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Chapter 62

Suzie had been battling hysterical fits of laughter for four days straight.  Bron was in a pout and living on a diet of Ben and Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup.  Kevin had been apologetic and then neurotic.  He had missed a doctor’s appointment with Bron because of a full dress rehearsal and an awards ceremony.  The rehearsal and the awards didn’t stop him from calling in the middle of the appointment and talking to Bron and Gabe. 

Kaylin was at camp chasing butterflies and frogs.  Her conversations with her mother were long, descriptive, and almost always about critters.  Andrew was sulking because Bron refused to cook him anything special since it was just the two of them in the house.

“Hey Suzie, what are you going to do this weekend?”  Bron stood in front of her desk as Suzie proofed a new chapter.  Bron paced as she waited for her to answer.  Bron had been in a funk since Kevin left.  She didn’t like fighting just before he left, but he was always trying to assert himself on everyone.  The part that tortured her most was that he was right.  Kaylin blabbed continuously about camp, about Kevin, about how lucky she was that Kevin said she could go.

“Nothing, Nick is going to call and that’s about it.”  Suzie never turned around to look at her.  “The tour is back on Bron, I’m not going to see so much of Nick.  Why?”

“You work for me right?”  Bron treaded the carpet.

Suzie stopped reading and turned in her chair to face her boss.  “Well you give me a very nice paycheck every week, not that I have a job description or anything.”

“You have a job description,” Bron tilted her head.  “Don’t you?”

Suzie laughed, “Well Bron, we know you miss the obvious sometimes.”

“I do not,” Bron walked into her office and shut the door.

Suzie watched, “Good, now you have something to do, you can leave me alone.  I have to fix this mess you created.  Your thoughts are a mess, where the hell are you going with this one?”  Suzie went back to work mindless of Bron’s reappearance two hours later. 

“Your job description,” Bron put the sheets of paper on the corner of her desk and then walked out of the offices, heading downstairs.

Suzie finished up the last chapter and posted it.  She picked up the four-page document that had been left on her desk.  “Wow, I’m pretty busy,” she snorted.  She read down the list and then noted the last page.  She started laughing as she went down the list,

Fix Kevin’s computer when he breaks it.

Fix Kevin’s printer when he breaks it.

Help Kevin when he needs it, the man is a dork in the office.

Do not tattle on me, covering for your boss is a requirement to      maintain your employment.

When you nail a Backstreet Boy, you have to disclose all details to your boss.

Suzie crossed the last line item out and initialed it.  Walking into Bron’s office, she set the document on her desk.  Closing the offices up felt fantastic; it was the weekend. 

Mc had been in hiding since Kaylin went to camp.  It was easier for him to stay away then deal with a tongue-lashing from his business partner. Suzie enjoyed his absence.

Suzie ambled into the kitchen; Bron was sitting at the table her head hanging low.  A pint of Ben and Jerry’s in front of her.  Suzie felt the guilt trip coming on.  “Why did you ask me what I was doing this weekend?”

“Do you want to take a ride with me on Sunday?”  Bron refreshed her coffee.

“Where?”

“I don’t know, just somewhere.  I’m bored, I’m anxious, I just need to get out.”

Suzie sat down at the table; a cup was set in front of her.  “Do you want to talk about it?”

“No,” Bron huffed.

“Look, you can kiss and make up soon,” Suzie eyes dipped to her cup.

“I know; everything is just nuts.  I’ve been getting these notes…”  Bron stopped.  She shouldn’t be telling her this. 

“What notes?  Fan notes?”  Suzie questioned even more.

“Well, not any fan of mine.”  Bron’s lips formed an ‘o’ as she blew out a breath.  “If this thing goes to trial…  I don’t know how this is going to affect them.”

“Does Kevin know?”  Suzie hid her alarm from Bron; the coffee burned its way down her throat.

“No!  He’s not going to either, is he?”  Bron glared at her to make sure she got the message. 

“Okay, but keeping secrets from your husband is not wise,” Suzie put on her old-sage face. 

“I know but he’s stressed enough over the baby, A.J., the tour, he’s got enough on his mind.”  Bron sat and pondered what to do.

Suzie knew better than to inform Mc or Jake; that would not happen.  Offering an alternative for now seemed best, “Okay then, call Webster.” 

“Yeah, I think I will,” Bron glanced at her watch.  “You better get going or you’re going to miss out on your booty call.”

“It’s not a booty call unless I can get there,” Suzie snickered as she got up to leave.  “I’ll see you Sunday?”

“I’ll pick you up at eight sharp,” Bron affirmed.

“In the morning?” Suzie groaned.

“Oh please, it won’t kill you… you don’t even get here by eight,” Bron chucked.

“I know your husband told me.  I’m so glad he doesn’t sign my paycheck.”  Suzie yelled as she walked into the foyer.

“Damn good thing he doesn’t is right.”  Bron cleaned the kitchen and then dragged a cookbook off one of the shelves.  The writing wasn’t coming along so she needed a distraction.  Baking seemed like an excellent idea. 

Andrew strolled in looking for something to eat.  Bron fed him; he ate and then disappeared.  Showing back up later, clean-shaven, well dressed and smelling to old for her taste, he was growing up.  “Where are you going?”

“On a date,” he grabbed his jacket off the coat rack in the back hall.

“With who?  Do I know her?  Have I met her?  Where are you going?”  Bron was thrown off her stride for a brief moment.

“Paula, no, no, Scouts.  She’s a friend of Janey’s.  Does that cover it for you?”  Andrew gave her a peck on the cheek.

Bron froze, “Hey, you can’t go out with her; she’s years older than you… Andrew wait!”  Bron ran behind him to the front door.

Andrew stopped; he was prepared for this.  He waited for her to catch up to him.  As she followed, he noticed she had gained some weight she was almost waddling and didn’t even notice it.  She had a belly going now that she could no longer hide wearing regular jeans.  He had seen her yesterday try and button her pants using a rubberband that she had strung through the buttonhole and around the button.

“How much older are you then Kevin?” he asked with a hint of smugness in his voice.

“That’s different!  I’m an older-older, and Kevin… well… well… Kevin is older than me, let’s leave it at that.”  Bron fussed trying to explain herself to him.  She pulled on a string on his pants, he thought for sure the next thing she would do was lick her thumb and wipe his face with her thumb.  The ‘Mother’s Thumb’, they all had it; it was an instinct with them.

“It won’t work mom, because it’s just a bunch of us getting together,” Andrew tossed his coat over his shoulder.

“Good, go Dutch, keep it even.”

“Mom!”  Andrew couldn’t believe what she had said.

“Well…” Bron didn’t like this date idea at all.  “Be home by one…”

“Yeah, right mom.”

The front door opened and Bron jumped, her face as pale as could be.  Mc looked at her.  “Are you sick?”

“No,” she gulped.

“Tomorrow, you stay put, you and I need to talk,” Mc’s eyes were deadly serious.

“Where are Stevie and Jake?”  Bron’s throat became dried out.  She was hoping that Suzie hadn’t said anything about the notes. 

“Jake is right there,” Mc pointed to the stairs.  “Stevie is in your kitchen most likely eating whatever the hell smells so incredible.”  Mc glanced at his watch and then to Andrew and Jake.  “Do you think we have time to just taste whatever that is?”

“No!” was the resounding shouts he received from both of them.  The dogs came ripping through the house as they shouted.  The three of them left out the door not wanting to get dog spit on their clothes.

Bron patted both of the dogs heads, “Good babies, next time slime them, you’re mastiffs, you’re suppose to spit on people.  It’s in your job description.  Just don’t spit on me, or God forbid, never, ever slime Kevin or the party is over sweeties.” 

The dogs trotted behind her as Bron went into the kitchen, the table had been set for two, flowers decorated the center, and candles flanked them.  “Thanks,” Bron sighed as she wrapped her arms around Stevie.  “I’m running out of distractions, so you are it my friend.”

“Anything I can do to help.  I know you are coming up on a rough week and it won’t be easy.”  Stevie held the chair out for her. 

“I was beginning to think nobody remembered him,” Bron held back the tears that were stinging her eyes.

“I always will Bron, he was a good man.”  Stevie looked at her, she seemed so sad lately.  Almost like everything that had happened a year ago had been forgotten.    

“I miss him.  Do you think that I’m being stupid?” she sniffed as she broke off a piece of the homemade bread.

“No Bron, just lonely.  But I’m here and you know you can always talk to me.”  Stevie didn’t like seeing her like this but he knew better than to say anything against what had been going on.

They shared a good meal, a great wine, and an even better dessert.  Everyone’s favorite, chocolate Devil’s Food Cake.  They talked about old times and she relaxed for the first time in a week, forgetting all about calling Webster.  Stevie and Kevin were the only two people besides C.W. who could just wash her troubles away.  Kevin had the unique knack of replacing them with some of his own on occasion.

“It’s late.  I think I’ll grab a guestroom,” Stevie yawned as he noticed the time.  “Mc will pitch a fit if I leave.”

“Mc can chill,” Bron rolled her eyes.  “I’m going to let the dogs out one more time then I’m heading to bed.  Andrew went on date with some Paula.”

“Only because Mc wanted to see Janey,” Stevie grinned.

“You’re kidding,” Bron’s eyes danced with excitement.  “Tell me, tell me more.”

Stevie tossed his hands up and backed away from her, “Never woman, never, you are the town gossip.”

“I am not,” as Bron followed.  “Come on tell me more.”  Bron sat on the couch and listened.  Bron had finally found out what Mc had been up to besides cleaning up his act, getting a house, and moving.  Bron thought it was a little strange that he had turned prim and proper so quickly. 

“I hope he decides to deal with his other problems too,” Bron sighed loudly.  She stood up, headed up the stairs, and then stopped.  “Damn, the puppies need to go out.”

“I’ll do it, you’re tired, go on up to bed.”  Stevie grabbed the dog leashes and called them.  J.C. backed away from him, as Stevie gave him a sharp tug on the leash.  “Maybe that is why he wants to talk to you tomorrow.”

Bron frowned when she saw Stevie yank the leash; she walked down the stairs and pulled the leashes from him.  “J.C doesn’t like you, I’ll do it.”

“Bron, he’s a puppy, he’s just confused.”  Stevie started to laugh.  The dogs had become Bron’s new babies since Kaylin had left for camp and the number one spoiled baby had gone back out on tour.

“Admit it Stevie, my dogs don’t like you.  But then I never met a dog that did like you.”  Bron laughed, “Except Sheila, your last girlfriend.”

“You’re in a better mood, smartass is back,” Stevie waited in the living room for her to come back in.  Once in, he locked the door and set the alarm.  He knew that the other three had planned to crash at the Bed and Breakfast after their dates.  Mc was moving into his own place tomorrow and all hands had been called on deck for the move.  The Bed and Breakfast was supposed to be a moneymaking operation, not a flophouse.  He had ordered all of them to get their own places by the end of the month.

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