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“Come on let’s go,” Bron danced around Suzie’s desk.
“Come on where? Some of us do work you know,” Suzie typed away.
“Grocery shopping,” Bron put the phones over to the service for her. She wasn’t taking no for an answer.
“I’m not going grocery shopping with you. I hate grocery shopping,” Suzie picked up the phones to retrieve the lines back from the service.
“Okay, but on my way up here I heard your name mentioned...”
Bron’s words never reached Suzie’s ears as Anne entered the office, “Susan dear, MeeMaw and I were talking...”
“Let me get my purse,” Suzie smiled at Bron as she shut the computer down. “Sorry Anne, my boss needs me.”
On the way down the stairs Bron was laughing her ass off. Suzie was wearing a grim-reaper face. “You are too much sometimes.”
Bron opened her mouth to yell for Jake, she ran into him at the bottom of the stairs.
“Knock of the banshee screaming, I’m here.” Jake watched Bron stop and turn towards the kitchen. “Kevin has Bounce.”
“Okay,” Bron answered and went out the front door.
On the way to the grocery store an interesting conversation began to unfold in regards to food and lovemaking. Bron blushed more than once when the topic of Oreos came up. Jake and Suzie picked on her the rest of the way to the store.
“You guys are gross and disgusting,” Bron frowned.
“We are not… Kevin doesn’t call you Virgin for nothing, does he?” Jake snorted from the backseat. “I hate when you drive, I look like an ass.”
“You are an ass, especially after listening to what you two are discussing,” Bron swore as a driver cut her off.
Suzie was amused as hell; she had something she could finally torture Bron with. Bron didn’t embarrass easily, but this; this was too good. A conversation that she had with Nick came to mind. “You’ve done food… What about the strawberries and champagne? I heard about that.”
Bron snorted, “You’ve been talking to Nick and I’m not telling you about it. He thinks it was something other than what it was.”
“He does?” Suzie wanted the answer, she would find out, eventually.
The three characters marched into the grocery store. Jake went ahead of them grabbing a cart along the way. Suzie watched the other shoppers clear a path for Giant Jake. Bron stepped right in behind him. “I love taking him shopping.”
“No shit,” Suzie watched as other customers moved out of their way. Then went and grabbed another grocery cart, if they were feeding an army, one cart wasn’t going to be enough.
Bron tripped through the grocery store dropping things into whichever cart was handy at the time.
“How much are we eating? What about your diet?” Suzie sent a skeptical look towards Bron as Bron placed the cookies back on the shelf. Bron and Jake discussed the menu as Suzie pushed one of the carts along and wondered why the hell she was even with them.
Bron slipped a candy bar in the cart, both Suzie and Jake figured it was better to ignore than intercede and tossed a few extras. “Shhhh, we won’t tell.” Suzie laughed.
“Better not, I’ll fire you…” Bron quipped as she unloaded the cart.
It was Suzie turn to laugh, “Yeah right, you would both die without me.”
Bron shrugged her shoulders, “You’re right, but you’ll be sorry. You are doing all those contracts for Kevin and schedules. There will come a time when he won’t ask and he’ll just assume you’ll do it. From there you will be doing it all and asking me for a raise.”
“He’s very polite, most days.” Suzie rolled her eyes knowing full well she would be dished for the comment.
“Oh yeah, when he wants something, he’s very polite.” Jake laughed loud enough to call attention to the three of them.
Jake’s cell rang, answering it he muttered, “Okay fine.” Flipping it shut as they stood in line, he frowned. “You two go out to the truck. The boss wants a few things.”
Bron narrowed her eyes, “Fine, but no bean dip. The last time he had bean dip and beer, I thought I would kill him.”
The laughter from her two friends didn’t help the memory either. “It wasn’t funny, he has that masochistic side. He held my head under the covers and laughed.”
Jake hooted and Suzie frowned. “That’s nasty.”
“Kevin found it funny, very funny.” Bron muttered as she paid the bill. “We’ll wait in the truck for you.”
Jake made his purchases and headed out to the truck. Carefully, he buried the bag in the back of the truck away from searching eyes. On the ride home the conversation again was brought around to lovemaking and food. Bron blushed as her two cohorts picked on her just a little more.
Getting back to the house, Bron spied one Nick Carter under her kitchen table pulling the pegs out. Bron had prided herself on the fact that the table did not have a nail in it and it had been made the old fashion way with pegs, dowels, and joints. Somebody in her close circle must have told him how to take the furniture apart. She would deal with Nick’s partner in crime in due time. Nick would be first. Bron made a mental note to retrieve an item from the barn.
Nick heard them coming and pulled the last one. He was praying the huge table wouldn’t fall on him and that he was faster than they were. He placed the pegs on top of Bron’s fridge, giggling as he did it. “She’s so short, she’ll never see them up here.”
Bron told Suzie and Jake to get the rest of the groceries that she would begin putting them away. While they unloaded the truck, she carefully put her table back together, thankful that nothing would happen to her dinner, or her guests.
Bron was denied access to the nursery when she tried to get a glimpse of the room. Any other day it would have bothered her but not today. She had a feeling something special was taking place in the room. Letting her family and friends do something exceptional wouldn’t hurt. The walls had dried by now and it seemed some decorating was taking place. Bron busied herself in the kitchen after kicking everyone out except Suzie.
“I do have work to do,” as Suzie sat peeling carrots. She wasn’t in a cooking mood.
“It’ll keep till tomorrow. I want the company. So much is going on right now and Kevin is moving so fast I feel like I’m out of control.” Bron stirred the marinade for the ribs.
“You are out of control and since you are a control freak, like your husband, that is why it’s a problem.” Suzie let it roll off her tongue not thinking twice.
“I am not a control freak,” Bron stood with one hand on her hip and the other hand was stirring her secret sauce.
Suzie shook her head, “Okay, if it will make you feel better, you’re not.”
“Okay I am,” Bron paused and tasted the contents of the pot.
Sighing Suzie moved onto the next vegetable that was set in front of her. “You are driving me nuts with these hormones.”
“I’m trying not to… After the conversation we had today to and from the store though, I had some good visuals.” Bron spoke as she chopped onions and celery.
“You should get back to writing, you’re less frustrated when you write.” Suzie’s blade slapped into the cutting board.
“Like I have time,” Bron sighed as the dogs began to act wild. “Stevie is here.”
“I bet Kevin is thrilled.” Suzie snickered.
“I don’t get it, they were friends.” Bron stopped as she dropped the rack of ribs on the pan.
“It’ll be okay,” Suzie said innocently. Kevin and the guys came in the house from the side door. Loud and boisterous, the work must have been done down at the barn, they were into the beer already.
“You back Witch?” Kevin lunged over and hugged her.
Bron backed up, “Don’t tell me you guys are getting drunk already?”
Kevin mumbled in her ear, “It’s a hot day in Kentucky, we need some libation.”
“Yep you’re getting drunk,” Bron smacked his hand away from her dinner she was preparing. “Get the guys to carry some of the spare patio furniture out to the patio. Use the side gate, I don’t need you dragging it through the house.”
Bron turned as she heard Andrew, J.D., and Hank grown. “You wanna eat sitting down?” When she saw Andrew look sheepishly at the table laden with food, she knew she had found Nick’s prank partner. “Your time is coming son,” she snickered in her head.
The balance of the males trudged back out the door. The next voice in her kitchen was her mother-in-law and MeeMaw. A third voice was heard along with the chitter-chatter of children. “Hi Janey, come on in,” Bron motioned her in the room.
Mc followed behind her slowly, not sure if he had over stepped any of Bron’s homestead boundaries. Mc understood that after what had happened to Bron and the loss of C.W. she was very strange about who came into her home.
Tracy and the kids came in, said ‘hi’ and headed for the pool.
Bron sensed Mc’s cautiousness and mulled it over a bit. Mc seemed to actually care how she felt for a change; it took Bron by surprise. He wouldn’t come out and say it but he was very unsure when the two women were together. Mc had invited Janey to her home without telling her.
“Mc, take one of these please,” Bron shoved a tray of ribs at him. “Help me carry them out to the patio.”
Janey grimaced as Mc picked up the pan. Bron went first but stopped suddenly in the dining room. Turning back she smiled at Mc, who was right behind her, and then to the woman standing in her kitchen, staring at her. “I’m glad you came Janey. This is turning into a family bar-b-queue.”
Suzie waited for them to leave and she looked at Janey who suddenly felt over-whelmed. “Relax, she isn’t that bad.”
“She’s not upset that he invited me to her home, is she?” Janey stood back as she watched the elder Richardson kick a vegetable peeler into high gear. MeeMaw had grabbed the kitchen utensil from Suzie, unsatisfied with the way Suzie had been doing her job.
“No, I think Bron is nervous for you. They have a past and to be honest, it was very brutal and ugly,” Anne washed her hands in the sink and dried them off. When she turned after speaking she glanced to Suzie, whose eyes now resembled large saucers. “I don’t particularly not like Mc but I don’t trust a man who would do that to any woman. To think that they are still friends and business partners of all things really bothers me.”
Suzie could feel the air strained between Janey and Anne. Excusing herself she went out into the living room. Glancing out the patio door, she saw Mc and Bron having a quiet conversation. Stepping out into the patio she made some noise so that her presence was known. Anne didn’t know all of Bron’s past and had sensed early on that Anne didn’t approve of Mc.
“Suz, don’t hide and don’t sneak. I don’t have a problem with Janey being here.” Bron closed the cover on the grill.
“Um, I know that. It’s just that Anne is a… a…” Suzie stalled for words when Mc stared at her.
“I can’t hide it Suzie. Janey already knows about Bron and I. Janey is the one who has turned me around and I owe her a measure of respect for that. Anne doesn’t mind me but she doesn’t like me either.” Mc was looking for words to express how he felt. “The only ones that count are how Bron and Kevin feel. Everyone else is just an accessory.”
“Tsk, tsk, and to think I wasted all those years on you trying to straighten you out,” Bron gave him a mocking smile and a shove to go with it. Mc was happy and Anne didn’t need to rain on his parade.
“I should slap you for that,” Mc laughed and waved a finger in her face as a warning. A warning that was nothing more than a mere joke. A few months ago he might have slapped her so hard her head would have spun, but not anymore.
“You do and I’ll be slapping you,” Kevin came out of the house to join them.
“Bug off Pop-star you don’t have it in you,” Mc raised the lid on the grill showing Kevin dinner. “It’s cool, Bron is cool. It’s better for both of us if we are involved with other people; we don’t snap as much at each other.”
“Yeah right,” Suzie groaned. Two people turned and looked at her. “Come on, you two will always fight like two married people.”
From above they heard some noise. “Hey save me something to eat,” Nick stood in the window of the nursery.
“I will, I promise,” Bron shielded her eyes and looked up towards the second story. “Are you going to let me see what you are doing yet?”
“Not yet, after dinner,” Nick smiled back.
“He makes me nervous,” Bron groaned. “You have seen his fugly shirts. Right?”
“Yeah, well if you let Kevin do it, it might run on the feminine side.” Mc was more than keyed up that Bron was accepting Janey in more ways than one.
“Bite me,” Kevin grabbed the long fork from Bron.
“That’s her job.” Mc snapped his teeth together. Mc and Suzie laughed as they left the two alone for a few minutes.
“I’m really hungry,” Kevin checked out the contents of the grill.
Bron swayed a little in her stance. “My feet are hurting. I’m going to sit down. So when they are done, you yell for them to eat. Don’t burn my dinner.”
“Yes Ma’am,” Kevin closed the lid and waited for the guys to join him. Instead he was the recipient of a face full of water as two six year olds cannonballed into the pool. “Your Mother is going to kill you if you ruin dinner.”
Kevin played with the kids and tended to the grill as food was beginning to make its way from the kitchen to the patio. The kids were having a blast soaking Kevin, his mock scowl and fake yelling added to their amusement. Bron eyed a bowl of bean dip and looked at Jake. “He’ll be sleeping with you tonight.”
“Hell, you don’t have a bed in this house big enough for both of us,” Jake smirked at her.
Suzie heard the remark and turned to look at Bron. Both of them burst out laughing. Jake was nonplussed, “The Perverted Princesses strike again.”
“Not me,” Bron pointed to Suzie. “That’s Oreo woman.”
The comment received a few baffled looks except from Kevin who was actually smirking and blushing at the same time.
Suzie’s face pinked up and she turned away. This in turn made Kevin laugh even louder.
“I will kill Nick,” Suzie groaned.
Everyone sat for dinner in a mish mash of patio furniture, kids, dogs, and warm sunshine. Plates were piled high with food. The wine and beer flowed for the adults and miscellaneous non-alcoholic drinks for the kids and Bron. Kevin saw Bron look up to the nursery window, then he saw her mouth open. He quickly put down his plate and plugged each of his ears with an index finger.
“CARTER DINNER!” Bron gave everyone who was gawking at her a quirky grin. “It’s my house, if you don’t like, don’t let the door hit you in the butt on the way out.”
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