AJ saw Kim come downstairs and go toward the office down the hall without saying a word. He sat there on the couch as he heard the door close, thinking about his little outburst from less than an hour ago. He hoped that she didn't feel like he was mad at her because he wasn't. He was just sick and tired of being sick and tired, to be quite honest. He also hated the constant doctor's visits, not being able to spend time with his wife and son—oh, and the coughing, we mustn't forget that. God forbid if he could go five minutes without hacking up a lung, or both.
Once the fit subsided, he heard the office door open and Kim came into the living room.
"You heard?" he asked wearily as he fell back against the cushions.
"That really doesn't sound good Alex," she said with worry evident in her voice.
"Tell me about it. I never realized just how much energy breathing takes out of me when I'm sick like this. I want this crap out of my chest." He rubbed it slightly.
She sat down next to him and rubbed his back. "Does it hurt, babe?" she asked, concerned.
"Not really, only if I have a bad fit. It feels more like pressure, like someone is sitting on it," he tried to explain.
"That's gotta be uncomfortable. Maybe you could try taking a hot shower later to loosen up the mucus. It could help you relax, too, your muscles are all tense and everything. You have to stay calm and just take this in stride. You can't stress out like this, Alex."
"Is my Mucinex still upstairs?"
It seemed that her statement just went through one ear and out the other. "Yeah, on the nightstand. Want me to get it?" she offered.
"No, I got it...nevermind," AJ said as he felt a wave of dizziness hit him when he stood up. He sat back down and put his head in his hands.
"I'll get it. Be right back." Kim raced upstairs and back and brought it to him.
"Thanks Kim." He took a pill and washed it down with some water.
"Do you need anything else? Are you hungry?" she asked.
"No, I think I'm just gonna take a nap right—" he let out a big yawn, "here." He turned the TV off and started to lay down.
Kim went to the hall closet and got a spare blanket and pillow for AJ. "Before you get too comfortable, you might want these." She set the pillow down and covered him with the blanket.
"Thanks, babe. I'm sorry about earlier. I was just angry, but, not at you, okay?"
"You're welcome. I know, baby, don't worry. I just wanted to give you a chance to cool off. We're fine, just rest. I'll be in the office if you need me."
"Gotcha." AJ coughed a little and closed his eyes, taking slow, deep breaths as he tried to sleep.
Kim could tell that he was just worn out and quietly left the room. AJ groaned softly as the house phone rang and Kim quickly answered it, going down the hall so she wouldn't keep him awake.
AJ woke up from his nap around 1:30 and went into the kitchen. He decided to make some ginger tea because it normally helped when he had a sore throat. He peeled and sliced some fresh ginger root and put it in a boiling saucepan of water on the stove. He covered the pan with a lid as Kim came in.
"Hey," she greeted.
"What are you making?"
"Some ginger tea."
"Ooh, that sounds good. Did you sleep okay?"
"Uh huh. What have you been doing?" he wondered.
"Canceling and changing our flights and such for Germany. I'm almost done taking care of it."
AJ sighed as he wrapped up and put the rest of the ginger root in the refrigerator.
"I hate seeing you so upset like this. I feel helpless."
"Yeah, me too." He coughed a few times and spit phlegm in the sink and quickly rinsed it down the drain as he tried not to gag. "That's nasty." He shuddered.
Kim rubbed his shoulders. "It just means that the medicine's working. I bought the Extra Strength kind so you can get over this as fast as possible."
He turned around to face her. "Except that means more coughing and I don't think I can take much more of this. This sucks," he said, sulking a little.
"I know, but you should still rest as much as you can. I would hate for you to go back out too soon and relapse. Risking your health for a tour isn't worth it, and you know it. I would trade places with you in a heartbeat if I could. C'mon, let's go back to the couch and relax until the tea is done."
They both went into the living room to watch TV until the tea was done simmering. AJ added honey to his and Kim added lemon to hers. Soon after they had settled there, AJ's cell phone rang. He turned down the TV and answered it.
"Hi. How're you feeling?" she asked.
AJ shrugged. "Not much different from when we last spoke. You're on speaker phone. What's up?"
"I talked to Jive about the situation and they're not happy at all. They want proof that you're too sick or whatever. This is a bunch of BS," she explained.
"Seriously? What do they want from me, a personal phone call?" AJ was livid.
"I have no idea." She sighed. "I'm just trying to figure this all out."
"And you're doing a great job, I appreciate it. I think I'll give Barry Weiss (CEO of Jive Records) a call and straighten this out myself."
"You wouldn't," she said in disbelief.
"Oh, I will. Now, I was thinking—"
"Congratulations," Jenn said sarcastically.
AJ laughed. "Seriously, I wanna do a video for the fans explaining what's going on. They have a right to know but Jive doesn't have to know about this."
"Alex..." Jenn sighed.
AJ coughed some and continued. "Come on, I can give them more details than some dumb statement on our website. The fans trust me. Who cares what the label wants. Once they approve our time off, I'm gonna do it."
"Okay, if that's what you really wanna do..." she said in a warning tone.
"It is, since when have I cared about what Jive thinks?" he asked her seriously.
"That's true, it's been awhile."
"Exactly. How did the fellas take the news?" He took a sip of his tea.
"They haven't tried to get in touch with you?"
"No, I took a nap after I got home anyway and just made some ginger tea for me and Kim."
Jenn chuckled. "You and your crazy home remedies..."
"It's not crazy. It works wonders, it's my secret recovery tool for strep throat. Don't tell anyone okay?" he joked. "And it's not a home remedy. I just like tea." he said simply. "Anyway, back to my original question."
"They're okay, we all hate letting the fans down. Brian's feeling pretty guilty though," she admitted.
"He says that if he hadn't gotten you sick in the first place, this wouldn't have happened."
"He can't blame himself. It's in the past, ain't nothing we can do about it now." He shook his head. "I'll call him later. Anything else to report?"
"Nope, that's all for now. I'll call you if there's an update."
"Can you text me instead? I'm supposed to be resting my voice, doctor's orders."
"Sure. Bye, Alex."
AJ hung up and set his phone on the coffee table.
Kim looked furious. "Ugh! I can't believe them! Are they really being serious right now? Proof?!?!" she yelled.
"I know, I'll work it out. Don't worry. I'll call them both in a little while. Let's just relax, don't stress out. I'm sure that I'm stressed out enough for the both of us."
"I hate this. Why does everything have to be so complicated?" she asked as she rested her head on his shoulder.
"Shhh, shhh. Come on, Kim, it's okay. I love you." He kissed her hair.
"And I love you." She curled up next to him and tried to concentrate on the TV for the time being.