Jason’s face revealed nothing.  From the doorway he stared at AJ, who met his gaze equally.  “Don’t call me that,” he finally said.

AJ rose from the bed and nodded vehemently.  “Oh yeah, that’s right!  You’re only Jason Quartermaine when you choose to be.”  He gave the other man a hard stare.  “Like now, when you thought you would be manipulating Keesha’s emotions. Tell me, Jase, is it a coincidence that you’re here at the house on the night before my brother’s twenty-fifth birthday?”

Jason Morgan’s expression grew blank.  It was a thing he had perfected after numerous encounters with former friends and family seeking some spark of recognition in his face. Whenever he adopted the unrevealing demeanor, Jason felt totally detached from the stress such encounters produced.  It was as if a protective buffer fell between him and whoever threatened the careful distance he constantly maintained.  He did not realize that, like now, the gesture was far more revealing than anything else he could have done.

“Hit a nerve, huh, Jase?”  AJ’s taunt was delivered with particular satisfaction.  “You always do that ‘Borg’ thing when somebody tells you something you’re too much of a coward – or a fraud – to admit.”

Jason stepped into the room, unaware that his hands had curled up into two tight fists.  “I am here because Grandmother and Emily asked me to come,” he replied tightly.

“Is this why you were so insistent on changing rooms with me, AJ?”  Keesha’s quiet inquiry made both men’s heads whip toward the door.  “Because you were expecting Jason?”

“I had a feeling he might knock on your door, yeah.”

“Thank you for the concern,” Keesha said pointedly.  AJ’s tendency to try and insulate her from life’s difficulties was a point of heated contention between them.  “But since I am here now, I will handle Jason.”


Goodnight, AJ.”

AJ’s menacing stare as he walked reluctantly past Jason Morgan was an obvious message.  The frustrated man knew that there was no changing Keesha’s mind so he directed he anger toward Jason.

“Why did you come to my room?” Keesha asked after closing the door behind a seething AJ.  “What did you want?”


Jason was unfazed by Keesha’s incredulous expression.  “I saw you watching me all through dinner, wishing I was him.”

“But you are not him.”

“Keep your eyes closed.  This,” he cupped himself, “hasn’t changed, and I promise you it will be all that you can concentrate on.”

Jason saw Keesha’s gaze drift down to the bulge in his worn and faded jeans.  “You know you want this,” he said, matter-of-factly.

“…Yes,” Keesha whispered finally.  She reached behind her and locked the bedroom door.  Quickly she dashed away a tear threatening to fall.

Keesha closed her eyes and began to undress.  As she felt the first touch of Jason Morgan’s hands upon her flesh, she concentrated on memories of happier times with the Jason she loved. Happy 25th birthday, sweetheart.”