© Kat Morgan 1999/2000
In Name Only
Chapter 36: Clearing Away The Trash
It was killing Howie. At the studio or at photo shoots he saw Kevin going further and further into himself. At home Kat was listless, heartbroken. And he was caught in the middle.
Kat had made him swear not to tell.
He’d been good. He’d kept his mouth shut. It was killing him: two people he loved were tearing themselves apart over each other, and he had the solution. But he’d promised. Damn, now he really understood how Kat had felt all those times she’d had to keep the promises she had for him.
He was listening to the playbacks, with the others when his cell phone went off.
"Kat." He got up quickly, leaving the room. Glad that Kevin hadn’t been there. "Hey, sweetheart, how you doing?"
"Okay. I’ve decided I can’t do this anymore."
He felt a sharp slice of worry go through him. "Can’t do what?"
"I can’t mope. I have to get up and get on with my life. It’s not good for me, and it is definitely not good for the baby."
He heaved a sigh of relief, saying silent prayer of thanks. "I thought you were…"
"Leaving? No. I promised you I’d stay. I love you, D. No matter what. And you want a son, so this one’ll have to do."
"Son?" His excitement came through the phone clearly.
Kat chuckled. "I just got back from the doctor’s. I suppose I shouldn’t have asked, but I did. It’s a boy. Not surprising considering his, umm, his family history," she managed to say.
Howie wisely decided not to explore that subject. "Why didn’t you tell me you had a doctor’s appointment? I could have taken you."
"Howie, you can’t be everywhere. I had an appointment; you had to go to the studio. Just let it go."
She laughed at the petulant tone of his voice. "You are taking this overprotective dad stuff, too far. Poor kid hasn’t even got here."
He chuckled. "Okay, okay. I just want to take care of you."
"Good. Because there are some things I need from the store. This silly kid has some very strange eating preferences."
"Pickles and ice cream?"
"Ugh. No, thank gods. It hasn’t gotten that bad yet."
"Just a second. I’ll write it down."
He pulled a piece of paper from the table and jotted down her list. "Got it. I shouldn’t be too long."
"I’m really glad you decided to stay. And to try and cheer up."
"I love you too, D."
He hung up the phone and turned around.
"What the hell are you doing here?" Howie was shocked.
"Why, Howie. You sound like you don’t want me here," Mindy laughed. "By the way, I hear congratulations are in order. Finally going to get a little Dorough."
"What are you doing here, Mindy?"
"She came to see me," Kevin said gruffly, entering the room.
Howie looked at him. Then at her. Then back at him. He was silent for a minute, then straightened his shoulders and looked back at Mindy. "Get out."
"Get out, Mindy. Go back to whatever stone you crawled out from under and stay there."
"Kevin, you can’t let him talk to me that way," Mindy complained.
"Howie, you have no right…" Kevin started, but Howie cut him off.
"Kevin, get rid of her now or so help me, I’ll spill a story that will make what Suzanne did to you look like a cakewalk."
"You won’t dare."
"Kevvy, what’s he talking about?" Mindy demanded, putting her hand on his arm.
He shrugged it off, as he continued to stare angrily at Howie.
"Try me, Kevin. I’ll do it. I have a lot less to lose than you do."
"You’d lose everything," Kevin said, trying hard to keep the fear out of his voice.
"I have photos and letters. More than enough proof. I’ll do it too."
Brian had come down the hall to see what was taking Howie and Kevin so long to get back to the studio and had heard some of what Howie was saying. The two had been arguing constantly for weeks, and it was only getting worse. But he’d never thought Howie would go this far. Brian knew instantly what Howie had been referring to. Howie must be really angry to threaten Kevin with exposure of their affair.
"Guys. What’s going on?" he asked, trying hard to break the tension in the room.
"Go away, B. This doesn’t concern you," Howie said, not breaking his fixed glare at Kevin.
"Wait. B-rok," Kevin said, turning to him. "Take Mindy with you."
"Not good enough, Kevin," Howie stated.
The older man glanced back at him, knowing he was defeated and hating it. "Fine. Mindy, go home. Brian, take her to the airport and stick her on a plane back to LA."
"What the hell do you think you are doing?" Mindy shouted stridently.
"Go home, Mindy," Kevin repeated.
"If I leave, you can forget it, Kevin. I’m through with you," she threatened.
"There is no us, Mindy," Kevin said as he looked her up and down, taking in her pouting face and plastic looks. He turned to Brian. "Her bag is in the hallway. Just stick her on something that leaves soon."
Brian smiled and grabbed Mindy’s arm, pulling the protesting woman down the hallway. They could hear her shrill cries for a few minutes. Then silence.
Howie walked over and shut the door. Then turned back to Kevin.
"You wouldn’t have…" Kevin asked, trying hard to regain some control of the situation.
"In a heartbeat."
Kevin stared at him. Shocked.
"What’s going on, D?"
"Not much. I can’t stand Mindy, and I am glad she’s gone. That girl is trash and I thought you had better sense, Train."
Kevin flushed and sat down on the sofa.
"Oh yeah, Kat just called," Howie said matter-of-factly, watching Kevin flinch at the sound of her name.
"Oh, how is she?" Kevin asked politely.
"Just fine. So’s the baby."
Kevin flinched again, then went on the offensive. "Know who the father is yet?" he asked maliciously.
"Yes," Howie replied quietly.
"W-what?" Kevin looked at him, surprised, green eyes bulging.
"She told me everything. Start to finish."
Kevin twisted in his chair. "Who? Who is he?"
"Why should I tell you, Train? Any special interest of yours?"
Kevin flushed, but he remained silent. He couldn’t think of a good excuse for why he had to know. "I’m just surprised. I didn’t think you’d want to raise another man’s child," he finally said.
"I’d do anything for Kat. Well, almost anything. I’ll break one promise," Howie mused. "But I’ll do it my way."
"What are you talking about?" Kevin demanded.
Howie was enjoying this. He shouldn’t be, but he was. Having Kevin twisting like this. He changed the subject, saying, almost negligently, "I’m still surprised that you thought it was Nick’s."
"I told you. I saw them go into his room…" Kevin sputtered
"Yes. Well, I suppose that having her tell you she’d slept with him didn’t help." Howie sat in the chair across from Kevin, watching his reaction.
It only took a moment for Kevin to process it. "She told you?"
"Like I said. Start to finish."
Kevin surged forward, fear now naked on his face. "Howie, I can explain…"
"That would take a long time, and I have all ready heard it once."
"I didn’t mean to… I just… I fell in love with her, D. You know how that is," Kevin tried to make excuses.
Howie ignored him. "The one thing I can’t figure out is this. Why the hell you’d think that she’d sleep with someone else after she’d turned Nick down? I mean, she had a perfect opportunity. She thought you’d been with Mindy. But she still couldn’t do it."
"I mean think about it, Kevin. She’s in love with you. You fool around with Mindy…."
"I didn’t touch Mindy!"
"Fine. She THINKS you fooled around with Mindy, then. So she goes to Nick, but couldn’t cheat on you, even then…’
"She told me she did…"
Howie kept right on going. "And you can’t even figure out whose child she’s carrying," he finished.
"What was I supposed to believe? She said… What?!" Kevin stared at him. Realizing what he was saying. Then jumped up quickly and sprinted towards the door.
"Kevin!" Howie’s call stopped him before he left.
Howie walked over. "Here," he handed Kevin the paper in his hand. "She has some things she needs from the store. I won’t be home for a few hours." He pulled his house key off his chain and dropped that in Kevin’s hand too, then brushed past him and walked out the door.
Kevin stood there, gazing stupidly after him.