AJ couldn’t believe his eyes. Just a few hours ago, he was yelling at this woman, heaving insult after insult and now she almost died. He couldn’t believe this was happening. He groaned and rolled over on his side on his bed. What was he thinking? Did this woman really deserve to be treated like that?
“Hey J, can I come in?” Howie asked from the doorway.
“What do you want?”
Howie shrugged his shoulders and sat down on the edge of AJ’s bed. “I just wanted to make sure you were ok. Your mom called us and she’s really worried. What happened tonight?”
AJ sighed. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Well that’s not gonna cut it man. You need to talk to us, all of us. We’re giving you 10 minutes to come downstairs or we’re all going to come up here. Got it?” Howie got up and walked out, closing the door softly.
AJ pulled himself up from the bed and dragged himself downstairs. He had no idea what to say to anyone and apparently, his mother had called everyone, the boys and their wives.
Leigh stood up and pulled AJ into a hug. “How are you? What happened?”
“We’d all like to know J.” said Brian quietly.
AJ slumped down into a chair and shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know what happened. It was all that stupid card!”
“J, if the card was so stupid, why’d you hold onto it for 10 years!” Nick said, a little louder than he meant too.
“I don’t know!” yelled AJ. Then quietly he said, “I found her.”
“You found her?” everyone yelled, except Denise.
“Yeah, Marcus helped me. She was having dinner at some restaurant with her cousin so I showed up to end this craziness and I just freaked out on her. She was sitting there in tears, then her cousin started yelling at me and I turned and left.”
“Ok, so you had a fight with some woman you don’t know and now you’re this depressed? I don’t get it man.” Nick said and shook his head.
“That’s not the worst part.” AJ whispered.
“What could be worse?” asked Leighanne.
“You know that big car accident that happened. That was her. Apparently after she left, she started driving home and was hit by someone running a red light.” AJ started to tear up.
They all stared at AJ. No one knew what to say. After a few minutes of silence, Leigh said “AJ, hon, this wasn’t your fault. You got into an argument and someone got hurt. You didn’t do that to her. You weren’t driving that car.”
“No, I wasn’t!” yelled AJ. “But it might as well have been me! I yelled at her, insulted her and practically ran her out of there. If I hadn’t been there tonight, this would not have happened!”
AJ couldn’t contain the tears anymore and his body was wracked by sobs. Denise went over to hug her son and asked everyone to leave the room.
“I think you need to start being honest with me, with yourself. What about this woman has gotten you wound up like this? I promise to listen no matter how long it takes.” whispered his mom. She grabbed a box of tissues and settled in for what would be a long night.