~The Binding~

Chapter 24

Standing at her kitchen sink, she watched the snow swirl outside the window. Bron was trying to get all of her ducks in row with the impending trial. They were getting ready to head back to her home for it. Reservations about what she was doing began to settle in rather quickly. Kevin rode her ass telling her she needed closure and she fought back by asking him if he had a degree in psychology. The argument had happened more than once in the past two weeks since Christmas.

Reflecting over the past weeks, she had wondered how they had coped with the stress. Suzie called in a panic on Christmas day when they arrived in Boston. "Nick's blue spot is gone, but now it's WHITE!" Bron laughed and told her what she had done. Suzie was screeching into her ear, "You bleached his face!"

"It matches the hair, chill out. He'll be fine, just keep him away from the photographers."

"The photographers are not what I'm worried about, it's my family." Suzie groaned as she watched the white forehead bop to the music as he sat next to her.

"Claim alien abduction, they'll buy it. It's not like he lost any brain cells," Bron laughed even louder and hung up on her.

Swishing the cloth in the water she recalled watching Kevin play with the kids in the living room as she sat in the dining room later that evening, she studied her family. Raising her eyes, she saw the huge portrait that Kevin had hung over the fireplace. He was sneaky when he wanted something. Kevin had mounted the photograph from Brian while she was working down at the shop one day. "Blech," Bron shook head and kept right on walking into the kitchen that day.

"I love it! It's sweet, tender, and caring!" Kevin yelled to her.

"Yeah, so not me!" Bron hollered back.

"It is when you're with me or the kids," Kevin voice carried but it wasn't something she was in the mood to listen to.

From Suzie's telephone call on, things went crazy on them. Two days later, Mc had called and wanted to talk to her privately. Kevin, still wary at times of the man, said sure, as long as he was present. Mc laughed, "He is so insecure."

The only reply he received from Bron was a 'shut up'. Thinking the meeting related to what had been happening to her or associated with the business, she started for the office only to have Mc go in the kitchen and sit down.

Kevin sat reading the paper since he had put Cooper to bed for the night and Kaylin was watching television in her own room. This had become her new thing, once Kevin figured out how to block certain channels from her TV.

"I'm glad Suzie is coming back tomorrow," Kevin folded the paper without looking at the other two occupants in the room.

"You are a shitty secretary anyway Pop Star," Mc laughed.

Kevin had covered for Suzie while she took a mini-vacation. "The people you work with are real pains in the ass. Not to mention Suz puts sticky notes on everything. Not just any old sticky notes, they are directed towards me, personally. They say things like 'don't touch me', 'close this draw', and 'get out of this Kevin'." Kevin paused as he watched Mc start to grin. "So why are you here and why couldn't this wait until tomorrow? You're cutting in on my time."

Bron stood leaning back on the counter watching the two of them go back and forth being typical males.

"Suzie is wise to you; you screwed up our entire system once already. Your time? I didn't think you had any time. You have to share her with so many people, including me." Mc loved taking pot shots at Kevin, it kept him amused most days.

"Oh, that's enough from the both of you," Bron spoke as she readied her morning coffee. She loved coming down and just pouring the water into her coffee maker. "It's only three days after Christmas. Let's try and keep the holiday spirit. Kevin, stop complaining, you manned the phones for two days."

Kevin folded the paper, "Two days too many. Stupid phone calls, I'm tellin' ya." Kevin began to mimic the phone calls he had taken. "We need to change this window and this paint. What type of floor are you putting in? Don't these people write this shit down?"

Mc sat back and listened to Kevin complaints. "For someone who is so into pleasing the fans, you suck at customer service."

"I only service one customer," Kevin winked.

Bron groaned knowing damn well where he was headed with that comment. "Why does the conversation always turn that way when you're talking? Mc, what do you want?"

"Are you ready to head back home?" Mc asked the obvious already knowing the answer. He looked directly at her, it wasn't meant to be interpreted as anything but a question.

Bron shrugged, "Not really, but I don't have a choice. I want to get his over with as soon as possible."

Mc shifted in his seat, "Are the phone calls still coming?"

"Yes," Kevin answered for her as he creased the paper in front of him.

"I've tried everything. Whatever he is doing is very elaborate. The last call was traced to a Tijuana pay phone." Mc watched for some sign of understanding from her that he was doing everything in his power but that Stevie, at least they thought it was Stevie, had been planning this for a very long time.

"I understand," Bron sat down at the table, feeling defeated in a sense.

The room seemed unnaturally quiet until Mc spoke. "I need a really big favor from you. I don't have a lot of time to pull it off and I have some things that need to be done."

"If it's illegal forget it," Kevin sat back in the chair. The cross look from his wife told him that he had overstepped his bounds. He returned a smile to her to let her know he really didn't care.

"As far as I know, getting married isn't illegal, unless of course you're first cousins or something. Right Kev?"

"How the hell would I know?" Kevin chomped down on his tongue to avoid any nasty remarks from flying out.

"Married? You just got engaged a few days ago. When the hell are you two getting married?"

Mc shrugged, "We talked, why wait, we're not kids. We were thinking of getting hitched at the bar on New Year's Eve." Mc winked at Kevin.

"New Years Eve! That's only a few days away." Bron was yelling as the words rolled from her, "THE BAR? You want to get married at the bar!"

Not fazed by her reaction, Mc smiled. "Why not?"

"You're not getting married there! That's disgusting!" Bron jumped from the chair and paced the kitchen floor. "What theme are you going for?"

"Getting married," Mc snickered.

Kevin had caught on even if Bron hadn't. He was battling the laughter that threatened to bubble out. Yep, the obvious had just blown by his wife like a damn jet. He would thank Janey and Mc later for sacrificing one of the most important days of their life to keep his wife busy. He really thought that Nick would be Bron's next victim but the kid was still holding his own against his persistent wife as far as when he was going to marry her best friend.

"Well that is not going to happen. You'll get married here at the house. I'll have to call Suzie back a day early and she can help me plan. Most of the stuff she can do by telephone. She built up a good rapport with our new chef for the bed and breakfast." Bron was pacing so fast that Justin stretched out and almost tripped her. Bron frowned at the dog, the dog in turned rolled over for a belly scratch. "Okay we need colors? What colors are you going to use?"

"New Years colors," Mc sat back in the chair.

"You are no damn help. There are colors to decide on and invitations. She needs a dress, the food, the flowers, the cake." Throwing her hands up in the air in frustration, she glared at him. "What brought this all on?"

"We want to get married that's all." Mc picked absently at his fingernail while Kevin grinned like a damn fool.

"Forget it, you're useless. I'll call Janey and get some ideas on what she wants and then I'll call Suzie and see what the three of us can do." Bron grabbed the telephone.

"Whatever, but I need my best man there, but you'll look damn funny in one of Kevin's tuxedos so wear a dress," Mc slid his chair out, calling the conversation closed.

"I'm not your best man, that should be… " Bron never finished the sentence; she knew the word should be Stevie.

"Even if he could be here, he wouldn't be my best man. You would be, because you are the best thing besides Janey in my life. Kaylin for the flower girl and Logan as the ring bearer should be all we need." Mc walked up to her and kissed her cheek, "I would have asked Andrew but that kid is still very protective of his Mama and he is still holding a grudge about the way I treated you, even though the little shit wasn't alive. You would think the kid would have some loyalty to me, I am his brother."

Bron was dialing Janey before Mc had even got in the car. Janey was well prepared for the telephone call that she knew she was coming her way. As a couple, Mc and her had discussed just going to get a license and going to the Justice of the Peace. They had a three-day waiting period for the application. Mc laughed, he had told her it was so some people would come to their senses. "Did you need three days?" Janey asked knowing that he would just laugh, which is exactly what he had done. Then he launched into a big long speech about his past, his partner, and how he cared for Bron and always would.

"You gave me this speech once before," Janey eye him up and down. "I'm okay with it.

"I did?" Mc looked at her.

"Yes, you did. I know that you care about her and if she ever needed anything that you would leave me flat, but I also know that you would be back for me. You love Logan and I differently."

The phone ringing brought Janey back to the present. "Hi Bron!" Janey was ecstatic. Mc had told her that if Bron called everything would be a go. They were going to get married as soon as possible and with any luck, in an ante-bellum mansion like Scarlett O'Hara, just as Janey had always wanted.

"How did you know I was going to call?" Bron looked at Kevin who was now just outright laughing. "He set me up, didn't he?"

She heard Kevin answer 'yes' as well as Janey on the telephone. "Tell that asshole I'm going to kill him when he gets back home."

"I will but in the mean time, I need help with my wedding." Janey had a list of what she wanted, Mc said the sky was the limit but she didn't take it literally since she also knew that Bron would generously be donating the use of her home so she tapered her wants versus her needs.

"Colors?" Bron quipped as she grabbed one of the various steno books that always seemed to be at her fingertips. They ran down the list and came up with some ideas. Silver and blue were the colors that Janey had wanted. When she mentioned something old fashioned and very southern even Bron was excited. They were going to do an old fashioned winter ball. From there, the entire project snowballed and became a full-blown affair by the time Suzie had arrived back home without Nick.

"Witch?" Kevin stood at the doorway leading to the kitchen.

Bron swirled the rag inside the bowl. She didn't know how but she went from rinsing the dishes to be put in the dishwasher to washing them. Kevin had disturbed her mulling over of the last two weeks, she wasn't happy, "What?"

"The kids are in bed," Kevin crossed his arms and leaned on the frame.

"That's nice, I'll be up in a little while," Bron didn't turn around until she heard his footsteps fade as he headed out of the room. She didn't want to deal with Kevin's need for attention right now.

Rinsing the bowl, she grabbed the stockpot she had used for dinner. "I need some time to get it together," she whispered, as the two dogs sacked out on the kitchen floor one on each side of her.

Her memories re-wound to the day Suzie came home and the wedding went from a small informal affair to a complete black tie ball. Janey was thrilled beyond her original expectations between Suzie's connections and Bron's abilities and both of their talents, the wedding turned into a true high-class New Years Eve winter ball.

Mc and Kevin stood back and watched Bron bark orders at a crew to set the arbor. Kevin wasn't getting the concept of a winter garden wedding. "We'll freeze our asses off."

"Trust me," Bron smiled.

"She scares me," Kevin turned to Mc as he stood in his living room. People were buzzing around him, including ninety percent of his family, everyone that worked for Bron and Mc, as well as a few friends.

Mc just winked, "Don't look at me; she's been scaring me for years. As far as I understand, the heat lamps installed in the garden around the pool are going to keep us warm. The pool itself will be covered with a retractable cover that six elephants can stand on. There will also be white and blue lights along your garden walls." Mc snickered, "Subtle lighting, I'm told."

"What the hell is thing costing? What happened to low key?" Kevin grumbled as one of Bron's crew cleared his throat as though Kevin were an unwanted insect in his path. Kevin stepped aside to let the man pass.

"I have no idea, but the dress alone made me want to cry. Why does she need a dress that costs nine thousand dollars?" It wasn't that he couldn't afford it or didn't want to buy it. Mc looked perplexed at Kevin, searching for an answer.

"It's for two words, I do," Kevin replied.

Bron came down the ladder she was standing on and wiped her hands together. She had finally finished it, "SUZIE!"

"Ughh," Kevin closed his eyes. The yelling was getting to him. The fact that there were over fifty people running amuck in his house, his hot tub was now covered and unusable, and his patio looked like a wedding was getting ready to take place at Tara. The snow had virtually melted from the flagstone from the heat of the lights and bodies that had been tramping over it.

"Oh it's perfect," Suzie clapped her hands together.

"What the hell is that?" Kevin looked at something hanging from the arch that had been built, painted silver, and placed at the end of his pool.

"It's a floral ball," Bron laughed. "All we have to do is drape the tulle around the arch."

"Oh," Kevin shrugged as a child was dropped into his arms. Looking down at his son, he smiled, "What can you do? Your Mom and your Aunt Suzie are a force to be reckoned with when they want something."

"Honey!" Bron shouted.

Kevin turned and headed the other way. "Another lesson son, if Mom calls you honey, run like hell the other way. It usually involves you doing something you really don't want to do."

"HONEY!" Bron yelled even louder.

Kevin didn't move fast enough through the maze of people. He heard someone shout, "He's heading for the kitchen!"

"Assholes," Kevin grumbled as the baby was removed from his arms. "He's hungry," he tugged back on his son.

"I know dear that is why Bron called to have me help. She needs your help right now." Anne cuddled and cooed to her grandson.

"Noooo," Kevin whined as he was shooed out of the kitchen, minus his son, and back towards the area he had just run from. "Whaddya want?"

Kevin stood with his arms akimbo, his eyebrows furrowed together, and wearing a frown.

"Watch!" Bron giggled as the lights were turned off outside and the garden lights turned on.

"Oh My God Bron, it's beautiful!" Janey's hand clasped over her mouth and she began to cry. "Suzie… Bron… you did it. It's the most amazing thing I have ever seen."

"Shyte," Kevin smiled when he saw Janey crying. His eyes began to mist over seeing how happy she was.

"The dress is here!" Mc practically sang from the front door.

"Oh shit," Bron ran by Kevin, jumped over a folding chair, and made a grab for the box from Mc. "Don't open it!"

"I paid for it!" Mc held up the package out of her reach. "This thing weighs a ton. I want to see where my money went."

"KEVIN!" Bron yelled for help as she jumped up and down trying to reach for the box.

The crowd of friends and family patted Kevin on the back as he made his way through the crowd to his wife. "Give it to her Mc, don't be jerk. Your fiancé is in tears on the patio and you're going to spoil your special day."

Mc debated and then gave Bron the box. Bron headed for the stairs with Janey and Suzie following her. "Years ago that would have been a hell of a lot of fun watching her knock herself out trying to get it back. Now she calls for you." Mc smiled. "Grab the kids; we'll go get some pizza."

"I want out of here," Kevin booked up the stairs to retrieve Kaylin and Logan who had been hiding most of the day. "Andrew, let's go eat!" Kevin called down the hall knowing that Andrew would still be there. The kids nearly knocked Kevin over as he grabbed their coats.

"They're crazy," Logan looked back over his shoulder.

"No kidding, weddings do that to girls." Kevin zipped his coat while Logan did the same.

"I ain't ever getting married, girls are icky," Logan pulled a well-worn mitten on.

Kevin winked at Andrew as Logan and Kaylin headed down the stairs together.

"That's okay I always thought girls were icky, some still are, like Kaylin." Andrew decided to incite a little squabble.

"I'm not icky. You stop being mean. Daddy, Andrew is being mean to me," Kaylin whined.

"You're not icky Kaylin, not even for a girl," Logan gave Andrew an awful grimace of disapproval.

Kevin gave him a funny face. "Some girls are icky, some aren't. Let's go eat." Cooper was deposited in his arms as he walked towards the door. A diaper bag was tossed over his shoulder as he closed the door. "Thanks Mom."

The ladies didn't know that the guys along with the kids had left. The last of the workers finished up and Anne and Gabe escorted them out the door. Anne couldn't believe all the hustle and bustle for this wedding as she locked the door behind her in order to head home.

Bron and Kevin's bedroom had been turned into a changing room as Janey tried on her dress. "Oh, I feel like a bride, an old one, but a bride."

"Old, hell look at what I wore to my wedding to Kevin."

Suzie laughed, "Yes, it was lacking in something."

Bron doubled up, "Yeah, fabric, thanks to Nick. That boy can piss Kevin off in sixty seconds flat. I did love that dress though and I think I looked pretty good in it."

"You looked fabulous," they talked as they fussed over the dress and Janey.

Janey twirled and danced as her hands delicately touched the silk and satin. Rich blue velvet covered the over dress. "This is the most beautiful thing I've ever owned."

Bron's eyes twinkled; Mc was really getting married. "He loves you and knowing him, you got the speech."

Janey nodded hiding her smirk.

"Ignore the speech, that's male pride talking. He really does love you and once my little drama is over, he'll settle in. I will admit, I thought he would be a life long confirmed bachelor. You've changed that about him. For that, I will always be grateful. He has this sick little idea that he is responsible for me. He always has and many days he has made my life a living hell. I'm hoping you'll change that for me?"

"OH I will." Janey understood. "Mc's 'Bron is important to me' speech is really dry."

"No shit, ask Kevin," Bron laughed as she pulled her dress from the box. "I think Andrew should be his best man or Logan. Why me?"

"Because he still loves you," Suzie added and then wished she could have retracted the comment as she looked at Janey.

For a moment Janey didn't speak and Bron held her breath. Janey nodded, "Yes he does and he always will. She is his responsibility…" Janey began to giggle since she couldn't get through the mimic of Mc's speech because Bron was moaning and groaning.

Bron had one comment she had to make. The comment came from years of dealing with her business partner but more of it had to do with his behavior since C.W. had died. Some of it from before when they had dated. "If he ever treats you like property, let me know."

Suzie snorted, "Like you could fix that one. Kevin still treats you like his property."

"He does not," Bron was indignant with her reply.

Janey and Suzie stood before her trying very hard not to giggle in her face.

"Okay so maybe sometimes he does, but not all the time," Bron watched them closely for a reaction. They started to laugh.

"Okay so what, I deal with it," Bron's mouth twitched.

The words caused the other two women to burst out loudly.

"I really don't think this is funny at all. I'm not used to being treated like a possession. I seriously do not know where the hell it comes from." Bron stood her ground.

"Yes we know." Turning to Janey, Suzie had started talking directly to her, "Her new tool belt even says 'Richardson's… not Richardson." Suzie had seen it.

"I didn't think anyone saw that but me," Bron's lips quivered threatening to let the laugh out.

"I saw it." Suzie snorted.

One of the dogs rolled on Bron's foot causing her to be pulled back to the present once again. The stockpot was semi-clean but the tomato sauce was still clinging to the bottom of the pot. Reaching for her metal scouring pad, she attacked it with a vengeance. Bron thought about how beautiful the wedding was. Janey looked like a princess. Andrew had finally agreed to stand up for his brother but only if Bron would stand up for Janey. "Fine," Bron finally barked fifteen minutes before the ceremony had begun.

Tim did the service for them as they exchanged vows. Bron watched Mc slide the ring on her finger. A collective breath was held as he paused and raised his eyes to Bron. She smiled and winked, Mc in turn slid the ring down Janey's finger. After a dinner of filet of mignon and lobster, the guests mingled. Chamber music had been piped through the house thanks to Kevin and his elaborate sound system. The guests mingled while after dinner treats were served. A traditional cake done in a silverish white frosting with blue ribbons rested on a table. Bron was all for the cake cutting. Mc turned to her since she was so eager. "You just want her to nail me."

"Damn right," Bron laughed heartily as an armed draped around her shoulder. Turning she saw her husband standing next to her looking damn good. She gave him a gentle smile, "I love long coats."

Sliding his arm down to her side, he squeezed her hand, "Me too." A kiss on the top of her head fed his inner need of possession. Turning to Mc and Janey, he waved his index finger in the air at them. "Play nice children."

Mc's eyes narrowed slightly at Kevin, "This doesn't change a thing Pop Star."

A quiet hush filled the room. It seemed to sound so loud to everyone. Kevin balled his tongue up in his cheek then grinned his ass off before he spoke. "Oh it changes everything."

"That's right it does," Janey smiled. "I'll be teaching him his place Kevin. You don't have a thing to worry about."

Bron's loud laughter rose above everyone else's, "Good luck, I've been trying for years."

"Oh, so you think because you have a ring on my finger, you can be the boss?" Mc's gaze wasn't ominous or deadly like it normally would have been.

"Definitely," Janey kissed him once again with as much passion as she could muster with a crowd around them.

"Any thing you want honey, any thing you want," Mc laughed along with crowd.

An undefined noise re-focused Bron. She finished scrubbing the pot, then rinsed, and dried it. Suddenly she was tired and she rushed to put the dishes away. She hated waking up to a dirty kitchen; it drove her nuts. Everything had its place. "There's no sense in putting you two out, you were out most of the afternoon. Bron looked at the two beasts that covered her floor. "Bedtime," she stared at them. Slowly the larger animals raised themselves from a restful sleep and followed her upstairs. Justin ambled into Kaylin's room. Bron stood at the door and watched as the obstinate animal crawled on the bed, which he was not suppose to do. When Kaylin stirred, Bron held her breath hoping the dog hadn't woke Kaylin. Kaylin's arms wrapped around the massive animal's neck. The dog rolled on his side and closed his eyes. "I'll let you up there, this time," Bron walked further down the hall to check on Cooper. Britney lay on the floor by his crib. "Good girl." One more stop and she would go to bed. She opened Andrew's door to check on him. She smiled as her son lay snoring on his back. "I'm so glad you hated dorm life. I missed you here." Pulling the door shut, she went to her own room to try and sleep.

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This is a work of fiction.
The characters and events portrayed are fictitious.
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