© Kat Morgan 1999/2000

In Name Only

Chapter 47: Hi ho, hi ho, its off to work we go

"Whatís to worry about?" Kevin said as he continued to pack his bag. "Nick and I have toured around on these things before."

"Before he wasnít trying to kill you."

He laughed. "Heís not trying to now."

"Don't lie to me, Kev. What about that split lip of yours?"

"I told you. I tripped."

"Yeah. Tripped and fell on Nickís fist. Iím not stupid," Kat pouted. "He wonít talk to me. Heís even more furious than he was when he first found out I was pregnant." She sighed. "Lord, save me from his childish tantrums."

"Hey. Youíre going to have to get used to tantrums," he said as he pulled her into his arms and stroked her belly.

"Sure, but at least all the little rugratís gonna do it cry. He wonít be shouting abuse or sulking for at least a few years."

"My son will not sulk," Kevin smiled, then grinned. "He may go into a corner, think deep thoughts and sigh alot, but thatís not sulking."

"Stop trying to distract me. I want you to change the tour assignments."

"No. Look, Nick and I have to talk sometime. What better time? Weíll be alone together. Weíll have no one else to talk to. Kat, this is the best way. Trust me."

"Heís so angry..."

"True, but I know to duck now."

"Aha! I knew it. He did punch you! Iíll kill him."

"Kat, stop it." Kevin shut the packed suitcase and put it on the floor. He sat down on the bed, pulling her down beside him. "Nick and I have to work this out. Our way. I guarantee that by the end of this trip it will all be okay again."

"Okay," she said sadly.

"Thatís not all thatís bugging you is it?"

She pouted again. "Itís not fair. You get to go do something and all I get to do is sit here and let my butt expand. I can hardly write: My tummyís so big I can barely reach the keyboard. And the two people I can complain to are heading off on some fun cross country tour."

"Fun? Itís all, on the plane, off the plane. Into the limo, out of the limo. Smile nice for the fans, sign autographs. Then make inane chatter about who we are and what we are doing. Then a few photos and back to a sterile hotel room. Then we get to repeat it all over again the next day."

"Yeah, but you love it."

He smiled. "True. But that doesnít mean I wouldnít also like to be here with you."

"You would?" she said shyly.

"No. All this raging hormones stuff is annoying," he retorted, then laughingly fought her off when she started to hit him. He grabbed her wrists and pulled her down on top of him. "Hey, doting father, here. I don't want to miss a second of this, even if all that happens is your butt gets bigger..."

"You are so going to get it, Richardson," she growled.

"Really? Is it kind of like this..." he kissed her lightly on the cheek. "Or more like this..." he kissed her neck, nibbling softly.

"Actually, itís more like this..." she said as she pulled his mouth to hers.

"Oh goody..."

 

"Nick, itís been four days. You could try talking to me," Kevin suggested.

"Sorry. I have only enough patience for the witty repartee during interviews. The rest of the time, I donít want to know you exist," was the blond manís rejoinder as he continued to focus on the book in his hand.

"What are you reading?" Kevin tried, hoping that a change of subject would open a door.

Nick turned the book so that Kevin could read the cover. "Blue Moon by Laurell K. Hamilton. Any good?"

Nick grunted, then turned away. Kevin sighed. It was going to be a long day.

 

Maybe it was reading about a woman stuck between two lovers: one undead and one not, but Nick was beginning to think that it was time to talk to Kevin. It had been a week. A week of smiles and cheerful camaraderie when the cameras or microphones were on, and steely silence when they werenít.

It was his fault. He had shut Kevin totally out. Refused to speak to him. Heíd tried several times, but after several days of Nickís blatant ignoring, Kevin had given up. Now their off-public conversations consisted of nothing more than "pass the salt" or "the carís here."

Nick hadnít gone this long without talking to his "big bro" since...well, ever. He was still angry. Not totally sure why he was angry, but still angry. But perhaps the time had come to stop sulking and start lashing out.

He got off the bed in his room and walked out into the main suite. Kevinís door was slightly ajar and he was about to knock when he heard Kevin talking.

"No, he still wonít talk to me," Kevin sighed into the telephone receiver. "Maybe you were right. Maybe I should have gotten the arrangements changed."

"No, baby, I canít do that now. Itís killing me to see him like this, but..."

"I wish you could talk to him. Damn, I wish we could all talk to each other about this."

"What did Howie say?"

"No, I did not hesitate when I said his name.

"Kat, come on. Heís your husband. Iím not. Of course youíre going to talk to him. I just wish he could talk to Brian. Get him to help with this thing with Nick."

"Because my cousin is stuck between his best friend and a family member heís not too pleased with right now. I canít ask him and neither can you."

Kevin sighed. "No, Brian is not angry at you. Hell, heís been on your side from the beginning. And I do mean from the beginning. I remember that stupid "we were just shopping" stunt even if you donít. Its me heís pissed with."

"Yeah, well. Iíve been giving him reasons to be pissed with me for a long time now. He didnít interfere before when things with Howie... heís not going to do it now."

"Look, can we not talk about Brian?"

"No, I don't want to talk about Nick either. This time itís his ball game. Iím fresh out of ideas about how to get through to him."

"I just wish heíd do something. Yell at me. Anything. Believe me, a silent Nick is even less of a picnic than a chatty one."

"Can we talk about something else? Please? How are you doing? God, I miss you."

"Yeah, but are you getting enough rest?"

"Can I talk to him?"

"Hello Junior. This is your daddy speaking. I love you, big guy. You take it easy on your mom; sheís got alot to deal with right now. And I am looking forward to seeing you really soon."

"Kat?"

"I just realized that I told him that I loved him, but I havenít told you that recently..."

Nick didnít want to hear anymore. It was just confusing him further. He went back to his room and tried hard to get some sleep.

 

"Any last questions for the Boys?" the announcer moderator asked.

"Back here!"

"One from the back. Please go ahead."

"Brian, Howie. You both have pregnant wives. How do you feel about leaving them at home while you are off on this tour?" a soft female voice asked.

Brian glanced at Howie, then leaned forward. "To be honest, I feel really bad. Iíd like nothing better than to be with Leighanne now, poring over baby books and wallpapering the nursery, but she understands that we are in a competitive industry and sometimes I canít be there."

Howie smiled. "Kat knows how much I wish I was back there, too. But just two more weeks and then we can all head home."

"Can I ask a follow-up question?"

The moderator frowned, then nodded.

"How would you two fathers-to-be like to skip the rest of your meetings this afternoon and go shopping for baby things with your wives instead?" another female voice asked.

There was silence for a moment, then AJ started to laugh, finally realizing why the voices sounded so familiar. "Hi Leighanne. Hi Kat."

The other two men looked at him in surprise, then out into the crowd of reporters and fans. The heads parted slightly, enough for them to see a dark-haired, bespectacled face and a blonde-haired face grinning back at them. Brian let out a whoop and charged through the crowd to grab his wife, much to the joy of the audience, and the consternation of the bodyguards. Howie was hard on his heels, though he stopped before he reaching Kat, afraid to start hopping around with her, the way Brian was doing with Leighanne. Instead he just gave her a goofy grin and hugged her close. Then gave her a deep, long kiss.

"Wow," Kat smiled when they broke for air. "I should surprise you more often."

"Always," he smiled back, then let Terry and Mark hustled the four back to the head table. AJ gave both women as big hug, then broke into a loopy grin of his own when Kat whispered to him that a certain Ďbunnyí was waiting for him at the hotel.

"Well," Howie said to the assembled crowd. "I think this press conference is pretty much over. Thank you all for coming."

The moderator laughed. "Yes, I think I have to agree. Ladies and gentlemen, please exit to the rear...."

 

While sneaking off was a good idea, it wasnít a totally viable one. It took another two hours before AJ, Brian and Howie were finally finished with signings and photos. Leighanne had called ahead to warn the Boyís team of their arrival, so the few appointments that had been planned for that evening were shifted around a little. She would accompany Brian to the Knicks game that night, and Howie and Kat would have the night to do whatever. Kat and Howie would do the Broadway thing the next night, leaving Brian and Leigh free. A quickly pulled together plan, but a logical one.

 

"I still canít believe you are here," Howie said as he gazed at her across the table.

"Believe it, buddy. I am still annoyed with Random House for choosing this time to try and pull this stunt with the book, but at least I knew you were going to be here." She smiled. "I can brave annoying publishers when I get to snuggle up to you afterwards." Then she frowned, "Iím not interrupting anything am I?"

"If you are asking if I am met anyone on this trip, then no." He sighed, "I seem to be stuck in celibacy right now."

"Damn. Well, Iím here for a few days. Letís see what I can rustle up. What do you think? Should I have the steak or the chicken pasta?"

"Kat, I don't want you trying to set me up," Howie warned.

"Iím kidding. You can find your own. I just... You havenít seen anyone on a regular basis since Paul..."

"Yeah, and look how that turned out," Howie muttered, staring at his menu.

"So it didnít work out. You two had too much going on then. I just want you to be happy, D."

"Speaking of happy, howís Kevin?"

Kat sighed. "I don't know. We missed each other last night, and he doesnít know Iím here. Iíll try calling him later."

"Are you going to see him?" Howie asked nonchalantly, though the way his fingers tightened on the menuís crisp surface belied his expression.

"No, Howie." She put her menu down and looked at him, clasping his right hand in her left. "And before you ask, if he and Nickíd been doing the East Coast circuit I would have waited until after they left New York City to come here. I wanted to see you, D."

Howie gave her a quick smile. "Iím sorry. Itís just the closer you get to your due date, the more I expect you to say Ďwhoops, sorry Howie, I was just fooling. Kevin and I are leaving nowí."

"I realize that. And heís thinking the same thing about you and I."

"At least you don't have to worry," he grinned.

"What? That you and he will walk off into the sunset together? Believe me, I have thought about that possibility a few times."

Howie shook his head. "Wouldnít happen."

"Then don't you assume that your fears are going to come true," she scolded him.

"But they will, Kat. Maybe not right away, but they will. Letís get serious here. Do you honestly think that you and I can stay married forever? With you and Kevin feeling the way you do about each other? With Junior about to make an appearance? No. Eventually this will all come crashing down. And I am the one who is going to lose the most."

The waiter showed up before Kat could respond. Which was a good thing. She didnít know how to respond to Howieís comments anyway.

Chapter 48