At the park, Eli stopped kissing Lani and backed away. "I can't do this -- it just doesn't feel right," Eli admitted, confusing Lani.
"I can't kiss you when I'm still ripped apart inside over what you did," Eli elaborated. "I told you -- I...I didn't have a choice!" Lani reiterated. "Yeah, I know -- you were trying to protect my grandmother," Eli summarized. "And I love you for that...but I hate you for it, too," Eli continued, devastating Lani. "I shouldn't have used that word," Eli quickly backpedaled. "[It's just that] I'm still really hurt that you left me -- [and] yes, I know now why you did it, [but] I was in bad shape for a long time [after that day], feeling depressed and humiliated..." Eli clarified. "I never wanted to hurt you," Lani stressed.
"Please don't let Gabi win -- please don't let her keep us apart for one more second," Lani begged. "Just come with me, okay? Please! And...let me show you how much I love you," Lani continued. "I'm sorry -- I don't think I can do what you're asking. [Look], I know you went through a lot -- for me [and] my grandmother -- but right now, my head is spinning, and my heart [just] doesn't know what the hell to feel, [and] I just need time to figure it out, [so] I just want to be alone," Eli stressed before starting to walk away. "I understand...[but] if and when you feel like you are ready to come back to me, I will be waiting for you," Lani called out.
At the police station, Gabi complained to Rafe that Eli was probably reuniting with Lani at that very moment, prompting Rafe to argue that what Eli and Lani were doing at that very moment should be the least of Gabi's concerns. "I'm scared," Gabi admitted after conceding Rafe's point. "It's gonna be okay -- one step at a time," Rafe assured Gabi.
Meanwhile, Justin entered the police station -- and immediately noticed Kate, who was handcuffed to a chair near Rafe's desk, wrapping up a phone conversation with a lawyer. "I don't want to hear any excuses, [okay]? Just do it -- get me in front of the judge [so I can] post bail and get the hell out of here! [And] let them know that I'm [on a] waitress salary!" Kate demanded before slamming the receiver of the phone into its cradle with a groan of irritation. "I have been languishing in here the entire day, waiting to be arraigned," Kate explained to Justin, quickly switching to a gentler tone of voice. "They're pretty backed up over there," Justin reported.
"So...what, exactly, have you been accused of?" Justin wondered. "Betraying a friend," Kate admitted with a shrug of regret.
Justin soon convinced a guard to let Kate go to a bathroom to get cleaned up a bit. While Justin was waiting for Kate to return, Rafe emerged from the conference room in which Gabi was being held. "I heard about Gabi -- sorry," Justin began. "Thanks," Rafe replied. "Can't believe she would do something so extreme..." Rafe admitted. "Revenge is a powerful motive," Justin acknowledged. "Yeah... She wanted to get back what she felt she'd lost...[but] now it looks like she's gonna lose everything," Rafe fretted as Justin received a text message from someone.
"Damn it!" Justin grumbled before apologizing to Rafe for having checked a text message in the middle of their conversation. "I was hoping it was Kayla," Justin explained. "You seem uneasy," Rafe observed. "I've been in court all day, but I have left her a dozen texts [and] voicemails, and she hasn't gotten back to me, [which is] very unusual," Justin elaborated. "When was the last time you saw her?" Rafe asked. "Last night at the hospital -- she told me she had a lot of work to do [and] may have to pull an all-nighter," Justin replied. "And she never came home?" Rafe assumed. "No," Justin confirmed.
"Justin...how much do you know about what's going on with Steve?" Rafe wondered.
Meanwhile, Gabi wrapped up a phone conversation with a lawyer. Next, Gabi tried to contact Sonny, but the call went to voicemail. "I am so sorry... I know that everything's probably in the news, and we need to talk about how we're gonna handle this with Arianna -- I don't want her to be blindsided. I don't want this to be happening at all... Um, please, could you just please come see me as soon as you can?" Gabi said before ending the call -- just as Kate entered the conference room. "What the hell did you do to get arrested on your wedding day?" Kate gently began.
"Wow -- you really outdid yourself this time," Kate mused after Gabi shared the whole story. "Seriously, threatening to blow up Julie's heart --" Kate continued. "Stefan's heart -- [which is] only available to that old hag [because] Lani killed him!" Gabi stressed. "Okay, look, I...I get it -- retribution, revenge -- [but] who the hell gave you this insane idea?" Kate wondered. "You," Gabi replied, confusing Kate.
"You came over to see me when Stefan died, [and] I was a wreck, [and] you comforted me [and] told me I should carry on my husband's legacy and make sure to keep his dreams alive," Gabi reminded Kate. "I told you that you should go for the CEO job -- [you know], pitch yourself to Shin as a replacement for Tony," Kate reminded Gabi. "Right...[but] before I could do that, I needed to look at all the projects that Stefan had in the works -- [and] one of them was Visionary Bionics," Gabi elaborated. "The subsidiary of DiMera that created the bionic eye," Kate recalled, still confused. "And state-of-the-art pacemakers," Gabi revealed.
"So, you had revenge in the palm of your hand," Kate realized with a groan. "The idea hit me like a bolt of lightning, [and] suddenly I had a new mission," Gabi concluded with a shrug.
"Okay... [Look], I'm not saying that you did the right thing, because it's, uh, really [a] pretty horrific thing...but I know that your pain and your grief was real, because I saw it," Kate acknowledged. "Damn right it was," Gabi agreed. "[But] you had moved on -- two hours ago, you were getting married -- [so] why not just disable that app [and] let it all go?" Kate wondered. "Controlling that heart was [my] only way [of] keeping Lani from telling Eli the truth!" Gabi explained. "But...he found out anyway, baby," Kate noted. "Yeah -- that's why I'm locked up in here with you, chatting it up, instead of having passionate sex with my new, handsome husband!" Gabi grumbled.
"No other reason, I suppose..." Kate muttered. "Well, what about you, Kate? What is your story?" Gabi wondered.
"If you would have gotten [what Stefano promised you], you would have screwed me over, too!" Gabi complained after Kate shared the whole story. "I think you did a pretty good job of screwing yourself over," Kate countered with a laugh. "[But] no judgment -- [after all], both of us have done some really outrageous things in the name of revenge," Kate acknowledged. "Love -- that's the real reason I did what I did. [And] what didn't allow me to stop [was that] I was afraid of losing everything," Gabi stressed. "And now I have," Gabi fretted.
Hattie approached the Brady Pub just as Roman was in the process of hanging a "help wanted" sign in one of the windows. Horrified, Hattie rushed inside the pub and started begging Roman for another chance. "Look, I know I was AWOL for a while, but I've got a really good explanation for it -- [see], I was trying to help Marlena, [because] she was in a real pickle, and then things got complicated... [Anyway], you know what? I'm a really good waitress, and...and I need this job!" Hattie stressed. "You're not getting fired," Roman, who had been trying to interrupt, finally managed to clarify, drawing a sigh of relief from Hattie.
"Kate is," Roman continued, drawing a gasp of shock from Hattie, who was quick to plead Kate's case. "I don't get it -- [I mean], why would you defend a woman who teamed up with Stefano DiMera?" Roman wondered. "She [feels] so guilty about [everything, and she's] trying to make things right," Hattie reasoned. "Maybe...or maybe she [is just] doing damage control. [See], I know how she thinks, [and] the ugly truth is, more often than not, [she] has concern for one person [and] one person only -- herself," Roman countered, drawing a scoff from Hattie.
"[Anyway], tell me this -- how did Kate talk you into taking Marlena's place as Stefano's captive?" Roman continued. "I volunteered -- I mean, I do pride myself on what a great 'Marlena Evans' impression I do..." Hattie explained. "Yeah, but you know how dangerous Stefano is -- [and] if it weren't for Chad and Abigail, you might have been strangled to death!" Roman argued. "Yeah... Well, I guess there are worse things..." Hattie reasoned with a shrug. "Worse than being strangled to death?" Roman incredulously countered. "Well, I...I guess it depends on how you look at it," Hattie conceded, shrugging again.
"Speaking of looking at things...do you know that Patchy is really hot without his eye patch on? I mean, I haven't had a hot guy look at me that way in a very long time...no matter how many eyes he had," Hattie continued. "But it wasn't Patch -- it was Stefano!" Roman stressed. "I know -- [but] he thought that I was his 'Queen of the Night,' and he was talking all...kind of...sexy and romantic, and...I don't know, I guess I just got swept up in the moment..." Hattie explained. "Wait a minute -- you mean...?" Roman assumed. "Oh -- no!" Hattie insisted.
"I mean...it did get a little steamy at one point...but something stopped me from taking it too far," Hattie continued. "What?" Roman wondered. "You," Hattie admitted, confusing Roman. "I may look like I'm kind of hot to trot all the time, but for me, it takes a very special kind of man -- [you know], not just any man, but somebody I really have very deep feelings for -- and there's only one man that I've felt that way about for...for a while..." Hattie explained. "And I'm not gonna talk about [this] anymore!" Hattie concluded. "You really are quite the romantic, aren't you?" Roman observed.
"Yeah...but I'm also a realist, [and] I'm not gonna just keep on chasing after you when you -- you have no real interest in me at all," Hattie stressed before turning away from Roman. "Oh, Hattie -- that's not necessarily true," Roman admitted, stunning Hattie. "Don't you dare do that -- [you know], try to make me feel better! I mean, I've been buzzing around you like a queen bee in heat, and you got nothing for me, [and one thing] I don't want from you is a little pity party!" Hattie protested. "It's not pity!" Roman insisted. "Look, I know I've pushed you away a few times --" Roman acknowledged. "Every time," Hattie grumbled.
"[But] what you did -- putting your life on the line to save Marlena's when you didn't have to -- that was incredible [and] unbelievably brave, and I not only appreciate that, I admire it...[and it does make me] see you in a whole new light [and realize that] you are a very, very special woman," Roman continued before stunning Hattie again -- with a kiss on the cheek.
Hattie swooned and released a sigh of contentment as Roman rushed off to the kitchen.
At the Evans-Black townhouse, Marlena thanked John for a bouquet of red roses and white lilies that a messenger had just delivered. "[They're] not from me," John admitted with a shrug, drawing a look of concern from Marlena, who hesitantly opened the attached card. "I haven't given up on you, my queen," Marlena read aloud from the card before tossing it -- and the flowers -- in a trash can with a cringe of disgust.
"Here we go again..." John grumbled. "I really thought this nightmare would be over [now -- you know, after] the ordeal in Prague," Marlena admitted. "It's gonna be over soon, Doc," John predicted. "When is 'soon'? Because Stefano is relentless!" Marlena countered. "Eh, let him do his best -- gaslighting, kidnapping, sending you these ridiculous gifts here, even trying to kill us... He will never succeed. He can't break us, Doc, and he can't break us up -- nobody can, because it's always gonna be you and me, baby. Always and forever," John insisted before further comforting Marlena with a hug.
Later, John and Marlena celebrated Valentine's Day together.
Meanwhile, Stefano continued a phone conversation with Rolf. "Thank you so much for doing that for me," Stefano -- who was apparently referring to Marlena's gift -- said to Rolf before abruptly ending the call, having just heard Kayla's footsteps outside the storage shed. "You know, I still don't understand why you are making me stay here," Kayla -- who was wiping both hands with a paper towel, as if having just returned from a trip to a nearby bathroom -- began after entering the storage shed. "I told you -- it's for your own good," Stefano replied, pretending to be Steve.
"But I don't have my phone, so I can't call anyone and tell them where I am or that I'm okay!" Kayla fretted. "I'm sure that Justin is worried sick about me --" Kayla continued. "Oh, enough about Justin [already]! I am sick and tired of hearing you whine about [him]!" Stefano snapped. "When have I ever 'whined' about Justin -- [or] anything, for that matter?" Kayla countered.
"[You know], while we're on the subject, I am 'sick and tired' of you speaking derisively about [Justin -- and besides], why do you care, anyway?" Kayla continued. "I don't -- [I'm just] bored with [hearing about him]," Stefano clarified. "Well, I'm 'bored' with you acting like you have the right to shut me up about the man who loves me," Kayla countered. "I hear violins," Stefano muttered.
"How dare you be sarcastic -- [or] be anything but respectful of me and of Justin!" Kayla snapped. "We are in a fulfilling, committed relationship...[but], since you have turned into such a narcissistic jerk, I doubt that you even remember what that is like!" Kayla continued. "You think I'm not capable of being in a 'fulfilling, committed' relationship? I've already told you there's an extraordinary woman [out there] to whom I'm totally committed --" Stefano countered. "Just stop it, all right? I know there isn't a woman -- [I know] you made the whole thing up!" Kayla admitted.
Stefano was surprised to hear that John, after having been sworn to secrecy, had confided in Marlena that Steve had admitted that the mystery woman wasn't real -- and Stefano was equally surprised to hear that Marlena had then shared that information with Kayla. "[John] assumed I invented a girlfriend because you had moved on, [and] I just let [him believe that] because I wanted to get him off my back," Stefano explained. "So, is this woman real or not?" Kayla wondered. "She's very real -- and I am deeply in love with her. [I even sent] her a message, letting her know that I'm thinking of her on Valentine's Day," Stefano replied.
"How very thoughtful of you," Kayla muttered. "Do you even realize that today is our wedding anniversary?" Kayla continued, surprising Stefano. "We're divorced," Stefano stressed. "So, that just means that, uh...we permanently delete all those memories?" Kayla countered. "Yes," Stefano replied. "Well, if we are indeed history, [then] why be so cryptic about this girlfriend? If the woman is real, [then] have the courtesy to tell me who she is," Kayla challenged Stefano. "All right -- if you must know...it's Marlena," Stefano revealed. "Evans?" Kayla assumed. "What other 'Marlena' would I be talking about?" Stefano confirmed.
"That's impossible!" Kayla protested, stunned. "No more impossible than you being in love with Justin Kiriakis!" Stefano insisted. "But John is your best friend!" Kayla pointed out. "John Black is not good enough for Marlena! She would never truly give her heart to a pawn like him! [He's] a lowly, servile, worthless underling, whereas Marlena is a queen -- my queen!" Stefano declared. "What are you talking about? You sound like a crazy person! Actually...you sound like...Stefano DiMera!" Kayla countered. "That's because I am Stefano DiMera!" Stefano blurted out, ripping off Steve's eye patch.
"Stefano DiMera has risen from the ashes once again!" Stefano bragged while donning the phoenix ring. "What is going on? And why are you talking like that? And your eye...?" Kayla began, stunned. "[The] brilliant Dr. Rolf devised it...and he transplanted my consciousness into Steven Johnson's body," Stefano explained. "Your what?" Kayla wondered. "Terminology doesn't matter -- the point is, I look like Steve Johnson...and, with great effort, I am able to behave [and] sound enough like him so that everyone believes that I am him, except in those rare moments, like now, when I can be my true self," Stefano continued.
"No -- it can't be..." Kayla protested. "Oh, I assure you -- it is," Stefano insisted. "But take your time, Kayla -- look at me, listen to me... [Eventually], you will realize the truth -- I am back...and poised to reclaim everything that is rightfully mine," Stefano continued. "When did this happen?" Kayla wondered. "Last year," Stefano revealed. "Oh, my God...it's all starting to make sense..." Kayla admitted after a moment of thought, realizing why Steve had been acting like a completely different person for so long. "Steve was on his way home to you when my people intercepted him," Stefano reported, devastating Kayla.
Kayla tried to get through to Steve, but Stefano just laughed and insisted that Steve was gone for good.
Meanwhile, Rafe and Justin searched Kayla's office -- and found evidence of the work that Kayla had done on Stefano's gunshot wound.
Later, while checking the hospital's surveillance footage, Rafe and Justin discovered that Kayla had left the office the previous night with someone who had been wearing scrubs -- someone who, despite the disguise, looked a bit like Steve. Meanwhile, Kayla tried to leave the storage shed, but Stefano refused to allow that. "I am a wanted man, and you could prove very useful as a bargaining chip," Stefano reasoned.