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AJ finally caught up to her as she was sitting down in one of the deck chairs. He dragged another one over and sat in front of her so he could see her face.

“You know you don’t just get to give me some bullshit answer and walk away right? I’m not going to let this slide.” AJ asked trying not to lose his patience.

“I told you I was tired.” Kat snapped.

“That’s crap. You may be tired Kat, but something else is bothering you and I want to know what. You promised to be honest with me and I want the truth. We were having a good time and then you started to pull away.”

Kat’s eyes filled with tears and she looked away. AJ reached his hand over and wiped her tears away. Placing his hand under her jaw, he turned her face so that she was looking at him again.

“Please tell me what’s wrong. I’ll do anything I can to help but you need to tell me what’s going on.”

Kat wiped her eyes again and curled into the chair tighter. “You meant what you said about everyone loving them right?”

“Of course I did. You’ve seen everyone with them; they’re crazy about Jake and Ryan. What does that have to do…….”

AJ sat back in the chair and went silent. After a few minutes, he leaned forward again, reached forward and took her hand in his. “Is that what this is all about?”
Kat nodded.

“Nothing is going to happen to you. You don’t need to worry about other people loving the kids as much as you do because you’re not going anywhere.”

“You don’t know that AJ. Anything could happen during the surgery. There are no guarantees.”

“I’m guaranteeing it Kat. Nothing is going to happen. We’ve got the surgery planned and your symptoms haven’t worsened. We’re going to enjoy the holidays together, as a family, and nothing is going to happen.”

“What if this is my last family holiday?”

The thought of that made AJ shudder. “It’s not going to be. We’re going to have tons of family holidays and celebrations.”


“No, I know you’re scared but I am not going to let you just check out and withdraw from everyone, including me.”


“Nope, no more. Let’s go.” AJ stood and pulled her out of the chair. “We’re going inside and put away all the tons of stuff we bought and then we’re going to enjoy the night together since the kids are already in bed.”


AJ pulled her into him and kissed her gently. When she slipped her arms around him, he deepened his kiss.

“I love you Kat.”

“I love you too AJ.”

“Good to know.” he said with a chuckle. “Now let’s go relieve our two friends and I can show you exactly how much I love you.”