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AJ stormed into his mother’s house.


“She’s a bitch!” AJ yelled.


“AJ, watch your language!” Denise sighed “Let me guess. You two had another argument at the hospital.”


“She started with me! She said that I couldn’t possibly care about her cousin. How does she know that? She doesn’t even fucking know me!”


Denise waited for a minute to let AJ calm down. “Sit down AJ. I have something to say to you.” Denise pointed at the chair across the table.


“What you do you need to say?”


“I think you’re wrong about this.”


“What!” AJ jumped up and knocked over the chair. “Me? I’m wrong? You’re my mother; you’re supposed to be on my side!”


“Sit down!” his mother yelled.


AJ, shocked to hear his mother raise her voice like that, sat down and waited for her to say something.


“You’re my son and I am always on your side. But right now, this isn’t about sides. It’s about a girl that’s lying in a hospital bed because someone hurt her badly. I know you care about her and I’d be willing to bet that you care more about her than you’d like to admit.” She paused for a minute. “But you have to realize that this isn’t about you or Brooke or a stupid argument that you two insist on continuing. This is about Alissa. You both need to be there for her. She’s going to wake up and get through this, but she’s going to need everyone’s help. You two need to grow up, put aside your differences and be there for Alissa.”


AJ sat there for a moment and was about to complain about Brooke again when his phone rang. He picked it up and before he could say hello, he heard Brooke say that he needed to get back to the hospital. Alissa had woken up.


AJ raced up to the third floor and came flying around the corner, almost knocking Brooke over.


“What happened?” he asked.


“Her eyes started to flutter open about an hour after you left and then she opened them completely. I yelled for the doctor and he’s in there now. We can’t go back in until they’re done examining her.”


AJ’s heart beat faster. “Did she say anything?”


“No, they are removing the tube from her throat and the doctor said it may take an hour or two before she can talk.”


AJ was about to say something else, but was cut off by the doctor who was coming out of Alissa’s room. Brooke and AJ raced over to him and asked if she was ok.


“She’s fine, well as fine as she can be. Her throat is going to bother her for a while and she seems very skittish. I talked to the nurse and she said that you both have been arguing in your cousin’s room every day. I will permit you to see her if you can both behave and be cordial to one another. Can you do that?”


Brooke and AJ looked at each other and silently agreed to stay civil. They both nodded at the doctor.


“Fine, then you can go in but you can’t stay very long. I want her to get some rest.”


Brooke and AJ ran over to Alissa’s room and Brooke beat him in. They were startled by what they saw in front of them.


Alissa was sitting there looking at the bruises all over her body with a terrified look on her face. She was crying when she looked up and saw both of them standing there. She tried to talk but she only managed to squeak out one word. “Adam.”