Kevin called a family meeting at his house that night. The guys, their wives, Denise, Marcus and Ray all showed up prepared to do whatever it took to help AJ.
“I can’t take this anymore.” Howie said explaining to the group what had happened earlier. “He’s going right back into that same place that he was before. He’s complaining that none of us understands him and what he’s going through.”
“I’m not going to say this to him but we kind of don’t understand.” Nick responded. “None of us have ever had this problem.”
“As much as it sucks,” Kristen said, “I agree with Nick. We don’t understand.”
Leigh was shaking her head. “It doesn’t matter if we understand or not, we have to do something. We all know how bad this has gotten in the past and I don’t think anyone wants a repeat performance.”
“What do you think Denise?” Brian turned to face AJ’s mother.
There were tears forming in her eyes. “I don’t know. I honestly don’t know.”
“We have to figure something out.” Leighanne joined the conversation. We need to find someone who can get through to him. There has to be someone.”
Ray nudged Marcus and asked him to follow him outside.
“I know you’re going to say I’m crazy but…..”
“I was thinking the same thing Ray. We have to call her.”
Ray was shocked to hear his partner say that. He knew how angry Marcus was when he found out that Kat had left AJ. He wished he would have told him the truth but it wasn’t his place and he’d made a promise to Kat.
“But you said you would never speak to her again.”
“That’s why you’re going to call her. I’m still pissed at her but I really don’t think anyone else is going to be able to get through to him. We need to do something now before things get any worse.”
Ray nodded and started to dial a familiar number.
Brenda heard her cell ring and recognized Ray’s number. He had called her to check about Kat every few months and she thought he was doing it again.
“Hi Brenda.” He paused for a moment before the words came rushing out. “I have a favor to ask, I need you to find Kat and have her come out here.”
“Slow down Ray.”
Brenda wasn’t sure what she should say. Her friend had made it clear that this was not something she was going to get involved with but Brenda thought Kat was crazy not to try. Screw it she thought to herself. Kat was too stubborn for her own good and if she wouldn’t do something then Brenda would do it for her.
“I already found her. She’s been staying with me for the last few months.”
“What?!?” Ray asked. “You never told me.”
“I know. She’d kill me if she found out I was telling you now. Why do you need her?”
“She needs to talk some sense into J. He’s started drinking again and he’s basically killing himself slowly. None of us can get through to him and I think Kat can.”
“I don’t know if I can convince her of that. A lot has happened in the last year and a half and things have definitely changed.”
“AJ’s feelings for her haven’t changed. He may have been with Michelle for Ryan’s sake but he never stopped loving Kat.”
“I don’t think telling her that is going to help us persuade her.”
“Please let me talk to her. She may say no but I need to try.”
Brenda agreed and went to find Kat resting on the couch. She handed her the phone and walked away without saying a word.
“Hello?” Kat said.
“Hi Kat. It’s Ray.”
She pulled the phone away from her ear and was starting to disconnect the call when Ray yelled into the phone.
“Please don’t hang up Kat. I need to talk to you. Give me five minutes please.”
“Fine.” Kat said and listened as Ray explained the situation.
Brenda saw her friend come into the kitchen and she tried to pretend she was busy making dinner. She saw the look on Kat’s face though and realized it was serious.
“I’m sorry I told him you were here. I just couldn’t lie anymore. AJ’s in a bad place.”
“I know.” Kat said quietly.
“Are you going to help them?”
Kat shook her head. “How can I help? All I’m going to do is make things worse.”
“According to Ray, there’s nothing worse to be done. AJ is drowning himself with alcohol and if they don’t do something soon, it may kill him this time Kat.”
Kat started to cry. “I don’t want that.”
Brenda reached over and pulled her friend into a hug. “I know you don’t. That’s why you’re going to help right?”
Kat sobbed for a few minutes and then nodded her head yes.
“Thank god.” Brenda said quietly. “When are you leaving?”
“Tomorrow if I can get a flight. I need you to……”
“I know exactly what I need to do. You never have to ask me. I’ll take care of everyone, I promise.”