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Chapter 54

A crash brought Suzie from the kitchen to the dining room.  “How many times do I have to say it?  Don’t play ball in the house!”  One of Bron’s vases now lay in a million intricate pieces on the floor. 

“The kids did it.  It was an accident,” Nick mumbled.  “Thanks kid,” Nick pointed to the back of the house. 

Suzie maneuvered pass Logan and Kaylin to get the broom and dustpan.  Sticking her tongue in Nick’s ear to get his attention as she leaned next to him, “If that is some kind of heirloom, you’re in big trouble buddy.” 

“Yuck,” Logan’s nose wrinkled up as he watched them.

“Come on let’s go,” Nick rolled his eyes and shoved the kids towards the backdoor.  “You two are driving us crazy.  I want to know why?”

Suzie couldn’t think of any terminology or phrase that would befit how the task of babysitting a rambunctious, precocious, and spoiled six year old had gone.  The remnants of the vase now placed in the trashcan.  The light bulb went on as she watched Nick, Logan, and Kaylin play catch outside.  “Kevin was right, ‘devil child’ fits perfectly,” she whispered as she left the kitchen heading for the living room. 

Shaking her head she looked at Kevin’s once beautiful all white living room.  The walls were now marred with marker and crayon.  “Bright idea Nick.  Teach the kid to draw, give her the tools, and walk away, you dumb shit.”  Suzie sprayed the wall and prayed the marker would come off.  As she watched the streaked mess run to the floor, she smiled.  “You are so lucky Carter, you were here the last time someone messed with the ‘love pit’.  You should be in here doing this.” 

As she scrubbed the walls and caught the smeared mess from dripping onto the carpet, she re-lived the last day and a half.  “You people do not pay me enough for this shit,” as she moved to the second wall tripping over the Barbie car in the process.  Kaylin had managed to ransack Bron and Kevin’s bedroom.  Suzie and Nick dealt with getting everything put back in its proper place except the sheets that had been covering the mattress.  Kaylin broke a bottle of Bron’s perfume on the bed.  Suzie just kept washing the sheets repeatedly to try to get the smell and the stain out.  The room had been airing out the entire time and it still reeked.  There would be no hiding the fact that people were in their bedroom.  Suzie hoped that the Richardson’s would not jump to conclusions and let her explain.

The next life lesson learned was one of her doing.  Never leave a child unattended with a VCR and a tape that needs further explanation.  The comment came at dinner the night before.  Nick had ordered a pizza, which had thrilled Kaylin to no end.  Kaylin looked at Nick with the angelic face of a little girl.  The question that came out caused Nick to choke and Suzie to gasp.  She could still hear it ringing in her head.  “Can we talk about sex?  Kevin said we should on the tape, it opens up commu--- communi---... we talk.”

“What?”  Suzie dropped the pizza in her hand.

Kaylin was slightly confused, “Kevin said it was okay.”

Nick blinked, “Kevin said you could talk about sex with us?”  The thought of it made him laugh and frightened him at the same time.  Nick rarely talked about sex with Kevin.  Kevin hadn’t talked about it at all since he had met Bron, he just insinuated certain things into conversations. 

“Kevin said in the interview that we aren’t open like South America and Europe.  If the subject of sex comes up, then that’s good because they are opening up a discussion for a family.”  Kaylin uttered Kevin’s exact words line for line from memorization. 

Suzie stared blankly at Nick and then put two and two together.  “The interview from South America, I left it in the VCR.”

“Way to go Suz,” Nick gave her a triumphant smile; for once, he wasn’t in hot water over something.  Leaning forward in his chair, he screwed up his face.  “Tell ya what.  I think Kevin meant that you should be talking about that with him and your mom.  You can talk to them tomorrow about it at dinner.  Okay?”

“Oh, okay,” Kaylin grinned and took a chunk out of her pizza.  “Thanks for the pizza Nick, Mom never gets pizza.”

Nick mellowed knowing that for once an interview wasn’t going to haunt him like it usually did, instead it was going to haunt Kevin.  The twinkle in his eye was a dead give away.  Sighing contentedly, he was going to get some perverse pleasure out of this.  Big Brother had finally really stuck his foot in his mouth.

“Well you can tell your mom and Kevin we had chicken,” Nick winked at Suzie.  “Suzie doesn’t cook.”

“I know, mom calls her Miss Nuke,” Kaylin grinned.

Suzie frowned, “Well not everyone is Martha Stewart kid, get over it.”  Suzie frowned at both of them, which managed to put them in a fit of giggles.

Standing up Suzie had a rag in one hand and a bucket in the other; her task was done.  “The three of you must have an angel looking out for you.”  Walking towards the kitchen, she was now being chased by Justin the over grown pony puppy.

Nick flew in the house dragging a screaming Kaylin behind him.  “SUZIE!” 

Nick’s scream nearly made her fall over the dog as he flew into the kitchen.  Suzie’s eyes opened wide in horror, “OH MY GOD!  WHAT HAPPENED?” 

“It was an accident!”  Nick was shouting at Suzie as he ran to the fridge grabbing an icepack from the freezer.  “Kaylin calm down, you’re fine.” 

Kaylin was wailing at the top of her lungs.  In between little puffs of air and sobs,  “You... did... it... on... purpose, you... hit... me!”

Suzie eyed Nick suspiciously.  Nick had had his fill of Kaylin and he had concluded that it took an army to watch this kid.  She screamed at the top of her lungs yesterday demanding her dinner be served to her now.  Nick shook his head as he ignored her rant.  “Did you learn that from your Mom?”  His parting comment to Suzie before they fell asleep last night was, “No wonder she has so many Uncles that do security.”

“I did not!” as he tried to pry the little hands from Kaylin’s face.  “Kaylin, you need to calm down.”

“Wow Nick you really hit Kaylin hard,” Logan stood at the door.

“I didn’t hit her, she was being a ball hog,” Nick scowled at Logan for adding to the problem. 

“You… you… hit me…,” a sniffle followed by another wail as Nick tried to take a closer look at the damage.

“Get out of the way,” Suzie shoved Nick aside.  “I can’t believe you weren’t being careful.  I’m never going to hear the end of this.  She’s going to have a black eye for sure.”

“Don’t touch it, it hurts really bad Suzie,” Kaylin sniffled and frowned.  “He hit me on purpose with the ball”

“Stop saying that!  I did not!  You ran right into the ball,” Nick scowled at her. 

Logan didn’t say a word as the little boy shifted from one foot to the other.  Slowly he walked over to his friend.  “Sorry ya got hurt Bounce.  I’ll let Nick hit me with the ball if it’ll make you feel better.”

“I didn’t hit her with the ball!  She walked into it!”  Nick threw his arms up in the air as he huffed around the kitchen.

“Well Nick, you are one lucky guy.  Nothing is broken but I’m going to have Dr. Gabe take a look at it anyway.”

“She doesn’t need a doctor, she needs an icepack!”  Nick was upset, nothing worse could have happened.  Kevin had respected him enough to watch Kaylin and now he felt like he had failed.  Kevin was not the kind of guy to trust his kid to anyone.  Nick also knew that even though Kaylin wasn’t Kevin’s, he sure as hell thought she was.  “Fuck!”  Nick shouted as he stormed outside.

“It hurts,” Kaylin cried.

“I’m sure it does and Nick isn’t helping.  Kaylin do you really think Nick hit you on purpose?”  Suzie asked her as she had second thoughts about calling Gabe.

“Yes, he was mad.  He kept telling me to stop hogging the ball.  I wasn’t, I just wanted to play.  Nobody plays with me anymore.”  Kaylin sobbed even louder.

Suzie was in a dilemma; Kaylin was hurting.  For some strange reason, Nick was hurting too.  “Logan I want you to go home now.  Kaylin is going to have to take it easy for the rest of the day.  I will call your mom and tell her you are on your way.” 

“Can Nick hit me too before I go?”  Logan smiled a grin less two front teeth.

“No I can’t,” Nick stomped back in the house.  Spinning around he pointed a finger at Logan, “Go home now.”  Grabbing Kaylin’s hand, he pulled her out of the room.  “You’re coming with me.  I did this, I can fix it.”

Suzie watched Kaylin being yanked out of the room.  She placed the phone back on the hook, “No sense in calling Gabe.”  Suzie surrendered Kaylin to Nick.  Following behind them, she was stopped with a wild headshake.  “Okay,” as she waited in the kitchen.

“OWWW!” she heard Kaylin scream.

“Stop it you baby, I told you to take turns!”  Nick shouted at her.

Suzie stood in her place in the kitchen as things quieted down in the living room.  She could hear a conversation taking place but couldn’t make out what was being said.  An hour went by before she ventured into the living room.

“Are you guys okay?” she asked.

“It’s cool!”  Kaylin smiled with the icepack firmly held in place.  “I’m going to bed now.  Will you tuck me in?”  Kaylin glanced at Suzie.

“I want to do it,” Nick scooped the child up in his arms.  “Wanna piggyback ride?”

“Yes!”  Kaylin laughed as Nick swung her around.  “Uncle Nick, what are we going to do tomorrow?”

“I dunno Bounce, let’s get through tonight in one piece okay?”  Nick shook his head at Suzie as if to question the sanity of all that had happened.

“Okay,” followed a giggle as they bounced up the stairs.

Suzie fell on the couch.  Twenty minutes later, she was handed a glass of white wine.  “She ain’t a bad kid but she’s lonely as hell.”

“Whatever Uncle Nick,” Suzie laughed.

“Shut up Suz.  I have to cover myself ya know,” Nick winked as he joined her on the couch.

“So Nick, what did you promise the ‘devil child’ to keep quiet?”  Suzie had to ask.  After all Kaylin was so much like her mother.

“Another dog,” Nick took a swig of his beer.

“They will kill you,” Suzie glared him.

“We’ll see.  It seems half of all the problems seem to be that Kaylin found out yesterday that they’re going to send Justin’s littermate to the pound.  Janey is out of room.  They’re going to put the puppy to sleep if they can’t find a home.  So I decided I’m going to get the dog for me and give it to Kaylin.”  Nick thought it was a smart deal.  Kaylin wouldn’t bust him and he wouldn’t bust her for the little blackmail scheme that her and Logan had been pulling on the two of them over the last two days.

“Oh Nick, this isn’t smart.  Bron will have fit.”  Suzie pushed on, wanting to know why.  “So tell me whose plan was this?”

“Both of theirs, the antics were to get the dog.  She doesn’t want the dog put to sleep like her dad.”

“Ouch,” Suzie winced.  “When did you find out all of this?”

“That was the reaction I had, but it’s a female, they can have her spayed.”  Nick took another swig of his beer.  “Just before she ran into the ball.  She has the name picked out already,” he chuckled.

“Let me guess… Britney,” Suzie laughed even harder.  Nick’s bubbling laughter confirmed her guess.  “Damn that kid is good,” she smiled as she felt warm lips brush against hers.

“I’m  better and much easier to get along with,” he whispered as his tongue tickled her bottom lip.

“I bet you are,” she uttered as she met his tongue with her own.  A tug on her lip from his teeth and she opened her mouth.

“Hmm, finally,” as he placed her wine glass on the table.  Slowly pushing her down onto the couch.

“Can I have a drink of water?” came from the stairs.

Nick popped up, “Keep it up and you can kiss that dog goodbye.”

“Never mind,” she said quickly and ran back up the stairs.

“Little pain in the ass,” Nick laughed.  “Where were we?”  Nick looked down at Suzie.  “Oh yeah, I was gonna lay one on ya baby.”





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