© Kat Morgan 1999/2000
In Name Only
Chapter 45: Conversations
Leigh and Tina managed to get a stunned Kat inside the house before she realized what had happened and tried to get away.
"No! I have to go back. I have to…" Kat pleaded.
"Forget it, Kat. You are going to sit here and talk to us for a while," Leighanne said firmly.
"She’s right. Let the guys talk it out for a little while," Tina chimed in.
"I… I need to sit down," Kat said weakly. Leigh helped her to the sofa, and Kat sat heavily. A frightened look still on her face.
The other two women were quiet for a few minutes, letting her regain her composure.
Finally Tina’d had enough. "Okay, spill girlfriend."
Kat looked at the two sympathetic faces across from her and sighed. "It is Kevin’s baby."
"Oh boy," Leigh sighed. "All right, I want the full story."
"Not the FULL story," Tina grinned, and Leigh looked at her. And laughed. Tina was trying to lighten the mood.
"Okay, so not the full story. I don’t want intimate details," Leigh agreed.
Kat smiled wanly, knowing they were trying to help. "It started a while ago. We didn’t mean for it to. We hated each other for so long…"
"They say that hate and love are closely related," Tina mused.
Kat nodded. "Well, Kevin has always caused strong feelings in me. I came that close to breaking a picture frame over his head the first time we met." She smiled, reminiscing, "I guess when we finally started to be friends it just…well, we didn’t last at that level for long."
"How long has it been going on? Or is that, did it…" Leighanne started.
"Has," Kat replied.
"Still???" Leigh took a deep breath. "How long?"
Kat looked down at the round of her belly. "Well, almost a year now, considering this."
Tina frowned. "Wait a minute. That would mean… So when Howie was with Paul… you and Kevin…"
"And Howie knew?" she asked.
"No. No, Howie found out just a little while ago," Kat admitted. "After I found out I was pregnant."
"And Kevin… Wait a minute. I thought Kevin was back with Mindy. When we…" Tina was confused.
"I thought so to. That’s when we broke up. Or rather I left him. It was months before I found out that nothing had happened. Of course, for me something had," Kat replied.
"And Nick? Come on, Kat. Brian is his best friend. I know that something happened between you two," Leigh asked.
"Nothing did. I was hurt. I was going to... I couldn’t use Nick that way."
Leigh was silent. "This is a mess," she finally said.
"Don’t you think I know that?" Kat surged up from her chair. "Howie begged me to stay. I didn’t want to. And then, by the time Kevin found out that it was his… It was too late."
"How is Howie taking it?" Tina asked.
"Not well," Kat admitted. "He says he’s okay, but he’s not. It hurts him. He never really prepared himself for the idea of me and someone else. The first he knew about it was when I found out I was pregnant. And he didn’t find out it was Kevin’s until… Now Kevin is back in my life and it hurts Howie." Tears were starting to fill her eyes.
"And Kevin? You are still with Howie? How’s he taking it?"
"As badly. He knows that there was never anything more than deep affection between Howie and I. So he’s not jealous of that. But he is jealous of the way I have to stay with him. And every time someone asks Howie about the baby… I think a little part of him dies. And I am stuck in the middle…" Kat sobbed.
Leighanne moved over and took her in her arms, trying to comfort her.
"I don’t understand. Why can’t you just…" Tina started.
"Because think how it’d read. ‘Barren Backstreet wife finds solace with more potent Boy’ or something like that. Kat married Howie to protect him. Divorcing him and taking off with Kevin would be even worse," Leighanne replied.
"See?" Kat choked. "You understand. I tried to explain it to them… I told them it would have been better if I left…"
"Shh," Tina said as she sat on the over side of the crying woman. "Then they’d both be heartbroken. They may be bruised, but at least they have you and the baby."
Kat looked at her hollow-eyed. "Will that be enough?"
"How could you?" Nick yelled as he hit Kevin again. "How could you hurt her like that? Another swing.
Brian and AJ shook off their surprise and finally grabbed Nick’s arms as he started to throw another punch.
"Jesus, Nick! Calm down," Brian said, as Nick strained against him, still trying to hit Kevin.
"D! You could have stopped him," AJ accused as Kevin wiped the blood from his swollen lip.
"I didn’t want to," Howie admitted softly.
"Howie?!" Brian was shocked.
"Leave him alone," Kevin said coming to Howie’s defense. "He’s been through enough."
"You were sleeping with Mindy. That’s why she came to me that night, wasn’t it?" Nick accused. "You bastard…" Brian lost his balance as Nick surged forward again, brushing past him and landing another punch, this time in Kevin’s stomach.
Even Howie stepped forward this time to restrain the younger man. AJ helped Brian up from the ground and the three men grabbed Nick. As AJ and Brian continued to labour to hold him, Howie let him go, and stepped in front of him. He grabbed Nick’s face, making him focus on him. "Nick. Stop it. Let it go."
"I know. He broke her heart. But he’s fixing it now. Please stop, Nick."
Nick looked into Howie’s deep brown eyes and calmed down.
"Could somebody please tell me what the fuck has been going on?" AJ asked plaintively.
"I’ve been seeing Kat. It started a while ago, when we were on tour. I’m in love with her," Kevin replied.
"And you knew this?" Brian turned to Howie who shook his head.
"No. Not until recently. I found out the hard way," he sighed.
"And Mindy?" Nick accused harshly.
"Nothing happened. I was looking for Kat to explain that when I saw her with you…" Kevin trailed off.
"So let me get this straight: Howie’s married to Kat. Kevin’s sleeping with Kat. Kat sees Kevin with Mindy. Kat comes on to Nick. Kat gets pregnant. Kevin thinks its Nick’s. Nick knows it’s not. Kat tell Howie the truth. Kevin is a daddy. Kat stays with Howie?" AJ said.
"In a nutshell," Howie replied.
"This is totally fucked up," AJ growled.
"Tell me about it," Brian muttered.
"Look, this situation… I fell in love with her. I didn’t mean to. I did. I love her. She loves me. But Howie… She loves him too. And this baby stuff threw us all for a loop," Kevin said, wiping the blood from his split lip away with a napkin.
"You moved next door to Howie," Brian said, it suddenly becoming clear.
"Howie?" AJ started.
"I’m okay with this, Bone. I admit it hurts, but its okay."
"No, its not, Howie. We both know that," Kevin said. "But none of us know how to get out of this mess without it blowing up in our faces. By the time I found out the baby was mine, the whole world knew she was pregnant. How could we explain it if…"
"You suddenly took Kat away from Howie and announced the truth," Brian sighed.
"You hurt her," Nick accused.
"I know, Nick. She thought I’d been with someone else and I thought the same thing of her. We twisted each other up. It was killing me, thinking I’d lost her. And I made it so much worse. But I am trying to fix it," Kevin said softly.
"Damn you, Kev. You knew how I felt about her…" Nick grumbled.
Nick just looked at him. "I’m sorry, guys. I have to go. Congratulations, B-rok. Howie… I gotta go." He spun on his heel and walked briskly around the side of the house, heading straight to his car.
Kevin watched him go sadly. Then turned to Howie. "Well. Now what do we do?"
"I don’t know, Kev. I haven’t known for a while." He walked towards the house and AJ fell in beside him.
Brian just stared at his cousin. Then shook his head. "Haven’t you hurt him enough?"
Brian nodded. "You just seem to continue to put him through hell. Why, Kevin? What has he ever done to you except love you?"
Kevin looked at him intently. Brian knew. He knew it all. "I know he has. I didn’t plan this. I can’t help it. I can’t stand to be away from her. You saw how I was… And the last thing I ever wanted to do again was hurt Howie."
"Well you did. How many times, Kevin? How many times can you break his heart?"
"I don’t know," Kevin said, hanging his head guiltily.
Brian sighed. "Well, you sure know how to ruin a party."
"I really am happy for you and Leighanne."
Brian laughed shortly. "Yeah, I guess you are. But you could have picked a better time to drop that bombshell." He sighed again. "Come on. We should put some ice on that eye."
The two walked up towards the house. "Kevin… I know this is going to be hard to ask you to do, but…"
"Don’t take her away from him. Don’t force them apart. It’ll happen. Just be patient. Can you do that?"
Kevin sighed, looking at Howie as he sat on the porch talking intently to AJ. "I can. It hurts. But I’ll do it. I meant it, Brian. I fucked up so many times, but I don’t want to hurt Howie again. He’s too good a friend." He grinned. "Besides, I know she loves me now. I can wait forever for her knowing that."