Through Thick And Through Thin

Chapter Twenty

Linz groaned as the phone rang and Kevin moved off of her. "Baby, let it ring," she pleaded.

He smiled at her and rolled over in bed to check the caller ID. "It's Brian." Linz sighed as he answered it. "Hello?"

"Hey, Kev, how are you doing?" Brian asked with concern.

"Great!" Kevin exclaimed with a happy laugh.

"What do you mean, great?" Brian asked hesitantly.

"Well, considering that Linz is lying in bed next to me right now...great!"

Brian shut his eyes tightly. "Thanks so much for putting that image in my head, Train."

Kevin laughed. "Sorry,'s just so good to have her back," he said, squeezing her hand affectionately.

"Well, congratulations. In that case, I have a proposition for the two of you," Brian said.

"Hold on, I'll put you on speaker phone," Kevin said. He leaned over and pressed a button. "You there?"

"Yeah, can Linz hear me?"

"I can hear you," she said, wrapping her arms around Kevin.

Brian started to speak, but a soft female voice calling his name interrupted him. "In here, baby!" he yelled back.

"Oh yeah, Karen got in last night, didn't she?" Kevin recalled.

"Yup. Hey honey," Brian said cheerfully.

"Hi," Karen replied, wrapping her arms around his neck and sitting in his lap. Brian smiled. She was wearing a pair of his boxers and one of his blue button-down shirts.

"Say hi to Kevin and Linz," Brian suggested, handing her the phone.

"Hey, Kev. Hey, Linz," she said dutifully.

"Hey," they chorused simultaneously.

"How are y'all?" she asked in her soft Kentucky accent. Brian had known her from his old high school--the two of them had gone out for three months back then--but when he dropped out to go and join Backstreet, they had broken up and lost touch. A few years later, they met up again, instantly fell in love with each other, and started dating again. That had been four years ago.

"We're great," Kevin said, speaking for both of them. "You?"

"I'm fine," she replied, smiling as Brian brushed some of her strawberry blonde hair out of her face and kissed her forehead. "Here's Brian again." She rested her head against his chest as he kept talking.

"So anyway, Taylor and Lanie got in last night," Brian informed them, referring to Howie and Nick's girlfriends, respectively. "And we were thinking that maybe we could all go out. Katie and A.J. too. You know, just..." He started to sing, "'Do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight!" Karen started laughing, as did Kevin and Linz.

"Well, the dancing part I'm all for, but no orgies, if that's what you're getting at," Linz ordered.

"Aw, man..." Brian complained jokingly. "No, seriously, will you come?"

Kevin looked at Linz, who smiled and nodded. "Yeah, we're in. Want us to call A.J. and Katie?" he offered.

"No, I'll do it," Brian said. "It's been awhile. How have they been doing?"

Kevin sighed. "From what she told me last night, not too good. She's thinking about leaving him."

"Oh my G-d," Brian replied. "His smoking is that bad?"

"Yeah, and he's treating her like crap, which I want to beat his ass for!" Kevin muttered. "Katie made me promise not to, luckily for him."

Brian sighed. "All right, well, I'll be careful when I talk to her. We're meeting tonight at the usual place around eight."

"At Marty's around eight. Got it. See you then, B," Kevin said.

"Bye, Kev. Bye, Linz."

"Bye, Bri."

"Bye, Brian."

Brian hung up the phone and smiled as Karen started to kiss him. She slid her hands up under his shirt, but he pulled them away. "I still have to call A.J. and Katie, but that's it, okay, sweetheart?"

"Well...okay, but then I want you to myself," she said with a seductive smile.

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