"I was right, she was crying," Kevin said as he sat back down next to Linz.
"She said that she didn't want to talk about it, and I didn't push her."
Linz sighed and moved closer to Kevin. "The poor thing," she commented.
Kevin nodded and wrapped her arm around her. The two of them were silent for a moment as they watched the people around them dancing and having a great time. Then Kevin suddenly sat up straight.
"What?" Linz wanted to know.
Kevin pointed ahead of him and didn't say a word.
Linz looked where he was pointing and gasped. About a hundred yards away from her was A.J. McLean as she had never seen him before. He was hanging his head as he trudged slowly forward, and his hands rested carelessly in his pockets. As they watched, he turned his downcast eyes up to the ceiling, and Linz and Kevin could see that they were red and puffy from crying. Linz waited until he was out the front door before turning back to Kevin and slapping him upside the head.
"What?" he asked indignantly.
"That was A.J., Kevin. A.J. McLean."
"No shit, sherlock."
Linz stifled a laugh. "No, that's not what I meant. Kev, have you ever seen Alexander James McLean looking like that? Or leaving anyplace this early for that matter?"
Kevin frowned. "Well, no, but...so?"
"I think we were wrong, Kev."
"About A.J.'s feelings towards Katie. I think they might be—"
"Real? No, he's just being dramatic as usual."
"He was crying, Kev."
Kevin shook his head firmly. "He'll be over her by tomorrow, just watch."
"Are you always this stubborn?" Linz asked in frustration.
"Pretty much. You should hear me and Katie when we fight. It's awful."
"But Kev, it wasn't just that he was crying. Couldn't you see all of the pain in his eyes? I think he loves her," Linz said softly.
"Look, Linz, you don't know Bone like I do."
"But love always pops up in the most unexpected places. I learned that from you," Linz argued.
"What do you mean?"
Linz laughed. "Do I honestly seem like the type to be dating a boy band—I mean, a Backstreet Boy?" Linz corrected herself quickly, knowing how much Kevin hated it when people called the BSB a boy band.
Kevin thought about that for a second. "No..."
"I thought that you guys were all much too wholesome for my taste. Well, you and Brian at least. I thought that the others were just gay."
Kevin burst out laughing.
"Sorry, the idea of A.J. being gay is just really funny. He's the biggest flirt on this earth."
Linz cracked a weak smile.
"And that's how I know that he can't be serious about my little sister," Kevin concluded.
"I think you're wrong. I think that he's changed."
"Katie said that they'd been seeing each other on and off for three weeks. Even A.J. McLean can't change in just three weeks."
"But they've known each other for almost seven years. And they've been close for almost that whole time. Look how much she's changed you in that amount of time, Kevin. Can you imagine what you would be like now if she hadn't been in your life for the past seven years—or should I say nine?"
Kevin stopped to think about this for a moment. He finally turned his eyes back to Linz. "Well...I guess there's a chance," he admitted grudgingly. "But let's wait a couple of days and see how he's doing. I want to be sure of it before I get Katie's hopes up."
Linz grinned and kissed his cheek. "Good."
He smiled and kissed her back as the band started to play a slow song. "Let's dance!" he suggested, taking her hands and pulling her over to the dance floor. Kevin kissed her again before he brought her body close to his, and she rested her head on his shoulder as they moved to the music.
On the other side of the room, Katie smiled as she watched her brother and his girlfriend. She was so glad that Kevin had finally found happiness after all those years of pain that she almost forgot about her own problems for a moment. But then she remembered a few years ago, when A.J. was jokingly singing the same song that the band was playing right now, and her face fell again. She groaned and sat down at the bar.
"Hey, there," a voice said from behind her.
Katie turned on her bar stool and saw Will. "Hey, Will. Sorry I blew you off before. I had something I had to take care of."
"That's okay. Wasn't that A.J. McLean you were talking to?"
Katie smiled sourly. "Yeah. And my brother is over there."
Katie nodded as he looked where she pointed and saw Kevin dancing with Linz.
"Do you want to follow their lead?" Will asked in a low voice.
Katie smiled and didn't see any harm in obliging.