Kat had finished her shower and gotten dressed in the new clothes that she and Nick had gotten the night before. She was, however, still sitting on the rumpled bed in her room.
She wasn’t sure if she could face this.
She hadn’t really thought it through. Hadn’t seen the consequences that Nick obviously had. If Howie was the only one doing this… If he was preying on the Boys’ girls then it would have made sense for him to have gone after Leighanne at some point.
But Leighanne? The idea of her being involved in something like that…
She loved Brian so completely, so totally. Just seeing the two of them together was enough to make you believe in soul mates. In two halves of a whole that when they came together created something so incredible your were awed by its existence.
A knock on the door interrupted her thoughts and Nick’s head peeked in.
"You okay? The shower stopped a while back and you were taking so long…” He grinned impishly. “I thought you’d decided to go out the window and scale down the wall like Spiderman."
She didn’t have the patience for his attempts at wit this morning. “Very funny, kidnapper man.” She ran a hand through her damp hair. “Does she know why she is here?”
He came into the room, shutting the door and leaning against it. “No. I could hardly tell her that on the phone. I told her I wanted to talk about something for Brian’s birthday party.”
Kat shivered at the mention of the other man’s name. “I don’t think I can do this, Nick.”
If I can, you can.”
She looked at his determined face. “Can you, Nick? I mean this is Leighanne we are talking about. You know, of Brian and Leighanne fame?” She put special emphasis on both names.
Nick flinched. “Look, I am about to go out there and ask a woman I love and admire, the woman engaged to my very best friend, if she fucked around with one of my other closest friends. If I can do that, you can damn well be there for it,” he replied angrily.
"Nick…” she started irately, then bit it off. As upset as she was about all of this, and especially about Leighanne being there, he must be feeling it worse. The man had endured a very disillusioning 24 hours. “You don’t have to do this,” she said quietly. “We can just go out there and pretend that it really is about his birthday. We don’t have to ask those questions.”
He hesitated for a moment and she could tell that he’d been wrestling with this all night. “I wish I could. I really wish I could. But I can’t. I NEED to know.”
“Okay,” Kat said as she stood. “If you need to do this then I am here for you.” She gave his hand a small squeeze as she moved past him towards the door.
She was about to open it when he enveloped her in a tight hug. “Thank you,” he whispered then turned and left the room.
Leighanne rose as they walked back into the main room. “My god! Kat! It IS you!” She gave Kat a hug. “If I hadn’t seen your bed head before I would never have recognized you.” She took a step back, holding Kat’s hands out and looking her up and down. “Damn girl, you have changed. It looks so good on you.”
Kat blushed. Praise from the blonde goddess always did that to her. “Thanks, Leigh. It’s really good to see you again."
"Where have you been? You just disappeared; you didn’t call or write. I was worried.” Leighanne gave her another quick hug, and then glanced at Nick speculatively. “Or is there something that you two need to tell me?” she said with a raised eyebrow.
Nick actually blushed for a moment. If the situation had been different from what it was Kat would have laughed at his reaction. Instead she jumped into the breach. “Umm, no. We just bumped into each other and Nick “arranged” a place for me to stay last night.”
He picked up on her comment and glared at her. "Some people would actually like to spend a night in a hotel suite with me."
"Give me their names and numbers. I’ll call them and set them straight,” she spat back at him.
"Should I leave you two alone?” Leighanne interrupted.
Nick and Kat looked at each other guiltily. “No, its okay,” Nick replied.
"Sorry Leigh. You know how annoying Nick can be.”
“Oh lord, don’t start again,” the other woman laughed. “I feel like I am going to have to send you to opposite sides of the room. And you can be just as annoying, Kat, so hush.”
Nick stuck his tongue out at Kat, but Leigh slapped his cheek lightly. “Don’t be a baby, Nick.” She indicated the food on the table. “I don’t know about you but I am hungry.”
They had a civil breakfast, though Kat did bean Nick in the head with a danish when he made some comment about “people trying to pretend they are stuntwomen and jump out of moving vehicles.” The trail of cherry jelly it left on his face as it slipped down was very satisfying.
Nick had picked up the jug of cream and was offering to put it down on the floor for the spoiled Kat, when Leighanne firmly, though laughingly, made him put it down. “Okay, I get it. You two can’t be in the same room with each other without fighting.”
"He started it. Stupid hostage taker,” Kat muttered.
"Yeah, well I’m gonna get rabies from all the scratches you gave me,” he sneered, thrusting his arm in Leighanne’s face. “See?"
“Yeah, well, look at the bruise you left on me,” she retorted, pulling back the sleeve of the t-shirt to show where he had grabbed her the night before.
“ENOUGH!” Leighanne shouted. “Damn, I liked it better when you two weren’t even talking to each other. It was a hell of a lot quieter.”
"Sorry,” they both mumbled.
"Thank you. Do either of you want to tell me why you are fighting?” She looked back and forth between them.
"Umm. I kind of brought Kat here against her will,” Nick murmured. Kat snorted.
"Full story, please.”
Kat and Nick exchanged looks. “Ah, its not really important right now,” Kat said quickly. “So, tell me how you’ve been.”
Leighanne gave them both a strange look, but allowed Kat to lead her into a different conversation. Both Nick and Kat stopped fighting, and concentrated on preparing to deal with the matter at hand.
But how do you raise the subject of infidelity with someone as virtuous as Leighanne?
They talked amiably for about half an hour, then Nick rolled the breakfast table out into the hall (sans coffee and tea of course).
"So let me get this straight. You left the tour for no reason you want to go into. You went home and quietly went about your life. And suddenly you’ve been staying the last week at Nick’s beach house without letting anyone else know?” Leighanne looked at Kat incredulously.
She turned to Nick. “And you didn’t mention it to the others when you were up here for meetings a few days ago?”
"And you essentially kidnapped Kat to bring her here?”
Kat flushed. “Okay, so “kidnap” is a bit harsh. Nick just promised not to bring me here and didn’t keep his word."
"I’m sorry. I needed to.” Nick replied and Kat flashed him a quick smile.
“I understand. Now.”
“Well, I sure wish that someone would explain it to me.” Leighanne said. “You two sound like you are up to something. And I know it has nothing to do with Brian’s birthday party. So you better spill.”
Nick opened his mouth. Then shut it. He twisted uncomfortably in his seat. “Umm, Kat? Do you want to start?”
"No!” her eyes told him, but she turned to Leighanne. “There was a reason for me leaving the tour as suddenly as I did.”
“I figured that much.”
"It was, well, I discovered…” Nick cleared his throat. “Okay, I was TOLD something that upset me a great deal. If it was true…”
“It isn’t,” Nick cut in.
"Part of it may be, Nick,” Kat reminded him. “That is why we are here.”
“Go on,” he mumbled.
Kat turned back to Leighanne and composed herself. “I was told something that well, it didn’t put the Boys in a very good light. In fact it disgusted and disillusioned me so much that I had to leave. Nick has managed to convince me that not all of it is true. But some of it may be. And we need your help to figure out how much of it is."
"It is very damaging to the Boys?” Leigh asked.
“It could be,” Nick said. “Though I think that it would be worse if the others found out.”
"And I can help clear it up?”
“Leigh, you know an awful lot about the behind the scenes stuff. And yes, with the questions we have to ask you, yeah, you could clear up parts of it.”
“Or make it worse,” Nick sighed. “I just don’t know. But we need to clear it up. I need to clear it up.”
“Fine. Ask your questions,” Leighanne said leaning back in her chair.
"Are you sure, Leigh?” Kat asked. “These are very hard questions. And the answers could hurt you as much as the rest of us.”
Leighanne looked back and forth between their worried faces. “Ask.”
Nick leaned forward. “Its about Howie…”
The blonde woman suddenly got a lot paler. “Howie?” she asked tremulously.
It was enough confirmation for Kat. “Oh god.”
(c) Kat Morgan