“Anyone home?” he called as he closed the front door. When there was no reply, he headed down to the living room and found everyone watching a video. Kat motioned to him to be quiet and he noticed that both boys had curled up with Kat and were now pinning her to the chair.
“Can you breathe?” he whispered as he leaned in to kiss her.
“Barely.” She smiled and kissed him back. “They were so tired and they didn’t get through ten minutes before they were sound asleep.”
“Want me to take them up to bed? Or at least put them on the couch?”
Kat shook her head no. “They’re comfortable.”
AJ nodded and took a seat next to Brenda. “What did you two do today?”
“We took the boys to the park. I figured since Nick was still sleeping I could come over bad spend some time with my BFF.” Brenda replied.
AJ smiled. He was grateful for Brenda being able to lie so well.
“Where did you go?” Kat asked. “You took off pretty early.”
“I had to get some stuff squared away with one of the producers on the new album. He was here for a little while so it had to be this morning.”
“You didn’t mention anything about it last night.”
“He called early this morning.”
Kat could tell AJ was lying. She never heard the phone ring this morning and she knew the guys had already met with the producer to discuss new material.
“I think I’ve changed my mind. Can you take them upstairs and put them down for their nap?” she asked AJ.
“Sure. I’ll be back down in a few minutes.”
He carefully picked up the two boys and carried them towards the stairs. Kat waited till she heard AJ on the stairs before she turned to Brenda.
“He’s lying, he didn’t go to meet with any of the producers.”
“How do you know that?”
“I didn’t hear the phone ring this morning.”
“Sweetie, I love you but you snore like crazy and you can sleep in a wind tunnel. You’ve been really tired and you probably just slept through it.”
“No, he’s not telling me the truth.”
“AJ’s not going to lie to you Kat.” Brenda felt a little bad for going along with this secret but she knew it meant a lot for AJ to keep it a surprise. She only hoped it was worth it. “He’s never done anything behind your back and I truly don’t think he’s going to start now.”
“I hope not.”
“Stop being so worried about it. He had a meeting and didn’t want to wake you. You’re lucky he’s not like Nick. That boy can’t get up early without waking the whole neighborhood with all the noise he makes.”
“You really don’t think anything’s going on?”
“No, I don’t.” Brenda lied. “I’m going to head home to Sleeping Beauty and let you and J have some alone time.”
“I’ll walk you out.”
“I know where the door is.” Brenda laughed and gave her friend a hug. “You rest and I’ll text you later, k?”
“Ok. Be careful going home.”
“Will do. Love you!”
“Love you too Bren.”
Kat curled up tighter in the chair and tried to keep herself awake but AJ came down a few minutes later and found her sound asleep in the chair. He pulled a quilt off the couch and tucked it in around her. Taking off his shoes, he stretched out on the couch and fell asleep a few minutes later.
When AJ awoke an hour later, he noticed that the chair was empty and he heard the back door slider open and close. He got up and found Kat sitting out in one of the chairs with the quilt draped over her. There was that look of sadness again and he sat down across from her. This surprise could not come fast enough he thought to himself.
“You ok babe?”
“I’m alright. Just tired.”
Kat smiled faintly. “A little. I’m sorry I’ve been in a funk lately. I don’t want to ruin the holidays.”
“You have every right to feel the way you do and you are not ruining the holidays.”
“Well I promise to try and snap out of it.”
“Good.” AJ paused for a minute. “You know I was thinking that maybe me, you and the boys could head up to this tree farm I heard about and pick out a Christmas tree.”
“They have those out here?” Kat asked with surprise.
“Yes.” he said with a laugh. “It’s a couple of hours away but they say you can find the best trees there. I would really like us to do it as a family.”
“I think that’s a great idea as long as you don’t mind going in a couple of days. I have an appointment tomorrow and I already told Brenda I would help her with some stuff the next day.”
“Nope, that’s fine. I just want us to go together and pick out something that’ll bring more Christmas spirit. We might have to stop and pick up some ornaments and stuff because I don’t have anything. I haven’t really spent many Christmases here.”
“I think it’s going to be fun.” Kat replied.
“Me too. Why don’t you sit out here for a little while and I’ll get dinner started before the little monkeys get up.”
Kat nodded and AJ leaned down to kiss her as he stood up. She watched him head into the house and thought that maybe this whole tree trip would be just what she needed to snap her out of this.