A Collaboration between Bron and Suzie

Chapter 42

Kevin changed the game plan, giving Sheridan a little more time to prepare. She wasn't going to take off like Marybeth thought she would, at least he didn't think so. "Dammit, I have never missed a flight because of a woman. I'll be listening to Nick's shit for the next ten years over this." Kevin waited in traffic as his anger had cooled from a rolling boil to a slow simmer. The anger that he was experiencing had brought questions to the forefront of his mind. He had done many things to protect Sheridan and couldn't explain why except that he really wanted to have a relationship with her. He lusted after her. He wanted her for himself. Dealing with Tom was plain ruthless and not normally his style. Any other time, he would have just moved on to the next woman that caught his fascination. Chasing off Patrick as best he could and then sending Marybeth out to keep an eye on Sheridan wasn't the nicest thing either. The trouble was nobody seemed to have a problem. Everyone, including himself, felt that he and Sheridan should give it a try but she was just too scared to try.

"Forty-seven fifty," he heard barked in his face.

Kevin shook his head, "Huh?"

"Forty-seven fifty for the meal," the hostess looked at him. She knew who he was and he definitely was not with her right now, 'Probably stoned,' she heard that little voice in her head speak, 'Most of them are.'

"Oh yeah, here, keep the change," Kevin grabbed the bags and headed out the door. One more stop and he would head over to Sheridan's place. Cruising down the street, he quickly pulled into a parking spot, much to the dismay of the driver behind him, since he hadn't signaled. The driver cursed and Kevin shot him the finger. Jumping out, he ran back two storefronts to a flower shop and began searching for the perfect flowers.

"Can I help you?" an old woman wearing glasses and a friendly smile asked as she touched his hand. Her floppy, straw hat hid most of her face. A blue smock covered her shirt and green polka-dot pants. "You look a little lost."

Kevin shrugged as his cheeks began to burn red; he was out of sorts to begin with and this just added to it. It had been a long time since he had bought flowers for any woman except his mom. "I need some flowers for a lady."

"Hmmmm, your lady love?" the woman questioned as she grabbed his arm and steered him toward the roses.

"Not yet, but I would like her to be," Kevin chuckled and grinned.

The old woman nodded at him, "I see, a new romance about to bud," the woman grabbed three small pink rose buds.

Kevin didn't know what it was but he felt very comfortable around this woman; she reminded him of his grandmother. "We sort of had an argument. Ummm, she's a little pissed… ah, mad at me."

The woman patted his arm, "That could be a problem, but it has happened to all of us. So, you need to say you're sorry? Maybe start over?"

"Yes," Kevin eagerly nodded as he watched her pull him around the table.

Deftly the old fingers picked three yellow roses, "Yellow means I'm sorry." She winked at him.

Kevin smiled as he touched one, "Really?"

"Umhmm," the woman looked at the sparse bouquet, it didn't seem adequate, but her customer needed to decide that. "They all have meanings."

"I need a few more," Kevin's nose squished as he glanced at the six flowers she held, "Any ideas?"

"Let's see…," The woman pulled a few peach roses. "Peach expresses anticipation and desire."

"I need more of those," Kevin's cheeks turned even redder since he had opened his mouth and inserted his foot.

The woman elbowed him slightly, "Don't we all." She watched the young man become edgy. So far, he had yellow, peach, and pink. "You need some of these," her weathered hands reached for some Baby's Breath.

Kevin reached for the red and the woman shook her head at him. "Why?" he was puzzled now as she pulled his hand away.

She began to point him in another direction but wasn't succeeding. "Red is for romantic love and passion. You usually save that for after the first time."

"After what first time?" Kevin stared at her blankly and then became horrified when he finally put two and two together. "Oh, that first time." The woman's laughter rang through the shop, much to Kevin's embarrassment.

Twinkling crystal-clear blue eyes that were rimmed with laugh lines looked back at him. "With red, the rosebuds reflect the beauty of a young lover. The full bloom is to say, I love you still, afterwards."

Kevin shuffled his feet slightly, "I'll be saving those for later I think."

"Good idea," she patted his hand. She liked this young one. He was sweet and actually taking the time to listen to her. He was minding his manners and behaving like a young man should.

"What does white represent?" Kevin touched the stem of a gorgeous white rose.

The woman raised her brows, "Innocence and purity."

"I need a shit load of those…" Kevin stopped and closed his eyes. "Sorry."

The woman laughed as she grabbed the best white rose in the bunch and a few more to go with it. Going to her worktable, she found a soft white ribbon, and tied all the flowers together. Wrapping some floral paper around the bouquet to protect it, she fluffed the Baby's Breath.

Kevin reached for his wallet after being handed the bouquet. "How much for this? It's so beautiful; I know Sheridan will love this."

The woman began pushing him out the door, "Go on now. Go kiss make up. Stop back and tell me how it went."

"Wait!" Kevin stopped; he wasn't going to leave without paying. The last thing he needed was to be accused of stealing and have it hit the tabloids. Turning around, he looked at the old woman. She was still smiling. "Seriously, what do I owe you?"

"Nothing, nothing at all. Thank you for coming into my shop and not trying to mug me or steal from us. You listened to an old woman prattle for a while. Now go."

Kevin shook his head; he didn't know what to do. A voice from across the shop caught his attention. Kevin turned sideways to look.

"Take it, she won't take your money. I know the wife after fifty years of marriage." A gnarled elderly man spoke in a baritone voice from a display of flowers he was working on.

"Wow fifty years," Kevin turned to the woman and kissed her cheek. "Thanks for the help. What's your name?"

The woman clapped her hands together in delight, a kiss from a sweet, young man, "Rose!"

Kevin nodded wisely and shook his head, "Of course. I'll be back Rose." Kevin took two steps and then turned back around.

"Yes?" she smiled.

"I don't feel right about this," Kevin was positive that no trouble would become of it but he still they looked like they worked hard for what they had.

After slipping on garden gloves, she picked up a pair of shears. "If you get to marry her, we get the wedding," she winked.

"You got it!" Kevin's head quickly bobbed up and down. Turning on his heel, he walked out the door, much happier than when he walked in. The words 'marry' and 'wedding' didn't shock him as much as he thought it would. A little unnerving, but not frightening.

Driving further down the street, Kevin pulled into a liquor store. Standing in the aisle, he debated as he studied two wine bottles. He finally settled on a nice Chardonnay to go with dinner. He smiled, all he needed was a checkered tablecloth, and they could have a picnic in her living room, a romantic one. When Kevin chose the dinner, he was feeling a need for comfort, so comfort food is what he ordered. After purchasing his wine, he finally was on his way. As he drove to Sheridan's, the aroma of fried chicken filled the air. His stomach grumbled in response to the smell. When Kevin glanced at the flowers on the seat next to him, he smiled and another part of his body responded just as loudly as his stomach.

Sheridan stared at the three suitcases she had managed to repack. Now she was fretting over what to take out of the third suitcase. Her eyes continuously glanced towards the clock. At least Kevin was no longer yelling into her answering machine. She was beginning to fidget and get nervous knowing he was coming and there was nobody around but her. This shouldn't bother her. There were plenty of times when she was alone with Kevin, but tonight, it was different because she hadn't done what she was supposed to do. Doing research on the man for her stories, she felt she had nailed his personality and temper. Both of which could be highly unpredictable and volatile.

Settling her hands on her hips, she looked at the suitcase. "I'm a grown woman and I need to act like one. I can earn a living and enjoy what I'm doing. I certainly can pack a suit case for a couple of days." Flipping the lid open, she began tossing items out of the suitcase onto the floor. Bath shoes, sandals, three pairs of sweatpants were the items that landed first. Next, she held up the lace bottoms in pink and a camisole to match, that her mother had sent to her. "What was I thinking? It's not like I'm going to meet anyone. It's not like I want to…" Kevin yelling at her front door made her drop the ensemble and run for the door.

"Sheridan, you know I remove doors when I'm pissed off! Now open the door!" Kevin pounded on the door with his closed fist. It wasn't easy as he balanced flowers, a wine bottle, and food in the other. "I swear Sheridan!" His head swung towards the stairs to see if anyone had heard him. Knowing he needed to calm down, he closed his eyes as he heard the lock click and the chain slide across the door. Reaching for the knob, he turned it slowly. Pushing the door open with his foot, he stood watching Sheridan. Oh, he had screwed this up royally.

Sheridan froze; she didn't know what to say or what to do. Closing her eyes tightly, she gritted her teeth and waited for what was to come next, although she wasn't sure exactly what that would be.

Kevin saw that she was pale; she almost looked translucent. Sheridan's entire body was as rigid as a board. Her arms at her sides and her fists balled up. Taking three steps to get to her, he stopped directly in front of her.

Sheridan shook; she smelled the distinguishable cologne that she smelled every day since she had began working for Kevin. Then she was surprised as she felt whiskers on her face and soft lips pressed to hers, they were warm and sweet. She kissed back, once the shock of what he was doing hit her, her eyes flew open. She stared back at a man who had his eyes wide open and returned her stare. Jumping back, she wrapped her arms around herself to stop the goose bumps. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," she covered her mouth and began to back up.

"I'm going to shut the door now." Kevin heard people behind him. After setting everything down on the coffee table, he walked back to the door. Smiling when he saw Patrick on the other side, he gave the door a sharp slap to close it, "Nighty-night." Turning back around, he looked at Sheridan as he pulled his coat off and tossed it on the beanbag. "You, young lady, made me miss my flight. That is a first for me; I've missed flights before but not because of a woman."

Sheridan was still dazed over the kiss and was having a hard time dealing with Kevin being in her space. "You could have gone without me."

Kevin was doing a party dance in his head over the kiss. He walked into the kitchen with amazing thoughts It was perfect and he had succeeded in erasing his crime of yelling at her for half the day. "I told you when you took the job that we would be traveling together."

"Yes but…" Sheridan meekly replied.

Kevin came back into the living room and grabbed the food. Carrying the food to the kitchen he talked to her, "There are no buts and you knew this was going to happen." Setting things down, he began to search through the drawer for the bottle opener. Shoving utensils around with his hand, he couldn't find it. "Where did that thing go? It was in here last time."

"Let me look in her room," Sheridan backed out of the kitchen still not sure of what to say or how to act. Kevin had caught her completely off guard. The kiss swept her off her feet and made her do a doubletake. Opening Angel's door, she peeked in slowly, never really sure what she would find on the other side. Inquisitively she looked around the room; she spotted the bottle opener on Angel's nightstand next to an empty wine bottle. Cautiously she stepped over a pile of men's clothes that she presumed would have to be Nick's. "I never thought Nick Carter's pants would be in our apartment." Two shirts, some socks, and a dress shoe were cast in the corner. Wrapping her fingers around the corkscrew, she jumped when Kevin's voice at the door asked her if she had found it. Turning, she looked at him.

"Well, well, it looks like Nick has made this place home. No wonder he can't find those ugly camo pants, he doesn't know he left them here."

A titter came out of Sheridan, "My room isn't much better." She walked to the door and closed it.

"Really?" Kevin grabbed the doorknob to Sheridan's bedroom and began to turn.

"No! I was just kidding you," Sheridan placed her hand on his to stop him from going in. She had thrown clothes all over the room. Her sleepwear was still lying on the floor where she had dropped when he had knocked on the door.

Kevin withdrew his hand, "We'll check it out when we re-pack your suitcases later." He strode down the hall. He didn't look back, he knew she was going to have a heart attack over this and there was nobody here to prop her up or act as a buffer. Once she joined him in the kitchen, she froze as he went to the cabinet and pulled out dinner plates and handed them to her. "I brought dinner, you set the table."

Another little exasperated sigh flew from her before she turned her back on him. He stared at the silverware in the drawer before he began plucking out forks, spoons, and knives. Turning he handed them to her, she was definitely flustered, but he would wait for her to speak.

Sheridan placed herself in front of him as he grabbed for the wine glasses. Having Kevin sort through her drawers for things was slightly annoying. He knew where things were that she didn't. "How do you know where everything is in my kitchen? Are you spying on me? I wouldn't put it beyond you since you already pulled the background check and then you did that to Tom."

Kevin stopped as the blonde head move as fast as her mouth. His arm poised above her reaching for the glasses. Looking directly down at her, he stared into her greens eyes for a moment. They were such an unusual green. They were like sparkling emerald jewels; they were unnaturally beautiful. Her eyes had always captivated him, "Umm….no. I've watched Angel a few times." Trapping her between his body and the counter he reached behind her to grab the bouquet he had bought for her. Kevin made a point of pressing his body into hers; he wanted her to stay off kilter. "These are for you."

"Oh how beautiful," she spoke. Burying her nose in the roses, she inhaled. They were stunning and smelled so sweet.

Kevin felt her bump into his hip and her hip brushed regions that were more than ready for contact, but that wouldn't take place tonight. He proceeded to uncork the wine as she balanced on a chair to grab a vase on top of the refrigerator. Oh he looked. He looked until it hurt and it was really beginning to hurt down south. Sheridan stretching and bending, she was wearing a pair of jeans that hugged her butt and the rest of her curves.

"Yeah," he shook his head and went to set the glasses on the table making an adjustment on the way.

Sheridan filled the vase with water and tied the ribbon around the base. Carrying them to the table, she set them in the middle. "If we had candles, this would feel like a date," she smiled as her eyes grew round, she couldn't believe she had said that. 'It's the kiss, it has my mind traveling down the wrong path,' she grumbled in her head.

"I thought maybe a picnic but no dates tonight," Kevin grabbed her plate and over filled it. He always felt she could stand to gain a little weight. Handing it to her, he smiled, "After we eat, you and I are going to have a little talk."

"We are?" Sheridan's plate balanced in mid-air as she cocked her head to the side and looked at him.

Kevin was a little apprehensive, he had been hit by a plate once before, and the results weren't pretty. He grabbed for his plate. "After we eat, I'm starving. I paced that damn airport waiting for you."

Sheridan cleared her throat, "Sorry."

"Enough of the word sorry, okay?" Kevin raised one eyebrow at her as his hands were busily loading his plate.

Sheridan focused on the flowers in front of her as her wheels began to spin. 'What could all this mean? Would he buy me flowers and then fire me? Why did he bring dinner? Why did he have to kiss me? I think he brushed up against me or at least tried to. He is supposed to be mad at me because we missed the flight. She ate with gusto trying to calm herself and her thoughts wishing Angel were here to help her sort everything out.

"I take it you approve, since you haven't stopped eating?" Kevin laughed. He knew very well she was thinking and not paying attention to eating, she was just eating. He had confused her and she didn't really know what was going on.

She raised her shoulders and ducked her head down, as she swallowed the peas that filled her spoon. "It's delicious. It tastes like home."

"That is what I wanted, home cooking, nothing fancy, meat and potatoes. I'm a meat and potatoes kind of guy." Kevin took another bite and then wiped his mouth with a napkin. "Does your Mom cook?"

"All the time," Sheridan laughed. "She made me bring leftovers on the plane after Thanksgiving."

"Sounds like my Mom. I'm waiting for her to try and Fed-Ex me a turkey, stuffed, and cooked." Kevin laughed right along with her.

"Moms are great," Sheridan smiled. "I love my Mom."

"Me too." Kevin listened as she went on to tell him about her childhood and parents. She talked about her Mom being involved in school. PTA, the school paper, the play, and everything she was involved in or with. Kevin's mind went back to his high school days and all the things that involved his Mom as he talked to Sheridan. His Dad stepped up to the plate to do whatever was needed when it came to sports.

Sheridan licked her spoon, "Mom even chaperoned our senior trip; forty kids and four adults."

"Whoa, brave woman, ten teenagers each," Kevin smiled. He had finished his meal by now, but Sheridan was still eating her dessert and on her second glass of wine. He thought about pouring her a third but he wanted her sober for this talk. Getting up he grabbed two more glasses and filled them with water. He kept one in his hand and set one in front of her.

"She has to be, she married my Daddy. He was a semi-famous wrestler and fighter."

Kevin had recalled Nick mentioning that to him. "Very cool, he must be a big guy." The use of the word Daddy was a little humorous; Sheridan was definitely a Daddy's' little girl.

"He's huge," Sheridan took a gulp of water. "He looks funny next to my Mom, the giant and the fairy is how they used to refer to them when they were dating."

"You must take after your Mom," Kevin thought the fairy description was right on, since he had always thought of Sheridan that way. A picture of Sheridan as a little wood nymph running naked through his woods snaked into his mind. He stopped that thought dead flat. Kevin made a mental note to ask Nick how big 'huge' was, just in case. "I hear he fishes."

"He's always fishing with Angel's dad. Dad goes for the company; Seamus goes to fish. Maybe someday you'll get to meet him," Sheridan began to clear the table. She stopped and smelled the roses and then glanced at Kevin. "They are very beautiful."

"So are you," Kevin began to pick up the dishes. As they washed the dishes, Sheridan began to chatter on about flowers and gardens. "I love gardening. Did you know that each rose has a meaning?"

Kevin smiled; yes, he knew this because of Rose. "Yes I do. Yellow means I'm sorry."

Sheridan smiled at him as he handed him the plate to dry. "I'm sorry too, I won't let it happen again."

"Oh I know you won't because when we're done here, we're going to have a little talk."

Sheridan swallowed hard as she began to wash the glasses. She was not looking forward to the talk, she would change the subject, "White means purity."

"Uh-huh," Kevin nodded as he was on one side of her, but reached around to open the silverware drawer instead of walking over to it.

"Rosebuds usually mean something new or a new beginning but I'm not sure what the pink signifies, young love? I can't remember what the peach stands for at all, can you?"

Kevin knew but he wasn't going to tell her, no the anticipation and desire factor wouldn't be brought up for a few more minutes. After placing everything back where it came from, Kevin grabbed the glasses that they were using, the wine bottle, and headed to the living room. Sheridan took her time cleaning the sink; she was evading him and his talk.

"We can't avoid this conversation all night," Kevin sat on the couch.

"I would like too, since I'm not sure what we are talking about," Sheridan walked into the room. She wasn't going to let him intimidate her, or at least she was trying not to. For the first time since he had arrived, she actually took in the full sight of him sitting on the couch. Kevin was wearing a fitted blue sweater and a pair of jeans. His hair slicked back, his goatee and mustache looked straight and well groomed for a change, she smiled, and he returned one. Slightly flustered, she settled on the other end of the couch, on the very edge of the seat cushion.

Kevin caught the perch she was in, as if she would fly away from him if he said the wrong thing. "I think we need to get a few things clear." Leaning back, he stretched one arm across the back of the couch and haplessly dropped one leg over the other. Swirling his wine in his glass, he sipped, and then pulled it away. "I am your employer in more than one capacity."

Sheridan nodded at him; he had her attention. "You are supposed to travel for the film and as my assistant, right?" Kevin was looking for an acknowledgement from her and wouldn't move forward until he got it. He received another nod so he continued on. "Today by you not being where you should have been and when you should have been, you upset the entire schedule for all of us."

"Not for everyone… Just…"

"No Sheridan, you upset everyone's schedule. I was supposed to be at a party with Nick tonight checking out some things for our new CD. Marybeth was going to make some contacts at a seminar, and Angel was going to try and work some outlets for a future movie with you. Instead they are in Utah and we're sitting in your apartment." Kevin sounded harsh and he meant to. Pulling his body forward he placed his glass on the table. Lacing his fingers together, he stared at the wine glass on the coffee table. If she was going to bolt for hiding, he was ready to retrieve her back to finish this. Turning his head towards her as he pushed up the sleeves of his sweater, he waited for an answer.

Sheridan swallowed air like a goldfish; her mouth formed a little O before she spoke. "You're right and it will never happen again."

"It shouldn't have happened in the first place," Kevin drove the point home. He watched her close her eyes in shame.

"I know," she half whispered.

"Now I need to know why this happened, since we now know it won't happen again."

"Because… Because…." She was trying to think of a lie, anything she could tell him but not the truth. The truth was she was afraid to be around him because her desire was growing more and more every day when they were together. It was always worse in public when she would catch him staring at her. Combine that with all the times he had been unkind to her and what happened with Tom, she no longer trusted her own instincts.

Kevin's mouth began to slide into a smile. "I'll tell you what I think it is. I think you are as attracted to me as I am to you."

Sheridan's face glowed red as she stared back at him. Her mouth twitched from side to side, how could she deny it now. 'Tell me I didn't hear him say he's attracted to me. God, I need to talk to Angel.'

Back in Utah, Nick and Angel attended a Karaoke bar. There were so many camera flashes, Angel felt as if there was a strobe light, making her almost dizzy. Leaning into Nick, Angel said, "I'm going to go call Sheridan and see if she's alright."

Nick grabbed her hand to stay. "No, you aren't. Kevin's there to talk to her."

Giving Nick a 'duh' face, Angel replied, "That's why I'm going to check on her. She may need my help or something."

Dragging Angel onto the dance floor, Nick whispered into her ear, "She's a big girl. She'll be fine. Now come dance with me."

As Nick turned back to see Angel's face, he looked at her from head to toe, "You look so damn sexy in those boots. I want you to be with me."

Realizing Nick was right, Angel blew out a sigh as she watched Nicks' eyes turn to lust. "Sheridan who?"

Nick kissed her hard with a smile, "Exactly. Besides, I want to see if we can talk to Kevin and Kyra if there's an opportunity."

"Kevin and Kyra? Who are you talking about?" Angel was quite perplexed, she had sex on the brain and hearing another couple's name made her tremble a bit. 'He's talking about meeting a couple, why?' she thought.

"Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick? Their movie "The Woodsman" is being premiered this week. They are always looking for a challenging project to work on. You and Sheridan definitely have interesting ideas and projects unrelated to backstreet."

"How do you know that?" Angel gave Nick a confused look.

"I just do. Trust me, okay?"

She nodded her head and mouthed the word, "okay." In her mind, she thanked God he wasn't thinking of any hanky-panky business with another couple.





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