Chapter 11

 

Carly overheard the nurses. They said that he'd been touch and go on the operating table. Once, he completely went flat line. If Monica hadn't been the surgeon, he probably would have died. Carly wasted no emotions on the older woman, but for saving Jason's life, she'd be eternally grateful.

"You can't go in there," Tony said as Carly reached for the door handle. "He's been through major surgery and runs a high risk for infection. You'll have to wait until he's stable."

"I don't have a disease," Carly snapped. "I'm not even sick!"

"But you are pregnant. Think about our baby," Tony reminded her none too gently. His hands gripped her shoulders and forcibly turned her around. "You will think about someone other than yourself—"

"I'm thinking about Jason!" She wrenched free of his hold. "He needs to know someone cares."

"I'm not blind or deaf," Tony said, grabbing her again. "I hear how you say his name and I saw the wild look in your eyes when we heard about the shooting. You can do whatever you want, Carly, but you will not endanger my child! Not like this and not for someone like him—"

"Your child?" The mocking tone hung heavily in the air.

Anger blazed from Tony. "The child you're carrying had better be mine, or they'll be hell to pay!"

Inwardly, she cringed from his menacing tone. But she didn't want him to know he frightened her. "Or what? There's nothing you can do!"

"We'll see about that." His hand closed around her upper arm like a vise. "Come on. We're getting out of here."

-/-

"This is everything." Matt handed Ellen a scrapbook. "It's all about fifteen years old, but you can still read it. I'm surprised you don't remember the news reports. The story ran for weeks. 'Eleven-year-old boy vanishes from aunt's penthouse apartment.' My family didn't know what to make of it. We all thought her boyfriend got rid of Jeffrey somehow."

Ellen rested the scrapbook on her lap. Her fingers hovered at the book's edge. Her brown eyes darkened with concern. "He'd be twenty-seven years old now, Matt. That kid we saw at the hospital couldn't have been more than fifteen."

Matt nodded. She was right, but his gut told him that so was he. "Just look. That's all I ask."

She stared at him. He pointed to the book. Finally, she opened it and saw.

"Oh, my goodness." She leafed through the pages. "It's unbelievable."

"It's the same kid," Matt said.

Ellen looked at him. "The very same, but that doesn't make any sense. Did he find the fountain of youth or what?"

"I don't know, but I plan to find out."

-/-

"What do you think you're doing?" Kyle said, racing down the steps to confront his mother. "Da-AJ is waiting upstairs for you!"

"Who are you?" Keesha asked, seemingly unafraid of the yelling teen. "What do you know about me or AJ?"

"I know enough that you shouldn't be down here two-timing him!"

"Now, wait just a bloody minute!" the tall Australian exclaimed.

Keesha patted the blonde's arm. "It's okay, Jax."

"No, it's not," Alicia said, coming to Kyle's side. "What are you doing with this guy? You and AJ are a couple. How dare you cheat on him?"

"Excuse me?" Keesha looked from one teen to the other. There was something strangely familiar about both of them, but she couldn’t put her finger on it. "First of all, AJ and I are friends. We're not a couple so I'm not cheating on him. And second of all, what does any of this have to do with you?"

"It has everything to do with us!" Kyle said.

"And why is that?" Jax asked. He placed an around Keesha's waist and pulled her close to his side. She resisted for a fraction of a second and then leaned against him. "Did Quartermaine put you two up to this?"

"Of course, he didn't!" Alicia responded. "We're… We just… It's just that…"

Keesha's heart went out to the stammering teen. She said softly, "It's just what? Are you friends of AJ's?"

"Not exactly," the young man said. "My sister, Alicia, and I just didn't know… We thought you and AJ were always together. Always happy. We didn't know there was someone else."

"Sorry about disturbing you," Alicia said. She glanced at her brother. "We'd better see how Michael's doing."

The teens left and Keesha felt strange. Almost like she'd disappointed them and the feeling was unbelievably sad.

"Why would he do that?" Keesha asked, almost to herself. "Why would he make those kids believe he and I are together?"

Jax caressed her shoulder, holding her even closer if that was possible. "Because he wishes it be true."

"But it isn't," she said.

"Do you still plan to visit with him?"

Keesha shook her head. "No, I don't think it's a good idea. Those kids… I didn't know AJ was capable of lying like that. No, Jax, I'm going home. I don't want to see AJ tonight."

Jax took her hand. "Let me drive you."

"Okay."

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