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Chapter 7

Rachel groaned and tried to roll over, but the pain in her side made her sit bolt upright. "Rachel?" AJ said quietly. "Lay down, you need rest." He stood up from his vigil, a chair in the corner of the room, and crossed to the bed. Rachel slowly lay back, a hand on her head.

"AJ?" she moaned softly, glad he was there.

"Quiet." He soothed. "Lay still."

She watched him nervously pace the room before returning to the bed. Mostly she wondered why he cared so much about her, when they barely knew each other. All she knew was that she shared in his attraction.

The gash over her eye hurt a lot less than the bruise on her shoulder and arm, Rachel decided. She sat up slowly, careful of her shoulder, and made every intention of standing up. AJ was by her side instantly, his hand on reassuringly on her back.

"What's wrong?" he asked. "Can I help?"

She smiled at him, and he returned the gesture. "Thank you." She said quietly, reaching her arms out and holding AJ close to her. He returned the embrace, glad she felt the way he did.

"What made you come back?" AJ asked.

"I realized you were right, and like you said 'no one who loves you would hurt you' " Rachel said. "And I found that when I left Seth, I didn't feel at a loss, and all I thought about was you. I didn't love Seth, I love you."

AJ smiled, pulling back from their embrace and kissing Rachel gently. "And I love you." He whispered into her ear.

As they kissed, AJ sent his heart out to her. He knew he needed her as much as she needed him. "I'm not letting you leave." He told her, leaning back on the wall.

Rachel smiled. "I'll never leave." She said, resting her head on his shoulder.

Rachel yawned. "I am so tired."

AJ leaned against her. "Go to sleep, you need the rest."

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