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Kevin slowed his pace as Kaylin held onto his hand. They had hit two stores and the drugstore as they worked on his list.
“You got a lot of hair stuff.” Kaylin looked at him.
He squeezed the tiny hand in his, “Ha, you should see Howie’s hair stuff, besides I always buy new ones and then I won’t run out while I’m gone.”
“Oh,” Kaylin really wasn’t paying attention as they walked slowly by the toy store.
“The answer is no, you haven’t been behaving.” Kevin spoke as he continued to walk but noticed her hesitation.
“I didn’t ask,” Kaylin grumbled.
Stopping in front of Sears, Kevin debated. He loved shopping at home; nobody ever bothered him. Kevin became just another consumer. He wanted to get a few things in the store. Kaylin tugged on Kevin’s hand. “I said no,” as he looked down at her, she pointed down the corridor of the mall. Raising his head, he looked to where she was pointing. “Hmm, Let’s go say Hi,” as he walked towards what she had pointed too. Kevin’s pace picked up and Kaylin had to almost run to keep up.
Kevin wanted to have this conversation, no he needed too, especially after going up to the studio this morning. This had been one of the reasons he had been so tough on Kaylin.
“Hey Janey, Hey Logan,” Kevin walked up to them.
Janey set one of the bags down she was carrying. Both Logan and Janey were loaded down with packages. “Hi Kevin, Kaylin,” Janey smiled warmly at them. The kids began an eager conversation.
Kevin rescued a bag from her before it hit the floor. “Whatcha’ up to?” Kevin grabbed the child size pair of pants that tumbled out of the bag he had just saved from falling.
“I’m getting ready for camp,” Logan chimed quickly.
“Camp... I loved camp,” Kevin sighed a little longingly. Watching a frown cross Kaylin as her head dropped. “You’re gonna miss Logan aren’t you?”
“Yes,” Kaylin puckered up at the thought of losing her best buddy.
“Hmm, Oh Logan, I wanted to ask you something.” Kevin bent down placing a knee on the floor. His hand still held tightly onto Kaylin, “Do you have any idea how something might have been spilled into the soundboard up in my Studio?”
“Logan Montgomery?” Janey tapped her foot on the floor.
“Umm, I did it, not Kaylin. It really was an accident. I know we aren’t allowed up there but we were looking for Herman.” Logan looked Kevin in the eye after his confession.
A careful glance confirmed Kevin’s suspicions; chivalry was not dead in Lexington. The, ‘not Kaylin,’ was a dead give away. Kaylin’s eyes were wide with shock and her mouth was open slightly as well. She hadn’t expected Logan to stick up for her. “Okay sport but no more playing up there unless an adult is with you.” Kevin stood up and winked at Janey.
“Anything else you two need to confess? Logan may not be able to go to camp now, I just don’t know. If he can’t behave properly as a guest at someone’s house...” Janey watched the younger ones for a reaction.
Kaylin looked at Logan, then Janey, then too Kevin. “He didn’t do it. I did, it was an accident. We were looking for Herman. I showed Logan how the soundboard worked. I went to move the can of pop that was sittin’ there so we wouldn’t spill it and it spilled.”
Logan blinked at Kevin, “She wouldn’t have spilled if Nick wasn’t yelling. He yelled so loud she got scared and it slipped, it really was an accident.”
“I understand, I’ve been busted before,” Kevin’s head was nodding as if he could completely understand the situation they were in. Janey was fighting a smile, Kevin had a way with kids like no other person she knew. He had extracted a confession, laid on the guilt, and then made it better.
Kaylin dropped her head, now she was in deep trouble. This was just something else for him to yell at her for.
Kevin thought about it and then figured he would let her stew a bit before he let her off the hook. He had assumed that one of the adults using the studio had left the can on the console. If it hadn’t have been there, it wouldn’t have happened. Of course, the kids shouldn’t have been up there. “So what kind of camp are you going to?” Kevin directed his question towards the little boy who looked at him.
“He gets to go to nature camp, they learn about natural stuff,” Kaylin babbled out.
A befuddled look crossed Kevin’s face; he looked at Janey. Janey nodded her head up and down slightly and mouthed ‘She wants to go’.
“Did you want to go to nature camp?” Kevin asked.
“Yes but Mom said I’m not allowed,” she sighed loudly and sadly.
“Cut the dramatics Kaylin. Why did Mom say you couldn’t go?” Kevin was again out of the loop. Bron was making decisions on her own. Now he was just pissed off again, only this time at Bron. He couldn’t keep up with the day to day stuff, that was up to her to let him know what was going on.
“Mom said that they don’t have security at the camp,” Kaylin checked the tears. She just wanted to be like the other kids, not different, not with her uncles.
“Shit,” Kevin mumbled. He stood in the mall debating. “Janey do they have any more openings in this camp?”
“They did yesterday when I called. I lost the list yesterday,” Janey waved letter in the air. “I did find it this morning though,” as she pointed to the paper that Logan was holding.
“Can I see that?” he pointed to Logan’s piece of paper. Pulling his cell phone out he dialed the number at the top. He was reading the list as he waited for someone to answer. “Can you watch her for a minute?” Kevin pointed to Kaylin.
Janey knew what Kevin was doing and she couldn’t be happier. The two kids had been playing together since the day Kevin had sent Kaylin to Lexington. The kids had so much in common and a strong bond had formed, instantly. When Janey had mentioned camp Logan had hymned and hawed about it at first, not sure if he wanted to leave his friend behind. She nodded and pulled the kids away in the other direction.
“Are you going to camp with me?” Logan became excited.
“I don’t think so, Mom said no,” she watched Kevin hang up his phone. Janey watched Kevin dial another number. He had a quick conversation, then he hung up and dialed again. “Let’s go in here,” Janey pulled the kids into a shoe store. “Logan needs hiking boots according to this list.”
Logan and Kaylin went around the display trying to find the perfect pair. Kaylin saw a pair that looked like her Mom’s. “I like these,” she smiled.
“Good, try a pair on devil child cuz you’re going to camp,” Kevin grinned from their level on the other side of the display.
“I AM?” Kaylin shrieked as she launched herself at him. Kevin caught her in a hug, she showered his face with tiny kisses, alternating between, “I’m sorry for being bad,” and “Thank you.”
“You’re more than welcome Kaylin but I’m very serious when I say you have to start behaving,” Kevin looked at her sternly before setting her down.
Kaylin picked her boots out, like any other kid she had to wear them home. She stomped them into the ground as Kevin laughed. “Saw your Mom do that, didn’t you?”
“Yes,” she smiled.
“So how are the dogs doing?” Janey asked as she helped Kevin finish his shopping as well as Kaylin’s. Kevin wasn’t sure what she had or needed so he bought everything new, including a sleeping bag at the sporting goods store and new a suitcase.
“The dogs are fine, I’m glad Nick rescued the last one,” Kevin commented as the kids charged ahead of them.
“Rescued?” Janey looked at him.
“Yeah, Kaylin told Nick that you were going to put the puppy down,” Kevin stopped in front of a lingerie shop, not really minding that Janey was with him as he window shopped.
“Yes Kevin, down to the farm at Aunt Sally’s in Georgia. I think those two knew it too,” Janey frowned.
“KAYLIN!” Kevin shouted. Both of the children froze in their tracks.
“What’d we do now?” Logan looked at Kaylin.
“I dunno,” Kaylin whispered as they waited for the adults to catch up.
“Did you know that they were going to send the dogs to a farm?” Kevin asked.
“No, Logan said they were going to put the puppy to sleep, it would be an angel,” Kaylin stood stock- still.
“Sorry Mom,” flew out of Logan before Kevin could finish his line of questioning.
“Logan, did you really tell Kaylin that?” Janey was upset with him. “Why? That is a horrible thing to tell her.”
“I didn’t want Britney to be away from Justin, like Kaylin had to stay home and I got to go to camp.” Logan blew out some air waiting for his Mom to smack him one.
Kevin shook his head, “It’s okay,” he sighed. “Logan, don’t do that anymore, I don’t need anymore mouths to feed.”
“Are you mad Mom?” as he bowed his head, not wanting to look her in the eye.
“If Kevin isn’t, I’m not, but that is very wrong young man,” Janey grabbed him by the hand and led him away.
“He’s deadmeat,” Kaylin whispered.
“You were pretty darn close yourself kiddo,” Kevin grabbed her hand as the wandered to the next store to finish the list.
“Mom is going to be mad,” Kaylin talked to him from the backseat.
“Let me worry about your Mom. When we get home, you have stuff to do before she gets there. Understood?” Kevin turned up the road to head home.
“Okay,” Kaylin smiled.
“You’re learning kid, you’re learning,” as they unpacked the truck together.
Kevin had a system. Everything was lined up in the hall. He walked around and put his things in the suitcases. He left them open trying to save time from opening and closing them. Kaylin’s suitcases lined the other side of the foyer. Kevin had told her what he wanted from her and she had done it in rapid succession. The kid was packed and ready to go. “You’re amazing, now help me.” He motioned her over to the suitcase. “Sit,” he smiled
“On your suitcase?” she looked at him.
“Yep,” as he patted the top.
She sat, he zipped, and Bron pulled in. Coming through the front door, she saw the foyer scattered with suitcases. The pink one was a tip off.
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