Chasing Demons



        “You know, Keesha, it is ironic,” AJ mused sadly.  “For over five years of my life I supported you while you chased your own demon.  Good old AJ… always there, always understanding.  Now the tables are turned and you don’t even grant me the same courtesy.  I wonder if you would have been more understanding if it had been anyone else but Carly?”

It was not a question he expected to be answered.  “Carly and I share a child.  That’s a bond that cannot be broken.”

“No matter how many underhanded ways she tried,” Keesha interrupted angrily.

“Yeah, I know that Carly has done more wrong to me than any human being has a right to, Keesha.  But a part of me will always want her.”  His gaze pinned her in place.  “The same way a part of you will never stop hoping that somewhere deep inside Jason Morgan is the real Jason, just fighting his way back to you.”

“The difference between us,” AJ concluded, “is that I loved you enough to accept that fact.  So tell me, Keesha, just which of us in this relationship was really the selfish one?”

His words stung deeply.  AJ had been nothing but supportive during those wasted years she had futilely spent chasing after the memory of Jason Quartermaine.  When every encounter with Jason Morgan left her depressed and mourning the man she had lost, AJ patiently held her hand and allowed Keesha to pour out her heart without reservation.

If she were brutally honest with herself, Keesha would be forced to admit that she probably would not have been able to heal so completely without the care AJ showed her.


“Don’t, Keesha.”  He had no desire to hear her guilty apology.  “Hearing the pity in your voice would only make it worse.”  The rain-drenched man shook his head.  “It must be really nice to have your life all tied up in one neat little bundle.  No doubts, no regrets, no hesitation.  All in all, I guess you are pretty lucky that every woman Jax ever really loved is dead.”

Keesha’s quick intake of breath was like a hiss.  AJ!

He shook his head.  “That wasn’t intended as disrespect to Brenda or Chloe,” he explained quietly.  “They were both a part of my family in some way.  All I meant was that you and Jax are free to love each other in a way that you and I never could – without the baggage of the past.”

He looked more defeated than Keesha had ever seen him.  She stepped back from her doorway and gestured him inside.  “Come inside and talk to me, AJ.  You are going to catch your death of cold out there in the rain.”

“AJ’s lips curved into a mirthless smile.  “I have ‘died’ in every way you can imagine, Keesha.  A little bit of rain can’t begin to compare.  Beside, I am a Quartermaine.  My death would never be that simple.”

Keesha froze.  Her panic stricken expression did not escape AJ’s gaze.  “You don’t have to worry about me,” he reassured her.  “I am not suicidal.”  He futilely swept the water from his face.  “But that’s not your problem anymore.”  AJ jammed his hands further down into the soggy pockets of his soaked suit pants and headed down the walk.

“I will always be your friend, AJ,” Keesha yelled above the noise of the rain.

As her words reached him over the frenetic rhythm of splattering raindrops, AJ paused.  “I know,” he murmured without turning around.  “But I need more from you than that.”