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A couple of days later, AJ and Alissa headed back to get her stuff from Brooke’s house. It took them a few hours to get everything loaded into the cars and moved into AJ’s. A few minutes later, Denise showed up with food for everyone.


“Hi Denise!” Alissa said and ran over to help AJ’s mom with the take out.


“How are you sweetheart?” Denise asked and hugged her.


“I’m good. Happy to be here.”


“Well, AJ’s ecstatic to have you here. He was afraid that you might say no.”


“Why would he be nervous about that? He makes me so happy. Why wouldn’t I want to be around that all day?”


“Hey, hey, no gossiping around here.” AJ said hugging his mother and wrapping his arm around Alissa’s waist. “What’d you bring for dinner?”


“Chinese. Hope you guys are hungry.”


Everyone dug in and spent the next couple of hours telling stories and making jokes.  Brooke and Lucas finally excused themselves and headed home. AJ offered to do the dishes, so Alissa and Denise decided to go out to the backyard and talk.


“I’m glad that we have a moment to ourselves. There’s something I’ve wanted to say to you for a while.” Denise said as both women got comfortable on the gliders.


Alissa looked like she was about to say something when Denise smiled and reached over for her hand.


“Thank you.”


Alissa was shocked. “Thank you for what? I haven’t done anything.”


“Yes you have honey. You’ve made my son incredibly happy. He’s got a joy about him that I have never seen. He found you and it’s made him feel comfortable in his own skin.”


Alissa started to cry. Denise leaned over and gave her a hug.


“I don’t mean to upset you. I just want you to know that as a mother, all I want for my son to be is happy. And he is. With you.” Denise smiled. “I also want to tell you that I hope you are happy with him. I know my son will do whatever it takes to keep a smile on your face and he loves you more than he’ll ever admit. You are his heart.”


Alissa hugged Denise. “Thank you. I promise to always take care of him, love him and keep his heart safe.”


“I know you will.”


AJ finished the dishes and looked out the window.  He noticed that Alissa looked like she had been crying and he started to head outside.


“Hey, what’s going on over here?” he asked sitting next to Alissa. “You look upset.”


“It’s nothing. Your mom and I were just talking.” Alissa saw AJ look over to his mother. “It’s fine, nothing bad. It was a good talk, good tears.”


“I don’t like to see any tears. I want us to be happy here.” AJ replied.


“We are. I promise.” Alissa said and leaned over to kiss him.


Denise smiled and stood up. “I’m going to head out and give you two lovebirds some time together.” She turned to Alissa. “I know the boys leave for the tour next week and I think we should plan some girl time so that you don’t go insane without this one being around” she said and leaned down to kiss AJ on the head.


“Be careful going home Ma.”


“I will. Have fun tonight!’


Denise left and AJ and Alissa curled up together in the glider.


“Are you sure you’re ok Liss? It looked like a serious conversation.”


“I’m fine. Don’t worry about me.” Alissa paused. “I want you to know something.”


AJ looked concerned. “What?”


“I love you. More than anything. You’ve made me the happiest woman on the planet and I just want you to know that I’ll do whatever it takes to keep you happy. I will always be here for you and I promise to love you forever.”


AJ didn’t know what to say. He leaned over and kissed her. “Let’s go back in.” He helped Alissa up and took her by the hand leading her into the house.