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Chapter 100

Kevin stood at the back of the stage, waiting for his family.  White jeans and a wife beater were the clothes for this set.  Kevin watched the aisle as he waited.  The boys were going to start off slow and then they were going to celebrate their return to touring. 

A.J. spotted her making her way to her seat.  The house lights were up so they could actually see faces for a change.  They had wanted something a little more personal for the kick-off.  “Hey Bron, I’m glad you could join us.”

Kevin’s smile grew, and grew as he saw she was dressed to the nines.  “Very nice,” he smiled as he spun a towel around that he had wrapped around his hand.

“Hmm, aren’t you the lucky dawg.”  A.J. quipped into the microphone. 

Bron went red at Kevin’s next move.  He was at the back of the stage still, his bottom lip curled into his mouth, still swinging his towel.  Then he began to do some pelvic thrusts for good measure.

Bron sunk a little lower in the seat.  “I don’t believe him.”

“That’s later buddy, just hold it for awhile,” A.J. cackled at him.

“A.J. is egging him on,” Suzie chuckled.

“No shit.”  Bron tried to hide; it was too late.  “Did the people behind me notice that?”

Suzie turned in her seat, “Well let’s see, there is about thirty-two thousand people back there, it’s hard to tell.”

“Oh Jesus,” Bron covered her face with her hands.

Kevin came forward and shouted to the crowed.  “Ya ready to Par-tay?” 

The roar went up and the occupants of the front row were forgotten about.  The closer rows could hear them speak but barely.  The crowd went wild when A.J. began to speak.  He delivered a small speech thanking everyone for his or her understanding and support throughout his rehab.  Then they sang, and they sang with everything they had.  They had a point to prove, that they were back.

The boys headed for the buses directly after the show, they were going to Cincinnati.  Bron sat at the table talking to Jake; Kaylin was fast asleep already.  As Kevin and Carlos approached the bus, Keith revved the engine.

Kevin ran up the steps with Carlos right behind him.  “Let’s go,” Kevin called out, since his bus was leading the caravan tonight.  “I hope you got some sleep buddy.”

“I did, that bed is pretty comfortable.”  Keith laughed knowing that he would get a reaction out of Bron. 

“If you did, you’re dead.”  Bron picked her shoes up and headed to the back of the bus.  Kevin wasn’t going to join her anytime soon; he was riding an adrenaline high. 

Bron woke to Keith’s booming voice, “Are you decent?”

“I like home better,” as she shoved Kevin’s arm off her.

“Hey, at least he knocks,” Kevin grumbled as the door slid open.

“Mom we’re here.  What time are we leaving for the zoo?  I woke Uncle Jake up,” Kaylin was chattering faster than the two adults could be roused from their slumber.

Kevin tugged the blanket up a little more, “Zoo?”

Bron sat up, swinging her legs over the side.  “Yep I promised I would take her to the zoo.  You’re coming too.”

“I am?”  Kevin waited for Bron to get up and take Kaylin with her.

“Only if you can, I didn’t know what you had planned for today.  I saw an open block in the schedule and I thought we could go with Nick and Suzie.  You guys can leave when you have too and the rest of us will meet up with you later.”

“Pack first, knowing Mc, the plane is here.”  Kevin yelled from the back of the bus as Bron wiped the sleep from her eyes.  She was so tired, she didn’t even know what time Kevin had come to bed. 

Keith idled the bus with the others, as everyone went about waking up.  It would be a good hour before anyone made it inside and moving.  No rooms had been rented, but the green room was available. 

Bron was packed; Kevin should know her by now.  She stared at the coffee pot as the amber liquid dripped at a snails pace into the clear carafe.  “I miss my coffeepot,” she whined as she gave the slow object a thump with her hand.

“Want coffee?”  Kevin eased up next to her, his hands rubbed back.

“Do I bleed?”  Bron groaned.  “Stupid man.”

“Come on, you aren’t use to touring like this.”

Kevin pulled her off the bus as she resisted, “Look at me,” she frowned.

“You look the same way in the morning at home,” Kevin smoothed her hair to the side.

“I do?”

“Some days, but your hair doesn’t look so messy,” Kevin had Kaylin by the hand as she skipped along next to him.

“You are so sweet,” Bron followed him blindly while he held her hand.

Suzie caught site of the three of them, “Morning.”

“No it isn’t,” Bron blinked twice, the fog in her head wasn’t clearing, then she sneezed.

“I didn’t say good morning.  It’s too early.”  Suzie said.  “How the hell does one get used to sleeping on a bus?”

Kevin looked down at Bron, his face registering concern.

“I’m fine, get me some coffee….”   A cup appeared in front of Bron’s nose.  A caramel colored fluid, piping hot, and smelling wonderful.

“I love you A.J.,” Bron snatched the cup from his hand. 

“Come on Mom wake up, I want to go.”

Kaylin’s impatience was out pacing Bron’s wakefulness.  “I’m going to count to ten.  If you aren’t over there getting your own breakfast, I’ll kill you.”

Kaylin shot from Kevin’s side and to the catering area. 

“That’s nice baby, threatening children before nine.”  Kevin didn’t say anything else.  His stomach was grumbling like it hadn’t had food in days.

Sitting down, Bron waited, Kevin would bring her something.  “Probably healthy shit too.” 

Kevin in accordance with his usual mannerisms set a plate in front of her.  She eyed the cheese pastry sitting on the plate.  Bron wasn’t about to question his generosity.  It was a treat; she savored every bite and gave serious thought about grabbing another one.  Then the baby moved.  “Okay one is enough,” Bron rubbed the top of her stomach to see if the little one would settle, it did.

“See, the baby doesn’t like sugar,” Kevin retuned for a second helping. 

After a proper breakfast, part of the gang snuck off to the zoo.  They walked everywhere.  Kevin worried Bron would over heat and kept offering her a water bottle. 

Nick was fascinated with the tropical exhibit and the birds.  “I can’t wait until I sell the house in Tampa and start on my place in the Keys.”

A.J. and Bron showed a preference for the large cats and Suzie enjoyed the dolphins.  Kevin read all the signs, out loud, as if anyone couldn’t read.  At one point Bron ribbed him that she did have two college degrees and that she could read English.

“Too bad you can’t type it,” he grinned back at her.

“Very funny, you are such the comedian today.”  Bron exhaled, now she was getting warm.

Suzie sat outside with Bron while the most adventurous of the group headed for the reptile exhibit.  “They are behind glass,” Kevin tried to coax her to go in with them.

“Glass breaks!  With my luck, it will happen when I’m in there.” 

Shaking his head, A.J, Nick, Kevin, and Kaylin went into the exhibit.

“I need to get even with Nick for the press conference screw-up,” Bron looked to Suzie for guidance.

“You’re not getting help from me with any of your obscene little games.  I’ve heard how you can be.”  Suzie looked around the grounds.

“I have an idea,” Bron swung her feet, as she sat on the wall.  “I just need to get it together.  If you warn him, I will show you no mercy.” 

Bron had her plan being played out already, she just wasn’t telling Suzie.  Knowing that she could always count on Jake for a good game of fun.  Besides Jake owed Nick, months before Nick even knew who Jake was, Nick tried to get his phone number in the chat room.  Jake wanted to scream since Nick had only known Jake at that time as Jackie.  Of course, following Mc’s directions to not reveal who he was, Jake couldn’t tell him he was a male and didn’t swing that way.

Jake had forgotten about it until this morning, Bron had reminded him.  Bron reminded him because she needed his help to pull this one off.  Part of the work had been done at home.  Jake was acting as delivery person only.

“My lips are sealed,” Suzie made a popping sound with her mouth.

“So I’m thinking we should have a Luau for this party.  What do you think?”

“A Luau?  I don’t know....  It’s been done before.”  They had been kicking around some ideas but they were running out of time.

“Country and Western?  We could get a mechanical bull.”  Bron quipped knowing this wasn’t not Suzie’s style, not even close.

“With our luck, one of guys would get hurt.  Then Cole would be really pissed at us.”  Suzie winced at the invisible backlash from Cole.  Cole had turned into a demon lately; he was under tremendous pressure with the recent marriages and children of two of the men in the group.  A. J.’s rehab was enough to drive the man nuts.

“We have to think of something, we can’t do classy it’s not that kind of party.  The guys are going to want to blow off some steam.  What do they all have in common besides music?”

A group of girls walked by and Suzie held her breath.  “Sports?”

“Sports and a housewarming party don’t go together unless you want Nick to break your vases,” Bron laughed. 

“Costume party?”  Suzie added.

“Too close to Halloween,” Bron mumbled as they waited.  “Damn they are taking a long time.”  The sun was beating down on both of them.

“Okay Luau wins for lack of a better idea.”  Suzie couldn’t think of anything better either.

Three guys and one little girl strolled up to them.  Bron giggled at the sight, talk about an unusual group.  Kevin’s hair was pulled back in a ponytail.  Nick had spiked his hair and A.J. was hiding under a baseball cap.  “Look at it this way, we could make them wear grass skirts.”

“That would be worth it.  We’ll start planning when we get back.”  An arm tugged her towards a body.

“What were you doing in there for so long?”  Bron looked at Kevin, slightly pissy from the heat.

“I got to hold a huge yellow and white snake in there, it was bigger than Kevin.”  Kaylin was clapping her hands from excitement.

“Oh yeah,” Bron brushed Kaylin’s away since Kaylin had reached for her.  “Don’t touch me.  Did you wash her hands?”

Kevin stood shaking his head, “Yes dear, before and after I let her play with the big bad python.”

“Yuck,” Bron’s entire body shook.

“I want a snake,” Kaylin looked at Kevin.

“You get a snake and you are moving,” Bron looked at Kevin.  He knew better than to go there.

Kevin knew the face and he wasn’t going to mess with it.  Besides snakes were fussy animals to take care of.  Kaylin had two dogs and two horses to take care of as it was.  “No honey, no snakes, your mom is very afraid of snakes.”

“Not all of them,” A.J. snickered under his breath.

Bron turned, hands on her hips.  “A.J. there is a time and place and this isn’t it.”

“Yes Mom,” A.J. lowered his head, mostly from amusement, not Bron’s scolding.

“That’s not fair, Logan has one,” Kaylin pouted like the typical child she was.

“Come on, we’ll get you a stuffed one,” Nick grabbed her hand. Along with A.J. who had grabbed her other hand, they headed into the gift shop.

“It better be stuffed Nick,” Bron called to him.

Kevin followed just to make sure.  He wasn’t up to opening up a zoo in Kentucky.  When he returned, his arms were loaded.  “They have the cutest stuffed animals in there.”  Kevin opened the bag for Suzie and Bron to check out.

Born listened as she looked in the bags,  “Videos, books, and toys too, I see.”

“I got a little carried away.”  Kevin ducked his head slightly. 

“I’ll say, come on it’s time for us to get back.”  Bron was smirking from ear to ear.





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