~The Binding~

Chapter 1

More than one meeting had been called amongst them, excluding Kevin of course.  All of them, Nick, Suzie, A.J., Brian, Leighanne, Howie, and Gillian were trying to figure out what had happened between Kevin and his wife.  Brian was going to Lexington to support Kevin as his cousin, not a member of the band.  He made sure everyone understood this before he left.

Kevin didn’t speak to anyone as he took a seat on the plane and stared out the window for hours.  Occasionally he would close his eyes and try to think.  His mind broke down and sorted large chunks of memories into little pieces of information. 

Returning from the show in Nagoya and he had been approached by a man.  The man asked him if he was Kevin Richardson.  When Kevin replied yes, an envelope was thrust at him.  Kevin signed what he thought was an autograph. 

The man nodded and spoke the words he would never forget, “You have been served.”

Kevin looked at Carlos who took the envelope from him.  “Kevin you know better.”

“I didn’t know,” Kevin shook his head, as Carlos looked inside. 

What Carlos quickly read without removing the papers from the envelope made him rock back on his heels.  “Upstairs now.”  Grabbing on to Kevin’s elbow and practically dragging him to the elevator.  Carlos didn’t return the papers to Kevin until they were in the elevator.

Kevin’s mind was numb, his heart broken.  The despair was leaving and being replaced by anger.  “She abandoned my children.  They're alone, I need to go home,” he whispered sadly to Nick.

Nick burst into tears and hugged him as he sat next to him on the plane ride home.  They held their embrace long enough for Nick to whisper, “Somthins’ not right Kev.  This ain’t her.” 

They hugged again as Kevin had trouble letting go.  “Yes it is Nick, she runs.  She runs every time she can’t face something.”

“But from what?  Suzie doesn’t even know what is going on.  She would tell you if she knew anything.  Hell, Bron tells her everything, I mean everything. You guys were so on.  ”  Nick released him from the embrace.

Kevin wiped his eyes with the back of his hand.  “I dunno, I don’t care.”

Nick glowered at the lie, “Yes you do or you wouldn’t be hurtin’ so bad.  You go home and find her.  Figure it out and fix it.  You always do.  I’m going to Florida, Suzie is going to head home with you.  I kinda wish she hadn’t come, maybe this wouldn’t have happened or we’d know some more stuff.”

Kevin held onto those words.  The two of them had butted heads for years but they would always care about each other.  Hugging one last time, Kevin’s head dropped as Nick shuffled back to his seat.

Brian studied the emotions playing over his cousin, things were not good and he didn’t see how they could get better.  For all of Kevin’s gruff, bossy exterior, he was a tenderhearted buffoon on the inside.

Mc, Stevie, and Jake had contacted every single person they knew.  They had tracked leads, went to all of Bron’s hangouts, and contacted her friends.  They had crisscrossed the country looking for her.  Wherever she was, she didn’t want to be found.  Brian had a hard time believing she could hide so well.  Even Webster, with all his expertise, was unable to find her.  Bron simply didn’t want to be found.

Brian couldn’t make sense of it all.  Bron leaving her kids was something that was not in her nature.  From the beginning, she had flipped out over Kevin sending Kaylin to his mother to be cared for.  Then, over the last few months, he had watched how fiercely protective she was of her children.  After the birth of Cooper, it was borderline overkill.

Kevin had told Brian she was just afraid and that was how Bron reacted to things like this.  The trial that wasn’t supposed to happen had hit the papers this week.  It was now on the court docket for after the first of the year.  Bron had been extremely upset over the news in the paper.  Once the information was out, the tabloids picked up on the fact that this involved the wife of a Backstreet Boy and made matters worse for her. 

“Bri?”  Kevin called to him.  Brian walked back to the back of the plane to him and sat.  Kevin looked at him with stone cold eyes.

“I’m going to need your help when we get home.”  Kevin’s mind had been working overtime for days.

Solemnly Brian nodded, as he recalled his conversation with Leighanne.  Leighanne had tried everyone local.  Granted, she wasn’t close to Bron but she knew something was wrong.  Bron had been different with her since she had found out that Leighanne was expecting a baby, she was nicer to her.  Bron had picked B.J. up to play with Kaylin several times so Leighanne could have some time alone with Brian before the group left for Japan.  Leighanne was a little reluctant at first since Cooper was only a few weeks old at the time.

Kevin pulled the papers from his pocket.  “I’m not signing these divorce papers until she explains why.”  Leaning forward in his seat he whispered to Brian only, “Then I will, but I’m going to have her declared unfit and I’m going for full custody of my kids.  Andrew can go or stay; he is a man, not a child.  I think he’ll stay though.  He’s really angry at her for doing this.  Cooper is just over four weeks old.”

Brian swallowed the lump in his throat along with his fear.  “You’re not thinking clearly.”

“I’ve never thought clearer,” Kevin spoke as he thumbed the papers in his hand.

“No you are not.  Since the time you have known her, you’ve been there for each other.  Even when she didn’t want any part of you, she had told you no, and you didn’t listen.  Bron gave you the one thing you always wanted.  She wrapped it up in a neat little package.  You have a home… a family… and a career.  All in one place.”  Brian stopped talking as the tears sprang from Kevin’s eyes and rolled down his cheeks.  “Didn’t she?”

Kevin nodded, unable to speak, he knew if he said anything, everything would pour out of him.  His voice had already begun to crack before he spoke.

“Do you have any ideas at all?”  Brian began to think.

Kevin shook his head no.

“The trial?”  Brian broached.

A soft whisper came from Kevin, “I don’t think so.  I dunno anymore.  I’ve gone over everything I can think of.  She was fine when I was home but when I was gone she was skittish but that is how she is.  You know Bron, she’s neurotic and worries about everything.”

The announcement came that they were landing.  Kevin pulled up his seat and sighed heavily.  They had spent almost fourteens hours in the air and he was glad they were finally home.

“Whatever you need Kev, I’m here for ya,” Brian patted his shoulder as he readied himself for the landing.

“Thanks Bri.  Right now I need to see my babies.” 

Brian held Kevin off long enough to say goodbye to Leighanne.  Leighanne agreed to drive Suzie home since Kevin wouldn’t be going there.

Kevin was emotionless on the drive to Anne’s.  Brian still was befuddled. 

Kevin and Brian pulled into Anne’s driveway.  Taking a gulp of cool crisp November air, he steadied himself once he was out of the car.  The feeling of coming off a three-day drunk was similar to what he was feeling now.

Opening the front door, he pressed his lips together.  As he stepped inside Kaylin sat in the rocker looking out the window.  Hearing his son cry, he sighed loudly.

“Daddy where’s Mom?” as the tear stained face turned to him, searching for a sign that things were okay.

Slowly he walked towards her and proceeded to sit on the couch, next to the chair.  Kaylin crawled up in his lap and frowned.  “Where’s Mom?  You didn’t bring Mom home?”

Pulling her onto his lap, he whispered in her hair, as he stroked the blond curls, “I don’t know baby…  I don’t know where Mom is.”

Andrew came to stand next to them; he went to grab her hand, “Come on brat.  I’ll put you to bed.”

The scream that came from Kaylin would have awakened the dead.  “No! I want Daddy to.”  She threw her arms around Kevin’s neck, locking herself onto him.

“It’s okay Andrew, I go it,” as he slid off the couch with Kaylin wrapped around his body.  Kevin glanced to his Mom who now was showing signs of exhaustion.  She looked old and fragile.  This was Bron’s fault.  It wasn’t his Mother’s place to raise their children.

“Just five minutes Mama, please?”  Kevin pleaded knowing he really didn’t need too.

Anne’s fortitude broke when she heard Kaylin speak as she climbed the stairs.  “Daddy you won’t leave me, will you?”  I don’t have anyone left to love me...” 

Anne looked into the face of the baby she was holding.  Cooper looked so much like Kevin but had Bron’s personality, “Oh little one, what has happened to your Mama?”

“Need a break?”  Brian smiled as he settled into the rocker with Cooper.  Brian rocked and fed the baby as they waited for Kevin to come back downstairs.  The chime of the grandfather clock in the corner indicated it was one in the morning.

Kevin came down and scooped up his son quickly.  He began walking the floor as he thought.  His walking turned into a flustered pace, out of anger and frustration.

“You need to get some sleep dear.  Give me the baby.”  Anne approached with open arms.  She saw an onset of a mood on Kevin, she didn’t like the way he was handling the baby.

“I’m fine Mom,” as his grip tightened on the infant.

Andrew caught the flinch and sour looks exchanged between Brian and Anne.  “Come on Kev.  Let me hold my brother, please?”  Andrew asked.

“No, he’s fine with me,” Kevin pulled the small bundle closer.  “I missed him.”  Kevin marveled at much he had changed in just a week.

Andrew looked at him apologetically.  “I know you’re hurting but don’t hurt him because you are angry at Mom.”

Hearing the words, Kevin relinquished his son.  Anne took the baby cautiously from him.  She knew Kevin would never hurt a child but then Kevin wasn’t himself right now either.

As Anne ascended the stairs, she saw that Kevin began to shake uncontrollably.  The thoughts that had entered his head while he held the baby were not right.  “I wouldn’t hurt him.  I wanted to hurt her but she isn’t here.”

Kevin walked over to the couch and collapsed on it.  Sobs racking his body as all of the pent up hurt purged from his system.  Fatigue kicked in and calmed him as he drifted to a semblance of sleep, at least for a few hours anyway.





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