Turn the Page

Chapter 26

Bron milled around the house and checked what work had to be completed.  She had made him a promise and she was going to keep it.  So far everything had stayed on track.  The walls were primed and ready to go.  Hiring an outside painting firm had been her best choice, they could have never finished it by themselves.  On her walk through she made even more notes.  Checking her office and lastly their bedroom.  The artist that she had hired was painting a scene on the ceiling. 

The young woman smiled as Bron watched her paint.  “Don’t worry I won’t get one spot on the bed.” 

“That’s good,” Bron chuckled as she left the room.  Handing her notes to Andrew, she kissed him goodbye and left. 

Boarding the plane, she had mixed feelings.  She wasn’t use to traveling by herself and was amazed that she had been able to slip out unnoticed, especially by Mc.  Settling in her seat, she closed her eyes and waited for the landing.  Her stomach turned the entire flight and she grew uneasy the closer she got to her destination.  The plan landed and she disembarked like every other traveler.

Grabbing her bags, she headed outside to hail a cab.  She wasn’t too surprised when Stevie pulled up and smiled.  Shaking her head as he jumped out to help.  “Who called you?”

“Did you really have to ask?” he smiled.

“I thought I got away,” she laughed. 

“Never from him,” Stevie frowned.

The ride back to her house was silent.  Slipping her key in the door, she pushed it open.  Inhaling deeply she smiled and became completely relaxed.  “Home feels good Stevie.”

Dropping everything in the sunroom, she ambled through the house looking for things that were moved or changed.  Almost everything was missing.  Pictures were left on the walls for her to take care of.  Even Stevie had enough common sense not to touch certain things that were special to her.

Sitting down at the dining room table, she didn’t know what she was going to do.  She didn’t want to give up this one place that was solely hers.

“You can keep it,” said Stevie as he set a cup of coffee in front of her.

“I know and I want to but I don’t know who would take care of it.”  Her eyes traveled over the walls and ceiling, it had been a wonderful home to her and her family.

Stevie watched the remorse build at leaving something that was so precious to her behind.  “I can.”

“How?,  Mc is getting stranger as he gets older.  He won’t like it.”  Bron groaned.

“It’s between you and I, not him.  He has nothing to say about anything you do anymore, unless it comes to work, that’s it.”

A slight smile tugged at her lips, “I thought maybe you we’re avoiding me.  I haven’t seen you since I came home.”  She watched as he pulled dinner out of the oven. 

Dropping the oven mitts on the counter, “I’m not, I’m working, you know how it goes.”

Dinner half cleared she tilted her head, “You didn’t pack up my office did you?”

Stevie grabbed his stomach, as he laughed, “Some of it but I will not venture into your play place.  I did boot up your computer a few times so your mail didn’t blow up.”

“Thanks,” Bron smiled.  She had infinite trust in the man sitting opposite her.

Jumping up she cleared the table and just started unpacking a box in the dining room.  Stevie watched her flutter about as she emptied the contents of the box.  Certain things were picked up, examined, and then re-wrapped and placed back in the box, others were left out. 

“I see you have made a decision,” he smiled.

“Yep, it’s my house and you’re going to stay in it.  I never understood why you stayed in that hovel of an apartment anyway.”  Bron smiled as she went from box to box.

“I stay in that hovel because it’s above the bar and close to my work.”  Stevie was trying to figure out how to tell Mc about this sudden move.  It wouldn’t sit well but he didn’t really care.  The entire time that Stevie had been up here he had been divesting Mc of certain ‘businesses’. 

Mc had come to a major decision after arriving in Lexington.  He felt he no longer needed the seedier side of his lifestyle.  Negotiations had been hot and tense between Solarez and himself, on Mc’s behalf.  It generally went that way when Solarez brought up Bron or Lenny.  He had been prying, wanting to know what she was going to do and if she was going to leave it alone.

Mc had called earlier to let him know when Bron was coming.  He had let her slip out unnoticed after being alerted by Kevin that she was going home to possibly give a statement.  Neither of them knew at this late stage of the game if it would do any good but it couldn’t hurt.  Kevin explained to Mc that he was then going to get in touch with Cole at management to handle any fall out from this.

Stevie followed her around the house doing anything she requested.  Pictures were removed and wrapped gently.  It didn’t take long to end up in her office.  Stevie had to laugh every time he walked into the room.  It was a Kevin Richardson’s life in review!  Pictures plastered on every available space.

“Stevie, be nice,” Bron snickered.

“I am.”  He watched as she carefully removed the pictures and posters.  “You’re not seriously going to hang those back up in your office are you?”  If she said yes, he was going to be there the day Kevin walked in the door.

“Well not my office, I’m having a special wall unit installed.  It has locks and doors that close.  It takes up then entire end wall of my office.” 

“Oh, so you’re staying in the closet huh?”  Stevie laughed.

“Leave me alone,” she pouted as she heard the phone ring.  She jumped to answer it and he could tell by the glassy look in her eyes that Kevin was on the other end of the line.  Her voice became happy and expressive along with the rest of her.  It stung a little, no it hurt.  He wanted to be with her not him.

Since her husband’s death, they had forged an even stronger bond.  Mc had actually strengthened it by appointing him her security.  She was his best friend and he hers.  Affection had already begun to grow between them.  When he took her to Toronto he had thought about making an advance to change their relationship, but then he thought it wasn’t the appropriate time, too many people.  Then of course Kevin stepped into the picture and blew the entire thing.

“What are you thinking about?” she asked, as he hadn’t even noticed that she had finished her telephone conversation.

“Nothing really.  Are you done up here for tonight?” he asked.

Surveying the room she had seen that almost everything had been removed but her computers.  “Yes,” she grinned.  “Are you ready for some old time fun?”

“Meaning?” he grinned, knowing what she was thinking.

“I’ll get the popcorn,” she yelled as darted out the door.  He was right behind her and searched for the movie de jour.

Settling on the one piece of furniture left in the living room, they each took an end of the huge leather sofa.  Her feet promptly landed on his chest as they both stretched out.  Giggling loudly, “Please?”

“You’re a pain in the ass Bron,” as he reached for her foot. 

Flashing him the cheesy grin that was only for him, “You love me anyway.”

Shaking his head, he continued with her foot massage.  Her feet were starting to relax and he wasn’t.  The phone ringing was a welcomed interruption.  Rolling sideways, she picked the phone up off the floor, almost falling if he hadn’t grabbed her legs.  Laughing she answered the phone.  He watched the frown form and she tossed the phone at him.

“Yes Mc,” he sighed as she ignored him and turned to watch the movie.  He was trying to have a conversation but the restless woman on the other end of the couch was making it almost entirely impossible.  “Bron move your feet.”

“What the hell are you doing!” echoed from the receiver.

“Tell him it’s none of his damn business and get off my phone I’m waiting for Suzie to call,” Bron huffed loud enough for him to hear.

Stevie snickered at the brave little beast at the other end of the couch and winked.  “Gotta go Boss, the lady is waiting for a call.”  Pushing the button ending the call.

The phone rang again and he answered it.  Handing her the phone he waited for the reaction.  By the reaction he was seeing, Suzie had just agreed to move to Lexington.

Hanging up the phone, she said nothing.  Pinching her foot to get her attention, “Well?”

“Well what?”  Bron spoke without turning her head from the screen.

Squeezing her foot hard, she yelped, “She’s coming.”

“Great, so does she know?”

“Know what?”

“Who she is going to be working for?” Stevie grinned.

“Yes, me stupid,” as she jerked her foot back since she was no longer in the mood for his continued torture.

Bron started to laugh as she watched the screen.  He watched her bite her tongue and try not to scream.  She was extremely happy, not to mention how happy Suzie was going to be. 

“You’re a shit Bron, you really are, you never told her,” he laughed as his hand settled back on her leg.  Her face turned white and she bolted off the couch into the bathroom.  He grimaced when he heard her gagging after he followed her.

Coming out of the bathroom, he stopped her, “Are you all right:?”

She placed her finger under her nose and held it there, “Yeah, I’m fine.  I’m going to bed.  It’s just nerves.”

Reaching out he pulled her to him and hugged her, “I understand.  I’ll go with you if you want me to.”

“Thank you and I want you to,” she said as she climbed the stairs.

She had a horrible night as she crawled out of bed, one of the worse since Chicago.  Lightly she crept downstairs.  She had no idea where Stevie was but she knew he wouldn’t have left her.  She found him in the kitchen doing paperwork.

Getting up he poured her a cup of coffee and she sat.  His hand grazed her cheek, “Are you okay?”

She nodded as she closed her eyes, “Fine.”

“You don’t have to do this.  It won’t make a difference.  It will go before the grand jury first.”

Inhaling deeply she began to have second thoughts.  She would be bringing attention to herself for waiting so long to handle this matter.  Considering the people that were involved it would be a high profile case in her little town.  If the press found out who she was married to, it would go national and she knew it.

Rubbing her temples, she inhaled the steam and scent of her coffee.  “I don’t know what to do,” she whispered as she finally opened her eyes.  “They are going to pay for my screw up.”

Softly he spoke, “Bron nobody is forcing you to do anything that you don’t want to.  Everyone thinks you need closure.  I think this entire thing is going to cause more problems than you are ready to handle but it’s your choice.”

He left her to sit and think about it.  Everyone was so caught up on the fact that she needed an ending; he didn’t think any one thought about how it would end or what toll it would extract on her to get there.  She would be humiliated and persecuted in the public eye for who she was married to, not the victim of a violent crime.

Hours later she sought him out, dressed and ready to go.  Without a word exchanged, he grabbed the keys and they left. 

Upon arrival, she wasn’t in a huge hurry to go inside.  Glancing out the window, she saw people coming and going.  Slowly she opened the door of the car and hesitantly stepped out.  Smoothing the wrinkle from her skirt, she proceeded up the steps.  Stopping half way she glanced back to him and gave him a weak smile.

“Hey Sparky,” she heard from the left.  She turned to acknowledge it.  All the times she had been here before were not pleasant ones.  Not many people knew the nickname unless they were close to Mc.  Her mind registered the face and she smiled.  “What are you doing here Webster?”

“I work here now.  The wife and kids missed the family.  Family is important.”  Offering her a cup of coffee as he stood next to the pot.

Her eyebrows shot up as she looked at it, “I’ll pass, that looks nasty.”

Grabbing his messages, he settled a hand on her shoulder and led her to a room that she had seen in the past.  She shuddered when she thought about those times.  They always went the same way, they wanted Mc and wanted to use her to get to him.  Then there were the visits at the hospital that they paid to her when he didn’t manage to control his temper.

“Webster who set this up?”  Bron questioned him.

“No one, I told you that my family wanted to move back home.”

“You’re divorced aren’t you?”  Bron uncertainties were confirmed by the look on his face.  “Webster, if Mc thinks that you being here is going to help control this, he’s crazy.”

Webster’s tongue slid over his lower lip, “It’s not for him.  It’s for you.  Maybe Mc too, it seems he has decided to walk the straight and narrow.  With me here it is a possibility that he could pull it off.  You ready to do this?”

She nodded as he turned on the tape on the recorder.  She answered his prompts to her personal information.  When he said begin, she froze.  He reached over and turned it off.  “Bron do you need Stevie in here?  I can go get him.”

“Please,” she nodded her agreement.

Stevie came in and took his seat.  They began again only this time he was listed on the tape as well.  When Mike said begin Stevie squeezed her hand slightly.  She began in a calm voice with how her morning had started and what she was preparing to do.  Three hours later she was bone weary tired, physically and mentally exhausted.  Her eyes were puffy from crying and the ability to focus her eyes had become a major task.

“I’ll call you or Kevin if I find anything out,” Mike hugged her as she went to the door to leave.

The ride back home was an emotional one for both of them.  He didn’t want to hear any of it and she didn’t want to speak it.  Her voice cracked the stillness as they entered the house.  The moving vans had left earlier in the day while they were gone.  She had finished the packing before they left for the police station.

“I want to go home tonight,” she spoke.

“No problem.  I’ll call Hank,” as he headed for the phone to make the call.  Hanging up he turned to her, “It will be late, but you’ll get home.”

“Thank you, I’m going to change.”





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