He stood patiently waiting in the baggage claim area for Karin to arrive. AJ hated how he couldn't meet her at the gate anymore; he couldn't wait to see her and to show her his timer-less arm. He knew it would hurt to get it removed but he didn't know how much. The closest pain he could compare it to was ripping a fingernail off, neither experience he cared to go through ever again.
He glanced down at the raw, puckered skin that was all that remained indicating he had a timer. He gently ran a ringer over the wounds and smiled to himself. It was nice not to have to think about having a clock hanging over your head.
“AJ,” Karin called out bringing him back to the moment. He smiled and walked; he refused to run, no matter how excited he was, over to her and pulled her into a one armed hug. “I missed you,” He said smiling. He would have loved to kiss her to welcome her home, but he was not sure how she would receive it.
“Yah, I missed you too,” She smiled at him and held him tighter.
He wanted to show her his wrist, but he wanted to wait until they were alone. He would wait until they were in the car on the way back to his place where he insisted she stayed during her time. He refused to let her pay for a hotel when he had plenty of rooms at his place she could choose from. He hoped that she would choose from. He hoped that she would choose his room after he divulged his information.
“So how long did you decide to stay?” AJ asked as they moved towards the roundabouts for the baggage watching all the bags fall from the chute and rotate around.
“I thought I'd visit some of the my friends who haven't seen me since the going away party. I know it hasn't been quite two months, but I miss those bitches,” she laughed. “I'll be here for the week. Are you sure it's okay I stay here with you for that long? I'm sure I can stay with another friend or even my parents.”
AJ shook his head. He knew she really didn't want to stay with her parents and her friends, even though they would take her in, they didn't have the same amount of room as he did. “No, I insist you stay with me.”
She nodded and reached for her suitcase, hefting off the carousel and dragging it towards the door. AJ tried to take her bag from her but she swatted his hand away. They stood silent waiting for the valet to bring AJ's car up; Karin let him lift her bag into the trunk before taking her seat on the passenger side.
“AJ I really appreciate you picking me up and letting me stay with you.” Karin placed her hand on his as they drove.
'Do it AJ,' his mind shouted to him. 'Tell her,' it shouted again. “Karin,” he started realizing he should tell her, there wouldn't be a better time. Howie's party was that night. “I,” he started but was unable to find the words; instead he flipped his wrist over and showed her scars.
“What's this?” She asked. He sivered slightly as he felt her fingertips run across his scars. “Is this where your timer was?”
“Yes,” he nodded as extra emphasis.
“You removed it?” She questioned, still running her fingers along the inside of his wrist.
“I told you I only wanted to be with you. You wanted proof. I removed the timer; I don't care about meeting the one. As far as I'm concerned, I've met her.” He turned briefly to smile at her then turned his attention back to the road.
Karin moved her hand back into her lap and stared straight ahead. AJ wished he could be in her head to know what she was thinking; instead he had to ask her.
“What are you thinking about?” The smile still plastered to his face. He was sure that this would be proof enough for Karin.
“AJ...” she breathed. “It's a great gesture, really it is, but it's not enough.”
“What do you mean?” The smiled now gone from his face, he felt a need to pull out a cigarette.
“Did you have flings with girls before the timer?” she asked.
He nodded in reply, unsure where she was going with this.
“If you had flings before the timer, what promise is there for me that you won't continue to have flings now even with no timer?” She looked him in the eye for the brief second he glanced her direction before looking back to the road.
“I don't understand what you want from me then?” it was the last words spoken to each other for another few hours. They reached AJ's house where she chose a guest bedroom and got herself ready for Howie's party. AJ freshened himself up and waited for her to finish getting ready. He wished, now, that she was staying somewhere else. He didn't know if he could stand seeing her the entire time she was here and knowing that she would still not give herself to him.
She exited the room and stood in front of AJ waiting for him to stand. “I'm ready,” she said so that he would finally stand.
“You look nice,” he said as he held the car door open for her.
“Thank you,” she grinned at him before sitting into the car.
They entered Howie's house and Karin immediately went off to a group of girls that were near the drinks, AJ recognized them from some other get together they had.
“Hey Jay,” a familiar voice called out to him.
AJ turned around and smiled as he saw Kevin walking towards him his hand outstretched to great him. “How's it going Kevin?”
“Good, good. Working on getting acting gigs.” The older man smiled. “How about you? I hear you got your timer removed.”
AJ nodded and started to tell Kevin all about Karin and his attempt to show her he wanted to be serious. It didn't take long for AJ to notice several girls standing around the two, girls he wasn't sure he recognized. How did they get into Howie's party? They must have come with friends that were invited.
“AJ,” One girl purred his name. He could feel her arms entwine around his waist. He moved her arms off of him and continued talking to Kevin.
“AJ,” she purred again, wrapping her arms around tighter and kissing his arm.
AJ could see Kevin's look of amusement as this girl continued to through herself at him.
“Look hun,” He took her arms off of him again and turned to face the girl. She had obviously had too much to drink. She was attractive and a couple of months ago he might have ended up in bed with her, but tonight she just looked like a drunk girl who needed to go home. “I'm flattered, really, but I'm not here for any other reason but to have a good time with my friends.”
The girl pouted at him, “But I was hoping...” She started.
AJ shook his head. “You better go elsewhere then.” He turned back to Kevin and continued to tell him about Karin, his trip to London and getting his timer removed.
It wasn't long before AJ felt another set of arms wrap around his waist. “Look, I said I wasn't interested,” He said turning to face Karin. “Karin?” He asked.
“I saw you with that girl, that was a gesture,” She said as she pulled his face closer to hers kissing him.