Knight In A Shining Fire Truck
Jennifer had gotten close to Emilio when her first love, Frankie, went away to Columbia University, but although she saw him as a nice, caring guy, there was no denying her heart was not in this relationship.
Emilio had been on the run for some time after having been arrested for something, and in the meantime, Jack and Jennifer grew closer as they worked together at the newspaper and he helped her with Hannah. By the time Emilio returned, Jennifer had given up all hope of a relationship with him, but he convinced Jennifer to forgive him and in time, she began dating him again.
It was clear from the get-go, however, that the man who was beginning to occupy Jennifer's mind 24/7, was none other than Jack Deveraux. Soon, even Emilio noticed how Jennifer could not seem to hold one conversation with him without Jack's name being brought up. Jennifer denied having feelings for her boss and insisted that there was nothing going on between her and Jack.
Meanwhile, Jack was secretly dying inside every time he saw Jennifer with Emilio. Unable to admit to anyone--or to himself--that he had fallen for Jennifer, he pined for her silently. His mother, Jo, and his right-hand man, Vern, both called Jack on his feelings for Jennifer, but Jack denied it at every opportunity. In his mind, he was simply not good enough for the sweet, virginal Jennifer, whom he feared he would just corrupt or hurt, the way he had hurt Kayla and Melissa.
Jack threw himself in other matters: helping his brother Steve reconcile with Kayla. For some time now, Jack had been wanting to reach out to his family and prove to them, and himself, that he was capable of being a good person after all. Encouraged by Jennifer, he sought to help Steve, even though Steve did not want his help, still finding it hard to trust his once duplicitous brother.
Undeterred, Jack set out to learn more about the mysterious Marina Toscano, who showed up out of the blue claiming to be a woman from Steve's past. Jack learned she was actually Steve's first wife, whom Steve thought had died. The bombshell devastated Kayla, and Jack tried his best to assure her that Steve would never hurt her intentionally. However, Marina had other plans. She convinced Steve to help her recover a key that was stolen from her and her family, and when Steve reluctantly joined her in the search, it was up to Jack to try to put a positive spin on things for Kayla.
Kayla was determined not to forgive Steve for his seeming betrayal, and rejected Jack's help. Jack also failed to convince Steve he was sincere in wanting to help him and Kayla reunite. Unable to get them to accept his help, Jack decided the best way to help them was to do it without their knowledge. He found Marina's sister, Isabella, who had been locked up in a sanitarium. He broke her out of Bayview and what began was a very close and lasting friendship between the two.
Jack hid Isabella at Jennifer's apartment, much to Jennifer's annoyance at first. Although she had not yet admitted it to anyone, Jennifer was beginning to fall for her boss, and she secretly wondered if Jack and Isabella were more than friends. After learning that Jack and Isabella were working together to recover the stolen key, Jennifer threw herself in the middle of the adventure. Jack did not want her to get hurt, but Jennifer insisted and soon Jack could not keep her from helping them.
Isabella, who had begun to develop feelings for Jack, soon realized that Jack and Jennifer were in love with each other, but for some reason or another, could not admit it. Determined to help her friend, she decided she would do what she could to make them face their feelings for each other. Eventually, Jennifer was able to admit her feelings for Jack, but Jack simply could not do it. He felt it would be best for Jennifer if he did not get involved with her.
While hiding out in the secret room at Steve's house, the two shared a tender kiss when Jack's defenses were down momentarily. However, soon, Jack came to his senses and tried to backpeddle away from what happened. Jennifer told him he was the one she wanted, not Emilio, but Jack lied to her and told her he didn't want her so she would not pursue a relationship with him. Devastated, Jennifer believed him, but could not stop feeling what she felt for him.
Jack and Jennifer found the missing key at Steve's house, and before Jack gave it to Steve to deliver to Victor, Jack made a copy of it and flew to Italy to discover its secrets. He learned that the key opened a hiding place for Loretta Toscano's diary, and in it, she revealed that Isabella was really Victor's daughter. Knowing the truth would devastate Isabella as much as it devastated him to learn that he had been adopted, Jack vowed he would keep her from finding out about her real father.
Jack's life got even more complicated when Harper contacted him about supporting his parole. Torn over helping the father he had loved all his life and knowing that Harper was likely using him, Jack did not know what to do. Meanwhile, Jack's reputation once again became an issue in the media, making Jack believe that no matter what he did, he would never be able to make people believe that he was trying to change. Jennifer tried to get through to him and tell him he was a good person, but he did not believe her. During a heated discussion, Jack told her that no matter what he did, people would always see him as Harper's sick son, but an emotional Jennifer told him that it didn't matter what they said about him--she believed in him. The two kissed, but Jack pulled away, once again feeling that he was no good for her.
Jennifer was determined to help him, and went to see Harper to tell him to stop interfering in Jack's life. Jack later found out what she had done, and incensed that she interfered in his personal life, and afraid they were getting much too close, he fired a stunned Jennifer.
Jennifer was devastated, but she soon got back on her feet and found a job as a reporter on WATB, the local news station. Jack, meanwhile, thought that firing Jennifer from The Spectator would get her out of his system, but he was wrong. He loved her more than ever, and it was getting harder and harder for him to run away from his feelings.
Emilio was not out of the picture yet, either. Thinking that Jack was finally out of Jennifer's life, he proposed, but a confused Jennifer could not accept. She still wanted Jack, and finally went to his house to confront him. She locked him in his room and tried to seduce him, until Melissa, who had returned to Salem and was determined not to let her cousin get hurt by Jack the same way she did, interrupted them. Jennifer gave Jack an ultimatum and told him if he did not meet her later, that it would be over between them. Jack thought about going, but his old insecurities got the better of him, and after an imaginary conversation with Duke and Harper, who told him he was no good for Jennifer, Jack decided not to meet Jennifer after all.
Jennifer was crushed when she got a note from Jack that he wasn't coming, and when Emilio proposed again that night--this time on the air--Jennifer accepted. Jack saw the proposal on TV and rushed to Wings to convince Jennifer she was making a mistake. An angry Jennifer told him he had no right to tell her what to do, since he had his chance and threw it away. Jack pleaded with her to think about what she was doing, that she would be making a big mistake. They fought, but Jack convinced her to give him one last dance. As they danced, Jennifer tried one more time to get Jack to admit he cared about her, but Jack could not do it. Jennifer tearfully told him if he couldn't tell her how he felt then they could never be together because it hurt too much to play these games with him. Emilio walked in on them and punched Jack, much to Jennifer's shock. But she later left with Emilio, leaving Jack feeling alone and despondent over losing her.
Still in denial over his feelings for Jennifer, Jack nevertheless formulated a plan to keep her from getting married. On the day of her wedding to Emilio, Jack rented a fire truck and dressed up as a fireman to spirit Jennifer out of the church. Jennifer discovered the ruse, but by then it was too late--Jack had already kidnapped her, and he took her to a remote cabin.
Though furious at his actions, Jennifer was also hopeful that Jack would finally admit the real reason he didn't want her to marry Emilio--that he loved her and wanted them to be together. However, Jack, still afraid of getting in a relationship and hurting her, told her that the only reason he stopped her wedding was to keep her from making a mistake by marrying Emilio. As part of his plan, he set up an elaborate trick to make her think that they were in the middle of a wilderness and that if she stepped outside of their cabin, she would be eaten by bears.
Jennifer learned it was yet another ruse, and ran away from the cabin, with Jack chasing after her. She fell onto a cliff and when she was unconscious, a scared Jack tried to get her to wake up by admitting he cared about her. Jennifer heard him and was overjoyed by his proclamation, but Jack denied it was true. In an attempt to rescue her, Jack ended up trapped on the cliff with her, and they spent the night on the cliff, getting closer and almost kissing until Emilio and Melissa showed up to rescue them.
Still unable to get Jack to admit how he felt, a frustrated Jennifer vowed to still marry Emilio despite Jack's interference. But fate would soon step in, and Jack and Jennifer would finally be forced to stop running away from each other...
To be continued...