It was the Ryan family that brought an adult Dusty back to Oakdale.
Barbara Ryan brought Dusty to town to break up the relationship between
her son Paul and Rose D'Angelo. Although friends with Paul, Dusty
needed the money after the failure of some dot com businesses and
getting involved with the wrong people. The plan worked and when
an angry Paul learned what his mother had done he left Oakdale.
When trying to find Paul's whereabouts, it appeared that he had been
killed in a plane crash.
After learning of her brother's death, Jennifer returned to Oakdale
and was surprised a few days later when Paul returned, alive and well.
learned that Paul was still in love with Rose, who was now with Dusty.
Jennifer wanted to help her brother, so she tried to seduce Dusty in
order to get him away from Rose. At that time, Dusty showed no
interest in a relationship with Jennifer. However on his own, Paul
managed to once again win Rose's heart. They reunited and made
plans to marry. Their happiness was short lived when Rose
collapsed at the altar and died as a result of being poisoned by
Jennifer's younger brother Will. He hadn't intended to kill Rose
but wanted to prevent Paul from leaving Oakdale and the family.
Jennifer and Dusty would again meet up when Dusty became the manager
of Street Jeans. Their friendship was instantly renewed and Dusty
became someone that Jennifer could confide in. It was Dusty who
convinced her she had to be honest with Mike about what had happened
with Craig. The one thing that Dusty worried about was whether or
not Jennifer could do it all as she wanted to, being a wife, mother and
Jennifer was distraught after finding Mike and Katie in the hotel room
in Chicago, it was Dusty she called. Despite being out on a date
with Meg Snyder, Dusty went to Barbara's cabin to check on Jennifer. It
was not the first time Dusty had left Meg when Jennifer called and it
wasn't going to be the last. Dusty got to the cabin as Jennifer
was going into labor. Although he wanted to rush her to the
hospital, there was no time and it was Dusty who coached her through it
and delivered the baby. A special bond was formed between them as
a result. Dusty then rushed both Jennifer, who was suffering
complications, and the baby to the hospital.
Dusty was there with Jennifer every step of the way at the hospital.
This time Dusty couldn't protect her from the pain as she got the news
that her baby just hadn't been strong enough and had died. It was
Dusty that she leaned on when she learned the news and who went with her
to say goodbye to
her son. It was Dusty who stood by her and who she continued to
turn to as she went through the heartache over the next few days of
saying goodbye to her son. Meg was not happy that Dusty was
spending so much time with Jennifer, but it was something he wanted and
felt he needed to do for her.
Jennifer had a hard time accepting that
her baby was dead. Jennifer went to the church when Gwen Norbeck's
baby, now in the care of Jack and Carly Snyder, was christened.
Gwen's baby had been born the same night as Jennifer's. Jennifer
was sure she heard her own baby crying there.
Even though Dusty thought it might be too soon,
returned to work to try to take her mind off her loss. Once more
Meg had her plans upset by Jennifer. Meg hoped to surprise Dusty
on a business trip only to find Jennifer there with him. Dusty
said it was only business but also made it clear he wasn't happy that
Meg had surprised him and and she soon left.
however wasn't so sure she wanted to keep it strictly business and came
on to Dusty. Despite his attraction to her, Dusty convinced
Jennifer this wasn't right. He knew there was something more going
on with Jennifer despite her denials. A few days later the truth
came out, but not before Jennifer had kidnapped the baby that she
thought was hers; Gwen Norbeck's baby. The truth Jennifer had been
hiding was she was now addicted to crystal meth.
Jennifer was then
committed to a mental institution to get over her
and to face the fact her baby was dead. However Dusty believed her
that the baby might actually be alive and arranged a trip to Tampa to
see the nurse that had been on duty that night at the hospital. At
the same time Meg had secretly had a DNA test run that proved that the
baby thought to be Gwen's was in fact Jennifer's. She flew to
Florida to share the good news with Jennifer. What she hadn't
expected was that Dusty and Jennifer
were growing closer. She got up to their hotel room only to find
them in bed together. She did however hear Jennifer say that she
couldn't be with Dusty until she found her baby. Paul had followed
Meg to Florida and was attempting to convince Meg to not share the news.
Meg returned to Oakdale without telling anyone.
Paul convinced Meg to
go along with his plan by assuring her that she would get Dusty if
Jennifer didn't have the baby. She helped with one more deception
and switched her blood with Jennifer's so that it would show that
"Jennifer" couldn't be the mother of the baby. Jennifer was
finally convinced. She pushed Dusty out of her life as he was too
much of a reminder of her loss. Dusty moved on and started a
relationship with Meg and they moved in together. It seemed Meg's
plan had worked.
Meg wasn't able to live with the deception and finally pointed Dusty in
the right direction to find out the truth that the baby in fact was
Jennifer's. Dusty was finally able to do what he had wanted to for
so long and returned the baby to Jennifer. The truth came out that
Craig had switched the babies and Paul and Emily had kept the truth from
Jennifer. Meg had managed to conceal her part in it, but not for
long. Soon Dusty discovered the truth, confronted Meg,
kicked her out of his life. Dusty immediately went to Jennifer and
told her that she was the one he really loved. Jennifer had been
trying to deny her feelings for Dusty, but once she confirmed that
things were really over between Meg and Dusty she declared her love for
Dusty. Dusty and Jennifer finally had the chance to start the life
together that they had both been wanting for so long.