"I wanna be there every day
Through thick and through thin,"
Katie sang as she struck the last chord, blinking back tears. She looked hopefully to A.J. and saw that he was sobbing. "Did you like it?" she asked hopefully.
A.J. walked over to her and pulled her his arms, kissing the top of her head as the tears streamed down his cheeks. "Baby, that was so beautiful," he whispered, holding her as tightly as he could. His heart felt like it was on fire because of the intense pain. He didn't deserve her. She didn't deserve him, for that matter. She deserved someone who could care for her and be true to her and treat her like the wonderful person she was. A.J. couldn't take the guilt any more and pulled away so that he could look into her eyes. He was surprised to see her crying as well. "Sweetie...what's wrong?" he asked, wiping her eyes.
"A.J., everything I said in that song...I meant it," she replied. The song was about how much she loved him and how she wanted to be with him forever.
A.J. choked back another sob. He couldn't keep lying to her. She had a right to know. "Baby, there's something that I have to tell you," he said shakily.
Katie smiled and looked up at him. "What is it?"
A.J. loosened his grip on her and took a deep breath, shutting his eyes. When he opened them again and saw the way that she was looking patiently up at him, just waiting for a reply. She really trusts me, A.J. realized. I can't do this to her. He swallowed hard. "I love you more than anything in the world," he said, cupping her face in his hands.
She smiled even wider and kissed him softly. "I love you just as much...but you know that."
A.J. pulled her close to him again. "Honey, you know that I would never do anything to hurt you, right?" he mumbled into her long brown hair.
"Mm-hmm?" she replied, yawning sleepily.
"Mm-hmm," she said again.
A.J. kissed her forehead before pulling away a little bit. "Me too. Let's go to sleep." Katie and wrapped her arms around his neck as he scooped her up in his arms and carried her upstairs, softly humming "Through Thick And Through Thin."
Kevin slowly woke up late the next morning as he reached over to pull Linz closer to him. He frowned and opened his eyes when he realized that she wasn't there. That's funny... Kevin thought as he got lazily to his feet and pulled on his bathrobe. Oh well, Linz was probably just downstairs making breakfast or something; the two of them did that for each other a lot. He was kind of disappointed though. He had missed the feeling of waking up with his arms around her.
When Kevin went down to the kitchen, he was surprised to find it empty. He got a box of cereal, a bowl, and some milk and brought them over to the kitchen table, where a note in Linz's handwriting caught his eye.
I'm sooo sorry, but I have more stuff to do today. I'll probably be back by late afternoon. Sorry again, Pumpkin.
Kevin frowned. Linz hadn't mentioned any plans last night. Actually, Linz hadn't mentioned much of anything last night. Yeah, 'cause I kept her busy, Kevin thought with a smirk. Or was there another reason? His girlfriend had seemed really out of sorts the previous day. She was usually so energetic and full of fun, but yesterday she had been much quieter. Kevin's gut was telling him that something was wrong, but he ignored it for the time being. I'm just being paranoid, like Katie always says, he told himself. Katie. Now there was something to worry about. Kevin had hardly ever seen two people as close--emotionally and physically--as A.J. and Katie were. Kevin had thought that A.J. had changed, but the smoking thing was something that the old A.J. would do. The A.J. that used innocent women for his own pleasure. To make things worse, Kevin saw the way that Katie looked at him and knew that she was truly in love with him. She had never looked at another man that way, none of her high school crushes or ex-boyfriends, or even that bastard Brett. Kevin just prayed that she would be careful. He hated to see anything bad happen to her, and he vowed once again that if A.J. was the cause of any more pain on her part, Kevin would make sure that he wouldn't be able to cause her pain any more. Kevin sighed and looked down at his box of Cheerios, realizing that he actually wasn't hungry. As he went to pour the contents of the bowl down the sink, his eyes fell upon Linz's planner, opened to that week. She had a few things written down on it: a lunch date with Katie, a doctor's appointment...but wait, nothing for today. Kevin's brow furrowed as he studied the planner. Linz is organized beyond belief. If she'd had something planned for today, it would be written in here, Kevin reminded himself. Then he shook his head quickly and closed the planner. What kind of a boyfriend am I, snooping around and looking at my girlfriend's private stuff? Yeah, real trustworthy, Kev. Besides, maybe something came up at the last minute and she didn't have time to write it down. Kevin considered this and brightened. Of course! That was why she didn't tell me about it last night! I'm an idiot, he told himself as he chuckled and went upstairs to get dressed.
Linz sighed glumly as she pushed the cart slowly down the cookie aisle of the
supermarket. She saw Kevin's favorite and, smiling dryly, grabbed a package. She
couldn't stand to be around him, but she couldn't stand to not be around him. She
couldn't look at that handsome face without feeling unbelievably guilty, but she hated to be
away from the feeling of his arms wrapped tightly around her. Linz groaned as she took
a few packages of chocolate chip cookies from the shelf. Cookies had been a comfort
food for her as long as she could remember. But instead of wanting to immediately
devour the packages like usual, she felt a very uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach
that was almost painful. G-d, what did I eat yesterday? she wondered silently, rubbing
her stomach. She sighed. Who was she kidding? It wasn't food that was causing her
pain. She knew what it was, and she knew what she could do to make it go away. Linz
bit her lip, weighing the two choices against each other. She imagined the pain that would
surely be in Kevin's eyes if she went the hard route and shook her head quickly. It's
worth the stomachache, she decided as she pushed the cart around a corner.
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