Chapter 13

 

When Alicia and Kyle returned to AJ's apartment, Michael could barely contain himself. He was torn between relief that they were fine and anger for them having run off in the first place! The time travel stuff was risky business. Bogg had warned them. Any little thing could tip off a whole string of events. He hoped his cousins hadn't said or done anything to change the course of history.

"What took you so long?" he asked, giving them both the pissed off look their father had perfected in their time.

"Cut it out, Mike," Kyle said, poking his bottom lip out. "You're not Dad, and we don't need a lecture."

Michael frowned. "What happened downstairs?"

"Mom…I mean, Keesha was really happy with that guy," Alicia said. "He's cute and all, but… How could she be so happy with him? What about Dad?"

"You know what about him," Kyle said, claiming the chair adjacent to the sofa where Michael and Alicia sat. "She and AJ are just friends. That's what she said."

"Yeah, but maybe not anymore," Alicia added.

"What?" Michael asked, looking from one to the other. He quickly glanced over his shoulder toward the hallway and then back at them. "AJ is right down the hall! What do you mean 'maybe not anymore'? AJ says they're great friends."

Kyle shrugged. "I don't think so. Maybe she's stringing him along."

"She's not like that," Alicia said. "Our mom wouldn't play Dad like that. Maybe it was something we said."

Michael's eyes widened. AJ would return to the living room at any minute. He only went to the restroom. Michael had only a short amount of time to get the truth from his cousins. "What did you say? Where's Keesha anyway? She was coming over to visit him."

Kyle shook his head. "Not anymore. She took off with that Jax guy."

"They were holding hands and everything," Alicia said.

"Oh, no," Michael said. "This is bad."

-/-

"You don't have to stay," Keesha said as Jax guided her toward her sofa. "I'll be fine. Besides, it's late and I'm sure you have a bunch of meetings or something tomorrow."

"I don't have anything that's more important than you," he said. "Sit. I'll be right back."

Keesha released a dejected sigh as she followed his bidding. She hadn't felt this lost since her Granny Mae passed away and her first love transformed into another man. A lot of time and effort had been placed in rebuilding her friendship with AJ. How could he lie about their relationship? Why would he? None of it made any sense and the more she thought about it, the more her heart ached and her head hurt. She curled her legs underneath her and sunk deep into the sofa cushions.

Jax returned with a tray laden with hot cocoa, chocolate chip cookies and a package of marshmallows. He placed it on the coffee table and knelt beside the sofa so that they were eye level.

"You brought all my favorites," she commented softly.

"I hope that includes myself," he said, his Aussie brogue thick and sexy. His hand fell to her thigh. He drew lazy circles over her denim-covered body. "To be honest, these are bribes."

"Bribes?" she asked, a catch in her voice. His caresses ignited a flame deep within her. She'd told him no sex. Now, she wished she hadn't spoken so quickly. "For what?"

"For an affirmative answer to the question I'm about to ask."

Uh huh, she thought. Sex. Taking a deep breath to calm her racing heart, she asked, "What question is that?"

"This question." He pulled her to an upright sitting position and resumed his kneeling position on the floor. He held both of her hands in his and placed soft, gentle kisses on each finger. "We haven't known each other for very long. I have always been an impulsive bloke. My instincts give me an order and I follow them, no questions asked. That's what happened when I met you. You were someone I couldn't resist and tonight, I came painfully close to losing you. I love you too much and I never want to risk making the same mistake again. So, that's why I'm here on bended knee with an assortment of chocolates as my witnesses to ask you to marry me. Will you, Keesha Ward? Will you be my wife?"

Keesha's mouth dropped open. A marriage proposal?! Jasper Jacks, the infamous and extremely wealthy corporate raider, was on at her feet asking her to marry him?

"Jax, I don't know what to think or what to say."

He stared into her eyes. His aquamarine orbs promised devotion, adventure, and passion. He promised the world, but most of all, he promised his love. It was a vow she couldn't ignore. Keesha said,

"Yes."

-/-

This was turning out to be the longest night of Jeffrey's night. First, the three kids were nowhere to be found and second, Bogg was missing, too. Jeffrey stifled a yawn. It was late and he was tired. If no one turned up soon, Jeffrey planned to sneak into one of the hospital rooms and go to sleep.

He rode the elevator down to the first floor. The Emergency Room was kinda quiet. No one bothered him and he tried not to stand out too much. As he sauntered along, he thought about the cute brunette he ran into. Lizzie was her name. She was a wild one. He wouldn’t mind running into her again, but there was no doubt in his mind that she was long gone by now.

Shucks.

Jeffrey turned another corner. As he looked up, a photograph of the staff caught his attention. Some of the interns were fairly attractive. The brunette with the full lips was nice. The tall one with the long curly hair had a crazy look in her eyes. He wouldn't let her doctor on him. There was a guy with dark brown hair who looked kinda shady, too. The other couple was okay, he guessed, and the tall guy with the blonde hair seemed like a loner. Then, his gaze rested on the guy in the wheelchair.

Matt?

He frowned and stepped closer to the photo. The guy was fifteen years older and had gray hair but the resemblance was too precise to be a coincidence. Just when he thought he'd never cross paths with family again, there was his distant cousin…Matt Harmon. It was probably against a million Voyager rules, but Jeffrey didn't care. He wanted to see his cousin. He wanted to feel connected again.

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