Chapter 19 (e-mail only segment follows)

Days passed before Jason went through the box. He needed solitude and with Sonny & Michael around, he wouldn’t get it. When father and son joined Mike on a weekend fishing trip, Jason seized his chance.

Jason Quartermaine wasn’t a pack rat but memories were obviously important to him. Photographs of kids dressed in uniforms recorded his boarding school years. There weren’t many. Just a few. Probably his closest friends.

Jason laid it all aside. That wasn’t what he was looking for. A leather bound book with the initials JQ monogrammed in the lower right corner lay at the bottom of the box. Jason dug the book out. As he flipped through the pages, he discovered it was a journal illustrated with B&W and color photos.

He quickly closed the book and ran a hand over his face. Did he really want to know Jason Quartermaine’s most private thoughts? Privacy was sacred to Jason Morgan. He for damn sure didn’t want anyone digging inside his head. Would Jason Quartermaine feel the same?

He couldn’t ask. And there were things that Jason Morgan needed to know. Being around Keesha exhilarated and frustrated him at the same time. Seeing AJ with her made things worse. Then, there was Maya. That little girl tugged at him. She, like her mother, wrecked havoc on his mind. If Jason Q had the answers, Jason needed them. Jason Q’s privacy be damned.

Jason grabbed the journal and moved to his bed. He adjusted the lamp and rested against the pillows. Inhaling a harsh breath, he went to the first page.

The entry gave a short summary of the old Jason’s romance with Brenda. Nothing enlightening there except his former self was an idiot. Brenda Barrett? That spoiled brat? C’mon.

He skimmed through a few more entries. Stuff about AJ. His boxing and drinking and womanizing. All of that, especially the second and last burned a hole in his gut. The thought of AJ cheating on his family pissed Jason off. He shook the emotion off as best he could and continued reading.

Nurse’s Ball 1994 was written in big letters. Then, below it was a newspaper clipping of Keesha’s photo from the charity event. She stood beside Justus. Her youthful exuberance and innocent beauty jumped from the page. Jason’s breath lodged in his throat. This was it.

I met Keesha Ward at the Nurse’s Ball tonight. We danced. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. She’s beautiful and alive! What’s the word? Vibrant. She’s unlike any girl I’ve ever met. I will get to know her better. I have to.

"Vibrant." Jason Morgan read the passage twice. The word reminded him of the sun. Overpowering, luminous and hot. Hot described Keesha, too. He read for more.

Valentine's Day has never been better. She made me a glove. No one has ever taken the time out to make me anything. I told her about my trip to Paris. Her eyes sparkled. She should have been with me.

A short while later, Jason Q wrote…

Paris with Keesha will happen. Her father doesn’t think I’m good enough for her. He thinks I’ll hurt her. Because I’m white? Rich? Probably both. I’ll have to prove to him that…

I love her.

Whoa. I love her. I love Keesha. I’m in love with Keesha Ward.

I’ve written it four times and it felt better each time. Oh, yeah. Paris will definitely happen. There’s no one else on the planet I want to share the city with. She’s the one.

Jason Morgan shared Paris with Robin. He also really connected with Robin at the Nurse’s Ball. The two similarities struck him hard. What else did he and Jason Q have in common?

She’s asleep so I have to be quiet.

We made love.

Oh. My. God. It was amazing! It was our first time. My first time. Her first time. I wanted everything to be perfect. It was. She was. We were.

Keesha is the most important, the most essential thing in my life.

Chills swept over Jason Morgan. He marked the page and closed the book. When he awakened from the coma all those years ago, he didn't want to know or understand Keesha's pain. The tears she shed whenever she looked at him. The longing when their eyes met. In his ignorance and anger, he threw her away. He shouldn't have. For the first time, he truly understood the word regret. That night he dreamt about what was and what could have been.

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