Quit Playing Games

Chapter 69

She really hoped that was what had caused those weird dreams. They had been unsettling: not scary but disconcerting. Like you were in a large department store and, while you knew where you were and how to get out, nothing else seemed to be where it should be. "Lost, but not lost," she muttered irritably as she climbed out of bed.

Rubbing her eyes she wandered into the bathroom and turned on the shower. The warm wetness cleared the rest of the cobwebs out of her head and she was almost alert by the time she'd pulled on her jeans and a t-shirt and gone in search of the others.

It was a short search. In their shared club room all five of the Boys were lazing around. Howie was on the phone as always - he gave her a little wave as she entered. AJ was reading a copy of Rolling Stone as he absently munched on some hors d'oeuvres. She doubted he had even noticed that he was eating sushi. If there was one thing AJ did not like to eat it was raw fish, so the fact that he'd just shoved a piece of maki in his mouth and wasn't gagging illustrated how deeply he was entranced by the article he was reading. Kevin was leaning back in his chair, long legs stretched out in front of him, dozing. A sheaf of papers - tour schedules by the look of them - hung loosely in his left hand. Smiling, she retrieved them and placed them on the table beside him. He opened his eyes sleepily, smiled, and went back to his snoozing. And, of course, Brian and Nick were curled up on the sofa playing some video game on the television.

Your typical lazy day in the life of international pop celebrities.

She went over to the table and poured herself a glass of water before grabbing a sandwich and one of the little cakes on the table before flopping down on the other sofa, next to AJ. He glanced up at her and she asked if he was reading a good article. He nodded and went back to reading, eating another piece of sushi. He was a lost cause, she decided.

"Who's winning?" she called to the Frick and Frack duo.

Nick glanced around and grinned. "You're awake! I thought you'd be out all day."

The fact that he was alert and happy despite the accident and their activities the night before had a calming effect on her. "When you get back?" she asked.

He turned, his body twisting as he manouevred his player on the television screen. "A few hours ago. You were dead to the world so I thought I'd teach Brian how the game is played."

"Shut up, dumbass," Brian muttered as he concentrated on working his way out of the maze.

"I guess we know who's winning," Howie said as he clicked his cell phone shut. "So AJ, is that sushi good?" he asked, flashing a wink at Jeanne.

"What?" AJ responded inattentively before looking at his hand that had been about to pop another piece in his mouth. He dropped the raw fish with an explosive "fuck!" which cause the others to laugh. Even Kevin gave a short snort, indicating that while his eyes were shut he was not totally absent.

"Shit!" AJ was using his napkin to wipe his tongue. "Why didn't anyone tell me?" he whined. "How much did I eat?"

"Two pieces since I got here," Jeanne replied with a grin.

"And you didn't tell me? That is so wrong."

"Want some of my sandwich?" He grabbed her ham and cheese sandwich and took a big bite before grimacing.

"Now that tastes of raw fish too. Fuck, fuck, fuck! Now I gotta go brush my teeth. Why didn't someone tell? Fuck!" He slipped off the chair and stomped into his room as the others chuckled.

Jeanne took another bite of her sandwich. "Tastes fine to me," she said with a shrug and a giggle. "So what is the plan for today, Kev?"

He shook himself as he leaned over and picked up the schedule again, glancing at it quickly. "The plan is for those two monkeys to play mind-numbing games while we look on in despair. That's about it." He shut his eyes and assumed his 'don't bug me I'm sleeping' position.

"Not a monkey," Nick rebutted as he concentrated on his game. Brian, sensing momentary distraction, leaned over and hopped on his back. "Get off me, you big ape!" Nick swore as Brian's actions caused him to lose one of his lives. Brian gave a hoot of triumph.

"I rest my case," Kevin drawled without moving.

"Nothing tonight?" Jeanne asked.

Kevin sighed. "Can you read?"


He tilted his head toward the table, still not opening his eyes. "Schedule's there. Read it yourself."

"Isn't he charming?" Howie chuckled as he grabbed AJ's magazine. "I think it's just lazy day in today. Was gonna go shopping but not interested in getting rained on."

"I'm shocked," AJ said as he walked back into the room. "Howie unwilling to use his credit card 'cause he might get his hair wet. Alert the media!"

Howie shot him the finger as he flipped through pages.

AJ grabbed a sandwich from the table, biting in quickly. "Yes!" he sighed happily. "Now that is what I call a snack. A little mint-y right now but not all gross and fishy." He picked up another, and some chips, before returning to his spot next to Jeanne. "Hey! I was reading that."

"You move, you lose," Howie replied.

"Don't you have phone calls to make?"

"Fuck you."

"You wish."

"Okay, I was wrong. The monkeys are over there," Kevin waved his hand negligently at Howie and AJ. The two men glanced at each other, and then snuck up and poured a bottle of water over the now sputtering Kevin.

"Better come over here where it's safe, baby," Nick laughed, patting the sofa beside him.

"Good idea," Kat agreed. Besides there was nothing better than being snuggled up next to Nick. Afraid to hurt him she settled in behind him. "How you doing?"

"Good. Nothing bad. Just need to rest."

"You can rest when I finish beating your ass," Brian chuckled as he increased his point spread. Nick was starting to get annoyed.

She gave him a little hug - nothing too much so as to distract him - and turned to Brian. "Hey, B. Was gonna tell you. I was watching a basketball game the other day. It was actually kind of fun."

"Duh," Nick said absently.

"Really? Who was playing?" Brian replied, then laughed as he scored another thousand points. Nick muttered angrily.

"I think it was a high school team. Called the Kentucky Pussycats or something."

"Wildcats!" Brian yelled.

"Really?" she said incredulously. "I thought it was Pussycats. I mean, they chased the ball around like it was a ball of wool. And whenever they got into a sunspot they'd just curl around, tummies up and lay there. They were such a joke," she sneered.

Brian was sputtering angrily, looking at her. But more importantly he wasn't playing the game.

Nick hadn't been fooled and kept playing, wracking up huge points. After a few moments he started to chuckle, and Brian looked back at him. And realized he'd been had. He swore loudly, causing the others to laugh, and grabbed the controller trying hard to catch up.

"Dammit, Jeanne. What did you do that for? Look at this! I'll never catch him now."

"Ha! That'll teach you to tease my Jeanne," Nick laughed.

Brian looked at her with his big puppy-dog eyes, bottom lip protruding, pouting slightly. "Plllllleeeeeaaaassseee?" he asked.

"Play the game, B-rok," Nick said.

"Come on, Nick. My hero," Jeanne smiled. She leaned forward, resting her head against Nick's broad back, listening to the beating of his heart. She closed her eyes, a feeling of amazing calm washing over her. This was what she'd needed. What had caused her to feel so out of sorts when she'd woken up. Not the annoyance of her thrown-off sleeping patterns; the unconscious knowledge that Nick wasn't there in the bed with her.

Suddenly it all became clear to her. All of it. Why she'd felt lost, and why she felt found now. Leaning forward, she placed her mouth just to the side of Nick's ear.

"By the way, I wanted to tell you something about last night," she whispered.

"Hmm?" he replied, still concentrating on the game.

"When you cum, you make this growl noise in the back of your throat. Very low, and deep. Your ears are all ready blushed, but the tips go bright red. There is a line of sweat that appears across your forehead. Same place everytime. You clench your eyes shut and then you open them, and I feel like I am drowning in a deep blue sea. Your hands move in the convulsive motion, moving in time with your body. And inside me, you get thicker, fuller, filling me so tightly around that it feels like you are a part of me. And you get longer, much deeper inside, you are buried in me so far that I think I can feel you touch my heart."

Brian noticed that something was up when Nick groaned, dropped his controller and pulled Jeanne around so that she was facing him. Somehow the air just seemed to thicken with atmosphere. He paused the game andturned to look at the two.

"Really?" Nick whispered huskily.

She nodded, unable to say anything, her mouth was so dry.

"I touch your heart?" Nick's voice was soft and low, but he had the attention of everyone in the room. Even Kevin had opened his eyes to thin slits of green.

She nodded again, then leaned in, whispering softly, "I love you, Nick."

"Oh baby, I love you too," he said pulling her forward, kissing her deeply.

The others released a breath that none of them had realized they were holding. Brian's eyes went wide as he watched the two lovers kiss. Nick had actually told someone he loved them? Loved them that way? Holy shit! That was something he never thought he'd see - or hear - again. Not after the Tina fiasco. He glanced over at his cousin as if to confirm what he'd just heard. Kevin nodded slightly, a sad grin on his face. Then his face cleared and he grinned widely. He'd been a putz, he told himself, and Nick was reaping the benefits. And he, Kevin, wouldn't change that for the world. Anyone who could make Nick "feel" again was good thing.

"Damn," AJ muttered, glancing at Howie. "Is it getting hot in here?"

Howie snorted and hit him with the magazine he'd been rolling tightly in his hand ever since Nick had moved.

Nick and Jeanne broke apart slowly, not noticing the startled stares of the other four men. He lifted up her hand, kissing the back on her hand. He slowly mouthed her name - her real name - as he kissed it again. He was making it clear: there were others there but it was her - Kat - that he loved. There was no one else.

Tears filled her eyes, and she wiped them away absently. "I love you, Nick," she whispered again, making sure he knew that she'd understood and that his feelings were reciprocated. Another smile, brighter than the sun, and they were kissing again.

Brian cleared his throat nervously and started to move out of the chair, but her hand on his shoulder stopped him. She broke off the kiss, smiled at Brian, then picked up the controller and handed it back to Nick. "Win for me, baby."

"As you wish."

Chapter 70