© Kat Morgan 1999/2000

In Name Only

Chapter 41: Time to talk Ė Part 2

"I asked what you said about me?" Kat repeated.

"We pretty much agree you are the greatest thing that ever happened to us," Howie replied.

"And that we both love you very much," Kevin added.

Kat blushed Ė you try and keep a straight face when two of the hottest men on the planet say those things to you!

"And you are so cute when you go red," Howie smirked.

She gave him an evil look. "What else?"

"You fish for compliments too much," Kevin chuckled.

She looked at the two of them. They were much more relaxed. More relaxed around each other than sheíd seen them in a long, long time. There was still an air of tension, but it was nothing compared to what had been there even a few hours ago. This new tendency of theirs to pick on her was annoying though.

"You called me in here to compliment and then insult me?" she asked wryly.

"No," Kevin replied quickly, on the defensive immediately. He was still very nervous around her. Around Howie too. If anything he had screwed up the most. And they all knew it.

"Of course not," Howie protested at the same time. He sighed. "Just a little more of that Ďnervous habití I guess."

"Fine. Look, we all have things we need to say to each other and I have a feeling that it is going to get heavy in here. Again. Letís just try and get through it, okay?" Kat suggested.

The two men nodded, looking at each other warily.

"See, the thing is thisÖ" Howie started

"I want you with me." Kevin said simply.

"Way to sum it up, Kev," Howie muttered.

"Well, I do. I love you Kat. I need you. And you are carrying my son. We belong together."

"And Howie? Whatís your take on this?"

"I want the same thing."

Kat was silent. Thinking. Stuck in the situation she had never wanted to be in, but knew was coming ever since Kevin had shown up yesterday.

"Kat?" Kevinís low voice brought her out of her thoughts.

"Howie is my husband."

"Let me be your husband. I asked you before; I still want that," he pleaded.

"You asked her to marry you?" Howie asked incredulously.

"Yes. Months ago. Before all this happened." Kevin said, swallowing at the anger in Howieís voice.

"And I told you no then. Proposing to married women is kind of déclassé."

"Is that why you asked me to divorce you? Because you were going to marry him?" Howie turned on her.

"No, D. You know why I wanted out then. I didnít lie to you. Like he said, that happened before. I almost accepted his proposal, but there was a woman in his bed at the time." Kevin protested, but she ignored him, concentrating on Howie. "I needed to get away from this mess that I created. I just wanted to get away," Kat said, tears forming her eyes.

Howie stared at her. "We all created this mess," he finally said.

But Kat shook her head. "No, Howie. This is my mess. I should have told you the truth about this from the beginning. I just kept hoping Iíd never have to." She chuckled mirthlessly. "I thought it would all go away if I ignored it long enough." Howie looked at her curiously. "Sorry. Personal joke."

"I didnít mean to fall for you. If anything I tried damn hard not to," Kevin pointed out. "Iím the one who created this mess."

Kat shook her head, but Howie smiled. "You know; heís right." The other two looked at him. "If he hadnít been in my bedroom that day, you would have never known about us, and we would have never come to Toronto. And so on and so on."

Kat gave him a half smile, remembering. "Itís your own fault for insisting on using that damn videocamera."

He smirked. "Letís just blame what was her name? MadBoutBSB?"

Kat giggled. "I never got around to emailing her and letting her know how this turned out."

Kevin was starting to feel uncomfortable. And left out. He cleared his throat. "Okay, so we all got ourselves into this mess. How do we get ourselves out?"

There was silence.

"So what are my options?" Kat asked, turning to Howie.

He took a deep breath. "I donít know what I can offer you any more than I all ready have. This marriage will always be in name only. We both know that. But I love you. You make me feel complete. Okay, so that is in every way except sexually. But thatís always worked for us before. Weíve been married for a few years now, and I donít want you to go away. I can accept you being with Kevin; I canít very well not. But I really donít want you to leave me and go with him permanently. I donít think I can handle that. And as for the baby. Yes, that complicates things. Itís Kevinís son. I couldnít keep him from him if I tried. But itís my son, too. We agreed that. Iíve gotten too used to the idea to change now."

"Kevin?"

"I can offer you everything he canít and more. I want you in every way. I love you. I find it difficult to breathe without you. And you know that there is more to us that just making love. We communicate; okay so not so good recently, but we did. We donít do so well when we hide from our feelings, and I never want to do that again. I love you. Only you. I swore I would never hurt you again and I mean that. Please, Kat. Please be with me. I want us to be a family. I want us to be together. Howie will always be a part of that. I wouldnít deny him that. I think I finally understand why you two work so well. Please give me a chance to find that with you. And my sonÖ." Kevin choked. There was too much emotion there. His throat tightened and he couldnít speak. His green eyes said it all, though.

Kat sat there. Shaking a little from the intensity of both speeches.

A buzzer rang through the stillness, a jarring sound that caused all of them to jerk, surprised.

"I guess saying Ďsaved by the bellí would be cliché?" Kat said under her breath, then louder. "Thatís my baking. I have to go, umm. Back to the kitchen. IÖIÖumm. Iíll be back in a minute." She got up quickly and fled the room.

She turned off the buzzer and pulled the cookies out of the oven, swearing as she brushed a finger against the hot pan. She dropped it on the wire rack, narrowly missing the lemon bread. Then shut the oven and leaned against the counter. Oh gods. What was she supposed to do now?

Turning off the oven would be a start, she thought.

She did so, and also checked on the stew. Doing well. She took the cookies off the pan, dropping them on the rack in an orderly fashion.

Yep, nothing like ordinary domestic work to clear the head.

So why wasnít it working?

She heard a noise and turned to find both men standing in the doorway, staring at her.

"We heard a crashÖ" Howie said.

She smiled quickly, waving her right hand. "Just me. Burning my hand and taking it out on the cookware."

Kevin came forward, and took her hand gently in his and kissed it. Her mouth went dry, and she croaked out, "not playing fair, Kev."

"I donít want to play fair," he replied. Then turned to Howie. "Iím sorry, D. But I donít. Kat and I belong together. Itís the way itís going to be."

"And I have no choice in the matter?" Kat asked abruptly, saying the words that Howie was about to.

"Itís right and you know it," Kevin insisted.

Kat pulled her hand away from his, grimacing as his fingers brushed against the burn. "I know what I want, Kevin. Donít force me into anything."

"Well then?" Howie asked softly.

She looked at him. There was look of apprehension on his face, and his eyes had a subtle sheen to them. He only got that way when he was trying so hard not to cry. It hurt so much to see it, but she knew her decision, though made quickly, was right. It was going to hurt though. Hurt them all. Nope, no winners here.

"Howie is my husband," she said simply.

"I know that, what about this?" Kevin said quickly.

"Thatís it, Kevin." She moved away from him a little. "Howie is my husband and he will continue to be. This child is supposed to be his, and I am afraid it will have to stay that way."

"What the fuck!" Kevin exploded, swinging her around the face him. "You canít do this to me. You said you loved me. You said you forgave me. Please donít punish me. Please donít do this, Kat."

"I am not trying to punish you, Kevin." She stepped away from him. "You havenít been around for the past while. And things have progressed at a rate that none of us can control anymore. Word is all ready out about the baby. WeÖHowie and I did a thing for US magazine last week about the first Backstreet baby. We had too; management insisted. If we suddenly come out with this bombshell now all hell would break loose."

"You told me that before. When I asked you to marry me."

"I know. And I was also about to let that happen just so I could be with you. But things have changed. There is a baby to consider. If it was difficult then, it is unthinkable now. I am sorry, Kevin. I am not trying to punish you. But we have to see this through the way it is now."

"I could always have management arrange to pull the story," Howie suggested.

Kat shook her head. "They wouldnít do that, would they?"

Howie shook his head. "No. They wouldnít."

"Weíd have to tell them why. And, Iím sorry to bring this up, but it isnít the first time theyíve had to do something for Kevin," Kat pointed out. "No. We have to figure our own way out of this one."

"There is no way. Youíve made up your mind," Kevin said furiously.

Kat put a hand on his arm, but he shrugged it off. "Kevin, please listen to me. I donít want to lose you. I canít take it again."

"How do you think I feel?" He looked at her, then pulled her into his arms, hugging her tightly. "Please, Kat. Please be with me."

"I will be."

"What?" Howie stood up straight.

Kat turned to looked at him, not moving from Kevinís arms. "I am sorry, D. This is the way itís going to be. I am your wife and that will stay true. But I love Kevin. I need him. And I am going to be with him every chance I get." She turned back to Kevin. "I canít breathe without you, either," she whispered huskily.

"Oh baby," he groaned, lowering his mouth to hers, kissing her deeply, passionately.

Howie turned away. He did not need to see this. God. Just when he thought heíd won, heíd lost. Keep the wife, lose the woman. Damn.

"Kevin, stop," Kat said, pushing herself away from his lips. That wasnít far enough for her to keep a clear head, so she stepped back, away from him.

"Look, we all agreed we each caused this mess. Iím afraid that we are all going to have to lose something here. But the baby comes first. I am carrying Kevinís son, but everyone thinks its Howieís. There is nothing we can do about that now. Iím sorry. I am going to stay married to Howie, and give birth to his son. But I want to be with you, Kevin. Day and night. Iíll commute or something," she chuckled. "I want you to be involved with your son. It is not the best arrangement, but we have to make it work."

The silence in the room was loaded. Then Kevin looked at Howie.

"That house next door still for sale?"

Chapter 42