Chapter 31

"Maybe he's had a change of heart."

"Don't, Alan. Don't make more of it than it is."

"But he offered to donate blood, Monica. That's a step. You have to see that."

"I don't know and right now, there are more important things to worry about."

Voices broke through the foggy haze of AJ's consciousness. He felt tight and heavy. Full. And groggy like he'd been on a bender that lasted a couple of weeks. He blinked. Bright lights nearly blinded him. He squinted and turned his head toward the familiar sounds of his parents.

"Mom? Dad?" he choked out in a hoarse whisper. "Where am I?"

"Oh, my God!" Monica caressed his cheek. "He's awake."

"You're at the hospital," Alan said, moving around the machines and checking their output. "In ICU."

"What happened? Where's Keesha and Maya?"

"Keesha is here, too, but not in ICU. Emily is watching Maya."

AJ found breathing difficult. "Keesha...how is she?"

"She's been hurt and has some bruising—"

"The baby!" He struggled to sit. "Did we lose the baby?"

Monica shook her head with a smile. "No. We're monitoring her, but everything appears fine."

"You wouldn't lie to me?" he asked.

"No, son," Alan said. "They're both fine. You can rest."

"No, I can't. Not until I see Jason."

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