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AJ found Brooke sitting in the kitchen when he went downstairs and he decided to talk to her without Alissa being there.


“Hey, I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but I heard what you and Alissa were talking about this morning. What’s going on?” AJ asked.


Brooke sighed and decided that she would tell AJ everything.  It’s wasn’t her business but she was afraid that Alissa might chicken out of telling AJ the truth and it would just make things worse.


“Adam was the biggest scumbag ever. He made my cousin feel like she wasn’t worth anything and he always told her that she was never going to be with anyone that wouldn’t want to use her for a punching bag. He hit her a lot but tried to do it where the bruises would stay hidden. Alissa wouldn’t even go clothes shopping with me because she was ashamed about it.”


AJ started to seethe. “I knew I should have killed him!”


“No, you shouldn’t have.  What would happen if you wound up in jail? Did you ever think about that? About how it would affect Alissa? I know you want to protect her but I think you can do a better job protecting her out here instead of from a jail cell.” Brooke said.


AJ nodded. “I also heard her tell you that she was afraid that I would feel the same way.”


Brooke looked AJ right in the eye. “Yes, she did but I don’t believe that you will and I hope I’m not wrong about that.”


“I would never lay a hand on your cousin ever! I care about her and I just want to take care of her and protect her.” AJ said.  Then he whispered, “I love her.”


Brooke smiled. “How come it took you so long to admit it?”


AJ smiled back. “I don’t know. I should have done it a long time ago. I loved her before I even met her. I loved her because of that stupid card.”


Brooke looked confused. “What card?”


AJ was surprised she didn’t know. He explained everything that happened and how he wound up hunting Alissa down that night at the restaurant.


“Wow. I didn’t know anything about that card. She never mentioned it. Alissa has always been private about that kind of stuff. If she sent you guys those cards, than she meant everything she said. She doesn’t take that stuff lightly.”


“I figured she didn’t.” AJ said. “I should have told her that I loved her a long time ago. I’ve wasted way too much time.”


Brooke smiled. “How about we set up something for tonight so you don’t waste any more time?”