Katie felt tears sting her eyes as she watched her boyfriend sleeping peacefully. G-d, she loved him. It hurt her so much to see him abusing himself like this.
She knew that he had been smoking last night. He had left the used ashtray out in plain sight, whether on purpose or not she didn't know. What she did know was that his smoking had to stop as soon as possible. A.J. was too amazing of a person and too well-loved to... Just thinking about that possibility made her cry harder.
A.J. started to stir in his sleep, and she quickly left the room. He couldn't see her like this, not now. She had to be the strong one. He would be depending on that for the next month or so. Thank G-d they had a two month break, or there wouldn't be a chance in hell of him quitting. Not that there was that much of a chance now. Katie knew how easily A.J. got addicted to things. In fact, he made jokes all the time about being addicted to her. Katie sighed heavily but was unable to hold back a smile as A.J. wrapped his arms around her waist from behind and rested his head on her shoulder.
"Hey," she said softly, placing her hand on his cheek.
"Whatcha doin'?" he asked.
She shook her head. "Just thinking."
"You." She turned around and kissed him, getting her relaxed before asking him her question. "You were smoking last night, weren't you, baby?"
A.J. looked up. "Huh?"
"You heard me. And I recommend that you tell the truth," she advised meaningfully.
He groaned. "Yes, I had one last night after you fell asleep," he confessed.
"Well, it's not like I could help it!" he protested.
"Yes, it is like you could help it!" Katie replied. "See, this is the problem. You think that the cigarettes and your body's wanting them control what you do, and that's what we need to fix."
"Hm, I never thought of it that way," A.J. said pensively. "But you know me, Katie. When I want something, I've gotta have it. Like when I want you..." He started to kiss her neck.
"A.J., stay on topic," Katie reprimanded.
"Right, sorry," he apologized.
She nodded in acceptance. "The thing we really have to work on is your self control. You give into shit way too easily now, and we have to work on that. Like me," she pointed out. "You, Mr. McLean, give into me way too easily." She started to rub the muscles in his neck and then ran her hands down his chest. "Say no to me," she whispered, kissing down his chest.
"Wh-What?" he asked in bewilderment.
"Say no to me. Say you don't want to do me," she repeated as she started to take off his pants.
"But...I DO wanna do you," he whined.
"That's the point," Katie replied as his pants fell around his ankles. "Okay, anytime now, A.J."
"This doesn't make sense. What do my sexual desires have to do with my cravings?"
Katie stood up and glared at him. "Okay, you don't want me to help you? Have it your way!"
She turned and hurried into her room, slamming the door behind her.
A.J. groaned. "Fuck me," he muttered as he pulled his pants up and started after her. "And not literally." He knocked on the door. "Katie, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to--"
"Fuck off!" Katie retorted from inside.
"Baby, please don't be mad. I just--"
"What part of 'fuck off' do you not understand?" she replied.
"Come on, I'm sorry, sweetie, I just..." He trailed off, looking for the right words.
"You just what?" Katie asked bitterly. "You just want me sooo bad? I know where you're going, A.J., and you can quit trying to fuckin' butter me up, okay? 'Cause it won't work!"
A.J. swallowed. "I didn't mean that. Please open the door? I really am sorry. I just didn't understand. Please help me understand," he begged.
There was a moment of silence before Katie spoke again, a little more softly. "It's not locked."
A.J. sighed with relief and opened the door. Katie was sitting on the edge of the bed, her knees pulled up against her chest and her chin resting on them as she stared out into space. He walked over to her and started to rub her back.
"I'm sorry," he said simply.
Katie sighed sharply. "Alex, I can't help you if you don't trust me. Some of the things that I'll ask you to do to accomplish your goal...you might not like them, and you might not like me for them, but that's a sacrifice I'm ready to make. If making you quit means tearing the two of us apart, then, as much as I love you and treasure our relationship, so be it. If it means saving your life, then all right, it's worth it. I care about you too damn much to let you die if there's anything I can do to stop that."
A.J. wrapped his arms around her and kissed the top of her head. "Katie, as corny as this will sound, nothing will tear the two of us apart. I believe in that very strongly. Hell, it's the only thing that I know I believe in. I love you." She sighed as he kissed the top of her head again. "So explain the whole sex thing to me."
"Well you see, Alex, when a man and a woman love each other very, very much--"
"Shut up, you know what I meant," he said, laughing.
She grinned and then turned serious. "I thought that if you learned to resist your cravings for me, that would help you resist your cravings for cigarettes," she explained. "But knowing you, I doubt that's going to work, Mr. 'I'm Always Horny,'" she said, smiling.
"So what do you think will work?" A.J. asked.
"I don't know. But I'll think about it," she promised. "But let's not think about all of this today," she begged.
"What do you wanna think about?" A.J. asked warmly.
"I don't know...SOMETHING though. Come on, let's go out and forget about all of this serious shit. Let's just have some fun." She kissed him lightly on the lips.