“Damn it’s hot out here,” Nick stood next to Kevin
at the grill, which was refusing to light for Kevin. Nick glanced
down and saw that the gas valve was turned off. Reaching under
the grill, he turned the gas on for him.
Kevin just shrugged as he yelled for Kaylin to stay
away from the pool. “Go play on the swingset that you had to
“I don’t want to, I
want to go swimming.”
“It’s December, you’re
not going swimming.”
Kevin needed something to keep her occupied while Bron
and Suzie yelled at each other in the house. The stucco was
nice but their voices were still carrying. Kevin slipped through
the patio door that led to their bedroom while Kaylin sat on
the swing digging her feet into the ground in a pout.
Coming back outside carrying a tablet and a pencil,
he set them on the patio table. “Write a letter to Santa Clause,
he needs to know what you want. Christmas is in two weeks.”
Kaylin dashed from the swingset to the table. “It’s
going to be a great list!” Kaylin scrunched herself up over
the tablet and began to write.
Nick laughed as the page filled rather quickly. “Can
I add to her list for Santa?”
“No,” Kevin barked at him.
“So what’s the deal Kev? Why did she do this? What
letters and what’s this shit about her family?” Nick looked
over his shoulder to make sure Kaylin wasn’t eavesdropping on
the conversation. The little girl was intensely wrapped up
in her project.
“I dunno Nick,” Kevin left him to grab two chairs and
pull them over to the girl and away from Kaylin. “Somebody
has been threatening her, we both thought it was Lenny and the
letters appear to be from him, and the envelopes are all post
marked from her hometown. It’s just the information is not
stuff he would know about. There are private details in them.
It is someone who is around us every day.”
“That sucks. Who do you think it is?” Nick sat back
in the chair. Florida seemed unusually warm for December.
If Kevin’s pool wasn’t covered he might even entertain the thought
of going swimming.
“I’m Clueless. There is not one single event that
was mentioned that a particular person was at every single time.
There is no common denominator with any of them.” Kevin stopped
when he heard the patio door slide open that led to their bedroom.
Turning Kevin saw Andrew standing there, waiting to see what
Kevin motioned him over to them; Andrew joined them.
“Grab a chair and sit with us, we need to talk.”
Andrew looked at Kevin then to Nick and back to Kevin.
“Andrew, if I can’t trust Nick, there isn’t a person in the
world that I can trust.”
Kaylin covered her paper with her entire upper body
when Andrew approached. “Don’t look Andrew!”
“I’m not going to look Bounce,” Andrew’s eyes made
a fast trip down the page as he grabbed the chair and carried
over to the girl. Sitting down he looked at Kevin.
Kevin smiled back hoping
Andrew would clue him in on the big list.
Andrew turned his head
towards Kaylin and then back to Kevin, “Barbie, Barbie, Barbie,
horse stuff, Barbie, Barbie, horse saddle.”
“Good I have just about all of that covered,” Kevin
“Knowing Mom that was covered ages ago Kevin. Trust
me, Christmas is a big deal at our house. I mean your house...
“I understand,” Kevin nodded trying to calm the man.
“Look, you know about the letters and Tim told me that you read
them. Who do you think it is?”
grew sad, “Thanks for not thinking that it’s me.”
“Andrew please, enough,” Kevin paused as the yelling
in the house reached a new higher pitch. “I don’t have much
time before I have to go in there and break that up.”
“You’re gonna do that?” Nick questioned Kevin’s sanity
as he looked at the two women having a screaming match behind
the sheer drapes. What he really wanted was more information
but he didn’t want to push without a signal from Kevin that
it was okay to do so.
“Not unless I have too,” Kevin heard the cussing and
yelling reach another crest.
“I think it’s my brother,” Andrew ground the words
out. “He has always interfered and I think now that things
are different for him... He’s kicking himself in the ass because
he set my Mom up with you.”
“Nick what do you think?” Kevin turned to him.
“I can’t think Kevin, I still don’t know what the fuck
you’re talkin’ ‘bout.” Nick was never going to understand this.
However, he was impressed as hell with himself that Kevin would
ask him for advice, for years it had always been the other way
Kevin stood up in time to hear Bron telling Suzie to
shut the fuck up, she didn’t understand anything. “Uh-oh,”
Kevin’s lips twisted as he looked at the two women with their
arms crossed, well one of them had their arms crossed. Then
Suzie's arms started flailing around in the air.
Suzie yelled back, “Hell no! You won’t let anybody
Kevin shook his head, this argument was going to wake
Cooper very soon if they didn’t work it out. Kevin stepped
quietly into their bedroom and came back with some papers, he
handed them to Nick.
Leaning back in the chair, Nick’s eyes scanned each
sheet then his fingers flipped them over. “Sick bastard to
say things like this, threaten the kids and you.” Nick sat
the letter down and looked at Kevin and Andrew. “I think it’s
either Jake or Stevie.”
“What!” Kevin and Andrew both looked at him.
“Those two wouldn’t even speak those words to my Mom.
They are almost her own personal pets for crying out loud.”
Andrew shook his head back and forth. “There is no way. Kevin
had to get Mc to fire Jake just so he could hire him and know
that he is doing the job he is supposed to be doing. Stevie
left Mom alone and Kevin invaded her hotel suite.”
Kevin blinked, “You know a hell of a lot more than
I thought you did.”
After staring for a second Nick spoke up, “Andrew,
Stevie still loves your mother. How come Jake is never with
a woman, maybe he loves your Mom too?”
“Stevie does still love your mother Andrew,” Kevin
watched the door to the living room slide open.
Bron came out and slammed a plate of steaks on the
side of the girl. “Don’t burn them!” Bron marched back in
the house and slammed the patio door shut.
Kevin couldn’t jump fast enough to get the steaks on
“Damn, cat fight soon.” Nick laughed.
“Don’t count on it, they just need to get this out
of the way, and they will be fine. So back to what we were
talking about.” Kevin stood by the grill and tended to dinner
while they continued to discuss the problem at hand.
“Stevie has always loved mom, he loved mom when my
dad was alive but Stevie isn’t capable of the level of violence
that my brother is and you know it Kevin.”
“Just how much of a bad ass was your brother?” Nick
looked at each man for an answer.
Kevin provided the answer, “Three times in ICU, twenty-three
broken bones, concussion, broken ribs, collapsed lung, broken
nose, crushed cheekbone, the list goes on and on. Come on Nick
you know this shit already.”
Nick leaned in closer to Kevin, “All I’m saying is
don’t narrow the field too much. What about people in her company
that she is close too?”
“J.D. and Hank,” Andrew
named two of them.
“Webster too, there
is something fishy about a guy who just up and moves from one
town to another and says it because he was ready to move but
he baby-sits your Mother’s case like it was his own child.”
“And Suzie,” Nick tossed
the words out and then waited.
“Are you nuts? That is the stupidest fuckin’ thing
I have ever heard.” The words came out of Kevin before he realized
he had said them.
Nick’s shoulders move up and down. “They’re close.”
Kevin’s eyes rolled around in his head. More yelling
from the house made him lick his lips, his mouth and throat
were parched. “Damn I’m thirsty. I need a drink.”
“Yeah me too,” Nick’s head motioned his agreement.
“Tell ya what Nick,”
Kevin started to laugh before he could even finish the sentence.
“No fuckin’ way man,
you can kiss my ass if you think I’m walking into the middle
of that so you can have a drink.”
Kevin’s head swung towards
Andrew who smiled at him, “I’m not that thirsty.”
Nick snickered, “There’s
always the garden hose.”
“Uh,” Kevin frowned. “I can remember that taste from
when I was a kid. I will not suck water from a rubber tube.”
Kevin was flipping the steaks on the grill when Kaylin
began to tug on his shirtsleeve. He looked down at her and
smiled, “What baby?”
“I’m done. Should I mail my list or give it to you
to give to Santa?” Kaylin smiled that wicked little grin that
usually meant trouble was ahead for somebody.
“Why would you give it to me baby? I’m not Santa,”
he checked the smile and then watched her frown.
Kaylin was no fool;
she knew that if her parents took care of the list, Santa would
“I always gave my letter to my Daddy.” Kaylin’s eyes
began to look watery to Kevin.
“Of course, I’ll get your letter to Santa.” Kevin
was now kicking himself in the ass for the off-handed remark.
“Kaylin would you do Daddy a favor? Go in the house get Daddy
a beer.” Kevin shot Nick and Andrew a cheesy grin.
“No way, Mom is really yelling. I’m not going in there.”
Kaylin’s blonde curls whipped from side to side as Nick and
Andrew laughed at him.
The patio door slid open slowly, “Are they done yet?”
Bron leaned on the frame of the door.
“Are you?” Kevin winced. Bron’s face was red and
streaked from crying, the two of them really had it out with
each other. On one hand, he was relieved and on the other,
he was insecure until he could judge the outcome for himself.
“I think so,” Bron smiled as her arms crossed over
Tossing the meat on the platter, Kevin entered the
door hesitantly to find Suzie sitting at the kitchen table.
Her face was just as red as Bron’s and just as tear stained.
“Your wife is an ass.” Suzie smiled to Kevin as Nick
“No, I’m a pig headed ass. Ask my husband, he gave
me that label a long time ago.”
“What’s a pig headed ass?” Kaylin looked at her Mom.
“A word you aren’t supposed
to be sayin’ and you know it,” Kevin frowned as he pointed to
a chair she was to sit in.
“I did my letter to Santa Mommy. I can’t wait for
the Christmas party,” Kaylin smiled.
Bron bit her lip nervously and then looked at Andrew,
they both were thinking the same thing. “How the hell can I
be in the same room with whoever this is at the Christmas Party?”
Looking at the clock, Bron was thankful that it was
as late as it was, Kaylin would be going to bed in a couple
of hours and they could talk. Sticking her fork in her steak,
she cut the meat into bite size pieces.
The meal was started
with silence hanging heavily in the air, until Cooper let out
a wail loud enough to make them all jump.
Bron let out a flustered
gasp, “See, he knew I was going to get a hot meal.”
Kevin never budged as he watched her get up and retrieve
Bron re-entered the kitchen with a blanket tossed over
her shoulder. “He’s getting a hot meal, I’m getting a hot meal.”
Nick groaned and looked at Suzie.
“Grow up you big baby,” Bron laughed at his expense.
“Someday Suzie will be doing this for your kids.”
“Wanna bet,” Suzie shot
Bron a look that she was treading on more thin ice with her.
“Thank you. Thanks to all of you for taking good care
of my kids. Andrew thank you for taking care of your brother
and sister as well as Kevin.”
“Did you and Suzie have a fight?” Kaylin looked at
“Yes we did and now it’s over with and your Mom owes
Nick and I a very expensive vacation. Your Mom calls them GG’s.”
Suzie wore a shit eating grin knowing that she would get that
“Oh I got one of those,” Kaylin smiled. “I got a new
Beanie when Mom yelled at me.”
Bron snorted, “Trust
me, a Beanie isn’t going to cut it this time.”
Nick cleared his throat,
“There is no GG needed Bron, you needed help and that is what
people do for each other.”
Bron smiled thinking how sweet, Suzie gasped and kicked
Nick’s leg under the table. Kevin coughed the words, “New boat.”
“I’m not buying him
a new boat for babysitting.”
“It was Kaylin we were watching, remember?” Suzie
played the guilt card.
Kaylin frowned, “I wasn’t
“No you weren’t,” Nick gave her a thumbs up. “She’s
my first mate now. We’re going sailing and fishing.”
“And snorkeling too!” Kaylin was as pleased as punch.
“What is Suzie going to do while you guys are so busy?”
Kevin thought that maybe Kaylin was just a little overeager.
“Get seasick,” Nick
“Are you friends again?” Kaylin looked at Suzie.
“Yes Kaylin, we were never not friends, we were just
angry because your Mom did something that was not necessary.
She should have talked to us and your Dad first.”
Bron’s eyes narrowed
as she looked at her friend, “Change the conversation.”
“So we’re friends just
like always,” Suzie reassured Bron’s mini-me.
“Cool because the Christmas party is coming and I want
you and Uncle Nick to be there.” Kaylin stuck her fork into
her food not noticing the quiet that had overtaken the meal
This page © 2001 - 2007 Bronwyn
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This is a work of fiction.
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