© Kat Morgan 1999/2000
In Name Only
Chapter 46: Pairing up
"Brian, come onÖ"
"Forget it. No frigging way."
"I donít think much of the idea either," Howie said softly.
"That makes three of us," Kevin put in.
"Listen guys, we have to do something. The group is starting to lose its edge. We have to get you back in the public eye."
Howie looked at the Firmís representative. "Thatís what the new album is about. And its not finished yet."
"Yeah. When it comes out thingsíll be okay," Brian said, nodding vigorously.
"And when is that going to be B-rok? The album keeps getting moved back."
"B, I understand what youíre saying and why, but I really need to get out on the road again," AJ put in.
"So you go. You and Nick. I know how bored you two are. But I am not going," Brian said stubbornly.
"It canít work that way. Itís got to be all or nothing. We donít want to be spending the next few months battling breakup stories."
"Even those would keep us in the public eye," Kevin noted.
"But not the way we need. Look, guys, I can understand why you want to stay, but I have to agree with David," AJ nodded at the management man.
David leaned forward. "I could make an excuse for Howie; Katís getting close. But Brian, Leighanne just found out she was pregnant. You have plenty of time. And this is only for a short time. Just one month."
Howie glanced quickly at Kevin, who looked away sadly. "No. If we do this is it all of us. Even me. Katíll understand."
Nick snorted and looked away.
Brian glared at him, then turned back to the others. "I promised Leigh that I would be around for this. That Iíd take care of her."
"We know that Brian," AJ said carefully. "Maybe she can come with you."
Howie shook his head. "All that travelling wouldnít be good for the baby at this age."
"Like youíd know," Nick sniggered.
Howie surged to his feet. "What is your problem, Nick?"
"You know what my problem is," Nick replied rudely.
"Guys, this is not the time," Kevin said.
"Shut the fuck up, Kevin," Nick retorted, his hands clenching into fists.
"Stop it, stop it right now!" Brian shouted, and others turned to him in shock.
"B?" AJ asked gently.
"Maybe breaking up would be the answer."
"What?!" No!" "Are you nuts?" was the response from the other four men.
"Brian, that is not the answer." Kevin turned to David. "Could you give us a few minutes alone, please?"
David realized that there was something more going on here, nodded and left the room.
Kevin turned on Nick angrily. "You got a problem with me, fine. Letís deal with it. But this is not the time!"
"You know what my problem with you is."
"You all ready said that." He turned to Brian. "I donít like this. I HATE this. Kat is about to give birth to my son." He glanced at Howie, "sorry. Our son. And they want me to go on the road for some stupid promo tour? But what he is saying makes sense."
"Heís right, Bri," Howie put in. "I mean look at the magazines. We havenít had a magazine cover in months. Even the teen ones have dropped us."
"Iíve been in them," Nick frowned.
"Yeah, but not on the covers. Even Aaronís getting more exposure than you are," AJ pointed out.
"I donít want to leave her," Brian sighed.
"I know, Bri. But look at it this way. We do a short promo tour now, and then we have an excuse to spend more time here, concentrating on the album. Youíll be here for the main event," Kevin pointed out. He turned to Howie. "And Katís not due for another two months at least. If we agree to go now, weíd be back with plenty of time to spare."
"I canít believe you are going for this idea," Brian remarked.
"I hate it. My sonÖ" He smiled absently, clearly not thinking about what was going on in the room. He shook himself. "But it does make sense."
"Guys, you know me. I get freaky if I am not out on the road, and I am going stir crazy here. I have got to for this. But I will support you if you want to stay, Brian. You too Howie, Kevin," AJ said.
Kevin sighed. "Weíd never be able to explain why Iím staying."
The others looked at each other. Nick, suddenly, for the first time, realized how hard this whole thing must be for Kevin. He shook himself. He was not going to feel sorry for the older man. Heíd known how heíd felt about Howieís wife. Had even warned him away from her a few times. Itís his own fault for not being about to follow his own advice. Served him right.
"Youíre right," Brian said sadly. "We have to do this. And David is right too. It has to be all of us." He put his head in his hands. "Damn. How am I going to tell Leigh?"
Howie smiled. "I have a sneaking suspicion that youíll be okay. Kat is going to kill us." He nodded to Kevin who smiled.
"Well, this is just great. I must really look like a whale if both of you want to get away from me," Kat said.
"That is not it, baby," Kevin pulled her into his arms, and Howie took her hands in his at the same time. "Kevís right, Kat. Neither of us want to go, but we have to."
"Canít I come with you?" she wailed.
"We can try. But they are going to divide us up the way they did last time. We donít know what the draw is," Howie admitted.
"But you two, and AJ, usually get to go together," Kat pointed out.
"True. But Brianís distracted. He wonít have the same presence as usual. Stick him alone with Nick and Nickíd have to do most of the work. You know how flustered he gets when he gets posed direct questions."
"Heís doing much better," Kat insisted.
"He is," Howie agreed. "But face it. They are going to split it differently this time. I can feel it. Kevin and AJ have the best media presenceÖ"
"You do too, man," Kevin insisted.
"Whatever. Look, maybe itíll work. But what are we going to do if they split Kevin and I into different teams? Then who would you go with?"
Kat was silent.
"Thatís what I thought." Howie got up quickly. "Iím going to go for a walk. Iíll see you later."
"Oh damn," Kat moaned as he stalked from the room.
"This is not getting any easier," Kevin noted.
"You think?" she replied sarcastically. Then sighed. "Sorry. Hormone surge."
Kevin smiled and held her close. "You know what I wish?" he said as he kissed her neck.
"I wish that instead of freaking out at you when we first met that Iíd pulled you into my arms, just like this."
Kat blinked back tears. "Didnít I just warn you I was hormonal? Saying things like that to me right now is not a good idea."
"I love you, sweetheart. I donít want to leave you. And before you say it, you are not fat. I think you are so beautiful," he said stroking her rounded belly.
"Youíre just trying to make me feel better."
"Is it working?"
"No," she replied, though the way she was snuggling deeper into his arms belied her response.
He chuckled. "Thatís what I thought. Well, what else can I say?"
"Tell me more about how much you are going to miss me."
"Itís going to be unbearable. Iíll have to take Gary with me just so I can sleep at night," he murmured, referring to Katís favourite stuffed toy.
"No youíre not. Iím going to need him."
"Okay. Iíll have to get my own toy to sleep with. But until I leave you have to sleep with it so that itíll smell of you and I wonít feel lonely."
"Oh, Kevin," she turned and kissed him deeply.
He stroked her auburn hair aside and began to plant kisses down her neck. "I hear that you can make love well into the third trimester."
She smiled sensuously. "Iíve heard that too."
"I think we should go do some extensive research on the subject."
He laughed. "Baby, you read my mind."
Tina walked back into the kitchen where AJ was demolishing his breakfast. "Slow down, Bone. Iíll give yourself a stomach ache," she laughed.
"Iím just so hungry."
"Maybe you shouldnít have gotten so much exercise last night then," she said with a mischievous twinkle in her eyes.
"Maybe. So you want to finish up in here and go back for some more?" he asked as he pulled her onto his lap, letting her feel the effect she was having on him.
"I think that can be arranged," she replied, wrapping her arms around his neck.
"Goody," he grinned as he kissed her nose.
She wrinkled it, annoyed, and wiped it off. "Egg mouth."
"Who was at the door?"
"Messenger for you. Here." She handed him the envelope and he tore it open. Then blanched as he read the words within. "Oh shit."
"This is not going to be good."
He handed her the letter. "The breakdown for the promo tour. They paired Nick and Kevin."Chapter 47