Hearts Asunder Chapter 2 by MourningStarre

Mary Mae was sitting in the parlor when Keesha descended the stairs and
stood in the roomís door frame.

"Gran Mae Iíll be back a little later, Iím going to the hospital now," she
relayed before turning to leave.

"Has there been any change?" Mary Mae asked looking away from the socks she
was pairing on her lap.

"Yes and no," Keesha replied as she walked into the room and took a seat on
the couch.

"The doctors think AJ should come out of his coma soon. Heís responding
to painful stimuli and heís moved his hand a couple of times but he hasnít
actually been conscious yet."

"He is still in my prayers and I know the Lord will make a way." Mary Mae
took Keeshaís small young hand into her strong, old, wrinkled one. "How are
you baby?" she asked noticing something seemed to be troubling her
granddaughter.

"Iím fine Gran Mae, Iím not the one in the hospital," Keesha answered as
she stood and walked a couple of paces.

Putting aside the socks the older woman went over to her granddaughter and
placed a caring arm around her. "You may not be in the hospital but I know
something is on your mind. Youíve been real quiet the last few weeks. Iím
your old grandma, I know you better than you know yourself. What is it
Keesha?"

"Oh Gran Mae," Keesha whimpered, embracing her grandmother as tears
streamed down her rounded cheeks.

"Shh, itís okay baby," Mary Mae cooed as she comforted the young woman.
Once the tears had subsided Mary Mae led Keesha to the sofa where they both
took a seat. "I think you needed that cry," she said handing Keesha her
lace handkerchief.

"I think I did too, the problem is I donít know whom I was crying for,"
Keesha admitted as she took the handkerchief and dabbed at the remnants of
tears that streaked her face.

Mary Mae said not a word as she waited for Keesha to elaborate.

Keesha took a deep breath before she attempted to explain to Mary Mae what
she was feeling. "I didnít tell you this, but I knew AJ had been drinking
for a while. He pleaded with me not to say anything to his family and
especially not to Jason so I didnít. Even after he had the wreck with
his father I kept quiet because he said he was finished with drinking. In
hindsight I donít think I believed him, but I wanted to because he was so
contrite. I guess I just chose to accept what he said."

"Go on," Mary Mae quietly prompted.

"The night AJ had his accident he was in such a state. He was very drunk
but more than that he didnít seem to care anymore, it was like he was at
the end of his rope. His showing up at the foundation even in his drunken
condition had to mean he was reaching out for help. Why else would he
show up like that? I didnít help him Gran Mae, not like I should have,"
she said as tears renewed themselves in her eyes. "No, what did I do? I
betrayed his confidence. I told Justus and Jason that he had been drinking
and he had been for a long time."

Mary Mae used the pads of her thumbs to wipe away her granddaughterís
tears. "Keesha how long did you think you could cover for him? You
thought you were helping."

"Was I helping him when I let him leave the house upset and three sheets to
the wind? Gran Mae he could die. If I had went after himÖif I didnít
let Jason stop me, this-" sobs broke up her words.

"Stop it Keesha. If you had gone after AJ you would have been in that car
too and lying in that hospital along with him. You canít make yourself
responsible for what an alcoholic does or does not do. AJ is responsible
for what he does."

"But he shouldnít have to die for making a mistake, and me, Iíll always
wonder what if I had gone after him?"

"Keesha," Mary Mae reasoned.

"Gran Mae I have to go to the hospital," she said placing a kiss on her
grandmotherís cheek. "Iíll be back later."

Mary Mae watched Keesha leave knowing she was carrying a burden much too
heavy for her young shoulders to bear.

Jason was in his brotherís room in ICU. Three weeks had passed since he
slammed the red convertible that was a gift to Lois from Edward into a tree
at the estate. Having not been wearing a seatbelt AJ was thrown head
first, landing on the stump of another tree. He had sustained serious
trauma to his head and had been in a coma from that moment.

The clean white bandages that wrapped AJís head like a cap were the only
telltale signs that anything was even wrong with him. Everyday Jason
visited his brother and everyday he left AJ was still unconscious.
Because the brain swelling AJ had sustained had all but subsided, he was
expected to wake up soon, but soon could not come fast enough for Jason.
He was so afraid for his brother and how the accident would leave him, but
he was still angry as hell. How could AJ do this? How could he be so
stupid as to get into a car drunk? Jason paced the hospital room like a
caged lion. He was at his witís end. Worry about AJ consumed him.
Anger about the situation hung over him like a dark cloud, and worst of all
Keesha was holding herself and him responsible for AJís condition. Of
course she hadnít said so right out but her actions was speaking volumes
and he knew her like the back of his hand.

Jason made his way over to AJís bedside. "Itís time for you to wake up,"
Jason demanded of his older brother as he got to within inches of his face.
"This has gone on long enough AJ. You leave that place youíre in right
now and you get us out of our misery."

"Jason what are you doing?" Keesha asked from the door as she watched the
scene before her.

"Dr. Jones thinks heís going to wake up soon. Itís been studied that
comatose patients can hear when people talk to them. I want AJ to know Iím
ready for him to wake up. I canít stand seeing him like this Keesha."

"Nobody can Jason. This isnít easy for anyone," Keesha remarked walking
over to AJís bedside and taking his hand as Jason looked on next to her.

"I also canít stand seeing what this is doing to you," he added.

Her attention never leaving AJ. "Me? This isnít about me."

"But youíre blaming yourself, I know that, and youíre blaming me too."

"Did I say that?" she said defensively, her eyes still on AJ.

"You didnít have to. I can see it in your behavior, in the way you are
with me, or havenít been with me. Keesha would you look at me?"

Still holding AJís hand Keesha obliged and turned her head to the side to
look at him.
"Jason now is not the time to talk about this."

"When is the time going to be right? Iím just as upset as you are about
this. Seeing my brother lying still in that bed hurts me too, and in the
beginning I did feet guilty."

"Did you?" she retorted her tone accusatory.

Jason concealed the hurt he felt from her words. "Yes I did, but Keesha
this isnít my fault," he said softly, "just like itís not your fault.
Yet, youíre blaming yourself and me and youíre keeping me at armís length
when I need you now more than ever. We should be comforting each other
through this, but youíre not holding my hand, youíre holding his," he said
looking at his brotherís sleeping form.

"AJ is fighting for his life Jason, now is not the time for you to be going
into that jealous mode of yours."

"Jealous mode? This is not about me being jealous, itís about you shutting
me out. We havenít made love since this accident happened. I miss you, I
love you, and more than that I need you right now, and itís like what I
need doesnít even matter."

"Iím sorry if you think Iíve been neglecting you, that was not my
intention. You know I love you, but we canít think about us right now, we
need to think about AJ."

"Thatís just it Keesha, lately AJ is all youíve been thinking about. I
told you not to blame yourself for this. AJ did this to himself. He got
into that car and slammed it into a tree not you. You canít hold yourself
responsible for what he does."

"Maybe not, but maybe this," looking back at AJ, "wouldnít have happened if
I had stopped him that night, but I didnít, neither of us did." Keesha
took a deep breath and exhaled it. "I think we should stop talking about
this."

Jason realized that continuing with this conversation would get them
nowhere, so he dropped it. "Fine, I need some coffee." Extending his hand
to her, "Come with me to the cafeteria."

Shaking her head, "I just got here, I think Iíll stay for a while," she
said stroking AJís forehead.

"I want you to come with me Keesha," he insisted. "I think we could use
some time alone together, if only for a few minutes. Weíre going to come
back," he assured her.

"Jason we have all the time in the world to be together. AJ needs to know
that somebody is here for him too. Go get your coffee Iíll be fine."

Yes, but will we be, Jason thought as he lowered his hand. "Iíll be back in
a few minutes."

Jason left the room and Keesha began a one sided conversation with the
unconscious AJ. After sharing the local news and gossip she began to tell
him about the weather when she noticed his eyelids begin to flutter and his
fingers tighten around her hand.

"AJ, AJ, come on you can do it, wake up. Please open your eyes," she
pleaded gently stroking his bandaged head.

Slowly he granted her request when he opened his aquamarine colored orbs.
Finally managing to get his eyes adjusted to the light he smiled at the
vision that was before him. "Hi," he said weakly.

"Hi yourself," she said returning his smile as relief washed over her.
"Welcome back."