Kat awoke the next morning to the shrill sound of a smoke detector. She could smell something burning and rushed down the stairs into the kitchen. She found AJ standing in the middle of room swinging a broom at the smoke detector.
“Fucking stupid thing! Stop ringing!”
Kat doubled over laughing.
AJ turned at the sound of her laugh and realized what he must look like standing there like an idiot. He didn’t even know what to say.
Kat had been laughing so hard that she had tears in her eyes and had actually sank to the floor on her knees.
“What the hell are you doing?” she asked still unable to control her laughter.
“I’m trying to make you breakfast.” AJ said watching her laugh.
“I don’t think it’s working out well for you.” Kat said standing back up.
“I guess you can’t appreciate my culinary skills.”
Kat walked over to the stove, turned it off and put the burning pan in the sink. She crossed over and opened the slider to let some air in.
“Sweetheart, your culinary skills suck. Are you trying to burn down your house?”
“Thanks Brady. You really know how to make a guy feel loved and appreciated.” He flicked her in the butt with a towel.
“Ow! That hurt!”
Kat smacked him on the shoulder. “I’m going to let you buy me breakfast to make up for it!” She walked away and went upstairs to change.
AJ grinned to himself and started cleaning up the mess he had made.
They had just gotten back from breakfast when AJ’s cell phone rang.
Kat couldn’t hear who was on the other line but AJ’s face told her he wasn’t happy.
“What do you mean we have to go to Malibu tomorrow? I thought we were done with the recording?”
Kat looked down at her feet.
“Three days? Are you fucking kidding me?”
His face got even redder.
“So because some moron screwed up we have to give up three days to redo it?”
Kat didn’t want to be the person on the other end of the line.
“Fine! You have three days! No more!”
AJ slammed the phone down on the counter. Kat wanted to say something but she didn’t want to make him angrier than he already was.
“I guess you heard that huh?” AJ asked her.
She smiled. “It was kind of hard to miss.” She paused. “So you have to leave tomorrow?”
“Yeah.” He sighed. “Some idiot screwed up the sound mixing and deleted one of the songs. Now we have to go back in and record it.”
He sat down on one of the stools in the kitchen.
“I’m sorry Kat. I know I told you I would be done with work by the time you got here.”
Kat nodded. “I know but stuff happens AJ. You have an important job and you have to make sure the album gets done. I can head back to Boston in the morning and you can get your stuff taken care of.”
“Boston? Why the hell are you going home? You said you’d stay out here for a couple of weeks.”
“I know AJ, I just don’t want to be in the way. The recording might take longer than you think.”
AJ shook his head adamantly. “No, they have three days of my time and then I don’t give a damn if the album gets done or not. I plan on spending every minute after that with you and they can shove the stupid album if they don’t like it.”
Kat smiled. “Ok, ok. You win. I just don’t want to be a distraction for you.”
AJ pulled her over to him and wrapped his arms around her. “You are the best kind of distraction Brady.”
“Thanks McLean.” she said and kissed him on the cheek.
He looked into her eyes and started to lean in closer to her lips when the phone rang again. Kat blushed and pulled back a little.
“Son of a bitch!” he said opening the phone. “What do you want now?”
His face turned pink.
“Sorry Ma, I didn’t mean to yell at you.” He hopped off the stool, told Kat he would be back in a minute and stepped out onto the deck.
“I take it you heard about the Malibu trip.”
“Unfortunately, yes. I can’t believe that we have to go back out there.”
“Is Kat going with you?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t really think about it. Where else would she go?”
“How about with me? The other girls called me and said that they were thinking about going to the spa while you guys were away. Leigh, Leighanne and Kristen’s parents all said they would babysit the kids so we could have some girl time. Do you think Kat would mind?”
“Let me ask her. She doesn’t really know any of you very well.”
Denise laughed. “Well then this is the perfect time to get to know us better. The other girls really liked her and this could speed up the time till you get back for her.”
“Ok. I’ll talk to her and call you back in a little while. Love you Ma.”
“Love you too Alex.”
AJ hung up and went back into the kitchen. Kat was sitting on one of the stools waiting for him.
“You yelled at your mom. Shame, shame.” She said crossing her index fingers and rubbing them together.
AJ grinned and grabbed her hands. “Try that again you little twit.”
They both started laughing. AJ really wanted to kiss her but the moment seemed to have slipped away.
“What did your mom want?”
“She actually wanted to talk to you.”
“Yeah. I guess Leigh called her and said we were going away. My mom and the girls decided to go to the spa for a few days and wanted to know if you would consider coming.”
“By myself? I barely know them.”
AJ laughed. “That’s kind of the point. They want to get to know you better. And don’t worry, I’ll pay for it.”
“Then I won’t go.”
AJ looked at her confused.
“You paid for my plane ticket out here and you offered up your house to me AJ. You can’t keep paying for me!”
“Well, I just paid for breakfast.” he teased her.
“You’re a jerk. You know what I meant. I don’t want you spending any more money of me. Got it?”
“I’m not spending that much Kat. You always let me stay with you when I come out to Boston. And you cook for me and buy all the stuff you know I like. Why can’t you let me treat you to stuff?”
“Because you don’t need to. You’re not an ATM AJ. I can pay for this myself. I will not go if you insist on paying for me.”
He was shocked to hear her say that to him. All the women in his life, with the exception of his mother and the guys’ wives, were more than happy to have him foot the bill for whatever they wanted. He usually was the one that felt like an ATM. He hated confrontation and just wanted to make them happy so he paid for everything.
“I mean it AJ. If you try to pay for this, I’ll refuse to go.”
AJ held up both hands in front of him. “Fine, have it your way. Should I tell my mother you’re going to go?”
Kat smiled. “No, I will so I can make sure that it shows up on my credit card and not yours!”
Kat made dinner while AJ finished up his packing for the next day. They were both leaving early in the morning and they wanted to enjoy the last few hours together.
“Dinner’s ready!” Kat yelled upstairs.
“Ok, I’ll be right down!”
AJ zipped his bag and made his way down to the kitchen. Something smelled really good and his stomach growled.
“What ya making?” he asked.
“Homemade calzones.” She pulled them out of the oven and asked him to set the table.
“I’m really going to miss you for the next three days.” AJ said with a sad smile.
“Well, you’re going to have to get used to it because I’ll be leaving in a week and a half.”
“Don’t remind me.” he mumbled under his breath. “Can we just enjoy dinner and not talk about you leaving?”
“Sorry.” Kat whispered.
AJ sighed. “It’s not your fault. I just miss you when you’re not around. I’m so comfortable with you and I feel like I can be myself. I don’t feel that way with anyone else.”
Kat was surprised by his admission and didn’t know what to say.
“Let’s just forget I said anything and change the subject. Are you looking forward to going away with the girls?”
“Ok. I am looking forward to it. This way I can get to know your mom and the guys’ wives. This way, if you decide to keep me around, I’ll feel more comfortable.” Kat said teasing him.
“Don’t even joke like that Kat. There is no reason in the world that would ever make me not want to keep you around.”
Kat felt bad for teasing him. “I’m sorry AJ.”
“Forget it.” He stood up and walked away from the table. “I’m not hungry anymore.”
Kat was speechless. She had no idea about what she had done to make him so mad and she hated that they were going to spend the night not talking. They had very rarely fought in the months they’d known each other. Kat cleaned up the kitchen and went upstairs to bed. Stopping at AJ’s door, she knocked and waited for him to answer.
When he didn’t say anything, she sighed. “I’m really sorry that I teased you AJ. Please open the door.”
She waited for a few minutes and then decided to go to bed. “Goodnight AJ. See you in the morning, hopefully.”
AJ lay in his bed and listened for Kat to walk away. He hated being this way with her but he was dreading her leaving and he didn’t know what he was going to do when she went home.
Kat woke up the next morning to a note lying on her pillow.
I’m sorry for being an ass Kat. I didn’t want to wake you up because you looked so peaceful. I promise that in three days we will do whatever you want and I’ll make it up to you. Be safe. Love, J
Kat smiled at the note. She didn’t like that he had left without waking her up but she was looking forward to seeing him in three days.
She finished packing her bag and went downstairs to wait for Denise and the girls. They showed up about five minutes later and they started the long drive to the spa.