Walking to the back of the house A.J. found Kevin passed out on the floor of the studio, clad in a thermal undershirt, flannel shirt minus the sleeves, and a pair of sweats. He stood over him, “Aww Kev man, this has gotta stop.” A.J. left and then returned with a blanket. As he covered him up he shook his head. “I’ve been there man, it don’t work.”
Brian and Leighanne stood back and watched A.J. If anyone could help them it would be him. He had already taken that road once and stayed on it. A.J. ambled by them and shut the door to the studio. “Let him sleep it off until tomorrow. We have to get this place cleaned up anyway.”
Leighanne surveyed the place, it was a pigsty. Kevin normally would not live like this. She went to the refrigerator to find nothing but booze in it. Brian joined her and they hauled it out. Grabbing the A.J.’s car keys she left announcing she was going to the grocery store.
“Man this bad,” Nick said, as he had taken what seemed like his hundredth trip out to the garbage. Glances were exchanged and the message was clear. At this rate it would take an eternity to turn the place around.
“Everybody take a room,” Howie spoke as he grabbed cleaning supplies. “Stay out of the studio,” A.J. muttered. Each grabbing cleaning supplies they took off. A.J. snickered there’s a switch we’re cleaning Kevin’s house. He had recalled the number of times that Kevin would come over. If he didn’t like the way something looked he’d clean it or fix it. It was a running gag with them. Nick was the worst. If he knew Kevin was coming over he wouldn’t even do the dishes. He used to giggle saying Kevin was so much more cheaper than a maid and he didn’t have to worry about the confidentiality clause.
Coming in through the door hours later, Leighanne was carrying four pizzas. Setting it on the now clean table she waited for them to appear. They had a knack for showing up when hot food was around. Nick being the first to arrived. “I’m starved.” The others fell in quickly. “Good when you guys bring in the groceries you can eat.”
They all grumbled but headed out the door anyway. Leighanne frowned at Howie’s remark of ‘you didn’t train her right Bri.’ As they brought the bags in she began putting stuff away. She had spent enough time with Kevin and Kris to know where things belonged.
The groceries were done, the house cleaned, it was time to eat. The conversation quickly turned to the tape as they ate.
“What do you think he’s going to do?” Nick directed the question to Brian.
Brian was deep in thought, he wasn’t sure. Kevin will get angry, then be wounded that it was kept from him, then come out fighting like a son of a bitch. The little girl was his and Kevin had always had the habit of claiming what was his. He was denied so much when the boys first got together. Kristin became a closet girlfriend for years. Lou wouldn’t stand for it. The boys had to look available. Once they were rid of Lou and the Wrights Kevin was free again and as happy as he could be.
When the Black and Blue tour started and they took a pounding from everyone. Even MTV ridiculed them in one hand and supported them on the other. That’s when the problems started, Kevin had too much time on his hands that summer. He was trying to promote Krystal, do some producing, and keep the fellas out in the public eye. Kevin retreated to his new farm in Kentucky, alone. He was always alone. He thought if they got married maybe he wouldn’t be alone so much. She worked in L.A. She was always working. Kevin was in Lexington around his family. The itch to have his own family started pounding stronger and stronger in his heart. He wanted kids running around everywhere. Kristin was working she wanted no part of it. Her career was taking off, the timing isn’t right she would tell him.
That fall Jive sent them out to Montana to write some music. They wanted something different from the boys not the tried and true. Sending them to someplace out of their element seemed like a good idea. Giving them unusual scenery, strange people, and Cassandra Jo Collins. Brian was grinning when he thought of her. She was different, she liked his kind of music, she was fun, and had a great sense of humor. Cass and Kevin had more than one confrontation while they were there. The best one was when Cass called their music bubble gum music. All sugar coated and sweet. Kevin flew off the handle at her and scoffed. Brian could still hear those words ringing through his head. “Oh yeah, like you know music. Be still my broken heart, my wife left me, she took my truck and my dog. Damn I miss my dog!” Kevin laughed his head off as Cass slammed the screen door and headed down to the barn.
“Hey Bri, whatcha thinkin’ about?” Nick asked.
Brian started laughing, and sang the same words that Kevin had handed Cass that day. They all laughed uncontrollably. He even used that Kentucky drawl to make it sound genuine.
“I forgot about that,” A.J. grinned. “I never thought those two would get close enough to kiss let alone anything else.”
“Remember the sugar bowl?” Howie grinned followed by the guys giggling like fools.
“Oh yeah, she got him that day,” Nick grinned. “He didn’t know what the hell to do. If Abe wasn’t standing there I think he would’ve taken a pop at her.”
“What about the sugar bowl?” Leighanne asked Howie.
A.J. decided that he wanted to tell the story and jumped right in. He explained that one day they all had hit a brick wall. Nothing was working out and they were arguing over melodies, lyrics, keys, everything. They couldn’t write a damn thing down or agree on anything. Cass had come in the house and was getting a drink. Everyone was sitting at the long pine kitchen table, Kevin sitting on the end. The table easily sat eight people down each side.
“Why are you in the kitchen?” she questioned them, not hiding her displeasure. “I can’t breathe everywhere I turn I have pop stars in my face.”
“We needed a change, we can’t write! Are we bothering you?” Kevin was pissed off at their inability to accomplish anything, not her. But that didn’t stop him from yelling at her.
Cass tilted her head sideways and glared at the obnoxious man sitting at the end of the table. She stood there waiting for an apology. He wrinkled up his nose at her, frowned, and locked his green eyes on her. His intent was clear, leave us alone. Realizing he didn’t really give a shit, neither did she any more. Grabbing the sugar bowl off the counter she went to the table. Leaning on the table she gave it a shove and it slid down the table ever so slowly. It passed each man and their eyes locked on it. It came to rest itself right in front of Kevin as it came to a slow halt. Glances were exchanged quickly and the look of oh shit was the prominent on their faces. She only said one line as she walked back out the door. “Maybe that will help.”
Kevin let out a holler that and took off towards the door. Abe came in the kitchen and called him back. “Kevin I think you best leave Cassie Jo alone right now, you could get seriously hurt.” Abe quickly went out the door to find Cass with her brother Gary hot on his heels.
“I would’ve loved to have seen that,” Leighanne chuckled.
“Nope they didn’t mix, oil and vinegar,” Howie added.
“Nah, more like gasoline and match,” Nick snickered out. “Remember the little contest they had. I’ll never forget the sight of Kevin on his back in that corral. Tied up like a damn bull. Cass loved every minute of it. I really thought she was going to let that bull out to stomp on him she was so mad at him.”
“That was cool, she just roped his butt and dropped him like a sack of flour.” Howie laughed.
Leighanne looked puzzled, he never told me any of this stuff. None of them ever mentioned any of it. “Why did they have a contest?”
“We don’t know, they never told us. It was a two-parter thing. I always thought it had something to do with us staying the four weeks or calling it quits and leaving early.” Nick answered.
A quick look at his watch and it was getting late. “Let’s crash here in case he wakes up,” A.J. spoke. All of them were in agreement and Kevin’s intervention would start in the morning. “Get a good nights sleep, you’re gonna need it.”
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