Through Thick And Through Thin

Chapter Twelve

"Mm...honey, no. I'm tired," Katie protested as A.J. lay on top of her and kissed her neck.

He sighed and rolled off of her. "Sorry."

She looked away and nodded.

"Katie..." He touched her chin and turned her face back towards him. "I told you how sorry I am about the whole smoking thing."

Katie sighed and blinked away tears. "Alex, the fact that you're sorry is very nice,'re smoking!" she pointed out.

A.J. wrapped his arms around her tightly and kissed her forehead. "Honey...we're going to get through this. I'm going to quit for good this time, since you're helping me." He started to stroke her hair gently. That always calmed her down. "I love you, Katie, and I know how much you need me to quit."

"I love you too," she whispered, walking her fingers lightly down his chest. "But like I said, I don't want to lose you now..." She realized what she had said and smiled.

A.J. grinned and tightened his arms around her as she pressed her cheek against his chest. He took a deep breath and started to sing.

"I never thought that I would lose my mind That I could control this Never thought that I'd be left behind That I was stronger than you, baby Girl, if only I knew what I've done You know so why don't you tell me? And I, I would give up the moon and the sun To show how much I care..."

As he kept singing, he heard her let out a sigh and then start to breathe more evenly.

"Don't wanna lose you now Baby, I know we can win this Don't wanna lose you now No, no, or ever again I've got this feeling you're not gonna stay It's burning within me The fear of losing, of slipping away It just keeps getting closer..."

He drifted off and looked down at her. She seemed to be asleep. "Katie?" he whispered. "Katie?" No answer. He sighed and carefully eased her body away from his own. She mumbled and shifted a little but, to his relief, did not wake up. He swallowed; he had been suppressing this craving for what seemed like forever. A.J. softly kissed her lips before slipping out of bed and to the bathroom for a smoke.

* * *

"Here's to you, Linz," Kevin muttered bitterly as he grimaced and downed the glass of something alcoholic, he didn't remember or care what as long as it was alcohol. He couldn't believe that this was happening. His girlfriend, his beautiful girlfriend whom he had loved and trusted more than anything, had betrayed him for a stranger. A.J., one of Kevin's best friends, was purposely ruining his life. Kevin's little sister, who hadn't done anything wrong, was stuck taking care of that problem. Everything that had been so perfect just a few days ago was falling apart. He buried his head in one of his arms and let his tears fall.

"Hey, you all right?" a female voice asked from behind him.

"Does it look like I'm all right?" he returned, his voice choked with emotion.

"No, it looks like you're smashed," the woman returned, taking the stool next to him.

"No, I'm not drunk," he replied, sitting up and gazing sadly down at the counter.

"If you're not drunk then what's wrong? Because you look depressed," she told him. She was young and rather petite, with light brown hair and brown eyes. If Kevin hadn't been so devastated over Linz, he might have noticed how attractive she was.

He turned his slightly red eyes up towards her. "A lot of things," he replied dully.

"Hey, I know!" she realized. "You're that Backstreet Boy! Kevin, or Keith..."

"Kevin Richardson," he finished for her, motioning for the bartender to give him another drink.

"I'm Sara Billingsley," she introduced, extending her hand for him to shake.

He stared blankly at it for a second before shaking it limply. "Nice to meet you."

"Likewise," Sara agreed, an amused smile crossing her lips.

"What?" he asked bluntly.

"It's just kind of strange that a world-famous guy with millions of fans who love him to death could look so depressed," she explained.

Kevin smirked. "What, you think my life is perfect or something?"

"No...I don't know what I think," Sara said with a shrug. She smiled inwardly. This Kevin guy was damn sexy, and the fact he was sad would make him even easier to win over. "So what is it that's making you like this? Woman problems?"

Kevin swallowed. "You could say that."

"What happened? You break up with your girlfriend?"

Kevin suddenly felt uneasy. "You know what? I have to get going," he said, standing up and reaching for his wallet.

"Let me," she suggested, stopping him.

"Come on, please? I want to be able to tell everyone that I bought Kevin Richardson a drink," she pleaded with a little pout.

He sighed. "What if you could tell them that Kevin Richardson bought YOU a drink?" he returned.

She smiled coyly. Things were going exactly as planned. "That would work."

'Why the hell do I always have to be so fuckin' nice to everyone?' Kevin asked himself as he sat back down next to her. "So, what'll it be?"


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