Chapter Twenty Three - The Acceptance You Didn’t Think You’d Need

“You’re kidding.”

“I’m not.”

“No, you are. You have to be.”

“Nick, man, why the persistence? I’m NOT kidding.”

“Do you even REALIZE what this could lead to?” Nick asked AJ, his tone serious.

“Yeah, I do,” AJ answered. “She could be the rest of my life, Nicky.”

“That’s not what I meant,” Nick rolled his eyes. “Seriously, J, do you KNOW the consequences?”

“What consequences? Damn, Nick, you’re making it sound like this is some sort of apocalypse!”

“And if it is?”

AJ groaned. If anyone, he’d be sure Nick would be okay with it. Instead, he was getting asked the most ridiculously stupid questions Nick had ever come up with. Coming from him, that said a lot.

“So what if it is?!” AJ exclaimed suddenly, not noticing his outburst. “I’m willing to fight it all. Isn’t that what counts?”

“I guess...” Nick trailed off. “But the consequences aren’t just directed at you. Ever think about the consequences she’s gonna suffer?”

“If you get this weird on her, then yes, I am aware,” AJ groaned.

“No, I mean her friends, her family. What will they say?”

“And since when do you care about what others say?”

“When it comes ot her, I do,” Nick told his friend. “Tommy’s gonna go postal.”

“He already did.”

“Did he?” Nick asked.

“He did,” AJ said, “He found us kissing yesterday.”

“Smooth, AJ.”

“Like it was PLANNED!” AJ said, exhasperated. “He just.. showed up.”

“And what happened? Did he say he was okay with it?”

“We don’t need his approval,” AJ sighed. “And besides, Andy made things clear for him. She’s strong, Nick, you know that. She’ll be fine.”

“Because she has you, right?”

“What the hell is THAT supposed to mean?” AJ asked, growing impatient. “Listen, are you NOT okay with this? I’d really appreciate the truth.”

“I’m not okay with this.”


“I really would have liked your support on this.”

“Sucks, doesn’t it?”

Andy sighed. She wasn’t going to get through to anyone this way.

“You know what?” she began, looking Tommy directly in the eyes. “I came here CONCERNED. I was hoping to resolve what we didn’t finish yesterday, but you’re stubborn as hell, Tommy, and for the millionth time, it’s getting annoying.”

“You just can’t see it’s a bad idea.”

“I’ll SEE it’s a bad idea when HE proves that to me. I don’t need YOU to tell me that.”

“Then I can’t help you here anymore.”

“You’re just shutting this out? Just like that?” she was getting angry. If he kept this up, there was no telling what they’d end up as.

“Yeah, I am. I’m not gonna stand around and watch you get hurt. Repeatedly.”

“What’s that mean?” She asked, “Are you saying you’re done with me?”

“As much as it hurts,” he whispered. “Yes.”


“I can’t believe it,” AJ said, stunned. “He just... ended it?”

“Yeah,” Andy sniffled. “I can’t believe it either.”

AJ sighed, wrapping his arms around her tighter. “Nick isn’t okay with this either.”

“Great,” she groaned, “That’s the LAST thing I needed.”

“All we wanted was an okay,” Aj began, “A blessing of sorts from our friends.”

“And look what we ended up with,” she continued. “I lost my lifelong friend, and the other one’s drifting away as we speak.”

“Are you regretting this?”

Andy shifted her position in AJ’s embraceand and faced him. “No. Of course not. Just because we didn’t get the approval we apparently needed doesn’t mean this isn’t worth it.”

“Me neither,” AJ kissed her forehead. “I just didn’t think his okay would be so important to me, you know? The lack of it is really bugging me.”

“Well,” Andy sighed. “The only thing we can do now is hope he comes around.”

[chapter list | chapter twenty four]