"That's right, Michael. We're having lunch with Keesha today," Jason said as he carried Michael down the hall to Keesha's office.
They were a few minutes early, but Jason wasn't concerned by it. In fact, he was happy that they were there a little earlier than planned. That way, he and Keesha would be able to spend even more time together. He was convinced that the more time they shared, the harder it would be for her to deny her feelings for him. He knew she wanted him. Deep inside, she knew it, too. In time, she would admit it to herself and then later, she would admit it to him.
Jason looked forward to the 'later' more than he had ever looked forward to anything else before in his life. Both lives. He wanted Keesha back, and he wanted her back in his bed. Day after day and night after night, he lived with images of her. Her eyes wild with passion and her lips full from his kisses. He needed her like he needed air to breathe. As he raised his hand to lightly tap on her door, he decided that he would have her. Soon.
Jason turned at the sound of his name. He was a little surprised to see who was there, but he wasn't unhappy about it. "Hi, Tommy."
"I hate to bother you, but since you're here I wanted to ask you-"
"Say no more. Benny told me you stopped by last weekend. I called your place and-"
"You called my place? When? Who did you talk to?" Tommy asked, his voice and eyes filled with concern and anxiety.
"Yeah. I called earlier today. Don't worry about it," Jason said with a small smile. He knew why Tommy was upset and oddly enough, he wasn't offended. In fact, he perfectly understood. Even Jason felt a small twinge of apprehension whenever he thought of his position, not to mention, the way people reacted to him. Some thought they could flatter him with smiles and brown-nosing. Others shied away from him. Neither group realized that he was not the man they thought he was and never would be again. "Really, relax. I spoke with your cousin. I didn't say much. I'm sure she won't say anything to your grandmother."
Tommy released a sigh of relief. After Gina's mini-lecture, the last thing he wanted was to receive another one from either his cousin or his grandmother. And God forbid, they should slip up and tell his mother that *the* mob boss of Port Charles was leaving messages for him. She'd never let him out her sight again. "Thanks, man."
"No, problem. Want to tell me what you wanted? Keesha, Michael and I are having lunch and I don't want to be late," Jason said.
"I wanted to ask you for a job," Tommy said, his eyes giving away how desperate he was for Jason to say yes.
"A job?" Jason asked, his eyes narrowing as he took a good look at Tommy. He didn't know what he was asking to get himself into, Jason thought.
"Yeah. I need something that would pay...kinda well..." Tommy let his sentence hang as he suddenly became embarrassed. He hated to ask anyone for anything and he especially hated the thought of being turned down after he humbled himself to ask.
"Tommy, I don't think your working for me would be a good thing," Jason said, as he moved Michael to the crook of his other arm.
"I wouldn't have to do much. Really. Anything would be fine with me. I wouldn't ask, but I really need the cash. My mom woke up and well, there's bills to pay."
"Look, I can give you the cash-"
"No!" Tommy blurted out. He immediately wished he hadn't jumped the gun when he saw the baby's eyes widened. He turned apologetic eyes to Jason and said, "I'm sorry about that. I didn't mean to scare him."
"It's okay, but really, Tommy, I'm kinda in a hurry here. Come by tomorrow and we can talk about this, okay?" Jason asked, his voice sincere.
"Sure," Tommy said, trying not to let the disappointment come through in his voice. Maybe Jason would help him out, Tommy thought. He'd force himself to be patient and wait until tomorrow.
Tommy moved to go back down the hall. He stopped when he heard Jason knock on Keesha's door. He turned back around and called out, "Jason, she's not here."
"She's not?" Jason asked, taking a quick glance at his watch. Their lunch date was set for that exact moment. Keesha wasn't the type to stand a person up. She'd call first. He hoped nothing had happened to her. "Do you know where she is?"
"I'm not sure. I saw her going toward the elevator when I first came over to talk to Gina. Maybe she went to the garden on Twenty-three. Gina says they go up there to hang out sometimes," Tommy said with a slight shrug.
"Okay. I'll try there. If you see her, tell her to wait here," Jason said as he moved past Tommy to go the elevator.
AJ and Keesha sat side by side on the stone bench. His thigh was just barely an inch a part from hers. He leaned in close so that he could breathe in her perfume. This time, as he smelled the scent, he felt happy. The sadness and despair he felt when he smelled it on Eve had long disappeared and was very much forgotten.
"This has been nice," Keesha said as she smiled at AJ. She and AJ had shared a moment of civil conversation. No accusations or painful admissions had been disclosed. The last few minutes felt almost like nothing had happened.
"It sure has," AJ said with a smile of his own. Tentatively, he reached for her hand. When she allowed him to take it, he began to speak. "Keesha, I want to apologize for the way I acted before. I lashed out at you because I was in pain. At the park, I could see that you were in pain, too, but again, I ignored it. I'm sorry."
"You don't have to apologize. You had every right to be upset. I should have told you what was going on, but I... I didn't. I'm sorry, AJ. You deserved better than that," Keesha said, giving his hand a slight squeeze for emphasis.
The gentle pressure from Keesha's hand sent waves of pleasure throughout AJ's body. He missed her so much. Her smile. Her laughter. Her touch. He gave a slight nod to her words and then his eyes moved to their hands. His fingers grazed over the back of her hand before they interlocked intimately with hers. He felt Keesha shiver and his eyes flew to hers. Her lips were parted and before he could tell himself to stop, he leaned toward her and covered her lips with his own.
Keesha sat very still as AJ kissed her. Her body parts and senses started talking to her all at once. Her head told her to move away from the kiss. It said it wasn't right. She had some place to be, but for some reason, it couldn't remember where. Her tongue told her to open her mouth. Now! And she obeyed. Her lips parted and soon her tongue was on his, tasting and exploring. Her hands moved to his head, bringing him closer and enjoying the feel of his silky black hair between her fingers. Her thigh tingled where his hand now rested and the rest of her body told her that it wanted more. She gave in to the kiss with wild abandon until her head screamed to be heard. It said only one word.
AJ was stunned when Keesha suddenly pushed him away and stood. Her back was to him as she held herself stiff and erect. Without a second thought, he stood and carefully placed his hands on her shoulders. He felt her tremble at his touch and his hands moved lower to wrap themselves around her waist. When she rested against him, he felt elated and held her even closer, his chest and her back had no ending and no beginning. But again, after only a few moments, Keesha pulled away. "What's wrong?" he asked.
"I can't do this, AJ," she said, the tears threatening to cloud her vision.
"Why not? Keesha, it's still there. Between us. You felt it. You can't tell me you didn't," he said, trying his best to keep the pleading from his voice.
"I.. Okay! I did feel it, but AJ, there's something I didn't tell you," she said as she forced herself to blink back the tears and be strong. She knew he would be angry and hurt with her next words, no matter how carefully she chose them. She had to be strong enough to accept whatever he threw back at her.
"What?" he asked, moving to stand closer to her. His fingers ached to brush away the single tear he saw that glistened on her eyelashes. He didn't give in to his fingers need, but oh, how he wanted to.
"I'm meeting someone today, too," she said softly. Her eyes were wary as they held his and then quickly moved to look at the ground.
AJ was confused for a moment. She was meeting someone. So what, he thought until he noticed her body language. The wariness in her eyes and the way they now avoided his told him something he hadn't expected and didn't want to know. He quietly said the name. "Jason."
Keesha couldn't speak. She simply nodded. Determined to not be a coward, she willed herself to look at him. She was surprised to discover what she saw in his eyes. Compassion. "You're not mad?"
"Do I have a right to be?" he asked, laughing humorlessly at his question. His hand moved to briefly caress her cheek as he added, "No, I'm not. Not anymore. I understand. You have to get through this. Play it all out, right?"
She shrugged at his question. She didn't know what he was getting at and she wanted to wait before she either agreed or disagreed with him. She carefully watched him as he continued.
"You and he didn't just break up. You were forced apart. By me. I don't deny what I did and I know that I could spend the rest of my life trying to make it up to you...to both of you, but I still wouldn't be able to repair the damage. Again, I'm sorry, Keesha-"
"AJ, you don't have to-"
He placed a finger to her lips. He enjoyed the touch for a moment before he removed his finger and placed his hand in his pocket. "Let me continue." After she nodded, he began to speak again. "Don't think this means I'm giving you up because I'm not. I love you, Keesha Ward. More than you probably even realize and there is no way I'm going to simply just step back and watch you go back to Jason. I can't do it. I'm not honorable or noble. I'm just me. I won't be mad because you're meeting with Jason. In fact, I want you to. I want you to spend time with Jason, so that when you come back to me, you'll know that I'm the man you really want."
Having left AJ in the garden, Keesha found herself going over his words as she waited for the elevator. She had never seen that side of him before. He had been honest, direct and oh, so very sexy. She couldn't deny that the way he spoke to her and how he looked at her, his raw emotions shining through in his eyes, had turned her on.
She was so damned confused now! Still tingling from touching him and tasting him, a part of her wanted to run back to him and tell him that he *was* the man she wanted. But that was her libido talking. True, she still loved him, but she wasn't ready to go back to him. Not yet. She needed just a little bit more time, but why did he have to kiss her and why did it have to feel so good, she inwardly groaned.
The light above the elevator signaled that the car had reached her floor. She stepped back in anticipation of exiting passengers. Her eyes widened when Jason, carrying Michael in his arms, stepped out of the elevator. She saw relief come into Jason's vibrant blue eyes and she wondered why. Before she could ask, he pulled her to him for a brief hug and chaste kiss on her cheek. She returned the embrace and when it was over, she stepped away and smiled at him and the baby.
"Hi, Keesha," Jason said, his eyes feasting on the vision she presented to him. So very beautiful, he thought with a slow smile.
"Hi, Jason. Are you ready to go?" she asked, extending her finger to Michael who happily grabbed it.
"Shouldn't I be the one to ask you that? You had me worried, you know," he said as he watched her and Michael interact with each other. The two people he loved most in the world stood right there in front of him. He never felt more content.
"I'm sorry. I came up here to catch a breather. I lost track of the time. If you want to cancel..."
"Never," he said, his voice a little hoarse from his emotions. He cleared his throat and then continued, "I've been looking forward to this all week."
"Well, if that's the case, let's go," she said with a small smile. As she, Jason and Michael waited for the elevator to come back, her thoughts again drifted to AJ's words. He was right. She needed this time with Jason. She needed to know if what she felt for him was real or if it was left over from before. She had to be fair to the two brothers, and she had to be fair to herself, too.