Katie sighed in relief when she saw that Howie's car was already parked in front of Kevin's house, and she pulled up beside it and leapt out. She started to run into the house and jumped when a pair of hands grabbed her from behind.
"Whoa, it's just us!" Howie said.
Us? Katie turned and jumped again when she saw A.J. next to Howie. She took a deep breath and quickly collected her scattered wits. "Let's go inside," she mumbled, grabbing each of them by the wrist and hurrying towards the house.
"Maybe we should split up," A.J. suggested once they were inside, looking nervously at Katie.
"Okay, I'll go this way, and you and Katie go that way," Howie replied.
Katie looked suspiciously at her ex-boyfriend but saw that he looked just as surprised as she felt, and she realized that Howie had probably never been informed about what happened between her and A.J. She sighed. "Okay, let's go," she agreed, walking ahead and motioning for A.J. to follow her.
The two of them started to scour their area of the first floor, calling out Kevin's name.
"Wait!" Katie said suddenly.
"When I was on the phone with him, he was in the den watching TV..." Katie trailed off and she and A.J. looked at each other and then at the door to the den before taking off towards it.
They burst through the door, and Katie gasped when she saw Kevin sprawled out on the floor. She and A.J. rushed over and knelt down beside him.
"We have to stop the bleeding!" A.J. exclaimed, seeing the pool of blood on the rug under Kevin's leg.
Katie searched the room with her eyes and saw the blanket draped over the sofa. She grabbed it and handed it to A.J., who wrapped it tightly around Kevin's leg and tied it in a knot.
"D, we found him!" Katie shouted in Howie's direction.
He ran into the room. "I found Linz. She got shot too. Near her collar bone."
"Great, but there's still someone missing," Katie pointed out.
"Who?" A.J. wondered.
"Shit, we have to get out of here," A.J. realized. "Katie, help me with Kev."
"I'll go get Linz," Howie decided, running out of the room.
"Okay..." A.J. said. "You get his legs, and I'll try to get this end," A.J. instructed, standing by Kevin's head.
Katie did as she was told as A.J. slid his hands under her brother's arms and the two of them started to walk slowly towards the door, careful not to let the unconscious Kevin bump into anything. When they got out into the main hall of the house, they saw Howie hurry past them, carrying Linz in his arms. She was moaning Kevin's name and seemed to be slipping in and out of consciousness. Katie, A.J., and Kevin were halfway to the door when the sound of a gun being cocked stopped them dead in their tracks.
"Don't move," a cold and all too familiar voice commanded from behind them. Katie and A.J. turned their heads simultaneously and saw Brett aiming his pistol at them. "Katie! It's so good to see you again, dear."
Katie dropped Kevin's legs, and they hit the floor with a dull thud.
"A little nervous, are we?" Brett assumed.
"I'm not scared of you, Brett," Katie declared in a low voice so sincere that A.J. gaped at her in surprise.
"We'll see." Brett started to move forward, and Katie stood protectively in front of her brother and ex- boyfriend. "Get your brother and his friend out of here," Brett commanded. "I want to be alone with you."
Katie turned to A.J. "Get out of here, A.J.," she said softly.
"Bullshit, I'm not leaving you here with that psycho," A.J. protested under his breath.
"You don't know him like I do. Leave," Katie ordered.
"Look, Alex, I know his weak spot. Trust me," she pleaded, turning her eyes towards his.
He searched her green eyes for a moment and then sighed. "All right."
"If you call the cops, I fucking kill her!" Brett said, waving cheerfully as A.J. stepped out the door, pulling Kevin's lifeless form with him.
A.J. looked back to Katie, and she just nodded confidently, even though seeing him walk away like that felt like a knife to her heart. She saw the sadness in his dark eyes and started to wonder whether or not Kevin and Linz were right.
Katie forced herself to turn back to Brett. His eyes were the same shade of brown as A.J.'s, but they lacked the warmth and caring. They were full of hard cruelty. Katie froze as Brett walked forward and put his hand under her chin.
"Damn, Katie, I forgot how fuckin' hot you are," Brett murmured. He leaned forward and kissed her cheek, feeling her tense up. He turned her face with his hand and brushed his lips up against hers. When he pulled away, she was frowning in what appeared to be confusion. "There now, that wasn't so bad, was it?"
A smile slowly spread across Katie's lips. "No, it wasn't," she admitted in surprise.
"It's only been a year, you know," Brett pointed out, taking her hands and wrapping them around him. "It's not too late to try and start over."
Tears were forming in Katie's eyes. "Oh, Brett, could we really?" she asked hopefully.
"Of course we can," Brett said, kissing her again.
"G-d, I've missed you," Katie said shakily. "I didn't want to leave you before, but Kevin made me, andó"
"I know," he interrupted. "It's okay, baby, I forgive you."
Katie tears started to flow more freely. Brett took her in his arms, and she broke down. "I really m-missed you," she mumbled as she heard the clunk of his gun falling to the floor.
"It's okay...it's okay..." Brett whispered in her ear. "You're back with me now, and that's all that matters."
Katie pulled away and forced herself to look into his eyes again. He took her face in his hands and kissed her. Then she smiled slowly. "Let's celebrate!" she suggested eagerly. She took his hand and pulled him into the kitchen. Katie jumped up on the counter and reached into the very top of one of the cabinets. She pulled out two glasses and a tall bottle of wine. Then she jumped back down and handed the glasses to Brett. She grabbed his hand and pulled him down the hall, up the stairs, and down that hall to the guest room. Brett grinned as Katie pulled him to the bed, and the two of them started to kiss. He tried to take off her shirt, but she stopped him. "Not yet," she whispered, taking the glasses from him and opening the bottle of wine with her bare hands.
"Wow," Brett commented.
Katie grinned and filled both of their glasses. She sipped at hers while Brett threw back his head and drank the whole thing in one gulp. Katie smiled and refilled his glass. He drank that one, and this time, Katie just gave him the bottle. He started to take big swallows from it. "Brett, cool it," she muttered as he kept drinking. He glared at her with wild eyes and paid her no mind. Soon the whole bottle was gone, and Brett looked despairingly up at Katie. "Want more?" He nodded eagerly, and she smiled slyly. "I know where Kevin's secret stash is." She started to get up, but he pulled her back, whimpering like a little child. "Hold on, Brett, this will be worth it."
Katie left the room and dashed down the hall to
Kevin's bedroom. She immediately grabbed the phone.
"Hello, Brian?...I need your help...Yeah, bring Nick...Okay,
this is what I need you to do." She quickly explained the
situation to her cousin. "Thanks so much, Ducky. And
hurry." She slammed down the receiver and jumped to see
Brett standing in the doorway. For a second she thought
that he would be mad, but there was no sign of anger on his
face, just a desire that scared her. Katie grinned weakly
and pulled a box out from under the bed, removing a bottle
from the box. Scotch. Brett hurried towards her, and she
handed the bottle to him. He fell back on Kevin's bed and
drank eagerly. Katie climbed up on the bed with him. She
felt him stop drinking and yawn sleepily. Katie,
remembering how she had done this a million times in what
almost seemed like another life, wrapped her arms around
him and held his body close to hers until he fell asleep.