AJ knew it was going to be bad when Emily didn't even protest when he told her he was calling the guys and telling them he was not coming back to the studio until after they'd seen Dr. Fox and knew what was going on.
The normal Emily would have refused to allow him to skip out on important work just to be with her. The truth was, Emily was terrified to be alone. She was fighting with all her might to stay calm and she knew that if she were alone, she would totally lose it.
“Do you want to lie on the couch or in bed?” he asked when they got home.
“I'll think I'll just get in bed. It's closer to the bathroom and I'll be more comfortable.” she answered, flatly.
AJ nodded and walked her back to the bedroom. He helped her change into more comfortable clothes and tucked her in bed, surrounding her with her mountain of pillows she used to be comfortable in any position she wanted to be in.
“Do you want me to open the French doors so you can hear the waves?” he offered.
“That sounds nice, thanks.”
He opened the door and turned to face her. Her face was a mix between total blankness and extreme fear and pain. His heart ached for her. “Everything will be ok, Em.” he said, quietly.
“You can't possibly know that.” she replied, not looking at him.
He sat down next to her on the bed. “No, I can't. But it's what we have to believe. Those little babies need us to believe. It's the only thing we can do for them right now.”
“I know you're right, I really do. It's just hard to get my mind to accept it.”
AJ was quiet for a moment. He didn't know what to say or do. It was just as terrifying for him and he knew the only thing he could do to help the situation was to keep his wife as calm as possible.
“Can I get you anything?” he offered. “You should eat something, you haven't eaten since breakfast.”
Emily's stomach churned at the thought of food but she knew she had to find a way. “Sure. Anything will do, I'm not really hungry.”
He went into the kitchen and gripped the edge of the sink as he stared out at the ocean, fighting his own emotions. He didn't know if he was strong enough to handle it if something happened to the babies. Couldn't things just work out for once? Why did everything have to be so damn difficult all the time?
The ringing of his phone jolted him out of his state. He shouldn't have been surprised to see it was Leighanne calling.
“Hey Leigh.” he answered.
“AJ what the hell is going on? Brian said something might be wrong with the babies and you weren't even going to the studio! Is Emily ok?”
“She's doing as well as you might expect.” he answered. “There is some concern that one of the babies isn't growing properly. Something about the placenta not being able to sustain two babies.”
“But there's also a possibility the measurements were off. They couldn't get a very good view. We're going to a specialist the day after tomorrow for another scan.”
“Oh God, AJ. I'm so sorry!” Leighanne said. “So...if they were right, what does that mean?”
“I don't really know. They said they'd have to watch the growth and eventually it might come to the decision that the babies would have a better chance being delivered very early than they would staying in there. But that doesn't sound like much of a chance either, does it?”
“What can I do?” she asked. “Do you want me to come over?”
“No. Emily's in bed. I don't really think she wants to talk much about it. She's just fighting to stay calm. We both are.” he admitted. “Just send out some prayers.”
“Of course.” she said. “Will you let me know if you guys need anything? I'd be happy to drop off dinner or something.”
“Thanks, Leigh. I'll let you know.”
He heated up some leftover pizza and brought it to her. She smiled as she sat up and accepted the slice. “Figured pizza was your best bet.” he admitted.
“You're probably right.” she said, taking a bite. “Did I hear you talking on the phone?”
“Yeah, Leighanne called to check on you.”
“Oh God, she isn't coming over, is she?”
AJ chuckled. “No. She offered to bring food over, I told her I didn't think you were up to company just yet.”
“Thank you! I just don't think I could have handled her right now.”
Emily finished her pizza and glass of water and leaned back against the pillows, rubbing her growing belly. “What are we going to do if something is really wrong?”
“We're going to handle it.” he said. “We'll get through it. And just because one baby is smaller doesn't have to mean we're going to lose one or both. It just means we'll have to be more careful, right?”
“Right.” Emily nodded, still unsure.
“Why don't you try and take a nap.” he suggested. “I'll be around the house if you need me.” he said.
“Ok. Will you tuck me in?” she asked.
“Of course.” he smiled, softly. He helped pull the blanket back so she could get underneath it and then gently tucked it around her, kissing her forehead when he was done. “I love you, Em.” he said.
“Love you too.” she said, as she closed her eyes.
It was probably the longest two days either of them had ever experienced in their lives, and that was saying a lot. AJ woke up the morning of their appointment with Dr. Fox feeling like he was about to puke. He did his best to hide most of his anxiety from Emily, who didn't seem to want to get out of bed.
“Babe, we're going to be late.” he said, gently.
“I know.” she said.
“Well, aren't you going to get up?”
“I was just thinking to myself that if I never got out of bed, I'd never have to hear bad news.” she said, gazing out at the ocean.
AJ sat down beside her. “That's true, but then you'll also never get the chance to hear good news, either. Wouldn't it be better to know one way or the other?”
Emily nodded. “I know you're right. I guess...I'm just really scared.”
He squeezed her hand. “Me too. But it'll all be over in a few hours. Come on, I'll get you some breakfast.” he said.
Somehow, he managed to get her dressed and fed and in the car with just barely enough time to drive through the LA traffic to Good Samaritan Hospital where Dr. Fox's office was located. He insisted on making her ride in a wheel chair to the maternity wing of the hospital and up to the sixth floor where his office was located. He checked her in with the receptionist and sat with her while they waited.
Of course, as luck would have it, the office was running behind schedule. Emily pretending to flip through pregnancy magazines while AJ pretended to be very interested in whatever was on CNN at the time.
Finally, after twenty minutes of waiting, they were called back. The nurse got them settled in the ultrasound room and briefly went over with Emily why she had been sent in before telling them Dr. Fox would be in soon.
Just a few minutes later, there was a knock on the door and a very busy looking doctor walked in.
“Hi folks, I'm Dr. Fox. You must be Emily and AJ.” he said, glancing down at the chart.
“Yes.” Emily said.
“Alright, well I can see how anxious you are by your blood pressure when you came in! Let's get this scan done so we can see what we're dealing with, how does that sound?”
“Let's get it over with.” Emily mumbled.
AJ stood to hold her hand as Dr. Fox squeezed the cold gel on her stomach. They each were saying silent prayers as he moved the ultrasound all over, taking all kinds of measurements.
“Well we have a great view today of both of them which is good news.” he said as he continued looking. “With identical twins, it's very hard to always be able to see both babies because they hang out so close to each other. But from the looks of things, the size is measuring just fine!”
“Really?” Emily asked, raising herself up on her elbows.
“According to the measurements I'm getting today, they're almost exactly the same size.”
“So....everything is the way it should be?” AJ asked.
“Yep...looking right on schedule. Did you want to know the sex?”
“No!” AJ and Emily said together.
Dr. Fox chuckled. “Good, because those parts were the one part I could get a good view of! Do you have any other questions?”
Emily shook her head. “None that I can think of.”
“Great! Congrats on the good news! Keep taking care of yourself so you don't have to come back and see us again, got it?”
“Got it.” Emily nodded.
Dr. Fox handed them their printouts of the pictures he'd taken of the babies and excused himself.
AJ folded Emily up into his arms. “Oh my God, they're really ok!” he said, kissing the top of her head.
“I honestly can't even believe it myself!” Emily felt numb, like she was in shock. “I can't even begin to explain how relieved I feel right now.”
“I'm pretty sure I can guess.” he said. “Let's go out to lunch to celebrate!” he said.
“That sounds great! I'm starving!”
AJ chuckled. “I bet you are, you haven't been eating enough the last few days.”
“I know. My nerves were really putting a damper on my appetite!”
AJ took her to a little cafe not too far from their house. They sat at a table outside, enjoying the gently breeze and soaking up the warm sun.
“You know, I am never going to complain about being pregnant again.” Emily said. “Well...ok...I'm sure I'll complain but I'm going to try really hard not to. No more caring about how fat I'm getting or silly things like that. I am so thankful that both of the babies are healthy that I'll get as fat as I need to without even batting an eyelash.”
“Truthfully, I don't think I've ever been so scared in my life!” AJ admitted.
“Really?” Well you sure did a good job of hiding it!”
“It seemed like the only thing I could do for you was to be strong to help you stay calm.” he shrugged.
“Well, thanks.” Emily said, quietly. “You did a great job. Really.”
“Now lets just hope that I can handle childbirth as well.” he cringed.
“That's something totally different. Don't worry, you'll be great!”
AJ had his doubts, but he figured every father had his doubts about what he'd witness in the delivery room.
“Besides,” Emily added, “Once you see the baby, you'll forget all about the hard stuff that we went through to get it there!”
“Let's hope you're right!” AJ said, stealing one of her fries.
AJ drove Emily home and got her settled. While she was no longer on bed rest, she'd been advised to stay off her feet whenever possible. He set her up on the couch and made sure she had everything she'd need by her. He gave her the remotes for the tv and stereo, her cell phone, her book, a few bottles of water and some snacks.
“Are you sure you don't want me to stay home today?” he asked.
“No! You've missed enough work already. I want you to go get this album done so we can make it home in time!” she insisted.
He kissed her cheek. “I love you.” Then he kissed her belly. “I love you too! Be nice to Mommy!”
When AJ arrived at the studio, they were all relieved to know that everything was just fine with the babies.
“Are you really sure you should be here working?” Howie asked. “We all had a talk last night about what we'd do if the news wasn't so good and we were all fine waiting until after the babies are born to finish this. I mean, we'd all understand if you just wanted to take care of Emily right now.”
AJ shook his head. “Thanks guys, I really appreciate it. Emily seems pretty insistent though on getting it done now so she doesn't have to worry about it later. But it's really nice to know that you guys will be so understanding if anything else comes up.”
Once AJ was gone, Emily called Leighanne to let her know everything was fine.
“Thank God, Kristin and I have been so worried about you! AJ wouldn't let us come over!”
Emily laughed. “I know. It was all a bit overwhelming for me and I was just trying to focus on staying calm.”
“That I can understand.”
“So what's new? Have I missed any good gossip lately?”
“Not really. Kristin has been kind of cranky lately. I guess maybe the baby has been keeping her up a lot lately. I haven't heard much from Amanda this week.”
“Wow! No new gossip? I was hoping for a little more entertainment out of you, Leigh!” Emily laughed.
“I know, sorry!” Leighanne said, jokingly. “Want me to come over later? I could paint your toe nails for you!”
“Sure! Will you bring dinner?”
“Of course. Baylee wants burgers, is that alright with you?”
Emily's mouth began to water. “That sounds perfect!”
“Great! I'll see you around dinner time then!”
It had been two weeks since their scare with the babies and Emily was only just now starting to calm down from it. She no longer cared how much she needed to eat. In fact, she was starting to enjoy it! Leighanne was always bringing her treats from her favorite bakeries when she came over and AJ was always more than happy to get her whatever she wanted for dinner. She was also a lot more content to stay off her feet and rest. She had sort of worked out a daily routine that consisted of a lot of sitting around, just in various parts of the house.
In the mornings, she would sit at the table with the newspaper and her laptop while she ate her breakfast. Then she'd take a bath and get dressed before lying on the couch and watching tv and eventually falling asleep for a bit. When she woke up, she'd eat again and then go sit on the deck in a lounge chair with a book for awhile before napping yet again to the sounds of the waves. Then it was back to the couch where she'd usually eat dinner while watching reruns of Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy on Lifetime before her evening shows. She'd usually fall asleep watching them and would get up when she had to pee and put herself to bed. On nights when AJ came home early enough, he went to bed with her and they'd lie and talk together until she fell asleep.
She was no longer bored with the monotony of her days. She was perfectly happy just knowing she had two healthy babies inside of her and was doing everything in her power to keep it that way. Sometimes Leighanne would come over and they'd gossip or watch a movie but Leighanne had been given very specific instructions not to overtire Emily from AJ and so she never stayed long.
Emily was just about to get up from her first nap and go sit outside when the doorbell rang. She was surprised to see Kristin there.
“Hey Kris! What are you doing here? Where's Mason?” Emily asked as she let her in.
“He's at home with Kevin. I just really needed to get out for a bit so I thought I'd come visit you!”
“Is everything ok?” Emily asked.
“Oh, yeah. Just having a rough week I guess. This Mommy stuff is harder than I thought.” she admitted.
Emily smiled. “I know. It's good to get away. Sometimes you just need time to miss your baby!”
“Exactly. So how are you?” Kristin asked as they sat down.
“Doing pretty well. Growing every day it seems. You came at a good time, I just woke up from my nap!”
“God, I miss naps.” Kristin sighed.
“Don't you sleep when the baby sleeps?”
“He doesn't sleep! I don't know what's going on! He won't sleep during the day, he just cries and cries and cries! The doctor says there's nothing wrong with him, he isn't hungry or sick, he just has that evil colic.”
“Oh honey, I'm sorry!” Emily said. “Do you want to take a nap here?” she offered.
Kristin laughed. “No, but thanks for the offer! I'm sorry...I'm probably scaring you with all this talk of how hard it is.”
“Not really.” Emily shrugged. “You have to remember I was a nanny. I've already seen a lot of this. I know it'll be different but I kind of figure I've already been exposed. Hopefully, that'll make the transition a little easier.”
“Maybe I just wasn't meant to be a mother.”
“That's ridiculous!” Emily insisted. “You're doing so great!”
“It really just doesn't feel that way sometimes. Why can't I keep him happy? My own baby seems to hate me! He calms down as soon as Kevin comes home. It isn't fair!”
“I once read that babies are more likely to be cranky and cry for their mothers because they trust their moms more to communicate their feelings to. Mason sees you all the time. He's used to communicating his needs to you because you're the one that does most of the feeding and the changing.”
“Or maybe that's just what mothers tell ourselves to make us feel better.”
Emily was beginning to sense that she wasn't going to be able to convince Kristin otherwise so instead, she changed the subject and tried to keep her distracted. She was interrupted when she heard her phone ringing on the deck.
“Oops! I left my cell outside. I'll be right back.” Emily said. When she saw that it was Kevin calling, she decided to take the call outside.
“What's up Kevin?”
“Emily have you heard from Kristin?” he asked, sounding panicked.
“Yeah...she's here now actually. Why?”
Kevin sighed in relief. “We had a big fight and she just took off.”
Emily could hear Mason fussing in the background. “What happened?”
“Look I don't want to get into it with her there. Do me a favor, call me when she leaves, ok?”
“Yeah, sure.” Emily said, curious as to what was going on over there.
Emily went back inside and sat down. “That was Kevin.” she said.
“Yeah...so you didn't tell him you were coming?”
“Is that what he told you?”
“No, he said you guys had a fight and you took off. He just sounded worried about you.'
“More like he's probably tired of taking care of Mason and wants to know when I'm coming home.”
Emily shook her head. “He didn't ask about that. He just sounded relieved to know where you were.”
“Look I don't really want to talk about it. I just needed a break.”
“I understand.” Emily said. “Do you want to watch tv?”
“No, thanks. I should probably get back. Mason will be getting hungry.”
“Well, it was great to see you! Listen let's get together soon, ok? Make sure to take care of yourself.”
Emily watched as Kristin left, feeling very uneasy about their exchange. Something just wasn't right. She went to sit outside and called Kevin.
“Hey. She just left. What the hell is going on?” she asked, trying not to sound accusing.
She heard Kevin sigh again. “Something isn't right with her lately.”
“How do you mean?” Emily asked, having noticed the same thing herself.
“She's never happy. She's not herself.”
“Well, maybe she's just tired. She told me Mason's been pretty difficult lately.”
“It's more than that. I could understand her being tired but it's almost like she's starting to resent him now. She doesn't want to do anything but lay around the house and it seems like she's always mad at me. And she cries at least twice a day.”
“She's like this every day?” Emily asked, concerned.
“For the last few weeks.”
“Well....have you talked to her about it?”'
“That's what our fight was about today. I did some research and I'm really concerned she has postpartum depression. I tried to ask her about it, see about maybe getting her some help and she totally exploded. I couldn't even get a word in edge wise. She just kept screaming and sobbing and then she just took off. That's why I was so worried. I....didn't know what she was doing.”
“Oh God, Kevin. I had no idea.”
“I know. I kept thinking she'd get over it but it's only gotten worse.”
“Can I do anything to help?”
“I don't know. I mean...do you know anything about this condition?”
“Just a little. It's hard enough dealing with a difficult infant but when you factor in hormones going haywire, it can be a little tough for some women to adjust. But a lot of women have trouble admitting that they have a problem because it makes them feel like a failure, that they can't handle being a mother.”
“What should I do?”
“Try to talk to her again. She seemed pretty calm when she left. Try and tell her she's a great mother and she's doing fantastic and you only want her to be happy. Then make her a doctor appointment yourself.”
“What if she won't go?”
“One step at a time, Kevin.”
“Thanks, Em. So....how are you doing?”
“I'm doing great! Lots of relaxing going on over here and loving every minute of it!”
“I thought you hated LA?”
“I do. But I love the beach!”
That weekend, Emily was informed that Saturday night they were all getting together to go out on a group dinner. Kevin and Kristin would be tagging along. Kevin had called Emily and chatted some more. Apparently he and Kristin had a good talk when she got home and she agreed to talk to her doctor. She also communicated she just needed a little more support from him and he said things seemed a little better out in the open.
AJ was in the shower when Emily was trying to find something to wear. She didn't have much in the way of dress clothes and she felt so huge in everything that it was hard to feel dressed up at all. She finally settled for the black capri pants with the pink maternity blouse and flat, black sandals. She was sitting in the kitchen eating a pre-dinner snack when AJ came out.
“Yeah.” Emily smiled. “I was hungry.”
“You look gorgeous.” he said, rubbing her belly.
“I know, I know...you don't feel gorgeous. But let me tell you something. You are absolutely glowing. Seriously, watching your belly grow as our babies grow is amazing and I don't think you've ever seemed more beautiful to me.” he said as he wrapped his arms around her.
“Thank you.” she said, resting her head on his chest and inhaling his scent.
“Do you think maybe we could come home early tonight so you could show me how beautiful I am?”
He chuckled. “Of course.”
“Good, because you are looking abnormally gorgeous yourself tonight.” she said, eying his tight black pants and red shirt.
“Well if you want, we could skip the whole dinner and just stay home....” he offered.
“Are you kidding? I got all dressed up! We are going!”
AJ laughed. “Ok, ok. Let's get going then, we're going to be late.”
When they pulled up to the restaurant, he helped her from the car and led her inside. The rest of the party had already been seated and they were led back to the table. They exchanged their hello's with everyone and Emily received a lot of hugs and belly pats.
“Holy cow, Emily! You're huge!” Nick commented.
Everyone at the table froze as Emily felt the color creep up into her cheeks.
She cleared her throat. “If you'll excuse me for a minute, I'm going to go freshen up.” she said as she excused herself to the bathroom.
When she was gone, everyone glared at Nick.
“What?” he asked, dumbfounded.
AJ glared at him across the table and Kevin whacked him in the back of the head.
“What?” he asked again.
“Nick, you don't call a pregnant woman huge. Ever.” Kristin said.
“But I didn't mean anything mean by it! I just meant...her stomach is growing so fast!”
Everyone just shook their heads at him.
“Leigh could you go check on her?” AJ asked.
“Of course.” she said, quickly getting up.
“Emily? You still in here?” she called into the bathroom.
“Yeah, I'm in the handicap stall!” Emily called. “I don't fit so well in the regular ones.” she chuckled.
“Are you ok?” Leighanne asked. “Nick's an idiot.”
Emily laughed. “Yeah. I'm over it. I promised myself I wasn't going to get worked up over those things anymore so I let it go. I am huge. Not in a bad way but I suppose it would be shocking if you hadn't seen me for awhile!”
She came out and washed her hands. “But I do think he deserves a little chewing out by someone.”
“Already taken care of!” Leighanne laughed. “If looks could kill, AJ would have murdered him right then and there!”
They took their seats and dinner went off fairly uneventful besides the normal jokes and story telling.
As they were eating dessert, Nick stood up and cleared his throat. “If I could have everyone's attention, Natasha and I have an announcement.”
Natasha sat there, still looking bored.
“Last night, I asked her to marry me and she said yes!” Nick announced.
The table was silent while everyone tried to figure out how to pick their jaws up off the floor.
“Well...congratulations!” Emily said, trying her best to sound genuinely happy.
AJ gave her a baffled look and she shrugged her shoulders as if to say 'What else are we supposed to say?'
Everyone caught on and managed to blurt out something nice. Everyone except for AJ. AJ tended to be a no bull-shit kind of guy and if he wasn't happy about something, he wasn't going to pretend to be for the sake of someone's feelings.
“Let me see your ring!” Kristin said.
“Oh....she's not wearing it right now.” Nick said, awkwardly.
“Yeah...I didn't really like the one he'd picked out. I wanted something bigger so he's taking me ring shopping tomorrow.” Natasha responded.
Everyone was silent again. Either Nick picked out a horrible ring or this girl was incredibly selfish and materialistic.
“Well...I guess if you plan on wearing it for the rest of your life you should like it.” Emily attempted.
“Well I don't know about the rest of my life but at least for the next few years.” Natasha shrugged.
After that, everyone quickly made their exit from dinner because they all knew they had nothing nice left to say about the situation and it was certainly not the time to speak to Nick about it.
On the way home, AJ was practically fuming. “Can you believe this?”
Emily shrugged. “Nick's always had some issues. My feeling is that I'm not too worried about it because I don't see how they'll ever even make it to the wedding. They'll break up before then.”
“I hope you're right.”
Emily managed to distract AJ when they got home with sex and afterwords, she was thankful for being so tired because it meant she wouldn't have to stay up and listen to him rant about Nick and Natasha. She knew everything he would say...that they were pretty much making a mockery of marriage and thus mocking the marriages of his fellow band mates. That any woman who would refuse a man's ring because it wasn't big enough was not a woman who really wanted to marry that man because they both knew that it wasn't like Nick bought her a little chip of a diamond.
The next morning, AJ was still in a foul mood and Emily was once again thankful that he was kind enough to not make her get out of bed so he could talk before he had to go to the studio. She breathed a sigh of relief when he was gone. It wasn't that she didn't want to talk to him, she just knew that he would go on and on about it and really, talking it to death was not going to fix anything. Ultimately, he and the others would have to decide if they were brave enough to confront Nick about it and if not, they were going to have to shut up about it and make their peace with it one way or another. Emily was becoming surprisingly Zen since living on the beach. Or maybe it was the pregnancy hormones screwing with her brain.
She had just finished her lunch when the doorbell rang. She was expecting Leighanne or maybe even Kristin again but as she looked through the peep hole, she saw a man she didn't recognize standing there.
She opened the door cautiously and froze. Even though she'd never met him, she recognized him immediately. Standing on her front step was AJ's father.
“Hello, I'm looking for my son, Alex. Does he live here?”
“No...I mean...yes, he's staying here but this isn't his house. But he isn't home at the moment.”
Emily had never met his father before. She'd never spoken with him and had only seen a handful of photos.
“You must be Emily.” he said, smiling. “I've seen your photo with him.”
“Well Emily, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Bob McLean. I'm AJ's father.”
Emily opened the door all the way and shook his hand. “It's nice to meet you too. AJ will be gone until late, unfortunately. You might be better off calling him, I'm not really sure when he plans on being around with all the studio work and everything.”
“Oh my gosh, what do we have hear?” he asked, gesturing to her stomach. “Am I about to be a grandfather?”
Emily felt a combination of uncomfortable and guilty. This was AJ's father and he didn't even know that they were pregnant. But Emily also knew all the reasons AJ didn't talk to his father anymore and she felt almost like she was betraying him by being friendly.
“Yes. We're expecting twins in December.”
“Twins? Wow! Congratulations!”
“Thanks!” Emily said. “Well...is there anything I can do for you?”
“I know it seems a little out of the blue appearing at your house like this. I just heard he was in town again....and...I don't know, I guess I thought maybe it would be nice to see him.”
“Well, would you like to leave a phone number?”
Bob shook his head. “We both know he won't call.”
Emily nodded. “You're probably right. Do you....want to leave a message?”
Bob thought for a moment. “Tell him I came to work my steps and I'd really like it if he would agree to talk to me.” he said, handing Emily a card with his address and number on it. “He can reach me at this number any time.”
Emily took the card from his hand. “I will be sure to give him the message as soon as he gets home.”
“Thanks. Well....it was really nice to meet you finally. I hope I get to see you again soon!”
Emily nodded. “Yeah...me too. Goodbye!” she said as he turned to head back to his car.
She watched him drive off out the window and sat down to call Leighanne.
“You'll never guess what just happened!” she said.
Emily filled Leighanne in on all the details of AJ's father's visit.
“How do you think he's going to react?” Emily asked. “I mean we have hardly ever talked about his dad. I can't decide if I should call him right away or wait until he gets home.”
“I don't think he's going to be very happy, but maybe he'd be willing to hear him out since he understands the whole rehab process and how important it all is. What was he like?”
“It was weird....I was kind of creeped out by him but at the same time, he was very friendly. He didn't try to come inside or anything even though I got the feeling he wouldn't have minded an invitation but I don't know this guy and it would have felt wrong being too friendly with him without AJ's knowledge, you know? I mean how did he even know where we were staying?”
“Yeah that part is creepy. You haven't had any fans around, have you?”
“Nope. At least not that I know of! Do you think Denise told him?”
“Maybe. Oh hey, so what do you think of Nick and Natasha? Did AJ keep you up all night ranting like Brian did to me?”
“No, he was kind enough to let me sleep but if I hadn't been pregnant, I am positive he would have. I think Nick just wants to be a grown up like to rest of the guys. I don't think they'll ever make it to the wedding.”
“Let's hope you're right. I can't stand that woman! Did you see what she was wearing last night? One move in the wrong way and I would have been able to see her nipples for sure, her dress was so low!”
Emily and Leighanne gossiped for the next hour about Amanda's adventures in moving in with Randy and Baylee's fun in his acting class he'd been taking. When she hung up, she went to take a nap and had decided to just wait for AJ to come home to tell him about his father in case he was going to get pretty upset about it. She fell asleep on the couch waiting for him and woke up when he came home around ten. She slowly sat up and rubbed the sleep out of her eyes.
“Did you fall asleep watching tv again?” he asked, sitting down next to her.
She shook her head. “No, I wanted to talk to you when you got home so I slept out here so I'd wake up.”
“What's wrong?” he asked, immediately.
“Nothing's wrong exactly.” she started, and then decided to just spit it out. “Your father was here today.”
AJ's face froze in complete shock. “My dad? He was here?”
“What did he want?” he asked, immediately skeptical.
“I'm not exactly sure. He said he wanted to talk to you, that he was trying to work his steps and he wished he could have a chance to talk to you. He left a card with his number on it, I put it on the desk. He said he knows you won't call but he left it anyway.”
“You didn't let him in, did you?”
“No.” Emily shook her head. “I didn't invite him inside. He asked about the pregnancy and that was pretty much the only conversation we had.”
“I don't trust him.” he said, finally.
“I don't blame you. It is very out of the blue, you know?”
He nodded. “I mean if he really is sober, that's great. But after everything I've been through with him, I don't have any reason to believe that's really what he's after.”
“What are you going to do?”
“What do you think I should do?” he asked.
Emily thought for a moment. “I think you should call him.” AJ opened his mouth to speak but Emily cut him off. “Just hear me out. If you only expect him to be dishonest, you have nothing to lose. But imagine if he really is getting himself cleaned up. You should know how important it would be to him to work his steps and try to right all of his wrongs. And maybe this could be a second chance for you guys. But like I said, if he's not really getting himself together, you haven't really lost anything.”
AJ was quiet as he considered what she'd said. “I know what you're saying, because those are the same things I've told myself every other time he tried to come back into my life. And every time, it ended badly. How many times am I supposed to go see if it's for real?”
“I guess that would be up to you. I'll just say one other thing. Imagine if this time he really was for real and you didn't go find out and the next thing you know, it's too late? I realize that because my father passed away that maybe I'm not able to be totally impartial because in my eyes, I would take advantage of every chance I had so that I didn't miss out on something I might really regret later.”
He blew out a long breath. “I think I'm just going to think about it for a day or two.”
“I'll support whatever you decide.” she reassured.
“How did he even know where we live?” AJ realized.
Emily shrugged. “I'm not really sure of that either. Do you think your mom would have told him?”
“I highly doubt it. I can't see her talking to him long enough to find out if he was sober or not.”
They were quiet for a few minutes before Emily leaned against him. “So what happened with Nick today? Did anyone say anything to him about his engagement to Natasha?”
“We didn't talk much about it. Brian asked him if he was sure it was what he really wanted and of course Nick said yes, so Brian said we'd all support him if she really made him happy. I really wish he wouldn't have spoken for me because I sure as hell am not going to support him!”
“Well, lucky for us, we have more important things going on in our lives at the moment.” Emily said, smiling as she felt the babies kick.
Bob McLean drove home with a grin on his face that evening. He'd had no idea AJ's wife was expecting and he had a feeling her hormones were going to help encourage AJ to call him. He still hadn't figure out what he was going to say, he only hoped he could get his son to believe him. Because if he didn't, it would be a lot harder to carry out his plan.
is a work of fiction.
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