Chapter 40

Four weeks after the accident, AJ gained enough strength to begin physical therapy. The idea of walking without assistance excited him. Keesha arrived at his hospital room early to assist him with getting dressed. His sapphire eyes sparkled and an eager smile never left his face. She ran a hand through his dark blonde locks, marveling at his joy.

"You come?" he asked as he pulled on his socks.

Keesha shook her head. "Cameron asked that your first session be just the two of you."

He pouted.

She caressed his clean-shaven jaw. Her finger smoothed his mouth until his smile returned. "That's better. Listen to Cameron and don't overdo it, okay?"

"Oh-kay," he said with a nod. "You here after?"

"I will be."

Cameron O'Brien, the best physical therapist GH had to offer, arrived with a wheelchair. After they left, Keesha headed to Tony Jones' office. As she waited to be led into his office, she considered AJ's constant need for reassurance that she'd be there for him. What caused that fear inside him? That she would abandon him? How could she convince him differently?

"Mrs. Quartermaine," Tony's secretary said, "the doctor will see you now."

"Thanks."

Tony greeted Keesha with a hand to her shoulder. The other hand cupped her chin. "You're not getting enough rest," he said. "Have a seat."

She sat. Automatically, her hand moved to her slightly protruding abdomen. Baggy sweaters and layered shirts hid the growing unborn child. Few knew of the upcoming birth. Fear of announcing the joyous occasion prevented her from divulging her secret. Common sense argued that her fear was irrational. She knew that to be true, yet, she remained silent.

"I'm not here as a patient," she said as Tony sat behind his desk. "You called me for an appointment. What's wrong?"

"Nothing really," he said. He pulled a folder from a stack on the corner of his desk. "AJ is progressing nicely. He started physical therapy today. The speech therapist says he's an enthusiastic patient. I've witnessed the same myself."

Keesha nodded as she chewed her lip. "Enthusiastic…like a child. Will that change?"

"What? His enthusiasm or his childlike behavior?"

She clenched her hands together in her lap. "Both."

"There are no set guarantees. Each case is different."

Keesha nodded and glanced at her wedding ring. AJ's strength had supported her for so long. It amazed her how much she took for granted until now. Her heart ached for him each day. She missed her husband. But she didn't love who he was now any less.

"What am I doing here?" she asked.

"AJ will be released soon. I wanted to alert you to a few side-effects of his injury that will affect your marriage."

"Such as?"

"I won't beat around the bush," Tony said. "Sexual dysfunction is a common occurrence after a brain injury such as what AJ experienced."

"Are you telling me he's impotent?"

Tony shrugged. "He could be. We haven't run those tests on him, but we can…"

"No, don't," she said. "The tests frighten him. If he's impotent, we'll deal with it. To be honest, our sex life is the least of my concerns right now."

"At this moment, you say that because you believe it," the doctor said, "but I've seen enough of this to know that the sentiment won't last." He scribbled a note on a card and handed it to her. "Here's a referral to a sex therapist who's also a marriage consultant. She's excellent. You won't be disappointed with her insight."

Keesha took the card without sparing it a glance. "The last thing I care about right now is sex. Do you know that AJ still refuses to see Maya? He doesn't want her to see him like this. 'Unperfect' is what he says. What will I do when he comes home?"

"He knows that he's changed," Tony explained. "He fears that she won't accept him. Have you prepared her for the changes?"

"She knows that her Daddy had an accident and that he's healing. I've told her that he's not the way she remembers, but he still loves her."

"Do the same with him," Tony advised. "Let him know that she loves him. Kids are more receptive and compassionate than we give them credit for. AJ wants to come home. He knows that Maya will be there. Don't worry about it, Keesha, and please, get the rest you need. You won't be of any use to your husband, your daughter or yourself if Dr. Newman orders bed rest for you."

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