~The Binding~

Chapter 25

Kevin had gone downstairs to see if he could get her out of the kitchen. Things were so right in their life as a couple, but so wrong for his wife. He was pushing his wife down an avenue that she really didn't go. It wasn't like he hadn't noticed her slow withdrawal from him. Sitting in the chair, his eyes focused on the flames of the fire he had built in the fireplace in their bedroom. Gradually Bron was pulling away from him; she was erecting phantom walls again to keep him out and away from her. Knowing that Bron would do this didn't seem to make it any easier for him. Daily he fought with her to keep things going in the direction he wanted them to go but she was resisting. Nothing would ever change C.W.'s death or Bron's rape, but at least trying to close the door would help, at least he thought it would.

The fire snapped and crackled much like his temper as of late. "I wish I could erase the past for you baby," he whispered as he sipped his wine, "But, without your past we never would have met nor would we have a future." Sighing he leaned back in the chair and watched the flames dance shadows on the back wall of the fireplace. Refilling his glass, he looked at the empty glass that sat next to the bottle. Bron should be up here with him, not down in the kitchen thinking under the guise of doing dishes.

Kevin knew that the last few nights had been a terror for her. She was re-living dreams that she need not have to but she still was. He did everything in his power to ease her discomfort when he could. Bron usually would be combative with him even in her sleep. At night he would try and draw her close to him, wanting to feel her skin touch his. She would pull away from him or worse yet try to shove him away from her, almost out of the bed.

"If you only knew what I knew Witch," he mumbled as his eyes turned to see if the door was about to open. Eyeing the door he waited, it wasn't her. Throwing his legs up on the ottoman after draining another half a glass of wine, he swirled more of the liquid over his tongue. The taste was strangely dissatisfying to him and he wished he had something stronger. Popping out of the chair he went downstairs to the French doors that led to the pool. Shivering as he made his way to the outside bar, he grabbed a bottle of bourbon left over from the wedding. His fingers latched onto a shot glass as if it were salvation for him. Going to the doorway of the kitchen, he spoke, "The kids are in bed." Her words came and his shoulders sagged, she wasn't going to come up with him. Regrettably, he headed back up the stairs, still angry at her for shutting him out and angry at Mc for the huge chunk of information that he had dumped on him earlier that day.

Restlessly entering the bedroom, he stoked the fire and warmed his hands as he squatted in front of the fireplace. The twenty seconds that he was outside retrieving a bottle of Jim Beam was long enough to chill his body. "Damn, it's cold out," he spoke to the fire as he tossed another log on the hearth. Standing up, he dropped back into his leather wingback chair with his bottle of liquor, his shot glass, and his own head spinning, he started to sort out everything that Mc had sprang on him today. He kicked his shoes off and tossed his socks to the floor. "It's a damn mess," Kevin poured his first shot and tossed it down his throat. He used the wine as a chaser, he really wasn't in the mood to become wasted but he wanted something to help him make his thinking a little easier. "Or is it cloudier," he chuckled to himself as he poured another shot. The amber liquid sloshed out of the shot glass causing it to spill down his knuckles. Making a hissing sound, Kevin almost dropped the glass. Blowing on knuckles seemed to cool the sizzling feeling on the cuts that the bourbon had spilled on. Staring at the marks that were left on his hand, he shook his head. Some day he would be able to explain everything he had learned today but it wouldn't be until after the trial.

Shifting in the chair, he once again threw his legs on the ottoman and settled back to think with his two bottles, his wine glass, and one shot glass. It all started this morning when they were packing to leave. Bron and Kevin had squabbled because Andrew was staying home. Bron wanted him to go back home and both Andrew and Kevin wanted Andrew to stay in Lexington. "He's not a baby; somebody has to take care of the animals, besides he has school," Kevin argued.

"Kaylin has school too and we're pulling her out," Bron was fighting a losing battle and she knew it. College was very different from grammar school. "I didn't say he was a baby. I'm going for a walk!" Bron jammed her feet into a pair of boots and stormed down the stairs. The slamming of the front door reverberated through the entire house and she didn't give a damn either.

Kevin stood at the top of the steps calling to her to come back so they could talk about it. Right about then the door slammed. Throwing his arms up in the air, he shouted, "I GIVE UP!"

"Yo," Andrew stuck his head out of his bedroom door. He was trying to study but the way his mother and Kevin were carrying made it almost impossible.

"That damn woman is as stubborn as they come," Kevin looked at Andrew. "You don't want to go to New York, do you?"

"I have school," Andrew balked at the very idea.

"That's what I said. She ain't sayin' but I think she thinks you're going to tear up this house when we're gone. You know the big party, the parents are out of town shit." Kevin waited to hear the right words.

"Please, I have better things to do. One of the reasons I moved back from the dorm was because I couldn't stand all the partying." Andrew re-assured Kevin that it wouldn't happen in his own way. Not that he wouldn't have a small get together but he at least respected his mother enough not to have a full blown toga party.

Kevin heard a cell phone ring somewhere down in their bedroom. "I'll take care of it," Kevin shook his head as he went off to search for the cellphone. His cell was ringing as it sat on the dresser. Never bothering to check the caller ID he answered in his usual manner. "Make it good!"

"We need a meeting, where's Bron?" Mc stated and then questioned.

"She went for a walk, she's pissed off at me," Kevin waited for the expected laugh it didn't come.

"Good, I don't want her around. Meet me in a half hour at Passions Peak," Mc did snicker now.

"I ain't meetin' you at Passions Peak," Kevin shook his head.

"I'm serious Kevin. I need to talk with you privately where nobody will see us. She'll never look for us at Passions Peak."

"Well, no shit!" Kevin looked in the mirror. He needed to straighten out his goatee; it was getting a little sloppy. Noticing his hair, he needed to get a haircut after the trial, something different, maybe.

"KEVIN!" Mc yelled, he had asked two questions and didn't receive a response.

"What?" Kevin mused at his reflection in the mirror.

"I wouldn't do this if it wasn't necessary. We have to talk privately before you leave."

"Let's do it on the phone. I did my share of Passions Peak and it wasn't with any males." Kevin laughed.

"NO!" Mc slammed the phone down. "And he thinks Bron is stubborn," Mc turned to the two men sitting across from him. "This better fucking work, because if it's screwed up, I'm done. It's over!"

Kevin tried to blow off what Mc had said but he knew he couldn't. Mc's reaction was over the top, so whatever they needed to discuss had to be important and it definitely had to do with his wife. He would make an excuse that he needed to go to the drugstore in town to get deodorant or something. There was CVS on the edge town, he could run in and buy something when he was done with his business with Mc and make it look good.

Kevin waited for Bron to return, which she did after a cooling off for twenty minutes down at the barn. She yelled at Kaylin to get down to the barn and clean the stalls, and then she turned to Kevin.

Kevin placed his hands up in the air as a defense, "He can't miss his lectures. He promised he wouldn't turn the place into animal house while we are gone. Besides, we can have Mc and Pete check on the place every day if you want. Suzie will be here too."

"Fine!" Bron stomped by Kevin and by Kaylin who ran out of her room to Cooper's room.

"She's cranky," Kaylin looked at Kevin.

"That's an understatement. Go clean the stalls out, I'll help you out later. Don't lift more than you think you can and make sure you turn the horses out in the paddock before you muck the stalls. I don't want Fuzzy or Fiona to knock you down."

"I'm just a kid," Kaylin looked at him hoping to get a little more help from her dad.

"You wanted 'em," Kevin gave a smirk.

Grumbling as she walked away, Kevin thought maybe he should call her back and ask what she had said under her breath that he couldn't hear. That was purely a trait she had picked up from her mother and he was sure that she was most likely cussing him out.

Ambling down the hall, he opened Andrew's door. "Go help your sister; I have to run to the store. I'll be back in a bit."

Andrew wasn't accomplishing much in the way of studying. "I need a break anyway." Pushing himself away from the desk, he headed down the stairs to find his boots.

"Bron, I'm going to the drugstore. Do you need anything?"

"No," she walked right by him.

Kevin rolled his eyes at the cold shoulder routine. She did it to him every time, only because it worked every time, "At least Kaylin pouts better than you do."

A stream of expletives reached his ears and he smiled, he had hit the mark. Bron was pouting because she hadn't gotten her own way.

On the drive to the peak, Kevin relished the good old days. Passion Peak was there for young Lotharios and he was one of them at the time. He had taken Chrissy up there many times when they were dating in high school; he even had his own little territory that nobody would park in. The trouble was, Chrissy wasn't having any part of it, she wanted it to be special. Kevin could never get beyond second base with her until they were going out for well over a year. Many a night had been spent trying to get her to give it up in his Honda. The evening always ended the same way; a pain in his groin and a cold shower waiting for him after he dropped her off at home.

Winding through the curves and up the side of the mountain, he was losing himself in his memories. Someone had been up on the old dirt road since it was plowed, "Most likely the kids," he grinned back to himself in the rear-view mirror. "We always kept it open, just in case." Kevin pulled his truck up slowly to the dirt road that most of them would back into instead of driving into. If it rained, the road would be mucked up and God forbid you had to call your old man to come and dig your ass out.

Backing in, he slowed down when there were two other vehicles parked next to Mc's. "I don't like this one bit," Kevin whispered and took his foot off the gas and hit the brake. His brake lights caught the attention of two men standing together. "What the fuck is goin' on?" Kevin jammed his foot into the gas pedal as he wheeled the truck backwards at an unsafe speed. He could hear the snow that was kicking up under his truck. Slamming the shifter into park, he took a second to gather his thoughts.

Mc knocked on his window. "Come on, it's freezing, let's get this over with."

Exiting the truck, Kevin slammed the door. The other man turned and Kevin nearly fell over. "Webster?" he cocked his head towards Mc.

"The one and only," Webster extended his arm out to shake hands.

Kevin took the hand but limply, now he was stunned. "Wassup?"

"I said I needed to talk about something important." Mc slid his sunglasses on, the sunlight reflection off the snow was blinding him. "So we're going to talk."

"If you fucked up her case or something after all this, I'll kill you." Kevin turned and spat the words at Mc.

"Calm down Kevin," Webster stepped between the men. "Agent McDonald has a few things you need to know."

Kevin didn't hear anything beyond Agent. When he heard it, he snapped and swung a windmill punch at Mc that knocked Mc flat on his ass. Then he shook his hand because somehow he had not only connected with Mc's nose but his teeth as well. "FUCK!" Kevin howled as he shook his hand.

Mc wanted to come off the snow covered ground and punch Kevin into the next century but he couldn't, Kevin had every right to react the way he had.

Mc pulled his body from the cold cushioned earth to stand in front of Kevin. Webster stepped between them and placed a hand on each of their chests. "Let's not get ugly boys."

"Why the hell did he just call you an Agent?" Kevin was now shaking his hand and rubbing his forearm with his free hand.

"Because I work for Webster," Mc picked his glasses off the ground. He stared directly at Kevin after inspecting his glasses and wondering why they weren't smashed to pieces.

Kevin wound up again and he didn't give it shit where this punch was landing. Mc caught his fist, twisted it, along with Kevin's arm, and flipped him in the snow. "I said I wanted to talk. We can beat each other up later. Bron would probably love it."

Kevin blinked as the sun blinded him. One minute he was ready to clean Mc's clock and now he was flat on his back.

Mc reached down with a hand and helped Kevin up. "If you're ready to listen now, I'll talk."

"Am I going to hear the truth or just more lies and bullshit? I'm not gettin' any of this." Kevin was shocked as hell and very confused.

"Do you want the short or the long version?" Mc stepped closer trying to gauge Kevin's feelings.

A finger was jammed in his chest that almost knocked the wind out of him. Kevin's words thundered across the vacant land. "I want the God damn truth!"

"Let me do this," Webster again interceded between the two men. "Are you going to listen because this is extremely important? I'll answer your questions if I can when were done explaining all of this."

"We'll answer all his questions," Mc corrected and turned to Kevin. "I mean all of them."

"What we can Mc," Webster eyed both men.

"That isn't the deal and if you continue it's over. I'm tired of this." Mc had seen Bron over the last two weeks and he didn't like the way she was acting or re-acting to the things that were happening in her life. She was erratic at best.

Webster shook his head, they may be old friends, but some things never would change, "I can't break the rules."

"You've broke every friggin' rule in the book with this and a few more won't hurt." Mc now moved to stand so the three men formed a triangle of sorts.

Mc crossed his arms after placing his sunglasses back on his face. "I'm not the bad ass that I used to be."

Kevin's teeth were grinding away as he tried to figure out the puzzle that was presented to him. "I would hope not. I know you're not when it pertains to my wife but only because of me."

Webster cleared his throat to get Kevin to look at him, "I'm sorry that we have to tell you this way but we didn't have a choice but to hide it from you."

Mc paced away to let Webster explain more of what this fallacy was all about.

"Five years ago Mc was nailed, so he was given two options. Prison or work for us." Webster watched Mc kick snow around with his boot. Living this lie had been rough on all of them. They wouldn't have even dreamed of telling Kevin if they didn't have to. "We had a plan to ease Mc out of everything without anyone knowing. It would look like Mc had had some type of revelation, a life turning event, and begin to live life on the correct side of law with help from the love of a good woman."

Kevin was astonished, now his mind began to form a mental list of questions that he wanted answered. He would listen with his patience hanging only by a thin thread to see if his two questions would be answered so that he didn't have to ask them. He hoped and prayed for the first time since he brought Bron back home from Florida that they would give him the answers that he wanted to hear, but the biggest questions would be saved for last.

"We wanted Solarez, a few others, and to stop the supply line of drugs." Webster continued speaking.

Kevin nodded, not really caring at this point. He knew he was getting wound up and he was trying with insurmountable effort to keep himself from exploding in the middle of the field. Kevin knew that Mc had been a dealer but he also thought it had ended years ago, obviously it hadn't been to recently and this filled it's place. "Cut to it Webster. I want fucking answers, not bullshit."

Mc pushed his head back and slowly stretched his neck. He inhaled deeply bringing the cold biting air into his lungs. Pinching his nose to make sure the blood had stopped dripping from his nose; he began to talk. His head still bent backwards he spoke, "Kevin the short deal is that I need you to keep pushing Bron to do this. We have years invested in this and if she chickens out we're fucked."

"I'm not getting it but I'll get back to it. Right now, I want some answer as to what the fuck is real in our lives and what isn't." Kevin didn't give a shit about the trial right now, "Because, if Bron got caught in the middle of your bullshit, you're going to die right here and now!" Kevin yelled and his words echoed in the air. "Nick may have been arrested but I'll be the first Backstreet Boy to go to jail!"

Mc shouldn't have grinned but Nick going to jail would have been pretty funny. Two days after the wedding, Kevin had to call Nick to get the full story. It boiled down to Nick was arrested for running his mouth. "Um, yeah but he would make the better bitch!"

"I'm not fuckin' around Mc!" Kevin walked away trying to gather up the courage to ask the question that he didn't want. If Bron's rape was some kind of set-up from some higher power… His thoughts stopped there as he began to feel queasy. The death of her husband, the hit she took in Pittsburgh, was it all a lie? Was his life, his marriage, and the love he had for his wife built on a lies? Turning like a top, he looked at Mc, "Tell me that what happened to Bron wasn't for the benefit of taking down a crime lord?"

For the second time since he had known him, Kevin saw Mc cry. The first time was in Pittsburgh when Bron was attacked. The cry was muted, but the tears fell from the man's face, "No, that was my mistake. God I wish I could take that day back."

A little sigh of relief came from Kevin, "I still don't understand."

"We called a meeting the day of the funeral. C.W.'s death was for retaliation at Mc, she knew it, we knew it. She knew that by being in business with Mc she would be a target by association. Your wife isn't stupid Kevin, but she never in her wildest dreams thought that her family was a target. She doesn't tell you about the many times that she was threatened or confronted by Solarez's people but she was. Things were getting tense and Solarez's brother wanted to even the score. He did when he killed C.W."

"Why? Why? Why didn't you tell her that you weren't what you appeared to be?" Kevin cleared his throat, "You could have avoided all of this."

"I couldn't, they wouldn't let me," Mc looked at Webster. "God knows I wanted to. Why do you think I feel so fucking responsible?"

"So you screwed up and Bron became a victim twice over. What else have you lied to me about Mc? What about the shit you told me in Pittsburgh and the fact that someone tried to bash her brains in while we were there. The threat to Kaylin that night? All the phone calls? Is your marriage a lie too? What about Stevie and Jake, do they know about this? Who else knows about this shit? Is it all a sham Mc?" Kevin questions flew out faster than he could thing, he was to damn angry to keep them inside.

Stepping up to Kevin, Mc reached for him and snagged him around the throat. Wrapping his fingers tight enough to get Kevin's attention, which he did, "Slow down, I said I will answer your questions and I will." Mc loosened his fingers since Kevin seemed frightened temporarily. Not totally releasing his grip, he felt Kevin's Adams Apple slide up and down under his hand. "I would never hurt Bron. The one thing that I have been honest about from the beginning is my feelings for her."

Kevin swallowed hard and nodded his head up and down. Mc released his grip on his throat. "I'm trying very hard to understand."

"We know you are but you need to get all of your information before you go off," Webster was wishing for a better way to do this, but if there was one, it was escaping him at the moment. "Okay, we'll go right down the list, sort of truth or fallacy."

Kevin nodded once again, totally pissed at this turn of events.

"Bron's rape was an accident. We called a meeting that day. We didn't think anyone would make a move on her. All the shit in Pittsburgh was the truth. Leaving the note and threatening Kaylin, and Bron's attack, that was all Solarez's brother Lenny. I went crazy when I found out that Stevie had taken her to some bubble gum pop concert. I sent one person up to Toronto to check it out. She was gone with a carload of girls and Stevie. I went down to Pittsburgh when she didn't come home."

"Oh, so her meeting me in Toronto wasn't planned?" Kevin thought he would start from the beginning; it might be easier for him later.

"Purely accidental despite my warning not to set foot out of town," Mc lifted his glasses and scrunched his nose, "She can be a real pain sometimes when she wants her own way."

The remark didn't disturbed Kevin, he wasn't in a joking mood, even if Mc was right. Kevin's jaw slid from side to side and then stopped, "You giving her to me?"

"I wanted to kill him for that," Webster grumbled. "Of all the stupidest damn things…"

Both Mc and Kevin turned and glared at Webster, Webster closed his mouth.

Mc stretched his neck and rotated his head. "No, I did that. I needed a break, a chance to think. I was so pissed off, I thought I was going to hurt her, just like old times. You guys had security up the ass. I knew she liked you, I just had to see if you liked her." Mc pulled at an imaginary thread on his glove. "When I saw that good ole' boy grin on your face, I knew you wouldn't mind much. In the span of a day she had needled you. I didn't think you know about her writing. I thought a one night stand with Pop Star wouldn't hurt her either. I just didn't understand at the time that both of you seemed to have some type of mysterious unrequited love thing going."

Kevin grunted more out of displeasure from the one stand remark than anything else. "Well, now that I know I was being used, I feel so much better."

Mc's words faltered, "Sorry, but it did work out."

"Lucky you," Webster finally interjected into the conversation. "Let's continue on, shall we?" He waited for both men to nod in agreement. "It seems we were doing just fine both here in Lexington and back home until Stevie began to act a little weird."

"Weird isn't the word for it, he's a freak," Kevin's own saliva in his mouth soured at the mere mention of the man.

"I saw it in Pittsburgh and that also pushed me to get her with you. He had plans, romantic ones. I think Bron was clueless about it."

"She usually is," Kevin cracked his first smile as Mc and Webster chuckled for a second along with him.

"Ever since I've been in Lexington, everything has been on the up and up, totally legit. I have to admit you guys threw me a couple of curve balls. Cooper, the way Bron is just Bron sometimes. When she took off for Florida, we all freaked. I thought for sure Stevie had her or something."

"So why are we meeting besides finally telling me the truth?" Kevin had heard enough to satisfy some of his unasked questions, he was sure he would have more later for Mc.

"Stevie and the case," Webster commented. "As you know, I transferred from Chicago back home to Buffalo."

Kevin had often wondered about that, it seemed to damned perfect for him. People don't up and move on the spur of the moment.

Webster could see that Kevin was beginning to roll off with another bunch of questions. Being wise, Webster continued, hoping to answer some of them in advance. "My home base was in Chicago but I was moved back home when I had a face to face meeting with Solarez in your hotel suite. I have to admit, if it wasn't for Mc portraying this little vendetta and pulling Lenny in to confront Bron directly. I don't think Solarez would ever have come out of the wood work. The man has some sense of honor as they say. When he found out that Lenny had raped Bron it was a slap in the face to his family and his honor. You don't get it Kevin, as wrong as some of these people are some have a code that they live by. Women and Children go untouched in all of this. Unfortunately, Lenny didn't hold the same values as his brother, it proved to be a very bad mistake and error in judgment on his part, they may be brothers but Solarez is still his boss. They will protect a family member only so much if the family member becomes a liability then there is a problem." Webster took a breath before he we on, "After Jake called Solarez and told him that Lenny was after Bron and Kaylin, he was on the first flight to Chicago to hand his brother over to us with all the evidence we needed."

"I wasn't portraying anything, I wanted to kill the mother fucker." Mc glared at both men with a look that neither had ever saw. His eyes were stone cold and had a killer glint.

Mc's voice had a edge that Kevin recognized as dangerous the glint in Mc's eyes made him swallow back what he was going to say.

"The point is, we had an open and shut case on Lenny based strictly on what Solarez had handed over to us. We didn't need any medical evidence or anything else since Bron had never told a soul. Then suddenly people were recanting their testimonies and giving false statements about Lenny's whereabouts and dealings. You see we were never really able to shut the pipe line down. It was still getting into town. Now people were making up lies over a simple rape case."

"It isn't simple to her or me," Kevin's mouth moved and the words came out of his mouth in a form of a hiss.

"No shit," Mc glared at Webster for the remark, "We thought the two were related but couldn't figure out why. As soon as we would get a lead, it was a wrong turn. Then we figured out that the reason being is that it was being done from the inside."

"Huh?" Kevin wasn't following where Mc was going with explanation.

"Police corruption Kevin," Webster cut to the chase. By the look on Kevin's face, his comment hadn't helped him sort it out. "From what we can tell, right around the time that C.W. was murdered; Stevie started to be a major player in his own right. He was siphoning off Mc's money from the bar to set himself with his own business. It caused Mc some problems because he wasn't sure if he should let him continue or watch and see where it went."

"I watched and that is what scared me. He was careless and sloppy, I've never done business that way." Mc deferred to Webster.

"Like I care, get to the damn point!" Kevin was now exhausted and cold from just listening.

"Bron's case has been screwed with. Parts are missing, things are out of place. People are changing their stories. Mc leaned on a few people the old fashion way. It seems that Stevie is involved very deeply in this. We're not sure if it's because he planned it or, in some way is trying to protect her." Webster waited to give Kevin time to think.

Kevin rolled everything he had heard around in his mind. Certain things made sense and certain things didn't. "Do you think Stevie was involved in C.W.'s murder?"

"No," Mc sighed. "But what I think happened is that he became so deeply involved with her in his mind, which she didn't see, that he started doing things he shouldn't have."

Kevin bit his lip, "The money that he took from you was for her, wasn't it?"

Mc had thought that all along and was happy to hear someone else voice his own opinion. "I think so, I just don't know if he was responsible or not for the murder to begin with. The stupid thing is, she didn't need the money, and he knew that. Bron had plenty of money. I think he wanted to take care of her or something."

Kevin walked around in the snow to come to terms with everything and think a few things out.

Mc and Webster waited patiently for him to return to them to speak.

Making a snowball haphazardly he whipped it across the field and watched it tumble down the cliff opposite the ravine. Walking a wide circle he ended up back in front of them, "I think Stevie loves Bron in a sick sort of way. It would make sense that he would take the money from you to help take care of her, not that she needed it, it was to show he could provide for her. He couldn't outright romance her with all of you around, he would have to get through Jake and then you."

"He got through Jake," Mc frowned. "We'll talk about that in a minute… Keep going."

Kevin stuffed his hands in his pockets, "Pittsburgh was his turning point. I thought maybe Toronto but I don't think he would have ever thought I would make a play for her. When you gave her to me to take care of his world crashed. Remember that night, he kept saying he wouldn't stand for it. In the end he laughed and let it go because he wouldn't cross you while you were there."

"Exactly," Webster could see that Kevin was thinking along the same lines as they were.

"When she was attacked in Pittsburgh, he found out that I really did care for her. When I took her on the road, it wasn't too bad because he could pop in whenever he wanted under your orders. When we married, it was still okay. Eventually I would lose interest, I'm a celebrity, she was fling. Right?" Kevin waited to see the men in front of him either confirm or deny his thinking. They confirmed it. "When she became pregnant with Cooper, it was okay until she told me, and that's when the shit hit the fan. There was no backing out from there, we were solid and he saw it."

"That's what I'm thinking," Mc shook from the cold, they had been out here an hour already.

"The letters were exactly like the others, how did he make his letters to look like Lenny's? That part I'm not getting?" Kevin stood looking at the horizon.

"He's in bed with Lenny now. Stevie is very impressionable. Since he was beginning to become a player, Lenny thought he could use Steve as weapon against me so he took him in. They're good friends, so the wire taps are showing."

"Look, the important thing is the trial. We believe that if we can get Bron to go through the trial that certain things will come to light about C.W.'s murder, the drug suppliers, all of it."

"You're hoping someone will slip?" Kevin could tell that Webster was hedging his bet on this.

"Yes I am, we all are. This thing goes very deep into one police district, we need to shut it down. I want to nail whoever is responsible for C.W.'s murder and whoever is dealing the drugs."

"What about Bron? Is she your sacrificial lamb?" Kevin didn't like what he was hearing, so far Bron was nothing but a pawn in a very big game.

"NO! Steve has gone crazy, we can't find him. This trial is going to bring him out in the open. We need you to be aware of your surroundings and the people in it for the next two weeks at least. Longer if the trial is dragged out." Mc was now the center of attention in the tight circle. "If all of this breaks open, he can't hide forever. The media will be there and he is going to see her hurting, he won't hide then. Hopefully, we can get him the help that he needs, close two cases, and get rid of some dirty cops. Then my life will be like I want it to be."

Kevin's eyes took on a mysterious look, "What about Jake?"

Webster sighed, "Jake is okay right now. He has been enlightened since we needed to keep him away from Bron so that Stevie didn't know that we know it's him."

"You need to let Bron see Jake. She needs him. She calls his cellphone at least six times a day." Kevin closed his eyes, "You had me bring in Billy and Carlos in on this shit. You should've told me sooner."

Webster sort of smirked at Kevin. "Billy already knows, he known for awhile. Bron will see Jake very soon."

Kevin threw his hands up in the air, "Who the hell else knows besides us?"

"Hmm, Pete knows," Mc cocked his head and grinned. "The bastard pulled my police record when I started dating Janey, he almost blew it. They talked to him and told him what he needed to know to pacify him."

"Is Suzie in on this?" Kevin figured it would be safer to ask then to assume.

Mc and Webster's laughter bounced off the snow. Mc finally smiled, "Hell no," Mc snickered. "Think of the children."

Kevin's face twitched as he heard the often referenced line that he, Bron, and a few others used when they referred to Suzie and her relationship with Nick. "Well, that's a good thing because she is Bron's best friend and one of mine too."

Silent as the snow that began falling they all stood trying to figure out what to do next.

"I think the kids should stay in Kentucky while you go up to New York," Webster looked at Kevin.

"Not happenin'. Bron just pitched a hissy fit because Andrew is staying back. There is no way you are going to get her to leave the kids behind." Kevin stuffed his hands in his coat pocket as he thought about what Bron would do if he even suggested that the kids stay with his Mom or Tim. "We need to be alone for this but I can't get her to see that."

"Not even if I babysit?" a fourth voice joined them from behind them.

"Holy shit," Kevin opened his arms as much as possible and hugged the man. They teetered back and forth in the snow. "You big fuckin' bear, I missed you. Nobody is recording points for me. I'm losin' man."

Jake smiled, "It feels good to be home!" Jake patted Kevin's back, then he pulled back. "I'm sorry man. I don't know what the hell happened to him."

"None of us do, but we'll get to the bottom of it." Webster looked at Kevin pensively and thought about Bron. "If Bron is really hesitating about the kids then let them go. We can have Jake up there waiting for you guys, it will be a family reunion type thing. Do you think that would make her happy?"

Kevin smiled, "Absolutely."

"All right, let's get back to being normal," Mc heard Kevin laugh as he headed to his truck.

Opening his truck door, Kevin turned and looked over his shoulder. "What you guys did wasn't right. I won't screw you over but you better understand that I won't stand by and let you use her."

"Understood Kevin," Webster nodded.

Kevin heard the doorknob turn before he saw it. Reliving everything he had heard and done today crashed to the present. He was resting his head on the side of the chair as he watched her make her way around the room. She tossed her clothes on the bathroom floor by the sound of the slap of her jeans hitting the tile. The water turned on in the shower, the door was still open. Moving out of the chair, he pitched his own clothes into the chair, and climbed into bed. He waited for her to join him. Closing his eyes he began to anticipate what he would feel, she would be warm, and smell like soap, her body would be moist but her hair would be wet. She would slip into bed and turn on her left side. Then she would back into him. If he didn't spoon her fast enough, she would nudge him with an elbow. His mind began to drift as sleep settled over him. Then he felt the elbow in his ribs. Instinctively he rolled on his side and pulled her close to him. He wanted to make love to her, to ease her mind but somehow just cuddling right now seemed to be what they both needed.

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