~The Binding~

Chapter 35

Four people wanting to use the bathroom cut Bron's shower extremely short. She could have stayed under the hot stream all day. Her fourth visitor, Kevin, had no problems carrying on a conversation with her as she washed her hair. She swore the next thing she would do to this house was add another bathroom. One bathroom was no longer going to cut it for this growing family. The final volley, which made her move, was when he had slid the glass shower door open and peered in. "They're in your kitchen…. cooking dinner."

She heard him laugh when she cursed and turned the water off. A towel was held out for her. She snagged it from the tightly entwined fingers. "Get out."

"Yes ma'am." The door shut with a thud.

Bron dressed and entered her dining room. She faced four men scowling at her and two women who had looks of pity. Two other men were just flat out staring at her. Her gaze focused on her husband, whose scowl seemed the deepest. Walking to the dining room table, she stopped. Placing both her hands on the dining room table, she closed her eyes against the onslaught of emotions. A gentle hum reached her ears. Large hands reached her shoulders and squeezed and then words replaced the humming noise. Voices rose higher and higher in her home. The smile grew on her face as she heard three very distinct voices blend into a sweet harmony. She didn't want to open her eyes, she was lost in the voices, especially the one voice that sang right in her ear as his hands rested on her shoulders.

Somebody raise your hand now- Yeah
Oh no, no, no.

Suzie gasped after hearing Nick sing, mimicking Krystal's falsetto voice.

Bron choked back the tears as a husky bass voice sang the last verse in directly in her ear.

One to one, you and me
I know it's our destiny
Cause love is a beautiful thing
Stay together through thick and thin
Now I know I've got a friend
Love is a beautiful thing
Face the fears through the years, there's no tears
Oh love is a beautiful thing
Soul to soul, fire to fire
Nothing like this heart's desire
Cause love is a beautiful thing

His lips pressed gently against the sensitive skin behind her ear, "Nothing like this man's desire. Cause love is a beautiful thing."

Bron swiped a tear from her cheek as everyone stared at her. She needed to turn the vibe in the room around. Only one thing would cause this reaction in her husband and his friends, concern for her well-being. The atmosphere needed to be lightened. "Stop butchering Miss Krystal's music." Bron reached up and wrapped her fingers around the ones, which had finally settled on her shoulder. Their fingers danced with each other. "Speaking of the little shit. Where have you guys squirreled the little girl away that has the hots for my husband?"

Kevin smirked from behind her at his friends and family. He squeezed her hand, "Now baby she can't help it. She's a good kid."

Bron snorted while their fingers entwined with each other. "I've heard all the jokes people."

Suzie's nose wrinkled, "My favorite is what management is she under and we don't mean Kevin."

"Susan!" Anne's sharp voice pierced the air.

Kevin gave them a look of disgust as he wet his lips and stared at all of them. "So not happenin'. I don't do little girls."

"Kevin Scott!" Anne's voice was even shriller this time as she stood next to Gabe shaking her head.

"Just virgins right," Mc tossed his own words as he fixated on Gabe.

The conversation was coarse and inappropriate with his mother present. However, Mc never missed an opportunity to get on his ass. Kevin grabbed his wife's hand, pulled her from the chair, and twirled her around the dining room table. "That's right."

She was lost in the intensity of his green eyes, which shined with joy and mischievousness for a brief second. Bron frowned at him, "I have three kids."

"Only because one is adopted and the second involved a really dark room."

"We don't want to hear this conversation." Suzie grated at hearing Kevin's obnoxious remark. "We do not need to know the details of how this child was conceived."

"Ah, hell we know that, we did the math." A.J. laughed. "We're all guessing the first night in Pittsburgh for Cooper, this one, when Kev hauled his wife's ass back home."

Bron's face reddened and she pulled away. Kevin lifted her off her feet. "We're going to have another baby. I'm so damn happy."

"Put me down jackass." Bron struggled against his larger frame.

"Yep, I'm your jackass." Kevin set her down.

"Aren't I the lucky one?" Bron walked to the kitchen and surveyed the mess. She looked at her mother-in-law. Bron fussed with the pork roast in the pan. She yanked spices from the rack and uncapped them without looking. She shook bottle after bottle over the roast. "You have nothing to add?"

Anne's gentle smile widened. "Like he said, he's your jackass."

The room filled with laughter.

"You gave birth to him." Bron slammed the lid down on the roaster.

"He's all yours now." Anne patted Bron on the back.

"A room full of shitheads is what I have. Now, let's get dinner ready because I have some ironing to do. Don't I Kevin?" Bron turned with the roasting pan in her hand. She watched him drop his head and then slowly raise it. He looked directly at her as if nobody else was in the room. His eyes seemed clouded over again like they had been when she first walked in the room.

"Yeah darlin', you do." Kevin shuffled to her and wrapped his hands around hers as the roasting pan began to shake in her grip. He waited for her hands to steady so he could turn to open the oven door. He removed the pan from her hands and placed the pan inside. After bumping the door shut with his knee, he pulled the oven mitts off her hands. "We'll be right back, everyone. Could you stay in here a minute, please?"

Kevin wrapped an arm around her shoulder and walked to the French doors. He opened them and began to pass through them. As he did, Kaylin came from the other side of the doors yelling like a banshee that Cooper was awake.

"I'll get him." Andrew took off through the doors Kevin was trying to negotiate through to get a little privacy.

Kevin walked to the far end of the room and sat in the recliner. He drew Bron on his lap and sighed. The fire crackled in the fireplace and he stared at the flame. Leaning back in the chair, he spoke quietly, "It's gonna be alright."

"I hope so." Bron leaned onto him as he scooted further back in the chair. His arm came across her back and his hand rested on her waist. His other hand went to the side of her head and pressed her to lean back on him. Her head now rested on his shoulder. She could see some of the flames flicker and feel the heat from the fireplace. However, most of her view was obstructed by the firm set of his jaw and goatee. She blew out a breath as she tried to resign herself to her court date tomorrow. "I don't know…"

"Stop…" Kevin paused as Andrew came down the stairs and slipped silently through the French doors to join the others with Cooper in his arms.

Kevin moved in the chair. His hand lazily caressed up and down her arm, while his other reached to squeeze the hand, which rested in her lap. "Would this bother you so much if I wasn't who I am?" He waited for her to process the question. They had had this conversation before. Her fear of harming him or the group seemed to always come first with her instead of herself.

She sat up and stared him. "No."

"Well then in that case, I think I'll quit. If it doesn't matter to you." Kevin stared right back at her.

"Quit Backstreet?" Bron struggled for breath.

Kevin had to try and hide the smile that was working its way to his face. "Yep. If it was just you and I, husband and wife, this would be easy. You're more worried about me and the guys than you are yourself."

"I'm worried about myself," Bron tried to placate him.

A hand turned her face towards his. "Don't lie to me."

"Well, you can't quit. I won't allow it."

Bron's back stiffened in his embrace. Sitting or not she was ramrod straight.

An eyebrow rose and crooked at her.

"Don't look at me like that," Bron began to fidget as she sat in his lap.

"Don't tell me what I can and can't do. I can quit if I want to." Kevin didn't think Bron was taking him seriously. "I mean it Bron, if I have to quit so that I can keep my family intact, I will do it."

Two hands pressed into his chest and pushed him back in the chair. "I don't want you to sacrifice something you enjoy so much for me. You'll regret it later."

"You're lying again." Kevin chuckled as he watched the panic rise in her. Through the measure of time, Backstreet had become just as important to Bron as it had Kevin.

"Okay, you can't quit. You'll screw up my storylines and my life. You'll be kicking around the house forever. It would force me to move the offices to the center of town so I could have some space to get the hell away from you."

Kevin sighed, "Bronwyn Richardson…"

"I'm serious. Then we have this whole Nick and Suzie mess to deal with, not to mention the procreation they have going on. A.J. is hanging onto hope and hasn't relapsed. Do you want him to relapse? Do you want to be responsible for that?"

Hands pressed into him even harder. She was shifting in his lap continuously. He had her on edge now. On edge and not thinking about the trial but their future, this was a good thing. Kevin tried to speak but a finger over his lips prevented it.

"What about Brian? He has a new baby… And Leighanne… Leighanne is high-maintenance. She has expensive taste. And what about BJ?"

Pulling her finger away from his mouth, he in turn pressed his lips over her mouth and ceased her talking. "You win. I won't quit this year," he whispered. He pulled his head back and locked eyes with her. "With the condition that you listen to me, Mc, and anyone else that you need to in order to get through this. When I tell you I want you to rest, you'll rest. When I tell you I want you to eat, you'll eat. When I tell…"

"Okay!" Bron tossed her arms up in the air. "You win."

Kevin eased back in the chair and wrapped his arms around her. He pulled her close and held on tight. "No, we both win." His hand slipped to her stomach. "We both win," he mumbled as he watched the flames lick up to the top of the firebox.

Bron sighed, "I guess I'll have to resign myself to being under your control until this is over with." She felt his chest rise and fall with a slight laugh. "God, you just love that so much, it makes me sick." The rumble from his chest that followed was nothing more than a confirmation of her statement. "Ape."

"I prefer caveman," he grinned and turned her face to his. He tilted his head and kissed her none too gently. "I really like this fireplace. I would really like everyone out of this house so that I could take your clothes of piece-by-piece and kiss each patch of skin I've touched in the process. I want to make love to you on the floor in front of this fire on a pile of soft blankets. Too love you like I never have before…"

"DAD!" The French doors banged open.

"Not now," Kevin whined.

"She's such a mood killer," Bron groaned as she sat up putting some space between their bodies.

"Suzie wants to know where she should put the blow up bed." Kaylin stood with both doors wide open.

Kevin titled his head and then he rested it on Bron's. They both smiled at the group of people staring at them from the other side of doorway. "In the damn garage!"

"Kevin…" Bron laughed at the tormented face he was wearing.

Kevin blew out a breath and pushed Bron's legs off his lap. She slid to the side and he stood up. Shaking out his pant legs, he held her hand out to her. "Life continues in the Richardson house."

"Oy'," Bron grumbled as she latched onto the hand and he pulled her from the chair.

"If you can't get out of the chair now, what the hell are you going to do-"

"I could get out of the chair if I wasn't so damn sore from this morning."

"Sorry," Kevin mumbled as they walked across the room hand and hand.

"No you're not." Bron spat back at him.

Kevin shook his head and said nothing as they entered the dining room. "Okay people, time to go to work. Aje, you have the label to handle. Talk to Nick and Suzie on how and when they want the announcement to go out for the Carter Critter. We are keeping quiet on ours until after the trial. As usual, Bron's pregnancy is risky and the trial isn't going to help."

Nick and A.J. rolled their eyes at him. "Thanks so much." Nick mouthed behind Kevin's back to Bron.

The ringing in Nick's ears made him dizzy. "Dammit Mrs. Richardson." Nick shook his head.

"You didn't just cuss my Mother out, did you?" Kevin was breathing in his face.

"No, No, no…" Nick backed up and through the French doors with both hands in the air. Kevin was matching him for step for step.

"I can still kick your ass Carter. I'm not the old married man you think I am." Kevin followed Nick through the French doors and slammed them shut when they were on the other side.

"Aje, go help Nick," Bron motioned to the door as she made her way to the kitchen.

"I'll help Nick," Suzie placed both hands on the table and pushed the chair away.

A crash sounded from the living room.

"No I'll help Nick." Mc rushed to Nick's aid figuring Kevin was ready to rip something apart and he actually liked Nick.

Bron shook her head, "This is insane."

A hand latched onto her elbow and directed her to a chair at the kitchen table. "And you're going to sit and rest awhile. I need you to get a calendar out so that I can call Jason Green to set up your appointments."

"I don't want him. I want you."

"I'm retiring. I'm old and tired."

"If you'd stop doing it with my mother-in-law you wouldn't be tired." Bron frowned only at him only to have Anne slam a lid on the potato pot.

"OH MY GOD! YOU TWO! OH MY GOD!" A.J. was jumping up and down as he stood next to the refrigerator.

"Shut up Alexander," Anne crossed her arms and pursed her lips at him.

"Doing what?" Kaylin looked at her grandmother.

A.J. shook his head from side to side then he set a beady little glare on Bron. He started to walk toward her. "He doesn't know does he?"

"Knock it off Aje," Suzie snickered from the dining room table.

"I gotta secret." A.J. flashed a mega-watt smile.

"Aw shit," Bron groaned. "Aje, please don't. I'm begging don't. Life is hard enough right now. He's not going to take this well."

A.J.'s hand flew to her face; he cupped her cheeks in both hands. "If you have a boy, you name it Alex."

Bron's head twisted from side to side in his hands. "No," she managed to get out between squished cheeks.

"I'll tell him." A.J. grinned like a fool.

"You have ten seconds to get your hands off my wife before I knock your skinny ass right through the kitchen wall."

A.J. dropped his hands and winked at Bron before he turned around to face Kevin. Nick was standing behind him laughing. "We were just playin' around Kev. I didn't hurt her."

Kevin was bearing down on A.J. with a killer look in his eyes.

"I'm mean it man, I didn't hurt her. We were just screwing around."

"Kevin," Bron snapped at him and he froze.

"What?" Kevin glared at her but stopped stalking A.J. around the dining room table for the moment.

"Go set up my ironing board." Bron nodded toward the doors after she spoke.

Kevin frowned when Nick and Alex snickered at him. "Your asses are saved by the Sunbeam fellas." Kevin tromped out of the kitchen and back from where he had came.

"That should keep him busy for a while. He doesn't know where the ironing board is. He's so pissed he's going to call Kaylin in there in a minute to help." Bron turned to Kaylin. "Keep him busy for awhile. Play hide and seek with the iron. I need to have a talk with BSB."

"'kay Mom." Kaylin grinned when she heard her Dad calling her.

The door opened with a bang. "Get in here, I need you."

"Okay Dad," Kaylin giggled and left to play a cool game with Dad. It was always so much more fun when he didn't know he was playing.

"Okay, you shits, listen up. Alex you will not say a word. Nick has known forever and not said a word. Out of respect for Anne and all the times she took you in on Holidays, you will not do this to her."

"Chicken," A.J. snickered. His snicker was cut short when he looked at Kevin's mother and saw how upset she was. "Alright, I won't say anything."

"Fine, now set the table while I go iron." Bron left them to their own devices for the moment. She had own inner battle to deal with, her stomach was already rolling.






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