In 2004, in a town near Oakdale, ILL, Nurse Julia Larrabee was drawn to a handsome man who had no memory of who he was. The man’s name was Jack (from the inscription on his wedding ring) and he was convinced that the dark haired Julia was his wife. Convinced by the doctor to go along with the charade, Julia was forced to reveal the truth when Jack mistakenly mistook her son, J.J., for his. Soon after, Jack was released, but with nowhere to go, Feeling sorry for him, Julia let him stay with her and J.J and promised to help him find out who he was. Staying with Julia, Jack quickly fell in love with this very sweet woman and her son and the feeling was mutual. Unfortunately, the search for Jack's identity led nowhere. While bonding with Julia and J.J., Jack would periodically get flashes of a vivacious blonde but had no idea what those flashes meant. Meanwhile, Julia had to deal with the arrival of someone from her past—her abusive ex-husband, Les. Les had recently been released from prison and he threatened to take J.J. away. Having an instinctive need to protect his new family, Jack talked Julia into marrying him. However, she hesitated since they both had no idea what was in his past, and she was convinced he would leave her and J.J. when he regained his memory. Jack convinced her that he would never leave them.
In the meantime, J.J. found a message in a bottle in the river and brought it home. Though Julia told him to throw the filthy bottle out, J.J. kept it but had no way to get the message out without breaking the bottle. Finally, soon after marrying Jack, Julia found the bottle and took out the message which included a picture. It was a picture of Jack with a beautiful blonde and two children. Included was a note from the little boy named Parker asking Jack to come back home. Not wanting to lose Jack, Julia kept quiet and married Jack. The next day, Julia made a trip to Oakdale (where the note was postmarked) and inquired about the people in the photograph. She learned that that was the Snyder family, which was reeling from the apparent death of the father, Jack, who died in a drowning. Wanting more information, Julia went to the Snyder home while the babysitter was there poked around the house while the sitter was preoccupied. There she found a police badge with Jack’s name on it and pocketed it. Julia then returned home. Terrified of losing Jack, if his family found them, Julia insisted that they had to move to Louisville immediately and lied that she had a job offer there. After driving all night, Jack and his new family stopped at a hotel. That night, Jack found his police badge in Julia's possessions. The next morning, he confronted Julia and she lied that she'd only found out the day before when she left the hospital. Buying her explanation that the hospital gave her the rest of Jack's effects, Jack went out and came face to face with the blonde in the picture -- his wife Carly!
However, Jack had no memory of Carly at all. Although Carly tried to jog his memory by showing him a family picture and telling him about their past, he still could not remember anything. Not feeling anything for this woman in front of him, Jack only wanted to return to Julia and was shocked when Carly told him that Julia had known who he was, that she'd been to their house in Oakdale. Not knowing who to believe, but not liking Carly's confrontational attitude toward Julia, Jack took Julia aside and demanded the truth. Caught, Julia tearfully confessed that she'd learned of Jack's identity much earlier but kept quiet since she'd fallen in love with him. Touched, Jack forgave Julia. Although Julia wanted to go ahead and move far away, Jack convinced her that he had to find out who he was. So, Jack went back to Oakdale and brought Julia and J.J. with him. This development didn't sit too well with Carly and she had several run-ins with Julia, whom Carly accused of exploiting Jack's vulnerable state to keep him close. Carly's antagonism toward Julia only ended up alienating herself from Jack. Knowing that Jack considered Julia his real wife, Carly went to court and had Jack declared incompetent and had him placed in her custody. However, though Jack was now at home, he was colder than ever to Carly. However, he was starting to bond with his children and the Snyder family. Weeks later, in Montana with Carly, Jack’s memory came flooding back. As Julia feared, Jack decided to return to Carly but informed Julia that he wanted to stay a part of J.J.’s life.
Meanwhile, while looking for a job at Memorial Hospital, Julia came across Jack’s cousin, Holden, whose son had been hurt in a boxing accident. Julia stayed with Holden and calmed his fears and the two quickly bonded. The friendship grew and Holden confided in Julia about his marital problems. On New Year’s Eve, after being stood up by his wife, Lily, Holden encountered a lonely Julia and the two continued to bond. Later, suspecting that something was going on between Holden and Julia, Lily (egged on by Carly) tried to bribe Julia into leaving town. Julia refused and told Holden what happened. Disgusted, Holden decided to leave Lily and began an affair with a sympathetic Julia. Unfortunately, the Snyders were almost an institution in Oakdale and when the affair went public, Julia was evicted from the hotel of a formerly sympathetic woman. So, Holden arranged for Julia to stay with him at his mother’s farm. Unfortunately, he never revealed that Julia and he were having an affair; when that was found out, Julia (One of the few people to be evicted from Emma Snyder’s home) was kicked out. Meanwhile, Carly and Lily were conspiring to get rid of Julia and arranged for a man from her past, Keith Morrissey, to find out where she was. Unfortunately for them, Keith was Julia’s brother and Julia quickly realized that they were the ones who brought him to Oakdale. Later, Lily met with Julia who viciously taunted Lily with the knowledge that Holden was with her. Lily let her anger get to her and savagely attacked Julia just as Holden walked in. Lily's actions caused Holden to take out a restraining order against Lily for Julia.
Later, Julia found Lily in her apartment which appeared to be trashed. Lily admitted to doing it and claimed that she was cleaning up. When Julia threatened to tell Holden, Lily shot back with a threat of her own---she knew that Julia was wanted in Texas on a drug charge. Though Julia begged Lily not to turn her in, Lily had nothing to lose and proceeded to get the number for the El Paso police. Trying to stop her, Julia shoved Lily who in turn shoved back. Unfortunately, Julia struck her head against the mantelpiece. Lily left, leaving an unconscious, but alive Julia. However, that night when Lily returned, Julia was dead! Though Lily confessed to the crime to protect her teenage son (who she suspected was guilty), the true culprit was revealed to be Les, who, t get to J.J., murdered Julia by injecting her with bee venom of which she was allergic. As for J.J., he was placed in the custody of his Uncle Keith who later placed him in the care of Jack and Carly Snyder.