~The Binding~

Chapter 26


Kevin had learned so much the other night; it had taken him this long to absorb it all. He had just begun to understand it when the call came. Bron knowing that she had to go and actually doing it were two different things. Kevin had watched her for the last two days. She was depressed and angry, nervous as all hell too. Any little noise would spook her. Arguing with Suzie on whether a package should be sent via Fed Ex or UPS was the topper. Kevin stood back as Suzie let her have it with both barrels.

"Look you!" Suzie shot Bron on angry glare. "We're all tip-toeing around you and I'm not doing it anymore. Face your damn demons and get the hell over it."

Bron's mouth fell open as she stood there. She didn't know what to say, she was in shock.

Kevin held the wall up as he waited to see who would swing first.

Suzie blinked, "I can't find any olives in your refrigerator."

Bron shook her head, "There aren't any in the refrigerator. Andrew ate them all. They're in the pantry."

"I looked there, I didn't see them."

"Their under the condiments section. O' for olives, next to the pickles. I just went shopping so he would have food while I'm gone."

"Ohhh, O!" Suzie walked out of the office as if nothing had happened.

Bron turned slowly and watched her walk away. "She's weird, something is up with her."

"Yeah, you are! You're stepping on everyone's last nerve," Kevin spoke from his own office door. He didn't care how 'weird' Suzie was acting, he needed her here at the house. Lately she had been the only one to put Bron in her place without any repercussions.

A loud hmpf from Bron and the slamming of her office door let him know where he stood. Kevin rolled his eyes and then looked towards the ceiling, "Dad, I'm gonna kill her before this is over with, I swear. I don't think they would blame me one bit." Closing his door, he knew he was partially responsible for the latest little temper tantrum, it was a hold-over from yesterday's little fit.

Yesterday morning he announced that they needed to go into town for some errands, while he was loading the breakfast dishes into the dishwasher. Bron was making yet another list and talking to Suzie on the cell phone, who was running some errands before she came to work.

"Are you nuts? Like I don't have enough to do with trying to get ready to leave tomorrow?" Bron face stared back at him as if he had lost his mind.

Kevin figured he might be able to catch her off guard and it somewhat worked when she replied after thinking it over, "I have to go to the bank anyway."

Picking up his son, he studied the red face, "I guess I have diaper duty. I can tell what you are up too." Kevin left Bron in the kitchen as he walked upstairs to the nursery. He was trying to stay focused on getting everything done that needed to be done. On the outside, he looked like his usual self, calm, efficient, and in total control. On the inside, he was in a panic. Too many 'what if's and just in case' scenarios flashed in his mind.

Going through the mechanics, he changed, and dressed Cooper in clean clothes. Kevin stopped at Kaylin's door on the way back downstairs. She was lying on her bed coloring. "Bounce change your clothes! It's almost time to get the bus."

"Can we get pizza tonight?" she began to pick up her crayons.

"We'll see," Kevin smiled, after what he had planned, Bron would be so steamed at him they would end up coming home and eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

"Please Daddy, Plleeeaaaze?" Kaylin hopped off the bed.

Kevin shook his head, "I said, we'll see." Damn, he thought only Nick could whine like that.

Kaylin slammed her dresser drawer shut after retrieving a clean shirt. She turned to Kevin and shot him a look that made him freeze. "That means no."

Kevin tried not turning this into a situation. All of this was affecting Kaylin too, "No it means, we'll see."

"Mom says that and Andrew said that it means fat chance in hell."

"Kaylin…" Kevin closed his eyes and groaned.

"Sorry," she blinked back at him.

They went down to the kitchen to find Billy and Carlos, of all people, standing there. Bron wasn't pleased and had been ignoring both of them. "I really don't appreciate this one bit," her animosity being directed to Kevin.

"Hell, neither do I," Kevin handed Cooper to Billy. Slipping out the side door, he ran to his truck to start it. Running back into the house, he shook the cold off.

"Years ago, I would have yelled at you for doing that because you would get sick," Carlos grinned back knowing that he could still yell at Kevin and get away with it.

"Don't worry, Witch has taken your place," Kevin pointed to his wife sitting at the table still. Now she was signing homework papers and going over notes for Kaylin. She began queuing Kaylin on the things that she need to bring home and that she had better not leave one thing because she would be driving her back to school to get them.

"Put your coat on, you idiot." Bron was so focused on what she was doing, she hadn't heard Billy and Kevin exchange words.

Closing his eyes to steady himself, he opened them slowly exhaustion was kicking in. Bron had woken him up hours earlier fussing around their room. She had become restless, almost to the point of not sleeping. This in general wasn't a concern, couple it with everything going on their lives and it was a marker for a melt down for her. He couldn't fall back to sleep so he took a long hot shower and checked over the luggage that was already packed. Bron had long abandoned him for her coffee. He had left her to her own devices since breakfast. Now he wished he hadn't, she was still in her bathrobe, that wasn't a good sign. "Come on Kaylin, I'll take you down to the bus stop."

Kaylin frowned as she looked from her Mom to her Dad, her Mom wasn't dressed. "Mom always takes me. This sucks, Mom is supposed to take me to get the bus." Nothing was going her way today.

Kevin narrowed his eyes to tiny little slits after crossing his arms. Leaning down to her level, he gave her the 'you're going to get it grin.' "Ya know what sucks? Your mouth! Let's go."

Billy observed the little showdown between Kevin and Kaylin. More than once he had heard Kevin mutter, "She's just like her mother, only shorter… for now." He now fully understood what Kevin was talking about. Cooper was pulled from his arms as Carlos stepped aside to watch the two of them pass through the doorway.

Carlos was grinning when Kevin passed by him and he heard him grumble about the ugly hour in the morning that he bad been booted from his bed, intentionally or not, by his wife.

"You need to get moving. You have a doctor's appointment in an hour," Kevin turned back towards the table.

Bron's head whipped up from the page she was writing on, "An hour?"

Kevin checked to make sure that Kaylin was in the truck as the usual profanity spilled from his wife. He watched her slam the folder closed she was working on, stand up, and then slammed the chair under the table. What was funny to him was when she pulled the chair back out to make sure she hadn't caused any damage to the chair or the table before she stormed away.

Nothing was said when he returned to the house, grabbed a cup of coffee, and waited in the kitchen for her to come down so they could go. Carlos and Billy said nothing as they watched the family interact. Cooper sat in his car seat babbling away at the lights on the toys. Kevin leaned with one hand on the counter and his other wrapped around a coffee cup. Bron breezed by all of them and headed out the side door.

Kevin turned to look at Billy and Carlos, who were looking at him. He said nothing to them. Turning, he rinsed his coffee cup out and set in the sink. Grabbing the infant seat, he went out the side door as well.

Carlos and Billy waited until the engine noise was faint. Billy stood up and went to the coffee pot. "One of these days we're going to get a call that she has killed him. I've never seen him so controlling and insistent."

"Oh I have, but it used to be Nick. If we ever get that call, he won't be dead. She'll lay a hurting on him someday but she won't kill him." Carlos chuckled as he walked out of the room and up to Kevin's office.

"I hope so my friend," Billy followed behind him. The dogs pranced after them and then did a U-turn as Andrew came out of his room and headed down the stairs. He shouted good-bye to everyone on his way.

"It's hard to believe Kevin has a step-son that age," Carlos watched Andrew run out the front door to his truck.

"I agree, but Nick has trained him well," Billy flipped on the computer. "There's work to be done."

The couple didn't speak to each other as Kevin drove into town. He knew she would be upset, but he needed one thing settled in his mind. He wanted to know if he had hurt, which by now, he knew he hadn't when he hauled her ass back from Florida. Other things plagued him as well and since Gabe was more than just her OB; he was the family's primary physician; they could talk about other things. Kevin had made a few calls to him over the last two weeks. Gabe would talk Kevin out of his panic. He agreed to monitor Bron's mental state as the pressure and stress warranted it, but Bron wasn't to know.

Kevin pulled into the empty parking lot of Gabe's office building. He hoped that Gabe hadn't forgotten since the place seemed to be deserted and his SUV was the lone vehicle in the parking lot.

Bron sat in her seat, refusing to budge as Kevin got out of the truck and fetched Cooper from the backseat. "Gabe's waitin', let's go."

"You are such an ass. I am fine. I do not need this today. I have things to do. I have to get ready for tomorrow." Bron bristled but still exited the truck.

Kevin slammed the door shut on the SUV, hard enough to rock it. "Yeah well, I need to know that you're alright."

"I am perfectly fine and you damn well know it! I am stressed out, that's all!"

"No kidding," Kevin whispered to Cooper. "Half of Lexington just heard her too."

Kevin hesitated and then smiled slightly as he walked towards Gabe's offices. The door was open and Gabe sat at his receptionist's desk.

"Did you get a demotion?" Bron's wisecrack was to let him know, as well as Kevin that she wasn't overly pleased about being shanghaied into this.

Gabe didn't smile as he stood up. He motioned Bron to follow him.

"I could have done this another day," she spoke to the back of his head as he walked in front of her. Bron was looking for any hint that Gabe would be on her side with this. It wasn't like he didn't know what was going on. The kind and elderly doctor was carrying on with her mother-in-law right under Kevin's nose.

Gabe nodded his head, "Yes, however, there is no time like the present."

"This wasn't my idea, it was his." Bron stopped as he handed her a gown and pointed to an empty room.

"No, actually it was my idea. You have blown me off long enough." Gabe's lips pursed when he saw her frown. Kevin was following them, holding Cooper in his arms. Kevin was always there, some days it un-nerved him as much as it did his patient.

"Mother-in-laws should learn their place, especially when she has a gentlemen friend that the dear baby son doesn't know about," Bron whispered back at Gabe as Kevin took a seat.

"Yes well…" Gabe paused as he grabbed the chart and flipped it open. "I spent an awful lot of time putting what is left of you back together. Most of it not where it should be. However, I would like make sure that my handiwork is holding up."

Bron didn't say another word as they went through the routine post-op physical. Obviously, anything she had to say would fall on deaf ears now. She watched Kevin get up and take Cooper out of the room after he started fussing. "You've been hanging around The Richardsons' a little too long."

Gabe let the comment pass. He was mulling over some things and making his notes. He bounced the folder on her knee as he helped her sit up. "Meet me in my office. We have some things to discuss."

"Being?" Bron caught the unusual look on his face.

"Office, both of you," Gabe was keeping his thoughts to himself. He wanted a few minutes to himself to look over Bron's records. Something was sticking out at him, but he wasn't sure if he was right or not. "Kevin help Bron."

Kevin blinked. Why would he need to help Bron. She knew how to get dressed, he just liked the undressing part, that he never minded helping with. He looked around the office and then cautiously stepped into the examining room. A little thought tripped through his mind, more of a little fantasy than a thought. Cooper cooing quelled the vision rather quickly.

Bron could see what road Kevin's mind had taken. She wanted to yell at him for thinking something so obscene. Then she chastised herself, there was only one way she would know what he was thinking and that was if she was thinking the same thing. It shocked her as she slipped into the curtained off cubicle to get dressed.

"You're a prude," Kevin laughed as he pulled the curtain open.

Bron yanked it closed, "And you're a pig."

"But you love me," Kevin laughed as he walked around the office.

"Gabe wants to see us in his office," Bron slid the curtain shut. She couldn't remember when was the last time she dressed so quickly.

"Why?" Kevin opened the door and went directly into Gabe's private office. "What's wrong?"

Gabe pushed his bifocals down his face slightly. "Did I say anything was wrong?"

Bron literally dropped in the chair next to Kevin. Leaning over, she grabbed Cooper and gave him a bottle.

"How did long did you nurse him?"

Bron squared her shoulders, she wasn't in the mood for rehash. "'Till I left, you know that."

Gabe looked down again at her folder and flipped through some pages. "We need to discuss birth control options for you."

Kevin snorted and leaned back in the chair. He had done the impossible once. Now this was a joke, because surely would never happen again. He withered slightly at the glares he received from both Bron and Gabe.

"The pill is now out, not even a low dose," Gabe looked down the list. "No IUD for you. A diaphragm might be an option."

"Get real, I want my pills!" Bron didn't understand why, she was on them for years.

"It's your age," Gabe looked up at her. He knew he was lying to her but he had cause, he did not want her on any form of hormones.

"You should have done a hysterectomy when I asked you to."

"No," Kevin leaned in. "Gabe said you were too young and it wasn't necessary."

"Great just great, see I told you I was too old and you were too young. But, do you take my word for it? Nooooo…" Bron would have kept going had Gabe not interrupted her.

"It's temporary Bron; you can go on them in time, just not right now. Let's do some blood work and see where your levels are. In the mean time, until this trial is over with and you are back home to see me again, you'll have to think of something else."

Kevin grumbled, he had never worn a condom with Bron and he was not liking the idea now. It did not feel natural to him, it was having sex with latex. The sensations weren't the same. Too many years he had worn the things and he wasn't about to with his wife.

"Well there's always abstinence, it's guaranteed," Bron seethe the words as she saw Kevin frowning.

"Yeah right," Kevin's foot accidentally kicked her chair causing it to move slightly.
"We'll figure it out. We heard you loud and clear." Kevin slid the chair out and walked out of the office.

Bron was laughing as she sat in the chair. She watched Gabe draw some blood from her arm. She was pretty amazed, most doctors couldn't do a draw if they had too. "That was pretty good Gabe. Did the Mama teach you that?"

Gabe had actually begun to laugh with her; he knew she wasn't talking about the blood draw either. "Nooo. I can't believe he is that upset over this."

"We've never used a condom Gabe. Cooper was conceived the first time we were together. After that, I was informed that I was in a committed relationship, late in the game of course, whether I wanted to be or not. The jerk wouldn't even let me go home. He kept me on tour with him. He took everything I owned and hid it from me."

"He did that?" Gabe wondered aloud.

"Him and the other one," Bron shrugged. "They're in league together," Bron winked.

"I don't know how you stay in business with that man. I mean…."

"Stow it Doc. I'll see you at dinner at our house tonight." Bron slipped her coat on when Kevin came back. "Let's not have this conversation at dinner okay?"

Kevin held Bron's purse as she zipped her coat. "Why are you coming to dinner? My Mom is coming to dinner." Kevin leaned a little closer to Gabe as if he had mutated on him or something.

"Lurch, be nice. I asked him to bring your Mom out to the house because we have so much to do. They are friends." Bron looked quickly at Gabe to make sure that he caught on.

"Oh, okay, thanks for bringing her. I guess if she has to have a friend, you wouldn't be so bad." Kevin marched out of the office swinging the car seat.

Bron fought off a case of the giggles successfully as they stopped a few stores on the way home. Flipping open the phone, she dialed the house. She needed a head count for dinner. When the total kept increasing, she frowned. "I'll order pizza and wings."

"I want a pizza with olives, ham, and pineapple," Suzie spoke as she stared down at the menu from the only place she knew Bron would get pizza besides Scout's. "Oh and I want a Greek salad with feta vinaigrette dressing too. Dressing on the side please.

"Would you like anything else while I'm out?" Bron replied sarcastically.

Suzie looked around the pantry, "You're out of Strawberry Quik. Do you have any chocolate?"

Bron's eyes rolled, "Top shelf, to the left, plain cardboard box."

"Tell her not to eat the Good -N- Plenty." Kevin began placing the order knowing that they were discussing Bron's emergency candy supply.

"Don't eat his Good-n-Plenty," Bron laughed

"Oh, but I love those," Suzie hung up.

Bron turned to Kevin. "We need to get some more Good-n-Plenty for you, I think."

"She's turned into an eating machine since Nick left," Bron finished the order. "She is so damn bored and missing him."

"Yeah, she has. Knowing you too, it's PMS. You guys PMS together."

Bron looked at the pizza parlor cashier with face that said, 'You've got to be kidding me.' "Well I guess I would actually have to have a period now wouldn't I, for you to verify that." Bron walked out of the pizza parlor and next door to the grocery store.

Kevin jogged in behind her, Cooper bouncing around and loving it. "Sorry."

"Well in a way you're right. My back is starting to bug me and I feel crampy. Let's go," Bron walked around the small convenience store. Tossing this and that in the cart as she walked along and Kevin pushed the cart. Stopping in a particular aisle, she paused.

Kevin shifted, "I'm not embarrassed by this stuff."

"I hope not at your age," she tossed a box in the cart. "Let's find your Good-N-Plenty sweetie." Bron snickered when she heard him let out a sigh. "Oh and I think you need to go up there." Bron pointed to a display of birth control.

"Yes darlin'," he mimicked back at her as he half leaned on and half pushed the shopping cart. Kevin rolled the car up the aisle. "Do you think that is why he didn't give you the prescription?"

"I guess. I haven't had one yet so I'm going to assume that he is waiting for me to have one and making sure I'm not going through menopause."

Kevin shook his head, "You're not that damn old. Why are you so determined to think that you are going through the change now?"

"Because I feel like crap," Bron hung back, this was a section of the store, she hadn't visited in years.

Kevin didn't miss the words she whispered, "My, my hasn't this changed."

Bron watched Kevin grin all the way, she wasn't sure why but she knew she would find out eventually.






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