“Brian a package came for you today, it’s marked urgent. I put it on the dining room table.” Leighanne called to her husband hearing him come in the house with Nick. She shook her head when she heard the persistent thumping of a basketball on the kitchen floor, over and over again.
“Got it honey thanks,” he yelled up the staircase.
Nick was still bouncing the ball while rummaging through their refrigerator. “Nick stop dribbling the ball before Leighanne comes down here and gives us both a piece of her mind.”
Nick stopped dribbling long enough to open a beer. He began thumping the ball up and down again. Turning he was faced with an incensed Leighanne who grabbed the ball. She walked to the door and tossed it out, “Outside! My children are trying to sleep.”
“Sorry,” he grinned and followed Brian into the Living Room.
Brian walked by the envelope on his way in. Picking it up he looked at it, no return address. Just as quickly as he had picked it up he set it down on the table. The game was coming on it could wait.
“I remember when she used to not care if we had a ball in the house,” Nick uttered as he flopped on Brian’s sofa.
“When you have kids Nick you need to set a good example.” Brian grinned.
“Well you’re doing fine, just don’t let them around their Uncle Kevy,” Nick frowned.
Brian knew Nick was trying to open up the conversation to see how Kevin was doing. If Nick wanted to know he could go to Florida and find out for himself. Brian absent-mindedly thought about it. Kevin wasn’t doing well and he hadn’t heard from him since the break started. That was over three weeks ago. Brian and his wife had offered to help Kevin. Kevin’s only response to the offer was slamming the door in their faces when they were in Lexington. The next day Kevin left for his house in Florida. They had called several times; he either wasn’t there or wouldn’t answer.
“Brian did you open that package yet?” they heard Leighanne in the kitchen.
“No the game is on,” he rolled his eyes at Nick. “Priorities man,” he whispered.
“I’m going to open it,” she called back.
“She can’t stand it,” Nick snickered.
“Nope, she’s nosey,” Brian grinned. “Watch this,” Brian whispered, “It’s marked personal, you better let me open it.”
“Well then open it!” she grinded out.
“After the game,” Brian chuckled.
Leighanne ventured into the dining room and retrieve the irritating envelope. She shook it, “Something is in here but what,” she thought. She ran her hands around the object, it was a rectangle, thin too. “Okay that’s it!” she muttered, as she ripped the end of the package open.
“I said I would open it,” she heard from the doorway.
Her face was tinged pink at being caught as the contents slid onto the table. “It’s some kind of tape,” she stated.
Brian watched her, she was mesmerized by the sight of it. She picked up the envelope and held it over the table and a smaller envelope dropped out of it. “Hmm,” Brian mumbled as he walked to the table. The envelope was clearly marked ‘Brian Littrel- Personal & Confidential.’ Grabbing the envelope he strolled back to the living room to watch the game. He couldn’t fathom what the contents might be. Usually this crap was some psycho trying to blackmail one of them. Setting the envelope down he began watching the game again with Nick.
Leighanne heard the babies crying. She snagged the tape off of the table and headed upstairs. Probably just another weirdo on tape again, she surmised. She had never really gotten used to women sending videos of themselves naked to her husband. To this day she couldn’t figure out what would make a person so desperate.
After feeding the twins she settled them back in. Infants had away of setting your routine; you didn’t set theirs. Christopher had already begun to mimic his father’s personality. He was always smiling and doing things to make others smile. Emily was more serious but showed signs of being like her mother. Satisfied that they would rest for a little while longer she headed out of the nursery and to her own bedroom. She hadn’t noticed that she was still carrying the tape in her hand.
“Well why not, someone went through trouble to get this here?” she spoke out loud. She slid the tape in the machine. She searched the entire room for the remote eventually finding it hidden under Brian’s side of the bed. “Must be another game on tonight.” Crawling on the bed she sat crossed legged in the center of it. She watched as the tape began to roll.
She watched the entire tape not once but twice. Confusion had set in rapidly and then panic, followed by anger. The woman on the tape was giving birth. The entire tape was filled with pictures of this woman and her child. It was a little girl. Leighanne literally watched the child grow up to the age of three. The last piece on the tape was a birthday party. The child never really talked on the tape, there was no sound. Whoever dubbed the tape didn't check the cord for the sound. Others around her did and she always looked at them or at the camera. “This is weird, who is she? Why did she send this to Brian?” Leighanne’s anger flared at the only possible reason in her mind that Brian received this tape. This woman had a baby, Brian’s baby.
Marching downstairs she ran into the living room. She threw the tape at Brian, “you better watch this right now and when you’re done I want an explanation.” Leighanne turned on her heel and left in a huff.
Nick lifted his head from the pillow, “You’re dead B-roc.”
The final horn sounded on the game and they both missed the score. They stared at the screen waiting for the replay. The station quickly cut to news.
“Dammit Bri!” Nick punched the couch.
Brian was stunned at his wife’s outrage. This was not like her at all. She was extremely upset about whatever was on this tape. Nick shouting, “Who won?” brought him back to consciousness.
Brian stuffed the tape in the VCR and hit play. The tape began and Nick yelled, “Gross!” The camera quickly panned to the woman giving birth. “Holy shit its Cass!”
They sat in silence and watched the tape. “Why would Cass send you this Bri?” Nick had sat up to watch the tape, totally enthralled by it. He had seen Cass, Gary, and even the baby girl that looked somewhat familiar to him. As the tape came to an end they both looked at each other and then back to the television. “Ah Bri do you see what I see?”
“Yeah, but that’s impossible.” Brian spoke as he grabbed the envelope he had left on the arm of the couch. Carefully he slid it open afraid of what the contents might hold.
He read it once and then twice. Nick came over to stand behind the chair and was surprised at the words that were written on the piece of paper.
If you get this I am gone. This tape is very important. I would like to make sure that all of you see it.
She was hurt deeply. She says that mistakes are mistakes. She will be lost and lonely again without me. Gary has gone on to his own life. I’ve called on him to get this to you. Cassie Jo does not know that I have sent this to you. You know Cass; if she did I would be going straight to hell.
Please watch it, just once. Humor the hell out of an old dead man. You are an intelligent, talented young man. I’m sure you will figure it out.
“You have got to be joking, he’s playin’ us Bri,” Nick shook his head at the letter.
“Well let’s look at it again and figure it out,” Brian nodded at the letter.
“What’s to figure out Brian, that’s your kid!” Leighanne spoke in voice full of anger and hurt from the doorway.
“That is not my kid! I never slept with Cass, none of us did,” Brian screamed loudly.
Nick backed up not used to Brian yelling. Grabbing the remote Nick hit rewind. The three of them sat watching the tape together. “I don’t believe it but it has to be,” Nick mumbled.
“Has to be what Nick?” Leighanne asked as she cuddled with Brian in the chair. She had accepted his answer and all was well with her.
“That’s Kevin’s kid!” Nick uttered in shock.
“No way,” Brian gave him a get real face. Then he looked at the screen again. The little girl had aged on the tape; she was blowing out the three candles on her cake.
“Oh my lord,” Leighanne whispered as she got up to look closer at the television. “Yes it is Brian, all she would need is bushy eyebrows and a goatee.”
“Shit you’re right,” as he looked at the picture on the wall and then back to the screen.
“Brian who is Cassie Jo?” Leighanne’s curiosity overtaking her common sense at this point she couldn't help but ask.
“Cassandra Jo Collins owns the ranch that we stayed at in Montana. Do you remember about five years ago. The year after we all got married?”
“Yeah man, that was a real cool place. It was a real workin’ ranch.” Nick expanded on his memories. The sights and sounds of the ranch flooding back to his memory.
“Jive sent you there to do some writing for the new album. That is when Kevin and Kris started having problems,” she whispered.
They both watched her face fill with sadness. Leighanne had come to feel Kevin’s pain more than anyone. He was lonely and felt like an outcast. She felt much the same way in the BSB world. Since Kristin had divorced him she had tried everything in her power to help him deal with it. He just refused too, he was depressed, separated himself from the others whenever possible and became reclusive. Kevin the babysitter had now become Kevin the babysat. This last break that the boys were on was particularly hard on him, his divorce becoming final at the beginning of the break.
“Yeah it was their trial separation. That was the last time I actually saw Kevin happy,” Brian remarked.
“This means Kevin slept with Cass. All that time he rode our asses about getting work done and he was the one being a player.” Nick mused out loud.
“So what do we do?” Brian looked blankly at Nick and Leighanne.
“Brian we need to get Howie and Alex and go to Florida. Kevin can’t see this tape by himself. He’s already at the end of his rope you know that. I just want to make sure that he gets the support that he needs from you guys. Anything any of you have ever done he has backed you one hundred percent.” Leighanne took a breath from her little speech and was ready to continue on until Brian interrupted her.
“Leighanne of course we’re going to go to Florida, but I don’t know if he’ll even let us in the door,” Brian got up and ran his hands through his hair. He hadn’t told her that he had actually gotten in touch with Kevin over the last two days. He had told everyone that he couldn’t reach him. Three times he had called, morning, noon, and night. Each time he had spoke to him Kevin was drunker than a skunk.
“So we all go. The four us and Leighanne,” Nick shrugged.
“Yeah, but how do we tell him?” Brian was totally flustered as he walked to the kitchen and back.
Nick thought for a split second and then blurted his idea out. “You don’t. Let the tape do that. Listen all he ever wanted was kids. Kris kept saying no not now, not the right time, etc. That is what caused all of their problems. Maybe this will make him happy again.”
“What about the kids?” Brian’s exasperation growing at what he knew would happen. He really didn’t want any part of upsetting Kevin even more than he had been.
Leighanne jumped up and went to the telephone. Brian could over hear the conversation as well as Nick. By the time she came back to them they knew that the plans were set. The three of them would be leaving for Florida in the morning. Leighanne’s mother was going to watch the kids. A.J. and Howie were picking them up at the airport and they would stay at A.J.’s. A meeting would take place to fill Howie and A.J. in; the planning would start from there.
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