So after John had 'died' on screen and was presumably gone for good, I had this idea where Stefano agrees to leave Sami alone IF Marlena would marry Stefano. Marlena quietly agrees and the pair leave town quietly to marry. Later Stefano hosts a grand party for all Salem residents to introduce them to his new bride -- Marlena!
All are shocked of course and Sami is livid.
Later while alone Stefano reminds Marlena that it must be a complete and consumated marriage. Stefano pops a small blue pill and tells Marlena she should dress for the evening. She returns in nightgown of Stefano's choosing. The music plays and they dance slowly.
" Do you feel that?" he asks.
Marlena looks disturbed
"The little Phoenix is coming back to life" Stefano grins and leads her to the bedroom.
Next time you see them they are in the ER and you hear Marlena saying "He took the pill over four hours ago and it's not wearing off. He needs help!" as Stefano groans with pain.
Just a thought