Quit Playing Games

Chapter 60

When she awoke she noticed several things. First she was naked and that was not the way she usually slept. Second, she was very warm - and that was definitely due to the large, equally naked, body pressed up against her. Third, the body snored.

She tried to repress a grin, but then decided to hell with it. Why not smile? It had been a long and arduous night and she'd - they'd - survived it. Of course, if she didn't get to the bathroom soon her bladder wasn't going to survive much longer…

Gingerly, and with some inspired work with a pillow, she managed to extricate herself from Nick's grasp and then tiptoed over to the bathroom. She took care of business and then stood in front of the mirror.

"Well, you look like you've been through hell," she said quietly. Her hair sprouted out in all directions and her eyes were puffy with lack of sleep. They were even tender to the touch, as were her cheeks; sure signs that she had wept up a storm - nothing like lots of salty tears to really make your face blotchy. Her nose was also red and raw from over-application of scratchy hotel tissues. All in all, a sight that would frighten away small children.

Of course, some of the damage was also due to whisker burn. And the way her lips looked full and sated… well that had nothing to do with crying.

"Okay, so you've been through heaven, too," she told her reflection with a smirk.

She sighed and sat back down on the toilet seat, rubbing her eyes with the palms of her hands. What the hell was she doing? She didn't know who the hell she was anymore… this had all gotten so confused.

Once, she was a normal human being with normal hopes and dreams and fears. Then she was a freak, trying hard to maintain her sanity while all around her came crashing down. She's pulled herself together as best she could and gotten on with life. Except for a sudden, and irrational, interest in the Backstreet Boys she was doing pretty well. Sure, she didn't stand up for herself the way she might have before, but then the foundation she'd built her life on had crumbled beneath her - trying to rebuild that was more important than telling skanks like Parker and her ilk to go to hell.

Then she'd met the Boys. And if she thought her life was wacked-out before it was nothing compared to what the hell was going on now.

Who was she?

Was she this person she'd created for Nick? Some of her was. Names and physicalities aside, much of who she was portraying was the girl she'd been in high school and college. Before she'd come home to a nightmare.

Was she the evil freak her mother said she was?

She just didn't know. There were the facts… You couldn't deny the facts…

Repressing a sob she rose from her seat and turned the shower on. Climbing in she started to wash herself, her mind still hopping around feverishly. The more she contemplated, the harder she rubbed soap over herself, not stopping even when her skin started to redden from the pressure. Finally succumbing to the jumble of confused beliefs and thoughts pounding at her she sank to the floor of the shower weeping uncontrollably.

When he'd woken up Nick's first thought was that he felt lighter. Like the weight he'd be lugging around for ages was suddenly lifted. He shoved the pillow in his arms away and lay back on the bed, a huge smile on his face. He felt better than he'd felt in years. It wasn't a physical thing - more of a mental one. Like suddenly he could handle it all. Like he could look at it now from a distance; an informed observer. He still didn't know what to do, or how to approach Aaron about it, but he knew that when the time came he'd be able to do it rationally and realistically. Without ending up in jail for matricide - though no matter what she was going to get an ass-kicking.

He looked around for the reason he felt so much better but could see no sign of Kat. Well, not really; there were her pajamas (and his) thrown all over the room, and a very wrinkled indent in the bed, but no sign of the person.

Until the toilet flushed and he calmed.

'Poor kid,' he thought. 'Man, if I had a mom like that one I'd…' The absurdity of that thought suddenly hit him and he chuckled. He DID have a mother than screwed-up, just in a different way.

"Still," he said aloud. "Mine never went anywhere near as far as hers did."

God! What was it like to know your mother had murdered your father? And then herself? No wonder Kat'd been having nightmares. No wonder she zoned out sometimes. And no wonder Howie scared the shit out her… with his drinking and erratic behaviour…

"Shit!" he swore, sitting up suddenly. What an ass he'd been, making her stay here and help him… He shook his head, feeling guilty about putting her in this situation. Maybe he should go and apologize to her…

He was about to leap from the bed when he heard the shower starting. Ok, so maybe not right now he thought as he leaned back against the headboard.

'Well, whatever happens, at least we know what kind of baggage each other is hauling around. That makes us friends no matter what.' He grinned suddenly. 'What chance did Howie have against two people who'd been so frigging honest with each other? We can take on the world, baby!'

Chuckling at his thoughts he rubbed his eyes, trying to get the sleep out of his eyes. Yawning, he checked the alarm clock, glad that they had a day off. They hadn't gotten a hell of a lot of sleep last night…

'Oh man! What a night!' He smiled again and then smirked as his 'morning wood' sprang to attention. It had been erotic, hot, gentle, wild, sensual… hell, it had been a lot of things - all of them good.

He glanced to the shut bathroom door. Wonder if she'd mind having someone to scrub her back…

Wonder if she's gonna kick my ass for breaking my promise…

Shit! He had: a couple of times. What kind of jerk was he to take advantage of a woman when she was that upset? Okay, so both of them had been upset, but still… He better apologize…

He rose from the bed, steeling himself as he approached the door. He raised his hand to knock on the door, then heard a sound from inside. Crying.

As if he needed to feel any guiltier. Fuck! He'd made her cry. Swearing at himself, he pulled on some sweats and a t-shirt and then grabbed some clothes so he could get dressed in the showers at the gym. Glancing at the closed bathroom door he whispered, "sorry," then headed out.

Chapter 61