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Bron ran into memory after memory as she unpacked her stuff. It was time to make Kevin’s house her home too. The entire crew laughed along with her as she shared her silly stories as well as her wonderful stories. She was careful to explain the recollections along the way so that Kevin would not feel left out.
Bron opened a box and began to laugh. She pulled out frame that had four huge holes drilled into it, one on each side. Large screws stuck out the back of the frame about three inches. Putting her finger to her mouth she made the sssh motion. Kevin’s curiosity was peaked as he watched J.D. and Hank try not to bust out laughing. Peeking over the Bron’s shoulder, he frowned.
“Mc is going kill you Mom,” Andrew remarked for Mc’s benefit as Mc walked into the room.
“Why would I do that?” Mc looked at them.
All heads turned towards Mc, it was strange for them to hear that phrase coming from him. Since he had been with Janey he had calmed down measurably. Mc was managing his temper now. It was much harder to make him angry.
Kevin watched Bron gulp and try and pull the frame from his grasp. Kevin turned it towards Mc, “What are you doing with this?”
Bron stood up quickly and went to stand behind Kevin. “I didn’t take it down. Stevie brought it to me and I just … forgot to tell you.”
Mc grabbed the frame; he fought the rage inside like he had been recently taught. “This is mine, it belongs to me. I’m taking it back now.”
“Don’t hang it up again,” Bron came to stand in front of Kevin. “I don’t think you should have it anymore anyway. You shouldn’t have had it when C.W. was alive and you don’t need it now.”
“Where was this hanging?” Kevin was beginning to simmer since this picture wasn’t an average snapshot.
“In my bar!” Mc barked but then seemed to regain some calm.
“You can’t hang this in a bar! This is my wife!” Kevin took the frame away from Mc.
“Ohh,” Andrew said loudly.
Mc looked at the people in the room, all glaring at him. The picture had given Bron problems for years. Mc had held onto it just to remind her of where she came from and what she was to him.
Bron stepped forward, pulled the frame from Kevin and gave it to Mc. “You’re right, it’s yours. Nobody should have taken it from you. Just please don’t hang it up out of respect for me. We are way past all that shit and you know it.”
Mc looked at her and then the picture, a smile slowly grew on his face. This was one of the reminders of the good times they had had together. His fingers traced around the figure under the glass. Turning to Kevin, “I’m keeping this, I won’t hang it though.” Pausing, he then started to laugh, as the ugliest look crossed over Kevin’s face. Kevin’s face contorted into anger and rage. “I have copies if you want one,” Mc grinned.
Mc sauntered out of the room with picture in hand, Kevin following him, yelling. “You don’t need a picture of my wife in a bikini… that young. Especially a leopard print bikini. Where the hell were you two? What were you doing?”
Kevin’s head came back in the door, “Why did you let him take that?”
“I didn’t dumb ass,” Bron frowned. “It’s not lurid, Jesus, we were at the park.”
“Besides Richardson, she will never fit back into that sucker again,” Mc laughed as he flipped the switch onto the power tool.
Kevin stood in the doorway not sure what to do next. Mc came back and handed Kevin the picture, now out of the frame. “All yours, Janey would kill me.”
“I’m so proud of you and your Anger Management classes,” Bron smiled.
“Thank you dear,” Mc grinned back.
“Oh, they work?” Kevin was enticed by the idea.
“Don’t even think about buddy,” Bron issued the warning that was followed by laughter from all of them, except Kevin.
Again, they went back to sorting old furniture. Stuff they wanted to keep went into one truck to be driven up to the house. Stuff that was leaving for charity went into the back of Bron’s truck. Mc managed to get Bron to give him a few pieces for his new house. Kaylin had snuck in the barn and retrieved some treasures before they had been hauled away. The last thing was an old baby doll that was bald. Kaylin frowned as Kevin carried the doll haphazardly. He smiled as he bent down and handed it to her. “Go hide it in your room before she sees it.” Kevin laughed as he saw Kaylin run up to the house at a break neck speed.
Kevin watched as a pile of boxes began to build on one side of the room. Opening the boxes, photographs were just tossed inside the boxes. Kevin marked each one and told Andrew to take them up to the house and put them in one of the guest rooms. Bron had spent very little time searching these boxes; she had opened them, looked inside, closed them, and then quickly pushed them away. A couple of times she would look in a box and pull a photo out. She would stare at the photo and then see if anyone was watching her. Kevin had idea but he had to draw the plans first and make it later. It would be a great Christmas present. He pushed his ideas aside as Bron pulled a tarp and then froze in her tracks. The room cleared faster than the pews in church after free coffee was announced.
Kevin stood behind Bron. His hands gently came to rest on her shoulders. Squeezing slightly to get her to relax, he began to give her a massage but didn’t speak, he would wait for her to speak first.
Bron was battling some inner-demons now and she was battling them in front of Kevin. This should be a good thing but it didn’t feel like one. Where others would have let her run from it, he would make her stand up and face it, dead-on. Dealing with the past seemed to be Kevin’s only way to make her live with him in the future.
For a long time Bron stood staring at the slatted frames. Shaking her head, she came to grips with some very raw feelings. Wiping some of the perspiration from her face with her shoulder which were mixed with some newly formed tears. She croaked her words out. “The funny thing is, with each pregnancy we thought a new crib would be the charm.”
Long fingers rubbed the back of her neck, releasing the tension that was building up. “Darlin’ you guys did what you thought would make things work out right. Everyone has hope, it makes us human.”
Her body sagging back against him, he placed his elbows on her shoulders. Kevin’s forearms framed her head as his fingers laced together on the top of her head.
Bron sniffed again while he just stood with her. “We should keep number four, that was Kaylin’s.”
“We could break tradition and use hers instead of buying a new one.” Kevin was trying to help.
“I don’t know Kev. It’s pretty old.”
“Tell ya what we’re gonna do sweetheart. Number four stays in the barn, the rest go. How does that sound?”
Anne came down since Kaylin had said Mom was getting rid of furniture. The excuse that Tim needed to help her carry some ice tea down to the barn worked for Anne, she knew some people who might be able to use some of the items that were being tossed out. Anne now stood at the door with Tim.
Tim’s was excited; he could use those old cribs. “Hey Bron, can the church have those for the nursery?”
Kevin smiled and so did Bron. Junking them didn’t feel right; giving them to strangers didn’t feel any better. Kevin walked directly to Tim’s truck with one set of cribbing, the rest soon followed.
Bron actually smiled as Kevin walked back and grabbed her hand. “I can not think of a better place for them.”
Bron started to laugh again when shouted for Andrew. Kevin was sweating like crazy along with the rest of them as the bigger pieces were sorted and moved out.
Andrew popped his head in the door.
Bron swept her hand dramatically. “Your amp and guitar because you were going to be a rock star. Remember, I gotta have it Mom!”
“You’re embarrassing me,” Andrew’s face had become slightly red. “Get rid of it.”
“Hey keep it dawg. Put it in your room.” Kevin was in full support of any and all music, no matter how bad it was played.
Andrew began to dig around as Kaylin screamed into the barn that Suzie needed Bron. Bron answered the same. Kevin’s ears were still ringing. “That kid has such a mouth.”
“We know where she gets it from too,” Hank cracked an eye open from his squint.
Bron had gone up to the house and then returned. When she came back, she found the group hovering over C.W.’s old Indian motorcycle that hadn’t run in ages. “It won’t run Kevin. Andrew has tried, Hank has tried, Mc has even tried….”
“It’ll run.” Kevin went to his side of the barn and came back with a few tools. After tinkering around with it on his hands and knees, he motioned Andrew to get on and start it. Andrew shook his head in doubt, but did it anyway. Everyone was shocked when the bike started. Kevin gave hand signals and Andrew followed every cue, ecstatic that his Dads’ bike was running. “Shut it down!” Kevin yelled.
Kevin picked up his tools, cleaned them off, and proceeded to put them back.
“I didn’t know you could do that,” Bron smiled.
“There are lots of things I can do that you don’t know about,” Kevin gave her a cheesy grin, cheesy enough to make everyone in the barn groan.
“Come on, we’re almost done,” Bron shook her head at the goofy side of Kevin. Kevin seemed very relaxed today, despite everything that was going on around them. People in the house painting, people in the barn moving things.
Kevin approached a square piece of furniture in the corner. His hand was slapped away when he raised the tarp. “Leave it alone, Andrew will take care of that for me.” Bron barked at him and went back to what she was doing.
Kevin’s eyebrows raised and then dipped in the sudden onslaught of her tactic. “Okay,” Kevin mumbled as he turned to go in a different direction. The rest of the furniture was split between who needed it, who wanted it, and stuff to be dropped off for charity. Bron made a list of what she thought things were worth so she could get a tax write-off for the contribution.
Bron was standing outside in the hot July sun, glad that this was almost done. She had kept out of the nursery because she still felt uneasy about jumping the gun. Kevin had made these arrangements under the guise that he wanted to be included, so far, neither of them had done anything in the room.
Bron walked back in, grabbing a drill along the way. It was time to collapse that room and drop the temporary walls that she had put up. While outside she had made the decision that all the walls would be dropped, there would be no locked doors or special places. Andrew caught on and grabbed a drill as they began to unscrew the metal studs.
Mc threw his hands up in the air, “I do not believe this shit!” He may have bitched about it but grabbed a drill to join in.
The walls were dropped and stuff pushed back against the outside wall of the barn. The shop was now part of the barn. Some things looked out of place, the motorcycle in the middle of the shop, the gun cabinet sort of blended in but the chest sat next to the wall with the tarp over it. Kevin checked his watch, it was going on three in the afternoon. They had made great time even though they had slept in.
Mc called Kevin over at one point and had a little conversation. “You have to get rid of her.”
Kevin nodded an acknowledgement.
“Hey Witch, we have a problem,” Kevin pushed Andrew’s bike into the group of motorcycles that belonged to Kevin. Andrew just sort of smiled.
“What problem? We did great, look at this place.” Bron’s arms motioned around the room. The barn now back to it’s original floor plan.
“Yeah, we did,” Kevin leaned back on the workbench. “But what are we going to feed all these people.”
“Ohh shit!” Bron looked down at her clothes, she was mess and needed a shower. She held her hand out for Kevin’s truck keys.
Reaching into his pocket, he figured he would help her out. Jake had told him and he hoped it would take up some of her time. “I have a taste for Bar-b-que. Do you know how to make Bar-b-que?”
Bron started to laugh, “Oh yeah perfect, with some corn, salad, and some watermelon.” Bron was out the door mumbling to herself.
Mc stood astonished, “How the hell did you do that? I’ve been trying for years to get rid of her.”
“Gotta know what buttons to push. If she suspects you’re up to something, she’ll hang around to see what it is.” Kevin smirked all-knowingly at him.
“Who told you about the Bar-b-que? That’s our secret,” Hank walked towards the trunk that Kevin was told to stay away from.
“I did,” Jake stood at the door.
“You’re going grocery shopping,” Kevin helped pull the tarp back.
“So I’ve been told and Suzie is going with us.” Jake ambled into the room.
“Now about this thing,” Kevin looked at the massive trunk. It was made of Rosewood and very ornate. Lifting the lid, he checked the carvings that rested inside. The decorations had been wrapped in of all things, baby blankets.
“This is Kaylin’s trunk, her Dad was making it for her. Bron has one too just like it but I didn’t see it in here so it must still be in New York. It’s a matching set. Bron’s Dad made her one,” Mc was busy spouting off the family history as Kevin found the plans buried in the trunk.
“A hope chest…” Kevin murmured.
“Or hopeless Chest in Kaylin’s case,” Andrew snickered.
Kevin turned and frowned at him. “Sorry,” Andrew apologized. “I wanted to finish it for Mom but she wouldn’t let me.”
Hank started to laugh and then tossed up his hands when venomous looks were turned on him. “I’m sorry, it’s just that Bron was down here the other day and I had to help her use the table saw. Her belly is in the way.”
The men all began to laugh as Hank continued on. “Her arms are too short, and with her belly, she can’t reach the buttons. Oh, she was having a fit and you know how she can’t stand to ask for help.”
“Her ass is getting bigger too,” Mc added.
Kevin turned and shot him a questioning look.
“Well it is,” Mc shrugged.
The dogs barking, snapping, and growling caught all of their attention.
“Stevie’s here,” Kevin snarled enough to match the dogs.
“Man those dogs hate him.” Mc then defended Stevie, “Dude relax, Stevie is cool, just very emotional.”
“Yeah, right in his dick, emotional,” Kevin spat back.
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