Through Thick And Through Thin

Chapter Twenty-Four

"Shall we, ladies?" Kevin asked with a sly smile as he, Katie, and Linz stood in front of the door to the club.

Linz smiled right back. "Let's," she said. Katie was looking away nervously, scanning the crowd for A.J.

Kevin nodded towards the door. "Come on then." He showed the guard his ID and was immediately let in. "Everyone's gonna be jealous. I got myself the two hottest dates in the place," he proclaimed, kissing both of their heads.

Katie sighed sharply. "Kevin, will you please stop flirting with me? It's really disgusting."

Kevin's face turned serious. "I'm sorry, I was just trying to lighten the mood. You seem really down..."

Katie sighed and looked up at him. "I'm sorry. I'm such a bitch tonight."

"It's okay, Katie, I can take it. Hell, I'm dating her," he pointed out, nodding towards Linz.

"Yeah, and I'm the biggest bitch there is!" Linz seconded cheerfully.

Katie cracked a smile. "Can't argue with you there."

Just then the three heard voices calling Kevin's name, and they looked up to see Brian, Nick, and Howie standing over near the bar. Katie, Kevin, and Linz made their way over there.

"Hey!" Brian said cheerfully, hugging Katie. "So glad you could come!"

She smiled weakly. "Me too. Where's Karen? I wanted to say hi."

"Bathroom," Brian answered. "Where's A.J.?"

Kevin was shaking his head frantically behind her back, but it was too late. Katie's smile vanished, and she looked at the floor. "I ended up leaving him after all," she said in a small voice.

Brian raised his eyebrows. "I'm so sorry." He pulled his cousin close to hug her tightly.

Howie also heard. "Katie, I'm sorry, too," he echoed, hugging her as well.

"What exactly happened?" Nick wondered, rubbing her back.

"I caught him with cigarettes after he swore that he wouldn't touch them again," she explained.

Nick sighed. "Wow, that really sucks," he sympathized.

Katie nodded. "Yeah."

"'ll find someone else," Howie encouraged.

Katie shrugged. He was going to say something else but was interrupted when Taylor, followed by Lanie and Karen, walked up to him and wrapped her arms around him, and he turned away to focus his full attention on here. Katie stood there and half-smiled awkwardly as all of the Boys and their girls were either holding hands or had their arms around each other. Howie noticed her uneasiness and gave Taylor a quick peck on the cheek before walking up to Katie and grabbing her hand. "Come on, let's dance!" he suggested, pulling her out to the center of the dance floor.

* * *

A.J. squinted as his eyes roamed over the thick crowd, searching for his now-ex-girlfriend. He didn't see her and let out a disappointed sigh. Maybe Brian had changed the plans. Maybe she had decided not to come. Maybe she was just in the restroom. A.J. turned and was about to leave when he heard very familiar laughter. He looked up, and his jaw dropped.

Katie was only a few yards away from him dancing with Howie, while Linz and Kevin were a few yards in the other direction. A.J. swallowed hard, seeing how well the leopard print dress--which was probably Linz's--molded to her body. He felt just a tinge of jealously when Howie jokingly pulled her close and whispered something in her ear, making her laugh. G-d, he wanted her back again...

He started to walk over to her, but just then a large group of people cut in front of him, and he was pushed away. A.J. swore under his breath and determinedly started towards her again. He was not going to let her get away from him again.

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