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Chapter 4

Upstairs, a bed creaked.

AJ looked up. "Sound's like shes awake." He said. "I should go check on her."

AJ left the room, and Brian exchanged glances with Kevin.

"He likes her." Brian said.

"Rachel?" AJ knocked lightly on the door.


"How are you feeling?" he asked, opening the door. Rachel stood in front of the mirror, applying makeup to her face.

"I'm fine." She said, turning in his direction. "Thanks a lot, I really should be going though."

AJ stared in at Rachel, not beleiving she could even suggest. "You're going back, after, after this?" He pointed at the huge bruise on her shoulder.

"I have to, I love him."

"He obviously doesn't love you." AJ said. "No one who loves you would hurt you."

She could feel his eyes enquiring her, and instantly she realized how close they were, and she longed to feel his arms around her, protection her, loving….

No. she thought. It wouldn't help to bring in yet another guy to hurt her.

"Please stay." AJ said softly, pleading her to stay.

"AJ, I don't…"

"You have to." He interrupted. "I can't stand to see you hurt anymore."

"But you barely know me. Just because you rescued me doesn't mean I am just supposed to swoon and cry 'my hero.' " She picked up her purse and walked passed him out the door. AJ followed her out.

"Rachel." He said softly to himself as the front door slammed.

"What do you mean 'she left?' " Howie said later as the five guys joined at Howie's apartment.

"Who left?" Nick asked.

"She just said she didn't want my pity and walked out." AJ said.

"Who said that?" Nick asked.

"And you let her go?" Brian asked, ignoring Nick. He put his can of pop on the table and sighed audibly.

"I didn't want her to not trust me." AJ said. "I just wish I knew where she was."

"Where who was?" Nick asked, clueless.

"Do you know her last name?" Kevin asked, glaring at Nick.

"No, she's just Rachel." AJ said sadly. "I just pray she's okay."

"Oh! Rachel." Nick said.

"Dude, shut up!" Brian said, throwing his empty pop can at Nick.

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