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Bron glanced around the nursery; she couldn’t help but go in this morning. Her real shock was finding Nick whistling and working away at six in the morning. In the corner sat a beautiful cherry crib with a huge bow wrapped around it. The crib had been ornately carved with delicate flowers and baby forest animals. Opening the card, she read it to herself softly. Nick watched Bron become misty eyed over the gift.
“It’s from Mc, Jake, Steve, J.D., and Hank... They said I have a new family, a new baby, and I deserve a new crib... “ Absently she wiped a tear from her own cheek. “ They have dressers to match but they weren’t done...” Bron sniffed, “They said blame Kevin, he jumped the gun.”
Nick stood with a small artist’s paintbrush in his hand. “Yeah they brought it up this morning. Mc woke me up at the crack of dawn from a wonderful night’s sleep. He said you would be in here first thing.”
Bron looked around the room that had been transformed into a forest. A castle and along with every imaginable Disney character had been painted on the wall. “Oh Nick, this is beautiful...” Bron’s hand lightly touched the opposite wall that Nick was working on.
“I’m glad you like it Bron... It’s my gift to you guys... I couldn’t think of anything to buy you that you wouldn’t buy yourselves, so I thought this was cool...” Nick turned back to his painting but carefully watched Bron out of the corner of his eye. He was wondering if she would notice his customization of sorts to the characters. When she started to giggle, he knew she had.
A loud laugh came from her and then a snort. She practically jumped on top of Nick, “I LOVE YOU! Kevin in tights!”
Nick’s laughter brought Andrew and Suzie into the room. Bron immediately pointed to Nick’s rendition of Kevin as Robin Hood.
Suzie’s eyes skimmed the figure that had been painted on the wall, “Holy Shit, he’s going to kill you.”
Andrew was checking the detail out on a strange looking at animal. Turning his head, he called Nick over. “What’s this?”
“Your Mom. Kevin always calls her a pig-headed jackass.” Nick’s head wobbled as Suzie’s hand connected with the back of it. “I’ll paint over it!”
“No you can leave it, I like it.” Bron smiled as she wrapped her arms around the big blonde lug. “How come Prince Charming looks like you and Cinderella looks strangely like Kaylin?”
Nick’s face flushed, “We wouldn’t want Disney mad at us, after all Aladdin does live here.” Nick’s paintbrush was now pointing at a spot behind the door. Kevin again had been painted on the wall. The characters in the room all bore some likeness to a family member.
“The kid is going to think it’s on acid or something,” Jake announced as he walked in. His orders were to meet Bron first thing in the morning. Bron had some running to do and Kevin would be watching Bounce while Suzie took care of the office.
“Leave Nick alone, I love that the room looks like this. It’s very different...” Bron gave Nick a hug and ordered everyone out so he could finish. “Downstairs please!”
They gathered in the kitchen trying to organize the next few weeks. Andrew had done as his mother had requested and hung a huge dry erase board on the wall in the pantry. Everyone had their own color and their own schedule. Suzie had penned in Bron and Kevin’s. Andrew had scribbled in his school times and work times. Soccer games and riding lessons were added to the calendar.
Jake was trying to figure out how things were going to be done in this house with three adults and this timetable.
Suzie grabbed the phone and began moving meetings for Bron. Kevin was leaving, albeit only for a day and half, but it was a problem. Mc was going in the hospital, Andrew was starting with school, and Kaylin needed to be watched. Nick had been a guest but was getting ready to head out to tour with his brother Aaron for the fun it. Suzie wanted some time off but wasn’t going to leave Bron and Kevin in a mess. Moreover, the words Kevin had spoken last night about getting the house done for her weighed on her mind. She really did want her own place to herself. A place where she felt her and Nick could have some privacy. Her temporary apartment was too cramped, hence she spent some nights at the Richardson's.
Bron groaned as she looked at the calendar they had mapped out. “Why in the world does Mc need to have a sex life now?”
“Thanks Bron,” Mc came in the side door surprised to see everyone in the kitchen and not in the offices. Hearing Bron’s comment brought him in the door a little faster than usual.
“I’m sorry... I am,” Bron whined.
“Don’t whine it’s not you. You said you could handle things. If it’s too much for you, I can call J.D. back from Atlanta.” Mc had a glint in his eye.
Jake could see that Mc was intentionally insinuating that Bron couldn’t handle things. Now he wondered if she would take the bait.
“I’ll be just fine, I have done this before and I will do it again!” Bron threw the eraser at him. “Stop baiting me!”
“Play nice children; I’m on the phone here,” Suzie’s eyes rolled as Bron decided it was a good time too cook. Cooking relieved Bron’s frustrations, she was really frustrated.
“Why don’t you tell Pop Star to get his butt out of bed and come down here and help us figure this out?” Mc stood quietly and waited for the crash of the pan on the stove. If anything, Bron was predictable.
“Where is Stevie? Stevie could watch Bounce?” Bron began to smile.
“Stevie is busy, as usual,” Mc poured his coffee and sat down. If she were going to cook, he would eat. He had left Janey purring like a kitten and he wished that he could do the same. Hopefully this surgery will work.
“If you’re clean, why the hell is he still working for you? What does he do?” Bron was miffed; she wanted answers. She thought maybe it was too good to be true.
“You are crossing the line Spark and you know it.” Mc never said a word as he watched her fuss, she may not have minded last night Janey being in his life, but Bron sure as hell was minding it this morning.
“Did you ever think what would have happened if you had told me about your problem? Maybe you could’ve done this surgery for me?” Bron paused with a spatula in her hand.
Mc snorted obnoxiously, “No because back then I wouldn’t have even thought about this and as of now, it’s too late. It would be too complicated I would have to do away with Kevin, then Stevie, it would be such a mess.”
Suzie and Jake both turned to look at him as if an alien was sitting across from them. “What? Do you think I wouldn’t? “I’m always honest with her.”
Bron snorted, “Yeah right, sure you are. If you are that honest, tell me what Stevie is doing.”
Leaning back in the chair, Mc sized up the most loving person that he had so wronged in the past. She put up with way too much from him. His guilt over what happened to C.W. still gnawed at him on a daily basis. Many times Mc would see Kevin with Kaylin and say to himself that she should be with her dad. It wasn’t meant to be disrespectful to Kevin, a child had lost her father in a violent crime; her mother had been violated. He would right his wrongs come hell or high water against the two women in his life.
Last night he had spent most of the evening talking to Janey as they lay in bed together. It was important to him for her to understand the special place that Bron and Kaylin had in his life. Mc wanted Janey to understand that she was not playing second-fiddle to them but that they were just as special to him. Janey said she understood but he wasn’t one hundred percent positive that she truly did. The next few weeks a storm would be brewing between the two women. One needed to let go a little bit more, the other needed to recognize that he truly did love her like he would no other.
Then he spoke, “Stevie is back home refreshing some memories that seem to not recall things as clearlyas they used too. They are getting ready to go ahead with a closed grand jury trial. I want their memories to be very sharp and to the point.”
Swallowing hard, she studied him for what seemed like forever. Bron couldn’t breathe and wasn’t sure if she wanted too. Many times she had problems in the past with people but the road was magically cleared somehow. As if the translucency of the situation had finally hit her, she frowned. “I hope you aren’t telling him to hurt people on my behalf.”
“Would I do that?” Mc’s head cocked to the side.
All four people in the room knew the answer and knew better than to voice it. Yes, he would do that, and more than kneecaps if needed.
Nick accidentally walked into the middle of the silent filled room. “That smells good.”
“Eat away, I’m not hungry.” Bron said no more as she grabbed a plate. The thought that Mc would harm other people like he had harmed her made her stomach lurch. The food suddenly smelled awful and she felt ill.
“Spark?” Mc stood up quickly and in doing so frightened her. He saw her face change color and thought she might pass out.
Born dropped the plate and covered her face with her arms when he had come at her. It was an old fear and old instinct kicking into high gear. The letters that had been coming full of threats had her nerves raw as it was.
“Spark?” Mc pulled her hands away as she screamed at him to get away from her.
Jake and Nick were yelling for him to let go as Suzie bolted up the stair to get Kevin. Throwing open the door, she found Kaylin sitting on the bed reading a book as Kevin slid a shirt over his head.
“DOWNSTAIRS!” Suzie yelled.
Kevin shot by her and was gone. Suzie stalled for a minute; this wasn’t something Kaylin needed to see. It had frightened her; she had never really seen Bron that scared, nor Mc that intense. Some silent communication, recollection, past history, or something had caused this.
Kevin’s head was clear as a bell when he pulled Mc away from Bron and threw him into the refrigerator.
“Kevin don’t!” Bron yelled.
“Dude, what the hell are you doin?” Nick stood glaring at Mc as he stepped between the two men. “Why the hell did you scare her like that? You did that on purpose, didn’t you?”
Mc’s face had a dangerous edge as he glanced from Nick to Kevin and then to Bron. “I wasn’t going to hurt her. She overreacted, she was going to pass out again. I didn’t want her to fall.”
“Please don’t, I did overreact, he’s right.” Bron’s voice was just above a whisper as she spoke.
Suzie now lingered by the doorway, unsure of what to expect.
“Bron are you okay?” Kevin held her face in his hands.
She nodded as best she could as her composure came together. “I was stupid.” Glancing to Mc she smiled faintly. “Old habits die hard?”
“No knee caps broken, I promise,” Mc offered her the white flag of a truce. He didn’t mean to frighten her but Kevin had been keeping her too much in the dark since he had found out that she had called Webster and asked him all those bizarre questions.
Sitting down Kevin let out a long sigh as his head hung over the back of the chair. He stared at the ceiling’s intricate plasterwork. Funny he hadn’t notice the swirl pattern before today. His mind flew back to his wake up call. This morning sharply at seven, the woodpecker went off. At least he thought it was a woodpecker, until the woodpecker yelled from the hallway. “Are you up yet? Mommy says you have to get up, she has to go to work.”
Kevin groped the sheets; he didn’t know why he had bothered. If the woodpecker named Kaylin was up, the mommy woodpecker had been up for hours. “People in this house have got to learn the value of a good night of sleep.”
“Is it time to go yet?” a small voice directly by his ear made him open only one eye. In flash he was back to the present.
“One hour and we will leave,” Kevin was trying to fit all the pieces together in this morning’s puzzle.
A voice by his other ear in the form of a whisper spoke to him. “I’m fine, I was getting sick and dizzy. He just told me that they are proceeding with a closed Grand Jury.”
Kevin’s head swung up quickly and he snarled at Mc. “That was not for you to say.”
“You weren’t going to tell her. You’re pulling out of here for a day trot to Los Angeles for an interview. All of us are pulling our weight. Get off your ass and help.” Mc rinsed his cup out. Setting it in the sink, he turned and pointed to the board in the pantry.
“Aww man,” Kevin groaned as his eyes fixed on all the dates and the times. “This is worse than a tour.” Standing up, he walked to the board.
Suzie was re-arranging the meetings that she had re-scheduled not sure what the hell to say to any of them. It was freakish, almost as if Bron was having some kind of flashback.
Kevin pored over the dates and times. “Simple, Kaylin is going to have to go with me to Los Angeles.” Looking down at the blonde urchin that had suddenly honed in on him like a laser bead from scope. “You ever been to Disneyland? I know I promised you Disney World but Disneyland is just as good.”
“No,” Kaylin stood next to him and looked at the board with stuff written all over it.
“We’ll make it two days. I know this cool place we can crash. She’s a friend of your moms.”
“Who?” Bron joined them. At first Bron was shocked with what he had said and then uncomfortable with leaving them to each other’s company, without her.
An instant smile on his face, “You know Kris, the one you bought the house for. The one who you talk to all the time when I say please don’t. It scares me when you two talk.”
Bron’s face scrunched up, then she laughed. Quickly she turned to Suzie, who stood baffled and confused. She only knew one Kris, Kevin’s ex-girlfriend. “Yes Suz it’s her! Last week when we talked, Kris told me about the time Lance Romance here try to make a grand entrance into their bedroom.” Bron was tapping Kevin’s chest with her finger as if to clear up any misconceptions about whom she was talking about. Taking a breath she continued, “So much drama, he should’ve checked the sheets, she changed them to satin. He came flying in the room, slid across the bed, and slammed right into the damn wall, head first! He was so suave and debonair.”
Kevin’s long-limbed body leaned on the doorframe of the pantry as everyone in the room once again enjoyed his humiliation at its best.
Mc punched him in the arm and smiled while biting his tongue. “I’m sure that will find its way into a visual soon.”
Kevin didn’t say a word; he would get even with Bron for this, the best way he knew how. The old fashion way of thinking which on more than one occasion he did adhere to. Yep, he knew exactly what to do. It would be done today, not that he didn’t want to stress her out, which he wouldn’t because of the baby. However, he would get his point made. Bron would understand his statement and Kaylin would collect the side benefits of the point being made.
Smugly he looked at Bron, “Get Suzie’s house on the schedule. I’m going to go bleach out my hot tub and then Miss Kaylin and I are going riding.”
Suzie's smile was a mile wide; she knew there was a reason that she liked Kevin some days.
Bron lost her momentum as Kevin quietly left with Kaylin at his side. Bron then looked at Nick whose eyebrows were in full arch and asked, “I’m screwed, aren’t I?”
“Oh yeah,” Nick began to finally eat his breakfast. “He’ll be getting you for that, simply because he knows, I’m going to tell everybody that he slammed into a wall as foreplay. Great entrance, Mr. Sexy Pop Star!”
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