Hearts Asunder by MourningStarre

The cool air of winter was being replaced with warm spring like breezes.
It had been six weeks since AJ Quartermaine had awakened from his coma, and
now it was the day before he would be released from the hospital.
Following the additional tests Tony ran, it was discovered that AJ’s entire
memory was erased, with the chances of his recovering any of it unlikely, at
best. The aphasia he suffered from his brain damage was diminishing more
and more, although comprehending and expressing some things was still a
constant challenge for him. His ability to feel and understand emotions
was left in tact, but his brain damage left him with physical impairments
that therapy was helping to alleviate, as well as an acute change in his

Over the past weeks he had come to know his family a little better. His
mother and father were wonderfully supportive and caring, his grandmother
and sister were sweet and kind, even the old man, who appeared to be a bit
of a grump at first sight, was okay. The guy Ned, his cousin, was odd, AJ
surmised. He seemed to be trying to read him at every turn. He felt a bit
of hostility coming from him, for what reasons, he didn’t know. Ned’s
wife, Lois, on the other hand, was different. AJ liked her instantly, as
he did Keesha, but his feelings for Lois were not at all like his feelings
for Keesha. He liked Lois as a friend, but his feelings for Keesha went
far beyond that of friendship.

Taking his cane, AJ walked around the room as he thought about Keesha. He
knew he had brain damage, but he also knew he wasn’t stupid. His
‘brother’, Jason, was always watching him, and whenever Keesha was around he
was never too far away. It became obvious to him, in a short time, that
those two had some kind of connection, but he couldn’t deny he felt a
connection to Keesha too. The feelings he felt didn’t confuse him, but
having them did. Jason was his brother, so why would he have feelings for
a woman that was involved with him? And more than that, why didn’t the fact
that Jason was his brother deter those feelings at all? He never asked
Keesha or anyone else, what the extent of his relationship was with her,
because part of him didn’t want to know. He liked having her around, and
somehow having it confirmed that she was involved with Jason was not
something he wanted to hear, not until he was ready.

Easing back onto the bed after his stroll around the room, AJ placed his
cane against the bed table and grabbed a tissue to wipe away the
perspiration that beaded his forehead. After finishing a cup of water
there was a knock on his door.

"Come in," he said to his visitor.

"Hiya AJ," Lois cheerfully greeted, standing halfway inside the doorframe.
"You seem kinda flushed, you okay?"

"I was just walking around the room," AJ answered, glancing toward his cane,
before motioning her to enter the room completely. "The exercise is good
for me."

"So, you ready to go home?"

"I guess I am. Home, that sounds strange." Looking around the room, "This
has been home for me," he explained, somewhat dolefully.

Lois took a seat in the chair next to the bed. "The Q’s are a bunch of
mixed nuts--." Reading his confusion, "None of them are the same," she
explained, "but going to the house won’t be bad, you’ll get used to them.
The gym has always been fully equipped, but they’ve added a lot of new
equipment for you to use, and Cook is preparing a veritable feast for you.
It’s going to be fine."

"I guess, I’m just a little hesitant. Keesha is going with me, so that will

"You count on Keesha a lot, don’t you?"

"She’s been very good to me. I don’t know what I would have done without
Lois sighs. "You know AJ…"

"I know what you’re going to say, Lois," he said interrupting her.

"I don’t think you do."

"I do," he nodded. "You’re going to say I’m getting too close to her, and
that I should back away because she’s involved with Jason."

Lois was surprised to hear he knew. "Who told you?" she asked.

"Nobody told me, I fractioned it out." Shaking his head, he closed his eyes
and corrected his mistake. "I figured it out."

"Well then you know you can’t…"

"Can’t what?" AJ wondered.

"AJ, Keesha and Jason are together, they’re in love."

"I don’t know that."

"C’mon," she said incredulously.

"I don’t deny she has feelings for him, but I think she cares about me too."

"Sure she does," Lois agreed. "She a very good friend to you, as you are to
her, you always have been."


"Yeah, from like the moment you guys met."

"How did we meet? Was it through Jason?" he wondered.

Lois shifted uncomfortably in her chair as she cleared her throat.

"Well Lois, how did Keesha and I meet?"

"You met her at the Nurses’ Ball."

"The Nurses’ Ball?" AJ remarked, unclear as to what that was.

"It an AIDS fundraiser sponsored by the hospital."

"So she was Jason’s date?"

"No, Jason met her that night too."

"So he did introduce me to her?"

"No. Ohhh," Lois groaned. "Look AJ, you met Keesha at the ball, and you
took an instant liking to her. A little later that night, Jason met her and
the same thing happened to him. Before Jason met her, you had already
spent some time with her and you had even asked her over to the house to
play tennis."

AJ’s ears perked up. "So I dated her?"

"Uh, no, not really. You played tennis with her."

"You said I liked her then, I know I like her now, what happened?"

"She started going out with Jason."

"She started going out with Jason?" he repeated, before coming up with his
own conclusion. "You mean he took her from me?"

Lois shakes her head. "No, I didn’t say that."

"Well, what are you saying? I met Keesha, I liked her immediately and I
spent time with her. Where did Jason come from? Didn’t he know I liked

"Yeah, but unfortunately, Jason liked her a lot more. He was in love with
her from the moment he saw her and he couldn’t stay away."

"So he did steal her away from me?"

"Don’t put words in my mouth, AJ."

"What?" he remarked with confusion, his ability to grasp idioms still not
quite up to par.

"I’m sorry," she apologized. "That’s a way of saying, once again, that I
didn’t say Jason stole her away from you."

"I wish I could remember," he murmured, as he stared up at the ceiling. "I
wish I could remember how I felt when I first saw her." He trained his eyes
back to Lois. "I know how I felt when I opened my eyes here. I wonder if
it was the same back then?"

"AJ, you have your family, everyone is going to help you, that includes
Keesha. She’s your friend, that’s not going to change, but you know she is
involved with Jason."

"I don’t want Keesha to be just my friend. When I first saw her, I thought
she was my wife, and I didn’t even know her name. I felt someone holding my
hand and then I heard a voice, this sweet voice, asking me to open my eyes.
I did, and there she was," he sighed. "She was so beautiful, I couldn’t
believe it. She was only holding my hand, but from that touch, I knew
whoever she was, she was important to me."

"I understand you’re still recuperating and your feelings are a little
confused right now, but AJ…"

"My feelings aren’t confused. I know what feelings and emotions are and
how they relate to different people. That’s one of the things that isn’t
confusing for me. Some words confuse me, but feelings, they don’t confuse
me." AJ took a moment as he tried to explain what he was feeling. "I know
Monica is my mother and Alan is my father and I care about them like a child
cares for his parents. Emily is my sister, and I care for her the way you
would a sibling. You’re my friend, and I like you as a friend, but I don’t
like Keesha the way I like you, or Monica or Alan or Emily. I like her a
whole lot more. When I see Keesha, my heart beats faster, and my stomach
feels funny, but I like the way it feels. She makes me happy, just being
around. I like Keesha the way a man likes a woman, not like a friend, and I
don’t like Jason like a brother."

"AJ," Lois gasped.

"You think it’s wrong for me to feel this way, and I thought so too, but
what you said makes it okay. I always liked her, even from the beginning.
My head may not remember, but my heart does. I love her, and she cares for
me too, I know it."

"I don’t deny that she does care for you, but it’s not the way you want her
to. She’s been by your side and helping you because that’s what you
needed, but make no mistake, she’s in love with Jason, and he is your

"He’s my brother," AJ repeated matter-of-factly. "Lois, that doesn’t mean
anything to me. With him being my brother, I know how I’m supposed to feel
about him, but I don’t feel it. Words don’t equal love for me. I feel
what I feel, I can’t help it. I don’t have anything against Jason, but I
don’t think I owe him anything either, especially with the way my heart
feels when I think about Keesha."

"What does that mean?" Lois asked him, without really needing to.

A smile brightens AJ’s face as he notices Keesha outside his room talking to
one of the nurses. "It means I’m going to tell her how I feel."

Lois didn’t think that was a good idea, so she tried reasoning with him
again. "AJ, she loves Jason."

"Maybe, maybe not, but either way, I’m about to find out for sure." He
quickly greeted Keesha with a warm smile as she entered his room. "Hello

Keesha returned his smile. "Hi AJ, how are you doing?" she said, as she
entered the room.

He extended his hand to her. "Now that you’re here, I’m doing a lot