Kevin was dancing on air; he had pulled it off.  Everyone who had been invited to the party had showed.  All of his blood brothers and his little brothers, as he had always called them, were present and accounted for.  Pushing the curtain aside as he stood at the window in his bedroom, he took the partygoers in.  His boys were now dressed, much to their grumbling earlier.  Except for Jesse who had to wear his holster and plastic pistol.

His gaze lingered on the crowd gathered below as he wiled away the time and thought about what had taken place earlier in the day.

The boys were very loud as they banged into his room when they found out that their clothes for today were matched outfits.  Kevin set the two oldest down on the bed.  Basically he begged them to be on their best behavior today, to stay out of the barn, and please, please don’t get dirty. 

“It’s just Annie’s birthday!”  Cameron complained.  “Why do we have to look like retards for her?”

Kevin had a dilemma now; he studied the two staring back at him.  “Look it’s our anniversary too.”

“What’s an anniversary?”  Cody’s feet were swinging back and forth.

“You don’t have an anniversary, Annie said so.  Annie said that you and Mom aren’t married.”  Cameron continued to question him.

Kevin debated, “Look, just do this for me, please...  I’ll give you anything you want.”

“I doed it for you Daddy,” Jesse stomped into the room.  “I like my new pants that you bied for me.”

Kevin shook his head, “No, I bought them for you.”

“Dats what I said, you buied dem for me,” Jesse looked at Cameron and Cody.  “Are they being bad?”

“No,” Kevin laughed as he picked him up and placed him with the other two.  It wasn’t going to be a day to correct language problems.

“Daddy,” Cassidy stood at the door.  Kevin smiled, she look so sweet in her new blue party dress.  “I can’t buckle my shoe.” 

Kevin motioned her into the room.  She crawled on the bed with her brothers and thrust her foot out.  Kevin went to her, clasped her heel in one hand, and buckled her shoe by resting her foot on his leg.  Looking down, he cursed, now he had a dirt mark on his pants.

“You shouldn’t talk like that in front of the them,” Annie stood at the door.

Kevin closed his eyes and counted to ten.  He had flashbacks of Nick at this age and he felt his stomach knot up.  “You done this before Kevin, you can do it again,” he said to himself.

“You shouldn’t be correcting your father.”

Annie turned to find her mother behind her.  She stepped into the room to avoid the glare she knew her mother would be giving her.

Cass looked around the room and saw all of her children present.  She looked at Kevin’s pants and frowned.  She walked to him and began to wipe off the mark with a baby wipe.  “All of you will behave today.  You will not go in the barn, the corral, or anywhere else.  You will stay clean and be polite.  Am I clear?”

“Yes mom,” each one answered.

“Now I want you to go downstairs and find all of your uncles.  I mean all of them.  I want Uncle Jerry, Uncle Tim, Uncle A.J., Uncle Nick, Uncle Howie, and Uncle Brian downstairs in five minutes.  Do you think you can do that for me?”

“Yes!”  All five of them bolted out of the room.

“We need to talk,” Cass knotted her bathrobe as she sat down on the bed.  She watched Kevin begin to search for another pair of pants.  “Wear your gray pants, the one from your tuxedo.”

Kevin’s head shook, “For a birthday party?”

“Is that all this is?”  Cass sat on the bed.  After all she had lived with the man for the last eight years, how dimwitted did he think she was.

Kevin cleared his throat, this was his last shot.  He was tired of asking and very tired of getting the same answer.  He had the entire deal planned down to the last detail.  He thanked his lucky stars that Annie and Cass had the same taste.  Kevin searched the closet for the tuxedo that he hadn’t worn in a very long time. 

Kevin had hired a caterer and a band.  Chase had taken care off all of the formalities except the signing of the license.  He smiled as he brushed the lapel, “This was a few tea parties ago, wasn’t it babe?”

Cass watched the man that she had fallen in love with so many years ago.  He wanted to ask that question once again, but after being turned down so many times, what did she expect.  “Kevin, I know you want to ask me something.  I hope you will ask me again... today.  I’m not an idiot Kevin.”  Cass stood up and looked out the window.

“No Cass, you’re not,” as he watched her.

“I see the resident cheating checker player is here?” she grinned as old Judge Bailey cut his way through the crowd.  “What did you have to promise him to get him to agree to all this?”

Kevin chuckled, “Nothing but to make an honest woman out of you.” 

Okay she knew, now he was nervous.  Walking to her, he placed his hand on hers.  Leading her to the bed, he motioned for her to sit.  Kevin sat next to her, she turned her face to him.  “We’ve been together for a long time.  I’m sorry that it took me so long to figure it out.  Cass, I will never abandon you.”

Cass licked her lips; she was a tad shaky.

“Cassie, I love you...  We’ve been together for eight years baby.  We have never had an on off thing happen.  I’ve never been with anyone but you since the day I found out about Annie...  Cass, I won’t cheat on you ever.”

She fussed with the ends of the ties on her robe until Kevin stopped her.  “Cassie will you marry me today?”

Sighing she took her time to think, she wanted this to come out right.  “Kevin many times I have told you that I would never marry you unless I was very, very, drunk.”  She paused and then turned to him.  Kevin’s face reflected sadness, something it shouldn’t, today of all days.  She leaned over and rested her cheek on his shoulder.  “See now I have a problem...  I’m pregnant again... With twins...  So I can’t drink...  We’ll have to figure something out so I can save face in front of my friends, but the answer is yes.  I don’t want anyone to know that I’m pregnant again, at least not today.  This is our day and Annie’s day.  Do you think A.J. would point my shotgun at me or something?”

“HOLY SHIT!” rang through the old plank ranch house.  Thundering footsteps came towards Kevin’s bedroom door.  Two brothers and four bandmates crashed their private party.  Kevin lay on the bed, clutching his chest with both hands, he looked stricken.

“Oh my God, he’s having a heart attack!”  Nick yelled. 

Nick began to run for help until A.J. grabbed by the arm.  “He is not asshole, Cass said yes, that’s all.”

“You did!”  Howie and Brian both shouted out.

“Yes I did, now if you will go do whatever it is that you usually do for him, I can get dressed for my wedding.”  Cass casually smiled at them. 

They were shooed away quickly as she was inundated with women relatives.  Annie started to cry as the guys left.  Cass walked up to her and hugged, “Are you mad because we are getting married at your birthday party.”

Annie wrapped her arms around her mom, “It’s the best present you could ever give me.  Pa told me last night this was going to happen.”

By now everyone in the Richardson clan knew who Pa was.  “Thank you Abraham,” Anne Richardson yelled to the high heavens.

“You and Abraham are quite a team, now let’s get dressed before your father changes his mind.”

“You’re kidding, right?”  Sarah bubbled along with Leighanne.

“Hey, you never know,” Cass laughed.

Sometime during all the fuss over getting dressed, Annie had whispered to her.  “Pa told me it’s a boy and girl.  He said it would be nice if the boy was named Abraham, so he’s not forgotten.”

Cass broke down and cried when everyone left.  “I’ll never forget you Abe...  I care to damn much about you.   You’ve brought so much to me in my life.”

They stood before their family and friends.  Judge Bailey did the honors, of course.  The kids all stood straight and tall.  A.J. stood off to the side with an empty shotgun.  Anne made him not point it at Cass.  

Kevin laughed as he watched his mother argue with A.J. over it.  Kevin poked Cass and told her to turn around.  “Say I do Cass quick!”

“I do,” Cass blurted out to the same man she faced off with and lost to eight years earlier when Kevin began his battle over Annie.

“Son,” Judge Bailey grinned at Kevin.

“I do, I do, I do, I…”  Kevin was rattling away.

“Once is enough son, I get the picture.  Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Richardson.  Chase will file the paperwork in the morning.”  The judge looked out over the crowd.  It had been a long time since he had been the center of attention.  He looked up as a cloud covered the sun and then floated by.  The sun beamed a streak of sunshine straight down on Kevin and Cass.  Clearing his throat to get everyone’s attention, he spoke.  “Abe, or ‘Pa’ to some of you,” he turned and looked at Annie and winked.  Turning back around he looked at the crowd gathered, “Agrees with me, it’s about damn time!”

Many hours and well wishes later, Cass pulled her husband to her side, “Let’s go to bed.  Do we get a honeymoon after all this time?”

“Sure baby,” Kevin answered as they walked hand and hand into the house.

“Without kids?”  Cass questioned him further.

“That’s a tough one baby, we have a lot of kids,” Kevin shook his head.

The next day it was broadcast everywhere that, “Kevin Richardson and his long time partner, Cassandra Jo Collins, tied the knot last night at their Montana ranch at their daughter’s birthday party.”  The broadcaster laughed as he read the next line; “According to the couple, twins are due next year for a total of seven children for them.” 

Six pairs of eyes locked onto the pair cuddling in the corner of the couch.  Five children and their grandmother.  Kevin’s mother was the first to launch a pillow at them, “More babies!”





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