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Chapter 20

The entire crew busted their backs until well past sundown.  Bron wanted the roof on tonight.  The bank was coming out tomorrow afternoon to approve the draw.  If the roof wasn’t on, no check would be deposited.  Dipping into their own account to cover payroll was not what Bron wanted to do, besides she would have to ask Kevin and she wasn’t in an asking mood. 

Kevin called twice for her and Mc intercepted the calls.  They needed to get this done, whether Kevin wanted it or not.  It was pitch black when they called it a night and switched off the generators.  Bron’s back was killing her along with the rest of her body.  A house this size would take a full crew at least two and half days to shingle, they had done it in one.  She ached everywhere as she poured herself into her truck.

Mc followed her home to make sure she got there okay.  He made a call on his cell as she turned down the street to head home.

Bron pulled into the driveway.  The porch light was on and Kevin stood in the doorway wearing sweats.  Sliding slowly out of the truck, she went up the walk.  The door swung open as she approached it. 

Walking in she stopped by the stairs and her body dropped to them with a distinctive thud.  Unlacing her boots, she watched him march by her after shutting and locking the door.  The distinct beeps of the microwave then its steady hum meant that he had saved her some dinner.  Bron tried to smile as she headed upstairs to clean up.  Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, bullshit.  Kevin Richardson pissed off is much worse.

Once clean, she slipped on a tee and her bathrobe, then headed back downstairs.  Hobbling into the kitchen, she sat at the table being glared at by Kevin.  The microwave stopped and a plate dropped in front of her.  Bron watched a few peas pop off the plate and roll around on the table.  Kevin sat in the chair next to her.  He had placed himself sideways and was looking at the side of her face. 

“Where’s Kaylin?”

“I put her to bed, she has school in the morning,” Kevin answered as he watched her push the food around on her plate and pick at it.  “Andrew is too before you ask.”

“Good, I sent him home early, he was beat,” Bron sighed to tired to eat anything. 

The clock on the kitchen wall ticked for what seemed like an eternity.

“Kevin I don’t want to argue with you about this,” she announced as she set her fork down and pushed the plate away.

Kevin sat, resting his elbows on the table, his hands folded.  His hair back in a ponytail and his chin resting on his hands.  Suddenly he stood up and grabbed the plate.  “We’re not going to because tomorrow you’re going to tell them you’re married to me and not some phantom.”

Bron spoke to his back as he cleaned the plate off.  “Kevin you don’t understand.  It will make matters worse.  I can hear it now.  I only got the job because I slept with the boss, not because of my qualifications.”

“You only got the job because you DID sleep with the boss.  Then the boss decided he liked it so much he married you.  You are more than qualified to do the job.  So what’s the big fucking deal?”

Bron was pissed at what he said, she had to admit it was true, but dammit, she had fought the stupid notion her entire life and now that is exactly what happened. 

Kevin refused to turn around because of the statement he had made.  He knew it was the wrong thing to say but did it anyway.  He wanted to hurt her and he did.  “The shit that came out of Chris’s mouth drove me nuts.”

“Kevin, I won’t do it and don’t be so self-righteous.  I’m sure you’ve made comments in the past about the anatomy of woman.  Not to mention you’ve been out right busted on tape and TV for gawking.”

Kevin turned around from the sink with a dishtowel hanging off his shoulder.  He crossed his arms across his chest, “That’s different.”

Bron could see he had gone on the defensive and she just felt like yanking his chain even more.  “Oh, why?”

Kevin came to her; he bent down and looked her in the face.  “Because you are my wife.  I don’t like it.  I want it to stop.”  Kevin’s tone was not too dissimilar to acid being poured on an object.

“Well too bad!”  Bron huffed as she jumped up from the table and left.

Kevin shook his head as he heard her stomp upstairs, much like her daughter.  “We’ll see darlin’, we’ll see.”

Bron lay in bed wondering why in the world he had re-arranged the bedroom furniture.  Kevin had cleaned the room and did the laundry for her.  A couple more weeks and we’ll be in our own place.  She was groggy when she felt the mattress sag from his weight.  She felt the warmth of his skin next to hers.  The only thing that came to mind was please, not like last night.  I can’t move, I hurt so badly.

Slowly he maneuvered his body next to hers and wrapped her up in his arms.  “Sweet Dreams baby,” he sighed as they both fell asleep.

The alarm clock went off and she grumbled as her muscles screamed back at her.  “God I’m out of shape,” she uttered as she stretched to turn off the alarm.  Thanks to Kevin’s re-arrangement of the furniture, she found herself jammed between the wall and him. 

“What an idiot,” she snarled as she climbed over his back to get out of the bed.  She watched his back rise unevenly up and down on the bed after she had slithered across him to get out of bed.  Leaning down to his ear she whispered to him,  “Put the damn bed back where it was now that you got your jollies.”

Kevin rolled over and grinned, “Come back to bed.  I’ll drive you to work.”

Bron understood why he had done what he had done.  He wanted to be awake when she left.  Taking her to work ensured that she do what he had requested.

“Forget it, I need you to get Bounce on the bus.”  Bron maneuvered around the room gathering her work clothes.

“Come back to bed, just for a little while.  You’re always sneaking away from me.”  Plan B he chimed to himself.

Bron turned and watch him pat the bed.  His hair going in several different directions, slightly hiding his eyes.  Lying on his side with an arm tucked under the pillow that his head was resting on.  It looked inviting,  “I don’t sneak.  You sleep like the dead.”

 Kevin watched her face, she was thinking about it.  Lifting the bed covers, he grinned, “Dead men can’t do this.”

“Jesus!”  Bron squealed as she left the bedroom, clothes in hand.  She even managed to bang her head on the doorframe on the way out.  As she shut the door, she pressed her hand to the knot on her head.  She could hear Kevin laughing his ass off on the other side.  “He’s such a smartass.  What a picture to leave me with all day.  Like that isn’t a permanent state for him anyway.” 

Taking a quick shower she headed for the front door.  As she opened the door she heard, “Where’s my kiss goodbye?”

Bron cocked her head when she turned around.  She smiled and pointed at him, “You can kiss my ass for that little stunt.”

Kevin smirked as he walked up to her, “That’s not nice.  I just gave you a day full of happy thoughts.”

“God,” Bron groaned.  She gave him a peck on the cheek and turned the knob.

“No, a real kiss,” his lips were gently placed on hers.  Softly he brushed his lips to hers.  Then a little pressure, pulling away slightly and then back towards her.  A tender lick of his tongue, kissing the corners of her mouth.  A gentle nibble on her bottom lip.  Slowly he melted her away. 

Bron panted for breath, “I can’t, I have to go to work, the bank is coming today.”

Kevin watched her eyes spark, he so much enjoyed knowing what he could do to her, “I know, I’ll see ya later.”  Turning he walked up the stairs, passing Andrew on the way.

“Kevin, you’re a freakin’ tease.”

“Love you too Witch,” he called as he stopped on the stairs and then continued. 

 Andrew followed her out to his truck.  He knew he wasn’t even going to say good morning until they got to work.

Kevin crawled back in bed and sighed, “Yep, see ya at lunch Witch and I ain’t callin’” Wrapping the quilt around him he figured he had two more hours of sleep before he had to get Kaylin on the bus.

By Noon Mc and the crew were ready to bury Bron alive.  She had been miserable since she got there, barking orders and yelling at people.  Andrew steered clear and tried to let his brother know what was going on to no avail. 

Andrew sat on the tailgate of the truck drinking coffee.  The next thing that he knew he was watching his coffee puddle on the ground not to far from his feet.  Mc came around the truck to face a stunned Andrew and an infuriated Bron lecturing him.  “I’m tired of slackers, get your ass in that house and get to work.”

Andrew walked away with slumped shoulders.  Mc grabbed her by the shoulder and spun her around to face him.  “What the hell is the matter with you?”

Jerking away, she frowned at him, “Nothing, I’m tired of slackers!” 

“He’s not a slacker, he’s my brother and you call him your son!”

Bron refused to answer him, he’s right, and I’m a bitch, she thought to herself.

Mc started laughing loudly as he watched the mixed emotions play across her face.  “I should’ve seen it earlier but I didn’t.  If Stevie was here he would have told me first thing.  I can’t wait until he gets back, I’m rusty.”

“Told you what?” as she slammed the lid closed on the storage box on her truck.

“Pop Star has been playing with your head again Spark,” he snickered as he watched her grow even more agitated.  He grinned when he knew he was right.

“Shut the fuck up Mc,” she growled at him.

“Must be a yes,” he laughed as he blocked her way.  “Tell you what Little Girl, back off the guys and I’ll drop it.”

Bron became even more riled at the threat, “You’ll drop it Mc or I’ll smack you right upside the head.”

Mc took two steps forward and leveled a hand on each of her shoulders.  “Just because you’re married to Kevin doesn’t change how we operate.  This is business and you conduct yourself in that manner.”  Watching the fear step lightly over her face.  The recognition was there and that was what he wanted.  Glancing to the house, several people were eyeing the little scene.  “I’m warning you Spark, you better chill.  You’re being watched by every single guy on Frank’s crew.  I’m not happy about it and it’s not working out.  You better tell these guys who you are married to before things get out of hand.  Jake told me Chris is a persistent person.”

“I swear you and Kevin are friggin’ duplicates, except you can’t sing!”  Bron stormed off to the barn to gather her thoughts.  She heard Chris approach and say something to her, brushing him off she kept walking.

Cooling her heels for a good few minutes she headed back to her truck.  There was no way she was going to buckle under to Kevin or Mc, not this time.  Coming out of the barn, she almost flattened Chris, “I’m sorry, what did you want anyway?”

“Taken care of, but the boss is here and he wants to see you, Mrs. Cooper.”  Chris glanced towards her truck where Kevin, Mc, and Jake stood.

“I’m the boss,” Bron hissed as she saw the three of them in deep conversation.

Kevin met her half way with a stupid grin on his face, “Hey there.” 

Bron’s eyebrows went up, oh look it’s Backstreet Kevin, the nice one, she grinned back at him.  “Hey yourself and you didn’t call… again.” 

Chris walked up to the two of them and smiled.  Mc and Jake exchanged glances and hastily joined the little gathering.

“Aww shucks, I didn’t call, I thought I’d just drop by.”  Kevin’s face was glowing when he said it.

Jake was chomping on his lips to stop the laughter.  Mc and Kevin watched the storm clouds roll into her eyes. 

Did he just say shucks, she repeated in her head.  Stunned she didn’t say a word.  Her teeth began to grind together and the muscles tightened in her jaw. 

Kevin continued, he wanted to blow her mind and make her blow up.  “I thought I would share some vittles with you, being lunch time and all, … MRS. COOPER!”

“Chris go back to work,” Mc spoke firmly and walked away with Jake following him.  Both of them chuckling as they left. 

Chris watched both of them go away, brushing past Kevin, he whispered for only him to hear.  “I told you I was working on her, back off.”

“Sure Chris,” Kevin smiled.

Bron’s eyes narrowed at Kevin and she stepped forward.  Cocking her arm back was Kevin’s first signal.  Momentarily  he glanced to the house, they were all watching.  No, this was wrong he wasn’t going to humiliate her in front of everyone.  “One, don’t even think about hitting me.  Two, turn around and go back in the barn.”

“Tell me why I shouldn’t hit you?”

“You’ll embarrass both of us.”

“Tough,” Bron’s arm snaked out and Kevin reached behind her, grabbing her by the neck.  Spinning her around to face the barn, he began marching both of them towards the barn.  “Have I ever told you why I love this long elegant neck of yours?”  He tightened his grip to remind her just exactly where he had a hold of her.

Bron’s feet weren’t even touching the ground as they approached the door, she was presently suspended in the air by her neck.  “I look good in V-necks,” she seethed.

“Nope, it makes a great fucking handle,” as he went through the door and then pulled it shut, dropping the brace board in place.

Mc turned to Jake, “Did you see that?”

Jake nodded, “He calls her Witch enough, maybe she can fly now.”  Both of them laughed as they trudged back to the truck. 

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