Quit Playing Games

Chapter 6

"Hi Kat. What you doing?" The soft female voice surprised her. Sheíd spoken to Leighanne a few times before, but it had usually been when they were all together in a group. The blonde woman had never talked to her when it was just the two of them.

"Hi Leighanne. Just taking more notes." Kat looked down at her notepad. The third sheíd filled in the past two weeks. "I think Iím taking way more than I need to," she said ruefully, rubbing her hand. "Iím starting to get cramps."

Leighanne laughed. "Yep. Every time I see you youíre scribbling away. Iím always afraid to disturb you. But you have to take a break sometime."

"I suppose."

"Wanna go out somewhere with me?"

"Really? Where?"

Leighanne shrugged. "Shopping. Maybe a movie. Just anywhere thatís not yet another stadium."

"They do all kind of look the same donít they?" Kat grinned. "What will Brian do without you?"

"Heís playing basketball with Nick. I figure he can shift for himself for a while." She grinned. "Besides Ďabsence makes the heart grow fonder.í Think how glad to see me heíll be when we came back?"

Kat laughed. If there was one thing Brian always was it was glad to see Leighanne. Whether they were apart for five days or five minutes. "Okay. Let me dump this stuff some where." Kat stood up then looked quizzically at the other woman. "Umm, Leigh? Where are we?"

"Hunh?"

"What city are we in?"

Leighanne looked at her incredulously. "Oh girl, you SO need a break!"

They ended up doing both Ė shopping and a movie. The latter after Leighanne got tired of trying to get Kat to try on clothes.

"I still think you should have gotten that red dress," Leighanne sighed on the way back to the hotel.

"It made me lookÖ"

"Like a girl?"

"Ha ha." Kat shrugged. "No, it just made me feel weird. It emphasized my hips and the colour was too bold."

"It set off your curves well, and the colour was stunning on you. You always wear plain clothes, Kat."

"Itís what Iím comfortable in."

"Come on, you canít tell me that you didnít like the way the dress felt on you. And I know that you noticed that guy looking at you."

Kat blushed, but ignored Leighanneís comments. "I do wear colours, they just tend to be blues or purples. And only as shirts. I like wearing pants. You, on the other hand, can wear anything and look spectacular in it."

"I donít know about that. I have made some colossal fashion faux pasí in my day."

"No? Really?" Kat joked.

"Silly woman. I had to learn all that stuff quickly. Iím in an industry that, wellÖ"

"Is more interested in outer beauty than inner?"

Leighanne grimaced. "Thatís a nice way to put it. I know that some times the things I wear when Iím out with Bri get me a slutty label, but I feel like Iíve always got to look, well, not necessarily me best, but my most advantageous."

"Itís a good thing you have such an understanding boyfriend," Kat replied, with a mischievous grin twitching on her face. Leighanne frowned at her. "I mean to just accept it when you have to wear low cut, or shockingly tight clothesÖ."

"Hey! Stop making fun of me," the blonde woman laughed.

There was a moment of companionable silence.

"It must be hard though," Kat mused. "I mean you are known more for being Brianís girlfriend than for your own work."

"Yeah. And even if I get a good role now everyone thinks itís because of him. Itís hard to have my own identity."

Kat nodded. "I wonder if itís something that I should look at for the book."

"No," Leighanne said firmly. "Look, if it comes up as part of what the guys say then fine. But I certainly donít want to be interviewed about that. I do NOT want to be seen as capitalizing on my relationship with Brian."

"Like one of his exís did a while back?"

"Yes. That book turned out better than it could have, but it still hurt Bri. So did Marissaís book about AJ. They were people that they loved. Trusted. Besides, I thought the idea was to focus on them as serious musicians and artists."

"It is. At least thatís the way I see it. But even that is kind of hard. I mean they are writing and producing their own stuff more, but the concerts are still them singing and dancing with a band behind them. People know they know how to play instruments, but even now they only do it in public as part of a schtick. They are still singers not musicians. Thatís okay, but they are trying to be seen as more, you know? I mean, until you can get AJ to stop wiggling at centre stage and actually play the bassÖ"

"Or put Nick back on the drums out of sight? Itíd never happen."

"Exactly. So its hard to get them to be seen as professional artists when the competition is either musician groups or the pop-oriented front singers, who, letís face it, donít tend to get a lot of respect."

"And that is really what they are."

"Yes and no."

The cab pulled up in front of the hotel and the two women clambered out, hindered a bit by the packages they were carrying. Katís purchases had been small, so she carried some of Leighís acquisitions.

"I mean," she continued once theyíd paid the driver and headed into the elevators. "They donít belong in that category anymore. Theyíve grown beyond that. Iím not sure where they fit now." She sighed, "maybe I am just trying to pigeonhole them. They arenít your traditional bubble-gum pop, but they arenít rock either."

"So its more about what niche they are in?"

"Maybe they donít need to be niche-d. Enough talking about the book or youíll make me feel guilty for cutting out with you."

"You needed a break, Kat."

"Yeah, I did. Thanks Leighanne."

The other woman shrugged. "Anytime. Too much of thisíll drive you crazy. Look at Nick."

Kat laughed. "Heís not crazy, heís, umm, sanity-challenged."

"Who is?"

Leighanne and Kat exchanged a smirk.

"Hi Nick."

"B-rokís looking all over for you, Leigh. Heís getting frantic."

She shook her head ruefully. "That man. I told him I was going shopping."

"Really? What did you get? Did you get me anything?" Nick asked, eyes shining as he turned his head back and forth between the two women.

"Told you," Leighanne said to Kat.

"Sorry Nick," Kat chuckled. "Wasnít sure which video games you all ready had. But I did get you this," she pulled out a flyer from a computer store which highlighted their stock.

"Cool. Iíll see if they have anything that I donít. What else did you get?"

"I discovered that Kat is the most annoying person to shop with. She thought everything I got was greatÖ"

"And that makes her annoying?" Nick chirped, glancing at all of Leighanneís packages.

She glared at him and continued. "Bit I could only convince her to get a few shirts for herself. And those dragons."

"Dragons?"

Kat smiled tremulously. "I used to collect dragons. I had hundreds of them."

"Did you leave them at home?" Nick asked.

A shadow crossed her face. "Umm. Yeah. IÖ I couldnít bring them with me. These are the first Iíve gotten since I joined the tour."

Leigh looked at her curiously. Kat had been equally reticent to talk about it at the mall. Come to think of it, Kat really didnít talk much about her past or her interests. Discovering her fascination with dragons had been a fluke. The way the womanís eyes had widened and the look of longing that had swept over her face when theyíd passed he display had been the most animated she had ever seen Kat. When she wasnít looking at Kevin. "Well, if I have anything to do with it, youíll have a large collection with you at the end of the tour," Leighanne said decisively.

Kat shook off the chill that went down her back and groaned jokingly. "Oh no! Not more shopping!"

Nick laughed. "Better not say that around Howie. He lives to shop."

 

The concert was, as usual, wonderful. The only mar was when AJ tripped while goofing around. The incident caused a tear in his shirt, which induced a cacophony of squeals from the audience. Which only got louder when he discarded the torn shirt until the next costume change. At least it wasnít his pants; he joked later, causing Kevin to blush.

Kat joined the gang when they went out to a club after the show - wearing one of her new shirts at Leighanneís insistence. She even managed to do a bit of dancing. It was hard not to be self-conscious when surrounded by professional dancers, but she was starting to relax around everyone there, and besides, on a crowded dance floor no one can see a misstep.

All in all a good day.

Kat smiled as she ducked under the covers. She really was starting to feel like she belonged. Sheíd spent hours with Leighanne, and Lana had made her feel especially welcome that evening. The pact she had made with Howie must be working. If he ever noticed that her gaze lingered on Kevin a little too long heíd elbow her or pull her attention away somehow. She really hoped that no one else had noticed her fascination with him. And she was getting better. Probably just getting used to seeing him everyday.

She looked at the dragon figurines that sat on the table next to her. Maybe things were getting better. The first pieces she had written about life on the road had been accepted enthusiastically. She had no doubt that the editing process would be more stringent later, but for now all of her bosses were satisfied with her work.

Yes, all in all a good day.

Which is probably why when the nightmares hit they hit hard.

Chapter 7

(c) Kat Morgan