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Bron didn’t say a word as Kevin’s bottom lip popped in and out from between his teeth all the way home. It was a sure sign that he was fired up.
Pulling up into the driveway, he parked his 4 x 4 by the side door. Getting out of the truck, he walked around and opened the door. The last thing he needed was for her to fall out of his truck. He made a mental note to look into new vehicles for both of them.
Bron sensed the tension coming from him but couldn’t figure out the why as he escorted her to the side door. Turning her head slightly, she smiled, “We do have a front door.”
“Yep, but I’m closer to my kitchen table usin’ this door,” he leered at her.
Bron stopped, turned, and placed two hands on his chest, “That was a joke.”
Entering into the doorway, Kevin held onto one of her arms, almost painfully, as if she was going to take flight on him. “I wasn’t jokin’.”
Bron watched the bottom lip begin to flip in and out again. His eyes reflected the anger he was holding in, but not by much. Bron shook his grip off of her. Picking her head up, it lilted to the side. “Bye-Bye,” she spoke loud enough to try and break that God-awful trance he would get into sometimes when he was serious about something.
Bron skirted around the table and managed to get to the doorway. Large hands had snagged her by the shoulders and pulled her back into the kitchen. A grunt matched the force of the fingers sinking into her clavicles.
“My wife... My pregnant wife… dancing with all those strange men…”
Silently Bron kicked herself, the meeting didn’t bother him, the dress didn’t both him; no, it was the dancing that bothered him. Bron’s gaze fell to the floor as she put the pieces together, “Man did I screw up,” she groaned to herself. “Dark boy go away,” she spoke clearly as she raised her eyes to meet his.
“Dark boy wants to play with the pretty pregnant lady too. Everyone else got to,” Kevin’s grin bordered on mocking and anger. The menacing laugh that came from him, along with the words he had spoken, didn’t bode well for a bout of gentle lovemaking. Kevin was in a rare mood, one of those moods that if you didn’t play his way, there would be repercussions later. Right now Kevin wanted to re-claim what he felt was his, what others had touch.
“But I’m pregnant,” Bron smiled trying to defuse the anger.
“We’ll maneuver around that,” he growled back, his hands sliding around her and pulling her closer to him.
Bron woke with a start. While scrambling for the covers she accidentally movied her knee a little too high on her husband.
“Ow!” Kevin’s hands darted under the covers. “Watch it!”
“Good morning kids!” Anne stood not to far from the bed. She had watched the pair for a few minutes before she decided to wake them. Limbs were tangled together, hair was either matted down or sticking straight up, depending on which occupant of the bed you were looking at. Bron’s stomach was resting on Kevin’s body. That picture alone had made her smile. Bron was using Kevin as a prop to sleep. Now that they were awake, it was time to get the day moving, they had so much to do.
Bron was trying uselessly to hide under or around Kevin. “Shit!” she barked at him since he was amused as hell. Bron yanked the covers a little too much; Kevin frowned back at her, since she had left him exposed.
“Morning Mama,” Kevin yawned as he pulled the blankets back away from his wife.
“Bron dear, grow up, you have nothing that I don’t have,” Anne spoke as she watched a blanket fight ensue.
“Grow up? This is my damn house, my bedroom!” Bron now sat in the bed glowering at her mother-in-law.”
Anne’s eyebrows arched pretty much akin to her sons’.
“You’ve got a hell of a lot of nerve…” Bron’s words were cut off as a large hand with long fingers covered her mouth.
“It’s late. I didn’t intend on babysitting all day. We have a nursery to paint, as well as furnish, and decorate today. Kevin said we’re going to get it all done in one day since he has to leave for Los Angeles tomorrow night to do the radio show with Krystal.” Anne saw the light go on and Bron just about boil over while sitting in the bed. Kevin’s hand still covered Bron’s mouth; she thought that it might be a good thing since she could swear her daughter-in-law was cussing up a storm.
“OUCH!” Kevin barked. His hand was quickly removed from Bron’s mouth to his side. He was shaking it back and forth. “Ya bit me again. I’m gonna break you of that.”
“I’m going to go upstairs and speak with Susan. Get showered and dressed, your brothers are picking up MeeMaw and they’ll be here soon.” The door closed as she exited.
Kevin rolled out of the bed, standing up he was inspecting his hand as he walked to his dresser. The bedroom door opened again, not bothering to turn, he complained loudly to her. “I’m movin’ Mama, I’m movin’”
“Morning Mommy,” Kaylin whispered.
Kevin shot across the room and into the bathroom. The bathroom door slammed shut, “Dammit Kaylin! You are supposed to knock.”
“Sorry,” she dropped her head. Her little eyes went to her mother for consoling. Mom was laughing; it was okay. Skipping to the chair, she grabbed her Mother’s robe, which was draped over the arm of the furniture. Bringing it to Bron, she pouted, “I’m sorry, I missed you.”
“It’s okay baby, but you really do need to knock. It’s only proper.” Bron reprimanded but not as strongly as she normally would have. Kaylin didn’t see much beyond Kevin’s naked butt as he dashed into the bathroom and out of sight. Besides, he deserved it; he had set her up to spend the entire day with his family.
“I’ll remember next time,” Kaylin waited for her Mom to get dressed.
Bron turned to talk to her daughter who had whizzed out of the room and back just as fast as she had left. The bathroom door opened slightly, Bron handed Kevin a pair of old jeans and a tee shirt. “Serves you right, you lied to your Mother.”
“Did not,” Kevin grabbed the jeans and smacked the door shut.
Kaylin sat on the bed and looked at her book, while Bron went around the room gathering clothes. Waiting for Kevin could take an eternity, so Bron picked up, cleaned up, and sorted dirty laundry.
Bron didn’t say too much, she was tired from last night and still sorting things out in her head. Things happened last night that hadn’t happened in a long time. The door to the bathroom opening broke her thoughts. Looking at Kevin and then to Kaylin, she shot Kevin the look to be nice.
Kaylin’s fingers were tightly curled around the book, as Kevin came closer. “Whatcha got there kiddo?” He dropped on the bed next to her.
Bron became relaxed as the two sat and talked on the bed. Grabbing her clothes, she headed for the shower.
“It’s my book,” Kaylin nodded with delight. “Want to see it?’
“Yeah,” Kevin turned the page. “This is your baby book, your mom is going to shoot you if she finds out you have it,” Kevin whispered.
“I know she has it,” came from the bathroom. “I gave it to her so I wouldn’t lose it. I swear this pregnancy has made me stupid. I can’t find anything unless Suzie or Bounce find it for me.”
Kevin laughed; Bron’s absentmindedness was out of control. Twice last week he received panic phone calls from Mc. Bron had missed two meetings and one job. Kevin or Suzie would go look for Bron and remind her of where she was supposed to be. Bron would look at them stupefied and then take off, running out of the house swearing along the way.
They giggled and chatted about the pictures. “Your Dad is dressed like a doctor. They call those greens.”
“Are you going to do that with the new baby?” Kaylin looked very serious after asking the question.
“Yep,” Kevin closed the book, hoping to get out of the bedroom before Bron had finished showering. “Come on, time to go down and face the family.”
Bounce jumped off the bed, still holding her book.
Bron came out of the bathroom, a towel wrapped around her head. “Bounce go downstairs, I’ll be down in a minute. I want to talk to Kevin alone.”
Without question Kaylin obeyed.
Kevin moped; he thought he was off the hook.
“Your family is here to decorate my nursery for my baby. All in one day? I don’t even have the paint picked out yet!”
Kevin moved around the room as she followed him. She had that freaking hairbrush in her hand. She had already managed to knee him in the nuts, accidentally, and then she bit him on purpose. He automatically assumed this wouldn’t be a good time to tell her while snooping in her desk he had found the paint chips. Bron had picked a beautiful green, a green he liked. Kevin had arranged for his brothers to pick up the paint this morning after he laid his ‘whoa is me’ tale on his Mom and talked her into babysitting last night.
“Now, don’t get mad. I want to be a part of this nursery stuff too. You have everything set up to be done when I go back out on tour. I don’t want it done that way, so I figured if we got some help, we could get it done.”
“It wasn’t set up because you were going on tour. We discussed the importance of Gabe’s cut-off date. Twenty-six weeks, remember? That was the deal, two more weeks.”
Kevin backed away, the hairbrush was within striking distance. Bron was circling around him, still in a huff. “Darlin’ please. I just want to be included.” Kevin paused, sighed dramatically, and then gave her the most pitiful face he could muster.
Bron’s lips pursed together and she frowned. Her arms folded across her chest as she watched him.
Kevin took the deflation in anger as an opportunity to softener her up. He would vocalize her worst fears and doubts for her. Stepping up to her, his hands rested on her arms. They began to glide up and down her upper arms and massage her shoulders. “Nothing is going to happen to this baby. I promise you. It’ll be fine… I want to do my baby’s nursery too.”
“Fine, but I haven’t even picked a color,” she gave in.
“How about a green? Sort of a forest deal, little critters and stuff. It would work for a boy or a girl.” Kevin gave her an honest smile. The one smile that was reserved for family only.
Bron let out a long breath; his lips touched hers. She opened her eyes and looked directly into his. “I’m not planting trees in the house Tarzan, and no critters.”
“No critters,” the smile grew wider as the laugh lines appeared around his eyes.
Bron caught the glint and could tell the excitement had built up.
Kevin’s eyes traveled to her hands and when they did, he saw the distinctive light blue and light purple marks on her forearms. His fingers traced down them. Raising her arm to his mouth, he kissed each mark that he had left. “Sorry Witch. I was a little rough,” he kissed her cheek again.
“You’re forgiven Master, this time. It’s a damn good thing you didn’t break my table.” Bron yelled as she watched him whistle his way out the door. “He’s such a dork,” Bron went back into the bathroom to get ready for a day of family.
Kevin entered his kitchen to find Kaylin standing with the refrigerator door open. He closed it on her; she frowned. “You’re lettin’ the cold air out.”
“We have soccer practice today.” Kaylin opened the door and retrieved a juice box. Walking to Kevin, she handed it to him.
Kevin popped the straw from the plastic wrap, stuck it in the box, then handed it back to her. “No, I cancelled it. Uncle Mc is going to coach the game tomorrow night because I have to leave to go to L.A.”
“But you promised you would spend time with me. You said we could go for ice cream after practice.” Kaylin was half whining and half crying by this time.
“I’m sorry, something came up,” Kevin made the morning coffee.
“Like yesterday, you said you would read me a bedtime story but nooo, I have to go to Mrs. Rs’.” Kaylin was now fighting with him. She had felt left out and lost.
Leaning on the counter, Kevin’s eyes looked out over the meadow. Thinking to himself, he knew Kaylin was right. They had spent little time together beyond soccer and when he had had the opportunity he shuffled her to his mothers’. “Tell ya what. You have riding lessons tomorrow. How about I go with you and we’ll do it together?”
“Really?” her eyes grew very large with excitement.
“Really,” Kevin mussed her hair up. “I’m sorry, I blew it. Can you forgive me?”
“Yes,” Kaylin heard a car in the driveway and headed out the side door.
The clank of the screendoor thudding back into the frame. The sounds of the dogs barking and carrying on, until he heard MeeMaw yell at them. Then his ears picked up Tim and Jerald’s voices too.
“You have a good home here Kevin, don’t blow it,” Kevin uttered as he poured two cups of coffee.
“Your Mother is a nervy woman Kevin!” Suzie spat at him. She went to the pantry and came out with a box of Danish.
Kevin didn’t hear her come in, he had so much swimming around in his head. While he watched his wife’s assistant make her own breakfast, he hid his grin. The old adage, ‘make yourself at home’ ruled around here most days, but some people just took that to the limits.
“I’m not nervy Susan, it’s the truth. Why should Nick pay for the cow if he is getting the milk for free? Don’t you agree Kevin?” Anne went to the cupboard and retrieved a coffee cup for herself. She handed it to her son, he, of course, filled it for her.
“Kevin I asked you a question,” Anne heard her own mother-in-law come in the front door. “Excuse me,” she left to attend to the elder Richardson.
Suzie now leaned on the counter, picking at her freshly nuked Danish. Breaking a piece off, she stuffed it in her mouth. “You answer that question and you will pay.”
Nick bounced into the kitchen unusually happy. Dropping a kiss on Suzie, he went for the Danish. “I just passed your Mom. Why does she think I need to buy a cow?”
Kevin closed his eyes, his life on the road was insane, his life at home was pure insanity.
Suzie walked up to Kevin and poked him the chest. “Get her on a damn leash! I’m in a good mood, she’s spoiling it.”
Both Nick and Kevin watched Suzie march out of the room in a huff.
“I’m confused,” Nick looked at Kevin.
“No surprise there,” Kevin sucked in his cheeks. “My mom doesn’t think that you and Suzie will make anything of your relationship because you’re sleeping together.”
Nick stuffed a huge chunk of Danish in his mouth. “It’s none of your Mother’s business any more than it is my Mother’s business.”
“Then you tell my Mom that. She can’t lecture me, I married the cow.” Kevin chuckled as he sipped his coffee and waited for Bron. “Did you two sort anything out last night?”
“Yep, lots of stuff. I told her about the tour being postponed for a few more weeks. She wasn’t too thrilled about having you home for a few more weeks.” A sudden attack of the giggles over took him as he remembered the face Suzie had made when he had told her. “We talked about maybe taking a little vacation. She also thought I didn’t want her to meet my mom, that age thing."
Nick continued on while remembering what happened next. "And we had a little talk about how my finances are set up. You will not believe what happened to me! My Mom forgot to put money into my account so when I was at the ATM, I was declined and had to borrow twenty bucks from Suz. Damn, I was so embarrassed. This incident led to a more personal discussion. At first she didn't want to get into it, cause its none of her business, her words, not mine."
"Then I remembered something you once told me Kevin. Communication is key in a relationship. So I pushed her to tell me what she was thinking. Suzie doesn't quite understand why I've given my parents so much control over my money and building the Key West home. I explained that I am doing this for my parents because I love them and I want to give back to them. When and if the day comes and I have a family, I will do the same for my kids too."
Kevin and the guys often wondered the same thing, they just never came out and questioned Nick. Kevin listened as Nick barged on forward, giving him all the details.
“I think the meeting last night was bogus, she does too. Mc is just really jumpy lately and wants everyone nice and tight. It was stupid for me to go there but I just wanted to clear some of this shit up.” Nick paused, “Did you get your jealously problem solved?”
“No he didn’t. If you ever call me a cow again Kevin, you will be sorry,” Bron chimed in as she came into the kitchen. Suzie hot on her heels still complaining about Kevin’s mother and the lecture the woman had given her.
Bron halted abruptly and held up her hand in Suzie’s face. “Hey, I’m sorry. The woman just invaded my privacy, my bedroom, she has no limits and boundaries that I can control.”
Suzie busted out laughing thinking maybe her run-in with Mrs. Richardson wasn’t so bad after all.
“She saw you naked huh?” Nick laughed and had a shit-eating grin on his face.
Kevin didn’t like the thoughts rolling around in Nick’s head. They were impure, he could tell, he had been around Nick too long. Nick was thinking back to when he saw Bron naked. Kevin clapped his hands together as he walked over to Nick. Bending down, he whispered something in Nick’s ear, as he held him in the chair with his hands on his shoulders. Nick’s face turned white, he grabbed his Danish off the table and shot Bron an unholy look. “That’s disgusting, you’re pregnant!”
“That’s what I told him,” Bron chuckled as she waltzed out of the room.
“I’m never eating off that table again,” Suzie rolled her eyes and followed her un-grateful leader.
The sound of Bron’s laughter trailed behind her as she joined the painting crew in the nursery.
Kevin smirked at Nick, “My wife builds one hell of a table. Maybe some day, she’ll build you and Suzie one. You could have some place to keep your milk.” Kevin danced out of the room, leaving a wide-eyed Nick to think about the possibilities of it all, if he ever got it to begin with.
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