Through Thick And Through Thin

Chapter Twenty-Nine

A.J. sighed sadly as he walked out the side door of the club and into the dark alley. First the love of his life had cut him off completely, and then one of his best friends had made it clear that he hated his guts. A.J. wiped away tears as he neared the main sidewalk where the alley ended.

As soon as he had taken a step out of the alley, he immediately gasped and jumped back into it. Katie was sitting right there on the curb, just a few yards away. Her head was in her hands, and her body was shaking slightly. As A.J. heard her faint sobs cut through the quiet night air, he felt a searing pain rip through his chest. He wanted nothing more in that moment than to draw her close to him and kiss her until all of her tears were gone.

As A.J. kept watching her, she stopped crying, and a young girl came up to her and said hello. He couldn't keep the smile from his face as Katie signed an autograph and then hugged the girl. Katie had always been so good with children. A.J. had hoped that someday the two of them would get married have kids of their own. And now he had blown it all with one stupid mistake.

A.J.'s head snapped up as he heard Linz's scream. What the hell? he thought as she kept crying out for help. His eyes widened when he saw Katie get to her feet with fear in her eyes just as a man who had Linz by her wrist came up and grabbed her too. A.J. gasped as the man started to drag both of them down the street.

A.J. took off back towards the front door of the club and dashed inside, immediately crashing into Kevin, who had tears running down his cheeks.

Kevin frowned threateningly when he saw A.J. "A.J.? Didn't I--"

"Come on, he has them!" A.J. shouted, grabbing Kevin's arm and pulling him out of the club. Kevin was too surprised to object until they were outside on the sidewalk. "Wait, who's he? Who's them?"

"Carlos! He has Katie and Linz!" A.J. yelled as he hailed a taxi and pulled Kevin into it. "Follow...oh, fuck, where are they?" A.J. cut himself off in the middle of giving instructions to the driver.

"There! I see them!" Kevin shouted, pointing ahead of them at a large pale blue van. He had caught a glimpse of Katie's leopard print dress in the headlights of an oncoming car.

"Follow that blue van!" A.J. commanded the driver before he and Kevin sat back in their seats.

Kevin turned to A.J. "Listen, man, I'm--"

A.J. waved his words away and interrupted him. "There's no time for that. I understand." He slapped Kevin's hand and pulled on it in a brotherly way before focusing back on the road again.

Kevin nodded. "Where do you think he's taking them?"

"I have no fucking idea, but thank G-d you kicked me out of there, otherwise I wouldn't have seen him taking Katie," A.J. realized.

"Why the hell would he be taking Katie?!" Kevin demanded angrily. "What did she do?"

A.J. shrugged. "She's a pretty girl, Kev. Beautiful. Why else would he be taking her? Linz too."

Kevin's eyes narrowed in anger. "Fuck him," he muttered under his breath.

A.J. wasn't paying attention. His eyes were focused completely on the van in front of them. "Come on, come on..." he kept muttering under his breath over and over. A minute or two later, the van stopped and A.J. hit the seat in front of him in satisfaction. "Got him!"

* * *

"Ladies, meet Thomas," Carlos slurred as he got into the driver's seat. Linz and Katie had already been shoved into the back.

A sinister-looking man with dark features that resembled those of Carlos turned around and smiled fakely. "Hello, ladies," he said coolly. "Don't we look lovely tonight," he purred, his eyes fixed on Katie. He reached forward and placed a hand on her thigh.

She glared fiercely at him and slapped his hand away. "Stay the fuck away from me, dickwad!" she hissed angrily.

Thomas narrowed his eyes. "Fine, you wanna play hard to get?" He turned around in his seat for a moment. When he turned to face them again, Katie's eyes widened. The barrel of a gun was now being pointed at her head. Katie started to edge away slightly but immediately stopped as Thomas cocked the gun. "Don't move," he commanded in a low voice. "I'd hate to have to kill you, my pretty." He turned to Linz and glared at her too. "That applies to you, too." Linz shut her eyes and swallowed, obviously terrified. "How much further?" he asked Carlos, his eyes never leaving Katie.

"A couple of minutes," Carlos answered. Linz frowned. All of the drunken slurring had vanished from his voice now. He seemed to know that she would be noticing this and turned around to face her as he stuck the key in the ignition. "Notice something different, Linsey? Baby?"

"Please don't call me that," she said shakily, forcing herself not to sound impudent in the least.

"I'll call you whatever the hell I want to, baby," Carlos replied as he started the engine. He waited until they were on the road to speak again. "You know, baby, I realize now that...well, we made a huge mistake."

"Oh?" Linz said sourly, knowing what was coming.

"Yeah," Carlos continued. "You and I, baby, we were so great together. And we just let it all go because of this Kevin guy, whoever the hell he is. That was our mistake. It's so hard to find something as amazing as that was, and now that Kevin's dumped you, I think that you should say to hell with him and come back to me. I know you liked it, baby. And he doesn't love you like I do."

Linz clenched her teeth indignantly. He didn't know what he was talking about. Kevin had misunderstood what had happened, and that was the only reason why he had left her. He had been confused, but he loved her.

"And, well, even if you don't agree with me...tough shit because you're getting back with me anyway," Carlos said, laughing a little.

Linz swallowed again and glanced nervously at Katie, who bit her lip and took a deep breath, clearly just as scared as Linz was. Katie reached over on the seat and found Linz's hand, holding onto it for dear life as the van suddenly came to a halt.

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