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Chapter 70

Suzie stood in the suite waiting for them.  The door was opened from the outside, in stepped Carlos, Kevin, Kaylin, and Bron.  Bron gibbering a mile a minute not even noticing the room was occupied.

“Could you people be any slower?  The entire world does not run on Backstreet time.”  Suzie had her folder in her outstretched hand waving it in the air.

“What the hell?  What are you doing here?”  Kevin did a double take.  This wasn’t the maid in their room.

“I missed you too,” Suzie quipped as she handed Bron the folder. 

Bron hustled to the couch, flipped open the folder and began riffling through the pages.  She noted things in the margins of the documents and then read them again.  After signing them, she handed them back to Suzie who stood next to her.  “All done,” Bron grinned.  Turning slightly, she focused on Kevin when she stopped speaking.  “How long will I be here?”

“You’re not working anymore,” Kevin’s singsong voice kicked in.

“Yes I am,” Bron stood in her place.

Kevin leaned down to her, nose to nose, for the second time today; he tried to glare her down.

Bron smiled and didn’t blink.  “That doesn’t really work like it use too.”  She watched his nose twitch; a slow breath came from him that bathed her cheeks.  His glare became even more intense, even though she didn’t think he had it in him.  She was banking on the travel time knocking some of the wind out of his sails.

“Want to try something else?”  Bron smirked at him.

“At least till Boston,” Kevin kissed the tip of her nose.  Spinning around, he walked back out the suite door.

“Damn, you’re getting really good at this,” Suzie laughed under her breath to Bron.

Cocking her head, Bron waited and watched.  She knew he’d be back.  Kevin always had to have the last say in an argument.  Bron heard the thud of his boots and next thing she saw was Kevin filling the doorway.  She spoke for him.  “No roofs, no foundations, no asphalt, no ladders, etc. etc. etc…  Desk job only.”

He nodded as his hand came out.  “Come on Kaylin, you can go with me.”  Bron needed to take his instructions to heart; for once, he thought she might actually do it.  “You are not suppose to be working at all.  You don’t have a choice Bron,” Kevin reminded her as he spoke from over his shoulder.

Bron gave him a mock salute, “Yes sir!”

Kevin left humored, happy, and satisfied, for now.

Suzie paused, “You should’ve have charmed him like that two weeks ago, you still might be working.”

Bron swung her arms from front to back, “Because this isn’t about me, well not all of it.  The two minor mishaps I had, yes, but mainly it’s about him."  Feeling grubby from the road, she began to haul a suitcase up on the couch.  Unpacking what she needed Bron headed for the bathroom, she hadn’t showered since yesterday.  They were checking in for a few hours and then leaving; they weren’t even staying the night in Hershey.

“I don’t understand,” Suzie followed.

“It has to do with him and his issues.  He’s worried about A.J.  A.J. is really running on overload.  Kevin is not dealing with it well.  If I know my husband, he has tried to talk to him.  Kevin is getting more and more angrier everyday with him.”

“So?”  Suzie was still confused.

“So he’s just upset, he can’t trust or control A.J.  But he can control me if I’m with him.”

“Oh so he’s transferring his feelings about A.J. to you.”

“Yes,” Bron replied as she headed into the bathroom.  She began tossing the clothes she was wearing to the floor. 

Suzie stood on the other side of the massive bathroom with her back to her boss.  “So you’re here essentially to make him feel better, so that he doesn’t feel things are out of control.”

“Exactly!”  Bron yelled above the noise of the shower.

Nick rolled into the suite, “Hey girls!  Where are you?”  Nick was looking forward to the company.  The fact that Bron was here would mean Kevin would be off his ass for a while.  Suzie was icing on the cake.

“I’m in here!”  Suzie yelled.

Nick walked in, heard the water, and had a flashback to Chicago.  Bron in a bubble bath, stoned off her ass.  “Shit,” Nick closed his eyes.  It had taken months to bury that vision along with the strawberries and champagne deal.  That thought raced through his head in flash and he groaned.

Bron’s head came from behind the shower door.  “Hey you,” Bron laughed, knowing exactly what he was thinking.

“NICK!  Stop Messing around!  Kaos!”  Kevin bellowed.

Nick panicked, twirling around to make a hasty exit his entire body slammed into the frame of the door.  “OWWW!” he yelled as he bounced off the anchored object.  His entire body shrunk down to the floor.

Hearing the racket in the bathroom, Kevin proceeded towards it.  He saw Suzie helping Nick up and Bron peeking out from behind the shower door.

As Nick was crouched on the floor, he surveyed his bandmate.  “Kev man, I know what you’re thinking.  That’s not what’s happenin’ here.”

“Really,” Kevin frowned.  He watched Bron grope for a towel, while Suzie and Nick’s backs were turned.  She wiped her face and looked from one to the other. 

Bron began to have some flashbacks of her own about Chicago, only hers were a little fuzzy and had to do with Kevin wanting to punch Nick.

“Kevin,” Suzie’s nervousness kicked in.

“Let me help you up Nicky,” Kevin offered his hand as Nick was only half standing.

Nick was wary, so many years with Kevin had taught him well, the use of  ‘Nicky’ was not a good sign.  Raising his hand up, Kevin clasped it crisply and pulled him to his feet.  Tugging slightly, Kevin pulled him out of the bathroom.  They walked together.

Seconds later Suzie and Bron heard Nick yelp again.  Bron started laughing and Suzie tried not too.  Kevin slapped Nick in the back of the head, what was amusing was what he said.  “At least you asked me before you did it this time.  But dammit, I told you not too way back in Chicago.”  Both men left the suite.

“What were they talking about?”  Suzie again began to interrogate Bron once she was dressed.

“Long story,” Bron chuckled as someone knocked on the door of the suite. 

Suzie knew Bron just didn’t think, as Bron chattered to her, she opened the door.  Turning, they both saw Mary.  Her face was red and tear streaked.  “Aw Mare,” Bron dragged her into the room and then slammed the door shut.

“I can’t go on like this anymore, I can’t cover for him,” Mary broke down, sobbing.  “If Alex isn’t snorting, he’s drinking, or sneaking out.  Nothing we do helps him.”

“They’ll figure it out, we just need to stay out of their way.”  Bron sat next to her friend and let her bawl it out. 

“Mare, it’s not your fault he’s doing this,” Suzie chirped.  The dynamic of the three sitting in the room had changed since Lexington.  Mary wasn’t the same, now Suzie could understand why.  Mary had her own problems with A.J. but worried about others as well.

Mary smiled slightly for the first time since she had come to the door.  “Look at you, you finally look pregnant.”

“Gee thanks, I really wanted to hear that,” Bron rolled her eyes.  “Kevin is so proud of himself.”  Bron’s voice ran thick with sarcasm.

“Well he did the impossible,” Mary snickered.  She had heard that phrase too often lately and by the look on Bron’s face, so had she.

“Funny Mare, real funny,” Bron jumped up looking for something to drink.  “Change the subject.”

“Okay, sharing bathing duties with Carter again?” Mary smiled.  At least if she had Bron to pick on, A.J. wasn’t on her mind so strong.

“Look I didn’t invite him in this time, she did,” Bron pointed with her bottle of water at Suzie.

“Oh, mén·age à trois,” Mary bit her lip.

“Eww,” Bron frowned.

“No-no,” Suzie joined in.  “Nope, will not happen.”

 “Besides I have that covered, between myself and the light and darks side of my husband...”

“It can’t be that bad, you’re still with him.”  Mary had wondered enough, they used to share everything, not anymore.

“I’m bored.  Let’s go shopping,” Bron searched for her sneakers.  Ignoring Mary seemed best, deep inside the pit of her stomach she had a feeling, an intuition that things were going to get very ugly, very soon.

 “You can do that now?”  Mary was half kidding, half serious.

“Yes I can go shopping.  Hell, who would recognize and old knocked up woman like me anyway.”  Grabbing her purse Bron headed for the door.

The three of them free for a couple of hours did some serious damage to the shops in the park.  They made it back in time for Bron to retrieve Kaylin from Kevin and get some dinner.  They had gone unnoticed on their shopping excursion, which pleased all of them.  Suzie had bought a shirt for Bron that she would hide until one of Bron’s foul moods struck. 

The guys were wound up for the show.  Playing with a wooden xylophone seem to be as much fun as the show for Kevin and Howie. 

The Moon, playing an outdoor venue for a change, fascinated Kevin and Nick.  Nick’s attraction with the moon was short lived and he spent the rest of the evening driving Kevin crazy.  Pawing at him, hugging him, and when he tried to kiss him, Kevin finally yelled for him to “Stop it!” The command came blaring through the speakers.  Wrong thing for Kevin to say, Nick razzed him even more with purple butterfly headbands.

Bron had some doubts as to Nick’s actions but she wish he would stop.  Kevin was on the edge now with the amount of stress from the tour and A.J.  If Nick was trying to cheer him up, it was misfiring.  All Nick was succeeding at was making Kevin even more ornery than he all ready was.

After the encore a sigh of relief expelled from Bron.  Kaylin had fallen asleep on her.  Her head tucked in her lap.  Everyone stood up but Bron, Carlos came from the side and picked Kaylin up. 

“Thanks, but give me a minute.  My legs fell asleep.”  Bron rubbed her legs trying to get the blood flowing again. 

Kevin pranced backstage wanting to get back to the bus.  A.J. had fucked up almost every cue.  Howie and Brian covered for him while Nick distracted Kevin.  Kevin was ready to blow, if he didn’t get the hell away from everyone.  He wanted the seclusion of his bus and his family.  Seeing Carlos with his family, Kevin bolted for the bus.  If he could get to the bus unbothered, he would be fine.  Keith saw him coming and few fans right behind him.  They had it timed, the door flew open, Kevin ran up the steps, and the door closed. 

Keith listened to Kevin’s rant about A.J. thanking his lucky stars that Bron was here to calm him down.  If she hadn’t been, Kevin would have rode in the jump seat all the way to Boston, bitching and complaining the entire way.

Bron settled Kaylin into her bunk, after boarding the bus.  Kevin sat at the table, ready to snap.  Bron had anticipated this earlier in the day. 

“Hurry up,” Kevin tugged on her hand as he stomped by her and to the back of the bus.

“I am, now stop it,” Bron closed her eyes.  She wanted him to be a little calmer before she went back to him.  She slid her eyes sideways to see what he was doing.  He stood at the back of the bus, sliding his jaw from side to side.  “Great, just great, thanks Nick for throwing gas on the fire.”

Placing a set of headphones on Kaylin’s ears.  “Kevin must of bought you these today.”  Bron spent a few minutes watching her sleep. 

“Bron,” Kevin spoke but not too loudly. 

Leaning forward, she kissed her daughter’s cheek.  “Time to tame Tarzan.  I love you, sweet dreams Bounce.”

Flicking the lights off as she went down the aisle, Kevin had already gotten into bed. 

Without saying a word, she quietly disrobed.  Slipping on her nightshirt, she heard a disgruntled Kevin, “Why bother?”

Enough was enough; he wasn’t going to take his anger out on her any longer.  “Simple, we’re not going there tonight.  You’re mad and you’re wound up.  I won’t let you take it out on me.”

“I wouldn’t,” as he lifted the sheets and blankets for her to join him.

“Come on, rollover,” Bron pushed on his shoulder as crawled in the bed.

“No,” Kevin grumbled.  “I just want to hold you.”

Arms wrapped tightly around her and squeezed.  “I love you.”  His course whiskers rubbing again her neck.

“I love you too.  Now, stop being difficult and roll over.  If you were any more tense, you’d break into pieces.

Kevin crumbled under her direction.  Rolling onto his stomach, he welcomed her touch.

Bron kneaded his upper arms and shoulders, when he started to squirm under her she moved to his back.  “You’re such a hard-headed hard ass.  All you had to do was tell me is, ‘It’s getting to me.  I can’t take much more, please come with me.’”

“It’s getting to me, I can’t take much more.  Please come with me.”  Kevin spoke in a soft, sleep laced voice.

“Now he speaks,” Bron sat straddling him.  Leaning down she kissed his spine between his shoulder blades.  The tension was leaving him, his muscles were loosening and his tongue had done so too, now for his mind.

“I’m feeling kind of tired lately.  I think I’m just going to stick to the office when I get back.”  Her hands continued to massage the strained muscles.  A laugh from him shook her body as he lay beneath her.  “You don’t have much choice.  Do you?”

“No, I guess not,” as she rubbed her hands up and down his back.  “Thanks to you.”

Kevin had done what he considered to be in the best interest of his wife and his unborn child.  Guilt was not a feeling he had when he begged Mc and Gabe to put her out of work.  Safety was his only thought, and protection.  “Your turn,” Kevin shifted his hips and Bron fell to the side.

“I don’t need a turn,” Bron lay on her side facing him.  Her hand came up to brush the hair from his eyes.  “I know you have been thinking.  Do you have any ideas what you can do for A.J.?  The show wasn’t bad but even I noticed a difference this time.”

Even though the bus was dim, he was frowning, “We’re having a meeting when we get to Boston.  Bron, I don’t care about the group, I care about him, he’s killing himself.”

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