Jessica walked down the steps and into the kitchen to see Natalie sitting there staring into a cup of tea. Walking over she sat down and felt the cup—cold to the touch, "You ok? You barely said anything on the drive home from Port Charles and now you've sat here so long the tea has gotten cold."
"Just thinking, that's all," she said as she continued to stare downward.
Natalie laughed and finally made eye contact with her sister, "You really are good at that twin thing."
"I think we both are," she said with a smile. "Spill it."
"At the hospital I tried to give John an out—tried to tell him he didn't have to come back to Llanview, that with the restraining order gone he can see Liam whenever he wants," she said, then paused. "Then he called bull shit on it. Well, on me—said obviously what I saw, or might have seen proves that the reason I don't want him around is I'm not over him yet."
"So—how right is he?" she asked and then laughed at her sister's shocked expression. "What? John McBain isn't the only one that can call you out on your crap. Why do you two always make it so hard on each other?"
"Because I'm tired, Jess. I'm tired of this constant merry-go-round I play with him. We're together for a few months, and then he suddenly finds another ghost he needs to avenge. What makes it worse now is we have a child involved. So he focuses on the ghost more than a son he's barely got to spend 3 months as a father to—and then he goes and makes out with some woman. Then instead of telling me immediately when it happens, he comes back here and continues to play house with me—like nothing ever happened," she shouted.
"A little," laughed Natalie. "I—I just don't want to open my heart to that type of betrayal again. I'd rather focus on my career and being the best mother to Liam that I can be—Mister Perfect definitely isn't out there for me," she said and noticed her sister not making eye contact. "What?"
"Nothing," she said as she got up and went over to the counter to make herself a cup of tea.
"No—you weren't saying something."
"I was listening."
"No—you were holding your tongue. That twin thing—it works both ways," she said as she jumped up and cornered Jessica. "Spill it, Jess."
"Fine. You've sort of been seeing someone."
"Sort of? How can you sort of see someone?"
"He works at the station—a detective that transferred in recently. And so at the end of a few shifts you've asked me to put Liam to bed so you two could have a few drinks together."
"Oh—ok. Does mystery man have a name?"
"Derek Porter. And when you had the accident I had to practically have Uncle Bo arrest him so he wouldn't come to Port Charles. Told him you didn't remember him so it might not be best to come storming in and plant a wet one on you."
"We've kissed? You don't just kiss someone you are sort of seeing."
"Isn't that what John did though?"
Natalie gave her sister a stern look and ignored the question, "So—is that why I went to Port Charles? Not just for the restraining order—but to tell John that I've moved on?"
"Or to see what his feelings were? I believe you words to me when you left were testing the waters. And that it was for both yours and Derek's sake. You didn't want to lead him on if it seemed like John was still interested in making things right with you."
Natalie nodded, "So I get to John's room—either see them having sex or hear it—and take off. I was upset—and end up down that ravine for hours before someone finds me."
"It makes sense."
She let out a loud breath as she leaned onto the counter, "So I've lost not only the memories of John being a cheating coward I've lost memories of a guy who I was getting close to."
"What are you going to do?"
"Not let John off the hook that easy—just because I don't remember what he did doesn't mean it never happened. And not push Derek away just because I don't remember him either," she said as she heard Liam stir on the monitor and went to check on him.
John stood behind the bar as it wound down for the night—it felt good to be back here, to be closer to his family. He had decided to not contact Natalie tonight—to give her the evening to relax and tomorrow he would start pushing his way back into her life whether she liked it or not.
The one thing that was nagging on him right now though was the person that Price was sitting with—he kept looking over at John and he wanted to ask him what the hell his problem was. He'd never met the guy, but apparently he had something to say to him.
He was about to walk over when he saw Bo walk in and stayed where he was, "Hey Bo."
"John," he said shortly and took a seat. "You want to tell me what you are doing here?"
John nodded, he understood the question and knew it would come at him again and again over the next few weeks—harder from some people than others. He expected it from Bo—Natalie was practically a daughter to him and as much as he'd been a cheerleader for them to get together it wasn't the case now, "I'm back in Llanview. I don't want my job back—I don't know if I deserve it back. All I'm focusing on is Natalie and Liam."
Bo nodded, "I know we all make mistakes, John, but maybe it's just better for you to head back out of town. You don't have to go to Port Charles, but—."
"I'm not welcomed here anymore?" laughed John. "I screwed up—I admit that. It wasn't my best moment—the keeping it from her made it worse. But I'm not walking away because I'm still in love with her. I'm not giving up on her without a fight. And I'm sure as hell not missing another moment of Liam's life. I've thrown away nearly two years of memories already, Bo. I can't miss anymore."
"And what happens when the next ghost comes along and you feel like you need to avenge it?"
He shook his head, "There aren't any. And if one shows up I won't let it get between me and my family. They are what matters—you can hate me for what I did to Natalie, for keeping a secret from her, but when it comes down to it I don't care if this entire town hates me as long as she doesn't."