“You’re here! You’re here!” Nick jumped up and gave her a huge hug, which had her head spinning and the others in the room snickering. “I thought you’d never get here.”
“Lighten up, blondie. It’s only been a few days,” Jeanne replied, emphasizing her Australian accent. “I hope you realize that you interrupted my walkabout and I’ll have to make you pay for that.”
He looked at her blankly. “Hunh? Walkabout?”
Leighanne laughed. “Don’t worry Nick, I didn’t know what the hell she was talking about either. Apparently is an Australian-ism. Means to take a long walk to clear your head.”
“What you would call going out for cigarettes and forgetting to come back,” Jeanne smirked. “A favourite of the American male, I understand.”
Nick hugged her again. “I don’t smoke,” he grinned, though he flashed AJ a glance.
AJ looked at Micheline’s cocked eyebrow and immediately put out his cigarette.
“So you were going to ‘walkabout’ out of my life, were you?” Nick asked with a pout. “No fair.”
“Listen, boyo, you were the one who had to go off on tour,” Jeanne reminded him. “Besides, I’m here to see Leighanne, not you.”
Brian made a buzzer-like noise. “Wrong again, sister. Leighanne was just the means… Nick is the end.”
“The butt end?” Jeanne chuckled then frowned. “Will someone explain what you mean by that?”
“Umm… I kind of missed you,” Nick stammered. “So I asked Leigh if she could talk you into joining us on tour for a little while.”
Jeanne glanced at Leighanne, then back at Nick. “And you couldn’t ask me yourself?”
“Ah, I get it. The Great Nick Carter can’t have a companion along. It’d ruin his reputation,” she said, a touch of sneer in her voice.
AJ lit up another cigarette. “Actually, it would probably do a lot for his reputation. Just nothing for yours,” he drawled.
Jeanne ignored him. “Look, I don’t like being brought here under false pretences. Not a big fan of being lied to you.”
“I’m not lying to you,” Nick protested with a whine. “I just…” he ran his fingers through his hair in frustration. “Can we talk about this alone?”
“Don’t leave on my account,” AJ said then ducked as Micheline tried to whack the back of his head. “Get off me, woman. I wanna see Nick get his ass kicked.”
“Tough. You aren’t,” Micheline replied as she pulled him to his feet. “Let’s leave them alone.” AJ continued to protest until she leaned over and whispered in his ear. Suddenly it was he pulling her out of the door in haste.
Brian sniggered. “Well, some things never change. AJ can still be led around by his dick.”
“Don’t be crude, Rok,” Howie admonished. He turned to Nick and Jeanne. “Good to see you again, Jeanne. Hope you stay,” he said with a nod as he ushered the rest of the group out of the room.
Jeanne waited until the door was closed before she let out a shudder and reverted to Kat. “Is it just me, or do you get the heebie-jeebies when he says that?” she asked Nick.
“What’s the big idea making me look bad?” he roared.
“Oh lighten up, Nick. Can’t have a relationship without a little tension. See? I learnt something from studying your past goings-on with girls. What we know is just us not getting along as usual they’ll see as sexual tension,” she shrugged.
“Like all those crappy sitcoms?” He stroked his chin thoughtfully. “Yeah, that’d work. Good idea. I just wish… Damn, I wish I didn’t feel like you were leading me around on this.”
“Little Nicky not feeling like a man?” she asked tauntingly.
“Stop calling me that. Only Howie calls me Nicky… and I’d rather not…” He sighed. “And no, you aren’t the only one who has the heebie-jeebies. Ever since I ‘let it slip’ that I’d asked Leigh to call you he’s been asking about you and how serious we are. Hell, you hadn’t even got here and already he was making plans.”
Kat couldn’t help it. As soon as she heard that she started to shiver. She tried to calm it down, to not let it show, but she was obviously unsuccessful.
“Hey, you okay?” Nick asked worriedly, coming over to her. He grabbed one of her hands. “Damn, you’re like ice!” He wrapped his arms around her. “It’ll be okay,” he said. “I won’t let him get you. That’s the plan isn’t it? We are going to stick to the plan aren’t we?”
Kat have one last shiver – more out of uncertainty than anything – then relaxed in Nick’s arms. Haven’t we had this conversation about a million times? I’m here. I’m Jeanne. And I am not going away until we kick that jerk’s ass from her to Kingdom Come. Oh, and until we get Leighanne married off.” She smiled at him and adopted an old lady’s voice as she said, “got to get that woman married off afore she becomes a spinster. And can’t have her shacking up with that young whippersnapper.”
Nick laughed. “Okay, I get it. Knock off the “are we doing this stuff” because we are already doing it.” He sighed. “So what do we do now? Promote sexual tension by throwing furniture or something?”
Kat rolled her eyes. “I doubt we need to go that far. I’m just going to be a little chilly towards you – usually when the others are around. But they’ll see us getting cuddly when we think we are alone so they’ll just smirk and play along. Easy.”
“Oh great. I get to be a laughingstock for my friends,” he groaned. “Does it ever end?”
“Nope. Not for a few days. Oh, and I am not going to sleep in your room for a little while. So you’ll have to pout and whine about that.”
“But… wait a minute. Sleep in my room?” Nick’s voice rose shrilly.
“Duh! What were we talking about when I said that I wouldn’t sleep with you?” He continued to stare blankly at her. “Nick, we have to sleep in the same room. I mean, come on! Have you ever taken a girlfriend on the road and not had her stay in the same room?”
“No, but… You’re not my girlfriend.”
“Am too. Remember? Howie sleeps with Boys’ girlfriends. Therefore, I must be a girlfriend. And you are my boyfriend. So I sleep in your room.” She shook her head. “You know that, Nick. What’s the big deal?”
He shrugged. “I know I know that. It’s just, well, we get along. But not along along. You know? I mean, my room is my haven. I gotta be alone.”
Kat felt a flash of pure fury go through her. “’You gotta be alone?’ Listen here you arrogant prick! I got my whole fucking life screwed over because you wanted to play all-conquering hero. I am the one who should be alone. I am the one who can’t be herself. I am the one who has made all the damn changes. I think you can put up with a little bloody company for a while.”
“I’m an arrogant prick? Who the hell is going around changing all the plans in mid-stream? Who is not bothering to keep me up to date on what’s what? I’m supposed to be in on all of this shit and you can’t even let me decide what is going on!”
“I’ll tell you what’s going on… I’m getting the hell out of here is what is going on. You are such a stupid, self-centred asshole that …” Kat didn’t get to finish as Nick suddenly swept her into his arms and pulled her into a passionate kiss.
It was unexpected and it caught her off guard. His hands rubbed her back as his lips pressed hotly against hers. His tongue pillaged her open mouth, stroking her tongue, leaving no corner untouched. She groaned and her arms wound up around his neck as she gave into the kiss.
Nick was the one who moaned as her fingers weaved themselves into his hair. He pulled her closer, his hands moving lower on her back, one dancing across her rear end. He tilted his hips, and she could feel the beginnings of an erection pressing into her. It was enough to make her regain her senses and she started to pull away.
They disengaged – faces still only inches away from each other, his blue eyes locked on her brown. Then he groaned, “Jeanne” and his lips descended once again.
This time it was the sound of a throat clearing that made them break apart. Kat was returning his kiss – when suddenly he wasn’t there. She stumbled forward before catching herself and realizing that they had an audience. She turned her head: the only part of her that she could turn as Nick continued to hold her body tightly to his. Then groaned as she saw who was in the doorway.
“Yes, Kev?” Nick asked huskily.
“Sorry to interrupt,” Kevin smirked. “We’ve got a photo shoot and a radio interview to get to. Think you two can stop “discussing” for a little while?”
Jeanne cleared her throat. “Umm. Yes, sure we can,” she replied, her cheeks flaming with colour.
Nick nuzzled the side of her head. “I suppose. Be down in two, okay?”
Kevin nodded then slipped back out of the room.
Once the latch clicked Nick released her and leaned lazily against the wall. “So was that good ‘sexual tension’?”
“Ah…” Kat started then realized she’d been tricked. “You knew he was there!”
Nick nodded quickly. “Saw the handle move.” He grinned evilly. “Quick thinking, hunh?”
She rolled her eyes. “Yeah right. Warn a girl next time okay?”
He snorted and shook his head. “Wouldn’t be romantic would it? I’m supposed to be convincing you that I want you to stay. In my room.”
“Maybe you better get some use out of the empty room while you still can,” she sneered.
He shrugged himself away from the wall and walked towards the door. “It’s okay. I got enough use of it in the last few days. I could use some rest. See you later ‘honey’.” He blew her a kiss as he breezed through the door.
“Why you arrogant… scum-sucking…” Kat looked around for something to throw and ended up pulling one of her shoes off and chucking it at the door. It ricocheted loudly and then was followed by a timid knock.
Leighanne’s head peeked around the corner. “Umm… is it safe or are you going to throw more things?”
“Good. I hope he never comes back. That stupid, annoying…”
Leighanne broke out into laughter. “Oh yeah, I can see that you two are getting along as good as usual.”
“He’s just such a…” Kat couldn’t think of a word so she just growled instead.
“Ain’t that the truth,” Leighanne chuckled. “And he is SOOOO your boyfriend,” she teased.
“Not if I kill him first,” Kat retorted.
“Howie first. Then Nick.”
It was amazing how fast the first two words of Leighanne’s reply got Kat to start shivering again. Why the only part of her that was warm was the lips that still burnt from Nick’s kiss.
(c) Kat Morgan