Chapter 55

AJ and Emily roasted some marshmallows and found that they both liked to catch them on fire instead of the normal way to roast them.

“So, tell me about the guys.” Emily said, licking her fingers.

“What guys?” AJ asked.

“You know, the Backstreet Guys. I already know Brian, but I barely know the others.”

“Well, we really are like brothers. We fight like brothers and we love like brothers. Brian has helped me a lot since rehab, helping me discover faith and supporting me. Kevin, like I said, I owe him my life. Kristin, his wife, she’s nice enough but I guess she’s just not my type. Howie is probably the most low key of us. He definitely has the cleanest record. He’s never had a serious public relationship, never got engaged or married, never went into rehab. He’s stayed out of the spotlight for the most part.”

“What about Nick?” Emily asked.

A look of anger passed AJ’s face. “I’d have to say that Nick is really on all of our shit lists right now.”

“Why, what happened?” Emily asked.

“He’s just been making some bad choices. He pleads guilty to his DUI charge after all that shit he gave me about my drinking and driving. But it’s not really about that, I don’t want him to end up like I did, you know? It’s a hard road to travel and I worry about him. And why he dated Paris Hilton of all people, I’ll never understand.”

“Maybe it was that stupid dog of hers.” Emily suggested, trying to lighten the mood.

AJ smiled. “Maybe. Then there’s that whole Key West fiasco lately.”

“What fiasco?” Emily asked.

“You haven’t heard? It’s been all over the place. Some girl accused him of sexual assault in a hotel in Key West.”

“Oh my God! Did he…” Emily stopped herself.

“Did he do it?” AJ finished for her. Emily nodded. “No, I don’t think Nicky’s capable of treating a lady like that, and I hope to God I’m right.”

“I’m sorry! That must put a bit of a strain on you guys.” Emily sympathized.

“Well, that’s just the way life works, isn’t it?” AJ said. “Want another marshmallow?”

“Absolutely!” Emily said.

AJ and Emily stayed by the fire until well after midnight before they finally packed up to go home.

“I love the smell of campfires!” Emily said, as they got back into the car. “It always reminds me of fall, and fall just happens to be my favorite season!”

“Oh yeah? Why fall?” AJ asked.

“Well, for one my birthday is in the fall. And, I love the crisp mornings and evenings, all the fall colors, the leaves, the pumpkins, the corn, Halloween, Thanksgiving, I love it all! And, it’s the season that leads right into the holidays. I love the holidays! As soon as Thanksgiving dinner is over, I switch into Christmas mode and start putting up the lights and buying my gifts.”

“I like spring the best. It’s full of new beginnings, new life. All the flowers start to bloom, trees get their leaves back, the weather gets warmer, and believe it or not, I actually like the rain that comes along with it.” AJ said.

“I like rain too. It’s very soothing.” Emily said. “What would you have done if it rained tonight?”

AJ smiled. “I had a backup plan.” He said.

“What was it?”

“Well, I might need to use it another time, so I’ll have to go ahead and keep that to myself.”

AJ and Emily got home around two in the morning. He insisted on walking her up to the front door so they could have a proper end to their first date. She unlocked the door and turned to face him.

“Thank you for a lovely evening. I had a great time.” She said, softly.

“You’re welcome. I had a great time too.” He said. He took hold of her hand and brought it up to his mouth to kiss the back of it. “Goodnight, Emily.” He said, and then walked back to the garage.

Emily laughed as she walked in the front door and met him in the hall. “I thought we already said goodnight!”

“Well, that was just the official end of our date. Are you going to bed?” he asked.

“I’m not quite tired enough yet. I thought I might watch some TV or something if you want to join me.”

“I’d love to.” AJ took off his suit coat and tie before joining her on the couch. “What are you watching?”

“Fresh Prince. You know, the show with Will Smith.” Emily said.

“Cool.” AJ put his arm over her shoulder again and pulled her over to him, leaning her back against his chest. Emily could feel his heart pounding and felt her own quicken as he held her. She was having a hard time paying attention to the show and had the feeling that AJ wasn’t even looking at the TV, but at her instead. He gently stroked her hair as she relaxed into him.



“I’d really like to kiss you.” He murmured.

Emily’s breathing quickened. “Ok.” She whispered.

Chapter 56

AJ slowly sat her up and turned her to face him. Their eyes met and they sat just like that for the longest time. Emily’s hands were shaking again in anticipation of his touch. Her heart felt like it was going to pound right out of her chest. Slowly, ever so slowly, he began to lean in, not once taking his eyes off of hers.

AJ was hesitating. He wanted so badly to kiss her, but he was afraid to push her too fast. He took his time, giving her the chance to back out if she wanted, but also because he wanted this to be the perfect kiss.

Finally. Finally, his lips touched hers. She felt like she was on a rollercoaster. Her stomach dropped and she couldn’t breathe, and it felt great. He kissed her very slowly and gently at first, but once he felt her respond he couldn’t hold back any longer. He wrapped his arms around her and deepened his kiss.

Emily snaked her arms around his neck and met him full force. He tasted good and she couldn’t get enough. His lips were soft and gentle.

AJ heard her moan softly as he tickled her lips with his tongue. That was all it took to turn him wild. He pulled her tighter against him and deepened his kiss even more. She let his tongue explore her mouth and held tighter to him.

AJ felt like every nerve in his body was tingling. He leaned her back on the couch and rested himself on top of her as he continued to kiss her. She ran her hands along his back as he trailed kisses along her jaw and up to her ear before down to her neck. He knew he had found the spot when he heard her gasp and arched herself into him.

Then, he stopped.

It took Emily a second to clear her head. “What’s wrong?” she asked, sitting up.

AJ was sitting with his head in his hands, catching his breath. “Not a single thing is wrong. But I told myself it would just be a kiss, and if I don’t stop now, there’s no stopping at all.”

Emily smiled. “It was one hell of a kiss.” She said, touching her fingers to her lips.

AJ looked at her longingly. “I think I’d better go to bed. Goodnight.”

“Goodnight.” She said. “Three years.” She muttered to herself. “It’s been three very long years.”

Emily tried to go to bed but found she was unable to sleep. She tossed and turned. She was hot, and then she was cold. She tried to read but she couldn’t concentrate. All she could think about was AJ and just how good it had felt to kiss him. After a few hours of trying to sleep, she decided to go see if AJ was having the same problem.

She opened his door slowly and crept in, then stood by his bed trying to see in the dark if he was awake.

“Can’t sleep?” he murmured.

“No. You either?” she asked.

“On and off. Come here.” He said, holding his hand out for her.

Emily walked over and sat on the bed. AJ grabbed her waist and lie her down next to him.

“You’re freezing!” he said as he felt her cold legs against his.

“I keep going back and forth between too hot or too cold.” She said as he covered her up with his blanket.

“Raging hormones?” he teased.

“Three years, AJ. It’s been three years. I’m surprised my hormones still know how to rage!”

AJ chuckled and pulled her closer. She sighed and snuggled up to him, finally feeling comfortable enough to fell asleep.

Chapter 57

Emily and AJ woke up to the sounds of Baylee running through the house. They looked at the clock and were shocked to find that it was already eleven.

“I guess I’d better get up before someone catches us!” Emily said, getting up.

AJ pulled her back to him. “Who cares?” he grumbled.

“You want Baylee walking in here?” she said.

“He’s a guy, he’ll understand someday.”

“AJ…come on, I’ll make you some breakfast.”

Emily got up and slowly opened the door, making sure Baylee wasn’t roaming the hall. She thought she was safe as she crept out, but she didn’t see Brian coming up the stairs.

She froze as Brian saw her. He looked her up and down, smiled at her and said, “Good morning, Emily. Did you sleep well?”

Emily rolled her eyes at him and went into her room to take a shower.

Brian went into AJ’s room. “You dog!” he said.

“What?” AJ asked, still in bed.

“I saw Emily coming out of your room!”

“So?” AJ said, wishing he could be back asleep.

“So, how was it?” Brian pried.

“There was no ‘it’ Brian. Believe it or not, I don’t want to sleep with her yet. I want it to be special.”

Brian was flabbergasted. “So, nothing happened?”

AJ grinned. “I didn’t say that. We just didn’t have sex. We kissed. And it was fucking great. Then, neither one of us could sleep so she came in here and that’s the story.”

“Damn. You’ve got it bad. You don’t want to sleep with her yet? Where’s AJ and what have you done with him?”

“Get out of here, will you? I’m trying to sleep.”

Emily sent Baylee in to get AJ up for breakfast.

“Uncle AJ!” Baylee said, bouncing on his bed. “Get up! Miss. Emily has a surprise for you!”

AJ sighed, realizing he was not going to get to go back to sleep. “What kind of surprise?”

“Miss. Emily said that if I told you, I wouldn’t get any.” Baylee said.

AJ smiled. “Alright, Little Dude. Tell her I’ll be right there.”

“OK!” Baylee yelled as he ran back downstairs.

AJ got dressed and went into the kitchen.

“So what’s this surprise you’ve got Baylee all excited about?” he grumbled.

“Only my breakfast specialty: blueberry pancakes with bacon and fresh squeezed orange juice. Would you like some coffee?”

AJ smiled at her. “I’d love some, thank you.”

The four adults sat down to enjoy Emily’s brunch while Baylee was playing in the other room.

“So, how was your trip?” Emily asked.

“We had a great time. Very relaxing.” Leighanne said. “How was your week?” she asked, looking from Emily to AJ.

“It was great.” Emily said, smiling at AJ.

“AJ, you still going home tomorrow or did Emily bully you into helping her watch Baylee next week?” Brian asked.

“No, I’ve got to get home. Somehow, working on an album and all that entails seems less tiring than watching Baylee.”

Leighanne sighed. “Tell me about it! It sure makes the time fly, though. I can’t believe he’s already three. I mean, three years! And it’s just flown by.”

AJ grinned. “Three years. Huh. That’s about how long it’s been since the last time Emily had….”

AJ was cut off when he was hit in the head with Emily’s napkin. Brian and Leighanne’s heads snapped to Emily, who was turning a shade of bright red and trying to hide her face.

Three years?” Brian asked in amazement.

“Really….three years?” Leighanne was just as amazed.

AJ thought this was all hilarious. Emily didn’t answer, just kept her gaze diverted.

“No wonder she likes you, AJ! Three years must have made her blind!” Brian said.

“Hey! Shut up!” AJ defended himself.

“Uncle AJ!” Baylee yelled from the other room. “You’re not allowed to say ‘shut up’. Mommy doesn’t like it cuz it’s mean!”

“Sorry Little Dude, it won’t happen again.” AJ laughed.

Brian and AJ went outside after they were done eating while Leighanne helped Emily clear the table.

“I have to ask. He was just kidding about the whole three years thing, wasn’t he?” Leighanne whispered.

Emily blushed again. “No, he was serious. I can’t believe he blabbed that to everyone!”

“God, Emily! I can’t imagine going three years without…you know.” Leighanne said.

“Well, it certainly wasn’t on purpose. It just happened. It’s been a bit of a dry spell. Now, would you mind just dropping it? I’d rather not talk about it…” Emily said.

Leighanne caught Emily’s embarrassment and let it go. “So, did you and AJ do anything special this week?” she asked.

Emily proceeded to tell Leighanne about their date the previous night and how thoughtful he had been in planning it.

“I remember when Brian used to do those kinds of things for me. Then we got married and had Baylee and romance went right out the window.”

“Well, maybe once Baylee’s in college, you’ll have some time!” Emily laughed.

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"Never Gone" is a work of fiction.
The characters and events portrayed are fictitious.
Any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental.

Copyright 2006
All Rights Reserved
No part of this text may be copied or reprinted
without the author's permission.


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