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AJ smiled as he watched Nick and Alissa talk out on the patio. He was glad that everyone could get along for her sake. The fighting and arguing would have to stop. She needed all of them and AJ would do anything he could for her.  He was so lost in thought that he didn’t hear his mother come up behind him.


“Hi sweetheart. How are you?” Denise asked as she followed his gaze and saw Nick and Alissa talking. “I know Nick wanted to apologize but don’t you think you should get out there before he starts hitting on her.” she said laughing.


AJ turned towards her with a smile on his face that she hadn’t seen in months. In fact, she hadn’t seen it since the day AJ had met up with Alissa on the street.


“You’re right. I should probably go out before she starts thinking he’s a better catch.” he teased his mother and let himself out the slider door.


“Hey Nicky, stop keeping Alissa all to yourself! The rest of us would like to see her too!” AJ yelled.


“No way! I’m the only important one around here! Who do you think you are?” Nick yelled back.


AJ jumped over one of the chairs putting Nick in a headlock. “Oh yeah, you’re really important.” AJ rolled his eyes. “Get back in the house!”


Nick wrangled himself out of the headlock and turned to Alissa. “You sure you want me to leave you here with him. He doesn’t behave real well!”


Alissa laughed. “Thanks Nick, but I think I’ll be fine.” She looked into the house and saw everyone starting to leave. “You’d better get in there before Brian leaves without you!”


Nick took off yelling “Wait for me!” into the house.


Both AJ and Alissa laughed watching him sprint into the house. Alissa leaned back onto the lounger and closed her eyes.


“Hey Alissa, you ok?”


“I’m fine, just tired.” she replied.


“Why don’t you go inside and go up to bed?” AJ asked.


“I will in a little while but I just want to sit out here for a bit. I’ve been cooped up in the hospital for way too long and I’m enjoying the fresh air. You can go back inside. I’m sure your mom is ready to head out.”


AJ thought for a second and then told Alissa he’d be back in a minute.


She had just started to doze off when she heard AJ come back outside.


“I thought you left.” Alissa said.


“What? There’s no way I’m leaving! I just told my mother goodbye and asked her to call me when she got home. You look like you’re about to fall asleep. Are you sure you don’t want to go back in?”


“No, I really just want to stay out here for a bit.”


“Ok, have it your way. But crawl over on that lounger. I’m not about to fall asleep in another chair!”


Alissa smiled and moved over to give AJ enough room to lay down.  She started to shiver.


“Hey, come closer.” AJ said. “I won’t bite.” he teased her.


Alissa curled up closer to him burying her head into his shoulder. AJ wrapped his arms around her and kissed her on the head. “Try and get some sleep Liss.” he whispered and both of them were asleep in a few minutes.