Genesis: Part 8
Rehab wasn't too bad. AJ finally found the courage to succeed with it and was doing surprisingly well. The family heard about his admittance and he received a card and bouquet of flowers from the Quartermaine women. It touched him that his mother, grandmother and brand-new little sister hadn't given up on him. The silence from the others didn't bother him so much. He wasn't surprised by it and to be honest, he didn't really care. Admitting himself into rehab was something he'd done to save himself. He certainly didn't do it to get a proverbial pat on the head from anyone. Recovery was too personal for it to be trivialized by people who really didn't give a damn anyway.
The first few days without the taste of alcohol on his tongue or burning in his gut were difficult. Detox was hell! There was no other word for it, but AJ sucked it up. He didn't beg the way he heard some of the other patients doing. He curled into a ball, suffered through the shakes and the sweats, and toughed it out. Like all things, eventually that part came to an end. Well, kinda. The longing was still there, but he'd get through that, too.
The group therapy was probably the hardest part of the entire thing. For thirty days, ninety minutes a day, he and a group of fourteen other alcoholics and drug addicts had to sit through the counselor's grueling sessions of facing past demons. Past misdeeds were brought to light. Tears of anger and tears of sorrow flowed down AJ's cheeks. He acknowledged that he used alcohol to shield him from the life he didn't want to face. He used it to protect him from not being good enough in his father's eyes and to insure that he would never quite measure up beside his younger brother.
Oh, it was a painful time, but it was cathartic, too. AJ grew as a person. Glancing at him, no one would notice the difference, but looking at him.... Really looking at him would reveal the new man he was. A man who didn't hide or pretend or lash out in anger or self-pity. He was man who realized that life wasn't always fair, but that he was just as worthy as anyone else of having a good, happy life. And he was determined to have that and so much more.
On the last day of rehab, Monica and Emily wanted to be there for him, but he asked them not to come. He made the journey alone and he wanted to make that final step on his own. He wasn't sure if he young sister understood, but Monica did. He was sure of it.
After the celebration was over and he left the rehab center, he went straight to the Port Charles Police Department and turned himself in for driving the car the night of the accident that changed Keesha's life. He said that Ned wasn't the driver and that he was. And that he was ready to accept full responsibility for his actions. Finally.
The month passed slowly for Jason and Keesha. They helped Mary Mae with her recovery and when she was able to move back to Ward House, they were there for her. Neither moved in with her, but they were with her as much as they could be. And when they weren't with her, they were together...in bed...on the motorcycle...on the bridge. Together.
Keesha felt good whenever Jason was around. He often visited her at Lily's and the club's namesake was the first to notice the difference in Keesha and to comment on it. Keesha didn't bother to deny it. Why lie? Spending time with Jason was as necessary to her as working hard at the club or taking care of Mary Mae. It was a part of her and something she just had to do.
When she left the club after another night of playing hostess, she found Jason waiting for her on near her bike. As soon as she was close enough, he pulled her to him. His mouth claimed hers, burning her with its fiery possession. As the kiss ended, she felt a strong wave of desire course through her. She wanted him.
Her hand cupped the back of his head and she pulled him toward her again. Slanting her mouth across his, she pushed her tongue between his parted lips. His body hardened and she pressed against him. Jason's hands slid to her hips, his fingers digging into her waist. Their breathing became harsh and heavy, and when they finally pulled away from each other, his blue eyes were dark with his desire for her.
Even though her lips tingled, she couldn't help but smile. "Hi, Jason."
"Hi," he said, giving her a suggestive smile. "Miss me?"
"Yes," she said, honestly. She took her helmet from him and put it on. While he did the same with his helmet, she asked, "How is Mary Mae?"
"She's as good as before, I think. Justus and Simone came over before I left. They brought Tommy with them."
"She likes little kids."
She straddled the bike and Jason moved behind her. His hands closed around her waist in preparation for the ride, but Keesha didn't turn the ignition. "Wanna ride tonight?"
"Sure. Where to?"
She shrugged. "I don't know. Until we stop."
She fired the ignition and they took off.
The road was dark and long. The air was cool and brisk against her face. The call of the open road drew Keesha in. Many nights after work, she'd get on the bike and ride and ride. Most of the time, Jason was right there with her. He never seemed to grow tired of their riding adventures and she enjoyed having him there with her. They rarely spoke, but his presence was enough. It reminded her that she wasn't alone.
A few hours later, they reached the bridge that separated Canada from the United States. Keesha parked the bike on the US side and they got up. She rested her helmet on the seat of the bike and Jason did the same. Taking her hand, he led her to the bridge. Once they were in the middle, he moved behind her, wrapping his arms around her. She leaned back against him and stared into the dark night.
"You like this old bridge, don't you?" Jason asked, his voice warm and caressing.
"I guess. We usually end up here," she said. "I don't dislike it. I wouldn't come here if I did."
"I know." He pressed a kiss against her temple. His arms squeezed her. "It's nice up here. The air is crisp, clearer, and it's so quiet."
"You like the quiet," she commented. "Some people want to talk and talk, but not you. You can be quiet while others can't."
He laughed softly. "Is that why you put up with me? I don't talk too much?"
She shook her head. "No."
They were quiet for a moment and Keesha used the silence to find the words she'd been wanting to say. She learned from Lily that telling someone that they were important to you was also important to that person. She'd already told Lily that their friendship was important. Now, it was time for her to say the words to Jason. But somehow the word friendship didn't seem enough. He was more than just a friend to her. A lot more.
"You're my air," she stated clearly.
"Yeah," she said. "You let me breathe and don't try to control me. I need the air to breathe. And I need you."
Jason's body became still against her. It seemed like forever before he took a breath. When he did, his heart started racing and Keesha could feel it pounding against her chest. She moved within his arms to face him. From the pale light of the moon, she saw the tears glistening in his eyes. Her fingers caressed his cheek and her hand moved lower to rest flat against his racing heart. He covered her hand with his and brought it to his mouth. Closing his eyes, he kissed her palm and then placed it on his chest again. He opened his eyes and said, "You're my air, too."