Chapter 133

“I heard you lost a bet!” Emily's morning sales girl said as she clocked in.

“Megan has a big mouth.” was Emily's response.

“So what time are you bringing him in tonight?”

“Oh I am so not telling you guys that! You'll all show up and embarrass me to death!”

“We won't embarrass you, we just want to meet him! Besides, I'll just hang out here all night waiting if you don't tell me.”

Emily sighed. She knew Val wasn't lying. “I'll bring him by around 6:30. I'll tell him I need to drop off a key or something. So just who else can I expect to be here?”

“Not that many, just me, Megan, Hazel and probably Tracey.” Val said.

“Is that all?” Emily asked with sarcasm.

“That's not that bad, Megan and Hazel will already be working. Tracy and I can just say we stopped by on our way to see a movie or something.”

“Ok but you have to promise to be good!” Emily said. “Or Ill fire you!”

Val laughed. “I promise.”

Just then a flower delivery man walked in carrying a large bouquet of pink roses.

“Is there an Emily Watkins working today?” he asked.

“That's me!” Emily said, signing for the beautiful flowers.

“Oh my God he sent you flowers at work!” Val said. “What's the card say?”

Emily laughed when she read the note: Just sitting at my desk thinking about you. Randy.

“That's so sweet! I have to call Megan and tell her!”

Emily was so touched she didn't even care that Val was making personal calls on the sales floor.


A few hours later Emily was in the back eating her lunch when she called Randy.

“Glenview Pediatrics.” Margie answered.

“Yes, I'd like to leave a voice-mail for Dr. Brown please.” Emily said, smiling to herself as she thought of the kick Margie must be getting out of her calling again.

“Hold on dear.” Margie said.

The phone rang through a few times and to her surprise he picked up.

“Oh, hi!” she said. “I was expecting your voice mail. Oh and thank you so much for the flowers, they're beautiful!”

“You're welcome! Margie knew I was eating lunch so she called over the intercom and asked me if I wanted to take the call myself and was this the same young lady I had the flowers sent to?”

“How'd she know about the flowers?”

“Because they called here with a question about the address and so of course she answered the phone.”

“Boy, I bet you've got those ladies talking up a storm!”

“Probably. So how's work today?”

“It is so incredibly boring. I've had like, five customers all day. How about you?”

“Pretty much the same old stuff. I almost got puked on though.”

“Gross! Do you like, keep extra clothes in your office just in case?” she asked.

“I do, actually. I always keep an extra pair of pants and two shirts, just in case.”

“Well, try to stay out of the line of fire, ok?”

“Believe me, I always do!”

“So, I was thinking about what to do tonight and I thought maybe we could grab some Mexican at one of my favorite places and then go bowling and then if you're really good, I'll take you out for ice cream. There's an awesome place that you can walk to from my apartment. But if any of that doesn't sound good please let me know!”

“That sounds like a lot of fun. What do you say I meet you at your place at 6?”

“I'll see you there!” Emily said, hanging up.

“Emily! Phone call for you!” Val said through the door.

“Hello?”

“Hey Emily, it's Megan.”

“What's up Megan?”

“Are you going to own up to your bet?”

“Of course. And apparently Val and Tracey are coming in too.”

“So what are you two going to do tonight?” Megan asked.

“Well after we come here, we're going out to dinner and then bowling.”

“That sounds like fun. I'm really excited to meet him!” Megan said.

“I'm sure you are.” Emily rolled her eyes.

Emily left work thirty minutes early that evening when Hazel, the night manager, got there. While her apartment wasn't terribly messy, she still wanted to tidy things up a bit before he got there.

After she finished running the vacuum, she took a quick shower and decided to let her hair air dry so it would be curly. She opened her closet at her variety of date outfits and settled on another one of her new ones. Because they were going bowling she didn't want to wear the skirt so instead she picked black capri pants with a blue v-neck tank top trimmed with lace.

Randy showed up right on time and greeted her with a quick kiss when she opened the door to let him in.

“You look beautiful as always.” he said.

“Why thank you!” she said, grabbing her purse and keys.

“All set?” he asked, opening the front door for her.

“Yep. I hope you don't mind, I need to stop by work really quick on the way to dinner and drop off a key.”

“That's not a problem.” Randy said.

“I'll drive tonight! Remember, I'm taking you out.”

The mall Emily worked at was about ten minutes from her apartment.

“I'm really sorry about this, the night manager forgot her keys and she needs to be able to lock the store up when they close tonight.”

“Emily stop apologizing! It's no big deal!”

Emily led the way to her store and said a prayer that the girls would behave before they walked in.

“Hey Emily!” Megan greeted her.

“Hi Megan. I just stopped by to drop off the keys to Hazel.” she winked at Megan.

“She's in the back with Val and Tracy, you'll have to run them back there. Hazel told me not to leave the front of the store.” Megan said.

Emily gave Megan the evil eye. “Ok. Oh and Megan this is Randy. Randy, meet Megan.”

“Nice to meet you Megan.” Randy said, shaking her hand.

Emily started walking to the back of the store and overheard Megan say, “So how do you know Emily?”

“You guys had better get out there or you'll miss your chance.” Emily said when she walked in the back.

“Is he here?” Val asked.

“Yes, he's out there talking to Megan...alone......so I need to go back out. Oh, and if anyone asks, I came to drop off the keys to Hazel because she forgot hers.”

“Why do I have to be the irresponsible one?” Hazel asked.

“Because that was just the story I came up with.”

The four ladies quickly left the back room.

“Oh my God, he's cute!” Val said.

Emily sighed. “Let's get this over with.” she said, leading the girls towards the front.

“Randy, this is Hazel, Val and Tracy.”

“Hey, how's it going?” he asked.

“You're like, a legend around here you know.” Val said. Emily shot her a dirty look. “None of us have ever gotten flowers at work before!”

Randy smiled. “Well I'm glad you liked them.”

“Randy said we can have a pool party at his house next weekend.” Megan smiled.

Emily about died. She could not believe Megan had actually asked him that!

“Oh really? Well, I think if you guys don't get back to work I won't have any employees left to come to the party!” Emily said, shooting her a look. Megan laughed.

“Are you ready to go?” she asked.

“Ready when you are. It was really nice meeting you all.” he said.

Megan grabbed Emily's arm and whispered into her ear, “That man is absolutely gorgeous. I say skip the date tonight, take him back to your place and ask him to give you a physical.”

Emily blushed although it didn't sound like that bad of an idea to her, she thought as they walked back out to the car.

“So did you give Hazel the keys?” he asked.

“Yeah.” Emily lied.

“Really, because I hear you lost a bet.” he said, trying not to smile at her.

“Megan has such a big mouth!” Emily laughed. “I'm so sorry.”

“That's ok, I kind of like being shown off by you.” he teased. “Oh, and I did my sexy doctor-lean thing for her too. She was impressed, I could tell.”

“Hey, don't go leaning on things for other women!” Emily scolded.

“So what did she whisper in your ear when we left?”

“Ok, do you have any idea how embarrassing this is?” Emily asked.

“Hey, I'm just glad I'm not the only one with a staff who likes to gossip!” he said. “Now what did she say to you?”

Emily turned to look at him after she started the car. “She said that you were absolutely gorgeous and that I should skip the date tonight and take you back to my place and ask you to give me a physical.”

Randy grinned. “You know, I think you should give this Megan girl a raise! I like the way she thinks.”

Emily blushed. What the hell? she thought.

“You know, I have been feeling a bit under the weather lately.” she said.

“Hmm, you do seem a little flushed. I think this calls for some bed rest!” he said, placing his hand on her thigh.

Emily decided later that night that Megan was definitely getting a raise for this.


Chapter 134

Emily and Randy had been dating for about three months and things were going great. They managed to see each other almost every day despite the two's crazy work schedules. If Randy had to work late, Emily brought him dinner. When Emily had to work at the bar, Randy usually showed up for her last hour and they'd have a drink together before they left. He'd hosted three Bath and Body Works pool parties at his house, sent her staff flowers so they'd stop feeling left out of the constant flowers he sent Emily and had even come over to take care of Emily when she came down with a terrible case of food poisoning. They'd taken a long weekend to go camping together and had even had dinner at Brian and Leighanne's house where they were bombarded by Baylee.

“I wish you didn't have to work tomorrow!” she said.

“Why?” he asked.

“Because I have the day off!”

“How'd you end up with a day off?”

“I have a doctor's appointment in the morning so I figured it was a good excuse to take a personal day.”

“What are you seeing the doctor for?”

“It's just a “women's” check-up.” she said.

“Ohhhh, ok. For a minute I thought you were trying to tell me you were seeing other doctors!” he joked.

“I'd never do that to you!”

“Well, I'll try really hard to finish early.” he said. “Maybe we can go see a movie or something.”

“Yeah! That'd be fun. Why don't you come over after work and we can pick one.”

“Ok. Hey are you staying the night here tonight?” he asked,

“I hadn't really planned on it, you have to get up early!” she said.

“Yeah but you don't!”

“I know but I don't want to keep you up all night when you have to work early tomorrow.”

“You won't keep me up, I was thinking I'd be keeping you up all night.”

Emily smiled. “Well, if that's the case, I guess I could stay.”

Emily didn't even wake up the next morning when Randy left for work but he did manage to call her at 8:30 to make sure she got up in time for her appointment. She managed to make it just in time but didn't know why she bothered rushing when she had been sitting in the waiting room for a half an hour before they finally called her name. She put on the ever fabulous paper gown and waited for the doctor to come in.

“Hi Emily, how are you doing?” Dr. Paul asked.

“I'm pretty good.”

“So you're just here for an annual exam, right?”

“Yes, and I'd like to renew my prescription for my birth control pills too.”

“Alright, we can do that. Why don't I have you lay back, I'll go ahead and do a breast exam and then we'll do your pelvic.”

God I love going to the gynecologist. Emily thought as just the thought of the stirrups made her nervous.

The doctor suddenly seemed very focused on a specific area of her left breast.

“Is everything ok?” she asked.

“Emily I feel a small lump over here, have you noticed it before?”

“No, I've never felt anything there.” she said, her heart starting to pound.

“Don't panic, it's probably just a cyst. Those are very common in women your age but I'd like to give you an ultrasound to check it out, ok?”

“Yeah, ok.” Emily said, feeling very worried. She was so worried that she barely even noticed her pelvic exam.

“I'm going to go see if the ultrasound room is free. I'll be right back, ok?”

Emily nodded. She did not have a good feeling about this.

A few minutes later she was being escorted down the hall and was met by Dr. Paul and a different nurse.

“Just lay back and relax, this will only take a minute to peek at.” Dr. Paul tried to reassure her. Emily couldn't make anything out on the screen, it just looked lunch a bunch of gray stuff.

“All done, Emily.” Dr. Paul said, cleaning off the ultrasound goo from Emily's chest.

“So, what did you see?” Emily asked, sitting up.

“Well it's definitely not a cyst.” Dr. Paul said. “It looks like a small tumor but we need to do some further testing before we jump the gun.”

“What do you mean a tumor?” Emily said, in total disbelief.

“It's a solid mass, not fluid filled. We'll schedule a biopsy to find out more.”

“So, are you saying I have cancer?”

“No, that's not at all what I'm saying. It's a possibility but in more cases than not these turn out to be benign lumps. I know it's worrisome but let's try to take this one step at a time. Try not to worry about this until we know a little more, ok?”

Emily swallowed. “So, when do I do this biopsy?”

“We'll schedule it today and call you as soon as we set it up. I'd like to have it done soon but in reality they probably won't be able to get you in for a few weeks.” Dr. Paul explained the procedure to her and gave her some information to read on the different types of breast lumps. Emily sat in her car and didn't know where she should go. She knew if she went home she'd freak out so being alone wasn't really the best thing for her right now. She started the car and drove, ending up at Randy's office.

“Hi Emily. Is he expecting you?” Margie greeted her.

“Huh? Oh, no he's not. I probably shouldn't have come, I'm sure he's very busy.” Emily said.

“Is everything ok?” Margie asked.

Emily nodded. “Look, I'll wait out here, when he has a minute could you tell him I'm here?”

“Sure dear.” Margie said, looking concerned.

A few minutes later Margie called her over and told her to go ahead and sit in his office while she waited.

“Hey where'd my chart for the next patient go?” Randy asked.

“I gave your next few patients to Dr. Fox.” Margie said.

“Why?” he asked, confused. “She's got her own patients to see today!”

“Emily's waiting for you in your office. She doesn't look so good, I thought maybe you'd like a few minutes to talk to her.”

Randy's face grew concerned. “Thanks Margie.”

“Emily? Are you ok?” he asked, shutting the office door behind him.

“I'm so sorry, I shouldn't have bothered you at work. I know you're busy.” she said, standing up.

“Don't be ridiculous! I know you wouldn't have come if it weren't important. What is it?”

“I....I think I have cancer!” she blurted out.

“What? Here, sit down.” he said, leading her over to the small sofa in his office. “What happened?”

Emily's hands were shaking as she told him about the lump in her breast and how she was waiting for them to schedule the biopsy.

“Sweetie this doesn't mean you have cancer.” Randy said, although there was worry written all over his face. “It could be lots of things.”

“I know, they told me all of that. I just don't have a good feeling about this.” she sniffed.

Randy pulled her into his arms and kissed the top of her head. “It'll be ok. Let's try not to worry too much yet. I know that's easier said than done but we still need to try, alright?”

Emily nodded.

“I'm going to go get you a glass of water. I want you to lie down, ok? You look really pale.”

Emily followed his orders and tried to take some deep breaths as she lie on the hard couch.

Randy tracked down Margie and pulled her aside.

“I need a huge favor.” he said. “I need you to reassign as many of my patients for the rest of the day as you can. Cancel any later appointments that you need to. I need to leave early today.”

“Is everything ok?”

“She just got some bad news and she's pretty shaken up. I'd like to be able to take her home if I can.”

“It's done. Don't worry about a thing. Go take care of your girl.” Margie ordered.

“You're a doll.” Randy said, patting her on the back as he went to get some water.

Five minutes later Margie knocked on his office door and quietly informed him that she had gotten the other doctors to cover his patients and he was free to go.

“Did you drive here?” he asked.

Emily nodded.

“Well, we can come back and get your car later. Come on, I'll drive you home.” he said.

“No, it's ok, I can drive.” Emily said. “You really should get back to work.”

“I had Margie reassign all my patients today so I can stay with you.”

Tears sprang to Emily's eyes. “You didn't need to do that. I'm fine, really.” her voice wobbled.

“Yeah, I can tell.” Randy said sarcastically.

Emily smiled at her own absurdity and slowly stood up. “Thank you.” she said. “But you really didn't need to do that.”

“Yes I did.” he said.

Randy took Emily back to her apartment and ordered her to relax on the couch. He ordered a pizza for dinner and they spent the night on the couch watching tv.

The next morning he drove Emily to work with him early in the morning so she could pick up her car.

“Promise me you'll call me if you need anything?” he asked.

“I promise but I'll be fine. I feel a little better today and I have to go to work anyway. I'm sure Megan will keep me distracted enough. By the end of next week I'll have my biopsy and hopefully this will all be behind me.”

Randy smiled. “Alright. I'll check in with you later then.” he said, giving her a quick kiss as she got in her car.

When Emily got to work she called Hazel and asked her if she could come in a few hours early today claiming she wasn't feeling well. Emily thought she'd be ok working today but when she got there she felt like at any moment she was going to have a panic attack or something. Hazel came in at one o'clock, took one look at Emily and sent her home telling her not to come in tomorrow either, she'd cover for her. Emily had so many thoughts racing through her mind and decided she really needed to talk to someone. Randy had been incredibly supportive the night before and she wondered if it wasn't scarier for him because he was a doctor and knew all too well how these things went. But there were some things he just couldn't really understand, like her fear of losing her breasts or feeling like less of a woman.

She called Leighanne and asked if she could stop by for a few hours. Leighanne wasn't born yesterday, she knew when Emily was upset but she just figured it was more guy problems. As much as Leighanne hated to admit it, Randy was starting to grow on her but she still believed that Emily was meant to be with AJ.

Emily thought she would be able to keep it together to talk to Leighanne but as soon as Leighanne answered the door Emily fell apart.

“Oh my God, Emily what's wrong?” Leighanne asked as she ushered Emily inside and sat her down on the couch.

Emily tried to explain to Leighanne about the lump and how she knew it was silly to be this upset before she knew anything for certain but she was scared and confused.

“I mean, what if I have cancer? What if I die? What do I have to show for my life? I don't have anything! I'm not married, I don't have any living children, all I have is a cat and a tiny apartment. What the hell have I been doing?”

“Sweetie relax. Take a deep breath, ok?” Leighanne said, gently rubbing Emily's back trying to calm her.

“I mean, at least you're married and you have a son and a career. I haven't done anything! I haven't followed my dreams, I haven't settled down. I mean, I thought I was happy with things the way they are and now all of a sudden it seems like I've been hiding for the last 4 years of my life!”

“But you do have things to show for your life, Emily! You have people who care about you! What about Randy? Have you told him?”

Emily nodded. “Yeah, I told him yesterday.”

“Have you talked to him about how you're really feeling?”

“No. I don't want him to think I've gone crazy or anything!”

“I think he'd be very understanding.”

“I know.” Emily said. “But I just feel like I need to sort all of this out before I try and explain it.”

“Sort what out?” Leighanne said.

“This whole past day all I keep thinking about is how much AJ was right. I haven't been living my life for the longest time and this lump is like my reality check. I've been shaken awake and I don't like what I see. I want to have a job I'm proud of. I want to get married and I want to have a family of my own!”

“So what are you going to do?” Leighanne asked.

“First I'm going to have my biopsy. Then, hopefully, I'm going to live my life.” Emily said.

“Does this have anything to do with your feelings for AJ?” Leighanne asked carefully.

Emily sighed. “I don't know. I thought I was over all that. He left me! And Randy is so great, he's perfect, actually, but I can't help thinking that AJ was right. And if I had just seen it seven months ago, we'd still be together. We didn't break up because we couldn't get along or anything, we broke up because I couldn't move on. So now I want to move on but I can't help thinking that if I'd just listened to him, my life would be so different right now.”

“Look, I'm sure that you're just flooded with all kinds of fears and emotions right now. This isn't the time to try and figure something like this out. Let's just get through the biopsy and see what happens.”

“I know. God, I just wish I didn't have to wait a whole week!”

“So are you going to tell AJ about this?” Leighanne asked.

“Why would I tell him?”

“Well, aren't you guys friends now?”

“Yeah but not that kind. We e-mail each other but it's hardly ever all that personal.”

“Emily I'm sure he'd want to know about this. You guys might not be together but he'll always care about you. He'd want to be there for you.”

“Leighanne, this is so not the time to push the me and AJ thing again.”

“That's not at all what I'm doing! Look, I actually like Randy. All I'm saying is that you need all the support you can get right now and I know that AJ would do whatever he could for you. As your friend.”

“I'm sure he would be, but I think talking to him now would only make me feel worse.” Emily said.

Emily left just as Brian was bringing Baylee home from preschool.

“Everything ok?” he asked, looking concerned at the expression on Emily and Leighanne's faces.

“I'm sure your wife will fill you in.” Emily said.

“Listen, call me anytime ok? Everything will be fine.” Leighanne said as she hugged Emily.

“Thanks Leighanne.”

“Are you going to meet Randy?”

“Yeah.”

“Are you going to talk to him?”

“Maybe.” Emily said.

Chapter 135

Leighanne told Brian what was going on with Emily while she made dinner.

“So are you going to call him?” he asked.

“Call who?”

“AJ!”

“Why would I call him?” Leighanne asked.

“Look, I know I've told you to let it be but right now I think might be an appropriate time to step in.” Brian said, much to Leighanne's surprise.

“Why is now the time to step in?”

“From my perspective, it seems like all of a sudden Emily has realized what she lost and I think she regrets it. If Randy were really who she wanted to be with do you really think she'd be so torn up about it? I talked to AJ after he found out she was seeing someone else. He said if she was happy then he made the right decision. But if she's not happy, maybe it's not too late.” Brian said, getting a little excited.

“So you actually want me to call him and tell him all of this?”

“Yes! If he still has any feelings for her, which I'm sure he does, now is his time and it sounds like it'll probably be his very last chance.”

“Why can't you call him?”

“Because you're better at it.” Brian said.

Leighanne sighed. Brian did have a point. She went outside and made the phone call.

“Hey AJ! It's Leighanne.”

“Hey Leigh, how are ya?” AJ greeted.

“I'm good. Hey, do you have a few minutes to talk?”

“Sure, hang on a minute.” AJ said. “Sorry about that.” he said when he came back. “I'm out with some guys and I just stepped outside so I could hear you better. So what's going on?”

“It's Emily.” Leighanne explained to AJ everything Emily had confided in her.

“Jesus, Leigh. That's a lot to lay on a guy for a Friday night!”

“I'm sorry, I know it's a lot but I felt that you needed to know. I really think there's still something there but I think this will be your last chance.”

“Well...I mean, if she really feels that way she knows where to find me.” AJ said.

“She does. But right now she's too scared to deal with it. Look, I can tell just by the way she was talking that she still loves you and that if you were here she'd realize that.”

“I'm not going to come up there! If she needs me she can ask me herself!”

“Don't you get it?” Leighanne raised her voice. “This is not the time to be proud. If you don't get your ass up here and hold her hand she's going to keep pushing aside her feelings for you and she's going to live her life with someone else. This is it, AJ. It's now or never!”

“Stop being so damn dramatic.” he said. “I'm not going to come up there and look like some fool who can't move on. You can tell Emily that if she's so in love with me, she can come tell me.”

“But you left her!” Leighanne yelled.

“And she never tried to stop me!” he yelled back. “She let me go!”

Leighanne was speechless. She had never before realized that perhaps AJ had been bluffing, trying to make Emily realize what she was giving up and that it had backfired on him big time.

“Look, AJ, I....I know a lot happened but you need to be the bigger person here. Emily thinks you don't love her anymore. Only you can change her mind on that.” Leighanne said. “Her biopsy is next Friday. I suggest you get here before then.” Leighanne said, hanging up the phone.

Emily was very distant from Randy over the next few days. She didn't want to be intimate and she didn't really want to talk. By Sunday night he was tired of waiting for her to open up and he was afraid she was on the verge of totally shutting down.

“Sweetie what's going on?” he asked.

“What do you mean? You know what's going on!”

Randy took a deep breath. “Yes, I do. I mean what's going on inside? I can tell there's a lot weighing on you and I think it goes a lot deeper than worrying about the biopsy results.”

Emily was quiet for a minute, trying to come up with a way to put it all into words.

“Did you ever wake up one day and wonder where your life went?”

“How do you mean?” he asked.

“I don't know, I guess when I think about how there's a possibility that this could be it for me I'm not really happy with the way my life has ended up.”

“But this isn't it....”

Emily held her hand up to stop him. “I know that it's a very small percentage chance of me dying anytime soon from this lump. I know that. But I can't help thinking about the worst case scenario. All I'm saying is that I've come to the realization that this isn't how I want to live my life. I need more out of it. I want to chase my dreams and stop being afraid! Does that make any sense?”

Randy smiled. “It makes total sense. Come here.” he said, pulling Emily into a big hug. “Look if you aren't happy with your life, stop being so depressed about it and start doing something about it. You can change things around.”

Emily sniffed. “I know. I just feel like until I get those test results back I can't pick a direction, you know?”

“I do know. Just try to hang in there. In five days this will all be behind us.”

“I'm sorry I've been such a bitch.” Emily said as she hugged him tighter.

“It's ok, I'm a pretty tough guy.”

Emily laughed. “If you had any idea the number of times I've just wanted to yell at you........not because I've been mad at you, just because I've been mad and you're the only person who's ever around here to yell at!”

“If you would feel better, you can yell!” he said.

Emily shook her head. “I know it wouldn't help.” she said, pulling herself out of his arms and wiping the tears from her eyes. “You know what? I really think I just need

to get out of the house tonight.”

“Oh yeah? What do you feel like doing?”

“Can we go shopping? Target's having a really big sale...”

Randy laughed. “Yes, we can go shopping.”


It had been two days since Leighanne had called AJ and he still didn't know what to do. If it were really as simple as she made it seem all he'd need to do is hop on a plane and go win back the love of his life. But it wasn't that simple. She was seeing someone else. And there was also the large matter of how much she had hurt his pride when she didn't try to stop him from leaving. He'd also been dodging Leighanne's calls for two days knowing full well what she expected him to do.

He sighed when his phone rang again and when he saw that this time it was Kevin he decided to answer it.

“Yeah?” he answered.

“Hey.” Kevin said.

“Kristin make you call me?”

Kevin chuckled. “No, actually Brian did.”

“Brian, really? Huh. And you gave in?”

“Well, actually AJ, I hate to say it but I think this time they're all right.”

AJ laughed. “You know, I wish it were as simple as you guys make it seem but it just isn't.”

“What's not simple about it?”

“Oh I don't know, how about the fact that she's seeing someone else, that she hasn't even told me herself about all of this, that she's never even come out and said she still loves me?”

“Ok, so maybe those parts aren't that simple but what is simple is the fact that you owe it to yourself to go find out.” Kevin said.

AJ groaned. “I can't man.”

“Why not?”

“I can't go through that again! I can't put it all on the table for her and have her not take it again. I can't go up there and wait for her to sort it out only to find that she's decided to stay with this doctor guy. I can't.”

Kevin sighed. He knew he wasn't going to get anywhere with AJ tonight.

“I think you can AJ but I think you're too scared to try. Since when is AJ scared of a fight?”

“Since he lost the last one.” AJ said and ended the connection.


By Wednesday morning Leighanne had enough.

“Brian, can you stay home with Baylee tonight? I'm going out and I'll probably be out pretty late.”

“Sure honey, you deserve a chance to have some fun!” Brian said, kissing her on the cheek.

Oh I don't think this is going to be much fun. she thought.

By Wednesday afternoon she was boarding a plane to Orlando and by early Wednesday evening her cab pulled up at AJ's house. She'd called his mom that morning and explained everything and asked her a favor. Leighanne needed to make sure AJ would be home so she had Denise tell him she wanted to drop by to talk to him about something. AJ always cleared his schedule for his mom. Denise was already sitting in her car out in the street when Leighanne got there.

“Are you sure about this?” Denise asked.

“I'm absolutely positive.” Leighanne said.

“Aright then. Let's get this over with. I'm going to let you do all the talking.”

Leighanne rang the doorbell.

“Hey Ma...” he said when he opened the door and then froze when he saw Leighanne standing there as well.

“What's going on?” he asked, crossing his arms.

“Alex Leighanne needs to speak with you.”

“You just don't quit, do you?” he asked.

“No.” Leighanne said firmly.

“Would you please let us in?” Denise asked.

AJ stepped aside and let the two women walk in, closing the door behind them.

“I came to bring you back to Atlanta with me.” Leighanne stated.

AJ laughed. “You have gone insane!”

“Look, this has gone on long enough. You need to go talk to her.”

“I already told you guys I'm not going to! If she wants me she can tell me herself.”

“AJ, cut the crap!” Leighanne snapped. “I know what you told Kevin. You're too scared to, aren't you?”

“I am not!” AJ said, defensively.

“Yes you are! You don't want to go talk to her because you're too afraid she won't pick you. You'd rather sit on your ass and hope she comes to you. But that's not going to happen AJ. She thinks you left her, she thinks you're happy she moved on, that you made the right choice by walking away. She thinks you don't love her so even if she realizes that she still loves you, she's not going to throw away Randy on some whim that maybe you'll change your mind! Don't you get that?”

“So you're saying that even if she does still love me, she'll stay with this doctor guy? That's bullshit! Why would she stay with him if she loves someone else?”

“Because she wants to move forward with her life. She's not going to throw it away for someone who doesn't want her! That's why you have to make her see that you still love her too, that you've always loved her.”

“No.” AJ said.

Leighanne sighed. “You know, you are such a hypocrite!”

“What? Why? That's ridiculous!”

“No it's not! Do you remember why you walked out on Emily?”

“Yeah. I wanted to start a life with her and she didn't want to move on.”

“Exactly. Yet here you are, sitting down here with the knowledge that you have the opportunity to go start your life with someone and you're too damn chicken to do it. What'd you tell Brian? Jump or walk away, right? You left her because she wouldn't jump. Now she's ready to jump and you're the one who's too scared!”

AJ sat down. He felt like the wind had been knocked out of him. Leighanne was right.

“Alex, I'm sorry but I have to agree with Leighanne here. This is your chance. Don't be too afraid to take it!”

“But I....I mean......well how do I.......what do I do?” he asked, exasperated.

“Come home with me. Go see her tomorrow. You'll know what to do from there.” Leighanne said, sitting down next to him.

AJ nodded. “Ok. Yeah, ok. Let's do this.” he said.

Leighanne hugged him. “Thank God!” she said.


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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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