Part Eleven



“I understand that I owe you an enormous debt.”

AJ Quartermaine smiled at the soft, familiar voice on the phone.  He pushed away the mound of papers he had been studying.  “I doubt that you could owe me anything,” he replied softly.  “It’s probably the other way around.” 

“Jenny told me what you did.”

“Yeah, well… She’s from the south.  You know how fond people from the South are about stretching the truth.”

Keesha refused to let AJ deflect her gratitude.  “I’m serious, AJ.  You came through for me.  That means a lot.”

“You’re welcome.”  There was an awkward silence that AJ rushed to fill.  Not counting their brief conversation at Justus’ memorial service, it had been a very long time since he and Keesha had spoken.  They had not spoken, in fact, since the day two months ago when she found out he was drinking again.  “So, how was all your family back in Philadelphia?”

“They’re okay.  Everyone misses Justus, of course.  But life goes on.”  Keesha paused.  “How have you been, AJ?”

AJ understood the question that Keesha was really asking.  “I’ve been pretty good, actually.  I haven’t had a drink since the day Justus got killed.”  He laughed a bit self-consciously.  “I feel a little guilty about being so excited about it.  After all, Justus had to die for me to begin straightening up my life.”

“Don’t be guilty,” Keesha cried.  “Justus would be so happy that you’ve stopped drinking.  I know that I am.”

“I’m glad.  I want to be the kind of man you can depend on, Keesha.”  AJ gripped the telephone tightly.  “I am taking my sobriety one day at a time.  Maybe…” his voice faltered slightly, “maybe you’ll think about the two of us trying again.  One day at a time.”


“I’m just asking you to think about it.  I know I don’t deserve another chance, but I’m asking anyway.”

“Okay, AJ,” Keesha replied.  “I will think about it.”