~The Binding~

Chapter 48

Bron went religiously every other day to target practice. Kevin and Nick were wrapping up Nick's solo CD project and they had started booking tour dates. Bron was blown away with Kevin's ability to actually book dates for Nick as a manager and figure out a schedule. She thought he would be the last person that would help Nick, not the first and the only.

Kevin had trouble at times with his control issues but it was rare this time around. Bron was relieved that he wasn't hovering or laying down the law about what she could or couldn't do. Her mind seemed more at ease with this pregnancy. Kevin was busy mothering Nick so she was getting a break this time around. Suzie was now their assistant as well.

"I'M HERE!" she called into Gabe's office at full volume after turning back to lock the door behind her.

"Be right there," Gabe's voice called back to her.

Bron waited in the hallway that led to Gabe's office and the exam rooms. She didn't want to sit. Her spine felt like an elephant was using it as a trampoline. Her back was killing her. She had made this call because of a constant nagging backache she had had for the last three days. She hadn't had any spotting or cramping just the backache and it was driving her nuts. This time around she was smart enough not to push Kevin's buttons. No ladders, roofs, or foundations, as of yet anyway. It helped that the crews this year were basically running themselves. J.D in Atlanta, Hank in Birmingham, and Frank stayed local. Work had hit with full force when the April rains had come to Kentucky.

"Hey, there you are," Gabe came around the corner and motioned her to follow him. He still held a mobile phone next to his ear. He held his hand up when Bron went to talk. "Alright, I'll talk to you later." Gabe shook his head as he made his way to his chair. He took a seat behind his desk.

"What? What did I do?" Bron dropped in a chair across from his desk.

Gabe flipped the huge folder open and began to read. After five minutes he took his glasses off and looked at her. "Next time, knock and don't yell so loud."

"Why? It's not like anyone is here but you and I. Well, Jason is probably here too, somewhere," Bron scoffed at him.

"That was Anne on the phone and she recognized your voice. She also knows that I usually mention when you've been here. Since neither of you inform her of when you have an appointment." Gabe winced. "She just talked to Kevin and you are supposed to be in Louisville. You put me in a spot."

"Aww shit," Bron groaned and then her cell phone played Kevin's part of Drowning. Bron frowned at her phone while Gabe laughed. "I'm gonna kill Nick if he doesn't stop messin' with my shit. I can't believe Kevin put up with it all those years." Bron flipped the phone open. Her face soured as the voice on the other end yelled at her. When it stopped, she spoke. "Yes I'm here. No, nothing is wrong that I know of. I came because I haven't been feeling well. No, I wasn't hiding it from you." Bron closed the phone and stared at the old man across from her. She held her phone in her hand and shook it at Gabe. "You tell Anne I'm lookin' for her ass when you see her at dinner. I know you have dinner with her every night now. She just got me in a shitload of trouble. I can bet he was probably getting in his truck and on his way here because of her."

Gabe closed the folder and looked at his watch. "That's okay; we've got a half hour before he gets here so let's see what's going on with you." Gabe held the door open for her.

"Fine," Bron stomped her feet into the floor as she stood up shaking out her pant legs. "But he doesn't always do the speed limit because he knows Pete would never pull him over," Bron huffed.

Gabe smiled at her as he turned back to her. "Some days you have to be a big girl Bron."

"But I don't wanna," Bron whined as she followed Gabe.

Gabe had done an internal and paused to document his findings. He flicked on the switch to warm up the sonogram. They both heard the pounding on the locked front door. Bron winced, it sounded like a jack hammer. She smiled at Gabe, "It's the big bad wolf at your door Gabe and you better let him in before he starts huffing and puffing. I locked your door when I came in."

"For crying out loud." Gabe set the Doppler down as he yelled in the direction of the incessant pounding. "I'm coming Kevin! Calm down!"

Bron watched the old body move slowly out the door. She could picture him walking down the hall at a snail pace. She thought the walls were going to cave in from the thundering on the front door. She started to smile knowing Gabe was probably doing it on purpose. "Thank God for tempered glass," she giggled in the empty room.

It didn't take long before the big bad wolf was huffing in her face. Bron opened eyes and glimpsed at him. He wasn't angry; he was scared out his mind. Bron reached up and stroked his cheek. Her thumb pressed into his goatee her index finger under his chin. "I'm not sure so I thought I would see Gabe and see what he says. I haven't felt like myself and you've been so busy with Nick and-"

His index finger covered her lips. "You come first, always. Not Nick, not Backstreet, nothin'."

Gabe hadn't come in with Kevin so they waited for him. His hand grazed her exposed stomach. Kevin turned quickly almost knocking a tray over when Gabe came back in the office. "What's up with Witch?"

"I think we have a handle on things Kevin. I just need to do this test and we'll know for sure." Gabe penned some more notes as he spoke.

"Shouldn't we do this in a hospital?" Kevin stared at Gabe intently as if the man was crazy.

Bron groaned, "I swear you want to be a damn doctor."

Bron said nothing when Jason Green, her ob on record popped his head in the door. Not that she ever actually saw the man, she always saw Gabe. Bron had only groggy recollections of Jason from Cooper's Cesarean section. Suzie had seen Jason and liked him. "Are we heading out yet?"

"Soon," Gabe waved at him. "I need to talk to them first."

"Where ya'll goin'?" Kevin watched Gabe move the device over Bron's belly. Kevin stared at the monitor intently.

"Not me. All of us. Bron has an incompetent cervix. So we're going to do a little surgery. It's called a Cervical Cerclage. We're going to stitch her closed and then she's going to be just fine."

"What are ya exactly stitchin' closed Gabe?" Kevin's face was pasty now.

Bron was struck numb as the tears welled up in her eyes. "But there's no blood, no cramps." Bron's lips pursed together wondering what Kevin had meant by the words he had spoken. She was in no mood to delve into it with him either. She pretty much figured out what his problem was already.

"Easy sweetie. It's going to be fine. Jason and I have done this before and nothing going to happen to this baby. I promise." Gabe wiped her stomach off with a towel and patted her leg. "I promise."

"Gabe," Jason called from the door. "They're waiting on us."

"Okay, let's get you up and dressed and we're going to head over to Baptist. Jason, did you make that other call I asked you to?"

"Yes Gabe." Jason tapped Kevin's shoulder. "Are you okay to drive?"

"I dunno," Kevin wiped a tear from the corner of his eye.

"Give me your keys. I'll drive you and Bron in your truck. Jason can follow me. There is no sense in calling an ambulance. It'll just draw attention to the two of you and I know that isn't what you need right now." Gabe took the keys that hung limply from Kevin's fingertips. "Give them a minute," Gabe motioned Jason out the door with him.

Kevin shut the door and Gabe stopped for minute. After hearing a soft whine from the female on the other side of the door followed by a string of 'It's gonna be okay darlin', he knew he had made the right decision. He looked at Jason. "Whatever we do we have to save this baby."

Jason nodded, "Your grandbaby we'll make it. We can do this; it's a piece of cake."

"It's only my grandbaby when Anne says yes. But I need to ask her before she can answer." Gabe tucked Bron's folder under his arm.

"You are an old chicken. I called Anne and let her know where they would be." Jason laughed as the door swung open. Bron and Kevin were ready to go.

"I'm not chicken; it's just not the right time." Gabe whispered to Jason. He went into his office and grabbed his suit coat. "Come on kids." Gabe headed for the front door, Bron's folder still tucked under his arm.

"Kids, who the hell is he calling a kid?" Bron grumbled trying to deal with the news.

"You," Kevin hugged her to his body as he walked with her out the door and to the truck. He didn't feel anything but anesthetized which was the only thing he wanted to feel right now. All the reservations and the fears he had had were coming to the forefront of his mind and it was killing him. Somehow he knew this was going too smoothly for them. Bron had been so calm and collected over this pregnancy. She had never expressed one single worry to him about it.

"Talk Gabe," Bron barked from the backseat. She leaned her head on Kevin's leather covered arm. Her left hand was held in the middle of Kevin's hand. Her right hand rested on her stomach.

"It's a very simple procedure Bron. You're not having a miscarriage. However, if I let this continue that is exactly what will happen. Your cervix is thinning and dilating already. If it dilates or thins anymore we will have a problem. It will cause a miscarriage."

"What causes this?" Kevin focused on the windshield. He could talk medical stuff right now because nothing else seemed to matter. He hadn't recognized the terms before from his book. His fingers clasped and unclasped Bron's.

"They don't really know, but one thing that has pointed towards it in the past is DES." Gabe spoke as he drove.

"Shit," Bron groaned.

"What is that?" Kevin squeezed Bron's hand even tighter in his. Kevin shook his head not understanding.

"It's a drug from back in the forties and fifties." Bron began to answer and Kevin seemed confused that she knew what she was talking about. She stared out the side window.

"Sixties in your case." Gabe corrected her as they made the turn to head to the hospital.

"It was a drug that was given to women to prevent miscarriages. They gave it to my Mom so she could have me. It turns out it wasn't the miracle drug that thought it was. That's part of the reason my insides are so screwed up." Bron let out a loud breath.

"I'll say," Gabe pulled into the physician's lot. "Diethylstilbestrol was a synthetic estrogen given to women to stop miscarriages Kevin. Unfortunately, the products of these pregnancies, like your wife, have complications that are magnified many times over because of the drug. They are actually children that wouldn't have survived without the use of the drug."

"Oh," Kevin blinked. The ramifications of what Gabe had said hit Kevin like a truck. Without the drug his wife wouldn't be here. Because of the drug, his child might not survive.

Bron closed her eyes and exhaled loudly as Gabe turned into the physician's parking lot at Baptist. She was irritated that her history had reached out and smacked her in the face again. However, if it wasn't for the drug she wouldn't be here either.

"I'm gonna get a ticket here." Kevin jumped out of the truck and opened Gabe's door. Then he ambled over to Bron's side and opened her door.

"From who, Pete? Give me a break." Gabe watched the doors as Cory came out with a wheelchair. "It's so nice to see you again Aretha and Otis."

Bron sighed, "I wish it was under better circumstances."

"It'll be better soon. Gabe and Jason will fix you right up and send you home. Besides, tomorrow is my last day in this place." Cory motioned Kevin out the way.

"We're going to miss you." Kevin laughed recognizing the nurse from Cooper's delivery right way. He had liked her from the beginning.

"Oh Otis, you're so sweet." She batted her eyelashes at Kevin. "Hey Aretha, are you pulling in for some girly talk?"

"I guess so," Bron moaned. She liked Cory but she was just so damn happy all the time.

Kevin said nothing as Bron went into the operating room. He followed even though he knew he probably shouldn't. Nobody had stopped him. Cory handed him scrubs and as he walked in behind Jason. The procedure took no more than twenty minutes. He turned his head away twice winching in pain for her.

Kevin sat by her bed. He was relieved but still concerned. Bron went out like a light when the drugs kicked in and then she slept like a baby. She was still sleeping. They wanted to keep Bron overnight for observation. Gabe and Jason promised they would discharge her in the morning.

His Mom had come up to keep him company for awhile. She apologized to Kevin for calling him and scaring him. "It's fine Mama." Kevin patted her shoulder. "Why were you talking to Gabe anyway?"

"Oh, dear I have to go. I bet Kaylin hasn't eaten yet. I promised Suzie I would stop by the house and help her out." Anne toddled out of the room. Kevin didn't really care anyway. He took his seat again. His head resting in the palm of his upturned hand as he mindlessly whizzed through the television stations using the remote control. Silently he hoped he wouldn't see himself or Bron on it.

"Still sleeping?" Mc poked his head in the door.

"Yeah," Kevin stretched his legs and back out. He stood up and walked around the small room.

Mc quietly closed the door behind him as he entered. "This sucks major ass. I hate this shit."

Kevin wasn't surprised by the anger. If anything they all knew by now that these two people would never be separated. It didn't matter who they were married too or what had transpired between them, they were as close as close could be.

"They think they'll both be okay and that the surgery will take care of it. I just don't understand." Kevin didn't guard his words; he was done with that. "She'll have to take it easy for a couple of days and then Jason said she could go on as normal." Kevin flicked a basketball game on. "Did this ever happen before?"

"No," Mc shrugged. "Not like this. There was always the bleeding and then the cramps. After that, there would be months of depression until they decided to try again. It really sucked for them."

"Damn, what a vicious cycle." Kevin stared at the small figure in the bed sound asleep. Her hands cradling her stomach as if to protect the precious cargo she was carrying. He couldn't imagine going through what they were going through now, time and time again.

Mc leaned over Bron and looked at the baby's heart beat on the monitor. "It certainly was."

Kevin figured he would dig more, it might help somehow. "How did he take it?"

Mc sat down in the chair after Kevin sat on the edge of the bed. "At first he never said anything to me. I think he blamed me in way. Like I had worked her too hard or did something to cause it."

Kevin snorted. "Oh yeah, like Bron working too hard was entirely your fault. She has no sense some days."

Mc shrugged, "It didn't bother me. They were both hurting. I wanted them to have a kid so bad. Then she ended up with Andrew and I was livid. Then I saw Andrew come around and out of his shell after the death of my parents. It used to eat at me when he worshipped C.W. like a father. When he was with Bron he was able to be a kid again. They were great parents together."

"She does things that I just don't get some days." Kevin swung his leg from front to back as he sat on the bed. "God forbid if she has to be the disciplinarian of the family. She sucks at it."

Mc grinned at him, "That's for sure but at least Kaylin is back to normal thanks to you."

Kevin let the comment slide. Kaylin was precocious, he would give her that. Even manipulative some days but in general she was good kid most days. "She's not a traditional Mom either," Kevin grinned at Mc after tapping the Wolverine work boots with his foot that were resting on the floor under the bed. Pink ankle socks tucked in them.

"I figured that out when she taught Andrew how to play Mumbly Pegs when he was nine." Mc stared at the television as he talked.

"What's that?" Kevin asked. His gaze ran over the different monitors hooked up to his mate.

"An old native American game her father taught her with a twist. You throw knives at one another for a high score." Mc laughed. "Andrew being the little shit that he is, tossed one at me one day and nearly took an ear off after I argued with her."

Kevin laughed, "Remind me not to piss her off around the silverware."

"C.W. did, once." Mc snorted.

Kevin grinned as Mc smirked. "Yeah, I heard tossed a fork from across the room at him and nailed him in the bicep."

"You shouldn't talk about me when I'm not able to make sense of what you're saying." Bron yawned. "What about forks?"

"Hey you're up, that's good news." Kevin leaned over and wiped a wisp of hair from her eyes. She squeezed them shut and swallowed hard. He watched her face. She licked her lips a few times. "Thirsty?" He held the cup and the straw for her. "Little sips, they tanked you out in there. I don't want you getting' sick."

"Mmm," Bron stopped drinking and pushed the cup away. "When are we leaving? I'm ready to go now."

"Tomorrow," Kevin set the cup down knowing what would happen next. Bron started to get out of bed.

"Whoa," Mc caught her by the shoulders. "You're not ready to go home yet Little Girl."

Cory came bustling into the room. She waved to Bron, Bron hrmmpfed at her. "Kevin, Pete is out in the parking lot writing a ticket for your truck and a green Spyder."

"Crap," Mc was out the door with Kevin right behind him.

"Cory don't do that shit to them please. Kevin is upset enough over this." Bron pushed herself up in the bed. She watched Cory change a fluid bag. "I scared the shit out of him today with this whole damn thing."

Cory grinned at her. "Pete is out there writing tickets. But he's holding a pizza too. Honestly I'm going to love having all this time to see you and Kevin."

"Huh? What time?" Bron growled thinking to herself. She wouldn't put it past Kevin to hire a private duty nurse or babysitter would be more like it.

"I'm working for Gabe and Jason now. Carol wants to semi-retire." Cory hung the bag on the pole and grinned at her. "Let's get you to the bathroom while they're gone." Cory unhooked the monitors.

"I'll do it myself." Bron slowly headed to the bathroom. She wasn't in pain but her head wasn't clear either. She called Cory over to steady her gait. Making her way back to the bed she waited for Kevin to return. She was hoping with food.

"God, I love you." Bron closed her eyes and popped them back open when a new scent came into the room and it wasn't a hospital related smell.

"That's why you married me." Kevin opened the box and dove in.

"I married you because you didn't give me a choice." Bron laughed as she reached for a slice of pizza Kevin was holding out to her. She stopped and looked at Cory.

"Go ahead; you don't have any eating restrictions. Jason signed all of your paperwork and you're free to go in the morning." Cory glanced out into the hallway.

"I want to go now." Bron grabbed the pizza and took a bite.

"I know but sometimes complications can arise. But you'll be fine. I have to check in with the old fart. I'll be back later." Cory waved bye-bye to them. "See you in a bit."

Bron snickered at the comment knowing Gabe wouldn't be pleased with being called an old fart.

The rest of the night the three of them spent eating pizza and watching television. Bron took calls from Anne who offered her apologies for tattling on Bron. Bron accepted and told her she was happy she had. Suzie called when Anne descended on them with Gabe to make dinner. Suzie bitched and Bron listened. "I can't talk about this right now." She couldn't let on that both Anne and Gabe were at their house when Kevin didn't even know his mother was dating. "The man is just trying to reassure you that you are fine, that's all. This won't happen to you." She told Kaylin that she was in the hospital for her back and left it at that. Then she made sure everyone else told her the same story before she hung up.

Of all people, Leighanne called. Bron was taken by surprise. They talked for awhile. Bron amused Kevin with her eye-rolling. She placed the receiver on the cradle. Mc had excused himself somewhere during the conversation.

Kevin pulled the handle on the lounger after covering Bron up with blankets. He moaned when he couldn't get comfortable. "She really does like you. You just intimidate her."

"Yeah right," Bron rolled her eyes. "Why don't you go home and sleep. There is no sense in both of us being uncomfortable."

"I'm not uncomfortable. Besides, I wouldn't sleep with you here so I might as well stay." Kevin grabbed the remote and flicked ESPN on.

Bron flicked the lights off so she could suffer through the sports in the dark. She was ready to sleep. "I'm tired."

"You should be Gabe ordered something for you to sleep. Cory gave it to you while you on the phone." Kevin winked at her knowing he had got his way.

"You're an asshole Kevin." Bron turned her back to him pulling the blanket up over her shoulder.

She heard him yawn loudly, "Yep, the asshole who loves you and knows damn well you wouldn't sleep a wink in here. I'll always take care of you first darlin'."

"ERR," Bron closed her eyes only to hear Kevin snort and speak to her.

"Love you." His voice just a little above the noise of the equipment. "Nobody but you." He sang quietly to her. She loved the song simply because he was singing it.

"Love you too," she muttered, yawned, and then closed her eyes.

"Nobody but you Witch," Kevin crossed his arms over his chest and closed his eyes. Thing we'll be okay, he said to himself.

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This is a work of fiction.
The characters and events portrayed are fictitious.
Any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental.

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