© Kat Morgan 1999/2000

In Name Only

Chapter 17: Clarification

Howieís lunch with Nick seemed to be successful. The two were joking and laughing, as if nothing had happened. Both Brian and Kat breathed a sigh of relief. However, Kat knew that she and Nick would have to talk before it was all copacetic.

She found him in the suite, playing a video game. Something with evil vampires.

"Vampires in the modern age have lost the romance they had when they were first written about," Kat sighed, hoping that this would be an entry to a conversation.

"What do you mean? There is nothing romantic about getting your blood sucked out," Nick laughed.

"Yes, but that was not what they were originally seen as." Her intellectual leanings took over before she could steer the conversation to the safer (?) topic of Howie and she. "Look at the original: Bram Stokerís Dracula. Written in Victorian England when sensuality and sexuality for women were repressed. The whole idea behind destroying the Count was that he was seducing Mina with feeling of lust, desire and sensuality. Things that were not to be condone in "Polite Society." It was less about the fact that he was a vampire, one of the undead, and more about what he represented in a repressed society: the liberation of sexual feelings and an opportunity to feel."

"Thatís ridiculous. A vampire is a vampire, no matter what the age. It always comes down to the neck thing."

"Thatís my point."

"Huh?"

"You watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer?"

"Yeah. When I can," Nick replied.

"There the vampires are hunters. Demons from another realm who see the prey as food, and damn messy eaters."

"Except for Angel who has regained his soul," Nick replied.

"Ah yes, the old "love conquers all" tale. Anyway, do you read?

"Hey, I donít always read comic books. Not all singers are mindless boobs."

"Didnít mean it that way. I meant do you read vampire-related books? Laurell K. Hamilton? Anne Rice?"

"I have read the Lestat books," Nick admitted.

"Try Laurell K. Hamiltonís Anita Blake books. A damn fine read. Anyway, do you notice the difference in Anne Riceís books to the portrayal in Buffy?"

"Yeah, Lestat is older. Heís like a history lesson, only told better...wittier."

"What about the sex?" Kat asked.

"What sex?"

"Armand? Louis? The homo-erotic overtones?"

"Youíre the one married to a gay man. I guess I am too hetero to get it," he said smugly.

Kat ignored it. "Fine, letís go back to Bram Stokerís era. What does Dracula go for?"

"What all vampires go for...the neck," Nick replied, puzzled.

"Right. What is one of the few areas on a womanís body that was uncovered in Victorian era?"

"The neck?"

"Exactly. So why does this fiend go for the one erogenous area freely accessible?"

"Come on, the neck isnít that erogenous."

"I could give you one hell of a hard-on doing nothing more than paying attention to your neck."

"I am a man in my twenties. You could give me a hard-on just by saying the word hard-on," he giggled. And she was. This turn of conversation may not have been what Nick expected, but it was getting to the point he had wanted to make to her. Maybe she did feel attracted to him and it was just the Howie thing that stood in her way?

"Ha ha," Kat said, rolling her eyes.

"Fine. Show me."

"Nick, I am not going to do that. Get real. We were having an intellectual discussion about vampires, not preparing for an orgy."

"I donít want an orgy, I just want you," Nick thought, but said, "then I donít believe you. Vampires have nothing to do with romance."

"It has everything to do with it," Kat said in frustration. "That was the whole point! A folk legend that they could talk about that accepted the notion of womenís sexuality, the romance of the one open erogenous zone on the body."

"It is not!"

"You want me to prove it. I will"

Kat grabbed Nick and turned him around. Then she slowly breathed on his neck, starting at about midway along the shoulder, moving up towards his ear. Nick straightened, his shoulders going back reflexively.

"All I am doing is breathing. And you react. Still want to dispute me?"

"You just caught me off guard is all."

"Have it your way."

She moved closer, lips barely touching Nickís neck, following the same path. She moves head back to "beginning spot" and slowly took his shoulder between her teeth. Not biting, but gliding the teeth along his neck. Nickís is starting to shake slowly, and his breath is coming a little faster. Kat follows the path again, this time with lips, and the tip of her tongue. When she reaches the ear she breathes lightly into it, before retracing her steps down his neck.

She stepped back. "I think I proved my point."

Nick moaned softly, and turned towards her quickly. He lowered his lips to hers and kissed her. Kat tried to disengage but he moved the kiss deeper, his firm lips pressing against hers, his tongue darting into her mouth. The butterflies that Kat had unleashed in his stomach now start in hers, and she leaned into the kiss for a moment, before realizing whom she is kissing. She pulled back, taking a step away from him. Nick looked at her, his eyes still dilated with desire, then blinked and tried to regain his composure.

"Nick, IÖ"

"Iíve wanted to do that for a while."

"What?" Kat was surprised.

"Even before I found out about Howie. Iíve wanted to kiss you. Kat, please. You two are supposed to have an open marriage, and you are free to look for someone else. I want to be that someone," Nick put his arms around her, drawing her back, pulling her close to him.

She put her hands up on his chest, feeling the hard muscles under his t-shirt, and the heavy, rapid beating of his heart. "Nick, this isnít a good idea."

"Sure it is. He can see whomever he wants, whenever he wants. Youíll be with me." He kissed her again, harder this time, more desperately, more passionately. Kat was the one to moan this time. It felt so good.

"No!" She pushed herself away from him. "No, Nick. This is a bad idea. I am sorry. I just donít feel that way. I am not ready to through myself into something, someone, just because Howie is." She fled the room.

 

"I think we need to talk again," Howie said, entering the change room as the others prepared for the concert.

"Now what? You arenít gay?" Brian teased.

"Nope. Just one more thing I donít think I made clear."

"What now, D? We have a show to get ready for," AJ pointed out as he straightened his earrings.

"I am free to see whomever I want, as long as I am discreet. Kat is fine with that. And she is free to see whomever she wants. I canít stop her. But that doesnít mean it is open season on her. If and when she decides to start seeing someone is her decision."

"What is your point?" Kevin said.

"When I came out to you, I thought I made it clear that you were my friends and that you didnít have to worry about me coming on to any of you. I am not interested in any of you sexually." He could make that statement now. BeforeÖwith Kevin. Okay, so there was still part of him that yearned, but he couldnít take the extra baggage that would entail. And from the look on Kevinís face, he was surprised by Howieís statement. "Ha, not so irresistible, Train," Howie thought.

"What! You donít want me?" AJ joked. "Itís this shirt, isnít it? Damn, I knew it was too much."

Howie laughed. "Actually, its all the tattoos. Too bad boy for me."

AJ pouted. "You said you liked my tattoos, D."

"Look, the point is. I am not interested in any of you. So you are safe from me. And Kat is free to do whatever, but that doesnít mean that because she is my Ďcoverí she is also the official Backstreet concubine. Let her make up her own mind about her love life."

"Of course, D. Why would it be any other way?" Brian frowned.

"Just wanted to make that clear. So, one final point." Howie turned to Nick. "Carter, keep your hands off my wife."

Chapter 18