~The Binding~

Chapter 9

“Morning,” Kevin murmured as he rolled over on his back.  His hand felt the sheets next to him; they were empty and cold.  As the fog cleared from his head, the panic set in, “If she left, I’ll kill her.”  Kevin pulled his form up, kicked the sheets off his body, and tossed his legs over the side of the bed.

It was then that he heard the noises in the house; they didn’t register when he first woke up.  “Voices?” his head cocked to the side, they didn’t sound like they had come from an object like a radio or television.  Reaching down to the floor he picked up his boxers.  Stepping in one foot at a time, he pulled them up and went in search of the racket that had woke him. 

Kevin was wrong, the television was blaring in the living room.  Looking around the dishwasher was running, the washing machine and dryer, and Bron was vacuuming as well.

“Morning!” a bright smile graced her face as she waved at him.

“Emmmpf,” Kevin grumbled and went into the kitchen to find hot coffee waiting for him.  “Why wouldn’t it be,” he grumped, “That’s all she drinks.”

Bron watched from the living room as Kevin moved slowly around the kitchen.  As of yet she had not become accustom to someone who woke up so slowly.  Kevin moved like a wooden soldier in the morning.

When she woke up this morning Bron was excited.  Her children were coming, her family would be intact once again.  The house was a mess and it needed cleaning before they came.  Cleaning was also a way for her to think.  Mindless tasks were needed so that when Kevin did get up, she knew he would start to hammer her again about this entire mess.  This was a way for her to relax and just rest her mind as she readied for the inquisition. 

Bron was smirking as she watched him sit at the kitchen table with just boxer briefs on and no shirt.  “Awhile ago, if Kevin Richardson was sitting in my kitchen almost naked, I wouldn’t have been cleaning.”

Kevin’s grunt was the only answer he could muster.  His back was turned to her so she couldn’t see the smile begin to blossom on his face.  “You can bet your sweet ass on that one baby.”

After finishing his second cup of coffee, he went back to the bedroom.  Bron knew he was grumpy in the morning and more than usual this morning but he had reason to be.  Shrugging her shoulders, she kept cleaning.  Yes, she was nervous and tense.  Yes, she was upset and scared.  All of these would be lessened to some degree or another when her children were back with her. 

Kevin stood back and watched her after taking his shower and getting dressed.  He needed to go grocery shopping since there was nothing to eat in the house to begin with but cereal.  Most of the cereal was now in the trash.  He stood back and assessed what he wanted to do.  Could he trust her not to leave while he was gone?

Tapping her on the shoulder, she jumped away from the glass patio door that she had been cleaning.  “Dammit!” her eyes showed the shock he had just given her, so did the grimace on her face.

Kevin grinned, “God I love doing that to you, it’s been awhile.”

“I’m getting old, you could have given me a heart attack.”  Bron shook the dirty paper towel that was in her hand at him.

“Yeah, right.  Listen, I have to go to the grocery store, there is nothing to eat…”

“Okay, let’s just head off the speech right now.  Don’t go anywhere, don’t leave the house Bron!”  Her voice tried to mimic his when he was angry.

Kevin had twinkle in his eye, “Smartass but still don’t leave.  I’m trusting you.”

“I hear you,” Bron went back to work.  “There is no point on me swearing on my grave, I think at this point you would dig it for me.”

Another tap on her shoulder made her turn around again.  Lips brushed against hers, “Don’t talk like that.  I love you, that’s why I’m here.”  Kevin moved away from her.  Heading to the door, he stopped as his hand landed on the handle.  “Don’t…”

“Yada Yada!”  Bron laughed.

All the way to the store, he kept thinking how happy Bron was and wondered if it was genuine or if she was just putting on a happy face to blow off the stress.  Getting into the grocery store was fine, maneuvering through the produce was fine, the first two aisles were fine, and when he turned up the third aisle, he pulled his cap down.  A group of girls were at the top of the aisle.  “So far, so good,” he mumbled as he searched for the diaper wipes they used.  The name escaped him at the moment but he found them by appearance.  Grabbing them and a bag of diapers, he hurried down the aisle. 

Walking quickly up and down the aisles, he grabbed everything he could on his mental list.  He needed to get out of the store and fast, he couldn’t be seen here, at least not yet.

Pulling into his own garage, he thought about what he had to do today on the way home from the store.  Contacting Billy and Cole were on the top of his list as soon as Nick and Suzie got to the house.  Everything else would be done on the fly since he didn’t have time to think about it right now. 

Bron propped open the side door and walked to the car.  Standing next to the car, she began to pull bags out.  “Did you leave anything in the store?”

“I’m lucky I got home without being spotted.  I didn’t think about that until it was too late.”  Kevin handed her two bags and she stood there with her hands out for more.  “Take those in, I’ll get the rest.”

“I’m not a weakling…”

“Go,” Kevin blocked the door that he was retrieving the groceries from.

“When are they coming?”  Bron hesitated as she went through the side door.

“They said about eleven or so,” Kevin stood up with his arms full.

“An hour,” Bron smiled.  “I have to hurry.”

Kevin shook his head, that remark answered his question; she was excited over the kids.  “Now I know I’m gonna eat,” he walked with the groceries up the steps and into the kitchen.  Several trips were made as he stocked the cupboards and the fridge.  Tossing beer in the bottom drawer and milk on the shelves, he was finally finished. 

Bron was cooking as fast as Kevin was putting things away.  Finally giving up, he went to clean up the paperwork they had left in the living room the night before.

As he reviewed his notes, he could see that Bron had added names to certain pages.  Bron sat down and they started going over what they had so far.

They tried to concentrate on their made up suspect list, but little by little they both became edgy.  “Kevin, call them, please.”  Bron finally asked him as she unloaded cookies off the baking sheet. 

They had moved everything into the kitchen since Bron kept getting up to check on whatever dish she was cooking.

Kevin shook his head no at her.

“Kevin please…”

The garage door went up just as Bron was going to read Kevin the riot act.  Kevin had seen them from his position at the kitchen window and had hit the garage door button to open the door for them as they pulled into the driveway.  He had wanted a happy family reunion, as they pulled in the sour faces told him that wouldn’t happen.

Holding Bron back from trampling them before they got out of the car, he grabbed her elbow and spun her around.  “Let them get in the house.  You are forgetting that Kaylin and Andrew are very angry with you right now.”

“Oh,” Bron’s entire face dropped.  She walked into the living room and sat on the couch.

Kevin hated reminding her but he wasn’t left much of a choice.  As he hovered by the unlocked door he could hear Suzie, Andrew, and Nick all threatening Kaylin if she didn’t get out of the car.  Kevin’s lips turned up when Suzie barked that she would beat Kaylin’s butt.  When Kaylin laughed at her, Kevin opened the door.

Kaylin shot out of the car screaming, “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!” 

Turning his hips to the left after learning the hard way he waited for her.  Kaylin had lousy aim like her mother and her feet were always nailing him in a sensitive spot.  He opened his arms as she jumped from the floor at full speed.

Kevin knew it was coming and was prepared as she landed like a linebacker on him.  “Baby you are gonna hurt me one of these days.”

The small body clung to him.  “You left me Daddy.  Why?  You said you wouldn’t.” 

Kevin set her down as he reached for some of the stuff that Andrew was fighting with.  “I had to come get Mommy.”  The answer was simple and to the point.  No further explanation was going to be given to a seven year old.

“Suzie said she was going to beat my butt.”  Kaylin pouted, Suzie blew out a breath of exasperation as she walked by both of them.

“Were you bad?”  Kevin grabbed for the car seat holding Cooper.  The baby was screaming loudly

“Nooo,” Kaylin shook her head.

Andrew glared at her and she frowned, “Maybe just a little.”

“We’ll talk about it later,” Kevin closed his eyes; this was what normal family life was all about, I really missed this.  “Mom is in the living room.”

Kaylin’s face picked up a defiant look rather quickly.  Kevin knew that look; it was the same face her mother wore when she was going to explode.  “I don’t care, she doesn’t love me anymore, she left me.”

“Whoa…”  Kevin handed the baby off to Andrew.  Picking up Kaylin, he walked her directly back to her bedroom.  They needed to talk before Kaylin made matters worse.  This was difficult enough but when the womenfolk in his life butted heads, it could get ugly.  Poor Cooper was passed to Nick and still crying and yelling.

Kevin used to laugh and say it was because they were so much alike they couldn’t get along.  Both of them would turn on him faster than a dog with rabies yelling, “I am not!”

Bron hugged Andrew who was almost in tears.  “I’m sorry Andy, I really am.  You don’t understand why but I had a very good reason.”

Andrew searched the room for Kevin, he hadn’t come back yet.  Obviously, his mother didn’t know that he knew exactly what was going on.

Nick was clueless and he was waiting for an explanation on why his trip was cancelled in less than twenty-four hours.  “Because Kevin and Bron need you,” was what he was told and he had better not say word to anyone at all about it.  Having Jerald drop in unexpectedly was one thing; Suzie showing up with the kids in tow, really made him nervous.

Suzie called and told him that she had cancelled his engagement with Howie on the DLF cruise and that she and the kids were coming down to visit.  Her excuse to Howie was that there was a family emergency, she just didn’t say which family.

Nick hung up the phone dazed and confused.  Staring longingly at the suitcase that he had just packed.  He wanted some sun and the ocean, not kids.  Suzie would have been great, but not with the kids.  Pouting as he dumped his suitcase on the floor.  “Kevin can bite me!  That sucker doesn’t run my life anymore.”

Unbuckling the car seat, Nick handed the squalling infant to Bron.  “I ain’t ever having kids if they act like this one.”

Bron couldn’t look at Suzie as she gathered her son in her arms.  Suzie tossed a receiving blanket to Bron.  Covering herself, Bron settled Cooper in to nurse.  “He was hungry Nick, that’s why he was crying.”

“He’s cried for a week Mom,” Andrew felt a little odd telling her this.  “I mean he took the bottle from grandma and I, but he just wasn’t himself.”

Sitting back in the couch, she cradled Cooper while his head rested on the arm of the couch.  Looking at Andrew, her gaze then switched to Suzie and Nick she felt like shit.  “I know I need to explain to both of you what I’ve done and I will, but please let me take care of the kids first.”

Suzie was hot and Bron could see it.  Maybe if she waited a bit she would cool down and fight wouldn’t break out.  A trust had been broken and a line had been crossed.  “Oh you’re going to explain.” 

“You found the letters didn’t you.  You found them and sent them to him.”

Nick looked at Suzie surprised, now his mind took over.

Suzie gave her a catty grin.  “Yeah I did, so what!”

Bron’s eyes narrowed, “You snooped in my closet.”

“Yes I did and I’ll tell you one thing.  You’re giving Imelda Marcos a run for her money.  How many pairs of boots can you possibly own?”

Nick was beginning to look very nervous as the two of them started to posture around.

“You shouldn’t have done that!”  Bron barked mindless of the baby nursing on her chest.

“Oh look the pot is calling the kettle black!”  Suzie stood on the other side of the room.  “It’s a good thing you’re holding that baby because I really want to hit you right now.”

“Break it up ladies!  No fighting, besides, she has a bump on the head already.”  Kevin came into the room with Kaylin right behind him.

Suzie stopped and gasped at Kevin’s words. 

Bron’s eyes were cast to the floor.  “You do not need to bring that up.  That’s our business.”

“Tell your Mom what you just said to me.”  Kevin was putting Kaylin on the spot for a reason.  This entire fiasco couldn’t be undone and it wasn’t like Kaylin’s feelings weren’t justified.  She had every reason to feel that her mother didn’t love her but Kaylin didn’t understand what was really going on and nobody was going to tell her either.

Both of them stared at each other, Bron couldn’t figure out what to say to her, not that Kaylin’s remark didn’t hurt but she understood why her little girl felt that way.  The sadness in Kaylin nearly killed Bron on the spot.  Her eyes weren’t bright and full of mischief like they usually were.  Kaylin had a sunny disposition most days, unless she was raising hell with someone.

Kevin had Kaylin by the hand; her small fingers curled around two of his.  “Kaylin would like to talk to you, privately.”  Dropping Kaylin’s hand, he held out a hand to Bron to help her out of her seat. 

Bron grabbed on and let Kevin tow her up to her feet.  Bron reached for Kaylin’s hand, which Kaylin promptly ripped away from her.  “Please?”  Bron looked down at her.

Kaylin put her hand back in her mother’s and they walked down the hall together with Cooper still nestled next to his mother.

Andrew excused himself to go to his room, the tension was getting to him.  He couldn’t take much more.  If he stayed he would say something he shouldn’t, he was sure of it.

Kevin offered Nick and Suzie a drink.  Suzie grabbed for a wine cooler and Nick grabbed a beer.

“So ahhh, you wanna tell me what the fuck is goin’ on?  I’m glad you found your wife.  Are you still getting divorced?”  Nick questioned.

“No we’re not getting divorced,” Kevin spoke with his head still in the refrigerator.  Grabbing some of the food Bron had made, he began to set the table himself.

“What started this shit?”  Nick pulled a chair out from the table.  The feet of the chair scarped angrily on the linoleum. 

With one hand on the refrigerator door, he stood up and looked at Nick.  “Someone is terrorizing my wife, threatening my children, and basically fucking up my life.  It happens to be somebody in her family.  I haven’t figured out who yet, but I will.”  Stooping back down, he grabbed a huge bowl of something covered in foil, he wasn’t waiting for Nick’s reaction.

“You don’t mince words much do you Kevin?”  Suzie grabbed the bowl from him.

“Well my wife and I had a long, intimate conversation and she now knows how I feel.  There will be no divorce.”  Kevin slowly stood up and leaned on the open door as Suzie stood staring at him.

For the first time, Suzie saw what Bron had meant about the dark side of Kevin Richardson, it wasn’t the side that Bron poked fun at or joked around with either.  This side gave Suzie the heebie jeebies.  “I see.”  Suzie took a long swig of her wine cooler and went to sit next to Nick, mostly for protection.

Kaylin whirled into the kitchen looking for something she was told she could have.  The little girl was smiling and seemed happy, very suddenly. 

“Ya talk it out?”  Kevin handed her the prize she had been searching for as the cupboards doors were opened and then slammed closed.

“Yes!” she grabbed for the object.

“Are you okay now?”  Kevin’s eyes went to Bron who was now free from Cooper.  “He didn’t nurse long, he’ll be back up in a bit.”

Bron nodded at him, “We’re square, I told her that I had a problem and that I ran away from home.  How stupid was I,”  Bron popped her forehead with her open hand to added a little drama for Kaylin’s benefit.

“That was really dumb Mom,” Kaylin snuck another cookie only to be caught in the act.

Kevin gave her an eye and then laughed, “No more, dinner will be ready very soon.”

“I missed Mommy’s cooking.”  Kaylin ran through the living room and out the patio door to play in her Barbie dollhouse.

“That kid is resilient as hell,” Suzie watched Kaylin from the kitchen.

“Just like her mom,” Kevin went out the backdoor.  Tapping Nick on the shoulder, he gestured for him to follow.  “Come on let’s get the grill ready, we’re havin’ steak.”

“Um…  Kevin,” Bron looked at him suspiciously.

“Enjoy your girlie time with your best friend.”  Kevin knew it was underhanded but if Suzie and Bron didn’t hash it out, his life would be hell at home too.  He was impressed as hell that Suzie hadn’t just handed over the kids and demanded that Nick leave.

“Thanks Kevin!”  Suzie was grinning.

“Shit,” Bron closed her eyes.  “Let’s get this over with.”

‘YOU BITCH!”  Suzie yelled as the patio door closed.  Kevin and Nick were outside with Kaylin.

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