Chapter 5


"What are you doing here?" she asked, folding her arms across her ample chest as she glared at her unwelcome visitor.

"I had to see you. Make sure you're okay."

"You didn't care before, so don't pretend like you care now." Her vibrant brown eyes were ablaze with anger and resentment. How dare he ignore her? And, how dare he show up at her doorstep, with his big blue eyes shining with apologies.

"Keesha, you're not being fair," he said, imploring her with his puppy dog eyes and tone of voice to give him another chance.

"Jax, whoever said I had to be?" she remarked with a smirk. Her lips turned upwards in a sarcastic smile to mask the anguish she felt at being ignored by him in favor of his pint-sized appendage. She had better things to do. She moved to close the door in his face.

Jax impeded her movement with a foot and a firmly placed hand. "Keesha, sweetheart. Please, allow me to explain."

"Why should I?" she asked, swallowing back the hurt and the humiliation of his earlier treatment of her. "Do you honestly think there's anything you could say that would erase what happened at Luke's tonight? You looked right through me. As if you didn't even see me. Like I didn't even matter." She shook her head in disgust as he stared at her, speechless. "Good-night, Jax."

"I was wrong," he said softly before the door closed in his face. "I was a bastard tonight and I'm sorry. Keesha, really I am."

Keesha lowered her eyes to the floor. What to do now? After she had left Luke's she'd driven around town, forcing herself to make a decision about her almost relationship with Jasper Jax. The attraction was strong between them, but she needed more than that. She needed and wanted a commitment. She would not be an afterthought. And, after watching Jax focus his entire being on Brenda after the shots had fired out, that's exactly what she had felt like. Sure, he had escorted Brenda to the party, but he had assured her that it was as friends. Oh, she felt like such a fool for believing that age-old line.

"Keesha?" His eyes begged for another chance. His hand twitched at his side, as if he wanted to reach out.

"Jax, I-I…" She drew a long breath. Her eyes drifted to his and she was mesmerized. Maybe she could forgive him. The words were on the tip of her tongue, but a vision flashed into her mind…of Jax and Brenda. Together. "I'll call you later, but tonight… I need to be alone tonight. Good-night."

The door closed with a quiet hush.


Alicia held on tightly to Kyle's hand as they followed Michael into the Emergency Room. Glancing around, they recognized a few faces from the scene at Luke's. If they were more aware, they would have known that the young brunette with the straight hair and sad eyes was their Aunt Emily. Or maybe Michael would have recognized the young man comforting her as his cousin Lucky. But they weren't aware until a loud, screeching voice startled them and stopped them in their tracks.

"Where is he? How is he?" she cried, racing into the ER. The pregnant blond woman wore a red top and an imitation fur coat. An older man followed her at a more measured pace. He seemed irritated, while she was consumed with worry.

Michael didn't know the older man, but he'd recognize the woman immediately. "Carly," he mumbled, unable to tear his eyes from the scene as it continued to play before him.

"Oh, God, Monica, I'm so sorry…" Carly said.

Monica? Kyle dropped his sister's hand so that he could get a better look at the couple whose backs were to him. His eyes widened in disbelief and awe. There was their grandmother and their grandfather. Together. And, they weren't fighting or hating each other. Unbelievable. Realizing that his mouth was open, he promptly closed it and moved closer to the two couples.

"Stop babbling!" Monica said in irritation earned major points from her grandchildren.

"You tell her, Grandma!" Michael whispered as he silently cheered her on. Bitter, angry tears stung the backs of his eyes as he watched the scene. This was the closest he'd been to his mother in more years than he cared to count. She never wanted him. Her goal was always something bigger and better. Never her son. Michael simply wasn't good enough. Tears lodged in his throat. He swallowed them down with a harsh cough.

"Mike?" Kyle patted his shoulder. "You okay, cuz?"

Michael nodded. "I'll feel better once we get out of here."

"We can do that," Alicia said. "Let's find out about you donating blood to help Jason. Ready?"

Michael's outlook brightened at the idea of meeting the father he never knew. A smile parted his lips. "I've been ready for this for a very long time."

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