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The next couple of days were busy for the two of them. AJ and the guys were finishing their album and planning their next tour while Alissa was working and spending time helping Brooke with Anne. 


Alissa woke up one morning with a sore throat and nothing she did would get rid of it.  AJ insisted she go to the doctor and drove her there himself because he knew she would put it off and find more important things to do. About an hour later the two of them left for home.


“I can’t believe I have strep! This means I have to take time off from work and I can’t go see Anne.” Alissa sniffled.


“Don’t worry about that Liss. You need to do what the doctor says and rest. I’m going to take you home, put you to bed and then I’ll get your antibiotic, ok?”


Alissa just nodded, her throat too sore to speak.


“What?” AJ looked over at her with his jaw hanging open. “Now I know you really are sick. Did you just agree to take it easy and listen to me? Who abducted my girlfriend?”

Alissa laughed and elbowed him in the ribs.


“Hey be careful!” AJ smiled and pulled her over the seat next to him. He draped his arm around her and kissed her head.


When they got home, AJ tucked Alissa in and left to get her medicine. He was gone about an hour and when he came home, he found her sound asleep, curled into a ball on the bed.  He smiled and crawled into bed next to her. Tugging the covers up and over them, he pulled Alissa close and kissed her on the cheek. “I love you Liss.” he whispered into her hair and ran his hand over her face. Five minutes later he was sound asleep next to her.


It took Alissa a few days to start feeling better and she was looking forward to spending time with AJ before he left on tour. She was going to miss him but this time she knew that nothing would come in between them while he was away. They had made their relationship so much stronger and she knew it would be ok. Even though she was certain of all of this, she just couldn’t get rid of this uneasy feeling.


Alissa was so lost in her thoughts that she didn’t hear AJ come up behind her.


“Hey.” he said putting his hand on her shoulder. She jumped up and fell out of the lounger, banging her elbow against the patio.


“Ow!” she said rubbing her arm. “You scared the crap out of me! Can you give me a little heads up next time?”


“I’m sorry Liss, I didn’t realize you had zoned out.” he said helping her up and back onto the lounger. “Let me see your arm.”


AJ checked out her arm and when he was satisfied that there was nothing wrong with it, he crawled into the lounger next to her and pulled her close. “What were you thinking about? You had such a serious face.”


“I was thinking about missing you when you’re out on tour. I remember what happened last time and I just don’t ……”


AJ cut her off. “Nothing, and I repeat nothing, is going to happen while I’m away. I promise you that everything will be fine. We already made arrangements for you to come out when you can and I know my mom and Brooke will keep a constant eye on you.”


Alissa nodded but still looked sad.


“I mean it Liss. We’ve talked all about this stuff. You and I have no secrets; we’ve been honest about everything. Nothing is going to come between us again.” AJ cupped his hand around her chin and raised her face up so he could look in her eyes. “I love you. Nothing will ever change that. I’ll be gone for four months and then after that, we’re done for a while. We can relax and settle down again.”


Alissa smiled. “I know. Maybe I just needed some reassurance.”


“Well, I can think of a better way to reassure you.” AJ teased her.


“Why does your mind go right to that every time we talk?” Alissa asked laughing.


“Because you’re beautiful and I’m a lucky man.”


“Good answer.” she said standing up.


AJ smiled, stood up and wrapped his arms around her waist. “I love you Liss. I mean that with all my heart.” He kissed her and then followed her into the house.