© Kat Morgan 1999/2000
In Name Only
Chapter 42: Time at home
It all sounded simple in theory.
Kevin lives next door, and Kat (or he) can sneak over whenever they want.
Howie wouldn’t disturb them.
Kevin had told Brian something about wanting to get a few investment properties, and oh what a surprise! One of the ones he’d bought was right next door to Howie. Shame that it was the worst of the bunch, and Kevin would have to move in and start renovating.
Kevin was surprised that Brian bought it hook, line and sinker. He’d always known his cousin was a lot more astute that the others had given him credit for. He was even sure that Brian knew something about his affair with Howie, though he’d never said anything. Just an occasional side glance. Or maybe Kevin’s guilty conscience had misinterpreted something that wasn’t there.
Still, Brian and Leighanne had been so completely into each other since they got back from their honeymoon. Back, ha. They were still on it. Maybe that is why B-rok had just nodded absently when Kevin mentioned the house.
AJ’d been about the same. Of course, he’d offered to come over and help Kevin pick out furniture, which he’d laughingly refused, as AJ had known he would.
Howie wasn’t comfortable about it. He didn’t know how that would change.
"You’re here," Howie said, as he leaned against the doorway.
"So it would seem," Kat replied absently, still focused on the computer screen.
"I’m just surprised. You’re usually over at Kevin’s," he noted, a touch of jealousy tingeing his tone.
"Yeah, well. I’m not. I wanted to spend time with you."
"You two have a fight?"
Kat saved her document and stood up, a little awkwardly with the extra load she was carrying. "D, I don’t need to have a fight with Kevin to want to spend time with my husband."
She kissed him lightly on the cheek. "Really. I haven’t seen you in days. I miss my best friend."
"Kevin’s not your best friend?" Howie tried hard to relinquish his jealousy but failed. The one thing he had come to know over the past while is that it wasn’t Kat he was jealous of. He was still attracted to Kevin, yes, and knowing that Kat was getting what he still longed for stung a little. No, it was Kevin he was envious of. Kevin had Kat’s heart, and more often than not, her company.
"Kev’s many things for me, but you are and always will my best friend." She grinned mischievously, "and if it’s any consolation he knows that and it pisses him off to no end."
Howie laughed and gave her a firm hug. "You always know what to say to make me feel better."
Then he jumped back, a look of surprise on his face.
Kat smiled. "I think Junior agrees with you." She took Howie’s hand and put it back on her belly, letting him feel the baby kick again.
"That is the most amazing feeling," Howie murmured, a look of wonder on his face. "I never get tired of feeling that."
Kat chuckled. "That makes one of you. I get it all the time. Let me tell you he’s got a mean left hook. And the way he likes to jump up and down on my bladder…"
"You love every moment of it."
A glow came over her face and she replied shyly. "Yeah. I didn’t think I would but I do."
Junior kicked again and Howie sighed blissfully.
"So does my best friend want to have dinner with me and maybe catch a movie? Or do you have plans?"
"Nope. I’m all yours."
"Good. I made chicken enchiladas. You pick the movie."
"Enchiladas? Not your famous hotter than hell ones?"
"Is there any other kind?"
"Is all that spice good for the baby?"
"He doesn’t complain too much. Besides, he’s going to have to get used to it."
"His mom loves spicy food, and so does one of his dads. He’ll get a lot of it in his lifetime."
Howie looked at her for a moment then gave her another big hug. "His dad. I love the way that sounds."
She smiled. "Well, the biology may not be there, but you are all ready having an effect on him."
"I had a peanut butter and Tabasco sauce sandwich for lunch. And wouldn’t calm down until I put on a Jon Secada CD," she smiled.
Howie’s loopy grin could have lit up a small town.
The movie Howie’d picked was a nice light romantic comedy. Ever mindful of her heightened hormonal state, he’d selected something that wouldn’t leave her an emotional wreck. It didn’t hurt that the male lead was cute too.
Being out in public had been enjoyable. Kat was only starting to spend more time outside the house. At first, she’d avoided leaving home because she’d been so depressed about losing Kevin. Now, she only went out to run errands and to have the occasional lunch with Tina or Leighanne.
They’d been recognized and attracted a small crowd, but the fans had been well behaved. Kat was amazed by the change. She was used to the hysteria a Backstreet sighting could create, but it was as if they were being overly protective of them now. And of her. Where once she’d been met with hatred for ‘stealing’ Howie away, now it was support and respect. She blinked back tears as she fielded questions about the baby. She watched Howie sign autographs and chat amiably and flashed him a big grin when he glanced her way.
At home they snuggled up together on the couch watching television.
"One of those girls earlier asked a question…"
"What’s the baby’s name?"
"How do you do that? Always know what I’m thinking?"
She snuggled deeper into his arms. "Wifely secret."
He chuckled. "So?"
"His first name is Christopher."
"Nice name. Why?"
"Do you believe in reincarnation? Past lives?"
"Not sure. But you do, I know that."
"I had a dream once, so vivid that it was more like a memory. It was during the war…"
"World War Two. And I had a younger brother named Christopher. Something happened and he died. There were heavy winds that night and he slipped. The waves were so high. He drowned right in front of me. I tried to save him, really I did, but…" Tears began to leak out of her eyes. The memory of that scene always effected her that way the pain was so raw.
"Kat?" Howie’s concerned voice called her back and she looked at his worried face.
‘Sorry. It always does that to me. That’s why I have to name him Christopher. I don’t know if that was a real incident, but it is so strongly embedded in my psyche…"
"No kidding," he said as he brushed tears off her cheek. "I think it’s beautiful."
"Thanks." She held onto him tightly. "I’ve never told anyone that story before."
"I’m not sure he’d understand."
"He would," Howie assured him.
"Maybe. Anyway, I told him that I’d name him after his father." She grinned again. ‘I just didn’t tell him in which order that name would appear."
Howie smiled a little wistfully. "Christopher Jerald?"
"Nope. Christopher Howard Jerald."
"Really?" Joy flooded his voice.
"Of course. My "long lost brother" my best friend, and his grandfather. I think that’s a good name, don’t you?"
"Oh, honey." Howie sighed and gave her a deep kiss. Kat had missed that. Howie’s kisses were always the best. Kevin’s were incredible, don’t get me wrong. But there was a sweetness, and innocence of spirit in Howie’s kisses that had always made her feel good. They weren’t passionate, but so full of love.
"I guess I shouldn’t be doing that any more," Howie said when he drew back.
"Don’t you dare stop!" she warned him.
She snorted. "He’ll just have to get used to it." Then she giggled. "It’s his own fault. His loss."
"D? How are you doing? This is so hard for you."
"True, but it would be harder if I’d lost you totally. It’ll take time."
"Yeah. That’s what we always say."