~The Binding~

Chapter 20

Kevin had seen some funny things tonight; this would be a Christmas he would never forget. Earlier he had found Bron in the kitchen waving a knife and then slicing open Mc's elaborately wrapped gift. The ring box was removed from the bigger box and placed in Mc's hand. Returning the knife to the holder, Bron smiled. "Do it right." She walked out as Kevin walked into the kitchen.

The kitchen was unusually crowded with the caterer and his staff. Kevin checked out the object in the box and let out a low whistle, "Sweet."

"Think she'll say yes?" Mc's palms were sweating as he held on to the box.

"She will if she doesn't want Bron to kick her ass," Kevin chuckled.

The smile slipped on Mc's face, "She would, wouldn't she?"

Suzie's giggling followed by a head of blonde hair behind her caused Kevin to turn around. "You better slow down there Miss Suzie," Kevin admonished.

"Oh be quiet. Don't you get tired of the father figure routine," came from a voice that had just entered the kitchen.

Suzie laughed as she watched Kevin's mouth drop open and hang open for a long period of time. She may be drunk but he certainly was ready to fall over dead.

Kevin heard the voice; it was her sex voice, the one she used when they were getting their freak on. "How did you get here?" seemed like a good question.

Mc was grinning; it seemed Bron's little surprise had arrived.

The young woman smiled and then smirked at him, "In a big white thing that flies in the sky. It's called a plane."

Suzie's eyes squished for a minute, she was having trouble focusing. "Damn, you do have a big mouth Kevin."

"His tongue is better," Bron giggled as she leaned into the doorway. She had seen her guest arrive but couldn't get across the room fast enough to intercede, she knew Kevin was in the kitchen.

Mc didn't say a word as Kevin began to boil, there was no simmering, no slow ascent to his anger, it was right out there.

The woman gave him a drippy smile back as she answered Bron, "Amazing tongue, the lips aren't bad either, I must say."

"That's not what I meant and you know it," Kevin barked, his agitation shot up ten-fold. The room was getting hot as he tugged on the neck of his sweater.

Bron hadn't told him knowing he would fly off the handle and say no way, no how. Nevertheless, she had a thank you to say for calling her brother in law and she wanted to do it in person. By the call being made, it started the ball rolling for Kevin to go down to Florida. Bron said nothing as Kevin's glare pierced through her. Inviting Kristin made one family member as happy as it made Kevin angry.

"Lighten up Kevin," Bron warned him with a smile that held a different meaning that only Mc and Kevin could understand. The killer smile meant shut up or be killed.

A slow smiled stretched over his face as he dreamed of reaching across the kitchen and wrapping his fingers around her long, slender column of a neck. He was shaking her and yelling at her in his head.

Bron's snort, as unladylike as it was, made him snap back to the present. "Are you beating me to a pulp in your head?"

Kris looked horrified while Suzie and Mc laughed, knowing the couple a little too well.

Kevin let out a great sigh and smiled hugely at Bron, then Suzie and Kris. Stopping his glass in mid-air, halfway to his lips, his eyes shifted to his wife who was grinning like a fool. "More of a shaking thing. I hadn't gotten to the choking part yet but that would have been the next logical step."

"Aww, I love you too," Bron's shoes clicked on the slate as she crossed the room to him and wrapped her arms around his waist. Looking up at him, she licked her lips and then smiled yet again.

Kevin bent down to her eye level with one hand on his hip. "Any more surprises?"

"Not unless you want to meet Kristin's boyfriend?" Bron snickered.

Kevin closed his eyes tightly then opened them. He stood up, and gave Kris a long once over look. She looked good; the body was still there, the sultry way she could pull an outfit off if she wanted to. Yep, Kris was definitely with a man and most likely having sex with him by the way she was dressed, he frowned. "No, I don't want to meet him."

"Okay," Bron led him out the door to give Kris time to recover from Kevin's statements.

"She wouldn't, would she?" Kris looked to Mc not Suzie.

Mc shrugged, "I doubt it. She knew he would say no. About the only thing he can handle right now is controlling the strong urge to get even with her." Mc snagged Logan as he ran through the kitchen. "We need to talk."

"I didn't do anything," Logan stopped running, almost falling until Mc caught him.

"No you didn't but I need to ask you something?" Mc pulled a chair out for the boy to sit in.

Suzie made an exit leaving Kris by herself with Mc and Logan. Jerald came back in the kitchen, he looked around, and then at Kris. "I'm glad you could make it."

"I'm glad I could too," she smiled warmly and grabbed for his hand. "It's a little different but I think we can work on it."

Mc's eyes bulged, "Oh no, not you two."

They both smiled and left the stunned man sitting with a seven year old. Mc's talk went well with Logan and Logan agreed whole-heartedly. Nevertheless, it was going to be very hard to keep a secret like that until later. Their talk ended when the caterer announced that dinner was being served.

The party was in full swing, the dinner dishes had been cleared away from the buffet style meal. Bron was relieved that everyone had nothing but compliments. J.D. and Hank even ventured out on a limb to suggest the caterer for future parties since Bron wasn't half as crabby from being tired. A quirk of her eyebrow silenced both of them.
Now the liquor and beer were flowing from the bar downstairs, the wait staff had left, and the family party had begun. There would be no bartender, Bron was uncomfortable about all the strangers milling about in her home and made it very clear that after the meal, Frankie and his associates would leave. A dessert buffet was set up and they made their departure.

Bron watched Kevin stand at the end of the dining room table and smile as he looked down at the object. "Kevin!" Bron snapped, knowing damn well what he was thinking of as he moved the Raspberry Ganache to the end of the table where it had sat the evening before.

"What's with the table?" Kris chuckled as she joined Bron. "I think maybe there was a little horizontal bop on that thing lately?"

Bron wanted to groan but instead laughed. This was Kris, she knew Kevin's moves better than anyone. Clearing her throat, she politely replied, "You know Kevin."

"Yes I do, so I know that is a yes," she grinned as Kevin's eyes roamed the room and then stopped sharply on the two women standing together. "We're making him nervous."

"Fun, isn't it," as Bron gave him a big, bright smile back and he in return shook his finger at her.

Kevin sprinted across the room as the women stood talking. "We need to talk more in depth," Kris sipped her wine.

"What did you have in mind?" Bron's curiosity got the better of her again.

"I've been reading and I have a funny little story they you might enjoy about a romantic leading man. You might even be able to incorporate it into one of your storylines."

Bron's mind was being wound up, "Oh you do? Does it involve hot and heavy sex?"

"I really think the Spray-n-Wash is better at getting grass stains out then Shout. Don't you?"

Turning Bron caught her husband eavesdropping from about four feet behind them. Kris's words and facial expression gave it away. "Yes, but don't ever try Oxyclean," Bron giggled.

Kris watched Kevin walk away then smiled. "He'll never change, he used to do that to fans all the time. They would think he wasn't paying attention when he was signing and they'd talk away. He always repeated what they said, to me later."

"He's so nosy, but we will talk, just not here and now. He's going to be mad at me later. But, it's our first Christmas and it's all he has talked about since we got back." Bron broached the subject wondering how Kris would handle it.

"You're not angry at me for calling Jerald?" Kris didn't think Bron was but she wanted to make sure.

Bron let the drink roll back on her tongue and then she swallowed, "No, I'm grateful that you did. I almost made one of the biggest mistakes of my life."

Kris leaned forward and hugged her. "Thank God. I was so scared and thought you would never forgive me. Kevin loves you like nothing I have ever seen. He didn't even love me that much."

Bron became uncomfortable but it was fleeting as they both were interrupted by Jerald. "Please will you two stop this? Kevin is over in the corner, shittin' his drawers because you two are together. He sent me over here to split the two of you up."

"How nice of him," Kris smiled.

"Let's go outside and enjoy the evening for a minute," Jerald grabbed her hand and they walked to the front door together.

As soon as the door shut, Kevin was by her side. No need for her to double-check, the possessive arm around her shoulders confirmed that it was him. "Wouldn't they make a cute couple?" Bron chuckled.

Kevin wheezed and moaned loudly. Leaving his wife, he went to get another drink; he needed one. Bron had just planted an awful thought in his mind. Not only was it unbearable, it was the worst thing that could happen to him; his Ex with his brother.

The kids were getting excited, they wanted to open the family presents. Bron's eyebrows went up as she watched Suzie trip from the dining room into the living room, over her own two feet. It had been awhile since she had seen her dear friend plastered. "Time to get the ball rolling," she smiled as she set her drink down. Clapping her hands to get everyone's attention she smiled. "I think we have some presents to hand out. So if I could get Kaylin, Logan, Madison, Will, and Brian Junior to help me, we can get started." Bron looked around the room to make sure she had included all the older kids; she didn't want to forget any of them. They screamed as the adults laughed when they ran to Aunt Bron. "I want you guys to go under the tree and find the gifts for all the adults."

"What about us?" Will questioned only to have Tim express some parental displeasure.

"Don't worry about that," Bron laughed as she ruffled the hair of Tim and Kevin's mirror image. "You'll get yours too."

The kids dashed off and Bron watched them run around the room like mad men trying to see who could deliver the most gifts. Jerald and Kris returned and Bron's eyes danced as she caught sight of a sparkling ruby on Kris's right hand. She couldn't get to her any sooner. "Any news we should announce?" Bron smiled.

"No, we're friends," Jerald pulled a Kevin on Bron as he quirked his brows at her.

"Figures," Bron mumbled as she grabbed onto Suzie. The woman was going to the kitchen to refill her wine glass again. "You're not hiding out, you're staying right here."

"I'm drunk," Suzie pouted.

"Yes I know. You'll be sorry tomorrow but I know why you're down. Nick had to go down to Tampa or it would cause problems. Stop feeling sorry for your damn self and enjoy Christmas with us. Besides, I bought you something really expensive."

"You did?" Suzie smiled. "You didn't have to."

"I know that," Bron stepped aside as Madison ran up to Kris.

"For you, Aunt Kris…" Madison froze, she wasn't suppose to call her that anymore, her Dad told her so.

"She'll always be Aunt Kris Maddy, so don't worry about your Dad getting mad at you."

"It's weird," a toothless grin looked at Bron.

"Yes, but it's a nice weird. Right?" Bron tweaked her nose with her thumb and forefinger.

"Yep," Madison bubbled and off she went again.

Once the presents were handed out, Bron smiled. "Okay, I'm a sentimental jerk so we're going to go around the room and oh and ahh at everything." Kevin once again joined Bron. He was holding Cooper, who was happy just to watch the lights bounce around on the tree.

"What about our presents?" Kaylin looked at Bron and Kevin.

"The best for last," Kevin smiled. "After all the adults open theirs, then you guys get the good stuff."

Bron squeezed Kevin's hand; he was enjoying himself so much. Kevin loved to give things to people. The last few days he kept saying it was his first Christmas with his family. Looking up to him, she stared at him, he leaned down and kissed her very slowly in front of everyone. The kiss was sweet and sensual and long enough to elicit a, "Break it up Kevin," from Jerald.

"Merry Christmas Witch," he breathed in her scent.

"Merry Christmas Master," Bron returned and then blanched. Opening one eye, she looked at him, "I didn't say that, did I?"

"Yeah you did but it's not like we don't know," was spoken in an ancient, loud, and gravely voice. "It's the genes, all our men are like that. You can do what you want as long as they agree. Ain't that right honey?" MeeMaw patted her husband's hand.

The room erupted in laughter as Bron's head dropped to Kevin's chest. "I'm going to kill MeeMaw."

Kevin was too busy laughing to console his wife in her embarrassment. "Right on MeeMaw," Kevin gave her two thumbs up.

"Oh please," Kristin groaned. "She has you wrapped around her little finger."

All eyes turned on the former girlfriend, she shrugged her shoulders, "She does, and he worships the ground she walks on. You can't see that?"

Now it was Kevin's turn to be embarrassed. "Thanks Kris, you can pipe down now."

"No problem honey," Kris batted her eyelashes at Kevin, which caused an even louder round of laughter. Kris was doing her best to lighten things up and have Kevin relax. When his shoulders dropped, she knew she had done what she had intended to do.

The laughter seemed to put everyone at ease. The adults took turns as they marveled at the exchange of gifts. Kevin fretted over his watch as he kept track of the time. MeeMaw opened her new camera for the web. Kevin shook his head, "You're bound and determined to just corrupt my family."

"You love it that at her age she is still interested in life and new things." Bron had heard that MeeMaw was mentioning this item in particular to everyone that would listen so she bought for her.

"Yeah, until she runs into a few fan sites," Kevin snapped at Bron.

J.D. and Hank tucked envelopes in their suit coats, they knew their Christmas bonus was inside and the amount was never questioned. "You're not going to open that?" Bron frowned.

"We know what it is," J.D. laughed.

"Open it anyway!" Bron stood next to Kevin.

Both of them opened them at the same time and Bron smiled when they almost slipped from their seats. "We had a good year and we found something better than a charity."

Mc was sitting with Janey when Kaylin walked up to him to hand him his gift. Mc handed one to Kaylin to give to Kevin. Mc opened his and was waiting for the usual gag gift from his partner, instead he found a silver and glass frame, Bron winked at him.

"Here Dad, it's from Uncle Mc." Kaylin shoved the package at Kevin.

"Dare I open it?" Kevin grinned. Unwrapping the box, he lifted the lid. The smile shot over his face and he was grinning like a pig in shit.

Bron frowned, lifted the lid, and then turned on Mc. "Oh thanks a lot."

"That's a cute bikini you're wearing," Suzie snickered as she stood on the other side of Kevin holding Cooper.

The ones who knew about the picture that hung on the wall at the bar, laughed. Bron's hand forced the lid closed, "You show that to anyone, you're dead," came in the form of a hiss.

"Aw, I'm going to put it on my desk in my office," Kevin bit his tongue.

"I have a better picture than that old one," Brian jumped in to the conversation. Walking to the hallway, he brought back a large box. Standing in front of everyone, he smiled. "This is for my cousin and his wife. They belong to each other," Brian added just to tease Bron about the old joke. The box was five feet high and four feet wide.

Kevin broke the seal on the box and opened it. He pulled back tissue paper since the box was leaning on Brian. A chorus of 'aww-s' and 'ohhhs' filled the room. Bron's face turned blood red as she began to interogate Brian. "Where did you get that?"

"I took it. Nick told me not to he said Kevin would get mad. I took this in Chicago. It was sweet, you two napping on the couch, all wrapped around each other. You even have the same clothes on, jeans and white t-shirt."

"I'm hanging this right here," Kevin picked up the frame and walked to the fireplace. He remembered that day. She had gone shopping and he had stayed back. He fell asleep on the couch waiting for her. The was the day that he had said, "Mine," to the sleeping form next to him, well more under him in this shot than next to him.

"You're not hanging that in here," Bron's voice sliced through the air.

Kevin looked at his Mother. She didn't seem to happy either, MeeMaw was though. "My Pit, I'm hanging it right here." Kevin set the frame on the mantel.

"Thank you Brian," Bron's smile faded when she saw Leighanne smile at her cattily. The picture was overly sensual to be hanging in the living room. There was no hiding the closeness of the couple as Kevin's legs and arms wrapped around Bron's body. It was a lover's embrace.

"The bitch thinks it's funny," Suzie leaned over.

"What goes around; comes around," Bron winked. "Open this," Bron traded an envelope for Cooper with Suzie.

Mc stood up and walked over to stand with Suzie. Kevin stood next to his new picture with a stupid grin on his face.

Bron didn't hold back, "That picture is as loud as this room."

"I know, I like it," he smirked at her.

Sliding her finger under the envelope, Suzie broke the seal. Pulling a document out she read it one time, being drunk didn't help. "What is this?"

"The bed and breakfast," Mc said loud enough for everyone to here.

"You're giving me the bed and breakfast?"

"Part of it, Mc's part," Bron laughed. "You are now a businesswoman in Lexington, Kentucky. You'll take care of it and just cut me a check from the profits."

Bron wasn't prepared to be swallowed up by hug and a stream of tears. If Cooper hadn't started crying, Suzie would still be hanging on. "I guess your okay with this?" Bron tried to get a grip on herself and not cry.

"Don't expect her to be a silent partner Suz," Kevin joked. "She doesn't shut her mouth much."

The next lunge for Bron by Suzie was stopped by a doorbell. Bron looked at Kevin, "We have a door bell?"

"Yes dear, we have a doorbell," Kevin laughed as he walked to the door. He knew who was on the other side and was thankful that he had made it here.

"It's sort of like the intercom that you don't use," Suzie laughed along with Andrew.

"Her voice carries," Andrew added.

"Yeah all the way to town some days," Kevin opened the door. He stopped, he was stunned. There was a sleigh out front. 'Nah, it could't be,' he looked again at the grinning man in a red suit. "Are those real reindeer…" he leaned further out the door.

"If you're going to do it, do it right," Santa grinned back at him.

"I owe you big time…"

"SANTA! SANTA IS HERE!" Madison was squealing.






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