~The Binding~

Chapter 32

Suzie's head was still spinning from the fast departure from Lexington to Buffalo. Now that she had arrived in Buffalo, they were heading into Mc's apartment above his bar. She was surprised to learn that he hadn't sold the business. Suzie thought that he had sold or walked away from his life up in New York but, obviously he hadn't. She walked around the apartment or penthouse, as she would deem it. It was lavish and lush, nothing like she had expected. The décor was sleek and modern. The furnishings were done in metals, leather, stone, and wood. "I'm impressed."

"So, do you like the Inferno?" Mc poured her a glass of wine.

"Inferno?" Suzie glanced around the stainless steel kitchen with granite counter tops. Running her finger along the flat surface, she smiled. The countertop was very familiar.

"Yep, the Inferno," Mc laughed. "Everyone calls this place by that name. Except Bron, she calls it hell. I call it home."

"Bron would call it hell, some days she doesn't like you much. She resents the way you have changed. It was easier to hate you when you were the bad guy." Suzie clinked her wine glass with his, "This kitchen looks very familiar." She had no second thoughts about having a glass of wine, her doctor had told her that it would be good for her, especially red wine.

"It should, she designed this one as well. Come on, I'll show you around." Mc grabbed her elbow and showed Suzie two more bedrooms, a gorgeous Chinese inspired dining room. Suzie couldn't miss the abundance of art work scattered all around the apartment. Statues, paintings, and sculptures filled each room. One common theme was present, women in various states of undress, mostly nude. She tried not to smirk. Calling back on her days in Fine Arts in college, she recognized some of the sculptures and paintings. Erotic art, as well as, works from the Masters had been strategically placed to make you want to take more than a passing glance.

"I like women," Mc smiled, "usually undressed."

"Ahh, I can see that," Suzie blushed. Suddenly she felt like she had taken a wrong step with Mc. Maybe it wasn't a good idea to be here alone with him. Mc was obviously more sexual and sensual than she had ever imagined.

"Let me show you my room," Mc didn't wait for her to respond as he pulled her down the hall.

"I really don't need to …" Suzie stopped and stood in the room. This room was masculine, very masculine but not like the other rooms, this room was more airy and subtle. This room was full of photos. Photos filled the walls, every piece of furniture in the room held photos, except the leather headboard. This room was not as sexy or sultry as the other rooms of his home; this room was toned down and homey.

"My family gallery," Mc walked around.

Suzie followed, not at ease but not jittery either. The walls held pictures of Mc, C.W., Kaylin, Jake, Stevie, Andrew. Everyone from what she could gather that Mc had a familiar tie to. A photograph of Janey and Logan sat on the nightstand. A picture of Kaylin fishing with C.W. and Mc rested on top of the other nightstand.

"You're weird," Suzie looked around the room and then swallowed hard.

"I can be, but I used to conduct much of my business in the others rooms." Mc stuffed his hands in his pockets and watched Suzie go to the wall of pictures.

"Hey that's at my house, that's everyone." She turned to him as her finger still rested on the photo. A picture of the Backstreet Boys chasing Bacon the pig at the luau lay under her fingertip.

Mc walked up to her, "Oh yeah it is. Down here is the dig for your palm tree," Mc laughed as he walked down a few feet.

"I get it now, you're just a freak," Suzie laughed. "Those rooms out there aren't you, this room is." She grinned since she actually saw Mc blush slightly.

"Part of my therapy from years ago was to let go of the anger and I understand why I did what I did to her. We were close, she left me, and I was jealous. We were okay for awhile. When C.W. was alive, he was a buffer. Then all the shit happened and we almost went back to square one."

"Square one?" Suzie didn't turn to look at him, she studied the pictures. A grouping of photos from Bron's marriage to Kevin and their reception filled a desktop.

"I ran into this tall dude that could take better care of Bron than I could. He liked her, so, I left him in charge of her." Mc knew he would get a rise out of her and he certainly did.

"That is the shit that pisses her off. I know you don't talk to Janey that way. You don't talk to me that way. You bark a lot at me on regular basis, I really wish you would stop that." Turning back to the wall, she laughed at a picture of Kevin sprawled out on the grass being pinned down by two giant dogs and laughing about it.

"I know it pisses her off. If Bron is pissed, she doesn't think too deeply. I've tried to make amends to her for our past. I can't do that anymore but she'll use it to go for my jugular if she's given the chance; like she did today." Mc pulled his hand through his hair. He felt safe with Suzie, he could tell her things that he couldn't tell Janey or Bron. "I won't yell at you anymore unless you piss me off directly."

Suzie grabbed her glass and casually left him behind, not far though. "It'll work. So how do you love two women?"

"I don't," Mc growled.

"Keep telling yourself that and someday you might believe it. How do I know you aren't the stalker?"

"Please, if I wanted Bron, she'd be here," Mc cocked an eyebrow at her.

Suzie had to agree on that point. "So what are we going to do tonight since they told you that Bron isn't home tonight."

"I have some business to take care of downstairs tonight. I don't want you to go down there right away. If you want to wait about two hours and then come down to the bar and have some fun, that would be fine with me." Mc opened the door to the guest room and smiled.

Suzie's confidence in this position was beginning to flag. Mc was obviously showing her the door, not the exit one but the door to the room that he wanted her to be in. "Maybe I will in an hour or so."

"I need two," Mc didn't smile, letting her know, it would be at least two hours. Nothing before that would work for him.

Suzie shot him a questioning look and entered the room. Quietly she closed the door and just about screamed. She hadn't been this tense since she had taken the pregnancy test. She and Nick waited for the results. He was in Florida on his phone as they counted the minutes.

"God this is fucked up." She lay across the bed and convinced herself that a catnap would be a great idea. Her head swam from all of the ambiance of the penthouse she was sleeping in. Mc was even more of an enigma now than he was before. What had she gotten herself into this time?

A quick shower, a little hair spray, some makeup, and a dab of perfume and Bron was ready to rock. She smiled knowing that she hadn't really taken what was left in the medicine cabinet for her. "Gotcha Lurch," she grinned and walked into the dining room.

"Where are you sneaking off to?" Jake stood with arms crossed. His eyes roamed from the top of her neatly done hair, down the long leather jacket, tight black jeans, and black stiletto boots. "Don't be a damn fool and step out on him."

"I'm not stepping out on him, I'm going to hell," as she walked around Jake and straight to the front door. Bron cracked as she pulled open the front door, "I need to let off some steam… without a babysitter."

"Great, just great." Jake grumbled and flipped on the cell. One call to Webster and he could sleep soundly the rest of the night. "Get her back in one piece before dawn. I'll say a prayer, you're going to need it. She's going dancing, the old way."

A loud groan in his ear and the call ended. Jake nodded and went back upstairs to sleep. "Good luck Web." Pausing at the top of the stairs, he wondered if he should tell Kevin or not. "She needs some me time; it'll do her some good." Jake closed his door quietly. In a few hours maybe he would tell Kevin, then again, maybe he wouldn't.

Bron arrived at the bar with the keys swinging in her hand. The clank of the keys in the cold night air sounded good. The snow crunched under her boots as she pushed the key into the backdoor of the building. Using the back entrance seemed like the best idea to her, the front was lighted like daylight and she didn't want to be seen going into the club. The club was already jumping with the sound of music and patrons. The walls breathed the beat as she slipped in the backdoor and into the offices. Poking her head in the kitchen door, her eyes surveyed the room quickly. Monday nights were always a good night for Mc. Ten-cent chicken wings and dollar drafts, along with a good football game equaled money.

Diane, a long-time waitress, waved at her, Bron gave her a thumbs up and quickly disappeared into the business offices. Turning around she opened the locked private room door and flicked the lights on that were already on. The lighting was softer in here than the regular club. This was a private bar and dining room, the place where Mc used to conduct his business away from the crowds but still be where he needed to be. This room was usually for first meetings or business conducted with affiliates that he didn't want in his home upstairs.

Soft music playing and dim lights made her wary as she slipped into the room. Nobody should be in this room. Only three known set of keys were around. One pair in Mc's possession, one in hers, and one the bar manager had to keep the place clean. Jake probably had a key, Jake had a key to everything.

Her eyes adjusted from the blaring light of the offices to the dimly lit room. Scanning the room, it seemed empty but the lights and music were on. Bron shook the keys in her hand, "Hello?" She waited for answer. "They must have left the lights and music on sometime today when they cleaned." Bron spoke to herself as she made her way to the small DJ booth on the other side of the stage. She laughed as she stopped and touched the cold metal of the pole that was anchored into the floor and attached to the ceiling. "Some things will never change with that man, irregardless of who he is with."

Taking two quick leaps, she was up the steps and in the DJ booth. She fired up the CD player. There was no need for her to search for music that she wanted to dance to. All of her CD's still took up the upper left rack of the booth. Bron blew the dust off with her fingers. "Somebody better start cleaning this place the right way," she grumbled as she finished the dusting with her fingertips. "Disgusting, just disgusting." Filling the CD changer, she headed for the bar. Pulling out a bottle of Tequila and some limes, she laughed. "I'm ready to dance." Pouring a shot, she sniffed it, and her stomach turned. "Maybe not," she placed the offending drink back down on the bar and opted for a coke.

The music played as she sat and sang along by herself for a bit. She cleaned the bar top and emptied her glass. Dust happened to be everywhere, which was fine by her. Bron danced and sang as she cleaned the place up. Making a mental note to chew the bar manger out for the messy conditions of the private room.

"You still cannot sing," came from the door.

Bron shot him a look, "Go away, I need some space."

"It's my space you are in Spark," Mc laughed as he entered the room. Bron still danced and sang while she was cleaning. He was happy to see that she easily fit back into the place.

Bron was mad, this was the only place that she could get some space and feel safe. "What are you doing here?"

"I should ask you the same?" Mc knew she had to be in here when Webster had called him on his cell phone. He didn't tell Webster that he was actually in town. Web had told him that Bron had entered the club but they couldn't find her anywhere in the club. She wasn't in the kitchen or the offices. He wanted to know if he could have someone check Mc's apartment upstairs.

"Does your husband know you are here?"

"Does your wife know you are here?"

Mc sighed there was no sense in fighting with her. "Look I have business to take care of in here. You need to go upstairs for a while. I'll buzz up there when you can come back down."

"What kind of business?" Bron poured another soda for herself and one for him. She had no intentions of leaving. She hadn't gone out on a limb with her hubby to be chased away. Finally she was feeling relaxed for the first time in days. This place was safe and secure and even Stevie wouldn't be able to get in.

Ambling behind the bar, he reached for the glass, and took a long sip. "None of your business," he smiled as he began to sing 'Bad Moon Rising' along with Creedance Clear Water Revival on the sound system.

"Does it have to do with me?" Bron began to clean behind the bar absently with a rag.

Grabbing a rag, Mc did the same. "I said it was none of your business." They sang the half of the CD before his frustration got the better of him, Bron wasn't going to leave, she intended to just hang out until his meeting partners arrived. Grabbing the dishrag from her hand, he pointed to the door as the rag hung in his hand. "Now go up stairs before I stop playing nice with you and call your husband. I know damn well, he doesn't know that you are down here."

Bron grinned, "If I go up stairs to your apartment, I know you won't call him. You know as well as I do that he'd blow a gasket on that one."

Mc closed his eyes after taking in the triumphant look on his partner's face. Blowing out a breath, he gave her a hard stare after counting to ten. Dealing with Bron on some levels, some days, could be like dealing with an unruly child.

"It doesn't work anymore," Bron winked at him.

"Fine," Mc shrugged. "However, if you go upstairs, your sister is up there and you can wring her neck for getting pregnant by blondie."

"SHE'S HERE!" Echoed off the walls as the door slammed shut.

"Oh, sorry Suzie," he pursed his lips together. "We all have to sacrifice something at one time or another."

Mc made his way back into the bar to await the men that were to join him. He had a plan in place for everything. Bron's trial was going to be very successful and C.W.'s death would be avenged. Everything was going to be neat and tidy as well as in the open. All he needed to do now was find Stevie. Stevie was definitely putting a kink in his plans. Tonight's meeting would slowly bring Stevie closer to the prey that he was seeking but with no harm to her and nobody aware of what was going on but the four gentlemen who had just walked through the doors of his establishment.

"Follow me gentlemen. I have a place where we won't be disturbed." Mc motioned the gentlemen to the kitchen doors.

"Nice set-up," one of them quoted as he took a seat at the bar. "Any entertainment?" The man nodded towards the strippers' pole.

"Not yet, but possibly later," Mc's face took on a different expression. "Business first, then I will see what I can do in that department." Confidentially, Mc poured a round of drinks. "Let's get this done. It has gone on far too long." His smiled faded as he heard a thump upstairs. Silently he hoped that the two women were mature enough not to get into a physical fight over a baby. Picking up the intercom telephone, he heard two distinctly different people crying. He grinned to the men who sat cautiously nearby. "Just checking the club fellas, everything is fine."

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