Chapter 31

So, where are we going now?” Emily asked as they drove off from the restaurant.

We are going home, but don't worry, I still have more in store for you!”

Emily smiled. “How many tricks do you have up your sleeve tonight, Mr. McLean?”

Several. And if you behave, I just might let you see all of them!” he winked.

When they got home, AJ parked the car in the garage and asked her to wait in the kitchen while he got some things ready. It took all of her self control not to peek and see what he was doing, but he had put so much effort into this night that she didn't want to ruin any part of the surprise.

I'm ready!” he said, appearing in the kitchen. He'd taken off his suit coat but his tie remained in place.

Ready for what?” Emily asked.

AJ grabbed her hand and led her into the living room which looked nothing like her living room. He'd moved all the furniture against the walls and there were candles absolutely everywhere. He'd turned out the kitchen light behind them so that there were no lights on in the house except the flickering flames of the candles. Through the stereo he was playing their wedding song, Unforgettable with Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole together.

May I have this dance?” he asked, softly.

You may!” Emily smiled.

AJ gently pulled her up against him and wrapped his arms around her. Emily leaned her head against his chest as she let him lead her around the room to their song. She felt like she was floating as she gave him complete control over her. It was just like she had told Leighanne. They functioned better when he was the one leading. She sighed in contentment as he held her.

Are you having a good time?” he asked.

Emily looked up at him. “The best time I've had in awhile. Thank you.”

They gazed into each other's eyes for a minute longer before his lips captured hers in a deep and passionate kiss. When the kiss had ended, he continued to hold her as they swayed gently to the music. As Emily leaned her head against him, she could hear his heart pounding and she found that every time she would slowly run a hand up and down his back, his heart would pound even faster.

At that moment, AJ could tell how much she had missed him as he felt her relax into him, like she'd been waiting to do that the whole time he'd been home. He had no idea they'd been dancing so long until the CD ended, telling him they'd been stuck in the moment for nearly an hour. As much as he wanted to continue holding her like that, he had other plans for the night. He tipped her face back with his finger under her chin. Emily looked up at him with those sparkling eyes and smiled at him. He smiled back at her as he ever so slowly leaned down to kiss very softly, as if he didn't want to spoil the moment.

Emily wanted so much to deepen the kiss but tonight was his. He'd made all the special plans and she could only assume he would take the lead. AJ could sense her need to have more of him and he led her by the hand up the steps. She was surprised to find that the candles didn't end in the living room. He had lined the steps and the hallway with them, as well as their bedroom. She had barely taken her shoes off when he quickly wrapped his arms around her and roughly pulled her up against him as he kissed her with an intensity even he didn't know he possessed.

Emily was so caught off guard that it took her a moment to respond. She wrapped her arms around his neck and matched his intensity as they kissed, tongues teasing, teeth nibbling. He picked her up and set her down on top of the dresser, knocking over all her bottles of perfume in the process. As she kissed him, her hands reached up to loosen his tie and she quickly broke away from him to lift it over his head and toss it across the room. As she began to unbutton his shirt, she began kissing the hollow of his neck while he managed to find her ear and give it gentle nibbles. She helped him shrug off his shirt and his lips claimed hers once again as he very slowly slid down the zipper on the back of her dress. Because it was strapless, she hadn't worn a bra and AJ grinned as the top of her dress fell down, exposing her bare chest. AJ knew she wanted to feel his hands on her breasts, and because of that, he avoided touching them all together. This was not going to be quick by any means. He fully intended to take his time with her.

As AJ continued to kiss her, she wrapped her legs around his waist, pulling him in even closer. He put his arms around her and lifted her off the dresser, slowly sliding her body down against him until she was planted on the floor. He slid her dress the rest of the way off and picked her up once again, carrying her over to their bed where he gently laid her down. He took a second to take off his own pants before climbing in next to her.

Roll over.” he said, his voice sounding deep and husky.

Emily flipped over to her stomach and a minute later she felt the familiar sensation of massage oil being slowly dripped down her back. She sighed as his hands began slowly working away the tension in her muscles, starting at her shoulders and slowly working his way down her back. But he didn't stop there. He slowly worked her legs, one at a time, starting at the apex of her thighs and slowly going down until he reached her foot where he took extra time massaging. When he had finished both legs, he went to her back again, massaging his way back up to her shoulders and then down her arms. Emily felt like putty in his hands when he was done, unable to remember the last time she felt so warm and relaxed.

Good?” he asked.

Mmm....” Emily replied.

AJ slowly rolled her over onto her back. He lie on his side next to her, propping his head in his hand. He took his other hand and slowly stroked down the middle of her chest, just to the top of her lace panties. He could see her frustration growing as she waited. He leaned down and began to plant kisses as light as a feather along her jaw line up to her ear. As soon as her eyes closed in pleasure, he moved on top of her. He kissed her deeply as she tangled her legs up in his, running her foot up and down his leg. She heard AJ groan in the back of his throat as she sucked on his lower lip. He knew he had to take back control from her before she managed to convince him to take her right then and there. He saw his tie laying on the floor next to them and he reached down and picked it up.

Emily grinned as soon as she saw him pick it up. She knew what was coming and wasn't surprised in the least when he bound her wrists above her head, securing them to their headboard with his tie.

This is so I can completely have my way with you.” he said, giving a tug on the tie to make sure it was secure.

Emily's breath quickened and he kissed his way down her arm and all the way down her side until he reached her hip where he sucked and nibbled right where her hip bone was. Emily moaned softly as he continued down, following the edge of her underwear over to the other where he attacked her hip again before he kissed his way back up to her other arm. When he reached her shoulder, he moved over to her neck, seeking out her favorite spot just below her ear. She moaned loudly when he lightly ran his tongue over it and then gently blew on her wet skin. She could practically feel every nerve in her body tingling as he explored her body with his lips. He kissed back down her neck just to the edge of her armpit, biting down on her as he sucked roughly. Emily knew he was going to leave her a mark and this time she didn't even care.

He began to kiss inward towards her breast, kissing all around, licking the skin as he went everywhere but her nipples. Her breath was shallow as she squirmed beneath him, her body begging him for what she wanted. After teasing her for a few minutes, he barely grazed his tongue over her nipple and her whole body shuddered in response. He quickly grabbed it between his teeth and gave it a gentle tug, flicking his tongue over it while it was in his mouth. As quickly as he'd started, he stopped and worked his way to her other breast, beginning the painful, teasing routine again until he was ready to give in. He kissed her lips again, his tongue forcing its way inside her mouth as his hands roughly fondled her breasts, rolling her nipples between his fingers.

Emily was so ready for him she felt like she might actually explode. Her whole body was aching for him and he knew exactly what he was doing to her. He trailed his kisses down her chest again until he reached her underwear. He hooked his thumbs underneath the elastic and slowly pulled them down and tossed them aside. He sat up long enough to remove his black boxers and Emily swallowed hard as she took in the site of him completely naked and completely aroused. He had a gorgeous body and she was always very intrigued by it. He started kissing her inner thigh starting at her knee and working his way up. When he reached the top he paused long enough for her to feel his breath over her warmth and then he moved back down to her other knee, slowly working his way up again. Emily's hips were arched, trying to encourage him to give her what she wanted. He took his hands and pinned them to the bed as he took a second to stare at her gorgeous womanhood, completely aroused for him.

Emily had gotten so used to being tortured by him that she was completely caught off guard when she felt his mouth on her, tasting her as his tongue stroked over her clit. She would have moaned loudly but her breath was completely caught in her throat. She wanted to move her hips but he kept her pinned, in complete control of her. It didn't take long for her to come, he'd had her so turned on by then that it didn't take much. As soon as he felt her body spasm, he quickly climbed on top of her and slid himself into her while she was still coming. Emily had never experienced anything quite like it as he moved inside of her. She desperately wanted to wrap her arms around him, and as if he could sense her need to touch him, he reached up and untied her hands. She immediately wrapped her arms around him and dug her nails into his back as he made love to her. It wasn't rough but it wasn't gentle and tender either. It was full of passion, of needs that hadn't been met for a long time. Neither one of them were in control of their bodies as he made love to her like he was afraid it might be the last time.

AJ knew she was close to coming a second time when he felt her feet on his back, pushing him deeper inside of her. He looked down into her eyes and found them pleading with him for release. He bent down and kissed her neck and as he did, her whole body shuddered as she screamed in pleasure from her second orgasm. Feeling her body lose control like that took what little self control he had left as he drove himself harder into her, groaning as he exploded deep inside of her.

She held him as he lay on top of her, both of them completely sweaty and breathless. He shifted over to lay beside her and held her in his arms as he kissed the top of her head.

That....was amazing.” she panted.

That's because you are amazing.” he said.

Emily smiled. “You did some pretty amazing stuff yourself, you know.”

That was only the beginning.” he said.

Thank God!” Emily said.

AJ laughed.

They rested for about twenty minutes before AJ pulled her out of bed.

Where are we going?” she asked.

To take a shower.” he said, with a devilish grin.

Well, I did get pretty sweaty...” she said, following him into the bathroom.

AJ turned on the shower and when the water was hot, he climbed in. Emily was right behind him. She took the soap and started washing his body, starting with his back and then turning him around to wash his chest. She took her time as she ran her hands across his muscles, slowly trailing down his stomach. AJ's eyes were closed as he enjoyed the sensation of her touches and when he felt her soapy hand on his member, he groaned softly. Emily made sure he was good and clean before she took her hands from him, smiling as she turned him around and let the water rinse him off.

AJ switched places with her so that she could stand under the water as he pulled her against him and kissed her while leaning her head back to wet her hair. He slowly shampooed her hair, giving her scalp a nice massage in the process. After he had rinsed her hair, he leaned down and kissed her ear.

You have been very dirty and I'm just going to have to make sure I get you all clean.” he said, just above a whisper.

Emily's eyes closed and she took a breath in anticipation. He took his time washing her, one part at a time. First her arms, then her back, then her legs and then her chest. He took an awful lot of time washing between her legs, his fingers slippery from the soap. Emily had to hold on to his shoulders for support as he taunted her yet again. When he stopped to kiss her, she looked at him and said, “Well now that we're all clean, how about getting dirty again?”

AJ grinned at her, he had been thinking the exact same thing. He turned her around and she rested her forearms on the wall of the shower while he grabbed her hips and entered her from behind. Emily moaned loudly as his hands reached around to grab her breasts while he pounded her roughly from the back.

You like being dirty, don't you?” he asked.

Yeah....” Emily managed to respond.

Are you dirty enough to get off in the shower?”

Oh yeah....” Emily said, as she could feel her release building deep inside her.

AJ slid a hand down her body and found her clit, gently rubbing it with his finger. Emily's whole body began to shake and with a final flick of his finger, she came hard, pleasure hitting her in wave after wave. AJ had barely been able to hold off for her and he was relieved to finally let himself go.

Emily's knees felt weak as she turned around to face him. He pulled her against him and held her as they caught their breath. He reached behind her and shut off the water and carefully lifted her out of the shower and wrapped her in a towel before drying himself off.

They didn't bother putting any clothes on when they climbed back into bed.

I love you.” she said as she snuggled up against him.

I love you too.” he said, giving her a gentle kiss.

Chapter 32

AJ and Emily slept in until one in the afternoon the next day, having stayed up almost all night making love together. When they finally got up, they decided to go out to lunch since neither one really felt like making anything. They grabbed some burgers and fries and enjoyed a nice, casual meal together. When they got home, Emily felt like going swimming and she convinced AJ to hang out by the pool with her. He was sitting in a chair reading the latest Rolling Stone when his phone rang.

Hey, what's up Brent?”

Emily swam over by him to try and hear what it was Brent had to say. AJ smiled at her so she at least knew it was a good conversation, but Brent seemed to be doing most of the talking.

Yeah, that sounds totally awesome!” he said. “I'm in, just let me know when you get it ironed out.”

AJ hung up the phone.

Guess what?” he said.

What?” Emily asked, dying to know what it was all about.

Well, apparently Jammin' records just managed to sign Colby Calet, she just terminated her contract with her record company for some reason and Brent thinks it would be great if she and I teamed up to do a collaboration!”

Really? Oh my God, that's so amazing! She's getting really popular lately!” Emily climbed out of the pool so she could give him a big kiss.

He said Colby is pretty much up for it and he thinks we may even be able to iron out something where I'd do some shows with her, maybe open up for her and then join her for a few songs together. She has another tour planned for next winter, February I think he said. That would give me awesome exposure to a new fan base!”

You know, this Brent guy really seems to know what he's doing!” Emily said. “Your old record company wouldn't even give you the time of day, let alone set you up with one of the most popular new artists!”

Yes, you were right. This has ended up working out so much better for me. I can't wait to see those assholes eat their own words!”

I really think your voice would be perfect as her back-up singer in that song, Realize.”

Oh yeah? I like that song.”

Me too. It's pretty much like, the theme to our relationship.”

AJ laughed. “Why?”

I don't know, seems like we spend an awful lot of time having to realize how much we love each other. Between all my problems and all your problems...” she smiled.

AJ went to his AA meeting in the evening that night since he'd slept through the one at noon. He was very honest with his sponsor about what he'd been up to. So honest, in fact, that Larry had no choice but to believe him and that's exactly why AJ had flat out told him he'd slept in with his wife because they'd been up all night going at it like bunnies. Larry had just laughed and told him he thought it was good that things with his wife were going well.

While he was gone, Emily took some time to be alone with her thoughts. She had to work so hard not to think about the baby she'd lost when AJ was around. He could read her like a book and if she allowed herself to think too much about it, he'd automatically know something was wrong that she wasn't telling him about. Leighanne had tried to tell her it was normal for her to feel guilty but she just couldn't help but feel anything but. She went over and over it in her head. If only she hadn't been so stressed. If only she'd taken better care of herself. If only she hadn't lifted that heavy box. She had countless reasons why it was her fault. She knew that odds were none of those reasons caused the miscarriage but it was the fact that she'd never know what had that always left her wondering what if?

From the minute he got home, AJ hadn't been anything but loving to her and there were times when she felt like she really didn't deserve it. If he knew what had happened while he was away, he'd probably feel a lot different towards her. She felt guilty for going on with her life, acting like nothing happened. Truthfully, it was always on her mind and it would be for a long time but she knew that as selfish as it may be, she needed to try and put it behind her for the sake of her marriage.

And finally, there was just the pure grief she felt over the loss of the baby. She'd never know if it was a boy or a girl, blond or brown hair, what color eyes. She'd never know if it'd grow up to be an artist of some sort or something completely different. She'd heard it said before and now it made complete sense to her. In a miscarriage, the mother grieves for all the things her child would have been that she never got to know.

Friday morning Emily really didn't feel like going to work. She'd stayed up later than normal because she'd slept in so late the day before. She woke up at 5:30 to a dark and rainy day as she dragged herself out of bed and into the shower. A few cups of coffee later she was at least awake but certainly not bright eyed and bushy tailed. Her one consolation was that usually rainy days kept the clinic fairly quiet.

After a brief staff meeting in the lounge, Emily got to work, hoping the day would pass quickly so she could go home and enjoy an evening with AJ. All her hopes of an easy day went right out the window when she got a look at her first patient.

Steven Richards?” she called into the waiting room.

She saw a small boy around the age of 9 stand up, followed by a woman she assumed to be his mother. The boy had a bruise across his cheek and he was holding his arm like he'd hurt it. Emily led them back to an exam room and tried to pretend like she suspected nothing.

Are you his mother?” she asked.

Yes, I'm Tina.”

What brings you here today, Steven?”

Steven looked up at his mother who nodded at him to answer her.

I hurt my arm.” he said quietly.

What did you do to it?”

Steven looked at his mother again who simply crossed her arms and waited for him to explain.

I fell off my bike.”

Ouch! That's no fun. When did he fall?” she asked the mother.

Late last night.” Tina said, looking away.

Do you have any other injuries?”

Steven shook his head.

Did you hurt your face when you fell?”

He did that last week climbing a tree.” Tina answered for him.

Emily didn't believe her. The bruise on his face was definitely a fresh one.

Steven can I look at your arm?” she asked.

Steven nodded, looking nervous.

I promise I'll try real hard not to hurt it, ok?” Emily said.

Steven held out his arm for her to examine. It definitely looked broken but there was also some bruising on another area that to her looked a lot like finger marks. Emily made a few notes in the chart and then smiled at Steven.

I think it's probably broken but the doctor will want to take an x-ray to get a good look at it.” she told his mom.

Will that take long? I have to be at work at ten.”

Emily smiled. “I'll see what I can do.”

She closed the exam room door behind her and went in search of Dr. Carver.

Excuse me, Dr. Carver!” she called as the doctor was coming out of an exam room.

What's up Emily?” the doctor asked.

I have a little boy in room six with a broken arm. He says he fell off his bike but he's got a fresh bruise across his cheek that his mom said he got last week climbing a tree. There's also some bruising on the injured arm that looks like finger prints. Moms a little jumpy and wants to get out of here quickly. I'm pretty sure someone's hurting this kid.”

The doctor nodded. “Wouldn't surprise me, happens all the time these days. Call the local hospitals and see if he has any records there, then call the social worker. Hopefully it's early enough that she's not already backed up with cases. I'll stall a little before I go in and then we can waste some time with the x-ray if we need to.”

Ok, thanks.” Emily said.

She paged Faye, the social worker first and hoped she'd call soon. She was on hold with hospital records when Faye returned her call. Emily filled her in and Faye said she'd be over within an hour. Emily didn't understand why the clinic didn't just have its own social worker, they were calling them over several times a day it would just make sense to have better access. She supposed there just wasn't enough money and enough social workers to go around.

Emily's theory about rainy days didn't hold true that day. The clinic was so swamped they were having to turn away patients who could wait until the next day. She was so overloaded that she was barely able to keep tabs on Steven. She did see Faye arrive and assumed she'd taken care of things so she was completely blown away when she saw Steven being discharged.

Faye!” Emily caught her as she was walking down the hall. Faye turned around and met Emily halfway. “You sent Steven Richards home?”



Faye sighed. “The kid says he fell off his bike. His hospital record is clean, there's not enough evidence to prove anything.”

Emily couldn't believe her ears. She simply could not stand aside while she knew someone was hurting that little boy. “Come on Faye, that's bullshit and you know it!” she said loudly.

It may be but there's nothing I can do about it. We'll follow up with a home visit and see what we turn up.”

What is the matter with you people? How can you just stand there and not even care what happens to him? How does that not matter?”

Look, the system isn't perfect...”

It sure as hell isn't.” Emily grumbled.

But we do what we can.”

That's lame. You could help that boy if you really wanted to, you just don't give a damn anymore. Whatever you have to do to keep yourself from doing too much work!” Emily accused.

Emily if I were you, I'd take a deep breath and walk away.” Faye warned.

Walk away? Like you walked away from the poor abused boy?”

Faye put her hand on Emily's arm to try and calm her down but Emily swatted the woman away from her.

Don't even bother trying to explain it to me. I don't want to hear it.” Emily said, walking away.

Chapter 33

The rest of the day had been exceptionally shitty for Emily and she was completely relieved to only have twenty minutes left when Wendy, the receptionist called her to the front.

There's a little boy here, he was here this morning but I thought you should take a look at him, he's not in such good shape.”

Emily looked over and saw Steven hunched over in a chair next to a young teenage girl. She raced out into the waiting room to check on him.

Steven? Are you ok? What happened?”

Steven looked up at her and Emily gasped as she saw his face. His left eye was swollen shut and his lip was swollen and bleeding.

I came over to babysit him, his mom said he went to bed early and when I went to check on him the door was locked but I could hear him crying so I picked the lock and when I saw him, I brought him straight here.” The teenage girl said.

What's your name?”

Stephanie.” the girl sniffed.

You did the right thing, Stephanie. Come on, let's get you guys in a room.”

Emily took them back and checked Steven over. He had welts on his back that were presumably made from a belt and he had some bruises over his ribs.

Are you hurt anywhere else?” Emily asked.

Steven shook his head.

You're going to be ok now.” Emily assured him. “You're safe here, ok?”

Steven nodded.

I'll be right back.” she said.

Emily asked Wendy to page Faye immediately.

I think she's off for the day.” Wendy said.

I don't care. Page her and tell her Steven Richards is back. She'll come.”

Emily grabbed Dr. Carver and explained the situation and Dr. Carver immediately went in to examine him. Emily was infuriated as Steven told the doctor what had happened. It seemed Tina had assumed Steven told the social worker what kind of mother she really was even though he hadn't said a thing. Tina wanted to teach him a lesson for opening his mouth. The system let him down big time.

Faye knocked on the door and Emily stepped outside to talk to her.

What happened?”

Emily crossed her arms and explained to Faye everything Steven had told them up until now. All about how he was whipped with a belt and smacked across the face and kicked in the ribs before being locked in his bedroom.

Look, this isn't my fault.” Faye said. “There wasn't anything I could do and you know it.”

Emily glared at her. “I do know it. There wasn't anything you could do because you don't give a damn enough to help a little boy you knew was in trouble.” And with that, she stormed off. As Emily headed towards the lounge, she heard a commotion up front and went to check it out.

Where the hell is my son?” It was Tina. Emily went over to try and calm her down.

You can't see him now.” Emily said. “He's in with the doctor.”

You little bitch! Don't tell me I can't see him, he's my son!” Tina yelled, getting in Emily's face.

Oh don't even act like you care about him, you're the one who beat the crap out of him and then locked him in his bedroom!” Emily spat.

Tina backed Emily up against the wall. “You don't know what you're talking about.” she said, grabbing Emily's arms. “Now take me to see my son!”

Emily shoved Tina off of her causing her to fall down.

That kind of intimidation might work with your kid but it doesn't work with me.” she said. With a final glare at Tina, Emily stalked off.

Emily was over an hour late getting home from work that night.

Where have you been? I was starting to get worried!” AJ said.

Emily set her things down and started laughing. “I just quit my job.”

What?” AJ was surprised. “Why, what happened?”

Emily told AJ all about her day and the altercation she'd gotten into with Tina. After being scolded by her supervisor for getting physical with the family member of a patient, she informed Emily that she didn't think Emily was cut out for this job and Emily agreed completely. Her boss agreed not to put the incident in her file if Emily resigned immediately. Emily couldn't decide whether she should laugh or cry. Strangely, she found herself doing both at the same time.

AJ pulled her into a tight embrace and held her. “What happened to the boy?”

He has a dad in Texas who's going to come get him.”

Well, I think quitting was the right thing to do.”

Me too.” Emily said, wiping her eyes. “I just don't think I could take any more days like today.”

Well, I have some news that might cheer you up.” he said.

Really? What?”

I talked to Brent again today and he wants me to get in the studio and start doing some work!”


Yeah, he wants to brush up some of the demos before he and the execs sit down together to talk about the album.”

Wow! I had no idea things would be moving this fast!”

Me neither. So here's the thing. I'd have to do it in LA or New York. It would probably take less than a week but now that you don't have to go to work, you could come with me if you want to.”

Please tell me I don't have to go back to LA....” Emily said.

AJ laughed. “I had a feeling you'd want to go to New York.”

Are you sure you're ready for this? I mean, is it ok to just jump in like this? I imagine it'll be pretty stressful.”

I'm ready, I promise. I'll find a meeting up there to go to, I've already talked to Brent about it. I've been very honest and up front with him and he's totally understanding.”

Emily nodded. “So....when do we leave?”

How does Monday sound?”

Monday sounds great! I guess I sure picked the right time to quit my job, huh?”

So it would seem!”

So explain this whole process to me again. You're going in to the studio to do what, exactly?”

Basically, Brent wants the demos to be awesome so that when he sits down with the big wigs and producers, they'll be blown away. In theory, the better your demos are the more serious they take you as an artist. And while there's nothing wrong with the demos we already have, there are some things he and I'd like to do. And I think I'm also going to try and lay down a few new tracks as well.”

Emily nodded. “Do I get to hear them when they're finished?”

Of course! I'll get you your very own bootleg copy!”

Emily smiled. “I'm really proud of you.”

I'm proud of you too.” he said.

What for?”

For what you did at work today.”

I wish I could have done more.” Emily said. “Without getting arrested for it.”

AJ laughed.

Emily and AJ spent the weekend getting ready for their trip. AJ spend a lot of time locked up in his studio working on his new songs and he refused to let Emily hear them until they were finished. Emily did laundry so she'd have clean clothes to pack, made arrangements to have their mail and paper picked up and the animals fed, and called Leighanne to let her know they'd be going out of town.

Wow! AJ must be pumped!” Leighanne said.

Oh he is. I've hardly seen him all weekend, he's been working on his new stuff.”

So things are going ok with you guys?”

Honestly, things couldn't be better right now.” Emily said. “It's weird.”

Why is that weird?”

I don't know. I mean things went really well for us after we got married but then things were so rocky that I think I'd gotten used to always having something between us, you know? We haven't had a single argument since he's been back.”

But you're not avoiding each other, right? I mean maybe he's right, maybe this time really was different for him.”

Maybe so. Whatever it is, I like it. I really feel like we're a team now.”

So what are you going to do in New York while he's working?”

Well for starters, shopping of course! Maybe some sight-seeing, hang with him in the studio some, there's apparently a spa in our fancy hotel so I think I might spend some time there too.”

I hope you have a great time! Sounds like you could use a little vacation after hearing all about your job!”

Emily laughed. “You're probably right.”

Are you going to try and find a new job when you get back?”

I think so. I'd still like to stay in pediatrics, I just don't know quite what yet.”

Is AJ ok with you getting another job?”

He seems to be fine with it. He might be doing some shows next winter and I know things are about to start getting really busy for him but I think he understands that I need to have a life of my own. At least until we have a family together.”

Are you guys talking about that?” Leighanne sounded surprised.

Umm, it's come up a few times but we haven't really had a serious talk about it since he's been back. I don't think he's quite ready yet.”

What about you?”

I'm definitely not ready yet. Not after everything I've been through. But at the same time, I don't want to wait that long either.

AJ as a dad...I never would have thought.” Leighanne laughed.

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"Realize" is a work of fiction.
The characters and events portrayed are fictitious.
Any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental.

Copyright 2008
All Rights Reserved
No part of this text may be copied or reprinted
without the author's permission.