~The Binding~

Chapter 17

On the outside, the Richardsons looked like an average family getting ready for Christmas, which was only two days away.  The pre-Christmas mood in the house was intense as far as people who knew them.  The big Christmas party was taking place tomorrow in their home. The house was bustling with the caterer that Suzie had hired, who came with a decorator that tried to fuss with Bron’s house and was told politely twice to don’t touch anything.  The third time wasn’t as polite but the message got through to the ditzy blonde decorator with a passion for Backstreet.

Bron was snapping at everyone, ‘like a pissed off ‘gator,’ as Kevin so eloquently told his mother.  Bron was busting on everyone as she worked up in her office getting ready for next year's contract work and the company taxes.  It didn’t help matters much when another letter was sent to her with a very blunt message.  Bron stared at it for a long time before she even handed it over to Kevin.

The words written on the page made the hair on Kevin’s arm stand on end.  “This is your last Christmas with the perfect family.”  Kevin turned the note over and then handed it to Mc as the three of them occupied Bron’s office.

Mc sighed and sat on the couch with the letter in his hand.  He casually tossed one arm behind his head and crossed one leg over the other.  He stared at the letter for a long time before he spoke, “I don’t get why he is doing this, but after Christmas we are going to take care of this once and for all.”  Standing up, he walked over to Bron’s desk and flipped through the pages of the reports that she had been working on.

“I’m waiting?” Bron sat across from him.

“I don’t know what for.  I handle this by myself.”  Mc cast a glance at her that was more of threat than anything else.

Bron stood up and glared at Mc, irregardless she knew something was wrong with Stevie. “Don’t you hurt him.”

“I’ll do what is necessary to handle the problem,” Mc pulled the paperwork off the desk.  Going back to the couch, he plopped down on it.  Resting the folder on the arm of the chair, he leafed through the pages, “Is this everything?”

“You know it is, stop ignoring me,” Bron's voice came from behind the desk like a shotgun blast.

Kevin sat on the side of the desk just watching, his leg swinging back and forth.  He wouldn’t interfere between the two of them since Mc was well beyond the point of lashing out at Bron.  The feeling of something gnawing on him like bone had been driving him crazy for days.  Kevin couldn’t stand the fact that Billy and Carlos had gone home, now he truly was in the dark.  They were all standing around waiting for Stevie to make his next move, even if it was via long distance.  Now he had made his move and Kevin felt partially enraged and partially sick to his stomach.  The scenarios of what could happen had played in his head for days now.  The nagging doubt of ‘What if we’re wrong and it’s not him,’ cropped on occasion as well. 

Bron moved to the other end of the couch, waiting for Mc to enlighten her. 

Mc chuckled, he knew exactly what she was doing.  Handing her the folder he smiled.  “Find a charity.  We need to make a fat donation very quickly.”

Bron followed him as he went out to the reception area to direct Suzie to do something.  “Stop this.  Tell me what you are going to do.”

Mc’s eyes narrowed at her, “We’re going to find a worthwhile charity for a big fat donation so we can drop down to the next tax bracket.  We do this every year.”

“That’s not what I mean and you know it,” Bron was huffing at Mc.  Her anger no longer contained.

Suzie yawned, she had found the tension was best to ignore unless it was being directed towards her.  Bron was spastic and her temper seemed to flash at the smallest things.  Suzie fingered the new necklace she was wearing.

“Good taste,” Mc took a closer look.  “The twelve days of bling-bling seem to be working it’s magic on you Suz.  What do you think you’ll get today?”

“Hopefully Nick,” she giggled. 

The sound of Cooper crying in the baby monitor sent Bron flying out of the reception area and down the stairs just after she groaned over Suzie’s comment.

Kevin stood by the door of the office.  “I know of a charity,” he smiled.

“I said worthwhile,” Mc hissed at him.  Turning he marched back into Bron’s office and waited for Kevin to turn around.  “Shut the door, we need to talk.”

Kevin knew this was coming and he wasn’t sure if he wanted any part of it.  The ego side of him wanted to protect his wife at all costs; the human side of him didn’t want to know what Mc was inferring.  

“You need to regain your control in this house.  She is slowly going insane with worry.  Bron is ready to blow Kevin and she is scared shitless right now.”

“You don’t think I don’t know that.  This is hard on all of us,” Kevin’s hand swiped down his face as he expelled air from his lungs.  “Why the hell can’t we just have him locked up?”

“Because it’s all circumstantial evidence.  We can’t prove a damn thing.  I don’t want this to go down like her other case and C.W.’s case.  Granted the man works for me and he is my best friend but something is wrong with him, he’s unbalanced.  I think this goes way deeper than any of us could imagine.”

Kevin bit his tongue, wanting to say that they were all unbalanced as far as he was concerned.  “This waiting it out is hard.  At least the tour is over.  Christmas is right around the corner…”  Kevin stopped as the words on the note hit home.

“Look I have to help Bron deliver your Mother’s Christmas gift today.  Why don’t we all go?  I’ll hang at your Mom’s for awhile and watch the kids.  You and Bron can maybe go to dinner or something.”

“Forget it Mc,” Kevin looked out into the reception area.  “Bron won’t be separated from the kids.”

Mc’s jaw slid back and forth, “What happened to the demanding, commanding, egotistical bastard that I first met when I met you?”  Mc wanted them to have some time alone away from everyone.  Time for Bron to just let it out.  She wouldn’t do that if she was around anyone. 

Kevin snorted, “Old age mellowed me.”

“Take her to dinner.  I’ll give you the charity check.”  Mc smirked.

“You don’t have to pay me to take my wife to dinner.  I’m just trying to figure out how to get her to agree to let the kids out of her reach.”

“Oh we’ve turned into a gentleman; and here I thought you had balls.”  Mc laughed as he walked out of the office and down the stairs. 

Bron was holding Cooper as Mc whipped by her.  “Hey I thought…

“I’ll be right back.  Your husband wants to see you.”

“Oh,” Bron blinked and headed into her office.

Kevin sat in her chair rubbing his temples.  He didn’t wait for her to ask since he had heard what Mc had said.  “I didn’t want to see you.  Mc thinks we should drop him and the kids off at my Mother’s and go out to dinner.”

“The man is delusional if he believes that I would let my kids out of my sight.” Bron sat on the couch with Cooper in her arms. 

Kevin stood up, stretched, and then walked over to the door and quietly closed it.  “I don’t really want to go do dinner either but I think we need some time to ourselves to pull it together for tomorrow at least.  I don’t think being out in public is going to help any.”  Moving to the couch, he bent down, brushing his hand over Cooper’s dark hair as Bron nursed.  “I can’t imagine what I would do if he hurt one of the kids or you.”

“Tell Darkboy to go away Lurch, I need my husband with me now.”  Bron’s eyes reflected the torment in her voice.

“You’re right,” Kevin placed his lips on his son’s head and then on his wife.  “I’ll go wake up Andrew and get Kaylin off the video games.  They can go with us.” 

Waking up Andrew wasn’t too hard, since he was close to waking up on his own.  “Hey buddy, get up, we’re going to Grandma’s.”  Kevin stood at the door with his hand on the knob.

“You go, I’ll say here,” Andrew yawned as he scratched his head.

“That won’t happen.  You’re Mom got another letter so you can forget about being off her radar for awhile.”

“Fuck,” Andrew groaned.

“Nice mouth, don’t use it around your sister,” Kevin frowned.  “We have to take the buffet and hutch over.”

“Oh you need free labor,” Andrew sat on the edge of the bed.

“You could look it that way,” Kevin laughed as he left the door open and headed downstairs to the entertainment room.  Going down the stairs, he called for Kaylin on the way.

“What!” she yelled back.

“Time to clean-up.  We’re going to Grandma’s.”  Kevin looked around the room.  She had been pretty neat but the room was loaded with party supplies for tomorrow.  Kevin had yet to figure out where Bron had stashed all the gifts; he assumed he would see them tomorrow night when they played Santa after everyone left.  The party was scheduled to start early around four since it was Christmas Eve.

Kaylin popped off the floor, leaving her socks lying in the middle of the room.  She dashed for the steps until Kevin grabbed on to her shirt.  “Forget something?”

Kaylin turned around and looked at the game and television; she had turned everything off.  Dad was a pain about turning things off.  “It’s off!” she shrugged but didn’t get free.

“Are those your socks?” Kevin pointed to the floor.

“Yeah, Mom will get them,” Kaylin started to move for the stairs but her body didn’t move.

“No, you’ll get them.  You’re Mom has enough to do.  If you do all the little things that you are suppose to do Mom would have less.”

“Daddy!” Kaylin whined.

“We can stay home,” Kevin frowned.

“Fine,” Kaylin shrugged loose successfully this time and retrieved the socks. 

She ran up the two sets of stairs to the hallway.  Kevin was right behind her.  Just as she hit her door, she heard her Dad.  “Don’t throw them on the floor in there either!”

She stuck her tongue out but her Dad didn’t see her. “He’s so mean sometimes.”

“No he isn’t Kaylin, you’re just lazy.  You shouldn’t be sticking your tongue out either, it’s rude.  Especially to Dad.”

“Shut up Andrew or I’m telling Mom,” Kaylin had her hands on her hips as if she were playing princess and dismissing one of her subjects.

“You’re going to tell me what?”  Bron stood at the landing.

“Daddy is mean and Andrew is picking on me.”  Her matter-of-fact attitude made Kevin snicker as he stood out of her view.

“Why is Daddy mean?” Bron sympathized not knowing what was going on.

“Because he made her pick up her dirty socks and I yelled at her for sticking her tongue out at him.”

Kevin came up the stairs, “Yes I’m the mean Daddy.  I make my kids clean up after themselves. How horrible.”  Kevin did a lively but very bad death scene in the middle of the hall. 

All of them were laughing, even Suzie who was on her way down to answer the door.  The UPS man was coming up the drive.  “No wonder Howie gets all the acting parts.”

Kevin laughed as Bron helped him up off the floor balancing Cooper in one arm.  “What are you doing down here?”

“UPS,” she batted her eyes and continued on down the stairs.

“UPS?” Bron wiggled her brows, dropped Copper in Kevin’s arms, and ran down the stairs after Suzie.

“That is bad, really bad,” Andrew tried not to laugh.

“Well, like I’ve said before, we’re married not dead,” Kevin smirked.

The family stood at the top of the stairs and watched the two women fawn over the UPS man. Mc grabbed the package from the man, tossed it to Suzie, signed the paperwork, and shut the door.

“This is my house!  Don’t’ act like that.” Bron slapped his arm.

“You shouldn’t be trying to pick up the UPS guy.  You’re married.”

Suzie turned to Mc, “I’m not.”

“It beats Mark McGrath,” Kevin laughed as loud as he could from upstairs.

Bron stuck her tongue, “But not Matthew McConaughey.

Ohhhhh!”  Suzie’s eyes lit up.  “Got some new ideas?”

“Do I ever, we’ll talk later.  I have to go deliver a Christmas present.  I’ll be back later.”

“What do you mean Matthew McConaughey?” Kevin came down the stairs two at a time.  “Now you two are doing McConaughey?”

Bron snickered as she grabbed the diaper bag from the bench. “Damn, that would be fun!”

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