Chapter 27: Happy Endings?

Kat walked around the side of the house and walked through the open verandah door. She sat down in front of him before he even realized that she was there.

"You always walk into other peopleís house uninvited?"

"Just yours," she said calmly.

"Go away, Mrs. Dorough," he said tauntingly.

"Come on AJ, thatís not the way to talk to the woman you claim to be in love with."

"You have made your feelings very clear on that," he said unhappily.

"No. I havenít."

He looked at her, and Kat got to see his face full on.

"Gods, he looks terrible. Why didnít I see all of this before?" she thought.

She sighed. "AJ, I do love you. Canít say I always have, but I do love you. You are falling to bits and I know that part of it is my fault. Itís killing me. I hate hurting you."

"Kat? You mean..." he moved forward, taking her hands in his.

"That Iíll leave Howie? No. That Iíll be with you? In a manner of speaking."

"What? Iím confused."

"You need a friend, a shoulder to cry on more than anything and that is what I am here for."

"Shit!" he threw her hands away. "That is not what I need."

She looked at him silently for a moment. "I spoke to Kim."

He turned away, "what does that have to do with anything."

"I know, AJ."

Now it was his turn to be silent.

"So I think I am starting to figure out why you reacted the way you did. To us."

"Oh great, here comes some psychoanalysis," he said petulantly, trying hard to cover his reaction to her knowledge of his loss.

"Yep. So sit back and live through it. You and Kim had a horrific thing happen to both of you, and neither of you reacted well to it. Thatís understandable. Instead of it bringing you together to were both hurting so much you pushed each other away. And while you tried to get on with your life, you were still an open wound."

She sighed. "You never told anyone, did you? You tried to handle it yourself. So when you got to Toronto you were so busy pretending to be happy-go-lucky AJ that when IÖ When I needed youÖ well, something got through and instead of dealing with your situation you latched on to me."

"Thatís it? Thatís your great analysis?" he snorted. "Heard better on talk radio."

"When I left," Kat continued, "you had all these unresolved things going around in your head. And it seemed better to latch on to the mystery that is me," she said with a quick grin, "rather than the situation with Kim. But you canít do that anymore, AJ."

"So you are saying that I was never in love with you? I know how I feel, Kat. Donít dictate to me."

"Fine." Kat leaned across and kissed him. He was surprised and she used that to deepen the kiss. She ran her fingers across his chin and stroked his neck before finally disengaging.

He was looking at her with an astonished look on his face.

"Feel anything?"

He cleared his throat. "Of course."

"No, you didnít, AJ. That was a good kiss, you have a wicked mouth, but you werenít there. Not even as much as you were at the studio the other day."

"You caught me by surprise!" he protested, then he kissed her. It started a small fire in her belly; she doubted that would ever change, no matter what their relationship. Not as strong as the one that Howieís kisses started, but pleasant.

"Damn," he said, when they broke apart.

She smiled sadly. "I think Iíve made my point. AJ, the only person you are in love with is the one you have been running from for even more months than I ran from Howie. She misses the hell out of you. Will you please go see her?"

"I canítÖ"

"You have to. Besides, itíll make seeing her at the wedding easier."

"What?"

"I asked Kim to be a bridesmaid. And despite everything, I know Howie will ask you to be a groomsman." She smirked, "best man even, if you play your cards right."

He was still sitting there stunned by the turn of events. Then he looked at her. "How do youÖ"

"It is really hard, I mean having TWO Backstreet Boys professing their love. Heady stuff. But itís been Howie for me from the beginning and that is that. You and I both know that. I couldnít bear to think about life without him. Believe me, I tried once. It hurt too much."

"Heís a lucky man."

"Iím the lucky one and you know it. Now, get up. Have a shower and shave for gods sake; I donít know how I am going to explain these whisker burns." She smiled, pushing him towards the staircase,"then get your butt over to Kimís house. Talk to her. I canít promise miracles, AJ. But sitting on opposite sides of the city wallowing in sorrow is not healthy, and it is not helping either of you."

Kat smiled as she left AJís house and headed back to her new home. The Dorough residence. Mr. and Mrs. Howard Dorough lived there. Oh gods, who said wishes canít come true?

"Youíre in a good mood," Howie said as he put aside his guitar.

"Yep." She sat in front of him, and bent forward to kiss him. "Wow!" she sighed.

"What?" he said as he continued to kiss her neck, not willing to stop what she had started.

"I get goosebumps and little electric shocks whenever we do that. Amazing feeling."

"Wanna feel more?" he said sexily.

"Forever!"

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The End!

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