Quit Playing Games

Chapter 12

Kevin was doing his piano sound check when he joined her.

"Still mooning over Kevin?" Howie's voice cut through her concentration.

"Actually, I was watching AJ," Kat replied. "He really is a strange man."

Howie looked down at AJ as he flirted up a storm with a group of star struck girls.

Kat was watching thoughtfully. "He tries to come off like a bad boy with the tattoos and hair color. Like he's trying to prove something. But he's really a nice guy. He has genuine respect for women."

"The man watches pornos," Howie pointed out.

"So do most guys whether they admitted it or not. I'm not saying he's perfect, but look at him. . . He could have any one of them right here and now and the others would line up to be next. But he wouldn't do it. Ever since he and Micheline made it official, he's flirted but he's never crossed the line. When he's in a relationship he's a one woman man. You can't judge him by its cover. A very complex man."

"Yeah," Howie agreed. "I've known him for years and I still can't figure him out."

She nodded absently. "So how do I try and capture him?"


"For the book. It sounds pithy to say AJ McLean is complex. I'd need to describe it. Describe him. How do I do that without going over the same old stuff that everybody knows, or using stuff that he doesn't want others to know?"

Howie chuckled. "You and that book. Is that all you think about it?"

She smiled. "It is why I'm here."

"True. Maybe you should talk to him about it. He probably knows best how he wants to be represented."

"I suppose."

"Besides, who cares what you say about him. What did you say about me?" he grinned.

"Man, what an ego," she laughed. "You know exactly what I've said, D. You keep reading over my shoulder."

"I just don't think you've captured my charming personality yet," he preened.


"That's me. Want to ditch this?"


"I was going to sneak out to a movie. Come with me?"

"I should .…" she looked back down at the stadium. Kevin was wrapping up his sound check it. AJ was still dazzling the fans. "Sure. I know how this story plays. But if I miss anything good I'll never forgive you."

"Believe me I know this story better than you. Nothing will happen."


The movie was so-so, but the popcorn fight was great. Howie was back to his old self again: not so tightly wound as before. Kat still didn't like Miriam much but she'd had a good effect on him. He hadn't even been drinking as much while she was there. Still, she was glad the other woman was gone.

They got back in good time for him to get changed and ready for the show. Kat changed too, just in the cleaner jeans - one's with fewer popcorn oil stains, and a dressier shirt. She smiled as she joined Leighanne, Lana and Micheline. Mich was berating Nick who had played another one of his famous practical jokes on her. Kat wasn't sure exactly what he'd done, but it had clearly pissed the other woman off.

Leighanne was trying hard not to laugh, and moved other to Kat's side.

"What did I miss?" Kat whispered.

"Not much. Not one of his better pranks. Her tirade is much funnier. Where were you this afternoon? I was looking for you."

"Went to movie with Howie."

"Anything good?" Kat shook for head. "Well, I'm sure it was better than coming shopping with me."

Kat pulled a face. "Please. A root canal is better than that. You look good in anything you put on."

Leigh smiled. "Then I really wish you'd come with me. I hated everything. Having a bad body day, I guess."

Kat glanced at the other woman and said, with a twinkle in her eye, "how is that possible?"

The blonde woman laughed and hugged her. "Now I really wish you'd come with me." She looked at Kat. "And I really wish you would let me take you in hand. You have such great features. "

"Stop it Leighanne. I'll always be ordinary." Kat replied.

"No, you aren't. You think Howie hangs around you because he has to?"

"I make him laugh."

"Nice try. I've seen him looking at you for other reasons. They all have. And I've seen you look really beautiful when you try."

Kat shrugged. "The best I can pull off is pretty that it's too much effort. I'm much more comfortable the way I am."

Leighanne looked at her critically. "No you're not. You're very beautiful; you just won't see it. Let me ... "

"Leigh, drop it please," Kat begged.

"Kat ... "


"What are you talking about?" Brian said, putting his arms around Leighanne's waist. She leaned back, kissing his cheek. "Kat says she's not pretty."

"No, you said it."

"I did not! I said you don't take advantage of your good features."

"She's right, you know," Brian said. "I'd go for you in a minute."

Kat looked at his serious face, then shook her head. "Sorry B, I don't believe you."

He grinned mischieviously. "Just give me a second to get rid of this blonde bimbo and I'll..."

"Hey!" Leighanne said, swatting him.

Kat laughed. "Thanks B-rok."

"I am serious you know. Stop hiding behind whatever it is that you are. You can be one hell of a hottie if you let yourself," Brian said, squeezing Kat's hand then leading Leighanne over to the corner for their usual pre concert kiss fest.

Kat stared after him. How… Did Leigh say something? How could she; she didn’t know anything. Howie and AJ’d promised that they’d keep quiet about Kat’s nightmares and her parents. There was little in that too. She’d kept so much information from them. And they had all trusted her so much.

And Brian had seen through it all. He knew she was hiding something. Lots of somethings, really. What was he telling her? That she should let it all out. No, she couldn’t do that. She couldn’t risk seeing revulsion in their eyes. She got too much of that when she looked in the mirror.

"Hey, did you hear what I did to Micheline?" Nick came bouncing up to her.

Kat shook herself. "Is this something that I can put the book?" she asked.

Nick thought for a minute. "Probably not. Want to hear it anyway?"

Kat laughed. "Sure."

Chapter 13

(c) Kat Morgan