~The Binding~

Chapter 43

The soundless ride home was broke by the ringing of Mc's cell. "Answer it." Mc tossed the small silver square to Kevin in the backseat.

"Mc's phone." Kevin answered. "Yeah, I'll tell him you need him back there later. He's taking us home first." Kevin hung up the phone. "It was Tate." Kevin knew he didn't need to repeat what Tate had said he had already done so.

Bron covered her face with her hands as the truck smoothly exited the expressway. She cried as she wiped her face with the sleeve of her coat. She hadn't stopped crying since they had left the courthouse. "God, I can't believe this is over."

"It is for us little girl. I'm very proud of the way you held up in there. Please know that I didn't mean any of those things." Mc adjusted the mirror as he turned slowed down. "I would never speak to you like that."

Bron sniffed, wiped her nose, and coughed. "To think Muriel knew all along scares me. I don't want to stay here. I want to go home today."

"We can't go home today Spark. I know you're scared but the worst of it is over. Webster and the rest of the guys will be watching out for you." Mc shook his head as he stared straight ahead through the windshield. "Muriel O'Hara, who would've known. I almost asked her out once just to piss her off." Mc laughed as he made a lazy turn.

"You asked her out when we were going out?" Bron sat up in the seat.

"She was spending all her time driving you crazy. I figured I had to get some from somebody. I wasn't getting it from you. I figured if I kept her busy, she'd leave you alone." Mc snickered as he looked at Kevin in the rear view mirror.

Kevin held onto Bron's hand and he struggled to make sense of everything that had just happened. He didn't know if they were going to have to go back to court or what the hell was happening. His feelings were similar to Bron's; he just wanted to go home.

"Asshole." Bron's voice croaked.

Kevin's shoulders shook hearing Bron cuss. That felt like normal and he needed normal right now. Hell, he'd even praise the Lord if Nick was here to break the tension.

"What the hell are you laughing at?" Bron spit out and then slammed her closed fist into Kevin's leg.

"Oww!" Kevin jerked his leg away. "What did I do to you?"

"At least he apologized for his remarks. 'Basic training? Paying in skin? Paying rent on my ass? My place is under you?" Bron hit him again.

"I didn't mean any of that shit and you know it." Kevin grabbed both her wrists. "And stop hitting me."

Bron jerked her hands from his. "'I don't follow orders? It's not a threat, it's a promise. You don't like attitude from me.'" Bron wrapped her arms around her body. Kevin assumed it was to keep her from slapping him again.

Mc laughed even louder. "You're screwed on the last one Pop Star, she's all attitude."

Mc's body bucked forward since Bron had kicked his seat.

"You two are the biggest Neanderthals I have ever met!" Bron was screeching at them.

Mc smirked as Kevin's face contorted from the volume of the noise Bron could make.

"I think you meant what you said Kevin. Every single word of it." Bron sniffed and looked out the window.

Mc would be turning soon they were coming up on her road.

Bron turned to fire a look at Kevin. "Especially the Florida comment."

Kevin rolled his eyes at her. "Yeah right, sure I did." Kevin watched her neighbor's farms roll by her line of vision.

"I think you run on the dark side and you haven't gone there with me because I've been perpetually pregnant since the day I met you."

"Two days after actually," Kevin snorted and tried to side step the issue as Mc pulled the truck in the driveway.

Bron narrowed her eyes to slits and stared at him. She turned to get out of the truck. "That's okay. I'll call Kris, she'll tell me."

"You ain't callin' Kris for shit!" Kevin threw his seatbelt off after jamming the button twice to get it to release. Mc grabbed his arm causing him to almost choke himself in the seatbelt. Kevin jumped out of the truck and was ready to slam the door.

"Stop, she's hurting right now. Bron is not used to you talking to her like that." Mc leaned towards. "She is not Kris."

"I'm not going there with you either." Kevin barked. Kevin felt like he was being backed into a wall with this conversation and it truly wasn't anyone's business but his and his wife's.

"Kevin, listen to me." Mc gripped the wheel. "The shit is going to hit the fan. She thinks what you said means something. She doesn't understand and she will call Kris. Now unless you completely trust Kris not to open her mouth you better use your damn head."

Kevin's face hardened and he glared at Mc. "I don't feel that way about her."

"I know that, but that doesn't mean you haven't felt that way with others. I checked you out and I mean all of it my friend. If you even think for one minute that I didn't know who or what you were after I handed her off to you in Pittsburgh; you're nuttier than Stevie."

Kevin's face turned red in anger. He drew air into his lungs. He hated being reminded that Mc always seemed to have the upper hand. "Why is this the one time the obvious doesn't blow by her at full speed?"

"Hey, it's your business, not mine. You have never done anything to Bron that I wouldn't have done. You've actually showed more restraint than I ever did." Mc placed his forearms on the steering wheel and leaned forward. He watched the lights flick on in the house. Mc nodded signaling she was inside.

Kevin didn't need to glance over his shoulder to see if she had gotten inside. He knew she was inside when he heard the door slam. Mc didn't have to clue him in on that one. "Do we have to be back in court tomorrow?"

Mc half smiled, "I don't know, it's only Tuesday."

"Please?" Kevin was throwing up the white flag. Kevin knew it was only Tuesday he'd been saying that since he had gotten out of bed this morning.

"I'll call you later and let you know. Keep the phone open. I'm sure this is going to go national." Mc's phone rang as it rested on the seat. He picked it up and placed it on the dashboard.

Kevin closed the back door on the passenger's side. He walked around the front of the truck to Mc's door. He had already pulled on his leather gloves to keep the winter chill off his hands. He was hoping the call meant they didn't have to go back into court tomorrow. He couldn't imagine why they would need them. It would take weeks for them to sort all the details out between the different agencies. Kevin glanced to the house. "I didn't mean any of it… Except, Florida, I meant that. I know it and you know it. Hell, she knows it."

Mc blew out a sigh. He stared at the phone resting on the dashboard. "Yeah, I heard her… Ah… Got a pretty good goose egg while she was down there." Mc's lips formed a tight line. "I'll give you a pass on that one since she scared the shit out of me too. If I ever hear about anything happening again, you're going to regret it. I don't make idle threats Kevin. You know that."

For the first time Kevin took what Mc had said at face value. Somehow he knew Mc was not kidding on this, not that he needed to. What happened in Florida was fueled by emotions. Emotions Kevin couldn't control even if he had tried to.

Mc fussed with the rearview mirror again. "Look, eventually you can discuss that topic of conversation with her but not today. It's not my business anyway. All I'm saying is one of two things can happen with what went down today."

Kevin closed his eyes and then opened them. The traffic on the rural road seemed to be picking up all of sudden. He wanted to get in the house to his wife.

"We know what the standard two are with her, fight or flight. We've played this game for over twenty years." Mc dropped his hand from the mirror.

"You forgot the third." Kevin smiled at the man. Mc was worried; Kevin could see it in face.

"Third?" Mc glanced back as a truck pulled in the driveway behind him.

Kevin glanced back as well. He waved for Webster to join them. "Yeah, the third one. The one where after almost a year together my wife loves me enough and trusts me enough to let today's emotions go. That she'll rely on me to help her sort through this. I said some pretty nasty things to her, things she is not used to hearing from me where she is concerned."

Webster walked up to stand next to the two men. "Well, Kevin. The good news is Solarez was arrested on your way home."

Mc pounded the steering wheel with glee. "It's about time!"

Kevin thought Mc might hop out of the truck and do a victory dance like he had seen Bron do so many times.

"The bad news is Lenny is going to live." Webster sighed, "I guess you can't have everything Mc. He should make a nice bitch for Mc's old associates once they find out what Lenny did to Bron."

"Oh I'm sure he will after I make a few phone calls later." Mc stretched his arms out. "It's going to be hard without a set of nuts."

"I didn't hear that." Webster commented. "You're not undercover anymore. Your cover has been blown to hell and then some."

"Yeah, Yeah." Mc glanced to Webster and then to the house. "I can't believe it's over and they're all going down because of Muriel. Not one thing I did mattered."

Kevin placed his clenched hand on Mc's arm as it rested on the open window. "Don't ever say that. What you did kept her safe until she met me." Kevin's balled up fist bounced off Mc's arm.

"Yeah well Richardson you have a lot to deal with tonight. I suggest you get in the house and start working things out before she actually makes that phone call to Kris. You're a good man. I ain't hugging your ass either, my name is not Carter. I'm hoping for number three for you my friend." Mc's quirked up lips and faced Kevin after he made his statement.

"Shit," Kevin mumbled as he dashed around the front of the truck.

"Kevin!" Mc called him back one more time.

Kevin shoulder's dropped and he headed back to the truck. Webster was smirking at him. "You know Kevin we used to have a saying about Bron. One she didn't know about of course."

"What now?" Kevin crossed his arms. His dimple showed as his lips dipped to one side. "I know what you say to her face. I'm not sure I want to know what you say behind her back."

Mc grinned and then laughed as Webster began the words and they finished it together. "Satan used to sit in hell and cry in morning when her feet hit the floor and yell. 'Oh shit, she's up!'"

Kevin's head bobbed up and down. "I like it. I can only hope so."

"We'd like to see her back to that." Mc nodded his head up and down as he stared at the house.

"I'll do my best gentleman." Kevin saluted them and turned on his heel like a soldier.

Mc and Webster waited for the front door. "Damn she is going to kick his ass."

"No shit," Webster laughed as the little country road seemed to have more and more traffic all of sudden. "I'll get these assholes out of here."

Kevin entered the house cautiously. Bron could be armed with anything from a vase to a frying pan. What he found both disappointed and upset him. Bron was sitting on the window seat staring out towards the road. She had kicked her shoes off and had her legs bent at the knee. A tissue balled up in her hand as she quietly wept.

Taking his coat off, Kevin tossed it on the dining room table. Now he felt like a real asshole for saying those things. He walked to her and looked out the window as well. He loosened his tie as more cars and trucks came down the road. The vehicles were crawling like a bunch of baby sea turtles heading to the beach for the first time after hatching. The rural road seemed to have turned into a parade route all of sudden. Kevin leaned forward with one hand on the windowsill as he switched his gaze to the driveway where Mc and Webster were still chatting. Snow began to fall from the gray afternoon sky.

Bron wiped the tears from her eyes but said nothing as she stretched her legs out on the bench.

Kevin set his hand on Bron's shoulder as he stood across from her where she sat. "I didn't mean those things… Any of them." He whispered.

"I know," came out in more of cry than a whisper. "I'm sorry for yelling at you."

Kevin shoved her legs over slightly with a push of his hand. He joined her on the window-bench sitting on the edge opposite her so he could see her face. His elbows rested on his knees, his fingers laced together. "You don't need to apologize to me. I'm the one who is sorry. I'm sorry for putting you through this. I'm sorry for saying all of those things. I got carried away. I could see he was getting off on it. I was just trying to get him to do something, anything-"

"It needed to be done," Bron interrupted him in a voice that was somewhat matter of fact about it.

Kevin swept her bangs back so he could see her eyes. They were bloodshot and glassy, fully dilated as well. "Yes but I could have done it differently. I would never hurt you like that." Kevin slid his butt forward towards her. He clasped her hands in his and squeezed. "We will have the conversation some day. Just not today. I'm not a perfect man."

Bron sniffed and swiped her nose with the tissue. "No, not today. Today wouldn't be a good day."

Kevin tugged her hands and he slid even closer. "I'm so proud of what you did. I know it must have been hard to sit there and re-live the incident all over again. I can only hope that from now on you will rely on me and never have to re-live it again or have another nightmare about that pig."

Bron tilted her head up towards him. Her eyes for one scant second were wide open and then her eyelids jammed shut. "I did what I felt was right. Nothing happened to Kaylin."

"That's right and you should be a very proud of that. I know any Mom would do the same for their child. I'm just sorry that you had to endure such an ordeal to protect her."

Kevin watched the tears fall freely. He wiped them away with his knuckles. "I love ya darlin'. Stop tearing yourself up over this. He's never gonna see the light of day again."

Bron mumbled. "I don't think he's ever going to hurt anyone again the way he hurt me."

He recognized her changing the subject. "Ah, I don't think so either. He's missing some necessary equipment now." Kevin's face scrunched at the mere thought.

"I can't believe Mc did that to him." Bron shook her head back and forth showing her disbelief.

"Self defense baby," Kevin stood up and pulled on her hand.

Bron blinked at him not moving. "Self defense my ass. That wasn't right. He handcuffs and leg shackles. I mean I hate the man and all-"

"Bron, the man is lucky Mc didn't kill him. I have a feeling had Tate not been there Mike Webster wouldn't have had a problem with Mc finishing him off." Kevin didn't understand the sudden surge in compassion for her tormentor. Everything was surreal and he couldn't wrap his mind around it. "They shot the man in a courthouse with God knows how many people in the building. Trust me; he's lucky to be still breathing."

"Muriel's a trip." Bron smiled at him.

"Yeah, no shit." Kevin helped her take her suit coat off noting the abrupt change in conversation again. She wasn't ready to move just yet as he tossed her coat with his. "I'm really hungry."

"Can we order out because I really don't feel like cooking?" Bron asked him.

"Just as long as we don't have pizza." Kevin laughed as Bron more or less was letting him undress her in the dining room. He pulled her shirt from the waistband and popped the dreaded rubber band on the back of her skirt. He heard her sigh with relief.

"Yeah, between Nick and Kaylin I could go a couple of years without pizza. I'll call Dewey down at the bar and get something. You could go pick it up." Bron stood up and reached for the phone on the wall.

Kevin stopped her as she grabbed the phone and he hung it back up. He turned her body to face him. Pulling her close he dropped one arm around her waist and one around her shoulders. "Just hold me a minute. I can't believe this is all over." Both of them stood holding each other as they wept. The day had taken a toll on them.

"We can order later. Let's go take a shower. I feel filthy." Bron uttered and pulled from his embrace and headed through the French doors. He looked toward the ceiling and whispered a quiet thank you to Lord above and his father. After a shower, which was just that and nothing more, they retired to the living room. Kevin was tossed wood onto the fireplace. For the first time he wondered how the hell the wood had gotten in the house this time. He had seen the wood piled neatly next to the garage but not once had he brought any in. "Hey Bron-" The doorbell ringing not only interrupted him but stunned him as well; he didn't know she had a doorbell. He tossed the last log on and head to the door.

Kevin answered the door to find Dewey standing there with two huge brown grocery bags.

"Mc sent this up." Dewey held the bags out for Kevin to grab.

"Thanks," Kevin quipped as he reached for his wallet. Grasping some bills he stuffed them in Dewey's hand and then took the bags.

"Umm, this is for Bron… It's not necessary." Dewey thrust the bills back towards Kevin.

"You battled all those cars to get in here. It's necessary." Kevin glanced to the road. The road was lined with parked cars. At the moment he was extremely happy that the house in Lexington sat way back from the road. Far enough that pictures couldn't be taken even with a long lens.

"I had a police escort." Dewey laughed as Webster's shoes chewed up the small sidewalk.

Webster acknowledged Kevin with a nod. "Dewey, I'm hungry."

"It's in the car man." Dewey split down the sidewalk and to his car.

"You can eat inside," Kevin sighed.

"Oh, no, no…" Webster put his hands up in front him waving madly at him. "You can deal with her."

Kevin closed his eyes and then opened them. "She's fine."

"Straight up?" Webster asked.

"Straight up," Kevin held the door open. Webster grabbed the bag from Dewey, who had raced back up to the porch. Webster took Kevin's money and thrust it back at Dewey. Dewey smiled and went back to his car. Webster waited until Dewey dropped the other bag of food in the unmarked car at the end of the driveway. Kevin shook his head and once again palmed Dewey the cash. "Thanks."

"Kevin, who is it?" Bron yelled from inside the house.

"It's Dewey with dinner." Kevin yelled back into the house.

"I didn't call yet." Bron yelled at him. Her voice reflected irritation.

Kevin heard her coming towards. "I think after all these years you don't really have to call your partner for food." Kevin let out a little laugh after shouting across three rooms.

Bron stood directly behind Kevin. Her hands wrapped around his waist. Webster's head came up sharply and he stared at Kevin.

She peeked her head out from under Kevin's arm. "Come inside and eat, it's too cold out there. Bring your friends."

"She's fine really." Kevin smiled as he wrapped an arm around her head much like a headlock since each hand was holding a bag.

"The friends stay in the car and they're not friends." Mike stepped into the house. "You need to remember that."

"Mike that's mean." Bron moved out from behind Kevin to open the door that Webster was closing.

Kevin couldn't act as a buffer since he was trapped between the two of them and his hands fully loaded. Bron's one arm wrapped around his waist.

"No Bron," Mike closed the door firmly.

"Hey," Mc barked at having the door closed in face. "This is the thanks I get. I feed you guys and you slam the door in my face."

Webster and Kevin stood in front of the door with Mc on the other side. They were grinning since he couldn't get pass them. "Let him in." Bron growled like a rabid animal.

"Yep, she's fine." Webster opened the door. "Just him. Not the people working in the car."

The food was set out and everyone picked at what Mc had sent. Bron was coveting her meal and had no intentions of sharing it with anyone.

Kevin winced watching Bron eat french fries doused in gravy. He knew she would be paying for it later. Heartburn hit her like a brick lately after eating heavy for full of fat. Anxiousness was eating at him as well. He wanted to go back to Kentucky and raise his family. He wanted to help Nick with his new album, he wanted to go over the acting job offers and read the scripts he had been given. He wanted more than his wife living in perpetual turmoil. There was only one thing coming between him and his happy little dream of having his family, making music and being a gentleman farmer. "What are we going to do about Steve?"

"He'll kick up." Webster dragged his bread through the tomato sauce on his plate. "He goes where ever she goes and has since her husband was killed."

"Have you seen him at the jail?" Kevin's mind began to work overtime. It beat watching Bron stuff herself silly knowing she was only eating out of nerves would most likely upchuck the meal later.

"No. Only Lenny's family visits Lenny. He gets no mail in that isn't read first or out for that matter." Webster watched Bron jam her fork into a chunk of raspberry cheesecake.

Kevin's eye rolled since Bron refuse to share her cheesecake with Webster. "He lover her and he isn't letting go of her just yet. Give it a day or two and he'll show."

"It won't take that long." Mc popped the cap of his beer. "He's little plan has been shot to hell. He's going to be unnerved and even more unpredictable now."

Kevin groaned. "Great, now I know Steve is a lunatic."

"He's not a lunatic. He's schizophrenic." Webster didn't look surprised when Kevin dropped his fork and his crab leg and splattered butter across the table. He cast Bron a hard look.

"What? I didn't know," Bron dangled the fry above her mouth and let the gravy drip in.

"You're so gonna pay for eatin' that later." Kevin shook his head. She was alternating between cheesecake and gravy. It beat the sauerkraut any day though in his book. Yet again his wife and her family had dropped a bombshell on him.

"Hell I didn't know either Kevin if it's any consequence to you." Mc picked at the crab legs that he and Kevin seemed to be competing to see who could eat more of.

"Why the hell would you NOT know that?" Kevin glared at Bron and Mc.

"Hmm, it started in high school I guess. I've known him that long and never knew he was on meds." Mc looked at Bron with a questionable look on his face.

"I didn't know," Bron smacked Kevin's hand as it snuck over to her plate to snag some cheesecake.

"You're going to have heartburn for a week." Kevin reprimanded her.

"The baby wanted it or I wouldn't have wanted." Bron smiled at him as her shoulders did a little dance.

"Oh, that's the excuse now. When you go back and get weighed I'll remind you that you said that." Kevin snickered only to be stopped by a flying fry soaked in gravy landing in the middle of his forehead with a splat.

"Asshole," Bron laughed.

Kevin began to laugh as the fry slid down his face. When he did Webster and Mc started to laugh as well.

He still had to deal with the Stevie and the problems he was causing. For now he would enjoy this small celebration. When they were finally home he would deal with the rest of it.





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