Katie frowned to herself as she cut up a piece of chicken at Linz's house fifteen minutes later. She was sitting next to Howie and across from...A.J. She concentrated harder on her food, feeling his eyes on her again. Why the hell does that bother me so much? she wondered silently. Could I be...no. I'm not falling in love with A.J. McLean! She quickly turned her thoughts to the previous nights instead, and finally smiled. She breathed a little faster, thinking about what would happen after dinner tonight...probably not for another hour at least. She stifled a groan, looking at A.J. while he looked down at his plate. He suddenly looked up and tried to make eye contact, but she looked away quickly, dropping her fork in the process.
As she bent down and reached under the tablecloth to pick it up, she saw that his feet were just inches away from her own. She smiled slyly. Maybe she could have some fun right now after all. She sat back up and slowly moved her foot forward so that it was just barely touching his. He didn't react. She pushed her foot forward a little further, so her intentions were clear. He raised his eyebrows and looked at her, but she looked away innocently as she started to slide her foot up his ankle. His knuckles turned white from gripping his fork as she got up to his knee. Her foot was almost all the way up his thigh when he suddenly pushed back his chair and stood up.
"I'll be right back," he murmured, hurrying away down the hall and indicating with his eyes that she should follow.
Katie calmly took a final sip of her drink before she stood up. "Does anyone else want a refill while I'm up?" she asked.
"Want me to get that for you, Katie?" Linz asked.
She shook her head. "No, that's okay."
"You can take mine," Howie said, handing her his empty glass.
Katie took it and went down the hall and into the kitchen to immediately be greeted by a kiss from A.J. She smiled and set the glasses down before wrapping her arms around his neck. He kept kissing her and pulled her close to him. "A.J., what the hell is our problem? Why are we so damn horny all of a sudden?" she whispered as he kissed her cheek and neck.
"I don't know, but we have to get out of here!" he replied.
"No, it'll look suspicious," Katie argued.
"Just say that you don't feel well, and I'll take it from there," A.J. mumbled into her ear. She nodded. He kissed her again and then started to go, but she pulled him back by the collar of his shirt. "Mm...no, I have to go, baby," A.J. insisted, breaking away and leaving the room.
Katie just stood there for a second. Baby? Did he just call me baby? she thought. She shook her head quickly. No, I'm just being stupid, she told herself as she filled Howie's glass. So he called me baby. So what? I'm just being paranoid because Brett used to call me that... "No, no, no! Forget about Brett!" she hissed to herself. She finished filling her own drink and took the two glasses back into the dining room, careful to plaster a queasy expression on her face.
Kevin immediately noticed the sign of discomfort on his little sister's part. "Sweets, are you okay?" he asked.
"I feel kinda sick," she admitted in a low voice. "Would it be okay if I left early, Linz?"
"Of course," Linz replied, smiling warmly at her boyfriend's little sister who had quickly become almost like her own little sister as well.
"Want me to take you back to the hotel?" Kevin asked.
"No, Kev, you should stay here with Linz," Katie pointed out. "I'll just go alone."
"Someone should go with you," Kevin said in his worried big brother voice.
"I'll take her," A.J. offered. Katie concealed a smile.
"Would you, A.J.?" Kevin asked his friend gratefully.
"Sure. That okay, Katie?"
"Fine with me." Katie got up and hugged each of the guys and Linz.
She hugged Kevin last. He kissed her forehead. "Feel better, sweets," he ordered with a warm smile.
Katie smiled back weakly, hating herself once again for lying to the person who did so much for her every day of her life. "I will," she replied, turning away so that he couldn't see the guilt in the green eyes that matched his own almost perfectly.
A.J. put a comforting arm around Katie's shoulders as he led her towards the door. "Bye, guys. Bye, Linz. Thanks for dinner."
"Anytime. Bye, A.J.," Linz returned.
A.J. waved as he and Katie went outside and hailed a taxi. As soon as the car started to drive away, A.J. slid an arm around her waist. She shook her head, pushed him, and pointed to the driver. A.J. understood and nodded.
As soon as they were alone on their floor of the hotel, A.J. pulled Katie close to him again and kissed her. "My key," she mumbled into his lips as he pushed her up against the wall outside her room.
"Where is it?"
She smiled evilly. "My back pocket."
He returned the devilish grin and slid both of his hands into the back pockets of her pants, frowning when he found nothing.
"Fooled ya," she said with a grin, taking it out of her purse and opening the door.
"Oh you're going to get it for that," A.J. muttered.
He wrapped his arms around her waist from behind, picked
her up, and carried her into the room, closing the door