Hearts Asunder 10

"Thank you, Dr. Boudreau. Talking to you has helped a lot," AJ said to the attractive African American psychiatrist as she walked him to the door.

"Well, thatís what Iím here for," Felicia said with an amiable smile. "I think we got a lot accomplished today, but I would like to continue next week, if thatís okay with you?"

"Sure, that will be fine. There are still some things that Iím trying to understand and work through, but something Iíve never been confused about is the way I feel about Keesha. I am in love with her. After todayís session, you have clarified all the more for me that having feelings for her isnít wrong, and I plan to tell this to Jason."

"Well, AJ, having feelings for Keesha and wanting her to be in your life isnít wrong, but I donít think you need to rush into some great revelation to your brother. You said yourself that Keesha hasnít admitted to having feelings any stronger than friendship for you."

AJ nodded. "Thatís true, but when I kissed her she kissed me back." He closed his eyes for a moment as the memory played in his head. He released a breath. "She didnít have to say anything, her actions said it all. I know she cares about me, even if sheís not willing to admit it to herself."


"So youíll risk alienating yourself from brother by going after the woman heís involved with?"

AJ groaned. Would he forever keep explaining this? " ĎBrotherí is just a word to me, Dr. Boudreau. I donít feel any connection to him, so thereís already alienation. Besides, my need to have Keesha in my life far outweighs any hopes I could ever have for a relationship with Jason."


"Still, I suggest you wait before confronting your brother with your feelings for Keesha."

"Why?"

"Because telling your brother is not for you to do. Youíve told Keesha how you feel, so youíve done what you needed to do for you. Whatever happens next is her decision to make, not yours. Telling Jason you love Keesha wonít make her love you back, but if you insist on pushing this, you could very well push her away."

A knock on the door prevented anything more from being said on the matter. Felicia glanced at her watch. "Thatís my next appointment. Look, I canít make you follow my suggestions, itís just a little advice. Set up a time with Brynne for next week, and weíll delve a little deeper into all of this then, okay?"

"Sure," AJ grumbled. He opened the door and left the doctor to her next patient.

After making an appointment with the receptionist, AJ went out to his waiting car and driver. He thought of the doctorís words the entire ride home. As much as he hated to hear it, what Dr. Boudreau said was true. No matter what he said to Jason, it wouldnít make Keesha come to terms with her feelings for him. And after the way she reacted to him today, AJ wondered if she ever would.

*****

Keeshaís hands were slick with tears as she continued to cover her face. Perhaps, if enough time passed before she moved them, Jason would be gone and she wouldnít have to face him and what she just admitted. She realized that was the cowardís way, but walking a mile of hot coals would be more welcome than trying to explain what she just said, especially since she didnít understand it herself.

"Keesha?"

Jason sounded calm, but the timbre of hurt in his voice seemed as loud as thunder. She tightened her already closed eyes as the threat of new tears burned them.

"Keesha?" Jason moved her hands from her face and lifted her chin. His blue eyes were glazed over and streams of red invaded the whites of his eyes. "Sweetheart, Iím sorry," he said cupping her face and brushing away her tears.

It was this gentle tone and tender touch that got to her every time. Sniffling, she instinctively pressed her cheek against his hand. "Why are you apologizing?"

"Because I was harsh with you." His fingers stroked the ends of her hair before trailing down the sides of her neck and resting on her shoulders. "I was harsh and angry, and itÖit made me say things I didnít mean. Like you just said something you didnít mean. I know you didnít mean that." His fingers kneaded the tense muscles of her shoulders but it did very little to relax her.

She covered his hands with hers in as much an attempt to comfort him as it was to stop the knots in her neck from multiplying with his every squeeze. "Oh, Jason. I wish it was that simple."

"It is that simple!"

She flinched from his unexpected outburst.

He took a moment and released a calming breath. "It is that simple," he repeated much softer.

"No, itís not." Keesha stepped away from him and moved back to the bench. "Come, sit with me," she said patting the space of cool marble next to her.

His tear-filled eyes stayed on her, but he didnít move a muscle.

"Please," she added.

Several moments later Jason walked over and took a seat. Her heart skipped a beat when he slid his hand atop hers. This simple gesture gave her hope that he wasnít as disgusted with her as she was with herself for putting him through this. Taking a breath to steel her nerves, Keesha attempted to explain. "I guess the first thing I should say is Iím sorry. This is the very last thing I expected to happen."

"What is this, Keesha? I donít understand."

She shrugged. "Neither do I. Thatís why I need time. To try and figure it out."

"To figure out if youíre in love with my brother or me?"

That was the crux of the matter and there was no point in denying it. She nodded. "Yes."

"NO!! No, Keesha, Iím not buying this."

"JasonÖ."

"No." He released her hand and leapt from the bench. After walking a few paces he turned back to her. "Youíre letting AJ work you."

She sighed. "Jason."

"Come on, Keesha! This is typical AJ. He may not remember the whole of his life, but heís still the same old AJ! He was sly before, but now he just doesnít give a damn. Heís always wanted you, and now heís going after you full speed ahead." Jason reclaimed his space on the bench and searched her eyes for answers. "What I donít get is how youíre falling for it. This ploy is nothing new. Heís been after you forever, but somehow heís managed to make you doubt your feelings for me. He sensed your guilt about the accident and he jumped on it."

Keesha glared at him in disbelief. "Do you think Iím stupid?"

He recoiled at her words. "Of course not."


"Then how can you sit here and tell me that guilt has me doubting everything Iíve known to be true and real in my heart?"

He grunted. "How? Because youíre doubting us, and our love, and Iím trying to understand it."

"Iím trying to understand it, too. AJ can flirt with me until the cows come home, but he canít make me feel something thatís not there. Iíve tried to suppress these feelings, and pretend they werenít there, but I canít do it anymore. Jason, I donít know where these feelings came from, but what I do know is theyíre real, and theyíre not going away."

"Okay. You say you donít know where these feelings came from, what made you cognizant of them?" he asked with a raised brow. "Did you wake up one morning with the realization that you loved him, or did AJ help point you in the direction of this amazing insight?"

Keesha shifted uncomfortably. She didnít want to go into that with him. "Itís not important."

"Iíll take that mean he did do something. You said you didnít sleep with him, so how far did it go? Did he kiss you?"

She didnít utter a word, but it was clear he got his answer nonetheless.

Jason shook his head and released a humorless chuckle. "So, you want me to what, sit back and watch AJ go in for the kill? Give you my total blessing to date my brother? Give him a great deal on an engagement ring?"

"Youíre being so bitter, Jason."


"Uh, yes! What, Iím supposed to break out the bubbly when the woman Iím in the midst of proposing marriage to tells me she needs time to figure out if sheís in love with my brother or me? Tell me how I should act, Keesha, because I donít think Hallmark makes cards for occasions like this."

Having had about all of his acerbic tone that she could take, Keesha stood from the bench. He was entitled to his anger, but she was in no mood to listen to his stinging commentary. "We need to talk, but Iím not going to do this with you right now."

Jason grabbed her hand before she could get too far. "Wait," he said standing next to her. "Iím sorry. Iím not taking this well." He scoffed. "Hell, as a matter of fact, Iím not taking this at all."

She slumped her shoulders and sighed. Didnít he know this was killing her? "Jason, I need--"

"Time. Yes, I know. You need time, I donít." He retrieved the ring from the small box on the bench. "Keesha, I love you, and I have every intention of putting this ring on your finger and making you my wife." He stuck the shiny piece of jewelry in his back pocket and stepped closer to her. "In other words, Iím not going to roll over and play dead while AJ works his mojo on you. So, while youíre thinking, Iím going to be reminding you of why you fell in love with me in the first place, and why Iím the man youíll be spending your future with, not AJ."

Keesha didnít have time to be surprised as Jason brought her body crushing to his, capturing her lips in a deep, bruising kiss. He knew just how to make her body respond to him, and when his tongue slid across her lips, she opened herself to him. He kissed her like a man possessed, tasting and exploring her mouth like never before. She returned his kiss with equal fervor, wrapping her arms around his neck as the kiss became even more intense.

The throbbing of Jasonís aroused manhood against her thigh caused the fire in Keeshaís belly to rage out of control. Her head was swimming. Jason felt so good, so right. They had everything a couple needed to be happy, and she loved him, she loved him so much. So where did AJ fit into that? AJ? No matter what, he always seemed to find his way into her thoughts. As much she wanted Jason right now, she couldnít let things go any further. Not until she dealt with her feelings for AJ.

Somehow finding the strength, Keesha broke the kiss and tried to catch her erratic breath. "Jason, we--we canít do this."

He cupped her bottom and pressed her against the pulsating bulge in his jeans. He gazed into her eyes, his cobalt orbs burning with desire. "Yes, Keesha, we can," he whispered through his ragged breathing.

Her body shivered as his lips and tongue trailed a path alongside her. He wasnít making this easy, and if she didnít put a few feet between them, they would be giving Lilaís pink roses a new reason to blush. Keesha escaped his amorous clinch and took several steps back, her open palms pressed against the solid wall of his chest "Our making love wonít change anything. I know I love you, Jason. I know Iím incredibly attracted to you. Thatís not in question here."

"No, whatís in question is the way you think you feel about AJ! Right now. Us." He covered her hands with his. "This is whatís real. This is whatís always been real."

She dropped her hands and took more steps back. "You have to hear me! Lately, this is how I feel when Iím with AJ. The truth is, I donít know whatís real anymore, and I have to find out what is."

The strangled cry that passed Jasonís lips pierced her heart. He shook his head. "Keesha."

More water filled her eyes. "Jason, Iím sorry. I do love you, but, God, help me, I love AJ, too." Keesha made no attempt to remove the tears that rolled freely down her cheeks, even as she fought herself not to brush away his. "I have no right to ask you to wait for me, so I wonít even bother. I just hope that youíll find a way to understand why I have to do this, and that you wonít hate--you wonít hate me for trying to do the right thing." Sobbing, she raced from the garden.

"Keesha! KEESHA!" Jasonís calls were futile; she wasnít coming back. He stormed to the bench and flung the empty ring box in a fit of rage. "Dammit!"

"Ow."

Jasonís blood boiled at the sound of the familiar voice. He made a mad dash to the other side of his grandmotherís prized rose bushes where he found his older brother picking up the box that had apparently struck some part of his person.

"Looks like you lost something, Jason," AJ said as he snapped the box closed.