Howie had been right. Spending the day with AJ at his house did a world of good for Sarah’s mood. The change of scenery was great but the best part by far was the time with AJ. They hadn’t seen each other since they got back from Japan and Sarah had been upset that she’d missed his birthday.
As they walked into the house, AJ tossed his keys on the table and asked, “Where do you wanna get comfortable?”
“How about the studio?” suggested Sarah. “I wanna hear what you’ve been working on.”
“Need anything before we get started?”
“Just my best friend,” smiled Sarah as she took his hand. “I’ve missed you.”
AJ gave her a peck on the cheek. “Me too, ‘Tigger’. I’ll have to admit, I kinda miss waking with you in my arms. This morning was nice.”
Sarah giggled, “Shh, we can’t tell Howie.”
Laughing, “No, we can’t. Come on, let’s go work on some music. I’ve got some ideas for you too.”
For the next hour, AJ and Sarah listened to the music AJ had been working on, going over the lyrics and melody together. AJ had grown accustomed to asking Sarah’s advice and loved hearing her take on what he did. The longer she was with them, the more her musical talents emerged, the ones she’d kept hidden because of Russell.
An hour into their ‘work’, the doorbell rang but AJ didn’t move to go answer it.
“Alex, aren’t you gonna get that?”
“Nah…Marcus will get it. How about this?” and he played a chord on his guitar.
“That works but try this,” and she played a different chord on the keyboard on her lap.
From the door, Marcus said, “Sarah, these just came for you,” and he produced a vase with four roses, three red and one white.
AJ smirked as he asked, “Howie?”
Taking the arrangement from Marcus, she pulled the card and opened it. “I” was all that was written on it but there was no mistaking the handwriting. Grinning, she nodded her head, “Yeah.”
“What’s loverboy say?”
“Be willing to be you’ll get at least two more arrangements before the day is over,” snickered AJ.
Setting the flowers on the table beside her, Sarah said, “No bet there. I KNOW there will be and I can tell you what will be on the cards too. Thanks, Marcus.”
The two returned to the music they had been working on and lost themselves once more.
Sure enough, an hour later, Marcus appeared at the door of the studio carrying another vase of roses, three red and one white. This card was similar to the first, one word, ‘love’. Sarah set them with the first but she couldn’t hide the smile that lit her eyes.
The scenario was repeated an hour later with a final vase of roses and the card read ‘you. ‘D’.’
“Howie needs to give lessons in romance,” teased AJ as they finished what they were working on.
Sarah sighed, “He is wonderful. I feel like an idiot after the way I acted yesterday.”
AJ laughed, “No need. Howie knew what to expect and he was prepared.”
Putting the vase with the others, Sarah leaned back and looked at AJ as he put away the sheets of music. “What’s going on with you and Ali?”
“Honestly, I’m not sure. Things have been kinda tense since my birthday.”
“Wanna talk about it?”
“I don’t know what to say.”
“Well, what made things tense?”
AJ suddenly shut down and looked away from Sarah. There was no way he could lie to her. She knew him too well.
Seeing AJ’s reluctance to tell her, she asked, “Do I need to guess?”
“No, no need to guess,” he said turning back to her. “I got wasted after an argument with my mother over the wedding.”
Sarah frowned. “Have you called your sponsor through the clinic?”
“Yeah…and I’ve been going to the meetings.”
“Do you have one today?”
“Tonight…after Howie picks you up. I might as well tell you everything now.”
“The wedding is off?”
“Yeah, until she feels like she can trust me again. Sarah, I really screwed up.”
“At least you realize it and are trying to fix it. Are you at least seeing each other still?”
“Yeah, we are.”
“That’s a good sign.” Sarah’s stomach rumbled and the two laughed. “Guess I’m hungry.”
“I’d say. Come with me out to the living room and I’ll go fix us something to eat.”
Sarah stared at AJ as if he had horns and a tail sprouting.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” asked AJ as he gave her a hand getting up.
“You fixed me breakfast and now you’re gonna fix me lunch and NEITHER one has been McDonald’s. This is NOT the Alex I know and love.”
“No, it’s the new and improved version. Besides, I’m not really gonna fix you lunch. I bought a seafood salad for you yesterday after Howie asked me to keep you company today. I went shopping for you and got all your favorite cravings just to be on the safe side. Now, do you think you can waddle your way out to the living room because I can NOT carry you.”
Sarah stuck her tongue out at him as they made their way to the living room. “You know, it’s a good thing I love you because I might be tempted to hurt you,” shot Sarah.
The playful banter continued through lunch but they got serious long enough to talk more about what was going on with AJ and Ali. Sarah was worried that AJ had turned to the bottle again and she couldn’t hide the disappointment but she wasn’t going to give up. She made it plan to AJ that she was still behind him and knew he had the strength to get through this.
Chapter 28 Index