefano decided after a moment of thought.
At the Evans-Black townhouse, John assured Marlena that Hope wasn't going to be an issue any longer -- but didn't go into details about what had happened earlier.
Gina excitedly begged for details about Stefano's new plan to break up John and Marlena -- just as Rafe pounded on the door to the makeshift palace.
Gina tries to keep Rafe in the dark
At Statesville, Ben quietly asked if Will was still awake. "What is it?" Will, who had been reading a book, replied while setting the book aside. "I don't know, man -- guess I'm just having trouble trying to sleep in these sheets with, uh, our little friend, Mr. Dead Rat," Ben explained with a cringe of disgust while climbing off the bottom bunk. "Yeah, I...I can't sleep, either," Will admitted with a sigh.
"If you're worried about Clyde, I'm gonna deal with that --" Ben began to assure Will. "Your father's not...what's keeping me awake..." Will vaguely clarified. "Sonny," Ben realized. "Yeah..." Will quietly confirmed. "You know, I have to say, I think it's pretty crappy of him to keep you waiting all these months -- and then he just shows up here one day and demands a divorce?" Ben mused, outraged on Will's behalf. "He's not the one who asked for a divorce," Will revealed while fidgeting with his wedding band, which he was still wearing.
"You asked...?" Ben began to summarize, shocked and confused. "Why?" Ben wondered. "My grandmother, uh, found out that he had apparently kissed another guy, and she came running down here to tell me that I needed to fight for my man..." Will began to explain. "[But], instead...you got so upset about him seeing someone else that you just...decided to break things off?" Ben assumed. "No, Sonny's not 'seeing someone else' -- from...from what I understand, it was...it...the other guy initiated the kiss, and...it just happened once, and...you know, Sonny said it meant nothing. And I believe him," Will clarified.
"[Then]...why end your marriage?" Ben wondered, still confused. "Because he's out there, and I'm stuck in here, and I'm not getting out anytime soon...and I don't want Sonny to be trapped [that whole time], too; he deserves to be happy, and I...I want him to be free to do whatever he wants...with whomever he wants," Will explained with a shrug. "You must love Sonny a hell of a lot to just be willing to...let him go like that..." Ben mused, clearly impressed. "He's the love of my life -- he's all I ever wanted... Asking him for a divorce was...one of the hardest things I've ever had to do," Will replied, sighing heavily.
"Maybe I'm just being selfish -- I mean, I'm locked up in here, too, and I know I'm putting Ciara through hell..." Ben conceded. "No, no, no -- Ben, it's different for you two, [because] you have a chance at a life outside these walls...and, also, you...didn't...kill her mother..." Will argued, releasing another heavy sigh -- one of deep regret.
"You know, Will, [even] after all this time we've spent together in this damn cell, you've [still] never really talked about...what happened...to...Sonny's mom..." Ben curiously pointed out. "There's a reason for that," Will replied, swallowing hard. "I'm sure it was painful...but, after all my years in therapy, I've learned to become a pretty damn good listener, so if you ever do decide you want to talk about it --" Ben tried to offer. "I don't," Will snapped. "Got it. Okay. Sorry I asked," Ben conceded. "No, I'm sorry... [Look], it's kind of you to ask; it's just not something that I want to relive," Will explained. "Understood," Ben agreed.
"[But] if you ever change your mind, I'm not going anywhere -- not yet, anyway..." Ben stressed. "Thanks... You know, it's, uh...hard to believe that...the guy who 'murdered' me is...the closest thing I have to a friend," Will replied, giving Ben a slight nod of gratitude. "Can I ask you a favor -- [that] we not talk about my divorce anymore?" Will continued while staring at a photograph of Sonny. "You bet," Ben agreed.
Changing the subject, Will advised Ben to make sure that Ciara was being careful. "I know from experience -- if Victor finds out that she's betrayed him, being his granddaughter's not gonna protect her," Will warned.
At Evan's apartment, Sonny munched on a brownie while sitting alone in the living room. "Thank you so much for inviting me for dinner," Sonny began when Evan finally emerged from a bedroom. "Eh, I owed you one...[although] it wasn't quite the Kiriakis Thanksgiving feast --" Evan tried to acknowledge. "Everything was great," Sonny insisted.
"Sorry I was gone so long -- David [was] having a hard time settling down; I think [he] had a bad dream," Evan explained. "I get it," Sonny replied.
"You know, Ari [had] night terrors for months after Will..." Sonny began to share before stopping abruptly. "I didn't want to pry earlier, when you were talking about your visit with Will..." Evan carefully responded. "It's okay -- I mean, we can, uh...we can talk about it," Sonny insisted. "I know his grandmother told him about our kiss -- [and] told him to fight for his marriage..." Evan revealed. "Well, he didn't; um, in fact, he did the exact opposite," Sonny somewhat bitterly admitted before telling Evan about Will's request for a divorce.
"Why is he asking for a divorce now? Is this because of us?" Evan wondered. "I told him there is no 'us' -- [and] I think he believed me..." Sonny replied. "Then...why break up, if you still love each other? It just -- it doesn't make any sense," Evan argued. "Well, he said that he...wanted to set me free -- in case I...wanted there...you know, to be an 'us'..." Sonny explained with a shrug.
"I really am sorry, Sonny -- I hate that it ended like this for you," Evan stressed. "Thank you...[but] I want you to know that this had nothing to do with you," Sonny reiterated. "It was more the idea of me," Evan guessed. "Yeah... Will said I deserved to be free, so..." Sonny repeated, shrugging again. "How do you feel about that?" Evan wondered. "I mean...I can...I can barely remember a time before I loved Will... I barely survived losing him, and when he came back, I swore that I would never let him go again..." Sonny began to respond. "I don't blame you," Evan interjected.
"I thought nothing could ever separate us...but that night...it just changed so many people's lives...and nothing is ever going to be the same..." Sonny continued with a shake of the head. "I just don't know why [this] feels like such a punch to the gut -- I mean, Will and I, we haven't been together for months, [and] he didn't even want me to come visit him..." Sonny mused. "When the end comes, no one's ever really ready," Evan reasoned. "I just -- I could never admit that it was over; I couldn't admit it to myself..." Sonny summarized while fidgeting with his wedding band, which he was still wearing.
"We worked so hard to save our marriage, and we just...couldn't save it," Sonny concluded with a heavy sigh. "It's hard staying married to somebody who's not trying to stay married to you," Evan argued. "Yeah... And Will -- he, uh, said he's gonna have his lawyer draft up the divorce papers, so..." Sonny replied. "Are you gonna sign them?" Evan asked. "Yeah...'cause whether I want to...accept it or not...our marriage is truly over," Sonny hesitantly decided. "I'm so sorry," Evan reiterated. "Me, too... Me, too..." Sonny muttered, sighing again.
"Sometimes, as much as we want it to be...love just isn't enough," Sonny conceded. "I've been there myself," Evan admitted. "Yeah, you said you were in a relationship out west before you came to Salem..." Sonny recalled. "What happened? It just didn't work out?" Sonny asked. "Something...pretty major...happened -- destroyed everything," Evan replied. "I'm sorry to hear that," Sonny stressed. "No, it's all good -- [it] was a toxic situation, [and] I'm in a much better place, in every way, [now]..." Evan insisted, waving a hand dismissively.
"[Anyway], we should probably call it a night..." Evan quickly added. Sonny nodded then gave Evan a hug and a kiss on the cheek before rushing off. Evan flashed a hint of a smirk once the coast was clear.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Victor revealed that Xander had decided to assign one of Ciara's accounts at Titan to another junior executive. "Did something happen between you and Xander that I should know about?" Victor wondered. "Well, um...I hate to say it, but...ever since Mickey's been diagnosed with cancer, Xander has been...impossible to please," Ciara claimed. "I see..." Victor muttered.
"Is there, uh, any word on Mickey's condition?" Ciara wondered. "Maggie talked to Sarah when they landed in Boston -- uh, Mackenzie's first treatment isn't 'til tomorrow," Victor reported.
Justin entered the mansion just then and joined Victor and Ciara in the living room. "You said it was urgent -- is something wrong?" Justin began, speaking to Victor. "You're damn right something's wrong! Why are you defending that murderous psychopath Ben Weston? [I mean], even Ciara understands what a monster [he] is, [so] why would you try and defend [him] against the fate that he so richly deserves -- death?" Victor snapped, and Ciara played along, mimicking Victor's outrage -- a strategy Ciara and Justin had discussed during an earlier conversation.
"Every defendant is entitled to their day in court -- and Ben continues to maintain his innocence and claims that he was framed," Justin explained with a shrug. "Are you saying [you believe Ben's claim] that Grandpa [is] the one who killed Jordan?" Ciara asked incredulously. "It doesn't matter what I think," Justin evasively replied.
"I think you owe Grandpa an apology," Ciara advised. "I'm not going to apologize...and I'm not dropping this case, [either]," Justin insisted. "Now, [if] you're done calling me a traitor, I think I'll go -- I'm late to meet Kayla for dinner," Justin continued, starting to leave the mansion. "Oh, by all means -- don't let us distract you from Steve Johnson's leftovers," Victor replied, infuriating Justin.
"If you hadn't already moved in with the woman, I'd be kicking you out of this house right now!" Victor declared. "Well, I'm sorry I took away your fun!" Justin countered before storming out of the mansion.
"I can't believe he would do something like this! Whatever happened to family loyalty?" Ciara complained to Victor with a shake of the head. "That's a good question, Ciara... You know, when I heard that Justin was going to be representing Ben, I couldn't help but wonder if you had something to do with that..." Victor replied. "You know that I'm done with Ben!" Ciara protested. "I know that's what you told me..." Victor clarified. "Well, it's the truth!" Ciara insisted. "Then how do you explain all those visits to the prison lately?" Victor countered, surprising Ciara.
"I was visiting Will -- [see], I feel terrible for what happened to him --" Ciara coolly began to explain. "He's responsible for Adrienne's death!" Victor stressed. "And that's why I didn't say anything -- I didn't want to upset Sonny...or you, [because] I know that Will isn't exactly your favorite person...[but] he is my family, and you're always saying how important family is..." Ciara reasoned. "Nothing is more important," Victor agreed. "You have to believe me [when I say that] I am done with Ben. [I mean]...you trust me...don't you?" Ciara continued.
"Of course I trust you...unless you give me reason not to," Victor stressed. "So, uh...this was...a test? [Then]...did I pass?" Ciara asked. "For now..." Victor replied.
After Ciara headed upstairs, Victor contacted someone and stressed, "Next time my granddaughter visits the prison, I want to know immediately -- [and] I want to know the name of the prisoner she meets with."
At the Brady Pub, Kate tried to take Kayla's order. "I'm waiting for Justin to join me, so, um...I'll order later," Kayla decided. "Well, tell him to hurry up, 'cause we're about to close," Kate impatiently replied.
Kayla stared at Kate curiously. "What are you looking at?" Kate eventually demanded to know. "You know, I'm sorry, but even after all this time, I [still] do a double take when I see you waiting tables," Kayla explained. "Oh, that's okay, because I do a double take every time I see you walk in on the arm of your former brother-in-law. I wonder what Steve would have thought of that..." Kate countered.
"I don't know, [because] I haven't seen or heard from him in over a year -- and neither has anyone else. And now that [we're] divorced, what I choose to do is none of his concern -- nor yours," Kayla stressed. "That doesn't mean I can't have an opinion," Kate argued. "Well, I'd prefer that you keep it to yourself," Kayla countered. "You know, Adrienne and I became very, very close during her battle with cancer, [and] I considered her my friend --" Kate began to point out. "She was my friend, too -- she was more than just a sister-in-law, and I miss her every day -- but she is gone, and Justin is alive," Kayla reasoned.
"[And...what], you couldn't have dated anyone else in town?" Kate incredulously summarized. "You know, we didn't plan this...but I am not going to apologize for my happiness -- especially to you!" Kayla insisted. "You know, I've heard that you dated another former brother-in-law -- uh, Shane, [was it]? I mean, is this a thing of yours -- a kind of fetish?" Kate curiously mused, infuriating Kayla.
Stefano and Gina stared at each other in shock as Rafe continued pounding on the door to the makeshift palace. "Wilhelm Rolf, if you're in there, come out with your hands up!" Rafe shouted.
"What are we going to do?" Gina quietly fretted. "You have a gun, don't you, Commissioner? Use it," Stefano advised in an equally hushed tone.
Meanwhile, Rafe whispered to a backup police officer that someone was definitely hiding on the other side of the closed door. "I heard movement," Rafe insisted. "Look, maybe we should come back with a warrant --" the backup police officer suggested. "No, no, no -- Rolf is wanted for attempted murder [and] was spotted in the area. We have every right to go in," Rafe argued, and the backup police officer conceded the point.
Stefano hid as Gina drew a gun and aimed it at the door in anticipation of Rafe's entrance -- which soon occurred. "Oh, my God -- Hope? What the hell are you doing here?" Rafe, who had also drawn a gun, asked incredulously while lowering the weapon. "And why are you still pointing a gun at me?" Rafe somewhat nervously added when Gina didn't immediately relax.
"Oh... Sorry -- you startled me..." Gina explained while lowering the gun, deciding to play along. "I got a tip that, uh, Rolf was seen near [here], so I decided I should check it out," Gina continued. "Yeah, I got the same tip...but I brought backup..." Rafe replied with a hint of confusion, clearly surprised that Hope hadn't thought to do the same thing.
"Search the rooms --" Rafe began to instruct the backup police officer. "You don't need to -- I already did, [and] there was no sign of Rolf...or anyone else," Gina claimed, stopping the backup police officer. "How did you have time to search the entire place already?" Rafe wondered. "I was close by when I got the tip," Gina explained with a shrug.
"Search the building perimeter [instead]," Rafe instructed the backup police officer, who quickly exited the makeshift palace. Gina watched nervously -- as did Stefano -- as Rafe donned gloves and began combing the main room of the makeshift palace for clues to Rolf's whereabouts. "You know what? I just realized that, um, I didn't...well, I didn't finish searching the bedrooms down the hall -- I stopped when I heard you outside..." Gina spontaneously claimed, and Rafe took the bait, moving far away from Stefano's hiding place.
As soon as the coast was clear, Gina ushered Stefano out of the makeshift palace. "Where do you suggest I go?" Stefano asked. "You are the evil mastermind, after all -- you should figure it out," Gina replied.
Rafe soon returned -- and noticed a sheet that was hanging over something that was mounted to the wall. Gina tried to argue that whatever was behind the sheet couldn't possibly be important, but Rafe countered that there had to be a reason that someone had gone to the trouble of covering it up. Rafe removed the sheet and was stunned to see Stefano's portrait behind it -- the one that had hung in the DiMera mansion for decades.
"Ciara mentioned, over a year ago, that Stefano's portrait was missing from the DiMera mansion... [Rolf] must have taken it for himself... [He] probably missed [Stefano -- who, after all], was Rolf's hero, his mentor..." Gina, who had swapped the portraits just before Rafe had burst into the makeshift palace earlier, reasoned with a shrug. "Or maybe it wasn't Rolf..." Rafe argued after taking note of some of the other items in the makeshift palace -- a chess table, a fresh cigar, a decanter of Strega, and two chairs, one of which resembled a throne. "Maybe it [actually] was Stefano..." Rafe concluded as Gina squirmed.
Gina managed to get rid of Rafe after pretending to receive word that Rolf had just been spotted on the other side of town.
Kate bumped into Justin while rushing out of the Brady Pub. "Where is she going in such a hurry?" Justin asked curiously. "Oh, I think she's going to see [whoever just] texted her," Kayla knowingly replied, doubting Kate's claim that a reminder about a scheduled break, not a text message from someone, had prompted the sudden departure.
"She struck a nerve," Justin observed while Kayla was ranting about the argument with Kate. "Why do you think [Steve] didn't come home? Why did he never call? Why did he not come to Adrienne's memorial service? Why [did he] send a note with just a signature?" Kayla asked. "I wish I knew," Justin replied. "Well, I'm over him -- truly! I just wish that I had one minute to look him in the eye and ask him...'Why?'" Kayla grumbled.
Stefano, who had met up with Kate in the park and was waiting for a signal that it was safe to sneak into the pub through a back entrance, hid and watched with obvious interest as Kayla left with Justin.
Kate hides Stefano
Gabi and Eli woke up in each other's arms at the DiMera mansion. Gabi apologized to Eli for her temper, and Eli apologized for not securing Kristen's stock shares. With a sigh, Gabi worried aloud that her time as CEO of DiMera Enterprises was at an end. Gabi grabbed her phone, checked the voicemail, and listened to Kristen's message. With a gasp, Gabi told Eli that Kristen appeared to be ready to sell her stock. Relieved, Eli told Gabi that he was going to go Christmas shopping and leave her to talk to Kristen.
At a café in Rome, Kristen showed Lani the new phoenix tattoo on her back. As Lani admired it, Kristen noted, "We're going to take back what's rightfully ours." Gabi called Kristen's cell phone. With a devilish grin, Kristen answered the call and set it to speakerphone so Lani could listen. Gabi told Kristen that she was surprised Kristin had called, and she asked Kristen what had changed her mind about selling the stock.
"I came to my senses and realized you made a generous offer," Kristen said. Curious, Gabi asked about Lani. Kristen admitted that Lani was at the convent with her but that she had not discussed Gabi with Lani. When Kristen asked if Lani would have a reason to badmouth Gabi, Lani held back a giggle as she watched Kristen grin. Gabi explained that she had "nothing against" Lani but that Lani might resent her, since she knew Gabi was with Eli.
"It was her decision to leave," Kristen pointed out with mock sincerity. Lani continued to smile at Kristen as she listened to the call. Kristen added that Lani's issues were between her and God. Anxious to close the deal, Gabi offered to fly to Rome, but Kristen told Gabi to wait until after the holidays. Gabi gently pushed back, but Kristen cheerfully noted that they would speak again soon.
"The shares aren't going anywhere, and neither am I," Kristen said. After Kristen ended the call, she and Lani toasted to the successful implementation of their plan for revenge. "Now, we turn up the heat," Kristen said.
Rafe, "Hope," and Abe talked in Stefano's loft about the possibility that Stefano had been in Salem. "Hope" lied and said it was not likely that Stefano had stayed in town. Abe disagreed and noted that Stefano liked to take risks. When Abe mentioned that Stefano had likely sent flowers to Marlena, Rafe was surprised. Abe offered to talk to Marlena and John while "Hope" and Rafe continued to search the loft.
"I hope he is long gone by now," Abe said as he walked out. Rafe and "Hope" continued to look around the main room. "Hope" complained that the search was a waste of their time when they should be down at the pier, canvassing for witnesses. Rafe disagreed. Rafe said he wanted to thoroughly search the loft for evidence.
Gina thought about when she had cleaned up the loft while Rafe had been down at the pier, looking for Rolf. Gina had removed the painting of Stefano as Steve, and she had wiped down all the surfaces to remove fingerprints. Rafe had returned suddenly and had told "Hope" to return to the precinct to direct the planning for the roadblocks in town. "Hope" had reluctantly left.
"I do hope I got everything," "Hope" muttered under her breath. "Oh, my God!" Rafe yelled as he pulled Gina's tiara out from a pile of paintings. "Hope" suggested that Rolf might have intended to sell the jewelry for money. Rafe nodded in agreement and noted that Stefano had called Marlena his Queen of the Night. Rafe dropped the tiara in a bag to check for prints. "Hope" watched in horror, unable to stop Rafe.
At the penthouse, John gave Marlena a present. With a grin, Marlena noted that John had already given her the best gift, which was Hope moving out. Marlena said she was going out to deliver presents, but John stopped her to ask about the big box. Marlena admitted the large present was for Hope and that she was overcompensating because she felt guilty about pushing Hope out of the penthouse. Marlena added that Kate had agreed that Hope should move out.
John agreed that Hope had overstayed her welcome, and John urged Marlena not to feel guilty because she had been right about Hope's feelings for him. John told Marlena about his conversation with Hope and how Hope had admitted that she had misconstrued John's invitation to move in as something more. Marlena was annoyed that Hope had decided to pursue a married man, but John noted that Hope had suffered a terrible couple of years. John assured Marlena that Hope knew where he stood.
"I hope she understood," Marlena said. Abe knocked on the door, and John greeted him cheerfully. Abe explained that there was a likelihood that Stefano had been in Salem. Abe stressed that there was no concrete evidence of Stefano's presence. John was certain that Stefano was still in town because Stefano always followed through on his plans. Frustrated, Marlena complained that Stefano would ruin Christmas. John wanted Marlena to stay at home, but she refused.
"I'm going to the pub. Stefano will not be in the pub," Marlena announced. After Marlena left, Abe decided to call Celeste for information. "Fortune tellers. Salem's answer to CSI," John joked. Celeste did a reading and said that although Stefano had not returned to Salem, "in a way, he is here in Salem." John was confused. Abe warned John that Celeste "always tends to be spot-on. There's always a kernel of truth to them."
At the pub, Abigail and Chad agreed that Stefano had likely helped Rolf escape town. Roman walked over to take Chad and Abigail's order. When Abigail made a comment about Kate, Roman explained that Kate had not shown up for her shift, and his other waitress had quit because of Kate's attitude. After Roman left, Chad told Abigail that he had not heard from Stefano. Chad bitterly said that if his father had been a part of Jennifer's fall, then Stefano would be dead to him.
"I feel stupid that I was taken in by my father again. I was hoping he'd changed," Chad lamented. "He's never going to change," Abigail said. Chad agreed. Chad admitted that he had hoped that Stefano would leave his family alone. With a sigh, Chad changed the subject to Kristen, and he noted that he would fly to Rome after Christmas.
In Kate's room over the pub, she awoke to Stefano's arm draped across her. Kate yelled that Stefano had not had her permission to climb into her bed. Stefano complained that the floor had been cold. As Stefano purred that Kate had always kept him warm when they had been married, Kate groaned in disgust.
"No way we can rekindle a spark while you are wearing the face of a man I detest," Kate said. Stefano noted that he was not happy with his face, either, but his choices had been Steve or death. When Stefano started to reach for Kate again, she pulled away and urged Stefano to save his affection for Marlena. As Stefano started to complain about Kate's living arrangement, Kate reminded Stefano that he could leave.
Roman knocked on the door and shouted for Kate. Kate pushed Stefano into the bathroom to hide, and she answered the door. Roman asked Kate who she had been talking to, and Kate lied and said the noise had been the TV. Roman raised a suspicious eyebrow. Kate said that she felt sick and could not work. Roman explained that Molly had quit because she hated working with Kate. With a shrug, Kate asked Roman to cover. Roman spotted a man's shoe on the floor, and he picked it up. Kate insisted that the shoe belonged to an old one-night stand. Roman told Kate that she did not need to lie to him because he was not her keeper. Kate said she needed to stay in bed all day.
"Lucky guy," Roman joked as he walked out. Once the coast was clear, Kate let Stefano out of the bathroom. "I seem to be missing a shoe," Stefano said. "I loathe you!" Kate yelled. Furious, Kate ordered Stefano to leave. Stefano reminded Kate that they were allies, and he urged her to have patience. Dismissively, Stefano asked Kate to fetch him Strega and "a light lunch." "Go to hell!" Kate yelled before she left.
Downstairs in the pub, Marlena gave Roman a Christmas present. Roman thanked Marlena, and he told her to leave Kate's gift on the bar, since Kate was sick upstairs. Marlena hesitated, then decided to check on Kate. When Marlena knocked on Kate's door, Stefano froze. "Marlena," Stefano whispered.
At the loft, Kate asked Gina when Stefano could return. Gina said that the loft was a crime scene and that Kate needed to keep Stefano hidden. "Stefano is not my problem," Gina complained. Frustrated, Kate started to needle Gina until she lost her temper and slapped Kate. "You, bitch, slapped the wrong bitch!" Kate bellowed as Rafe walked in. "What's going on?" Rafe asked.
In the square, Abigail left a voicemail for J.J. Chad met up with Abigail after he finished Christmas shopping, and they sat down in the café. Abigail told Chad that she was worried that J.J. was drifting away, and she wanted to see him. Eli interrupted to announced that Chad should not count Gabi out because Kristen had reached out to her about selling the stock shares.
"There might not be anything you can do," Eli said. Chad stepped aside to make some phone calls. Eli apologized to Abigail for interrupting with bad news. Abigail asked Eli what a nice guy like him saw in Gabi. Eli countered that he understood why Abigail could not forgive Gabi.
"[Gabi] is a woman who has been through hell, just like you were when you lied and had her sent to prison," Eli added. Abigail objected that, unlike Gabi, she had been suffering from mental illness when she had hurt people. Abigail warned Eli that he was only with Gabi as a rebound and that Lani was a good person. Annoyed, Eli reminded Abigail that Lani had publicly humiliated him and that Lani had also lied to J.J. about her baby's paternity.
Abigail defended Lani and said that Lani had acted out of love and had likely broken Eli's heart to protect him. Eli scoffed at the idea. When Abigail changed the subject to J.J., a guilty Eli admitted that he knew where to find Abigail's brother.
At the DiMera mansion, an overly cheerful Gabi greeted Chad as he walked into the living room. Gabi told Chad to enjoy his last holiday in his family's home because she would kick him out after she obtained Kristen's stock. As Gabi smiled, Chad's phone rang. It was Kristen. "I have a proposition for you," Kristen said.