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Author's Chapter Notes:

Sorry, I fell off the face of the planet I know.

AJ already decided that he would not be sleeping with the woman sitting across from him. He met her the night before at some club or another he’d been to and she convinced him to meet her for dinner, so here he was. She was attractive and he would have made her dreams come true, literally, if she hadn’t admitted what a huge fan of The Backstreet Boys she was. It wasn’t even so much that she was a fan; he’d slept with plenty of the willing girls, it was her insistence to rehash his life story back to him. Common decency kept him from getting up and leaving, he, after all, had an image to uphold and his biggest fan could become his worst nightmare.

Dinner had finished more than thirty minutes ago, yet this woman was still talking. He nodded as if he was listening, but his eyes scanned the room to find any reason to end this torture. His eyes passed over one couple and he had to do a double take. A woman caught his attention. From what he saw of her, she looked like it could be Karin.

Jealously began to flare inside of him when he noticed she was sitting with another man. ‘Wait,’ he told himself. ‘Karin is out of state.’ The thought put him at ease, the woman could not be Karin, she was not back, she did not shove off calling him and she was not on a date. The way the couple interacted, especially how the woman carried herself, made AJ yearn for Karin to be back.

“AJ, did you hear me?” The woman practically screeched at him bringing his attention back to the moment.

“Look, Chelsea…” AJ began to stammer some form of an apology.

“My name is Kasey,”

“….Kasey.” He continued. “You seem really nice, but I should be heading home soon. I have a big day tomorrow. You know a tour to prepare for and everything.”

“I thought that we were going to… you know.” she slid her hand across the table and placed it softly on AJ’s, her fingers running up and down the skin of his hand.

“Sorry but, not happening,” He said bluntly pulling his hand away.

Kasey continued to try to persuade him to take her back with him to his place. ‘She’d probably steal a bunch of my underwear, keep one for herself and sell the remaining on e-bay.’ He thought to himself as he signaled for the check.

Finally catching the hint that nothing was going to happen, Kasey stood, grabbed her purse and practically flew out the door.  With her gone, AJ let out a deep breath and started to enjoy his drink. He threw some money on the table and was ready to leave when a noise from across the room caught his ear.  It was her laughter, her distinctive laugh.  His head whipped around to the table he watched earlier, and unable to ignore his curiosity he stormed over.

“Karin?” He questioned when he got closer and the woman morphed from someone who looked like Karin, to Karin. She turned, it was Karin.

“AJ.” She shouted and stood enveloping him one of her warm hugs. “I’m so glad to see you; I have so much to tell you about.”

“Karin, I thought you were going to be gone for two months. What are you doing here,” he questioned quickly adding “with a date?”

“Well he’s really not…” Karin started to respond.

“Dragging multiple guys along, are we the only two or are there more we don’t know about? I didn’t think you were that kind of girl.” His voice held a hint of contempt as he spoke. “At least I know where I stand now.”

“AJ?” a female voice from behind had all pairs of eyes watching now. “I called a taxi but it would be hours, can you just take me home?” Kasey asked.

Karin laughed out loud at the situation in front of her. “You are jealous?” She laughed. She didn’t wait for him to formulate an answer. “Last I checked we never agreed to be exclusive, a point in fact you obviously knew about as you enjoyed your date.” Karin waved her fingertips at the girl standing behind AJ. “And not that you deserve much of an explanation with that attitude, but this is Trevor, a friend from that same class I attended which, by the way, ended early due to the instructor having a family emergency.”

“Karin, I..” AJ started to speak but Karin didn’t wait for an answer, she was already walking out of the restaurant.

Her friend Trevor stood and started to follow Karin, stopping briefly in front of AJ. “You wanna come to my place to vent some more?” He gently placed his hand on AJ’s shoulder and winked at him. “See ya around.”

“AJ?” Kasey was still standing there waiting for his answer. He didn’t acknowledge her, he didn’t answer her, he walked out and sat in his car going over what just happened in his head. What had he said, what had he done? He couldn't understand why the thought of Karin out with another man upset him that much. She had a point, he was on a date, they weren't exclusive so why was it bothering him so much.

His eyes flicked to the device on his wrist: 971 days 2 hours 26 minutes. She wasn't his one, he knew that. His public display meant it was time to step back, stop hanging out with Karin. After all, didn't he get the timer so that he could have fun before settling down?

With these new thoughts charging through him, AJ turned his car towards the closest club he could think of. The night was still young.