After an exhausting and draining day at the hospital, AJ, Kim, Tony, and AJ's uncle Bill all went to AJ's home to get some sleep for the night before they would return to see Denise and Jordan in the morning. Bill had flown in from Orlando at 7:30 and took a cab to the hospital. AJ and Kim had invited him and Tony to stay with them as long as needed, so their house was more full than normal.
AJ, however, wasn't asleep. He was woken up by the same nightmare he'd had the night before about his dad. He didn't want to risk having it again, so, he didn't go back to sleep right away. Instead, he went downstairs to the bar and took a bottle of Jack Daniel's whiskey and a glass filled with ice into his studio. He was not in the mood to be interrupted and he didn't know if the bottle would be empty or not when he was finished.
AJ took a seat at his small table and opened it, pouring the amber-colored liquid over the small ice cubes. He rose to the glass to his lips and took a sip before drinking half of its contents. "Ah..." he sighed and set the glass down and began to flip through his journal to the next available blank page and began to write.
So...the worst has happened. Mom and Jordan got in a car accident yesterday afternoon. Some asshole t-boned her car at an intersection downtown and they were seriously hurt. They're both in the hospital at Cedars-Sinai and I'm worried sick. God knows that I do not need this right now. None of us do, but life is full of curve balls and I've currently swung and missed, haha. Oh, that's not funny...
AJ couldn't help but laugh to himself and drink the remaining whiskey in the glass. He poured a refill and continued to scribble on the page.
Damn. As if things couldn't possibly get any worse, Kim's sick with a cold and because of that she hasn't been able to see Jordan. He's in the Pediatric ICU for observation and the doctors say that as long as nothing continues to go wrong (knock on wood), he'll be moved to the regular Pediatric ward in the morning. I feel so bad for Kim, my poor girl. She's only been able to see him from a video that I took on my phone for her. She cried a little bit and just held her and tried to comfort her. She slept on the way home at 10 and went right upstairs to bed after saying goodnight to Tony and my uncle Bill who flew in from Florida. I hope she feels better in the morning.
AJ put his pen down and drank some more whiskey. He gasped for air as his chest began to ache and he rubbed it to try to ease it. He quickly finished the glass and poured another.
Mom's hurt worse than Jordan and the poor thing blames herself for what happened. I won't let her do that. I can't. The guilt will destroy her and it's not her fault anyway. The bastard who hurt them is gonna pay big time. I refuse to pay Jordan's hospital bill and I'm gonna make sure mom or Tony don't pay for hers either until justice is served.
This is so stressful for all of us. When I saw my mom in that hospital bed, I felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest. Same as when I saw my little boy. I love my family more than anything in this world. Without them by my side I would have nothing, I would be nothing.
Unfortunately, my two best friends at the moment are the bottle of Jack and the ice-cold glass sitting in front of me.
We'll get through this, but I don't know what scars will remain and that's what terrifies me...I just want them to be okay. I need them both.
AJ didn't realize he was crying until he saw a tear fall on the page. He closed his journal and pushed it to the side before wiping his face and taking another drink. The tears kept coming and he put his head down on the table and just tried to breathe through the pain. Suddenly feeling drained of energy and emotion, he sat up and swallowed some more Jack and filled the glass again after a few minutes of sitting in silence. God...he felt like he'd experienced enough silence yesterday to last a lifetime and here he was, alone in a house full of his loved ones. But two of them were missing...
As soon as that thought passed through his mind he broke down. His wall crumbled to dust and he was left weakened on his own, left for dead in his own misery. He tried all day, every day to be strong, God knows he did. But he was just too tired to fight it tonight. He threw back another glass of whiskey and slammed it down hard on the table, hearing the ice cubes rattle as his slightly trembling fingers reached for the bottle again. AJ took a long look at the otherwise empty glass in front of him and glanced at its counterpart. 'Why in the hell am I doing this? This can't be right, I'm no drunk...am I?'
AJ had enough, he pushed the glass away and stood up. With a sigh he went back to the bar and put everything in its place. After that was done he rushed into the bathroom next to his studio to go throw up in the toilet. He felt so disgusted with himself for acting like this. He couldn't keep sneaking around on Kim and his family, it ultimately wouldn't end well. If it didn't stop now, there's no telling when or if it would. AJ went upstairs into the kitchen to sip on some water to help settle his stomach before going back to bed. It was just past one in the morning and he figured that it was in his best interest to try to sleep while he felt tired.
AJ listened to Kim snore but otherwise sleep peacefully beside him, she never really snored unless her sinuses were congested. He just hoped that this cold wouldn't require a doctor's visit, last time she developed a sinus infection and those were a miserable few weeks for her. Kim promised him that she would take some medicine before bed so hopefully it would work its magic before morning. She could get really cranky when sick and he knew very well that no one wanted to be on the receiving end of that.
AJ heard her cough and felt her roll over toward him. He reached over to touch Kim's face gently to check her fever, finding it to be a bit sweaty but not very hot at all. She whimpered softly at his touch and he quickly jerked his hand back as not to wake her. Even in the darkness he noticed that she had kicked off the blankets and sat up to find the end. He covered her back up to her waist so she wouldn't be chilled if she woke up and he laid back down knowing that they all had another long day ahead of them at the hospital.
AJ let out a big yawn as he walked into his kitchen to find his step-father and uncle already awake. "Mornin'." he mumbled and went to the fridge.
"Kim still asleep?" Tony asked.
"Yeah, I'm letting her sleep longer. She needs the rest." He took out the coffee creamer and walked over to the coffee pot.
"Right. Did you sleep okay?"
AJ took a coffee mug from the cabinet above him and poured himself some. "Eventually, yeah. How about you two?"
"Once I got to sleep, I was fine," Tony replied.
"Your beds aren't half bad, nephew," Bill commented.
AJ turned around with his coffee and leaned against the counter. "Good. Are you guys hungry? I make a great omelette."
Tony shook his head. "Not really, I'll just have some toast."
Bill nodded. "I'll have what he's having."
"Toast it is, then." AJ plugged in the toaster and took out some bread and put it in, pushing the lever until the bread popped back up, doing so a few times until there was enough for each of them. "There's stuff to put on it in the fridge." He walked over to it and opened the door. "We've got butter, margarine, strawberry jelly, apricot jelly, orange marmalade, honey. There's peanut butter around here somewhere. Take your pick."
"No grape jelly?" Bill wondered.
AJ chuckled. "Nope, none of us like it." He took a bunch of things out and set them on the island for them to choose from. He went back to the counter, grabbed some butter knives, put the stack of toasted bread on a plate, and brought it to them. "Dig in." He went back again for his coffee mug and some plates before joining them.
The three of them ate in silence for a few minutes until Kim walked in wearing a pair of AJ's plaid lounge pants and one of his big white t-shirts with her hair tied up in a messy bun. "Het'chishhew! Ugh, g'morning, boys." she greeted them and sat down on a stool next to AJ.
They blessed her and AJ kissed her cheek. "Good morning, my love."
"How're you feeling, sweetheart?" Tony asked her sympathetically.
"Like hell," she replied gravely.
"Sorry. You're feverish, did you take your temperature?" he asked as he felt her forehead.
"Yeah, it's 100.4. That's not—Het'chew! Het'CHISH! Ugh! Too bad." she finished and blew her nose with a tissue she brought from upstairs.
AJ got up and retrieved a box of Kleenex from the living room and set it in front of her. "Here, are you hungry?"
"Uh-uh, you can shoot be though if you want to, but be good little boys and take turns." Kim coughed several times into her fist and rested her head on the cool granite surface. "Is there coffee?" she mumbled.
"Yes, but you're having orange juice. No coffee for you," AJ said and stood to get her some.
"No fair, if I want coffee I'll have coffee—"
"But you don't drink yours black and the cream won't help with your congestion, babe," AJ reminded her gently from the refrigerator and brought her a glass of the orange liquid.
"Right, I forgot. On second thought, I guess I'll have some toast..." Bill pushed the plate of bread toward her and she buttered a piece and squirted some honey on it from a bottle before taking a bite. "I wish I could taste it, ha."
AJ leaned over to kiss her hair. "Take a hot shower after you finish eating, it'll wake you up and you'll feel better afterwards, okay?"
"You're sickeningly sweet, do you know that?" She laughed. "Stop it," Kim said.
"What can I say? I'm a nurturer at heart. You know you love it," he smirked.
Kim rolled her eyes and continued to eat. When she was finished, she took AJ's advice and went upstairs to take a shower.
"Do you guys need anything? I'm gonna go work out and shower before we leave," AJ said as he put his coffee mug in the sink after he rinsed it out. He then went to the fridge and took out a bottle of water.
"No, we're fine," Bill replied.
"Alright, I'll be down the hall next to the office." AJ left the kitchen and went into his workout room that had all of the equipment he needed.
AJ grabbed a white towel and changed into some black track pants, a white wifebeater and a pair of Nike running shoes. He stretched his muscles before wrapping some white tape around his hands. He picked up his iPod and walked over to his Everlast punching bag that hung in the farthest corner from the door and took a few deep breaths while closing his eyes to focus himself. He opened them, put his headphones in, and swung at the black bag with his right fist before repeating the action with his left. His jabs increased with speed and intensity over the ten minutes that he hit the bag, just concentrating his frustration and energy on the very center of the bag; his target so to speak.
After wiping the sweat off of his face and neck with a towel, AJ went over to his treadmill and stepped on it. He turned it on to a low speed with no incline and walked for a few minutes before increasing the speed and incline and jogged for awhile. A few minutes passed and he removed his wifebeater, feeling the sweat accumulate on his forehead and chest as he put his headphones back in and continued to run.
AJ saw Kim walk past the door but she quickly turned around and said something AJ didn't hear. He took one headphone out but still kept his pace on the treadmill. "What was that, babe?"
"I said, 'You look hot,'" she repeated with a light smile and came into the room.
"Ha, yeah right. I'm all sweaty and gross, how can I possibly look attractive right now?" AJ turned off the treadmill and stepped off of it, he grabbed the towel and wiped more sweat off of himself and kissed Kim's cheek. "Did the shower help?" he asked her and rubbed her back.
"Yeah, it helped me relax and you can kind of understand me now," she chuckled, then coughed away from him.
AJ's forehead creased with concern and he kissed her hair. "I'm gonna go shower real quick and then we'll leave for the hospital, okay?"
AJ picked up his discarded shirt and left the room. He walked past the kitchen and upstairs to toss the dirty items into a laundry basket in his closet. He took some clothes into the master bathroom and got in the shower. He relaxed under the hot water for a few minutes before washing and rinsing himself off. He changed clothes and got ready and everyone went in AJ's Porsche to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to visit Denise and Jordan.
"Good morning. How are all of you?" Dr. Romero asked as she walked by them in the hallway as they waited for another doctor to give them a form to sign so that Jordan could be moved out of the PICU and into a regular pediatric room.
"I'm doing okay," AJ said.
"I've been better," Kim replied with a sigh.
"Right, I hope you feel better. Well, I've got a surgery in ten minutes. Can I come by and see Jordan later when he's settled in his new room?"
"Of course you can," AJ replied.
"I guess I'll see you around then." She walked off down the hallway.
A few minutes later, a PICU doctor had them sign a form and Jordan was moved out of the department. AJ, Kim, Bill, and Tony followed as a nurse pushed him in a wheelchair down the hall to his new room. He winced slightly as AJ helped him into the bed because of his bruised ribs. "There. Better?"
Jordan nodded as Kim came over to his bedside and tears began to form in her eyes. "I missed my baby boy. Did you miss me?"
Jordan nodded again and yawned.
"Hey, it's still early in the morning. You can go back to sleep, okay? I love you."
Jordan closed his eyes and his breathing slowed as he drifted off.
AJ gave her a squeeze as she held Jordan's hand and went outside the room to talk with Bill and Tony who were sitting outside the room in chairs. "Let her have a few minutes," he said quietly and could hear Kim singing to their son as he slept.
"Of course," Tony replied.
AJ sat down on the chair closest to the door with a sigh and just listened to Kim sing to Jordan:
Duérmete, mi niño,
que cuando despiertes
te daré atolito.
Duérmete, mi niño,
duérmete, mi sol,
de mi corazón...
"Do you have any idea what she's saying?" Bill asked AJ.
He shrugged. "Not really, I can only make out a couple of words."
"Well, it's beautiful regardless," Bill added.
AJ smiled. "Yeah, it is."
Sleep my boy,
Sleep by yourself,
For when you awaken
I will give you cream corn soup.
Sleep my boy,
Sleep my sun,
Of my heart.
Everybody say it now. Awww...
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