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AJ got home and helped Denise make dinner. Denise smiled when he offered to bring Alissa something to eat. She knew he was dying to get back into that room with her.


“Why don’t you eat up there with her? I’m sure she’d like some company.”


“Are you sure? You’ll have to eat alone.”


Denise laughed. “I’m a big girl. I’ve done it before.”


AJ grabbed the tray, kissed his mother on the cheek and ran up the stairs.  He knocked on Alissa’s door and when he didn’t hear anything, he went in quietly and put the tray on the dresser. She was so peaceful when she was sleeping but he was bothered by the tears tracks on her cheeks. He put his hand on her shoulder and shook her gently.


Alissa jumped a little and it took her a moment to remember where she was.


“Sorry Li…Alissa. I didn’t mean to scare you. I noticed you had been crying and I wanted to make sure you were ok.”


Alissa wiped at her eyes. “No it’s fine, I’m ok.” She saw the tray AJ had brought up and was surprised that there were two plates on it. AJ looked over and shrugged.


“I figured you might like some company. If you don’t, I can go back downstairs.”


“No, some company would be nice.”


AJ smiled and dragged the chair over to her bed and put the food in between them.  Neither one of them spoke for a while. Alissa was playing with her food but she saw that as usual AJ could eat everything in sight. She laughed out loud thinking about it.


AJ looked up. “What’s so funny?”


The look on his face just made her laugh harder and before long she had tears running down her cheeks. It felt good to have tears that were filled with humor rather than sadness. It had been too long. A few minutes later, Alissa was able to control her laughter and smiled at AJ.


“Sorry, I was just remembering how much you like to eat.”


AJ gave her a look. “Wise ass. I bring you dinner and you laugh at me. Real nice.” He balled up his napkin and she thought he was mad and going to leave but he surprised her by throwing the napkin at her head.


“Hey!” Alissa yelled smacking him with a pillow. “Not nice throwing stuff at the pregnant lady.”


“You’re lucky you are or you’d be in deep trouble.” AJ smiled, teasing her. It was good to be able to sit here and talk to her even though it wasn’t quite the same as it used to be.


They finished eating and AJ got up to take the tray downstairs. As he headed for the door, Alissa called out to him.


“Do you think you could come back later and maybe watch some TV?”


AJ was surprised by her request. “Sure. Let me help my mom with the dishes and I’ll come back up.”


He closed the door and ran downstairs to do the dishes.