The taxi ride from Jacks to Kelley's had been torture. Trying to keep her composure and not react to the scene on the terrace had taken a huge toll on Keesha. By the time, she climbed the staircase to her tiny apartment, she knew that she wouldn't be able to hold it together much longer.
Her eyes blinded her with unshed tears, as she closed her door shut. So caught up in trying to keep the pain at bay, she forgot to lock the door behind her. Instead, she threw her purse on the sofa, kicked off her heels and headed straight for her bedroom closet.
Standing on tiptoe, she reached her hand far into the back of the shelf. Her fingers came in contact with the object she so desperately wanted and pushing it forward, the box finally came into view.
She took the box from the top shelf and went back into the living room. She sunk into the plump cushions of the sofa and pulled her feet underneath her.
She blinked back the tears as her hands caressed the box. She forced herself to look down at it. The plain, little box held so many memories for her. Memories that she thought she had buried deep inside of her. Much deeper than into the back of a closet shelf. Much deeper than that. But she was mistaken. With one touch, all of those memories came flooding back and compelled her to seek out her plain, little box and the old memories she had stored there.
Keesha took a deep breath and in one swift movement, removed the lid. Her breath caught in her throat as she pulled out the memories one by one.
The ticket stub of one of their first dates. A stolen trip to New York to see "Cats." A piece of his shirt that had been torn when he helped break up a fight between one of the kids at the Ward House. She placed the objects on the sofa beside her until she came to the dried roses. The roses he had given her after they made love for the very first time. She carefully cradled the dried flowers in her hand as she slowly brought to her nose to inhale the faded scent.
She stood at the quietly spoken words and turned to face the owner of the voice.
"I gave those to you in Paris, didn't I?" Jason asked as he came into the apartment. He locked the door behind him and moved to stand in front of Keesha.
She couldn't speak. She could only nod in reply.
"And you've kept them all this time," he said, reaching out his hand to take the flowers from her.
As Jason tenderly held the roses his hand, Keesha crossed her arms across her chest and said, "You shouldnít be here, Jason. This isn't right."
"I can't stay away any more, sweetheart. It hurts too much," he said, caressing her with his eyes and his husky voice.
Keesha tried to fight it, but she found herself reacting to him again. She laughed derisively at herself. Robin was right. Two years. She really should have gotten over it by now.
"Why are you doing this? What are you after, Jason?" Keesha asked, masking the pain in her voice with a false sense of bravado.
"Don't do that. Don't try to pretend like you donít feel anything when we both know you do," Jason said. He took her hand and placed the dried roses inside. He continued to hold her hands in his as he moved to stand only inches from her. "You would never have kept a momento from the first time we made love if you didnít still have some kind of feeling left for me."
"How did you know that was from Paris andÖthat time?" Keesha asked, her voice shaky with the threat of unshed tears.
"I remember, sweetheart. Everything. I remember loving you. Looking back now, I'm amazed that I forgot," he said softly.
"When did it happen? How?" she asked.
"In Paris. After the Cassadine kid was shot, I went to Paris to make sure that Robin was okay. Out of the blue, I started speaking French and later that night, I had an excruciating headache. As time wore on, the headaches continued and so did the memories. So many wonderful memories of being with you."
The thought of their many precious memories tormented Keesha and she pulled away from him. "I think you should go now."
Placing the flowers and the other objects back into the box she said, "No buts. Just go, Jason. I need time to deal with this. When you pushed me away after the accident, you hurt me deeply. You canít expect to just waltz back in here two years later and take up where we left off."
"Jason, please. I need some time to think about this. I'm not sure what you expect from me, but I won't just hop into bed with you."
"Of course, that's not what I expect from you, Keesha! What kind of man do you think I am?" he asked, his eyes reflecting the hurt he felt at her quietly spoken words.
"I'm not sure," she said, "because I don't know you anymore. You've changed. You're not the man I fell in love with. You look like him. You sound like him, but you're not him."
"I am him. Inside," he said pointing to his heart, "where it counts, and I'll prove it to you."
"You donít have to prove anything to me," she said, moving to unlock and open the door.
Jason moved to stand before the door. He leaned close so that his breath whispered against her cheek and said, "I know I don't. But I will."
Then, he was gone.
Keesha closed the door shut and turned the lock. She grabbed the box on the sofa and went back into her bedroom. With more force than necessary, she pushed the box far into the back of the closet.
Her mind was jumbled with so many unleashed emotions as she quickly removed her dress and stockings. She pulled on her pajamas and went back into the living room. She was headed for the sofa when she heard a light knock on her door.
She ran to the door, quickly unlocked it and flung it open. "AJ, I'm so glad to see you," she cried as she threw herself into his arms.
"It's okay, baby. I'm here now," he cooed as he swung her into his arms. He carried her over the threshold and slammed the door shut behind him.
"Lock it," Keesha whispered against his neck.
AJ went back to the door and with one hand, he turned the lock. He then carried her into the bedroom where he gently placed her on the bed and crawled in next to her. Without asking or saying a word, he held her against him and comforted her as she cried herself to sleep in his arms.
Nikolas glanced at his watch. He had been with Robin for well over an hour. He sighed. He wanted to leave, needed to leave, but every time he made a move to do so, her tears flowed even harder and faster.
"How could she do this to me?" Robin asked him again. "She was my friend. How could she try to make a play for Jason like that?"
Nikolas handed her another Kleenex and said, "I don't know, Robin. Are you sure it's that simple? I've spent some time with Keesha at the hospital when she would sit with Tommy. She seemed to take friendship and loyalty very seriously."
"That's just what she wants you to think," Robin said, sniffling. She blew her nose and crumpled the tissue into a ball in her hand. "She doesnít know the first thing about friendship or loyalty."
Nikolas didnít agree with her, but he refrained from pressing the issue with her, considering the present state she was in. His good-bye was on the tip of his tongue when Robin covered his hand with her own.
"You're not like that, though," she said, softly. "You're such a dear friend. I don't know why I didn't realize that before."
"We've always been good friends," he said, stealing another glimpse at his watch.
"I know, but that's not what I meant. You wanted more, but I was blind. I'm not blind anymore," she said, leaning toward him.
Nikolas frowned and before he could say anything, Robin took his face in her hands and kissed him. When she tried to deepen the kiss, he abruptly stood and moved to the other side of the room.
"What are you doing? You know I'm involved with someone," Nikolas said with a confused look on his face. He absently rubbed his mouth with the back of his hand.
"But you only turned to her, when I pushed you away. I was wrong to do that. I realize that now," she said, rising from the sofa to stand before him.
"Robin, you're sad and you're upset. I think it would be best if we forgot this night ever happened. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go. I promised Dawn I'd be there for her and I'm already late," Nikolas said, moving to the door.
"Nikolas, wait!" she cried, but she was too late. He slammed out of the door, and as she heard his car pull away, she fell onto the sofa in another fit of bitter tears.