Johnny Zacharra had never been one to even try to do the right thing until Lulu Spencer came along. He often cursed the wayward blonde for having an impact on his life, something no one had never even attempted to really do. If his family bred people like Anthony and Claudia Zacharra, most people figured that there really wasn't a point. However, Lulu refused to accept that and had tried to make him into something he wasn't. It was funny that it had taken her biggest adversary to make that pursuit a reality. However, these days, Johnny only had to think of the soft giggle she makes when he kisses her behind her ear or the way she flutters her eyelashes when she is trying to get what she wants, and he finds himself doing what is right. It might not be the right thing to the rest of the world, but it was the right thing for them.
On the top of that new list of so-called right things was the very uncomfortable dinner Maxie had convinced Johnny to attend at Sonny's mansion. Four grueling hours of tense conversation had given way to multiple rounds of scotch. Sonny and Johnny had spoken frankly on the balcony as they came to an agreement about the business. Johnny would play a part in the organization, just like Jason and Claudia did. While Sonny might maintain his role as the godfather, it was understood that Johnny would never be treated like an underling. Claudia made that point very clear to her husband, a condition that he eventually accepted rather than face the wrath of his equally volatile wife.
After that family dinner at Greystone, Johnny had been forced to endure another go around with the Scorpios. He had very little in common with a pair of well-respected doctors and a revered police chief, but he managed to make it through after Maxie promised to make it up to him later. She had done exactly that when she had served him strawberry shortcake back at their apartment off her body. The sticky taste of strawberry on her skin was probably the sweetest, most delicious dessert of Johnny's life. He had played the part at Mac's perfectly, managing to charm Robin with his stories about traveling around Europe and making Emma giggle with his cute faces. He even managed to find common ground with Patrick on their mutual love of racing. Mac was only the one still completely unimpressed. Two days after that intense night at the Scorpio homestead, he was even more determined to make Mac like him.
It was late at night now as he stood alone on the rooftop of the newly reopened General Hospital, staring out over the city lights. It was only a year ago that he had stood on this very ledge, daring himself as he used the narrow strip of cement as a balance beam. Luke Spencer had found him that night, but the older man was nowhere in site now. Johnny was all alone, once again tempting fate. It was something he did every day when he woke up and went into the real world. A gunshot, an explosion, a rigged car accident – there were a number of things that could make him meet his maker. He would always be an adrenaline junkie, and walking this ledge made him feel alive. It was like being with Maxie. It was toxic, it was destructive, it was all wrong. However, despite all those things that reminded him how badly this could end for both of them, he was determined to make it work. They both were.
"Hey there, Zacharra, care for some company? Johnny spun around on his heel and met her eyes from his perch a few feet above her head. He smiled at her genuinely as he reached for her hand, pulling her up on the ledge to stand by his side effortlessly. Most other girls would be too afraid to be so daring. However, Maxie had never backed down a day in her life, and it was one of the many things that Johnny was coming to like about her. Coming to love about her. She was as brave as they came, his equal in every way. "You know you're crazy, right?"
"You're up here with me, Pretty Girl," he reminded her as he slipped his arm around her waist. He knew that one misstep or a gust of wind could send them both plunging to their deaths. The headlines would love it. However, he somehow felt safer on the ledge with her. It was like she kept him grounded. That was a new feeling to him. No one had ever given him a sense of safety in his entire life. It was a scary thing to have, something he wasn't ready to share with her. "If I'm crazy for standing up here, you have to be twice as crazy. Look at your shoes."
Maxie twisted her ankle slightly and looked down at her silver strappy sandaled heels. They were adorable, expensive and uncomfortable. "So maybe they're not exactly hiking shoes, but they make my legs look amazing," she smiled proudly before leaning on him slightly. "Why did you want me to come up here?"
"I wanted you to see who I am."
"Johnny, I know you."
"I know you think that…"
"No, Johnny, I know you," she emphasized. "I know that risks just like I know the rewards. I don't need to stand up on this ledge to understand who you are. If I did, I wouldn't be up here with you."
He turned on the ledge and threaded his arms around her waist, pressing their foreheads together so that he could see only her baby blue eyes. "Tomorrow it becomes official. I'm back in the business. There is no going back after this."
"I don't want to go back. I didn't have you before this. I'm ready for what comes at us."
"I just want us to have one last perfect night."
"You're too damn romantic for your own good, Zacharra," she groaned. "We've never had a perfect night. I don't want a perfect night. I want the complications. I want the disasters. I want the beautiful messes. I want us. We're not perfect, Johnny. Perfection is boring. You and I are so much more than that."
"I love you."
His words were sudden and unexpected, even by him. The last thing he had planned on doing tonight was confessing what he had known for weeks. However, hearing her faith in him and her clarity on who they were as a couple was his reassurance.
"I know you do."
"That's it?" he laughed. "Is that all you're going to say?"
She smirked and nodded. "I've known for weeks, probably before you did."
"I guess I knew you loved me, too."
"I do," she confirmed. "We don't need to make those grand declarations, Johnny. I've had those before with Coop and Jesse. You had them with Lulu. That's not who we are. We just know." Johnny watched in admiration as she jumped down from the ledge and wiped the dust from her midnight blue dress. "You don't have to do this anymore. You don't have to test our relationship or me. I'm not going anywhere. You don't need to walk ledges to find out what I already know. I'm here, Johnny. Whether that means standing on the edge of a building or jumping in the line of fire or just having to listen to Sonny Corinthos go on and on about some island, I'm not going to give up on you."
Trailing his fingers through his hair, Johnny shook his head in amazement. "You don't have to listen to Sonny if you don't want to," he relented finally with a smile. She grinned as he jumped down on the ledge and landed beside her. "As for the ledges and the gunfire, it's probably apart of our life. I am always going to need to feel the rush."
"I can think of more constructive ways to give you a rush," Maxie purred as she wrapped her body around his. "I know how to make you feel alive."
"On the roof?" he asked with a teasing tone. "Really?"
"Well, we've never done it here," she pointed out. "Besides, it's always been kind of this fantasy I had. A dark night, a dark man, a dark passion – it's all pretty sexy, don't you think?"
He tilted his head to the side in feigned contemplation. "Well, I prefer the lighter side of things lately," he told her. "A girl with golden hair and light blue eyes, the silver light of the full moon, the light feeling of love. I think that's kind of sexy myself."
"I'm the light to your darkness."
"You are so many things I never expected, Jones."
"Tell me you love me again."
"Uh uh, you said we didn't need to say it."
"Please!" Johnny pulled her against him and pressed her back against the ledge. She ran her fingers beneath his shirt in search of the warmth his bare skin provided. "You're so warm."
"I said that to you the first night we slept together."
"And you also told me that I tasted "so good," she reminded him.
He smiled widely. "Just good enough to make it worth it, right?" She nodded as her hands found their home on his belt buckle. She undid the belt while he lifted her to the ledge and pushed her skirt out of the way. Maybe pressed up against a rooftop while the entire city buzzed around them wasn't the perfect romantic way to celebrate the first time they declared their love to each other, it was perfect for them. Johnny couldn't help but relish in that again. "I still love the slow build-up."
Maxie slid her legs around his waist as he sunk into her. It was still the fast and dirty sex that she loved, only with a tender edge to it that hadn't been there before. They still had that threat of getting caught, the stifled expressions of their mutual pleasure, the scrapes from the cement on the back of her thighs. He would have scratches on his shoulders from where she tried to brace herself and raw skin on his palms from gripping the ledge. It was just as messy as it had been that first night on the couch, and just like that night, they were the only ones who could really understand each other.
His hand made its way up her thigh before she reached down and brushed it away. "What the hell, Jones?"
"Hey," she said softly. She pulled back and looked into his eyes. "The first time we were like this, it wasn't about love. I told you that I wasn't going to be some dutiful girlfriend who followed after you. I'm still not going to be that girl. I am going to be the woman that loves you, your partner in crime. I'll always be selfish. I might lie to you. It's possible that we'll both regret it later. You knew all that and you still chose to love me."
He brushed a hair away from her face. "Thank God for that." The last thing he had wanted when he had started this was her. He'd wanted an easy escape. Instead, he had found someone that kept him tethered. They were still cynical and jaded. "I know it's love, Jones. You're not going to let me down. You're not going to lie to me or make me regret it. We don't need to say it to know it's true, remember? We just know it. I just want to spend the next twenty years trying to make you see that too."
"And to think, this all started because you wanted to use me for twenty minutes," she giggled as he started to move against her. "Of course, that ended up stretching into an hour, to the next day, to this moment."
"And we're still on the same page," he murmured. "It's still about feeling good in the here and now.
"So good," she groaned. "So, so, so good."
All conversation ceased as Johnny captured her lips. Before he knew it, Maxie had tugged off his shirt and pushed all clothing out of the way. They were completely encased in each other, moving as one in time with the pounding of their hearts. Sirens wailed in the background as she murmured her reassurance in his ear.
After it was over, Johnny pulled back on his tee shirt and wrapped his button-up around her. He held her hand as they walked back over to the edge, standing behind her as they gazed up at the stars. "You still haven't taught me that trick, you know," he reminded her. "You promised."
"Anytime, Zacharra," she promised. "Only next time, I think we need to save that for bed."
He smiled at her and thought about how far they had come. They were just two lost souls who had used each other for comfort two months ago when all of this started. "Maybe we need to say it, Jones."
"I love you, Zacharra" she whispered. "If you need to hear it, I'll say it. Even if I don't, you still know."
"I might need to hear it, even if I know," he retorted. "I love you too, Jones."
Maxie and Johnny were quiet as they made their way down to the parking lot to the waiting limo. It was one of the perks of his former life he had missed and was glad to have back. They ignored the probing stares as they slipped into the car and headed for home. They still weren't exactly sure what was happening between them, but it was finally something they were willing to admit just could be forever. The last thing either of them had wanted was to go falling in love but that was where they had ended up. Johnny had found himself another blonde, Maxie had landed another bad boy. All the lies had stopped. There was only one truth to be told. He meant everything. She meant everything. This meant everything.