~The Binding~

Chapter 15

Bron watched the two men posture for position, Kevin now stood next to her, closely, a little too close. She gave him a gentle shove, but it was more like a mouse trying to move a mountain. Kevin wasn't moving.

Silently she stood next to the man she had married, facing off with the man that she truly did hate some days, but also the only man that she had counted on for so many things in her life.

Billy and Carlos now stood inside the office, watching and waiting.

"You don't owe him an explanation Bron. Mc, I want you to leave, right now." Kevin's insides were twisting with anger, and as sorry as it sounded, guilt. He should have forced Bron to sell the business and cut ties when he first sent her down here and none of this would be happening. Things had snowballed on him since day one when he met his wife and she had slapped his face for pissing her off.

Suzie had joined the impromptu gathering since it was a room full of people whom none were speaking, except Kevin. His voice was loud enough to carry through the entire house not just the offices.

Bron's focus switched from one man to another. All these people in this house to find out which person or persons were threatening her and her family. Not one of them had gotten any more information then what she had given them to on her own. She would need to make a decision; it was guaranteed to be a very unpopular one with everyone in the office but one. The stress was eating at her. She had to deal with her personal problems, the kids, and now the business, as well as Christmas. Reaching under her desk blotter quickly, she pulled a sheet of paper out, and handed it to Mc. Her actions were swift since Kevin would tear it from her grasp if he knew what she was about to do. Nevertheless, she needed help and there was one person that she had known the longest that she could count on above anyone else. After thinking much of last night instead of sleeping while Kevin lay next to her softly snoring, she knew deep in her heart that he wasn't a suspect. It wasn't his way, he was a physical and direct man. "Did you write this?"

Kevin grabbed for the paper, but it was too late. His entire body lurched over the desk.

Mc's eyes were scanning the document; his physical reaction hinted that he was getting angrier with each passing word he read.

Mc began to pace, as he flipped over the paper and read the back of the letter. A look of confusion crossed his face as he finished that side and flipped it back over again.

The only person Bron focused on was Suzie. Her eyes never veered from her. Bron didn't want to look at Kevin, whose blatant rage seemed to radiate from his body and into hers since they were standing so close. His breathing was heavy and he was fisting his hands. There was no sense in her looking up at his face since she knew that his nostrils would be flared, his face would reflect his feelings, and his brows would be tightly pulled together. When Kevin was angered, he had a way of sucking the oxygen out of a room. Bron couldn't catch her breath if she wanted too, there was no air left for her to breathe. Kevin had taken it all.

The huff that came from Billy and the muttered curse from Carlos detoured her from looking at them. She knew that they were thinking that she had just ruined all of their hard work. None of them could see she was just trying to end this as fast as possible; she had a trial to deal with as well. It was getting to be too much. Lately she would panic when she couldn't find Kevin right away. If Kaylin had been outside with the horses, she made sure the dogs went with her. Cooper was either with her or Kevin. Andrew was always close by or at school.

Mc glared at Kevin then slowly he turned to look at Billy and Carlos. "This explains a lot of your recent behavior. Is this the only one?"

"No," Bron stared back into the razor sharp eyes, taunting him in a manner that she knew he hated. Her face was smug and catty at the same time. She had practiced this face for many years and it was the easiest way to make Mc become unglued.

"Don't pull that shit on me," Mc frowned back. "That face is meant to piss me off, it doesn't work as well as it used to."

"You didn't answer my question," Bron's face hardened immediately. She hated it when he had her pegged. Bron didn't miss the little snicker from Kevin either.

Mc chuckled as his eyes drifted around the room full of angry and upset people. "If I wanted to get you Spark, I'd just take you. I don't play games," Mc waved the paper at her, "Games are for chickens. You wouldn't be with Pop Star here," Mc pointed to Kevin and then leveled a very familiar look at Bron. "If I hadn't approved."

Mc turned and looked at Kevin, "I can see why you would be upset with Sparky here, but she does love you. You should know by now how your wife thinks. She ran to protect and that was all. Draw the hunter away from the hunted. Now if you think that you can settle down long enough for me to look at what else you have, we may be able to find a solution to this."

A little scream started from deep inside Bron. It rolled up her throat, over her tongue, and when it slipped out her lips, it sounded like a roar.

Mc frowned at her as he pulled his jacket off. "Will you shut up," he mumbled as he shook his head. Flopping his jacket over his arm he walked out of the office.

Kevin's tongue balled up in his cheek; he leaned down to kiss Bron. When their eyes connected, he backed up, thought about it, and changed his mind. Her eyes registered the full-blown hissy-fit she was going to have and he wasn't into pain this morning.

Carlos and Billy had followed Mc into the reception area. Kevin, Suzie, and Bron still stood in Bron's office. Mc glanced back through the glass into Bron's office, waiting for Kevin. Kevin scrambled for the doorway, practically running out of it. Pulling the door shut, he waited, a loud bang resonated off the door. Kevin contained his smile; Mc smirked. "Her aim is improving. You should look into lighter staplers." With a chuckle, Mc entered Kevin's office.

Looking through the glass of her office and into Kevin's, Bron watched Mc unbutton the cuffs of his shirt and roll up his sleeves. "He just pisses me right off! I can't stand him! He's a jerk! He's manipulative, heavy-handed, and obnoxious."

"Sort of like Kevin but without the looks," Suzie bit her tongue as she waited for Bron to direct her attitude towards her.

"True," Bron slowly walked to her desk. Sitting down, she pulled herself up to her desk. Chewing on her cheek as she bounced a pencil around on her hand. "I hope this wasn't a mistake. God knows when this house clears out tonight, the wrath of King Richardson will be in full force."

"I guess it's a good thing we are going shopping." Suzie offered up a little relief to her friend.

"Oh yeah," Bron smiled. "I forgot about that." Bron's face scrunched up as she saw the pile of paperwork on her desk. "Okay let's get this done. I still need to get a grocery list going for the party."

"You have a full plate, you need to learn to delegate. Instead of cooking for all these people and having this full blown party, why don't you cut it back to something more homey?" Suzie saw the invitation list growing and growing. In the back of her mind, she knew this wasn't good timing on Bron's part to have this many people around. Judging by what she had heard about the company Christmas parties that Bron and Mc had every year, Bron was doing this out of habit and obligation. The employees were lavished with expensive gifts, fine food, wine, as well as entertainment.

"I can't, it's expected," Bron raised her head up as Kevin entered her office. Going to her desk, he raised her blotter, looked, dropped it back down, and then left.

"Sometimes he just really gets to me," Bron stretched as she rose from the chair.

"So did you tell him what you wanted for Christmas?" Suzie swung the conversation to something more pleasant.

"There is nothing that I want other than to be left alone. Knowing Kevin it will be gift certificates. God I hate those things, they are so impersonal. It holds no sentiment other than, 'I was too lazy to take the time to shop for you.'" Bron picked up the checkbook and the pile of receipts that were sitting on top of it. "Do me a favor, please." Bron pushed the checkbook towards Suzie.

"I don't want to know your personal business," Suzie's face soured.

"I just want you to balance it. If I let him do it, he'll ream me out for how much money I spent. Did you know I married a tightwad?"

Suzie laughed, "Fine, but you have to trade me."

"Trade what?" Bron whined, as she turned the baby monitor up, Cooper would be up soon and wanting to eat. Listening intently to the monitor, she didn't see Kevin open her door once more and stand just outside of it.

"You have to have this party catered," Suzie now had a little leverage against Bron.

"I don't want to have it catered. My family and friends are use to good food but not fancy food. If I were to serve them crab puffs or something like that, they would never forgive me." With her arms crossed on her desk, Bron laid her head down and yawned. "Damn, I'm tired. I don't think I slept an hour last night."

Out of her peripheral vision, Suzie caught a glimpse of Kevin waiting at the door.

"Well then at least get some help with it." A grin formed on her face as she saw Kevin nodding, egging her on.

"Yeah, like who?"

"I can help you do the cooking," Suzie smiled.

Hearing what Suzie had said, Kevin stepped behind the wall so Bron wouldn't hear him laugh. As far as he knew, Suzie could nuke, he wasn't sure about the cooking part.

Slowly Bron raised her head. Cooper began bawling through the speaker. "Hire a caterer, keep it simple but good. The last thing I need is your help in my kitchen." Bron frowned and mumbled as she went to her son, "Just what I need, a nuked Christmas dinner."

With Bron being as tired and keyed up as she was, she never saw Kevin as she walked by him hiding behind the door.

Kevin walked up to Suzie in a flash, patted her head, and smiled. "Good girl, we're even."

"No problemo," Suzie smiled back at him. "We're going shopping and to dinner tonight. Just us girls."

"I'll keep Cooper but you are going to have a change in security until this is over with." Kevin searched Bron's desk for nothing special, he was snooping around looking for anything that didn't belong there.

"Oh and who made this decision?" Suzie's eyebrows furrowed. "I don't like him, I don't like being around him."

"I didn't tell you who it was but I assume you are a smart individual. I made the decision and it is what is best for her," Kevin's voice raised a few octaves.

"You don't need to yell at me, I'm not her nor Nick." Suzie grabbed the checkbook and the receipts. "Now I'll fix this mess."

"What are you doing with our checkbook?" Kevin checked out the pile of receipts as Suzie grabbed for them.

"Bron said you would yell at her if you saw the receipts. She said you were a tight wad." Suzie laughed as she grabbed them.

"I am not, but the damn woman forgot to pay the car insurance. How the hell do you do you forget to pay the insurance?" Kevin loped after Suzie as she went to her desk.

Pushing the button on her calculator, she began sorting the receipts. "I'll take care of it."

Kevin paused at his door, with his hand on the knob. Turning back, he looked over his own shoulder, "Christmas?"

"I'll find out tonight what she wants, so far nothing but peace and quiet and no gift certificates."

"Shit," Kevin's face scrunched.

"It's your wife. Tell me you had more sense than that." Suzie had to hide the grin. 'Boy did Bron call that one,' she mumbled in her head.

"Well, she's hard to buy for. She doesn't really tell you when she wants something and when she does she just goes and buys it."

Suzie held the receipts up to Kevin, "No shit."

Suzie didn't see Bron until later in the afternoon. "Where have you been all day?"

"Taking care of my son. Kaylin is going to be home soon. Are you almost done?" Bron shifted Cooper to her other arm.

"Come here you," Bron heard from behind her and Cooper was picked up off her shoulder.

The sounds of cooing and baby babble from a group of grown men hinted at a smile as she faced Suzie.

Suzie handed the checkbook back with a complete accounting of where the money had been spent by category. The page was picked from the top of the book by a familiar hand. The hand that bore the platinum wedding band on his left hand.

"My, my... Haven't we been busy. Thank you Suzie, at least when I'm broke I will know where my money went."

Bron's head tilted as she turned, "You mean my money." Grabbing the paper back.

"Hey Mc are you paying for half of this damn party?" Kevin questioned as he was handed a second copy of the paperwork.

"Yes Kevin, I'm paying for half the party. Oh and do us all a favor, get a new suit for this one."

Carlos busted out laughing. The only thing that drowned him out was the two 'Mom-s' being screamed up the stairs and one heavy set of feet pounding up the stairs to the office.

"Yes Andrew," Bron stood with her arms crossed.

"Sorry," Andrew shrugged. "My truck is broke down again. Can I use yours?"

Looking at her watch, it was almost dinnertime but then she was going to just cook something for Kevin and him, "Depends. Where are you going?"

All these people in the office were making him uncomfortable, especially his brother being there, "Come on Mom, I'm going out."

"Where?" Bron wasn't budging.

"Cut him some slack Bron. He said he's going out, probably on a date that he doesn't want to share with everyone standing here." Kevin's common sense chimed in.

"I would like to know where he's going?" Mc stepped a little closer to his brother.

A set of keys were pressed into Andrew's hand. "Be home at a decent time, don't drink and drive with my truck. I know you are on break but that doesn't give you a license to tear up Lexington."

"Okay," Andrew waved at everyone as he left.

Kevin dropped an arm around Bron's shoulder. Cooper now resting in his other arm. Leaning down, he whispered in her ear. "Tit for Tat."

"That's different dammit!"

Kevin shrugged, batted his eyelashes, "Don't worry about Little Man and I, we can fend for ourselves."

"Hi Daddy!" Kaylin zoomed by him leaving an air trail in her wake.

"Hey baby, how was the last day of school?" Kevin bent down to her level still holding Cooper.

"I have a project to do. We have to build a house with straws. Will you help me?" Kaylin smiled.

"Wouldn't Mom be better at that than I would?" Kevin tried not to laugh. The daughter missed the obvious, much like her mother.

Leaning forward, she cupped her hand over mouth and to her Dad's ear. "Mom looks really mad right now. What did you do to her?"

"Oh well, nuthin' much. But don't worry, you're still going shopping and Uncle Mc is going too."

"Yeah!" Kaylin danced around the room.

Bron's head moved from side to side as her sarcasm kicked in, "Oh Yeah."

Kevin's thunderous laugh echoed off the walls as Bron left to go downstairs. "I love you darlin'," he yelled.

"Kiss my ass!" she yelled back.

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This is a work of fiction.
The characters and events portrayed are fictitious.
Any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental.

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