Part 05

“... and then Nick, innocent look on his face and all, blames the power outage on ME. Seriously, San, do I look like I know how to hook up a zillion computers?”

Sandra doubled over on the couch. She shook her head ‘no,’ as AJ continued.

“And then his girlfriend... she had the nerve to go and say ‘Oh, yeah. I saw AJ do it.’”

“Julia?!” Sandra exclaimed. “Aww, she couldn’t do anything like THAT!”

“She’s YOUR friend,” he reminded her, laughing, “She’ll do anything.”

“Well, yeah... you may be right. I mean, there WAS that one time with the Ranch dressing and the gummy bears..”

“Don’t remind me,” AJ groaned. “That stuff was hard to wash out.”

Sandra continued laughing as AJ watched her. After all this time, he could still make her laugh like no one else could. It was music to his ears.

“All right,” he announced after a while, closing a desk drawer and locking it up. “I think we’re done here. Ready to go?”

“Aww, just when I kicked my shoes off and everything,” she grinned. “So much for relaxing.”

“You were relaxing?”

“Yeah...” she trailed off. “You know, I thought things were gonna be different today, so I was really uptight all night. But now... I’m not.”

“You’re not?”

“No... not really. After Howie left, you seemed to... I dunno, I guess we both started to wind down after everything that happened tonight. I was actually having a good time up here talking to you. I guess I forgot how nice it was.”

He walked over and joined her on the couch, where she had turned her attention to leaning over the side, trying to reach her shoes that were on the floor. Sitting beside her, he watched in amusement as she gave up on putting them on and decided she’d go barefoot. He laughed softly, and when she turned to face him, they were close enough to...

“I... um..,” she began nervously, turning away slightly, “Wanted to thank you, again, for inviting me tonight..”

“Sandra, it wouldn’t have been the same without you,” he responded, his voice striking her heart strings. “I couldn’t leave you out of this. You’re too important.” He didn’t move forward at all, he just watched her, waited.

“Important?” she asked, her eyebrows arched in surprise.

“Yeah,” he nodded slowly. “Important. To Howie. To me...”

“AJ, I...”

“I’ve missed you,” he interrupted, sighing heavily as he bravely brought his hand up to caress her cheek. “You have no idea how much. It’s been hell without you, San.”

“I thought you said you were all right...”

“I lied.”

She drew in a shaky breath as she looked into his eyes. REALLY looked into them, past them, into his heart. It was the truth.

She’d wanted this, hadn’t she? Since he’d come back into her life through that phone call a few weeks ago, she’d wished this were the case...

“So did I,” she whispered. “I lied, AJ.”

What I really meant to say
Is I'm really not that strong
No matter how I try
I'm still holding on

Not being able to control his actions any longer, he kissed her. He pulled her into his arms and kissed her like he’d never kissed another soul in his life. He gave her his very life in that kiss, in his touch.

All he was, he realized, and all he’d ever be, was because of her.

She hadn’t forgotten the way it felt to be in his arms, or the way his kisses drove her clear over the edge of sanity, but being there, living that moment, was like nothing she’d ever experienced before.

The intensity of the moment, the kiss, in the way he touched her, held her, grew with each passing second. She held onto him tightly as they carried on, as if he’d vanish if she dropped her arms away in the slightest. He’d done the same, hoping beyond hope that this wasn’t all just a dream...

“I love you.”

Sandra pulled back suddenly, breaking the heated kiss. She stared at him, in awe. Did she hear him right, or was her mind messing with her?

He leaned in and kissed her again. “I love you,” he repeated, his face so near she could feel his breath on her skin. “I love you more than anything, and I don’t want to let you go tonight. Or ever again.”

And here’s the honest truth,
I’m still in love with you...

“I adore you, J. I tried to stop, but I never succeeded. I love you too much, and,” she paused, taking a deep breath, “I don’t want to be without you anymore.”

He took her mouth with his, sealing their vows, their inevitable fate.

He pulled back slightly, staring at the woman in his arms lovingly, wondering how he’d lived since they’d parted ways...

“Hard to believe, isn’t it?” she whispered, as if reading his mind. “But we survived. For this... for right now.”

“And tomorrow,” he kissed her briefly. “And every day after that...”

“Forever?” she asked softly.

AJ couldn’t help but smile. “Yes, Baby. Forever.. and then some. If you’re sure you wanna be stuck with me that long, anyway.”

She smiled at him, pulling him to her and kissing him deeply as he gently urged her to lay back. “I’m sure, J. Perfectly sure.”

“I love you,” he whispered, hovering closely over her lips. “So much...”

“Ditto,” she grinned, losing herself in their kiss as he slowly commenced to take their quest, their love, to the next level.

That’s what I really meant to say...

[the end]

Song Credits:
Artist: Cyndi Thomson
Title: What I Really Meant To Say

[Part 04 | Story Index]