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Everyone sat around for the next few hours eating and talking, just enjoying each other’s company.  Denise had taken James up to bed and the guys volunteered to do the dishes. The ladies got to catch up with each other and enjoy some peace now that the fellas were gone.


“We missed you Alissa.” Leighanne said with a smile. “It wasn’t the same without you.”


“I missed you guys too. Although it wasn’t quite the same problem for me as it was for all of you.” Alissa smiled sadly. “I wish none of this had ever happened.”


“So do we, but there was nothing you could do.” Leigh responded.


“I know, I just…….”


“Hey, hey. No serious talk around here.” AJ said coming out with Denise and the rest of the guys. “This is a good night.”


Alissa moved over on the lounger for him to sit but he just stood in front of her.


“Not sitting down yet.”


She just looked at him, confused by his actions.


AJ turned and faced the other guys and their wives.


“I’m so glad that you all could be here. I’m extremely lucky to have you all in my life and I want you to know how much I love you guys.”


“Aww J. That’s so sweet.” Nick said pretending to wipe tears from his eyes. Howie whacked him on the arm and told him to shut up.


“Thanks D. I asked you guys over here tonight to celebrate with Alissa and I. And we’re doing more than just celebrating having Alissa back.”

AJ turned to face Alissa and squatted down next to the lounger. He took her hand and stared into her eyes.


“I love you Liss. I want everyone to hear me say that. You are my world. You and James. I wouldn’t know what to do without you. You own a piece of my heart forever and I can’t imagine not being with you. The times we have spent apart were some of the hardest moments of my life and I never want to feel that way again.” He paused for a minute. “I wish I was better at this.”


He got down on one knee and dug a ring box out from his pocket.


“Liss, I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Every single day and night. You are the most important person in my life and I am never going to screw that up again.”


Alissa started to tear up.


“I hope those are happy tears.”


Everyone chuckled. AJ waited for Alissa to say something but she remained quiet.


“I’m serious Liss. I love you and I want you to be my wife. Will you marry me?”


He opened the box and she was shocked by the beautiful ring. It was a square cut diamond with aquamarine stones set around it. He slid it out and held out his hand for hers.


It took a few seconds for Alissa to comprehend what was happening.  When she was finally able to think straight, she wrapped her arms around AJ’s neck and looked him in the eyes.


“I love you too AJ and yes, I will marry you.”


AJ broke into a grin and stood up, pulling Alissa with him. He grabbed her around the waist, lifting her off the ground, and kissed her passionately.  Everyone was thrilled. The girls were all crying and the guys were so excited to see AJ at a place in his life where he was happy and stable. They all stayed a little longer and then decided to give the newly engaged couple some time by themselves. Denise offered to stay but AJ just wanted to spend the night alone with Alissa and James.


Everyone said their goodbyes and AJ took Alissa upstairs. She was still smiling and staring at the ring. He stopped her in the hallway and tilted her chin up so he could look in her eyes.


“Are you happy Liss?”


“Of course.” she said beaming. “Are you?”


AJ grinned. “Yes I am and I plan on showing you exactly how happy I am!” He pulled her into the bedroom and kicked the door closed.


AJ awoke to an empty bed a few hours later. The bathroom was empty so he walked down to James’s room to see if Alissa was there. He found her sitting in the rocking chair watching James with tears in her eyes.


“What’s the matter Liss?” he asked kneeling next to her.


“I’m sorry.” Tears slid down her face.


AJ pulled her out of the chair and into the hallway. Wrapping his arms around her, he led her back to their bedroom and sat her down on the bed.


“Shhh. Stop crying Liss. It’s ok.” He held her tightly against him.


“It’s not fair and I’m sorry.”


He let her cry a little longer and then pulled her back slightly so he could see her eyes.


“Baby, I don’t understand why you’re apologizing. You haven’t done anything wrong.”


Alissa looked up at him with tear stained cheeks. “Are you sure you want to marry me?”


AJ was shocked. He knelt down In front of her and put his hands on either side of her face.


“Of course I want to marry you. I thought we were happy Liss.” He paused for a minute. “Please talk to me. I really don’t get what’s going on.”


Alissa took a deep breath and the words tumbled out.


“I know you love James. When you look at him, your eyes light up and you’re so happy. I can’t give that to you again. I know you want more kids. The doctor says I can’t get pregnant again. I’m the reason you can’t have more children. It’s not fair to you. I’m so sorry AJ.”


He was stunned.


“This is why you’re so upset?”


Alissa nodded.


AJ sighed. “Liss, I don’t care if we don’t have any more kids. James is amazing and you’re right, I love him. But you need to understand something. I love you more than anything in this world. I wouldn’t be able to live without you and if it means keeping you with me, then I’m fine with not having any more kids. I want you above anything else. You aren’t doing this, it happens. Please don’t ever think you’re causing me any pain. The only real pain for me would be losing you or James.”


AJ sat back on the bed next to her and wrapped her in his arms.


“I’m sorry…..”


“Stop apologizing Liss. I love you and that’s it.”


He tilted her head up and kissed her.


“No more tears.”