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Three months later:

“Are you going to swing by later to watch the game?”

Nick looked over at his brother as AJ swung the golf club. He’d been trying to keep AJ as distracted as he could because he knew how much his older brother was going through. Lauren and he were working on keeping him sane but he wasn’t sure it was working.

Sam was in AJ’s thoughts every day, all day. AJ knew his friends were trying to help but they really couldn’t do anything. This was especially tough because Sam had stopped texting him a few days ago and he couldn’t figure out why. He had gone through every text he’d sent her, looking for something that he’d said to push her away from him. He was going through hell by not having her here but it had gotten five times worse when she’d cut off all contact.

“I don’t think so Nick. I’m kinda tired.”

Nick couldn’t disagree that AJ looked like shit and it was frustrating to him that he couldn’t do anything to help his friend. If he’d had Sam’s cell phone number, he probably would have called and cussed her out for everything she was putting his brother through. Thankfully, Lauren had been there to calm him down and help him see reason.

“Are you sure?”

AJ nodded and they finished their final round. Nick made the offer again as they walked to their cars but his brother declined again. He knew he couldn’t force AJ to come over but he hated him going home alone again.

“Well, if you change your mind, just give me a call k?”

“I will, thanks Nick.”

AJ drove home in silence and contemplated everything that was happening. He was so lost in thought that he almost hit the other car that was parked in his driveway. It was unfamiliar and he could tell by the plates that it was a rental car.

He was starting to think that the boys had called his mother about how he was acting and he tried to fight the urge to call them and tell them to mind their own business. As he was about to call out, the door opened and a woman with long brown hair climbed out. He didn’t even have to see her face to know it was Sam.

“Sam?” he called out, thinking maybe she was a mirage. “Sam?”

The woman turned to face him and he couldn’t stop himself from running over. Pulling her into the tightest embrace possible, he started to cry into her shoulder. He felt the emotions take over her as well as she started weeping. They stayed that way for a moment before pulling apart; she looked up at him with questioning eyes and he instantly knew what she was asking. His mouth slowly broke into a smile as he stared into her eyes.

“I love you, welcome home Sam.”