Kat woke up early that morning and went downstairs to make a pot of coffee. She was getting settled into Brenda’s house again after moving back to Boston four months ago. Being away from everyone’s support was tough and she finally had to admit she needed help. She had just sat down with her first cup when Brenda burst into the kitchen and thumped a magazine down in front of her.
“I was at the grocery store and I saw this. You have to read it!”
Kat turned it over and saw that it was one of those stupid celebrity gossip magazines. “Seriously Brenda?” she groaned. “I thought you didn’t read these.”
“I don’t but I saw a woman reading this in one of the aisles. She started yelling to her friend about it and I grabbed a copy. Turn to page 9.”
“What happened? Did 98° break up again?” Kat said teasing her friend.
“I’m not kidding, read it!” Brenda said sharply.
“Ok, ok.” Kat opened the magazine to the page Brenda had marked. Her eyes got wide and she didn’t breathe for a few seconds.
“The baby wasn’t even his!” Brenda shouted.
Kat finished scanning the short article and thought carefully about what she read. Finally, she closed the magazine and pushed it back towards Brenda.
“This probably isn’t even true. They probably had a fight or something and the press is making a big deal about it.”
“But what if it is?”
“What do you mean but? There is no but. It really doesn’t matter if it’s true or not.”
“Yes it does matter! You should call him.”
“Are you out of your freaking mind?” Kat yelled. “What the hell would I say? “I’m sorry for breaking your heart AJ and that your heart is getting ripped out again. Maybe I can help. Can we be friends?””
“I don’t know what to say Kat but say something!”
Kat stood up, pushing her chair backwards. “You’re my best friend but you’ve lost your mind. I am not going to call him and bring him more pain. I made my choice, I walked away and I have to live with that every day. I’m not going to hurt him anymore!”
Kat stormed out of the kitchen and up the stairs to the guest room.
It was Howie’s turn to check on AJ and when he arrived that morning, he found his best friend lying face down on the couch and saw all the beer bottles lying around. The guys were at their wit’s end. None of them could fathom the pain he was in right now but he was throwing his sobriety out the window and they all remembered what it was like the last time he did it.
“Get up AJ.” Howie said shaking his friend. “Time to get up.”
“Leave me alone!” AJ mumbled, his face buried in the cushions.
“Can’t do that man; you need to get up.”
“I don’t need to do shit.”
“Yes you do. Now get up!” Howie said losing his patience with his brother. This had been going on for a couple of days now and it was getting more and more difficult as time passed.
AJ finally turned over and glared at his friend. His eyes were bloodshot and he reeked of booze.
“See, I’m still alive. You did your good deed for the day. Get lost!”
He tried to turn back over but Howie grabbed his arm.
“We’re not doing this again J. None of us can stand seeing you like this. We want to help…”
“Help?” AJ yelled sitting up. “How the fuck are you going to help? I have no one, not one single person who understands me!”
“We all understand…”
“Don’t you dare fucking say it! None of you understand how I feel. You all have someone to share your life with and you, Brian and Kevin have your perfect children! I have no one!”
“That’s it!” Howie said, slamming his fist against the couch. “We want to help you but you’re treating us like shit. We didn’t do this to you and we want to help.”
“Well I don’t want your help. Consider yourself off the hook!” AJ slumped back onto the sofa and covered his eyes with his hands. “Close the door on your way out!”