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Bron stood in the center of the only half finished room in their house. By the time she had gotten to this room she had run out of ideas. At first it was to be an office but then she added the third floor so it wasn’t necessary. A playroom had come to mind but then she just had been completely sidetracked and left it as is.
The walls were white, the trim a medium tone that would match just about anything. The room happened to be located next to their room and across from Kaylin’s. The carpet was neatly covered as she surveyed the basic white blinds that were hung on the window. The trim had been taped off and the window seat had been covered with a tarp.
Kevin stood behind her as she stared at the walls. The lid of a paint can popping made them both turn.
“I like this green you picked Kevin,” Tim dipped the brush into the can. Pulling it out of the bucket as if to show the others in the room.
Bron walked a little closer, leaning over she looked into the can. Inspecting the paint closely, the color was a match for the color she had picked out by herself one day. She wanted to narrow the choices down before talking to Kevin about it.
“You like it? Kevin came to hover next to her.
“Yes I do… This is weird,” Bron’s eyebrows dipped in confusion. The color was the exact same color she had wanted.
“Paint away,” Kevin announced. “We’re going to clean the barn out. We need the space back.”
“Come on tall, dark, and handsome, we have work to do,” Bron was glad she didn’t have to paint for once; the fumes were making her sick.
“Don’t kid yourself Bron. Kevin just wants into that space that you have had locked up tighter than Fort Knox since you moved down here.” Tim was painting around the door as he leaned over to look her.
Bron winked, “It’s just tools, a workshop, and my stuff.” Her hand covered her mouth as her eyes passed over Tim, Jerald, and then Kevin.
“Tools?” Jerald paused in task.
“What kind of tools?” Tim stopped mid-stroke.
Bron rubbed it in a little, “All kinds of power tools, just like Bob Vila.” Her eyes felt the mischievousness she was feeling after she had departed the knowledge on them. “And Kevin is getting a key to play with all my toys,” Bron grinned wider as Kevin grabbed her hand so fast she jumped.
Kevin was pulling her along as they heard both Jerald and Tim say Kevin wasn’t worthy. Bron giggled, Kevin frowned. “Don’t listen to them.”
“I’m not Master,” she smiled as they walked down the stairs with a slightly slower place.
As they walked, Kevin held her hand and had begun swinging her arm. Kevin could be a real kid some days and today was the day. He was happy go lucky and nothing was going to bring him down.
Nick spotted the two walking in the direction of the barn, Nick ran to catch up with them. “What’s up?”
“Cleaning the barn…” Kevin’s paced quickened more than normal.
“Mc’s truck is here,” Kevin commented as they rounded the corner.
“Andrew is home,” Bron rattled out as she pulled the huge barn door open. She motioned them to do the same with the opposite door.
Pulling some keys off a key ring, she tossed them to Kevin, “Go get my truck, I didn’t have time to get rid of some stuff. We’ll give it to a charity or something.”
Kevin in turn tossed the keys to Nick, “Get her truck.”
“What do I look like you’re flunkie?” Nick stared at Kevin for a minute.
Kevin gave his patented body response, hands on the hips, eyebrows up. Bron called it the, “How dare you question my authority,” stance.
“Please Nick,” Bron asked sweetly. She didn’t need the big brother and little brother going at it today.
“Okay, but I want to see the big secret too,” Nick joined them as they walked into the barn.
“There is nothing to see, it’s a wood shop,” Bron laughed. Now she knew Kevin was the Tim Allen type but not Nick.
Unlocking the door to find four bodies inside.
“Good morning,” she chirped.
“It’s about time you decided to grace us with your presence Mrs. Richardson.” Mc was grinning from ear to ear.
“Bite me Mc. I won’t ask how you knew to be here because I’m sure Kevin had something to do with it. Right Kevin?” Bron looked at Kevin with her eyebrows up.
“Ah… Ahh…,” Kevin shrugged his shoulders, his head tilted to the side.. “Busted.”
Kevin stood frozen in his spot. He was in awe, he felt like he had fallen into power tool heaven.
“Don’t get a hard-on Pop Star. This is for the day only. It’s only today that you are allowed in Bron’s private little Home Depot.
Kevin eyes had glazed over, “Shit.” Every thing was neatly organized in the room that now took up half of his barn. The table saw was something out of a television show. He fingered the shiny blade until it made that distinctive ‘ting’ noise.
Bron tossed Kevin something.
Kevin caught it, opening his palm, he eyes locked on the brass colored key.
Bron was more than happy to see the smile break out on his face.
“You didn’t just do that?” Mc slid off the stool to get a closer look. “Tell me your kidding. This is our last bastion of sanctity in this damn town. This is our space.”
“Yes I did,” Bron made coffee from a pot that looked like it could hold three pots of coffee in one. She watched the coffee begin to drip. She had this pot timed as she replaced the pot with her mug. The coffee filled her mug, then again she replaced the pot on the burner. Turning to J.D., Hank, Nick, and Mc, she smiled. “Welcome Kevin to the Boys Club gentlemen.”
“You suck, God dammit,” Mc grumbled as the others laughed at him.
Nick stood, still looking at everything. To him it was no big deal, it was just tools, but something was really strange. J.D. smiled at the young kid. “What’s the question Nick?”
“Everything is painted with a bright pink stripe,” Nick’s face puckered up.
“Yep, pink is Bron’s color. It stops people from stealing her tools on job sites or from people borrowing them without asking.” J.D. and Hank turned to look at Andrew.
Andrew shrugged, “She’s my Mom, she doesn’t care.” Andrew knew they were referring to him. All of his tools had pink stripes on them.
“Oh,” Nick nodded in total agreement; it made sense to him. Nick looked at Kevin; he was lost in some kind of dream or something.
“This place is dope babe,” Kevin had been checking out the radial arm saw. He knew he was being scrutinized, Kevin had been allowed into another aspect of his wife’s inner-inner circle. Cautiously he touched tools and such, but was sure to put them back in their proper place. His eyes scanned the room. A gun cabinet sat locked in the corner. Walking over, he checked the lock.
“You shoot?” Andrew handed him a cup of coffee.
“Used too, it’s been awhile. My Dad taught me.” Kevin sipped the brew and felt like his hair was going to stand on end. He turned to Bron and frowned, she had been the one to make the coffee.
“It keeps you going all day,” she grinned.
“One cup for you, that’s it.” Kevin shook his head at her. The caffeine now registering to the tips of toes.
“Those are my Dad’s, maybe someday we could shoot a few rounds.” Andrew glanced back at Bron to see her reaction.
“No animals,” Bron spoke with her Mother’s Voice.
“Fine Ma, no animals,” Andrew rolled his eyes at Kevin who checked his smirk very quickly. “Check it out,” Andrew pointed above Kevin’s head.
Racks and racks of lumber had been stored by species and grade above them. Kevin didn’t miss the last rack that was labeled with a “Don’t touch- Bron’s,” sign either.
“Don’t give me the tree speech. This is what I do for a living, I employ people who get a check, they spend their money, and in turn drive the economy.” Bron began her speech for her tree-hugging husband.
“Oh hell no!” Kevin checked the racks of wood out a little closer from a ladder. Climbing down he caught a pair of safety glasses that had been tossed at him. His name now written on the side. Snickering a little as Hank stood with his marker still uncapped. One side had ‘Kevin’ written on it, the other, ‘Master.’
Kevin tossed the glasses to Bron.
Bron read them, “Very funny Hank, very funny.” Bron was in the process of pouring another cup of coffee. She was distracted when her truck backfired in the barn. It was bad enough that she had had Andrew tie the muffler system up with wire.
“Bron we really need to get rid…” Kevin held his coffee as a pointed fingernail jabbed him in the sternum.
“Don’t touch my truck, she may be old, she may be ugly, but that was my first truck.” Bron flounced to the second door and pulled it open. A room had been built within the room.
“Better men have tried Kevin, don’t bother. Wait until she puts the car seat in it.” Mc laughed loud enough to make Bron come back out of the room and eye all of them suspiciously. “Trust me,” he whispered.
“Bron, you need a new truck,” Nick tossed Kevin the keys as he spoke to her.
“I do not!” Bron went back into the room.
Kevin would see to it that the truck had an accident. The truck was unsafe for any of them to ride in, including his wife. He knew today would be an emotional roller coaster, that fight would wait for another day. Bron was about to bring back some pretty strong memories of a life, a life that didn’t involve him. He would be there to support her and do anything she needed him to do.
Everyone was hanging back not wanting to go into the room where Bron had gone. Kevin stood by the door and saw objects piled high to the ceiling. Nick barged by him and Kevin cringed.
“What is all this shit?” Nick pulled a cover off an object.
“This shit, is my stuff!” Bron shot a look at Nick that made him shrink back.
Nick pulled a tarp back and looked at the mountain of items. “Man, you’re a packrat.”
Kevin turned his head away, yes it was true but he wouldn’t tell her that. Knowing Bron she had stuff piled in here older than her.
Nick grabbed for something that was laying on a box. “Cool,” he pulled back on the band.
The rest of the men filled the room. Andrew jumped towards Nick, “Hey that’s mine.”
Nick gave it up gladly as Andrew smiled and tested the tensil on the band.
Kevin thought the kid was just a little to excited over the found object.
“Yes and I took it away from you because you were a bad little boy with it.” Bron stood with her arm stretched out and her palm up, waiting for Andrew to return it to her.
“Nick you haven’t see a cheerleader jump so high after getting nailed in the ass with one of these.” Andrew was re-living his own little delightful memory.
Bron pulled the ‘toy’ from Andrew. “And that is why it stays in here. Slingshots are for good boys, not bad ones.”
Kevin was amazed at how fast the eighteen year old gave back the slingshot. He didn’t balk or question his Mother’s request.
“I’m big boy now Mom,” Andrew half whined and half laughed.
“Oh yeah, it’s been a whole year,” Bron laughed as she began to uncover things. “I thought your Dad was going to kick your ass when school called on that one.”
“He did,” Andrew mumbled and stepped out of the room for a minute. “Man he was pissed at me.”
Nick walked out and called Kevin over to him. They had a small private conversation. Nick promptly left the barn.
“What was that about?” Mc asked out of nosiness.
“Painting. He had an idea he wanted to run by me,” Kevin’s jaw was sliding back and forth as he waited for Bron to call for him.
Nick didn’t feel comfortable in here with them. He didn’t like it when people around him were upset, he would always try and cheer them up unless he was upset too. Over the past years Kevin had learned to read Nick pretty well and vice versa. Nick knew Bron was upset; Bron was part of Kevin. Nick would try and make Bron feel better. Nick’s idea was outstanding. Kevin just hoped that he could pull it off. Nick would be thrilled and so would his wife.
“Kevin,” Bron barked.
Kevin wiggled his eyebrows at the guys as an inside joke. “My lady needs me,” he sighed dramatically.
“I’m so glad she kicks his ass when he needs it,” Mc began to work on a project in the corner.
Bron leaned back out the door, “Mc, are you here to help?”
“No, I’m working. Carry on my dear,” Mc spoke as he faced forward. J.D., Hank, and Mc were finishing up a surprise for her that they had been working on. Bron had gotten lazy lately and had spent little time in the shop. Now it had to be finished today.
Casting a side-ways glance to J.D. and Hank to see if they would move. When they didn’t, Mc spoke two words, “Get moving.”
J.D. and Hank laughed as they began to help Kevin and Bron sort through the massive room.
“Damn good thing you have a huge barn,” Hank quipped to Kevin.
“Well, if we need a bigger one, we know who to talk too,” Kevin laughed as he grabbed on to an ugly lamp. Tapping Bron on the shoulder, she turned.
Bron grimaced, “I can get rid of that now. It was gift from one of C.W.’s relatives. To the truck with that ugly damn thing.” Bron was still laughing as Kevin snorted back at her.
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