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Chapter 45

“STOP!”  Bron ran into the kitchen to hear the group arguing with each other.  “What is going on?”

“Nothing,” Mary replied heatedly.

“Nada,” Suzie glared back.

“Let’s go downstairs and talk this out,” Bron was wired enough without these two going at it.  Turning to the males in the group.  “There is a huge party in this house the day after tomorrow, tomorrow is shot, the caterer is coming to set up.  The grass needs to be mowed,” she looked at Kevin who had come in behind her.  Turning to Nick, “You can dust.  The rest of you can figure out what the hell else is left.”  Quickly turning on her heel she stopped and Mary almost knocked down.  Bron turned to Nick, “Get the hell outside until you dry off!”

Kevin had to check the laugh that was dying to get out.  “Bron’s stressed guys, don’t pay attention,” Kevin offered a semi-apology.  Nick frowned, “I don’t like to dust, Kevin you dust, I’ll cut the grass.”

Brian started laughing, as he looked at an offended Howie and A.J.  “We’re a piece of work.  Have we gotten so big that we can’t do manual labor anymore.”

Mc was standing at the side door, with Andrew behind him.  Bron had huffed off with her friends to work it out.  He knew they would, they always did.  However by the looks of A.J. propped in the chair, he was the main problem, “Oh look it’s the Pop-Tart Boys,” he snickered as he stepped into the kitchen.

“Shut-up,” A.J. groaned.

Kevin placed a hand on Alex’s shoulder and leaned down.  Plucking A.J.’s shades off of his face, he glared at him.  “Sober the fuck up and help out.”

“Here this is for you,” Mc handed Kevin an envelope.

“What’s this?”  Kevin proceeded to open it.

“Cab fare,” Andrew laughed.  “Mom went shopping.”

Glancing at it, Kevin’s eyebrows wrinkled together.  Nick standing behind him let out a whistle, “Wow that is one long ass ride.”

“She took Suzie to New York City shopping!”  Kevin wasn’t registering the four-digit bill, no cents involved.

“Yep, plane fuel is expensive,” as Mc poured a drink.  “Prada and Choo, don’t come cheap.”

“Witch is paying for this one!”  Kevin headed out the side door with Nick behind him yelling that he wanted to drive the tractor.  “No, you’ll break it and she just bought it for me.”

Andrew shook his head, “Wait until he sees what else she bought.”

Both of them sat down as the room cleared.  Everyone but A.J. headed off for cleaning detail.  “Aren’t you going to help?”  Mc raised a cocked eyebrow at him.

“Nope, I don’t feel like it,” A.J. answered as he slowly sipped his coffee.

“Tell you what Alex.  You’re a drunk, a spoiled drunk.  You have the world by the ass and it isn’t good enough for you.  We all lose someone we care about it, it’s hard and it takes time.”

A.J. sat back in the chair with his arms crossed, “I don’t want to hear your shit Mc, you don’t know nothing about it.  What am I suppose to do be a nutcase like Bron?”

Nick stood at the side door watching, not saying a word.  Oh, he wanted to beat the living daylights out of A.J. for talking about Bron that way.  It’s a good thing Kevin didn’t hear it, he thought.

Mc dragged A.J. over the table by the front of his shirt.  “You little shit, you are nothing in the real world.  But as long as you are in this house you will treat her with respect.  You fuck up this party for any of them, I’ll let the entire world know you are nothing but a self-absorbed drunk.”

A.J. was too startled to give a reaction; he hurried out of the room.  He had seen Mc in action only once before, somehow he knew that he wasn’t kidding and would do it.

“Hope it works,” Nick muttered as he walked back in the door.

Down in the entertainment room Bron circled both women.  “What is wrong with you two?”  Bron stared at both them.

Suzie wasn’t afraid to voice her opinion; they were friends above anything else.  “She is being mean and nasty about this pregnancy and I don’t like it.  You’re pessimistic enough about it, she doesn’t need to add to it.”

“No I’m being realistic.  How stupid could you be Bron, setting yourself up for this?”  Mary huffed at her.

“Mary you’re not angry at me, I’m your target right now but you’re mad at A.J.,” Bron let the comment go by.

“NO I’M NOT!” slammed her glass down on the bar top.

Bron watched Mary.  Mary was as strong as they came and would help fix the world, including Bron and A.J., if you would let her.  “Yes you are, he won’t let you help him.  Will he?”

“No,” came in a plaintive cry.

“The guys are blaming you, aren’t they?”  Bron was now getting to the bottom of things.

Only one thing fueled Mary, guilt, she was trying but the guys didn’t see it.  “Yes,” she returned in hushed tone.

“I’ll take care of it,” Bron hugged her as Mary broke down and cried.  “Suzie’s right for yelling at you though.  I want this baby and I’m doing everything I can to keep it.  I need help, not put down.”

“I’m sorry Bron, you too Suzie,” Mary sniffed.

“Now kiss and makeup or there will be no presents for any of you.  I’ll be in my room.”  Bron smiled as she left the three of them standing there.

“Presents?”  Gillian’s ears perked up.

Suzie’s head nodded, “We went to New York City shopping.  Bron went crazy.”

“Kevin will kill her,” Mary grinned.

Suzie shrugged, “Why do you think she did it?”  A faint smile grew into a large grin.

“If she doesn’t tell us what she bought us, we can always tie her to a chair and make her watch Nobody But You from the Homecoming tape.”  Gillian winked.

“Yeah, remember the last time, she kept saying, ‘Oh baby what were you thinking,’ then she burst out laughing.”  Mary’s face squished up mimicking Bron’s

“Let’s do it anyway, we owe her.  If wasn’t for her we would be living our lives like normal people.”  Gillian commented.

“Well Kevin doesn’t know half of what is going down at this party.  Bron even sucked up to MTV and they are sending someone.  I just hope it’s not Carson, you know how much she hates him, he’s such an ass kisser.  The guest list is a secret; limos are chauffeuring people back and forth.  Security like you guys have never seen.  The food is great, we’re having a test run tonight when the caterer drops some stuff off.”  Suzie spewed her info and waited for the shriek since neither of them had a dress to wear to this type of party.  Bron knew that and had taken care of it, sort of.

Three women burst into Bron’s bedroom, she was already in high gear.  Dancing around her room waiting for them, the tunes were blaring.

Bron held two hangers in her hand, “Blue or green?”

“Green,” Gillian and Suzie chimed.

“Blue,” Mary answered.

“I like the Green,” Nick answered from the door as he strolled in.

“I thought you had cleaning detail?” Gillian looked at him.  Nervy shit, walking right in here like that.

“Kevin won’t let me cut the grass, he says that it has to be done right,” Nick giggled.

“Oh that’s my anal husband,” Bron rolled her eyes.  “Green it is and shut the door if you are joining us Mr. Carter.”

Three women gawked at her, Bron gawked back, “He won’t look, will you Nick?”

“Nah I wouldn’t,” he answered with a sheepish grin and a slight blush.  “Besides I want to see my artistic rendering of Train’s lips.”

“My ass, pool boy, you got work to do,” Mc grabbed him by the shirt and yanked him out of the room, slamming the door in the process. 

“That takes care of Nick, now where is Alex?”  Bron glanced at Mary.  Mary looked crestfallen.  “I’ll go talk to him.”

Bron left the three to try on the clothes as she went down the hall to the room that A.J. and Mary were staying in.  Opening the door, she found him sitting at the desk with a keyboard from the studio.  “Can we talk?”

A.J. nodded a yes and she entered the room.  Quietly she shut the door behind her.  Sitting on the bed, she waited for him to speak first.

“It hurts, I miss her,” A.J. plucked the keys in no particular order.

“I know and you will for a long time.”  Bron crossed her legs as she sat on the bed.

“Does it go away?” as he hit a note.

“No, not really, not for a long time.  Some days it still hurts, especially around now.”  Bron’s eyes misted, it did hurt right around now.  She had been trying to keep herself busy and not think about it.  Getting the note in the mail served as a bitter reminder.  The note brought back the old fears and nightmares.

Casually A.J. turned in the chair, “Why?”

“C.W. will be gone for one year on the sixth.  Then we have Father’s day and his birthday.”  Bron wiped a stray tear from the corner of her eye.  “I never thought that I would be remarried already.”

“That sucks, but you have Kevin,” A.J. nodded choking back his own tears, he missed his grandmother, she was gone now and he felt lonely with out her guiding presence.

“It’s not the same, at least not to Kaylin.  Kevin tries hard.  We’re getting a dog, no it’s a pony in doggy disguise.”  Bron rocked in her place.  “I’m really worried about you Alex, turning to the bottle doesn’t help.”

“I don’t know what else to do,” A.J. sighed.  “I don’t feel it when I’m drunk or drinking.”

“A.J. you can’t screw this up for you and the guys.  This party is too important.  If you want to be taken seriously, then you going to have to pull out everything you have and stay sober for it.”

“Are you done screwing with Kevin’s head?”  He asked with a look of self-satisfaction written all over his face.

“Of course not,” she smiled as she wiped the tears from her eyes.  Standing up she walked up to him.  Hugging him tightly, he held back at first and then let her hug him.  “Kevin and I will always screw with each others heads.  I’m here if you need me.  In the mean time, would you go clean up the studio for me.”

“You got it Sparky,” A.J. smiled as he hugged her back.  “Congrats on the baby, you’re gonna do this, I can feel it in my bones.”

“I hope so A.J.  Now if you will excuse me.  I have take make some arrangements for a few more surprise guests.”

“Somethin’ tells me, Kevin is going to go just a little crazy.”

Patting his cheek, Bron smiled, “Of course he is A.J., of course he is.  Kevin tries to protect me and taunt me at the same time.”  Bron leaned down and whispered in his ear.  “Paybacks are a bitch and so am I.” 

A.J. laughed as he watched her glide out of the room, laughing the entire way.

Hours later, Bron and Kevin sat on the couch in the living room enjoying their first chance at peace and quiet.  A noise caught them both off guard.  Bron went up on her knees to look to the foyer.  There she saw Nick and Andrew.  “Where are you going?”

“Out,” Nick answered.

“Not you, him,” as she pointed to Andrew.

“I’m going with him,” Andrew tried to side-step the question. 

Nick was amused as hell watching Bron switch to mommy mode yet again.

“Not good enough, where are you going?”  Bron leaned on the couch with Kevin sitting next to her.  His hand dancing up and down her thigh.

“I told you, I’m going with him,” Andrew grinned knowing his mom wasn’t going to let this go.  “Can we take your car?”

“No and you still haven’t answered me.  Where is your security Nick?”  Bron shook her leg trying to get Kevin to leave her alone. 

Kevin popped up from the couch and dropped an arm around Bron’s shoulder.  “Tell your mommy where you’re going like good little boys and I’ll let you take mommy’s new ‘vette’ that she is hiding in the barn from me.”

“I’m not hiding it, Mc gave it to me and nobody drives my car.”  Bron elbowed him in the ribs.

“In that case, we’re going to Scouts,” Andrew chuckled. 

Reaching into his pocket Kevin tossed a set of keys.  Bron protested as she fought for the keys.  Nick and Andrew went to the side of the sunken couch and watched the two of them wrestle over the keys.  Finally the keys were tossed up in the air, Nick made a reach and caught them.

“That’s my damn car!”  Bron slapped Kevin in the head.

“Go now before she kills me,” Kevin laughed as he tried to lock up the flying limbs.

“Thanks DADDY!”  Nick and Andrew yelled as they danced out the door.

“That’s my car, who gave you keys to my car?”  Bron shot him a pissy look.

“Mc did.  He figured since I would be paying higher insurance, new rubber ever six months for it, and not to mention speeding tickets, he thought I should at least get a set of keys.”  Stretching out on the couch he leaned back on the pillows.

“You’re going to pay my tickets?” she smiled as she crawled on top of him.

“Sure I will darlin’,” as he brought her face down to his for a deep kiss.

“I don’t believe you,” she mumbled.

“Would I lie?” he eyes fluttered closed to hide the amusement.  Bron had more tricks up her sleeve for sure.  Mc was helping him level the playing field.

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