Jason smiled as he saw that Keesha's car was in the garage right next to his. He wheeled his motorcycle in to park it next to her car. He removed his helmet and placed it on the shelf. After pushing the remote to lower the garage door, he trudged up the stairs that led to the house. Subconsciously, tapping the inside of his jacket, he watched as the door moved to the ground and locked.
As he entered the kitchen, he shrugged out of his leather jacket. He reached inside his pocket and pulled out his little black box. He then left the jacket on one of the kitchen chairs and he left the room.
His ascent up the stairs was quick. As he reached the top of the staircase, he paused. He could hear her. She was slightly off key, but she was singing. And, it sounded lovely. He rushed to cover the distance to reach her.
"Rock-a-bye, baby, on the tree top…" Keesha sang. She held Michael securely within her arms as she rocked him back and forth. His cheeks were rosy from his bath and he smelled of baby powder and pure innocence. His eyes wanted to drift close, but the little baby fought the slumber that threatened to overtake him. When he began to fuss and kick his legs, Keesha patted him gently and soothed him once again with her voice.
"When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall…" she continued. She smiled when his eyes finally closed and he surrendered to the Sandman. She rose from the rocking chair and went to his crib. She carefully set him down. He stirred for a second and then he rolled over onto his side. She leaned over to kiss him and after double-checking the baby monitor, she turned around to face Jason.
She glided to him and fell into his arms as she reached him. "I knew you were here," she whispered against his lips as he lowered his head to kiss her.
"That's because you're one smart lady," he told her.
"Yeah, it's also because I'm a woman in love."
"Oh. You are?" he teased. He gave her another kiss on the lips and then he moved past her.
She pulled on his hand. "Jason!" she whispered. "I just put him down!"
"I won't wake him," he whispered back.
"You'd better not," she whispered as she released his hand and went to the bedroom.
She smiled to herself as entered their bedroom. This was their first night in their bedroom. She wondered how they should mark the occasion. With satin or silk? Or maybe cotton? Jason loved it when she wore his T-shirts and boxers. Maybe she would tonight.
After kissing Michael goodnight, and being extra careful not to wake him, Jason entered the bedroom and closed the door behind him. He could hear her humming softly to herself as she prepared herself for bed. She was happy and it filled him up and made him whole. Knowing that she was content with him and the life they had planned together, he was determined that nothing would take their happiness away. They would have it all. He, Keesha and Michael would be a family and nothing would prevent that.
He had a plan. His visit with Carly deemed that one was necessary, and after leaving Ferncliff, he made the first step in putting it into action. He stopped by the penthouse.
He wasn't expecting or wanting Sonny to be there. In fact, he'd rather Sonny hadn't been there. He didn't want to hear any more of his unsolicited advice. He loved the man like a brother and maybe a father even, but he did not relish hearing his commentary on how he should "handle" Keesha and what he should "do" with Carly. He would never tell voice his thoughts to his friend, but it wasn't like Sonny had the greatest track record when it came to women and the last thing Jason would do was listen to him when it came to the affairs of the heart.
So, after he listened to Sonny with a deaf ear, he went about his business. He went straight to the safe as Sonny's voice became louder with his objections, Jason turned the dial and pulled out his secret weapon.
The memories had brought back so much. His love for Keesha was the greatest gift that was returned to him, and the second was the memory of the engagement ring he had bought her before that ill-fated night.
He'd placed the ring in a safety deposit box as he'd worked up the nerve to ask her. After weeks of thinking it over, he had made his decision. He had decided to ask her on Valentine's Day, but before February could arrive, his life was changed forever. Until now.
"Jason, the video was great. I really wish you could have been there." She stopped speaking when he placed his hands on his slim hips and stared her up and down. "What?" she asked, blushing under his heated scrutiny.
"You," he smiled, looking her up and down again. "Look at you, standing there in my clothes. I've never seen you look more beautiful."
"Sure, tell me anything," she told him, pleased that her choice in night attire was well received.
"Funny you should mention that. Come," he said, holding out his hand to her. She took it and he led her to their bed. She sat down and she watched in stunned silence as he lowered himself to one knee.
"Jason, what are you doing?"
"Something I should have done years ago," he said, his voice hoarse with emotion.
"Keesha, please," he begged. "Let me do this, okay?"
Keesha felt her heart lodge in her throat. Unable to speak, she simply nodded. Her hand clasped his as it rested on her thigh.
"Years ago, I had this all planned out. What I wanted to say, where I wanted it to happen, everything was well thought out. I could have done it the same way this time around, but we're different people now. We're more mature and our love is stronger, isn't it?"
"You know it is," she whispered.
He smiled. He took a breath and then he spoke again. "There's no such thing as a perfect place or perfect words. There's us, and I feel that we're perfect together. I love you, Keesha, like I've never loved anyone in my life, except for Michael. You and he are my family and I want to make us a family, legally and otherwise. Keesha Ward, I'm asking you to marry me. Will you?"
"Yes, Jason. I'll marry you."
Jason released the breath he'd been holding and wrapped his arms around her. She fell backwards onto the bed as his lips closed over hers.
Everything else faded away as they melted against each other. Heat coursed through them at an alarming speed as they went through the wondrous, pleasurable movements to make themselves one. Again and again.
"Details! I want details," Eve demanded as she barreled past AJ and entered his apartment. "And, I want them quick, fast and in a hurry, please. Thank you."
"Well, goodnight to you, too," he commented as he jumped back as she pushed past him. "How was your evening, AJ? Well, it was better than expected. Oh, really? Why, AJ?"
"Okay, okay! Enough already!" She plopped down on his sofa. Dressed in sweats and sneakers, she was prepared to relax. She smiled as AJ handed her a Ginger Ale. "Thanks. So tell me, how was it? And, why was it better than you had expected? Did you get lucky without me on your arm?"
AJ laughed softly. Her brazen comments and her brashness surprised some, but he was beginning to find that he found them charming and refreshing. Just as he found the woman. He grinned. "Well, Dawn was there, looking as adorable as ever. Are you sure she's happy with Nikolas because if she's not…"
"Oh, hush, you!" Eve laughed, throwing a pillow at him. "She's just a baby!"
"Well, she's the cutest, most attractive, most delectable *baby* I've ever seen!" he said, tossing the pillow back at her.
"You're too much," Eve said, waggling her finger at him. "I'm almost scared to ask what's made you so happy. Did you talk to Dawn? Did she autograph something for you? I want you to know that Nikolas won't take to kindly to your interest in her."
"Yeah, yeah. Mr. Big Bad Cassadine! I'm so scared." AJ doubled over in laughter at the shocked expression on Eve's face. "I'm kidding!" he gasped, "but your face…your face!"
"Ugh!" she groaned. She set her glass on the tablecloth and charged him. Her fingers were everywhere as she straddled him on the easy chair and tickled him with wild abandon. "You're gonna pay for teasing me, buster!"
"Oh, yeah? By tickling me?" he asked, laughing at her. "Eve, I'm not ticklish!"
He laughed as her eyes widened and she leapt from him. She made it as far as the sofa before he attacked her. His fingers were merciless as he grazed her sides, the back of her neck, and anywhere he could reach. Shaking with laughter, she kicked out in an attempt to defend herself. Her kicking legs threw him off balance and laughing, he landed on top of her.
The laughing stopped, as they became aware of their position. Their ragged breathing was loud in the quiet, stillness of the living room. AJ began to move first.
"No. Wait," she implored. On their own volition, her fingers lost themselves in his thick, dark brown hair. She wanted to kiss him, feel his lips on hers, but she didn't make a move to do so. She simply enjoyed the sensation of touching his silky hair.
"Eve, I…" his husky voice began. What, he briefly wondered. He wanted to accept what she offered him, but he couldn't. His heart and soul still belonged to Keesha, and wherever his heart and soul were, his body was committed to follow. But, in this case, his body couldn't follow, so he had to do something else. But, what?
"AJ, I know, and it's okay with me," Eve whispered. She saw the pain and resignation that shone in his beautiful hazel eyes. She cared about him, and at that moment, she decided that she would do whatever she could to help him move on and allow himself to give and receive that love that Keesha Ward was unable to give him.
"Eve…you don't know what you're saying," he said, rising from her. He ran his hands through his hair and sat down on the sofa beside her. He watched through heavy lidded eyes as she moved into an upright position. "I…I can't…"
"You can't what?"
"You *know*." I can't use you like that-"
"Who said anything about you using me?" she asked. "Maybe I'm using you. Have you ever thought of that?"
"Well, no, but it's common knowledge that when a man and a woman get…well, together…just for…well…you *know*… Well, it's believed that the man is using the woman. Everyone knows that," he said, hoping that his words would have the desired effect. They did.
"What a chauvinistic load of crap!" she hurled at him. "A woman most certainly can use a man, common knowledge or no. And to prove my point, I'll show you!"
AJ barely had a second to prepare himself. Eve grabbed his face with both hands. Her full lips landed on his with passionate intensity. She enjoyed the taste of him as he opened his mouth to hers. His arms wrapped her, pulling her closer to him as the kiss went on and on and on.