Chapter 25

They arrived at the hospital and Brian took off inside while AJ stayed back to pay the cab driver.

“Yes, I’m here to see my son, Baylee Littrell.” Brian said to the desk clerk.

“Brian! Over here!” Emily called him.

Brian walked over to her. “What’s going on? What happened? Where’s Baylee?”

“He’s ok. They just took him to get a CT scan just to be sure but the doctor assured me that he’s fine. He started jumping on the bed and before I could even tell him to stop he fell and hit his head on the floor. God, Brian, I’m so sorry, I should have been more careful.”

“If this responsibility is too much for you to handle, just let me know.” Brian said.

“What do you mean?” Emily asked.

“All I asked was that you keep him safe. If you can’t do that, I’ll sure as hell find someone who can.”

Just then, the doctor came to talk to Brian. Emily excused herself. She ran past AJ who was walking down the hall.

“Emily, there you are! Is everything ok?”

Emily brushed past him with her hand over her mouth, heading for the nearest trash can.

“We gotta stop meeting like this!” AJ muttered as he heard Emily throw up into the trash. AJ grabbed a nurse and asked for a nemesis basin she could use instead of a smelly trash can and also got her a glass of water.

“Is she ok?” the nurse asked him.

“I think so.” AJ replied.

AJ walked over to her and held her hair back, trying to not look at the same time. When she stopped, he led her over to a chair and handed her the basin and water.

“Emily, it’s ok. He’s fine.”

“I know he’s fine. It’s not that. Well, it is that but it’s not just that.” She was starting to hyperventilate.

“Here, put your head down and take some breaths!” AJ instructed. He rubbed her back as she tried to calm herself down.

“I think I just got fired.” She said, while her head was still down.

“What? Brian wouldn’t fire you, it wasn’t your fault!”

Emily sat up. “He said…he said…that all he asked was I keep him safe and that if I couldn’t do that he’d find someone who could. AJ it wasn’t my fault, I swear it was an accident!”

“I know it was, Em. Brian’s just all worked up. He didn’t mean it.” AJ was trying to console her when Brian walked over to them.

“Thank you, Emily. We won’t be needing you anymore. You can go home now.”

“But I…” she started to say.

“I said that’s all!” Brian snapped and walked away.

Emily stood up to go. “Emily, don’t go.” AJ tried.

“No, I can take a hint. See you later.” She ran out and grabbed the first cab she found.

AJ sighed. He really wanted to say something to Brian, but he knew him well enough to know that when Brian’s upset, he can’t be counted on to be rational. Luckily for everyone, Brian hardly ever got that upset.


“Hey, Boss. It’s me.”

“You got something for me?”

“Boy do I! You’re not going to believe our luck with this one!”

“Do you have pictures?”

“Lots. I’ll send them to you right away.”

“Do that. And keep following her.”

“You got it, boss.”


AJ finally got a hold of Leighanne while Brian was in with Baylee.

“Hey Leigh, its AJ.”

“What’s wrong?” She always knew.

AJ sighed. “Baylee’s in the hospital, nothing serious just a very minor concussion. Emily brought him in to be safe. Brian’s in with him now, they’ve already seen the doctor and they’re going to send him home in another hour.

“Oh God! Are you sure he’s ok?”

“I’m absolutely positive. He’s in his room eating a cheeseburger.”

“Ok, listen, I’m almost done here. I’ll call when I leave, I might just have to catch up with you at the hotel if you’re going to leave soon.”


“And AJ?”


“Thank Emily for me.” Leighanne said.

AJ was quiet.

“Are you still there?” she asked.

“I’m still here.”

“Did you hear what I said?”

“Leigh, I’d thank her for you but she’s not here.”

“Well then, when she gets back.”

“She’s not coming back Leigh. Brian fired her.”

Chapter 26

“HE WHAT?” she shouted into the phone.

“He fired her.” AJ was just about as pissed as Leighanne was.


“Stop yelling!”

“Sorry. Why?”

“He’s shaken up and he blamed her for the accident. He told her that he’d find someone else capable of keeping his son safe and that she was no longer needed here, then he told her to go home.”

“I’ll kill him!”

“He didn’t mean it….” AJ tried.

“I know he didn’t. That’s what makes it worse! I tell you, he’s such an irrational man sometimes!”

AJ felt tempted to defend his own male species but realized it was hopeless.

Emily went up to her hotel room and began packing up her things while on the phone with the airline for the quickest flight back to Atlanta.

“I’m sorry, Miss. I can’t get you on a flight until tomorrow morning at 6:30.”

“You’re kidding, right? This is LA! What do you mean there aren’t any flights?”

“I’m sorry, that’s the best I can do.”

“Fine. I’ll take it.”

Emily sat down on her bed. She didn’t really know what to do with herself. She decided to go down to the bar and have a drink to calm her nerves. When she got there, one drink turned into 3 and she didn’t feel like leaving just yet.

AJ and Brian took Baylee back to the hotel soon after his call to Leighanne. AJ didn’t speak to Brian the whole trip back.

“Leighanne said she’s meet you upstairs.” He finally said when they got back.

Brian didn’t respond. Either he was still pissed, or he knew his wife was going to be pissed at him and he was scared to face her wrath. As they walked through the lobby, AJ glanced into the bar and spotted Emily, three sheets to the wind, sipping a margarita.

“I’ll catch up with you later.” He told Brian, who was so preoccupied with Baylee that he didn’t even notice AJ going into the bar.

“Hey Emily!” he said down next to her.

“AJ….you shoun’t be here….you’re a recoverin’ alchyholic.” She managed to slur out.

“Yes I am. Don’t worry; I’m not here to drink. I just came in to check on you.”

“Well don’t worry about me, I’m doin’ jus’ fine!”

AJ looked at the bartender and quietly asked, “How many has she had?”

“About 5 now, she’s only been in here about an hour.”

AJ slipped the guy a fifty. “Listen, I want you to give her only virgins and shots of iced tea from now on.”

The bartender looked at the money in his hand and said, “Whatever you want!”

“AJ, I can’t believe you gave this stuff up man! It’s gooooood.”

“We’ll see if you still feel that way in the morning.”

“In the morning I have to fly home.”

“Don’t go.” He said, quietly.

“I have to go, I got fired!”

“He didn’t mean it, and besides, Leighanne is pissed that he fired you. I bet if you wait, he’ll come apologize.”


“So then you shouldn’t go yet!”

“He can apologize to me at home.”

“I’d miss you if you left.”

“I’d miss me, too AJ. I’m one fun girl.” She leaned over closer and whispered, “Especially in the sack.”

AJ had to bite his lip to keep from laughing. He didn’t doubt that for one second, but now was not the time to hit on her. He sat with her all evening, letting her think she was still drinking. When she finally started to get tired, he helped her up to her room.

She almost fell when she stood up, but he managed to catch her.

“AJ! Did you know that this room spins? Isn’t that cool? They should make more bars like this.”

“Oh they do, believe me.” AJ held her up as they walked across the lobby. They bumped into Kevin while they were waiting for the elevator.

“She ok?” he asked.

“I think she’ll be fine.” AJ said, as Emily was singing a song from Veggie Tales.

“Oh where, is my hairbrush?” she sang.

Kevin laughed. “Baylee again?”

“Yeah. Brian fired her.”

“Well, that would explain why he’s crashing in my room then. Leighanne must be really pissed at him.”

AJ laughed. “You’ve no idea.”

“AJ, can you hold my head up for me? It’s really heavy!” Emily said, leaning against him.

When they were in the elevator, Emily finally noticed that Kevin was with them.

“Kevin! How’s it goin’?”

“Pretty good, Em. How are you?”

“I’m grrrreat!” She laughed. “I never really noticed how big your hands were before. You know what they say about a guy with big hands, don’t you?” Emily winked at him.

“What do they say, Em?” AJ asked, trying desperately not to laugh.

“Oh that’s ok, I already know.” Kevin was getting embarrassed.

“They have big gloves!” Emily laughed.

AJ managed to get Emily into her room and convinced her to lie down. She fell asleep within minutes but AJ decided to stay and watch over her while she slept. He wasn’t tired. He sat in the chair next to her bed and watched her sleep. He never really noticed how sweet she looked before now. He had noticed her legs, her chest, her eyes, he was well aware that she was sexy and he knew she had a great personality. Seeing her asleep made her seem so vulnerable, he just wanted to curl up next to her and hold her.

Emily woke up a few hours later still drunk and raced to the bathroom. The problem was, she didn’t realize she was still drunk until she stumbled into the wall.

“OWWW!” she said, holding her nose.

“Are you ok?” AJ asked, trying not to laugh.

Emily jumped. “Jesus! What are you doing here? Did we….?” Emily looked horrified at the bed.

“No, relax; I just stayed to make sure you were going to be ok. I must have dozed off in the chair.”

“Oh, phew!” Emily said, and then continued on her race to the bathroom.

“Are you alright?” he called.

“Yeah, I had to pee really bad!”

AJ chuckled. At least she didn’t have to throw up.

Chapter 27

Emily woke up to her alarm set for 4am. She sat up too fast and grabbed her head, trying to ease the pounding. She managed to get herself into the bathroom and took a quick shower to wake her up and help ease the hangover.

She was quiet as she finished packing up her things, not wanting to wake up AJ who was sleeping in the chair with his feet propped up on the desk. She gently woke him when it was time for her to leave.

“AJ?” she whispered.


“Are you awake?”


She smiled. “It’s time for me to go.”

AJ opened his eyes. “You’re leaving?”

“Yeah. My plane leaves in an hour.”

AJ looked at her for a minute before getting up and giving her a hug.

“I’ll miss you.” He said.

“I’ll miss you too.”

“Are you feeling ok?” he asked.


He smiled. “Call me when you get home?”

“We’ll see.” She said, picking up her bag and walking out the door.

“Dammit, Brian.” AJ mumbled.

The flight home seemed long. All she wanted was to go home, get in bed, and sleep it all away. She didn’t call AJ when she got there. She just wanted to forget all about it all. All about what happened, all about Brian, and all about AJ.

Brian had a crink in his neck all day long from sleeping on Kevin’s uncomfortable couch. Leighanne was not pleased with him, and as always, she was right. He had overreacted as usual. Hell, he couldn’t even keep Baylee from jumping on the bed again after they got back from the hospital. He couldn’t possibly blame her for what happened, and Baylee got a very stern lecture about jumping on the bed and was informed that from here on out, if he did it again, there would be no cartoons for a whole week.

AJ didn’t talk to him at breakfast, and still wasn’t speaking to him after their meet and greet.

“AJ, something wrong?” Brian asked, even though he thought he knew what had crawled up AJ’s ass.

AJ stopped and looked at him. “You were really hard on her, man. She didn’t deserve that.”

Brian had about enough, between Leighanne, Baylee and even himself being angry about the way he treated Emily. He didn’t need to hear it from AJ.

“I know that! I’ll make it right; I just wish everyone would get off my damn back about it!”

“You’d better, or I’ll be on your back for a long time.”

“AJ, what’s the deal? Why do you care so much?”

AJ sat down and said quietly, “I like her.”

“Yeah, I already knew that much.”

“No, I mean, I like her a lot. A whole lot. And I don’t even know why. Last night, when she was sleeping, she just looked so…”

“You slept with her last night?” Brian asked, shocked.

“No, it wasn’t like that. I found her in the hotel bar last night drunk as a skunk and I helped her up to her room. When she passed out, I decided to stay with her so I sat next to her in a chair, watching her sleep for the longest time.”

“Well, have you told her how you feel?”

“Not in so many words. I get the feeling she’s not interested.”

Brian hadn’t seen AJ this interested in a girl in a long time, and after seeing the types of girls he’d been dating lately, he was glad that it was Emily he was interested in and knew that he had to get Emily back. Not only to get his wife to talk to him again, but to help out his friend.

Brian tried to call Emily on her cell phone several times that day, but she never picked up. He finally left her a message.

“Emily, its Brian. I need to talk to you; can you please call me or pick up the phone?”

AJ tried to call her too.

“Hey Em, its AJ. Just calling to check on you. Call me.”

Emily checked her messages but she didn’t feel like returning her calls. Instead, she turned off her phone and went back to sleep.

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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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