Quit Playing Games

Chapter 48

“So then he says ‘it’s a shame you’re taken – we could make beautiful music together.’ Can you believe it? What a jerk!”

Kat started to giggle, more at the exasperation in Leighanne’s voice than at the comment. “Poor Leigh. Being hit on by so many men. Must be rough.”

“Oh bite me, Kat,” Leighanne sniped. “Getting hit on I can handle. Getting hit on by litlle squits like him pisses me off.”

“Well, you do know what they say about N’sync…”

“What that they have to do everything that Backstreet does? Well, it doesn’t include girlfriends! And some one better tell Timberlake that before I knock his block off.”

Kat chuckled. “Maybe he was trying to get back because of AJ and Amanda. He did steal her away from their fold after all.”

Leighanne snorted. “Old news. Besides, he only did it because of this stupid rivalry with Brian.”

“I thought Justin was after Nick.”

“No, he thinks he’s got the ‘cute blond’ act covered already. He’s going after the ‘better songwriter’ title. Brian’s got more writing credits that Juju.”

“Ah. I could never figure out the dynamics of this rivalry.”

“Don’t bother. That LAST thing you want to do is get involved with that one. Nothing like baby male egos…” Leighanne laughed. “You know, I thought I was used to the whole ‘Hollywierd’ crap, but this ‘formerly Transcon’ stuff is the worst.”

“You know I met him once,” Kat mused. “Lou Pearlman. He just came off as a big fake.”

“When was this?”

“After all the lawsuits and stuff so I admit to being biased, but he just bugged me. Took me a little while to recognize him though. I just thought he was this big overly cheerful jerk. Then I realized he WAS a jerk.”

Leigh laughed. “That he is. It’s pretty good that he’s staying out of music right now. That whole Backstreet, Nsync, O-town triangle thing was enough.”

“They do each have their good points,” Kat conceded. “I just think he went about it wrong. Did it more for the money than anything. Forgot he was working with real people instead of just pawns.”

“If you say you like Nsync, you better do it quietly. The guys are okay with them in theory, but there is still a lot of anger there.”

“Hell no. They have a good song or two, and that movie of Lance’s wasn’t too bad. But that is as far as it goes. Nothing to worry about there. Though I appreciate the gossip – I’ll tease Rok with it as soon as I can.”

“Do and I’ll kill you!” Leigh warned and then laughed along with Kat’s giggles. “How’s he doing?”

“What are you asking me for? You two are on the phone so much he’s got permanent ear grooves.” Kat teased.

“Yeah, well the last time we talked he said you and Nick were fighting…”

Kat rolled her eyes at Leigh’s leading question. Man, you couldn’t keep anything quiet amongst this group. “You sure you didn’t pick it up from the internet? Someone made some comment on there the other day that Nick had some chick with him but that she was a beast because he was unhappy and fighting. Called me a bigger bitch than Tina and alluded to things she wanted to do if she could get me alone for a while.”

Leigh sighed. “Oh God! Not that crap again. Anyway, stop changing the subject. What happened?”

“You know. The usual. Nick and I can’t get along for long periods of time. We’re cool now. Straightened it all out. Was just a misunderstanding.” Kat didn’t want to tell her what the argument had really been about. Leigh would go ballistic. “I think we just sort of thought this would be over by now, you know? Like all I had to do was show and say ‘hi, I’m Nick’s girlfriend’ and Howie’d be all over me.”

“Doesn’t work that way.”

“Don’t I know it,” Kat sighed. “And what is worse, Howie’s been real nice recently. I mean he was freaky last week, but he seems calmer now. You know I think that horrid Miriam is part of the problem. He’s always a little weirder when she’s around. He goes in waves, you know? She’s here he’s wierd, so goes he gradually becomes un-weird, then gets all tense again and she shows up.”

“Talk about the perfect couple. Weird One and Weird Two.”

“Yeah, they’ll get married and have lots of little wierdos,” Kat jested.

There was a derisive snort on the other end of the phone. “Whatever. You goof!” Leigh sighed. “It must be hard for you. I mean you were such close friends with him and how you are trying to get him. And when he’s normal he’s a great guy. I forget what happened all the time and just like hanging out with him. Then Brian tries to set a date and I go squirrelly.” She sighed again.

“So set one. Set one and keep to it. You know you love the guy to bits. And you know that Nick and I’ll have this straightened out soon. So set the date and make the man happy.”

“God, I want to so much. I’m just so afraid…”

Kat was silent for a moment, thinking of what Leigh was not saying more than what she was. “Do you want to tell him? The truth?”

“Honestly? Yes. I hate to have this between us. I don’t want to start off our marriage with a lie. But it is so hard…”

“Maybe Nick and I can orchestrate it so that Brian finds out about the confrontation somehow,” Kat mused. “You can tell him the truth, but it’d be so Howie’s fault and he’d know it.”

She could hear sniffles on the other end of the phone. Then a timid, “can we do that?”

“Hey, Leigh-leigh. Don’t cry. This is me: Wonder Kat with her trusty sidekick Jeanne. I can do anything.”

Leigh laughed tremulously. “What about Nick?”

“Oh he isn’t a sidekick. He’s more like comic relief.” The chuckle that came through the receiver made Kat smile. “See? Told he was. And I will talk to him. See what we can do. Only one prob: if we do it that way you have to be here.”

Leighanne blew her nose delicately. That woman seemed to do everything delicately or with grace and Kat repressed a surge of jealousy. What she wouldn’t give for just a little bit of the style that Leighanne had ingrained in her. Why was it some woman caused heads to turn in amazement when they walked into a room, and some caused heads to turn because you tripped over the door stop?

“I’m working on it. My principal scenes should be over soon and I will be there for as long as I can.”

“Good. I need someone I can giggle with all night. Someone to do my hair and eat ‘smores with.”

“And Nick doesn’t do that?”

Kat snorted. “Last time he got ‘smores all through my hair and it took me an hour to get the crusty stuff out.”

Leighanne laughed.


“So then she says ‘it’s a shame you’re taken – we could really got physical together.’ Can you believe it? What a bitch!”

“Howie, hun, you shouldn’t let it bother you. And we agreed to have an open relationship anyway, so I don’t know why you turned her down,” Miriam replied absently as she folded towels. She was very pissed off at having to do this. She know one employee who was going to be pounding the pavement as soon as they showed up – ‘flu or no ‘flu.

“Because she wasn’t my type, that’s why. I don’t like pushy women.” He gave a quick wave to a passerby who did a double take when they realized who he was. “And what do you mean ‘open”? Are you seeing someone else?”

“Of course not! I thought you wanted me to agree to it so you could see other people,” she said, rolling her eyes. “It’s only for you, Howie. Not me.” Yeah right, and that twosome I had last night was a figment of my imagination. She repressed a chuckle, which turned into a wince when she accidentally bumped a leftover bruise.

“That’s good.”

Really… how did she get herself involved with such a lame-o? The idiot thought the world revolved around him. Of course having him as a boyfriend had brought in a whole bunch of new members – and new users. Both her public gym business and her private drug business were bringing in lots of money. So he had been beneficial. And the sex, when he got into that depraved state she loved so much, was fantastic. Best she’d had in a long time. It was the whiny guy she had to put up with in the mean time…

“I miss you so much,” she simpered as she rolled her eyes heavenward again.

“Baby, I miss you too. Probably why that dyke pissed me off so much. Why have her when I want you? I miss my little honey pie.”

Call me that one more time and I’ll… “Oh Howie, I wish I could get away for a few days. We could spend all day in bed, just you and I,” she replied sweetly.

“Why can’t you come?” he asked with a tinge of a whine in his voice. He must have noticed it too, because he cleared his throat and spoke briskly. “Isn’t there someone else who can cover for you?”

“Cover for me with the interview with Shape magazine?” She chuckled lightly. “Baby, you pulled lots of strings to get that for me. It would look bad for you as well as me if I ditched it. And besides, who else is going to make this gym looking ship-shape if not me? Sorry, I just can’t make it.”

He sighed lightly. “I just miss you. Everyone is so lovey-dovey right now. It’s annoying.”

“I thought Nick and his chick were fighting.”

“Jeanne? No, they seem to have made up. I don’t get the two of them. They are the strangest couple. It’s like they have some big secret they are keeping from us all.” He chuckled. “You think under all those clothes she’s a he?”

Miriam laughed. “Somehow I doubt it.”

“I dunno. We get to see some real good looking she-males in this business.”

“Yeah, but isn’t she some friend of Leighanne’s? I doubt that Blondie would hang with some one like that. She is so straight laced…”

Howie laughed.

“You just leave them alone, Howie-bear,” she made a gagging face as she continued to coo at him. “They probably just have bedroom secrets. Like we do. Nothing more than that.”

“True.” He shrugged. “When do you think you can get out here?”

“Not until the end of the month, I think. But I’ll see if I can do it earlier.”

“And you are gonna bring some of your little ‘magic’ with you?”

“You know I will,” she smirked. Yep, getting Howie hooked on steroids was the best thing she’d ever done. Just wait until he started on the new stuff… “You aren’t running low are you?”

“Nope. I got enough for a few more weeks. I just don’t want to get low. These muscles like the extra support.” He flexed his shoulders absently.

“I’ll be there as soon as I can, love. And I’ll bring every little thing you need with me. I promise.”

“Good. Look, babe, I gotta go. I see some shoes I like. Call you later, k?”

She was about to reply, but the sound of the dial tone let her know he’d already disconnected. She had to laugh: the old Howie wouldn’t have hung up on her so abruptly. The new one just wanted to make sure that all his supplies were going to come in and wasn’t as concerned with the romantic niceties.

Yep, she definitely had this one played. He’d be an endless stream of money, drugs and sex for a long, long time.

Life was good when you were in control of it.

Chapter 49

(c) Kat Morgan