While passing through Horton Town Square, Paul and Gabi discussed the photo shoot they had just completed. Paul thought it had gone well, but he could tell that Gabi was less enthusiastic about it.
Paul guessed that modeling was "just a job" to Gabi. Gabi confirmed that, while modeling was definitely better than working in the prison laundry room, she wasn't particularly thrilled about the unpredictable schedule because she believed that Arianna needed to be able to rely on a stable routine. Gabi added that she would, of course, like to have more time for other things, as well. "Gosh, I wonder what you mean by that?" Paul knowingly replied.
At the police station, J.J. ran into Lani while returning a book that Rafe had loaned him. J.J. admitted that the book had been instrumental in helping him prepare for the police academy's forensics exam, which had been pretty brutal. Lani wasn't convinced that J.J. had really needed the book to do well on the exam, since she had heard that he had aced it -- along with all the other exams. "You got people's attention," Lani added.
Knowing that J.J.'s graduation ceremony was scheduled for the following day, Lani warned him not to trip on his way to the podium to accept his badge. Lani also hinted that J.J.'s first week on the job might be pretty tough because no one liked to make things easy for rookies, but he puffed out his chest and teasingly replied that he was more worried about her, since she might not be able to handle having him as competition.
When J.J. returned home, he found Gabi waiting for him outside. J.J. wanted to know how Gabi's photo shoot had gone, but she was more interested in talking about his impending graduation from the police academy. J.J. couldn't believe that it was really about to happen, but Gabi told him to start believing it because he had worked really hard and deserved to savor the moment.
As Gabi followed J.J. into the Horton house, she noticed that he was favoring his left shoulder. J.J. tried to brush off the injury at first, but when Gabi pressed him for details, he admitted that his earlier self-defense class had gotten pretty intense. Gabi started massaging J.J.'s shoulder, and he confirmed that she was making it feel much better.
As Paul exited one of the town square's shops, a man called out to him. "You're that, uh, gay baseball player," the man observed as he shook Paul's hand. "Not anymore," Paul replied. Confused, the man wondered if Paul was saying that he was no longer gay. Paul clarified that he no longer played baseball professionally. "So, if you're still gay, what were you doing with that girl [earlier]?" the man asked.
"That was a girl?" Paul sarcastically replied. Oblivious, the man confirmed that he was positive that Gabi was a girl because he worked at the prison and had seen proof there. "Man, she was hot in that orange jumpsuit, but now? Wow. She could be a model," the man added. Paul revealed that Gabi was a model -- and was also his friend. "But...you're gay," the man reminded Paul.
"You know, you keep pointing that out. It's amazing, isn't it? I mean, things are really changing for us; not only can we get married, but we can be friends with girls! It's a brave new world out there. And Gabi -- I mean, she's got a ton of gay friends, but...she probably got permission. Crazy, huh?" Paul countered before walking away.
Later, J.J. took Gabi to the town square for some frozen yogurt. J.J. received a phone call while he was telling Gabi that, thanks to a comment that Lani had made earlier, he suddenly couldn't stop thinking about the possibility of tripping in front of everyone at the graduation ceremony. After J.J. stepped aside to answer the call, the prison guard approached Gabi from behind and whispered in her ear, "Hernandez! Fire on the line!"
Gabi jumped and turned to face the man, who wondered if she remembered him. "Hard to forget," Gabi uncomfortably confirmed. The man observed that Gabi looked good in her street clothes, but he added that she had always looked pretty sweet to him, regardless. Gabi turned to leave, stressing that she didn't want to talk to the man. "Hey! What's with the attitude? I always looked out for you. You too good to talk to an old friend?" the man demanded to know.
"She said she doesn't want to," J.J. replied as he rejoined Gabi. Unimpressed, the man observed that it seemed like another one of Gabi's "friends" had arrived, just in time to protect her. "Looking for your boyfriend? He just left. Why don't you go look for him, and leave us alone?" the man advised J.J.
The man reached for Gabi's hand as he offered to buy her a drink, but she declined and told him not to touch her. Undeterred, the man continued reaching for Gabi's hand while assuring her that he knew of a really nice place they could go to. As Gabi once again told the man not to touch her, J.J. grabbed the man's arm and twisted it behind the man's back. "You just made a big mistake. I'm a corrections officer!" the man warned J.J. "And I'm a cop. And cops don't like men who disrespect women, so get out of here before I drag you in," J.J. countered before releasing the man with a shove.
After the man left, J.J. wondered if Gabi was okay. Although Gabi claimed that she was, she sighed as she added that every time she started to forget about what she had done in the past, something always ended up happening to force her back to reality. J.J. understood because he had done some pretty bad things when he had first arrived in Salem -- and, in his case, there hadn't been a catalyst, like Nick, pushing him to do them.
"We keep talking about these weird things we have in common. Well, here's another one: we both need to focus on the present and the future, and we both need to get over our pasts," J.J. reasoned. Gabi didn't think that was the easiest advice in the world to follow, and J.J. agreed but added that it was easier to follow that advice when there was something -- or someone -- that made the present more enjoyable.
Later, J.J. pointed out that if Gabi planned to continue modeling, she would unfortunately experience more harassment in the future. J.J. offered to teach Gabi some of the things he had learned in his self-defense class so she would be more prepared to protect herself the next time some "creep" started bothering her. Gabi accepted the offer but was surprised when J.J. wanted to start the first lesson right away.
J.J. reached for Gabi's arm, the same way the prison guard had earlier, and told her how she could counter the attack. Gabi grabbed J.J.'s arm as instructed but forgot to push him away, leaving them inches apart from each other. J.J. leaned in and gave Gabi a kiss then quickly pulled away and apologized, stressing that he hadn't meant to make a move on her while teaching her how to defend herself.
Gabi assured J.J. that she hadn't minded the kiss. J.J. admitted that he had liked it, too, but he reminded Gabi that they had previously established that they were both trying to avoid complications at that time. "Another thing we have in common," Gabi pointed out. Nodding, J.J. said he didn't want to push too hard, and he suggested that he and Gabi could just take things slowly. Gabi smiled and confirmed that she could do that.
At the Salem Inn, Deimos received a visit from a landlord who seemed very anxious to get him to sign a lease for a fully furnished apartment in Salem. When Deimos wondered why the landlord was willing to rent the place out for considerably less than what other landlords in the area were asking for their unfurnished apartments, the man nervously explained that the previous tenant had been Ben Weston -- who had turned out to be a serial killer. The man was quick to stress, however, that none of the murders had taken place inside the apartment. Chuckling, Deimos assured the landlord that the place actually sounded perfect.
Belle joined Philip for dinner at Club TBD but expressed reservations about being with him, musing that she seemed to be seeking him out precisely because he was just as messed up as she was. Philip insisted that he and Belle were perfect for each other because they had no unreasonable expectations for each other. "Speak for yourself. My expectation is that you will be everything I need -- when I need it. You know what that makes you, right? You're like a drug to me, Philip, and [that's] just not healthy. I feel...drawn to you, and I don't want to be," Belle replied.
Philip argued that Belle deserved to have something good in her life. "'Good' is not a word I would associate with you," Belle countered. Philip conceded that his moral standards were a bit fluid, but he added that he was good at certain things, such as being a distraction for Belle. Belle agreed that being with Philip in Las Vegas had been fun, but she added that it hadn't been real.
As Philip complained that reality was vastly overrated, Belle continued that Las Vegas had been nothing more than an escape from their problems. "Whether you like it or not, we are back in reality [now], and your problems are actually more intense than mine -- not to mention potentially dangerous," Belle reminded Philip. Philip conceded the point but reasoned that Belle didn't have to get on a plane to escape her problems because just being with him would provide the break from reality that she needed. Philip leaned in to kiss Belle, and she responded and soon found herself back in Philip's room at the Kiriakis mansion.
After having sex with Philip, Belle received a text message from Claire, who was in New York, nervously awaiting her Juilliard audition the following day. Belle offered to get on a plane that night so she could be with Claire the following morning, but Claire declined, stating that she had Eve with her for support, and that was all she needed. Belle was disappointed, but Philip guessed that she hadn't wanted her mother at big events in her life when she had been younger, either. Philip stressed that Claire loved Belle and was simply trying to figure out who she was on her own. Smiling, Belle thanked Philip for saying exactly what she had needed to hear.
Philip soon received a phone call from Deimos, who insisted that they needed to talk in person right away. Philip reluctantly went to the Salem Inn, where Deimos was packing. Philip optimistically asked if Deimos was leaving town, and Deimos gleefully dashed Philip's hopes, explaining that he had actually just rented an apartment in Salem. "Fun fact: the last tenant was a serial killer," Deimos added. "And you couldn't care less 'cause you're cold as ice. I get it," Philip muttered in response.
Deimos voiced his suspicion that Philip had been stringing him along lately. "Even if you have been loyal to me [this whole time], you've been nothing but incompetent. A trained monkey could have gotten me that serum by now," Deimos added. "Have you tried trainedmonkey.com?" Philip dryly replied. Unamused, Deimos said he was only giving Philip the benefit of the doubt because they were family. Deimos added that he had devised a simple plan to test Philip's loyalty, and if Philip failed the test, a certain high-ranking police officer in Chicago -- a very dirty and vicious one -- would find out the truth about his daughter's overdose.
Belle got dressed in Philip's room then found herself unable to resist the urge to snoop through his desk drawers. Belle found a gun in one of the drawers, resting on top of a small manila envelope. Belle pushed the weapon aside and opened the envelope, which contained photographs of a scantily clad young woman. After tucking the photographs back in the envelope, Belle drew a big question mark on the front side with a black permanent marker then propped it up against a lamp on Philip's dresser and left the room.
Theo went to the Johnson house to see Joey, who told him it wasn't a good time. Theo forged ahead, revealing that Chase had been bullying him lately. Joey tried to assure Theo that Chase would never do something like that, but Theo clarified that Chase had owned up to everything earlier. As Theo continued to explain what had happened, Joey impatiently interrupted, reiterating that it wasn't a good time.
Calming down, Joey added that he wasn't trying to hurt Theo's feelings; he simply didn't have time to talk because he was busy trying to fix something that was wrong. Theo noticed a shattered picture frame on the floor, and when Joey claimed that he had accidentally broken it earlier, Theo observed that it looked like Joey had intentionally thrown it. "I was mad, okay? I was mad at myself. I trusted someone, and she... I shouldn't have trusted her," Joey explained.
Theo assumed that Joey was talking about Kayla. Joey firmly denied the suspicion but declined to elaborate, explaining that talking about the matter would only make things worse. Theo wondered if Joey could use Abe's help. "No! Thank you, but... Theo, do you ever just need to be alone? Just to think?" Joey replied. Nodding, Theo said he was sorry that Joey was upset. "I mean, whatever happened, it must have been really bad," Theo added. "Really, really bad," Joey confirmed.
As a storm raged outside his hotel room, Steve ended a phone call and complained that all flights in and out of the nearby airport had been canceled. From the bathroom, Ava pointed out that there were worse things than being stranded in Maui for a while. Steve impatiently ordered Ava to call Joey and tell him where Kayla was being held. Ava emerged from the bathroom -- wearing lingerie -- and reminded Steve that if he wanted to free Kayla, he needed to do something for her first. "And this time, your son isn't gonna interrupt us," Ava added.
Steve handed Ava a bathrobe and told her to put it on, but she pointed out that adding clothing would just delay the inevitable. Steve refused to give Ava what she was asking for, insisting that helping her find her son was going to have to be enough for her. Ava countered that, while she had hoped that the lingerie would make it impossible for Steve to resist her, she was, if nothing else, a determined survivor. "I want you. I love you. And I am gonna have you, no matter how long it --" Ava began to add before stopping herself.
"You were gonna say 'no matter how long it takes,' implying you can wait; you have time. But you don't have time, do you, Ava? Unless you're not really dying," Steve concluded. Steve marveled that Ava had outdone herself and had proven to be even more despicable than her father, but she insisted that wasn't true because his misdeeds had been done in the name of money and power, while hers had been done for love. Steve assumed that Ava had bribed a lab technician to confirm that she had leukemia, but she clarified that she had actually hidden some infected blood under a patch of fake skin on her arm.
"I saw it on a TV show, and I thought, 'Why not?'" Ava added with a shrug. Steve suspected that Ava had also lied about having a son, but she insisted that part had been true -- as had the part about her being in love with him. Steve said that Ava didn't know the meaning of the word. "All right, well, screw semantics, okay? Use whatever word you want. I want you, and I'm gonna do anything to have you, just like I know you will do anything -- you will sacrifice anything -- for Kayla and Joey. So try to relax, okay? 'Cause once you accept the inevitable, you might realize that you enjoy your sacrifice," Ava replied as she caressed Steve's chest.
Removing her bathrobe, Ava concluded that she possessed all the power, and there was only one way for Steve to save his precious wife. "Sweetness is counting on you. And so am I, Patch. Because I know that once this happens, everything changes. You think that sounds crazy? Indulge me. A girl can dream. Stop fighting this. Stop pretending this isn't happening. It is happening... Right. Now," Ava added before kissing Steve. Steve angrily gave in, had sex with Ava, and promptly handed her the phone afterward so she could contact Joey. "Don't spoil the moment," Ava mischievously protested, but Steve wasn't amused.
Joey lashed out at Ava when she contacted him, but she told him to grow up and stop throwing tantrums. "This better be about my mother," Joey snapped, and Ava confirmed that it was. Ava told Joey where to find Kayla, and he rushed off to rescue her. Meanwhile, Steve got dressed and told Ava he hoped she was happy, since she wasn't going to get anything else from him. "Oh, Patch. A little credit, please. I mean, if all I wanted was some quickie in a hotel room, I wouldn't have gone through all this rigmarole. I am getting much, much more from you, my love...unless you want Kayla to know what we just did," Ava replied.