The couple rented movies, hung around by the pool and had dinner and game nights with their friends. They loved being together and truly made each other better; AJ was more vulnerable and easy going while Sam was a lot more confident and outgoing. Being with Ryan for so long had drained her of any will to have something better but, being with AJ, she found that desire again to let people into her life and enjoy their friendship with her. Lauren and Sam had gotten tighter and they frequently worked out together in AJ’s home gym; they also enjoyed girls’ night when they would kick AJ out to go do something with Nick while they got the chance to catch up.
As much as the couple loved being together and with their friends, Sam noticed after a couple of weeks that AJ seemed to have this nervousness about him and he just couldn’t seem to settle down. Although he wouldn’t admit it, she could tell that he was chomping at the bit to get out and work on some projects he’d been developing and work with a particular producer to finish his solo album. The producer wasn’t going to be around for a long period of time so, after their friends left that their usual game night, Sam asked him if they could talk.
“Are you ok?” AJ asked with a worried look as he sat down on the sofa next to her. “What’s wrong?”
Sam was touched that he was so considerate about her feelings and truly cared about how she was doing. However, she needed him to understand that she could be equally as concerned about him.
“You need to leave.” AJ’s jaw dropped and it caused Sam to giggle. “I’m not kicking you out of you own house.”
“Well you did just tell me I needed to leave.” AJ replied, a little more at ease since seeing Sam laugh. “How was I supposed to take that?”
“You do need to leave AJ, at least for a few hours a day.”
AJ had no idea why Sam was bringing up this topic so he was a little apprehensive of what was behind her insistence. He had tried not to be overprotective and give her space to do her own thing but apparently he had messed up somewhere if this was how she felt.
“I can see those wheels turning in your head.” Sam broke his concentration as she spoke and laid her hand upon his. “You didn’t do anything and I don’t need anything but I think you do.”
“I don’t need anything that isn’t already here.” he replied and leaned back onto the couch. “We did our tour and now I just want to spend time with you.”
“I get that but I think you’re not being a hundred percent honest AJ. I’ve seen you fidget and bounce around the house like you’re a kid waiting to open their Christmas presents.”
He blushed because he thought he was able to hide those feelings when she was around.
“I get what it’s like being trapped in one place and I don’t want to do that to you.”
“But you’re not…”
“I know that I’m not but I think you’re trapping yourself.” Sam paused. “When you came back from the tour, I could see how energized you were and how much you missed all the creativity you had flowing around you. I also know that you’ve been down in the studio while I’m sleeping working on new material.”
“How did you…”
“I went looking for you one night and heard you down there; I didn’t come in because I didn’t want to interrupt you.”
AJ didn’t really know what to say because she was right. He hadn’t been able to sleep the last few nights because he just couldn’t shut his brain off. Ideas were flying around and around so he had, quietly he thought, made his way down to the studio and started putting down some tracks. There was a producer in the area that he wanted to work with but his time was limited and AJ didn’t want to leave Sam by herself too much.
He was snapped back when Sam leaned over to kiss him gently.
“I can also figure out what you’re thinking right now and it means you really need to get out. I overheard you talking to Nick the other day about that guy you’re interested in meeting with. I think you ought to do it; in fact, I think you need to do it, for your own sanity AJ.”
He wanted to protest vigorously but he just couldn’t bring himself to do it; Sam was completely in the right here. The only concern he had was making her feel left out and leaving her potentially unprotected during the day.
“I don’t know if I’m comfortable with leaving you for very long; it’s not really safe.”
“I already took care of that. Lauren agreed that you should go and she also offered to stay with me while you’re gone. Nick’s working and she figured it would give you both some space to get whatever you need done. I appreciate you wanting to stay with me and keep me safe but I think this is really something you should do.”
She thought he was going to protest but he surprised her by agreeing with her.
“I do want to go but only if you promise me you will be careful baby.” AJ pulled Sam into his lap and she rested her head on his chest. “I need to make sure that you’re safe and okay before I can really take care of business.”
“I promise you,” Sam responded and placed her hand over his heart, “that I will be careful and safe. You will be coming back reenergized and I will be here to welcome you with open arms.”
“If anything happens while I’m gone, I need you to call me immediately and I will come back at once.”
She looked up at him and smiled.
“I swear, if anything comes up at all, you will be the first person I call.”