Chapter   One

"AJ, I’m leaving to go with Kristin," Roxanne said getting on her shoes that went with her black pants.

"What time will you be back," AJ asked from the living room of their house. He was looking over some of the schedule for the upcoming tour.

"I should be back by about 4." She answered walking into the living room; "I’ll see you later. Britt, come give Mommy a kiss." Brittany was in the loft playing with her many toys.

"Can I go with you,' she asked as she ran down the stairs.

"No, just me and Aunt Kristin are going today," Roxanne said hugging her daughter bye, "You can come out with us tomorrow." She said kissing her.

"Oh O.K.," Brittany said heading back to the loft, "Bye." Roxanne walked to AJ,

"See you later," she said going to softly kiss him. She didn’t expect him to kiss back, but he did.

"Do you really have to go?" he asked wanting her to stay with him.

"Well Kristin and I planned this last week so yeah I do." She answered with his arms on her waist.

"Oh O.K. go," he said pretending to pout.

"I’ll only be gone till 4," she said.

"Then you’re all mine," He said kissing her again.

"Hold that thought," She said, "Till 4. Bye." She said hugging him and walking out the door.

AJ was sitting in the living room, continuing to go over the schedule.

"Daddy," a little voice yelled.

He looked over the top of his glasses, "What Britt?"

"Hide and seek, you’re it." She said running out of the room. AJ laughed as he went to look for her,

"I’m coming." He went through the house, searching every room.

"Where are you," he asked as he went up the stairs. He heard a small laugh coming from the closet,

"I found you," he said as he moved the pile of blankets, to find his little four-year-old daughter smiling.

"What took you so long?" she asked smiling.

"“It’s hard looking for a little person like you," he answered.

"O.K. your turn to hide," she said covering her eyes. AJ went down the stairs and hid in the closet behind the door. Brittany found her way downstairs and walked right past the door. AJ popped out,

"I got you." He said laughing, "I’m gonna tickle you." He began to tickle her, and Brittany doing the same to him.

"Daddy," she yelled, "I’m too ticklish." She pinned him down and tickled him till he was laughing hard.

"Where did you learn that?" AJ asked.

"Uncle Nick." She answered.

"I’m gonna get Uncle Nick." He added.

"Daddy, can I watch Sesame Street?"

"Yeah, come on." He took his daughters hand and led her to the living room, where she sat on the couch waiting anxiously for Elmo to come on.

Hours after watching Sesame Street, and looking over the schedules, AJ realized it was almost 7 o’clock.

"I wonder where Mommy is." AJ said looking at the clock, wondering why his wife was late. She was never late. AJ called Kevin to see if Roxanne or Kristin had called him.

"Kristin, do you know where Roxanne is?" he asked surprised to hear Kristin answer the phone.

"She’s not home yet? She dropped me off before 4:30," she answered.

"I haven’t heard from her, since she left to get you this morning." He answered.

"I don’t know where she could be. Maybe she just had errands to run or something."

"She did them yesterday. I’m going to call around and see if I can find her." He answered.

"I'll do the same. Let me know if you hear anything." Kristin said.

AJ called around to see if anyone had heard from his wife or knew of her wear abouts. He got worried when no one knew where she was. At about 9 o’clock the phone rang.

"AJ, we found her. She was in an accident. Get to the hospital, now." Kevin said in hysterics.

"What hospital?"

"Orlando Central."

"O.K., I’m on my way."

"Wait AJ."

"What?" he asked.

"Go on the dresser and grab the yellow envelope, Roxanne wants it, and Brittany." AJ ran up the stairs and into Brittany’s room, where she was sleeping.

"Britt, come on we have to go see Mommy," he said grabbing clothes for her.

"I don’t wanna," she said shaking her head no.

"Brittany, please, just do this for me."

She shook her head no, again.

"I'll buy you an Elmo tape tomorrow." He said knowing she would agree to that.

"O.K.," she said as he pulled a pink sweater over her little head. He ran into his bedroom, throwing on a shirt. And headed down the stairs.

"The envelope." He said as he ran up the stairs, leaving Brittany standing at the bottom.

"Kev, said she wants it. I don’t know why, but oh well." He said grabbing it off the dresser and running back down by his daughter. He picked her up and carried her to the expedition in the driveway. He strapped her in the seat belt and a million thoughts running through his head as he drove to the hospital.

He hurried to the ICU floor, where his wife was being held. He saw Kevin, Kristin, Brian and Leigh Anne. The other guys and girls were on their way.

"What’s wrong with her?" AJ asked as he held Brittany and the envelope in his grip.

"All they said was to get you here." Kevin said with tear filled eyes.

“Where is she?” AJ asked.

“There,” Brian said pointing towards a door. AJ started towards the door with Brittany still in his arms.

“Sir, she can’t go in there.” A nurse said.

“Her mom’s in there,” he said, “Her mom wants to see her.”

“It’s not my rules. If I could I’d let you take her in, but I can’t,” she said, “I’m sorry.” AJ turned and looked at Kevin he was holding back his tears.

“Britt, stay here with Uncle Kevin and Aunt Kristin.” He said as he hugged and kissed his daughter. Kevin reached for Brittany and her arms clung to her Daddy.

“I wanna see Mommy,” she said. His sad dark eyes looked at her,

“Just please stay with Uncle Kev.” Kevin reached for Brittany,

“Come here sweetie.” Kevin and Kristin were Brittany’s godparents. AJ took a deep breath and turned towards the door again. The same nurse stopped him,

“Mr. McLean, she has internal bleeding. We can’t stop it.” Kristin went to AJ, as they both cried.

“Can I see her?” he asked.

“Yes, but it may be your last time,” she said, “I’m sorry.” He went to reach for the doorknob when Brittany said,

“Daddy, tell Mommy I love her.” He knew this was the last time he was going to see his wife, he opened the door, and saw her connected to many tubes and machines.

“Alex,” she moaned as she slowly opened her soft baby blue eyes that were full of pain.

“It’s me,” he said as he felt his dark chocolate eyes begin to swell.

“Where’s Britt?” she asked.

“They won’t let her in.” He said sadly. Roxanne was able to pull the cord that let the nurses know she needed them. The nurse walked in the room,

“I want to see my daughter.” Roxanne said struggling to say her words.

“I can’t let her in,” the nurse said sadly.

“This is the last time I’m ever going to see her,” Roxanne said, “Please.” AJ couldn’t stand to hear her talk like that.

“O.K., but I didn’t let her in.” AJ walked out of the room, and went to get Brittany,

“Mommy wants you.” He walked back into the room, where Roxanne laid almost lifeless.

“Mommy,” Brittany said.

“Britt,” she said as she hugged her awkwardly, “I love you.”

“I love you, when are you coming home?” she asked. Roxanne ran her fingers through her daughter’s hair,

“I don’t know.” She said as she looked at AJ who was about to break down.

“I love you Brittany.” She looked at AJ again, and motioned for Brittany to be taken back to Kevin.

“Come on Britt,” AJ said as he picked up his daughter, “I’ll be back.” He took Brittany back out to the guys, and asked them to take her home.

“I wanna say my last goodbye,” Kristin said crying.

“Me too,” everyone added. Brian and Leigh Anne went in first.

“Hey Rox,” they said holding back their tears.

“Hi,” she said painfully, “Listen, I know I’m going, so can I ask you one favor?”

Brian and Leigh Anne began to cry, both knowing she was right, “What?”

“Promise me you’ll stay together,” she answered.

They walked to give her a hug, “We will. Roxanne, we’re going to miss you so much.” Leigh Anne said hugging her.

“We love you.” Brian said doing the same.

“Goodbye,” Roxanne said as they walked out of the room, and Nick, Mandy, Howie, and Claudia coming in after them. They basically said the same thing when they walked in; not believing this was the last time they would see her.

“I love you guys so much.” She said crying, “You guys are my family.” They all hugged her saying they loved her, and their final good-byes. Kevin and Kristin were the last to come in. Kristin broke down not believing her best friend was dying.

“Do me a huge favor, please.” She asked.

“What is it, and we will do it,” Kevin said.

“Make sure AJ and Brittany are O.K.,” she answered, “I don’t want to leave them. They’re everything to me.” She finished crying again. Kristin hugged her,

“We will. I love you Rox,” she said hugging her.

“Rox, everything you want will be done. I’m going to miss you so much, I love you,” Kevin said giving her a kiss on the cheek and hugging her.

“Goodbye,” they said in unison and walked out the door crying. She didn’t know Denise was at the hospital, but she walked in next.

“Hi,” Roxanne said as she saw Denise walk in. As Denise looked at her she cried harder than she was before.

“Hi,” she said as she approached her daughter-n-law lying in the hospital bed.

“Roxanne, thank you,” Denise said holding her hand.

“For what?” Roxanne asked.

“Making my son happy, and giving me a granddaughter,” Denise answered. “And being the greatest daughter-n-law anyone could ask for.”

Roxanne had nothing to say, she just cried, “Do me a favor, and keep them safe and happy for me.”

“I will,” Denise said, “I promise. I love you, but I’m going to go because I can’t stand to see you like this. And AJ wants back in here.”

“I love you. Goodbye.” Roxanne said as she saw her mother-n-law walk out of the room for the last time.

AJ returned to Roxanne’s room and sat in the chair next to her bed. He reached for her hand, as he could feel the tears fall.

“Roxanne, I love you, and I don’t want to lose you,” he said crying.

“Alex, I love you and Brittany more than anything in the world, and you know I don’t want to go, but,” she cut off as she winced in pain, “Do you have the envelope?”

AJ reached into his pocket, “Right here.”

“Read it, please.” She said not letting go of his hand. He opened the envelope and pulled out a piece of paper, it had these words on it:

When I see you there I’m so aware of how lucky I am baby,
Cause I don’t deserve, I don’t come close to understanding baby,
The logic of your kind of trust. It amazes me.
That someone like you would care enough to just believe.
Your faith in me, it pulls me through when there’s nothing around to hold on to.
When I fall, when I’m weak, all the strength that I need is your faith, baby.
Your faith in me.
Even with your love I get long cause I’ve always been, baby,
It’s a nice salvation to my soul cause that’s how it feels baby,
The sacred thing that I keep close to carry on
And I know that I will be all right and you’re here at all. Your faith in me, it pulls me through when there’s nothing around to hold on to.
When I fall, when I’m weak, all the strength that I need is your faith, baby.
Your faith in me.
You make me feel I can walk on water (I can reach above the stars)
And now then comes our guessing, safe within your arms.
Your faith in me, it pulls me through when there’s nothing around to hold on to.
When I fall, when I’m weak, all the strength that I need is your faith, baby.
Your faith in me.

Alex, I love you so much, and I never want you to forget that. You and Brittany are the greatest things to happen in my life. There’s nothing more I want in life. I love you- always and forever. Love, Roxanne.

AJ cried as he read it, and going to give her a hug.

“Careful,” she said slowly.

“I love you sooo much,” he said through his tears, “Don’t leave me.”

“I was waiting for you to ask me for the past 2 weeks about that envelope,” she joked, “Why didn’t you ask?”

“Don’t leave me.” He said. His rich chocolate eyes were melting with tears.

“I’m going to stay as long as I can, but I don’t know how long I can do it,” she said crying, “Alex, I love you.”

“You can do it, just don’t leave me,” he said squeezing her hand.

“Alex, I need my rest. Stay with me…until I…just stay.”

“I’m not going anywhere,” he said as he kissed her softly.

“One last kiss,” she said as she gently pulled him to her. They brought their lips to meet both returning eachother’s kiss.

“Get rest. I’m right here.” He said as he sat next to her in the chair, holding her hand. She softly closed her eyes, and rested her last rest. AJ sat there not moving a muscle, and holding her hand, as he stared at her crying.

Chapter Two
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