Three weeks later…
"I can’t believe how well you’re recovering, AJ," Tony remarked, entering his office as he scanned the younger man’s medical file. "The aphasia is gone, and the strength in your limbs has improved dramatically."
"I’ve been working hard, Dr. Jones," AJ replied as he returned the outdated Reader’s Digest he had been reading to the small stack of magazines on the coffee table.
"That’s quite clear," Tony smiled as he took a seat behind his desk. "Keep doing what you’re doing; it’s working like a charm. I’ll see you back here in two weeks."
AJ nodded his head in the acceptance of the doctor’s words.
From the moment AJ woke from his coma, he was a more subdued person, but Tony found him to be more subdued than usual today. "Is something wrong, AJ?" the doctor asked.
"Dr. Jones, is it possible that I can get my memory back?"
Tony thought about the question a few moments before giving an answer. "I think so," he finally said. "When you first woke up I thought the chances of that happening were nonexistent. The blow your brain suffered was tremendous. But the recovery you’ve made both mentally and physically has been nothing short of miraculous. So right now I’d say yes, as far as possibilities go, this is quite possible. Why do you ask? Do you remember something?"
"That’s just it, I don’t know. I think it might be a memory but it might just be a dream. I have lots of dreams."
"Have you talked to anyone about these dreams?"
AJ shook his head. "No. The person I want to ask is…well, I don’t think I can go to her right now." AJ’s heart sunk as he thought of the distance that had developed between him and Keesha. He didn’t regret kissing her, but if he knew it would all but sever his ties with her, he would have certainly done things differently.
The way AJ responded to Keesha left no doubt in Tony’s mind that she was the ‘her’ in which he was referring. "Her? Is this <I>her</I> someone you’ve been remembering or dreaming about?"
"Yes," AJ nodded. "There is so much going on and not going on, my head is kinda jumbled up. Doing my therapy helps me not think about it so much."
"I guess that would explain the quick recovery."
Tony moved from his seat behind desk and sat on the right side corner across from AJ. "Maybe you need to talk to someone about your jumbled up feelings," he suggested. "I recommended therapy to you before."
"I’m taking your recommendation. I contacted Dr. Collins, but he’s unable to fit me in right now so he referred me to someone else. I made an appointment with a Dr. Felicia Boudreau, do you know her?"
Tony smiled. "Yes, as a matter of fact I do. Felicia and I met a few years ago at a medical conference. She’s here from Cedars Hospital in Springfield. She’s in town for a few months as a guest lecturer at the university and your father managed to convince her to join the staff while she’s here. She’s highly trained and very well respected in her field."
"Sounds like she’ll be able to help me."
"I’m certain she will."
The men conversed a few minutes more then parted ways. AJ decided to grab a bite to eat at the hospital cafeteria in the forty-five minutes before his appointment with Dr. Boudreau. When he had finished his lunch and was about to leave, AJ’s heart skipped a beat as he spotted Keesha sitting alone at a table. Maybe now wasn’t the right time, he reasoned, but he had been desperate to talk with her for so long, he couldn’t let this opportunity pass him by. He made his way over to the table and gave its beautiful occupant a cheerful greeting. "Good afternoon, Keesha. May I join you?"
Keesha’s stomach flip-flopped and her palms began to sweat. She used to feel so comfortable around AJ, but that was no longer the case. He put her on edge. She thought avoiding him in one on one situations would help them both put these feelings in their proper place, but it was clear from the way she was feeling and the way he was looking at her that plan didn’t work. He needed to go. "As a matter of fact, now is not a good time. I’m expecting Simone at any minute. Her wedding to Justus is coming up and we’re finalizing some details on my dress, so…"
He paid no attention to her words as he took a seat in the empty chair across from her. "Keesha, why have you been avoiding me?"
"I haven’t been," she answered a bit defensively. "I just saw you yesterday."
"You saw Jason yesterday. As always, I just happened to be around. You haven’t seen me since that kiss we shared. You never told him, did you?"
"What’s there to tell?"
"You know what," he said pointedly. "About us, you and me."
"Dammit, AJ!" Keesha scanned the near empty room, took a breath and lowered her voice. "There is no us."
"Right, that explains why you won’t allow yourself to be alone with me. Why you kissed me with such abandon and why you’ve practically attached yourself to Jason’s hip, because there is no us. Stop kidding yourself, Keesha."
Tears clouded her eyes as she fixed her gaze upon him. "Why are you doing this? Jason is your brother and I do love him."
"This isn’t about Jason or your love for him. This is about you and me, Keesha. <I><b>Us</I></b>. No matter how much you try to run from it or deny it, there is an ‘us’. You know, you and Lois are quick to remind me that Jason is my brother, but I was his brother when he met you and that didn’t stop him from going after you, why should it stop me?"
"AJ, it’s not the same," Keesha impressed upon him.
"Tell me, what’s different? I don’t remember. What has changed from the moment we first met until now?"
"Jason," she answered. "I fell in love with him."
"Where was this love you have for Jason the night you kissed me? Hmm, where was it? It wasn’t in that hospital room, that’s for sure. I remember our kiss, Keesha. I can’t forget it. I remember the way you felt in my arms and how much I wanted to make love to you in that moment and how much I still ache for you. When I go to sleep at night, I dream about you. When I’m awake, I think about you. Everything is you, Keesha. I love you. I love you, and I’m not going to run away from that." AJ leaned forward in an attempt to kiss her.
Against her better judgment, Keesha felt herself drawing closer to him. She too remembered the taste of his kiss the feel of his arms around her as his body pressed against hers. She remembered how good it felt and how much she liked it. Then she remembered the marathon lovemaking sessions with Jason that same night and almost every night thereafter. How even as he pleasured her to dizzying heights, AJ was still on her mind. He seemed to always be on her mind. ‘How in the world did she get to this place?’ Keesha pondered. She loved Jason, she had to keep reminding herself of that and this attraction she was feeling for AJ would pass. It would pass.
The increase heat of AJ’s breath against her lips compounded with the desperate pact she made with herself served as a wakeup call for Keesha. Before he could capture her lips with his she shook her head and pulled away. "No, no, we can’t do this."
"Keesha?" he murmured, his blue eyes glazed with desire.
"AJ, please, if you care about me at all, just stay away. Stay away from me."
With tears streaming down her cheeks, Keesha rushed out of the cafeteria and ran straight into Monica.
"Keesha, hey," Monica said catching the unsettled young woman by the shoulders. "Are you all right?"
Brushing away the tears that stained her cheeks, Keesha shook her head. "No, Monica. I wonder if I’ll ever be all right again."