Everyone had started to arrive by the time Kat made it downstairs. She had been hoping to talk to Denise before the guys got there but it seemed like that would have to wait.
“Hey Kat!” Nick yelled coming through the front door. “How are you?” He picked Kat up and swung her around.
“Hands off Carter!” AJ said giving him a playful shove. “My girl, not yours.”
Nick’s face broke out in a grin. “Did you just say my girl?”
AJ smiled. “Yes I did.”
“YES!!!!” Nick yelled jumping up and down.
“Shut up Nicky! We haven’t told everyone yet.”
“Oops sorry.” Nick said quietly. “When are you going to tell them?”
“Tell us what?” Howie asked coming in. Nick’s yelling had caused everyone to come inside.
“Thanks Nick.” AJ said rolling his eyes.
Kat stood there not knowing what to say with everyone standing around. She was shocked when Denise came over and put her arm around her shoulder. AJ saw his mother’s gesture and smiled at her.
“I wanted to do this over dinner but thanks to knucklehead over here,” AJ pointed to Nick, “I guess I’ll do it now.” Before AJ could even get his thoughts together, everyone else started jumping in.
“Please tell me that you two finally decided to stop dancing around being together and now you just are.” Kevin said.
Both AJ and Kat’s mouths dropped open.
“Oh please.” Kristen said. “You two didn’t really think you were fooling anybody did you?”
Leigh laughed. “AJ, sweetheart, from the day you met Kat, you been Kat this and Kat that.”
“You totally had a crush and you act like a twelve year old getting all excited anytime someone mentions her name.” Leighanne added.
Brian kissed Kat on the cheek. “Thank you for forgiving him and putting up with all his crap. None of us would be able to deal with him if you two didn’t get together soon.”
Neither Kat nor AJ had any clue what to say. They both thought that they had kept it totally on a friend level but apparently everyone else was aware of what took them months to figure out.
“Great!” Nick said. “Now that we’ve gotten this settled can we eat?”
Howie whacked him on the back of the head. “Really Nick?”
“Yes really Howard. This dumbass,” he said and pointed to AJ, “finally got his head on straight and told Kat how he felt. She obviously, although I have no idea why, feels the same way. All done. Signed, sealed and delivered. Let’s eat.”
“Wow Nick, you’re such a romantic.” Leighanne said rolling her eyes.
Nick stuck his tongue out at her. “Last one out gets to do the dishes!” He ran for the slider door.
Everyone laughed and followed him except for Denise and Kat.
“Can I talk to you for a minute?” Denise asked.
Kat nodded yes and followed her into the living room. They sat down on the couch and Kat was nervous about what Denise was going to say.
“I’m sorry Kat. I’ve been hard on you since you got here and I apologize for that. I just hope you understand where I’m coming from. I’m Alex’s mother and I will always want what’s best for him. He has made it clear to me that he cares for you deeply and he wants to make this work with you. I’m going to butt out and let you two figure this out. I hope I can get to know you more before you leave.”
“I would like that.” She paused for a moment. “I promise you Denise that I won’t hurt him. I truly love him and I want what’s best for him too. I hope that I can make him happy and that maybe, in time, you’ll feel differently about us being together.”
I hope so too, Denise thought. Instead of voicing her concern again, she suggested that they join everyone else outside.