Title: Yeah, I did something
Category: TV Shows » Days of Our Lives
Author: magic or manic
Language: English, Rating: Rated: M
Genre: Angst
Published: 09-26-06, Updated: 09-26-06
Chapters: 1, Words: 3,491


Chapter 1: Chapter 1


"You want to have a little party with me," he asked her with an innocent smile.

Warily she looked at him. "What did you have in mind?"

"Well, nothing untoward," he said in mock indignation. "My goodness, Isabella, where is your mind?"

"Jack. You're very drunk. Let me help you – "

"No. No help. Not for me. Never again for me. It's pointless. You are what you are. You are what you do. You can't change that. Nothing can change that. You do. You are. You always shall be. No escape."

"So I'm a killer?"

"Well. Yes. But join the club. It's a special club – you can only join if you've killed a family member that you actually loved. People who kill their loved ones, and the people who love them. Catchy book title, wouldn't you say?"

Isabella felt a wave of hurt wash over her. She knew her friend was suffering, but his words cut through her and made her feel the pain of what she had done all over again. It hurt her that he could so callously throw her most regretted action up in her face like that just to make himself feel better. With immense dignity, she stood up as if to leave.

"Jack, I'm just going to go. I'm sorry you're hurting so badly, but I won't stick around and let you hurt me."

Jack stood up hastily, staggering back slightly as he did so.

"No – please! I'm sorry – I'm sorry," he said hastily. "I know… I'm a jerk. I am – I know this – but you – you've never once treated me the way I deserve to be treated, and…. I appreciate that. I do. Please… I'm sorry."

His honest and awkward contrition defused her hurt and she was able to listen to the deeper message within his words. Jack Deveraux was still punishing himself for long ago crimes – one crime in particular of which she had never learned the nature. She sat back down and resumed her gentle intervention.

"Why do you think you need to be treated badly?"

"Come on. You have to know by now. Somebody probably warned you away form me by now." Jacks voice became harsher as he vainly attempted a casual sardonic tone.

"No. I don't know by now. I only know what you've told me. Why would people warn me away from you, other than the reason that you accidentally killed Harper which was done completely in defense of other people?"

"I am a rapist," he said almost as if announcing something proudly.

She was completely caught off guard by his response and sat opposite him frozen, looking at him in disbelief.

"I refuse to believe that," she gasped. "Absolutely. I'm sure I'd sense if you were dangerous in that particular way – and you aren't. You simply aren't. I just don't believe it."

"Ask Kayla," he said with forced casualness. "She can tell you the whole sordid story. It happened, by the way, at the loft. You know, the loft? Where my ex-fiancée currently lives. Don't you just love that irony? It's not even ironic – it's deliberate. Jennifer lives there because of a ridiculous failed plan of mine to… well, it doesn't even matter what. I did the ugly deed right there in that living room of hers."

"Whoa. Wait. You're telling me that you… raped Kayla? I mean – you … did you get her drunk or something?"

"Oh – you mean like now – like me trying to get you to join me for a drink? And... of course, I wasn't trying to - you're safe from me. Lucky you, that I think of you as as sister..."

"Jack, stop it."

"Now you see – she said that too. But I didn't."

"Okay – I want the story. Stop speaking in riddles." Isabella's tone had become angry as she felt Jack retreating deeper and deeper into his sarcastic shell.

"Okay. The story in a very tiny nutshell. We were married. She didn't love me. She didn't want me – but I was sick, so it didn't matter, and then she was sick, so it didn't matter, and then she was better and she still said no. I was clueless, and she was having an affair with Steve, and then – I found out on the biggest night of my life – thanks to a sleazy reporter. I became incredibly angry, got home with her, tried to make a move which was again rejected, and so I decided that the appropriate action at that point would be to force a woman a lot smaller and weaker than I am to have sex with me by pinning her down with enough brute force to leave some pretty ugly and painful bruises, which, by the way, were exhibit A. at the trial. Do you believe me now? It wasn't no seduction, Sally."

Isabella listened to Jack, her own thoughts chaotic How could Jack have done this? Everything about him radiated safe... noble. Honorable. He might see her as a sister, but when she'd met him, she'd fallen in love with him - he had been exactly what she needed, when she needed it... but he never gave any indication that he felt that way for her, so she moved on. Jack. A rapist? Impossible. Rape. It was a terrible, vicious and angry crime. It was meant to hurt, humiliate, punish – it was beyond cruel. So, how could her hero be capable of that cruelty? She had seen Jack interact with Kayla. He was always so careful and concerned around her. He treated her like she was made of glass. How could he have ever treated her in such a brutal manner? Jack Deveraux leaving bruises on a woman? Ignoring her screams? She shook her head, dazed, and realized he had stopped talking.

"No wonder… Steve was afraid to trust you."

"Oh, it gets worse. I mean – rape is pretty bad, but after that, I terrorized both of them. I hired someone to beat him up –twice. I forced her to come back with me when she ran off with him, and the guy I had beat him up left him for dead. Do you think I even tried to get help for him? Of course not. I badgered her – telling her repeatedly she had gotten what she had asked for, and even tried to stop her from getting counseling because of how it would make me look. I even tried to stop funding for the emergency center. I used my power and influence to try to stop something that has saved countless lives just because I was hurt. When I found out I was Steve's brother, I acted like a jerk to them – repeatedly telling Jo and Adrienne how worthless they were. To top it all off, I tried to break Harper out of prison and nearly got Kayla and Emilio Ramirez killed. I denied having any involvement, but Steve knew better. I tricked Diana Colville into selling me half her paper just to prevent her from printing bad things about me, and then I started trying to use the paper to hurt people that I didn't like. Jennifer was the only reason I didn't turn the Spectator into the lowest form of rag. She did her level best to shove a soul into my worthless body. "

"Oh, Jack…"

"The fact of the matter is… I'm a bad person, Isabella. The person you met in the sanitarium was trying to be a better person, but underneath it all, the guy that raped Kayla is still here, sitting right here…"

"Why this sudden onslaught of self-loathing? I mean – I know you've been beating yourself up over your past deeds for a while now, but why are you in such a state? What happened?"

"Nothing happened," he said defensively. "I just woke up. That's all. I just woke up."

"What do you mean, you just woke up?"

"Isabella," he said in frustration. "Can we just drop this?"

"No. We can't just drop this. Okay? We aren't going to drop this. We aren't going to stop talking about this until you tell me what's going on. I'm guessing it has to do with Jennifer."

"Well," he sighed, emotionally spent. "Yes. I mean – doesn't it always have to do with Jennifer?"

"What happened? Why is she your ex-fiancée? What happened between you two that was strong enough to tear you apart like that?"

"My past has finally gotten to Jennifer. In fact, Isabella, I'm amazed you haven't left by now. I guess it's just a matter of time."

"What do you mean, it's gotten to Jennifer?"

"She called me a rapist."

"No. I can't believe that-"

"Yes. She did call me a rapist and I did commit rape. No matter how much you want to believe otherwise – both these events did occur."

"Jack, I am not afraid of you. My instincts are pretty –"

"I'm sorry, but you're spending a great deal of time with Victor, and I personally know that he's a pretty unsavory guy most of the time. I am not inclined to have a great deal of trust in your instincts at this point."

"You know you're being a jerk again. How about you get back on topic? I want you to tell me what happened with Jennifer."

"Simple. I tried to get close, she got upset – she hit me, and called me a rapist."

"I don't understand."

"It isn't important."

"You weren't being forceful or anything, were you?" Isabella winced a little as she asked the question, not wanting to seem like she was accusing him of anything.

"Ah. Well… it's a long story. But I never intended to ever make her feel like I was trying to hurt her – I just… kind of kissed her in a way that might be seen as desperate… maybe she thought I was out of control. I – I wasn't though. I never… never…"

"Why, Jack? Why are you desperate – what's going on?"

"She… she hasn't wanted to be close… she pulls away all the time – and - that's in complete opposition to how she used to be." Jack delivered this information in a rushed and awkward fashion. He was uncomfortable discussing Jennifer and his relationship in such an honest and detailed fashion.

"Yes… it is. Do you know why she did the one-eighty?"

"I – ah… thought maybe she had slept with someone else and was feeling guilty about it – or maybe she slept with someone else and had changed her mind about her relationship with me."

"Given how desperately in love she was with you, I find either theory very hard to believe."

"I don't know. Lawrence Alamain keeps implying that he and Jennifer were… together… as man and wife. And Jennifer was pretty much at the end of the rope as far as my own distancing behavior was concerned. I thought we had… mended those fences… but… maybe I underestimated how deeply I had hurt her by my own behavior. You know. After Harper. I said some awful things to her."

"Jack, I hate to bring this up. But you and Kayla were together… technically – as man and wife. That doesn't mean she cheated on Steve."

He looked at her in growing horror. "No. No – I – No."

"Jack. It's a possibility. In fact if Lawrence and Jennifer were together as 'man and wife' – it's the only possibility. Jennifer would never be intimate with Lawrence Alamain. I'd bet my life on it. She would never do that."

"There was a time that I thought Kayla wouldn't –"

"Kayla loved Steve. You may not have known that at the time, but she loved him. She will always love him. Think about it. Did Jennifer ever really seem to be taken in by Lawrence?"

"No. I mean – she tried to convince me she loved him, but I didn't believe her. She couldn't look me in the eye when she said it. "

"What would you say she felt for him – if you had to guess based on your observations of the two of them together?"

"At first, I'm not entirely sure. I think she was nervous, but she was probably nervous because she was trying to pull off a deception that could have gotten her into a lot of trouble – not just with Lawrence, but with his father. But it didn't take long before she realized he was dangerous – and then she refused to stop her deception because she felt she needed to protect people. And then later, after she married him – she was definitely afraid of him – but I had told her that we all thought he had killed Steve. I'm not sure if she was afraid of him before that – at least, at the same intensity."

"So when would this purported affair have happened?"

"Well - Mrs. Horton said that they were brought to his country against their will, so I'm guessing it would have happened before – in New York."

"Did she tell you she loved him when you visited her there?"

"No! Anything but – in fact – things – things seemed to be pretty good between us – at least on a personal level, before I left to get help. But she was mad at me for getting involved and for trying to get Steve involved, so maybe –"

"So she possibly slept with Lawrence to get you back for worrying about her? For trying to rescue her? Does that sound like Jennifer?"

"No."

"Does it sound like Jennifer to sleep with a man like Lawrence?"

"I was once a lot like Lawrence."

"But you aren't now. Jennifer wouldn't have gotten involved with you back then, and she wouldn't have slept with Lawrence now. Especially when you consider your own past with Kayla. "

"What does that mean? Do you think Jennifer would think I might react the way I did with Kayla? I – "

"No! I mean she wouldn't want to hurt you that way – because it forced you so deeply into hiding that it took a lot of time and pain on her part to get you to trust her with your heart. Look, Jack, I know how much she loves you. I don't believe she would sleep with Lawrence just because he was there, or because she was mad at you. You don't believe it either."

He exhaled harshly, his gaze filled with pain.

"That leaves only one interpretation of Lawrence's comment then," he sighed, giving in to the truth. "I made stupid remarks like that to Steve once, just to get him angry. I can't believe I didn't guess right away. I mean – you would think with my own personal knowledge of the crime… you think I would have recognized her behavior. Do you know, I even accused her of sleeping with Lawrence?"

"Ouch. How did she react?"

"She got very angry and upset. She was really convincing too when she said I was the only… uh – can you just forget i said anything?"

Isabella smiled at him gently. "It's okay, Jack. I'd guessed that about Jennifer. I think it's sweet."

"Sweet… yeah. That's her in a nutshell," he sighed. "And I've made her feel about this big," he said, using his fingers to indicate a minuscule amount. "I said horrible things." He winced and squeezed his eyes shut trying to force the memories of his angry responses out of his mind.

"Jack, you didn't know." Her gentle voice broke through his tormented thoughts.

"I should have guessed though. You did."

"You're too close to the problem, and your own past got in your way. Your subconscious mind may have refused to allow that possibility to occur to you."

"Right. Jennifer is yet another casualty of my horrible behavior towards Kayla."

"Jack. Kayla and Steve have forgiven you. That should tell you something. If someone ever raped me, I doubt I could ever stand to live in the same town as them, let alone be a part of their family. Kayla made the effort because you've obviously become a person that she believes deserves to be forgiven."

He shuddered involuntarily at her words. The idea of Isabella being hurt like that hurt him on a visceral level.

"Kayla and Steve are extraordinary people. The entire Brady and Horton clan are pretty extraordinary too. I've been forgiven by people who had every reason to spend a lifetime hating me. But what the hell am I going to do about Jennifer?"

"What do you think you should do?"

"Leave town and never come back."

"Try again. Leaving town will only make Jennifer hate herself even more for ruining things between you. You have to know she's probably blaming herself for even being victimized."

He nodded. "I know. I'm almost sure of it. I guess… at the very least, I should face up to her and apologize for how I've been acting since we got back home. I should apologize for not listening to her cues and pushing her physically. I swore I'd never be that way with her. It's pretty terrifying to see that old habits are reasserting themselves."

"What do you mean?"

"Jennifer put up with a lot of … resistance – on my part… and even after we got close, she still had to deal with my worries that eventually I'd hurt her. It wasn't until she embroiled herself in this missing heiress caper that I finally concluded that we did belong together. After I realized that, I became – more comfortable, I guess – with… ah… initiating… contact… and then… "

"Jack. You aren't resorting to old habits. You were at a point in your relationship with her where you finally felt that it was right. It's very natural to want to be close like that with someone you love. Initiating it does not make you an aggressor. You were being open and honest with what you wanted."

"And she was pulling away. I saw it – time and again, and I still kept trying. My experience with being married to Kayla should have taught me something."

"It did. You learned that you needed to learn to control your anger. You learned that your needs weren't more important than others. You learned not to be violent. You were never violent with – "

"I was," he said, ashamed. "I got really angry with her on New Years day, and I started shaking her – trying to get her to stop lying to me. I scared the hell out of her, Isabella – she was absolutely terrified. "

"Jack…"

"Jennifer probably did think I was going to resort to violence."

"You don't know that, and I refuse to believe it. You need to talk to her. You can't run away – you know that. You need to talk to her, and tell her what you believe, and let her tell you how she feels. You can't second guess her – you have to let her be the one who tells you."

"I know. I know. You're right. I hate this. But you're right."

"But you need to sober up first. Okay?"

"Okay. Isabella. I don't know what I'd do without you."

"Well - here's hoping you never have to find out," she said, getting up and coming over to give him a kiss on the cheek. "I'm not afraid of you, Jack Deveraux, no matter what you did. I trust you and I believe in you."

"You're as bad as Jennifer," he said with a warm smile. "Roman is an idiot if he doesn't fix things between you two."