Through Thick And Through Thin

Chapter Twenty-Six

"Hey, where'd Katie go?" Kevin wondered as he, Linz, and Howie went back onto the dance floor.

"I don't know," Linz said, turning her head and searching the crowd for Katie's face. "Maybe she found a new guy?"

Howie shook his head. "No, she was pretty set on not doing that just yet."

"Still, there's always the possibility of--"

"Howie," Kevin interrupted, frowning suspiciously at him.

Howie's eyes were focused on something past Kevin in the opposite direction from Taylor and the other Boys. Anxiety was quite present in his eyes. "Hm?" Howie said after a moment.

"What are you...oh, no," Kevin muttered, turning to see what Howie had seen and immediately clenching his fists in anger. Sitting alone at a table for two with his head in his hands was the unmistakable figure of A.J. Kevin started towards him, but Linz grabbed his arm.

"Just leave him alone, Kevin. He looks miserable enough as it is," she coaxed.

Kevin shook himself free. "The fuck if I'm leaving him alone. I'm getting him out of here before he can bother her any more!" Kevin stormed over there before Linz could do anything about it. He reached A.J. and immediately gave his shoulder a rough shove. "Just what the hell do you think you're doing here?!" he snapped.

A.J. slowly raised his head to look up at his friend, not answering the question.

Kevin's face softened in sympathy for a moment when he saw A.J.'s tear-streaked face, but he remembered what had most certainly caused the tears, and he hardened again. "Katie told me what happened."

"Yeah?" A.J. said indifferently.

"Yeah. You were just trying to make up with her, weren't you?" Kevin assumed.

A.J. shrugged. "Maybe. What does it matter to you?"

Kevin's eyes narrowed. "She's my little sister."

"Well, I had some things to say to her," A.J. told him coolly, getting fed up with his attitude.

Kevin grabbed A.J. by the collar of his shirt, yanking him to his feet. "Listen, asswipe," he sneered. "Katie made me promise that I wouldn't hurt you. Don't make me go back on my word. Get the hell out of here." Kevin released him and pushed him away. He just stood there. "Now!"

A.J. sighed and hurried off towards the side exit, not wanting to cause any more trouble.

Kevin shook his head disdainfully as he watched A.J. go. He couldn't believe that A.J. had the nerve to show up so soon after his loathsome acts had been commited. His heart sank as he realized the pain that Katie was probably feeling at the moment. She was probably crying her eyes out in the ladies' room right now. Kevin wished that he could go in there and comfort her, but he couldn't, for obvious reasons. But he could send Linz in there. Kevin walked back over to where Linz and Howie had been standing and found her there, without Howie. He frowned. A strange man with dark hair and dark eyes had his arm around Linz.

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