Claudia showed up the next morning with Ryan and AJ was shocked to see how much he had changed. The little boy that left with Michelle had gotten bigger and his smile wasn’t as bright as it had been. Every single emotion that AJ had had since he was born came flooding back and he started to cry. Ryan looked at him for a few moments and then toddled over.
“Dada?” Ryan asked and held his arms up.
AJ picked him up and hugged him tightly. Kat started to tear up as she watched AJ reconnect with his other child. She knew this meant the world to him and she hated herself for thinking it, but she was glad Michelle was gone for good this time. All she had done was cause damage and used her own child to do it.
The lawyer that Kevin had called filled out paperwork for the court system to gain permanent custody of Ryan. He told them that unless someone came forward to contest it, AJ should be granted custody by the end of the week.
“I hate using the fact that I’m a celebrity to get stuff.” AJ said to Kat after the lawyer left.
“AJ, you’re not using it to get out of a speeding ticket or to stay out of jail. Ryan’s custody papers can be expedited. What’s wrong with that?”
“Nothing I guess.”
AJ picked up Ryan and took him outside to play in the backyard. Kat sighed and started packing Jake’s overnight bag. She was going to take him over to Brenda’s and spend the night so that AJ could work on reestablishing his relationship with Ryan. Packing the last thing, she slipped out the door and headed over to Brenda’s.
“How’s he doing with Ryan?”
“Ok.” Kat replied. “It’s a big adjustment for everyone.”
“I hate asking this but are you really ok with it? It’s not like you got that much time to think about it.”
“I’m ok with it. It makes AJ happy and Ryan gets to be raised by a parent who loves him and will always do what’s best for him. That’s really the most important part.”
“I know it is. I just want to make sure you’re ok with it.”
“I’m fine. Honestly.” Kat followed Brenda out to the patio. “I’ve made some bad decisions and I’ve hurt him. All I want right now is to make him happy and if that means moving in with him and helping him raise Ryan, then that’s what I’ll do.”
“Well you can always stay here if you need to.”
“I appreciate that. I have no idea how I’m gonna get all my stuff packed and moved over to his house.”
“I know one way you’re not. You are forbidden to carry anything other than Jake and your purse. I already talked to Nick and the guys are willing to come over and move everything once it’s all packed up.”
“I can help Bren….”
“Absolutely not! You just need to pack stuff and we’ll take care of the rest.”
Kat shook her head. “I’m not an invalid and I haven’t had the surgery yet.”
“Yeah I know and I’d like to keep it where you don’t need it any sooner than already planned.”
Kat was cut off by her cell phone ringing. She dug it out and saw AJ’s face flashing.
“Hey. Did you forget something?”
Kat ran through a mental list of stuff she had brought. “No. I don’t think so.”
“Um, how about a goodbye and a kiss?”
“Sorry.” Kat said with a laugh. “You were out back with Ryan and I didn’t want to disturb you. I’ll make up for it when I see you tomorrow.”
“Funny you should mention tomorrow. I was kind of hoping you could come back tonight.”
“But you need time with Ryan.”
“I need time with you and Jake too. I love you and I want to do this with you. I know we talked but I’d really like you to come home tonight.”
Kat had missed hearing him call his house their home. “I will if you’re sure about it.”
“I’m positive. We’ve spent way too much time apart and I don’t really want to spend anymore. It’s probably best for Jake and Ryan too. They’re still little and can bond faster if they’re around each other.”
“Ok. I’ll head home when Jake wakes up.”
“I love you Kat.”
“Love you too AJ. I’ll see you soon.”
Kat headed to AJ’s about an hour later with a very bouncy little boy. Jake had woken up and been in instant “play with me” mode. She called out for AJ when she entered the house but she didn’t get a response. Venturing a little further, she found AJ and Ryan curled up on a blanket in the backyard reading a book.
“Mind some company?” Kat asked.
“As long as the company is beautiful.” AJ said with a smile.
“Well he is.” Kat said pointing at Jake and laughing. “Me, I’m dusty and dirty.”
“You’re beautiful no matter what Kat.”
He held out his arm and she settled down next to him. Jake and Ryan seemed to be instantly interested in each other and spent a long time just staring at each other.
“Wow, I didn’t think babies could have staring contests.”
AJ laughed. “I guess they can.”
They watched the two boys stare at each other a little longer and then Ryan reached out and handed Jake one of the toys he had found in the house. Now both little boys had a truck and they started pushing them around the yard, laughing and chasing each other.
“I think we got lucky.” Kat murmured.
“We got two little boys who seem to be pretty happy babies and they’re getting along great.”
“For now.” AJ said with a grin. “This could change overnight or change when they both fall for the same girl!”
Kat slapped him on the shoulder. “Can we not think about them dating? That’s way too much to handle.”
“I guess so.” AJ kissed Kat’s cheek and sneezed. “You really are dusty!”
“I warned you!”
“What were you doing, rolling around in an attic?”
“What do you mean kind of?”
“I was digging some boxes out of Brenda’s attic…..”
“Are you crazy?” AJ yelped. Both boys turned towards him. “You’re not supposed to be doing that.”
“It’s not a big deal AJ. I haven’t had surgery yet. I can pull a few…”
“You’re not pulling anything else. The guys and I will take care of everything. I don’t want you to move anything else without us around.”
Kat saw the seriousness in his face and agreed quickly. She stood up and tried to change the subject. “Why don’t I go take a shower before I give you an allergy attack?”
“Ok but I’m serious. I will take care of it Kat. I’ll take care of you.”
“I know.” She smiled and leaned in to kiss him. “You always do.”
AJ smiled and kissed her back. “And I will for a very long time.”
“I get it.” She headed towards the house but turned around a few feet away. “It’s a shame you have the boys. Guess I’ll have to shower by myself.”
“That’s so wrong!” AJ said with a groan. “Just wait till they go to bed. I’m gonna get payback!”
“I hope so!”