© Kat Morgan 1999/2000
In Name Only
Chapter 62: Endings
He knew immediately when she entered the room. How could he not?
He watched her through lidded eyes, pretending to be asleep. She had showered, her hair still damp. And her face was puffy from crying…
He’s done that to her.
She ignored him totally. Just moved to the bed to CJ’s side. He was just waking up; she’d always seemed to have a sixth sense about that. As if she could figure out at exactly what moment he would wake and be there waiting, ready for him.
CJ woke slowly. His long lashes moving up slowly as he peered around the dark room. He sat up quickly, looking around, then broke into a big grin when he saw his mother sitting there. He jumped out from under the covers and gave her a big hug.
Even with the small amount of light that there was in the room, he could see tears starting in her eyes as CJ squeezed her.
"Momma? Why am I in Kethy’s room?"
"Because Kevin really wanted you to cuddle with last night. That’s okay, isn’t it?"
"Sure." Then he wrinkled his little nose. "He smells funny, though."
It was true. He had brushed his teeth and cleaned up as best he could, but the alcohol had come out through his pores, giving him an acrid scent.
"Hey, buddy. You don’t smell too great either," Kat chuckled. "Time for a diaper change, mister."
"Come on, sport. Let’s let Kevin sleep and get you all cleaned up."
CJ nodded and hopped down from the bed, waddling over to the door. Kat stared down at the bed, looking at Kevin’s unmoving form, then leaned over and straightened the covers on him, making sure he kept warm. Then turned, took CJ’s hand and left the room.
He hadn’t gotten a wink of sleep.
That was rare for him. He was notorious for being the one who was always quick to fall asleep and damn near impossible to wake up. And after all the crying and drinking he’d done last night…
But it had eluded him.
He had curled up on the bed, cuddling up to CJ, who had woken up when Kat slammed the door and required a lot of attention before he settled down again. When the boy had finally nodded off, he had just watched him sleep.
It was so natural. When CJ slept it was as if every care in the child’s mind went away. His face was relaxed, a slight smile curling at the corners of his mouth. And he was still. He rarely tossed or turned. If anything he would move towards whomever was in the bed with him, moving up close to the heat source.
He was so beautiful.
He was his son.
He still couldn’t believe that he had helped create this incredible life snoring softly beside him. But he had. And he’d give his life to protect him.
Kat would too.
And even as inebriated as he had been, even after what he had said to her, she had still trusted him to look after their child.
Why was he always doing this?
Why was he always hurting her? The one he loved the most…
He’d promised he’d never do it again. And he had. Again.
She wasn’t there when he woke. He’d wanted that. Wanted to wake up with her in his arms the way they used to do.
And now, more than ever, as they were about to start on their new life together.
He knew it would be hard for a while. She was still so upset over Kevin. But he’d told her, shown her, how committed he was to her. She hadn’t been fully agreeable to it, but they’d make it work. They had always worked things out together before…
He still wished she had been there when he woke up.
He looked around the room. It had been straightened up, though the bed was still a mess. The desk was where it should be, and all the clothes were gone from the floor. She’d probably picked them up and put them in the closet.
And there was a slight unpleasant odour that could only mean one thing: CJ was awake and in one of the two adjoining rooms was a soiled diaper.
He grinned. That was why she’d left. To take care of CJ. She’d let him sleep. See? She was coming around all ready.
There was a knock on the door and he climbed out of bed, pulling on his boxers.
"How are things?" Brian asked warily.
He smiled. "They’re going to be okay. It’s going to take some time…"
Brian frowned quickly, not understanding. Kevin had broken Kat’s heart and Howie thought it would be okay? "And Kat is…?"
"Not here. I think she’s taken CJ down for breakfast." Then he paled as he realized that if she had CJ then she must have seen Kevin. "I better go find them. Make sure he didn’t say anything more to upset her this morning."
"Come on, this is Kevin we’re talking about," Brian assured him. "He’d still be dead to the world. And I highly doubt whether Kat would have initiated a conversation. He was too brutal last night."
"I should go find them anyway," Howie said, stepping back from the door.
"Find who?" Mark asked as he walked up the hall.
"Kat and CJ," Brian replied. "They down having breakfast?"
"They were. Terry’s taking them to La Guardia now."
Mark looked at Howie. "I thought you knew, man. They went home. Something about needed to get her book set to rights and CJ wanting to his favorite teddy bear…"
AJ had emerged and caught the end of the conversation. "It’s probably for the best, D. Get some space for a few days. Deal with it when we get home."
"Yeah," Brian said supportively. "We have this photo shoot thing to get through and it is going to be rough enough without this other stuff."
"That sonofabitch better not stand close to me or I refuse to be responsible for what I do to him," AJ growled.
"I have a suspicion that I am the only one who is going to be standing anywhere near him over the next few days," Brian sighed. "I’m with you on this, Bone, but the guy’s family."
CJ’d been overjoyed at the prospect of going home early. Another plane ride! And he’d been to the zoo. What else was there to do in New York? Kat had chuckled at that observation.
He was also getting to the point where the crowd of fans was more scary than interesting.
He’d chatted amiably with all the people around him, making special friends with the flight attendant who had shown him the cockpit. Kat had been relieved at the chance to just sit quietly and try and absorb all that had happened in the last 24 hours. Only she couldn’t do it. Her mind was a maelstrom of thoughts and confusion. So much… The two men whom she loved the most had…
"Mommy? Are you okay?"
She smiled down at CJ. "Yes, honey. Why do you ask?"
"You’re shaking again. You keep doing that."
Kat took a deep breath and tried, again, to calm herself. "I am just excited to be going home. Aren’t you?"
His greenish-brown eyes lit up, and he wrinkled his nose a little. "Yeah!"
Kat hugged him tightly. "CJ? Mommy has some things she really needs to get done. Would you mind staying with Mama and Poppa Dorough for a few days?"
"Can I see Uncle John and Aunt Polly?"
"Good. It will just be for today and tomorrow. Then we can be all to ourselves."
AJ stuck close to Howie, wondering again about his strange behavior. Sure he’d refused to even talk to Kevin, but he’d also been so certain that everything with Kat would be okay. AJ shook his head. Probably D’s famous optimism talking.
Howie had been a bit anxious about his inability to contact Kat. She hadn’t answered the phones at all over the last three days since her departure. When Howie’d heard that CJ had spent some time with his parents he was almost delirious with joy, though he’d made sure that no one told Kevin it’d happened.
That didn’t really matter. No one, except Brian, was talking to the older man.
He sighed. He just wanted to get home and to have this whole nightmare of a trip be over. He wanted to see Tina. To tell her that he still loved her. He knew that the rough patch they were going through was more his fault than hers… Since she’d started working again last year she’d been busy, and not able to just take off with him whenever he wanted her. He knew he shouldn’t be angry with her for that; he’d been unavailable to her most of the time and she’d never complained. But this distance had formed between them….
He sighed again as they exited the terminal and saw a small crowd of fans waiting for them. He loved them too, but right now…
As Brian has said, no one had wanted to be anywhere near Kevin for the last few days. If the photographer asked, they would all bunch up, big smiles… then move away from him as quickly as they could. And they never, no matter who asked, let Kevin and Howie get too close to each other.
Kevin hadn’t wanted to be anywhere near them either. AJ snorted. For all he knew Kevin hadn’t even noticed that the guys were snubbing him; he was too busy snubbing them. He was "there" for the sessions, but hardly said a word. And as soon as things were over he’d go right back to his hotel room, lock himself in, and, judging from the bottles that were stacked outside his door in the morning, drink himself into oblivion.
At least he hadn’t done that on the flight home. Brian had stationed himself beside Kevin and cancelled any order for alcohol. One look at his cousin’s face was enough to get Kevin to back down.
If anything, AJ pitied Nick. While Brian was busy with Kevin, and he was busy with Howie, Nick had pretty much hung in the middle. He wanted to kick Kev’s ass as much, maybe more – he’d done it before after all – as AJ, but Brian was there… Their friendship had gotten a lot stronger over the last while. So now Nick seemed to be the one who acted as the ‘messenger’ between the two groups, while also taking care of Leighanne and Bryleigh.
They were almost clear of the group of fans, after a few signings and smilings, when a man detached himself from the wall and walked towards them. He walked up to Kevin and Brian, who were walking a bit ahead, said something to Kevin and gave him a piece of paper. Then he walked towards Howie.
"This is for you." He handed another paper to Howie. Then smiled. "You have been served."
AJ looked at Brian who was suddenly holding up a shaking Kevin, who stared, white-faced at the paper in his hands. Brian took the paper and handed it to Nick, while he tried to get Kevin to respond to his worried questions.
AJ was about to ask what was going on when a wail from Howie drew his attention back.
"No! No! NO!"
AJ didn’t think, he just grabbed the paper out of Howie’s trembling hand and shoved it at Nick. Then grabbed his friend as Howie’s knees began to give way and he started to collapse.
Nick stood in between the two couples; jaw dropped in shock as he stared at the documents in his hands. In his right hand was Kevin’s… a restraining order. He was not to come within 500 feet of Katherine Morgan or Christopher Jerald Morgan.
The other read, "petition for divorce… irreconcilable differences… Katherine Morgan suing Howard Dwaine Dorough…"