© Kat Morgan 1999/2000

In Name Only

Chapter 44: Announcements

Kat looked at the two women across the table from her. Leighanne was adjusting to married life very well, and looked almost happier than she did on her wedding day. If that was possible. Tina was equally perky.

She hated them.

She felt like a one ton water buffalo, and look at the two of them. Happy and chipper and about one hundred pounds lighter than her.

"Oho. Sheís getting that look again," Tina remarked.

"What look?" Kat asked.

"That look that says you feel like force-feeding us the entire dessert table," Leighanne smiled. "Stop it, Kat. Youíre not fat, youíre pregnant."

"Donít I know it," Kat sighed, then grimaced and looked down at her belly. "Oh stop it, Junior. This is mommyís time now."

Tina started to giggle.

The other two women looked at her curiously.

"Sorry. Itís just so funny. Youíre talking to your stomach," Tina giggled harder.

"No, Iím talking to my son," Kat replied primly, then started to giggle too.

Leighanne laughed, and looked at her glass askance, "what is in this water?" Which only made them laugh harder.

Kat was wiping tears of laughter off her face when Leighanne suddenly leaned forward. "I am so glad you stopped being so unhappy."

"Me too," Tina chimed in. "It was no fun not knowing what to say or do."

"Thanks guys. It just took a lot of adjusting to."

"Kat? Can you talk about it now? About the father?" Leighanne asked.

Kat sighed. How do I tell them? She, Howie and Kevin were still adjusting to the three of them knowing the truth. Were they ready to tell the others? It had been a couple of monthsÖ No. She couldnít tell yet. Yet another damn Backstreet secret she had to keep. Until Kevin and Howie were ready. Let the others keep thinking she was some sort of slut for sleeping around. It would be worse when the truth came out.

"I canít. Not yet. Sorry, Leigh."

The other woman sighed. "He meant that much to you?"

"I canít answer that. Iím sorry. Look, just let it go, please. Just think of me as the Backstreet wife who went out whoring and ended upÖ"

"You are not a whore! Donít you ever say that again!" Tina blazed at her.

Kat was stunned by the vehemence of her reaction. "IÖ"

"I mean it, Kat," Tina warned. "No body, none of us blame you for looking for a little comfort. God, the way you put up with, help with, dammit, Howie and his boyfriends. You finally had a chance to get some of the love that you deserve. Iím just so sorry it ended so badly for you."

"TinaÖ" Kat took a deep breath. "Thank you."

"Sheís right, Kat," Leighanne said, leaning forward and taking Katís hand, giving it a squeeze. "I know how much you love Howie, but there was nothing wrong with you being with someone else. You knew youíd have to at some point."

Kat shook her head. "No. No, I didnít. Not at first. I just thought a few yearsíd go by and then weíd go our separate ways. I never expected any of this."

"You honestly thought you could go through this marriage without having sex?" Tina said incredulously.

Kat nodded. "Its just sex, Tina. It can be lived without."

Leighanne and Tina looked at each other, then answered in unison, "no it canít."

Kat started to chuckle. "Youíre right. Iím not the whore, but you twoÖ"

"Hey!" Tina said and started to laugh. Leighanne joined in.

The three moved on to other subjects until Tina looked at her watch and then suddenly jumped up. "Damn, damn, damn. Iím late. Hereís my share," she threw a few dollars onto the table. "I really gotta go. Iíll see you on Saturday?"

"4 pm. Remember to be there," Leighanne replied as Tina scurried out of the restaurant, waving goodbye.

Kat sighed again as she watched her go. "Way too much energy, that girl."

"True. Umm. Kat? Now that sheíd gone, I had something to ask youÖ"

"Wassup, Leigh?"

"When did you know? I mean, when you were pregnant?"

Kat looked at the blonde woman, remembering how little Leighanne had eaten at lunch, and the slightly greenish tinge that had come over her face when the waiter brought Katís burger over. Her eyes started to go wide. "Leigh! You thinkÖ"

Leigh blushed. "Well, we have been trying."

"That is so great! That is the best news!"

"Hey, I donít know for sure yet. I mean what happened for you?"

Katís face went sad as she remembered her discovery. "Donít judge it by my experience. I didnít know for ages. I had too many other things on my mind. I was so sick, it took me a while to figure out that there was something else going on."

"You do love him. This mystery man," Leigh asked gently.

"He is the best man I have ever known. Next to Howie, of course." Kat shook herself. "No fair. Weíre talking about you. I think it is time, my dear, for a visit to the doctor."

 

The best man Kat has ever known came back on Friday afternoon. Burdened by several large stuffed animals. Kat had to laugh at him as he walked into the house. They were bigger than his suitcases, and much more awkward to carry.

"You realize that the babyís going to be terrified of those big monsters," she noted wryly.

Kevin dropped everything he was carrying and scooped her in his arms. "I didnít see you there. Oh sweetheart, it is so good to see you."

"I heard ::kiss:: the cab ::kiss:: drive up ::kiss:: so I, oh hell." She pulled his mouth down to hers, and let her lips do all the talking.

After a few minutes a breathless Kevin lifted his head. "Wow. Think you can do that whenever I go away?"

"I missed you, you big fool."

"And I missed you. Can you stay?" She knew what he was asking and nodded.

"We have to be at Brianís for the cookout tomorrow at 4. As long as I have a chance to get back home and change so that Howie and I can leave together. Until then I am all yours."

"Then letís not waste any more time."

 

Howie watched her walk across the garden towards the house. Damn. She was glowing again.

"Hello, love," she said cheerfully as she climbed the steps.

"íLove?í Isnít that someone else?" he said bitterly.

"Howie!"

"Sorry," he mumbled.

Kat wrapped her arms around him, hugging him close. "You know I love you, D."

He sighed. "I know. Itís justÖ Iíd gotten used to having you to myself. I didnít even know he was back until I heard the music."

"He had to come back for the cookout. And you have to get back to work on Monday," Kat reminded him.

"True. It just seemed like I had longer."

"Come on. Letís get ready to go," she said, trying to change the subject.

 

Brian was thrilled that everyone had shown up. He was practically bouncing with joy. Kat glanced at Leighanne and the blonde woman blushed. She gave her a foolish grin and then walked back to Howie, giving him a kiss on the cheek. He looked startled by her sudden action, but smiled back.

It didnít take too long.

Kevin arrived a few minutes later, Nick soon after. Brian waited until they were all there, then came around with a tray of champagne, and a ginger ale for Kat, and Leighanne.

"Iíd like to propose a toast," he said, in response to the curious looks he was getting from the others.

"To my beautiful wife, Leighanne. Who has made me the happiest man in the world." He lifted his glass and waited until the others were starting to take a sip, "and to the little Littrell she is carrying."

He got the response he was looking for as champagne was spat out of several mouths, and dribbled out of the noses of the more unfortunate.

"Congrats, Leigh," Kat said as she hugged the woman.

"Thanks. And thanks for making me see the doctor," Leigh whispered back.

Kat stood back and watched as Brian and Leighanne were pulled in to several peopleís arms and congratulations were given.

"Potent bunch, us Richardson-Littrells," Kevin murmured as he stood next to her.

Kat blushed. "Very. Remind me to test that theory when we get home."

Kevin chuckled. "Love to." He took her hand and kissed the back of it. "Love you, Kat," he whispered.

"Love you too, Boo," she whispered back, then louder. "Go talk to your cousin."

He gave her a little bow and walked over to Brian, giving him a big bear hug.

Kat moved over to Howie, who wrapped an arm across her shoulder. "You knew?"

She nodded. "I took Leigh to the doctorís the other day."

"Brianís a lucky man."

"Hey, what are you? Chopped liver?" Kat joked

"Iím lucky in my own way," he smiled, kissed her cheek.

"We both are," Kat replied and pulled his other arm around her belly, letting him feel Juniorís movements.

 

 

"Babies, babies, everywhere," AJ said in a singsong voice, as he leaned against the food table.

"Oh stop it, Bone. I think itís great," Nick said as he reached across the table and put some lettuce on his burger.

"Yeah, well, you gotta give Brian this. At least he knows heís the father."

"AJ!" Nick looked at him shocked, then turned white as he gaped over the other manís shoulder.

Howie stood there, looking like heíd just been stabbed through the heart.

"D, I didnít meanÖ" AJ sputtered.

"I know who the father is," Howie said quietly.

"What?" Nick pushed his plate aside.

"I said, I know who the father is," Howie repeated, louder.

Brian and Leighanne heard him this time, but Kat obviously hadnít. She continued to chat amiably with Tina. Leigh waved at them to stop and the two women looked at her curiously. Brian walked towards the other men.

"You know?" Nick insisted. "Who? D, who?"

Howie cleared his throat, about to answer, when Kevinís deep voice broke across the silence.

"I am."

"Holy shit!" Tina said, dropping her plate on the ground, and looking at Kat stunned. Kat looked like she was about to cry.

Brian turned to Leighanne and she nodded. She grabbed Katís arm and turned her towards the house. "Come one, sweetie. Letís go sit inside for a while, shall we?"

Tina fell into step on Katís other side as the three women moved away to leave the five men behind.

"What did you say?" AJ gasped.

"I said, Iím the father. Iím the father of Katís baby," Kevin repeated.

"You son of a bitch," Nick yelled and punched him in the mouth.

Chapter 45