© Kat Morgan 1999/2000

In Name Only

Chapter 25: Making Plans

Waking up was a mistake.

When she was asleep it could all be passed off as a very vivid dream. But seeing Kevinís face, his body, sleeping next to her meant that last night had happened. And she would have to face the implications of it. She slipped carefully from the bed and ran to the bathroom. She stared at her reflection in the mirror. Her hair was mussed, cheeks rosy and lips full. Her eyes filled with tears. How could she look so good and feel so horrible?

She had to get out of there, but she could still smell him, feel him, on her. It was worth the risk. A quick shower, nothing more, though. He was still asleep when she peeked out. She sprinted to the door; grasping her purse and pulling the door gently shut behind her. For once she was glad about his propensity for sleeping in.

The floor was quiet and she nodded to Terry, one of the Boysí bodyguards, as he held his post at the end of the corridor -- positioned so that he could see both the elevators and the staircase.

"Youíre up early," he noted.

"Yeah, well, I went to bed before anyone else. Am I the only one awake?"

He chuckled. "AJ and Tina only got in a few hours ago. Out partying all night."

"Great. All we need is a sleepy AJ," she grimaced.

"Hey, why do you think he wears those sunglasses? So he can get some shut eye without anyone knowing."

She laughed and told him she was headed down to get some breakfast.

The tea helped, but she couldnít face food. She made herself eat a slice of toast, but it tasted like sawdust. What had she done? Sheíd betrayed Howie. Oh sure, she was Ďallowedí to. But to do it with one of his closest friends, with his former lover? Oh gods, how was she supposed to face him.

The answer came to quickly, as Howie sat down across from her. "Hey," he said. Her hand shook and tea splashed on the table. "Sorry, I didnít mean to scare you. Is there anything left in the pot?"

"Sure," she managed calmly, pouring him a cup. "How are you this morning?"

"Tired. Didnít get much sleep last night."

"Shit!" she thought. "He was right next door. What if he heard us?"

"Oh? Why?" she asked feigning nonchalance.

He grinned wickedly. "Hadnít seen Paul in a little while. Had to make up for lost time."

She laughed, relief in her voice.

He smiled at his wife. "Sorry, you probably donít want to hear that."

"I always want to hear when youíre happy," she assured him, then matched his wicked grin with one of her own. "I just donít want to see it."

He chortled. "What a pair we are."

"I like Paul and you two are good together," she replied, glad to be focussing on him. How could she tell him?

"Yeah," he said, blushing a little. "Actually, I need to talk to you about that."

He took another sip of tea, steeling himself, then put his cup down and looked at her hesitantly. "I want Paul to stay with me for a while."

She was stunned.

"I really think this relationship is working and I donít want to damage it by sending him away. I know itís not fair to you. Iíve never asked you to cover for me to this extent. And if you say no, Iíll understand."

"But you want me to agree anyway," she noted.

"Yes. Iím sorry. I shouldnít have sprung this on you."

"What am I supposed to say, D? I always feel a little useless when you are on tour. This will make it worse." She sighed. "Do you want me to go home?"

"No!" he exclaimed. "No, I want you here. Iíd need you here more than ever. I know itís not the greatest thing to ask of you..."

"What is?" Kevin said as he dropped on the chair next to Kat. She hadnít even seen him come in. Howie looked at her, eyes seeking her help. But as uncomfortable as she was, as guilty as she felt sitting there between her husband and the man she had slept with last night. Between the man she loved and the man sheíd...

"Youíll have to tell him, D. Theyíll all have to approve," she replied. "They are all part of this. I canít be the only one who makes this decision."

"What decision? "Kevin asked, reaching across for a bun from the basket on the table. His arm brushed hers and she flinched aside, trying to distance herself from him. He obviously noticed. Instead of moving away he shifted closer, his leg pressed against hers. She hated herself for way it made her tremble.

"I want Paul to stay."

"Oh," was all Kevin said.

"Look, Train, I know this is a lot to ask. And probably even harder for you, because..." he broke off, glancing around the room, checking to see if anyone could overhear them.

"Because of what happened between you and I," Kevin finished for him. "Howie, that was a long time ago. I may not have behaved well, but since then you have gotten yourself a beautiful wife, and now someone else you care about."

Howie was surprised. "Youíve never talked this easily about it before."

Kevin sighed. "I didnít think I could." He glanced at Kat, who had been looking at him strangely, but she turned away before he could catch her eye. "What do you think, Kat?"

She flinched again; angry at the way her heart beat when he said her name. "I want Howie to be happy."

Howie smiled at her. One of his dazzling ones, that she couldnít help but return.

"But what about you? I mean your position in this little Backstreet family would change," Kevin persisted.

"No it wouldnít," Howie protested. "Kat is still my wife."

"Yes, D. But I wouldnít be sleeping in the same room as you. I couldnít." She smiled wistfully. "Sorry, love. Itís part of that not wanting to see bit again. Iíve all ready HEARD enough over the past year as it is." She smiled at Howie, who had the good grace to blush. Kevin, on the other hand, went white, realizing that her comment was as much directed at him as at Howie.

"We could get an extra room, canít we? For you, I mean."

"Probably," she agreed.

"We may still run into trouble though. Like last night," Kevin pointed out.

"True." Howie didnít want to admit how uncomfortable he had been with last nightís arrangement. It had hurt putting Kat in that position. Still, it was better that she had been with Kevin and not with Nick. Despite giving his "permission," he still didnít like the idea of Kat and Nick getting together.

"Look, hereís what weíll do," Kevin said, leaning forward. "Paul stays; if the others agree. Weíll make room when we can. When we canít, Kat can stay with me. Letís just make sure they are adjoining rooms, okay? So she can slip in and out. We donít want to advertise this."

Kat stared at him, her jaw dropped. Was he crazy? They couldnít do that!

"And you have my support for this. Think of it as my way of saying sorry for being such an asshole for so long," Kevin concluded.

"Thatís hardly fair to you. What if you, umm, need the room alone?" Howie asked.

Kevin laughed. "After Mindy and her caterwauling, you want me to start seeing someone?"

"I think he means in terms of one night stands," Kat said bluntly.

He looked at her, this time making, and holding, eye contact. "I donít like one night stands. I donít have one night stands."

"What do you think, Kat?" Howieís question made her turn away from Kevin. "I know I keep making this up to you, but I really want you to be okay with this."

She looked at him, the hesitant hope showing on his face. "If the others agree, it is okay with me," she said finally.

Howie let out a small whoop of joy and gave her a big hug. "I love you, you know that? You are the best! I am going to go talk to Paul." He leapt up from the table and scurried from the room.

Leaving her alone with Kevin.

He moved over, taking Howieís seat, facing her. "Morning."

"How are you today, Kevin?" she asked politely, concentrating on the liquid in her cup.

"I would have been better if you hadnít left me alone."

"Kevin, please," she said, glancing around. The restaurant was starting to fill and she didnít want an open discussion.

"Thereís no one around. Why did you leave, Kat?"

"I... I never want to hurt Howie."

He nodded. "You care about him a lot. I understand that."

"Finding out about... It would hurt... I... Can we please just forget it ever happened?"

"No!" He grabbed her hand. "I meant what I said about one night stands. I want this. Please, Kat."

She gulped back her hopes. "Be strong," she told herself as she disengaged her hand from his. "Why? So you can use it against me?"

"Iím not going to do that!"

"Congratulations, Kevin. You finally got what you wanted: something that will force me to leave. You win."

She fled the dining room, hurrying up to the hotel room. She was going to lock the door but realized it would be no good. He had a key after all.

What she needed to do was pack her things quickly and then get out. She didnít have anywhere to be until the concert that afternoon. Sheíd just get her things ready and someone would take them down to the bus. Just get what she needed for today, she told herself.

She stuffed things rapidly into her bags, angry at how much seemed to be out of her bags. "One night. How could I have unpacked so much?" she thought desperately, looking over the room. What was missing? The laptop! Dammit. She rushed over to the table, pulling cables and unplugging the modem.

Kevin stormed into the room, slamming the door and grabbing her arm. "What are you doing?"

"Iím..."

"So last night meant nothing to you?" he raged.

"Kevin, please, youíre hurting me," she said, trying to twist out of his grasp.

"And you didnít just hurt me?" he asked as he released her. She moved away from him. Trying for physical distance at least.

"Dammit, Kat. What do I have to do to get you to trust me?"

"Trust you? Why should I? Look what you just did? How dare you arrange things like that?" she yelled.

"You agreed to it."

"I couldnít very well not. You laid the whole plan out for him."

"So you only agreed because you felt you had to?"

"Of course."

"And not because the arrangement meant that we could be together?"

"I..." she hesitated.

He crossed the room, taking her in his arms. "Donít push me away, Kat," he said. "I canít take it." His mouth descended on hers in a brutal, passionate kiss.

"Kevin," she mumbled into his mouth, then disengaged, looking at his brilliant green eyes. "Oh gods," she moaned as she pulled his head down, kissing him as deeply as he had kissed her.

He swung her up into his powerful arms, carrying her over to the bed, placing her in the middle, and moving over her. His lips never left hers. She reached up, wrapping her arms around him, stroking his virile back.

"And you want me? Want this?" he asked gruffly.

"Yes, Kevin," she gasped as his hands roamed over her.

"And last night wasnít just a one night thing?"

"No. Please, no."

"Thatís all I needed to hear," he said getting up off of her. He stood there looking at her. Kat felt vulnerable, having opened herself to him.

"Listen to me, Kat. I am not playing around here. I need you. Now more than ever. Please donít say no. I couldnít take it if you sent me away the way you do Nick." The pain, the longing, in his voice was raw.

She knelt on the bed, moving to the edge, facing him. "This scares me," she admitted. "I donít want to get hurt by you." He started to protest. "Iíve seen you do it before, Kevin," she reminded him.

He looked away, ashamed.

"And it will kill Howie. I canít hurt him, Kevin. Gods, I betrayed him," she started to sob.

"I donít understand you. He is next door, in bed with his lover. And it is not the first time he has had an affair. And you think youíre betraying him?"

"I canít explain it..."

He took her head in his hands, rubbing him thumbs over her face. "You are so incredible. You send him off to do whatever he wants and you feel guilty if you let someone touch you."

A tear trickled down her face and he wiped it away, then licked it off his finger. Then he kissed her, tenderly, lightly. A sigh escaped her lips, and one of his fingers traced her face. "God, Kat, I want you so much," he groaned before giving her another searing, yearning kiss.

"Kevin," she moaned, her hands running over his chest. Finding his shirt in the way frustrated Kat: she wanted to touch HIM. She pulled his shirt up, stroking the firm flesh she found. It wasnít enough. She broke the kiss and lowered her head, planting kisses across his chest. He was groaning in earnest now, panting sharply as her teeth ran over his hard nipples.

"Iím going to explode," he moaned. He pulled her shirt off, ripping it when it wouldnít come off fast enough.

She pushed him away, panting heavily, then went over to her bag, rustled around in a side pocket, pulling out a box of condoms. She walked back to him, throwing the box on the bed, then pushing him back onto the bed. "Explode in me," she said before lowering her body on him.

Chapter 26