Joe and Viki – this One Life to Live coupling proved that not only can an average Joe successfully woo a Princess, but it’s also true that love is so much sweeter the second time around.
Joe and Viki – Early Days
Victoria was certain that her puritanical father – Victor Lord – would never approve of any man she personally chose to court. Therefore, it was much simpler to keep any member of the opposite sex at arm’s length. And besides, most of the men she interacted with inside the executive suites of The Banner newspaper office were put off by her cold and business-like demeanor anyway.
But there’s one exception to every rule. Enter Joseph Francis Riley. He was the rag’s star reporter – and he had the bravado and the talent to substantiate the assertion.
As Victor’s executive assistant, Viki played buffer between the publisher and the blustery writer and her frequent quarrels with Joe belied the alien feelings of want and passion that raged inside her.
The more they fought, the closer they became. “When are you going to get a life of your own?” he half-shouted, half questioned her during a particularly vicious tete-a-tete.
“I do have a life!” Viki incredulously countered. “I have a very full life – I have my work, which I enjoy very much, and -”
“And you have Daddy,” Joe interrupted. “And Daddy has you!” he said. When Viki pleaded with him to cease, Joe did so… but only after grabbing her ’round the shoulders and pulling her in for a kiss.
Trials and Tribulations
Now Viki had to contend with Victor’s condemnation of the Riley boy, who had emerged from the “wrong side” of the railroad tracks. Granted, Joe was a fine reporter. But he was also a carouser, and Victor refused to entertain the notion that a man such as that would become his son-in-law.
Viki agonized over what to do. Could she disappoint the father, who had spent decades molding and shaping her into the woman she had become? Could she possibly go on without the warmth, security, and acceptance offered to her by Joe?
And to compound Viki’s troubles, she began to receive anonymous letters insisting that she end her courtship with Joe. As the volume (and intensity) of the missives increased, Viki feared for her safety – might the stranger penning them harm her physically?
In time the perpetrator was identified… it was Viki herself! Or, more specifically, it was an alternate consciousness named Niki Smith, whose sudden emergence seemed to be the result of the intense stress that Viki was undergoing.
Viki sought therapy under the auspice of Dr. Marcus Polk, and the appearances of Niki became fewer and fewer. Sure that she was cured of her ills, Viki defiantly informed Victor that she would be marrying Joe – who had remained constantly by her side – and that he could either accept the fact or bid her goodbye.
Surprisingly, the endeavor to become Mr. and Mrs. Riley proved laborious. The first wedding ceremony was marred by the return of Niki Smith and then Viki had to confront a repressed childhood memory: the death of her mother Eugenia.
A second attempt at marriage proved successful… but wedded bliss proved elusive thanks to Joe’s dogged determination to root out the criminals responsible for the trafficking of drugs into Llanview. His investigation took him far afield, and for a time, he was presumed dead.
In the interim between his disappearance and return, Viki had petitioned the courts to declare him legally dead and agreed to become Mrs. Steve Burke! Once he made his presence known, and survived a delicate surgery intended to repair a brain aneurysm, Joe questioned whether or not Viki intended to remain with Steve.
Viki struggled to decide. And though she gave in to her passion for Joe, Viki eventually chose Steve… and immediately bemoaned the fact. She managed to obtain a divorce, but her hesitation at returning to Joe was not rewarded – he had impregnated Cathy Craig!
However, the reunited (and remarried) pair weathered that storm with the same aplomb they’d later exhibit when facing other crises. And they were legion.
Among the most trying were the machinations of a jealous Dorian Cramer, Joe being diagnosed with a brain tumor, their fostering of 16-year-old Tina Clayton, the death of Joe and Cathy’s baby girl, the premature birth of their first son, Kevin Lord, his abduction by a grief-stricken Cathy, and Viki’s trial for the murder of Marco Dane.
Joe and Viki – The Bitter End
Viki and Joe survived it all. But the Fates were not impressed. Familiar symptoms suddenly felled Joe and his fear of a second brain tumor was confirmed – and this time it was inoperable.
A heavily pregnant Viki nursed Joe through his final days, and she was sitting by his side – and reading a letter in which he implored her to, “go on living, for your own sake, and for Kevin’s and for the sake of our child to come” – when he passed away.