"Sexy bitch," Katie remarked under her breath as she, A.J., Linz, and Kevin walked into the club.
"Yes?" A.J. said.
Katie laughed and grabbed his and Kevin's wrists. "Come on, guys, let's dance!" She pulled them out to the center of the dance floor with Linz close behind her. A.J. and Katie immediately started to dance with their arms around each other.
"G-d, that's sickening," Linz commented to Kevin as Katie ran her hands down A.J.'s chest.
"Hey, she's not your little sister," Kevin replied, grinning. "But maybe she will be someday."
Linz looked at Kevin with wide eyes, and he laughed. "You...you honestly think so, Kevin?"
He shrugged. "Maybe. If you want her to be."
Linz felt her stomach turn as the fast song ended and a slower song came on. Before she could object, Kevin pulled her close and held her as they started to dance. She looked over at A.J. and saw that Katie was already pressed up against him, one arm around his neck and the other hand tracing up and down his chest. A.J. had both arms around her waist and was resting his chin on top of her head. Linz sighed and turned back to face her boyfriend.
"I'll be right back, Kevin," she whispered, pulling out of his arms and heading towards the bathroom. Kevin sighed and watched her walk away before going to sit down at the bar.
"Is it me, or is Linz acting weird?" Katie whispered to A.J., seeing this scene between her brother and his girlfriend.
"No, it's not you," A.J. replied.
"I should probably go talk to Kevin. He hasn't quite been himself lately either," Katie pointed out.
A.J. kissed her forehead and let go of her. "All right. Back in a few."
Katie nodded as A.J. walked away towards the back of the club. She went over to the bar and sat next to her brother. "Hey, Kev," she said with concern.
"I don't want to talk about it," Kevin mumbled as the bartender handed him a drink.
Katie sighed. "All right...but if it matters at all to you, I'm sorry that I blew you off before."
Kevin finally turned towards her. "What?"
"I know that I've been spending more time with A.J. since you guys have gotten home, and I'm sorry if I've been ignoring you," she apologized.
Kevin smiled weakly. "That's okay, sweets. I understand."
Katie returned the smile and reached for Kevin's hand. "Thank you, Kevy. And if you do want to talk, I'm ready to listen," she said as she squeezed his hand.
He squeezed back. "All right."
Katie hugged and kissed him. "I'm going to find A.J."
He nodded. "Later."
"Bye," Katie replied. She got up and headed in the direction where she had seen A.J. walking. She frowned when she saw where she was going. She wasn't anywhere near the restroom. Katie found herself walking out the back door, which led into the dark alley.
At first, Katie thought that it was empty and she had gone the wrong way. But then a fairly tall and thin figure standing about ten yard away form her caught her eye, and the odor of smoke met her nose. She could see that the figure was holding a cigarette wearing black, as A.J. was. Please don't let it be him, she begged silently. Please don't let it be A.J. Her heart stopped as the man sensed her presence and turned to face her. She gasped when she saw the familiar brown eyes focus on her.
The eyes widened with surprise and far at being caught, and the fingers trembled and almost dropped the cigarette. "Katie," A.J. whispered.
"Alex?" Her voice was filled with pain and disbelief.
He quickly put out the cigarette and hurried over to her. "Katie..." He trailed off as she back away from him.
"You're..." she whispered, holding back tears. "You're still smoking, A.J.?"
A.J.'s mouth opened, but he couldn't speak.
"You lied to me?" she asked, her voice escalating a notch.
"I am so sorry, Katie," he said softly. "I didn't mean to hurt you or lie to you, but I couldn't help myself. I'm so sorry, baby," he repeated in a whisper.
"I can't believe you, A.J.," she murmured. "You know how I feel about..." She didn't get to finish the sentence because tears started to roll down her cheeks.
"Katie, please don't cry," A.J. begged. "It's not like that."
"How the hell is it not like that?" she demanded. "You're smoking, A.J.! End of story!" She turned on her heel and started to walk away, but A.J. stopped her with his words.
"I want to quit."
Katie turned back around and frowned at him. "Are you lying?"
He shook his head. "I swear. I really did quit before, when I told you that I did, but the last tour was too much stress, and I started again." A.J. quickly walked forward and took both of her hands in his own. "I can't do this by myself. I'm not strong like you. I need your help. Please, baby," he pleaded, choking back a sob. "Please give me another chance."
Katie looked into A.J.'s eyes, her lip trembling violently. She saw the despair and helplessness in them and broke down. A.J. let go of her hands and pulled her up against him so that she could cry into his chest. He stroked her hair and held her tightly. "Shh, it's okay, baby...we can do it. It'll be okay."
"I just don't want to lose you, Alex. I love you...so m-much," she whispered through her ragged sobs.
"I love you too, Katie...more than the world," A.J. replied, kissing the top of her head. Katie sighed shakily and closed her and turned her head so that her cheek was pressed up against his chest as he started to sing, what he always did whenever he felt strongly.
"If I could right the wrongs that made you cry
There was a promise not to say good-bye
So I'm holdin' on with a love that's so strong
And I can't take a day without you by my side
"Girl if I could change, if I could change your mind
Maybe you could help me wipe these tears from my eyes
"Girl, don't stop the sun from shining down on me
'Cause I can't take another day without your smile
And if you take away the loving arms that surround me
Then I might break down and cry just like a child..."
A.J. trailed off and tightened his arms around her as a tear rolled down his cheek.
Katie slowly opened her eyes and lifted her head when she saw her brother watching this scene. "A.J., I have to go talk to Kevin," she whispered.
He nodded and kissed her. "Hurry back, honey."
Katie smiled. "Okay." She hugged him again and then walked towards her brother. He saw her coming and started to turn away, but she called his name, and he stopped. "Kevin, what's wrong?" Katie asked when she caught up to him, touching his cheek.
"Nothing...it's just still a little hard for me to see you and A.J. together," Kevin half-lied.
Katie sighed sharply. "Kevin, A.J. and I love each other, and it really hurts me when you don't respect our relationship."
"No, no, I respect it," Kevin said quickly. "It's just hard for me to see my baby sister with any man. I really am glad that the two of you have found such a great connection, though."
Katie cleared her throat. "Yeah, well, it turns out that A.J.'s smoking," she mumbled.
Kevin nodded. "I know."
"You know already?" Katie asked in surprise. "Kev, why didn't you tell me?"
"He made me promise not to bring it up or say anything about it," Kevin explained. "But I wasn't going to lie to you," he added quickly.
"That sounds like Bone," Katie remarked dryly. She looked back to her brother and saw that there was still pain in his eyes. "So if that's not what's wrong, then what is?"
"It's Linz," Kevin whispered.
"What about Linz?" Katie asked softly, putting a comforting hand on his shoulder.
"She's pushing me away," Kevin blurted out, wiping away a tear. "I don't know why. But one minute she'll be acting all strange and distant, and the next she'll be like normal, holding and kissing me...I don't know what's gotten into her! I've tried to approach her about it, but...she won't talk to me."
Katie wrapped her arms around his neck. "Kevy..." she whispered as he returned the hug and cried onto her shoulder. "It'll be okay."
"How will it be okay?"
Katie bit her lip. "Well, do you think she could be pregnant?"
Kevin lifted his head. "Now there's a possibility, Kevin replied.
"Wait, but the two of you use protection, right?"
"Of course, but still, that's not one hundred percent effective," he pointed out. "But that would mean that she was one month pregnant at least."
Katie shrugged. "Try to talk to her, Kevin. You're good at getting people to open up to you...or at least you are with me."
He smiled. "She did say that she had something to tell me," he recalled.
"Well, what are you waiting for? Go ask her!" Katie ordered with a grin, letting go of him and pointing towards the club.
Kevin quickly kissed her cheek. "Thanks so much, sweets!"
"Why? I didn't do anything."
"Yes you did!" Kevin called over his shoulder as he hurried towards the door.
Katie chuckled and went back over to where A.J. had been standing. He was now gone. Katie sighed and went back into the club. She had not gone two steps when someone wrapped his arms around her waist from behind and pulled her up against his chest. She laughed. "You always do that."
"Sneak up on me from behind like that."
A.J. looked up from kissing her neck. "Is this a problem?"
She turned around to face him. "Not at all," she replied, kissing his lips. She made a face and pulled away from the kiss.
"What?" A.J. asked with concern.
"You taste bad," Katie remarked, making a face.
He sighed. "I'm sorry." She nodded and looked away. He sighed again and
pulled her close to him to dance slowly even though the song was fast. Katie held tightly
to his neck, wishing that she could never let go.
Through Thick And Through Thin Home