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The excitement of the night had finally wound down and AJ was able to get the boys into bed without too much of a fight. He turned the light off, closed the door and made his way down the hall to their bedroom where he found Kat sitting on the bed staring at her ring.

“Are you happy or are you checking to see if it’s the same ring?” AJ asked teasing her.

Kat playfully smacked him on the arm. “I know it’s the same one. I’m staring at it because it brings back so much for me.”

“I hope all of it is good.” AJ said and sat down next to her.

“It is.”

“Well, are you going to tell me or do I have to guess?”

“I remember meeting you and thinking you were not at all what I expected.”

“I bet you didn’t expect to meet a jackass!”

“Stop it AJ. I wasn’t talking about that. I remember all the times you came out to see me and I was amazed at how real you were.”

“Real? I don’t think I’ve been called that before.”

“Yes real. You have your faults and your strengths and you are who you are. You’re so strong and you know what you needed to change in your life. All the sacrifices you’ve made and all the mistakes you’ve fixed make you even more real. I only wish I could be like that.”

“What do you mean?”

“This whole surgery thing. You’ve faced obstacles just as hard and I feel like you survived them and made the most of it. I want to be that sure of everything.”

AJ laughed and pulled Kat back onto the bed as he stretched out. He put his arms around her and stroked her hair when she put her head on his chest.

“Let me tell you that you give me way too much credit. I screwed up, a lot, and I had to dig my way through it. You act like you’ve had an easy path compared to me. Your heart has stopped three times and you came through it every time. I’d say that’s much more powerful than what I’ve done.”

“I don’t think so. You’ve managed to turn a bad boy into a wonderful man and father.”

AJ laughed so hard he start to cough. “A bad boy huh?”

“Yes, a bad boy.” Kat said with a chuckle. “What’s wrong with that?”

“Nothing. In fact, I think I might have some of that bad boy left in me. Want to take a chance?”

“I think I can handle you!”

“You’re gonna regret saying that!” AJ said with a wicked grin on his face.


AJ woke up the middle of the night and noticed that Kat’s side of the bed was empty. He checked in the bathroom and the boys’ room but he couldn’t find her. Starting to worry, he raced downstairs to look for her. As he came into the kitchen, he saw her sitting on the floor against the couch. She was staring at the Christmas lights on the tree and he could hear her cry softly.

“Hey.” he called out softly.

Kat quickly wiped the tears from her eyes and was smiling by the time he came around to where she was sitting.

“Hey yourself. I was just down here watching the lights.”

AJ slid himself down next to her and slipped his arm around her shoulder. “You really suck at lying, you know that right?”

“I’m not……”

“Please don’t lie to me Kat. I can see the streaks on your face. What’s going on?”

Kat sighed and sat there for a minute. “I’m just getting nervous. This whole thing is so big and it’s such a risk.”

“It’s a bigger risk if you don’t do it.”

“I know but it doesn’t make any of this easier. I don’t know whether the next two weeks are going to drag out painfully or fly by so fast that it’s gonna be in my face before I know it.”

“I promise to do whatever I can do to make these two weeks as easy as possible for you.”

Kat smiled up at him. “I know you will and that’s why I’m the luckiest woman on the planet.”

“Yeah, you really are.” AJ said with a grin, surprising her.

“Wow! You really do love yourself huh?”

“I don’t love anyone more than I love you.”

He leaned in and kissed her gently. Pulling her close, he put his head down against her and they settled in to watch the lights for a while.