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Bron waved goodbye as she dropped them off at the airport. She wasn’t even going to drive them until Kevin complained that he didn’t want to put her out or anything. “Nothing like a Richardson guilt trip to start your day,” Bron mumbled and grabbed the truck keys.
Suzie snickered and asked if he was having some kind of pregnancy hormone swing. Kevin frowned so deeply she walked away from him and up to the offices.
Kevin had told Bron that the barn would need to be enlarged, so why didn’t it shock him that instead of enlarging it, she had plans to add another barn to the property. This barn would be an exact duplicate to the existing barn and would sit directly across from him. The entry doors would face each other. She had told him she planned on fencing in the old barn and leaving it for the horses since the pond backed up against the barn. “More convenient for the horses.”
Kevin nodded, “I like that idea, I like it a lot but I want it to look the same. I don’t want a new barn on the property, it will destroy the feel of the place... I lose my muse.”
Rolling her eyes towards the ceiling of the truck, she moaned a little. “It will, I found a guy who takes down old barns and he has some wood that is pretty close. I’ll do new timbering inside if it isn’t enough. Kevin I don’t need one more thing on plate.”
Bron stopped the truck at the entrance to the airport. “I’m going to call Frank and his crew back. They don’t like working out of town; they aren’t use to it. Frank’s crew can work on Suzie’s and the barn. Mc is going in the hospital tomorrow, so just shut up and go.”
“Are you annoyed with me?” Kevin came around the driver’s side window. Bron rolled up the window; Kevin opened the door. “I’m sorry, I’m putting too much on you. I just thought it would be something for you to do.”
“I have enough to do Kevin. I earn a paycheck every week.” Bron’s sigh rolled out of her a little slower this time.
Kevin kissed her quick; he even slipped her the tongue.
Bron’s eyes widened by the sudden attack. Kevin giggled at her.
“Love you,” he mumbled as his lips brushed hers.
Small arms wrapped around Bron’s neck. “Love you Mama.” A hug and a kiss later, Kaylin and Kevin were heading into the airport.
Bron had to laugh; it looked like Beauty and the Beast walking into the airport. Too bad Kevin didn’t know Kaylin was the beast. Slipping her sunglasses down on her face, she pulled out, and headed off to the first stop of the day. Krispy Kreme for doughnuts and coffee singing to the Backstreet Boys all the way. Freedom came at the oddest moments sometimes.
The flight with Kaylin had been trouble free except for Kaylin’s constant need to talk to him. He needed to get used to the fact that she had his attention in first class and she was going to use it to her best advantage. Half way into the flight Kevin handed her two books, one on reptiles and another brand-spanking new Captain Underpants book.
“Where did you get this? Do you order this because Mom couldn’t find it in the store?”
“Yes I did, now be quiet and read.” Kevin groaned as the flight attendant gave him a different smile. Usually he was the recipient of one of those sexy smiles, even from the male attendants. This was unique to him, it was more of a smile of sympathy, as the woman handed Kevin a cup of coffee and Kaylin some juice.
After doing a radio interview with Krystal earlier in the morning, they ventured off to the MTV studios. They were going to do a press conference in regards to the entity known as the Backstreet Boys.
The press assembled in a huge banquet hall at the studios. They were waiting on an announcement the guys would make. Everyone had hedged their bets. The band was either going to announce the breakup of Backstreet and the tour was over or they would resume touring.
Four members of BSB filed into the room. All eyes focused on the door waiting for the fifth member. The band members took their seats on the dais. Kevin cleared his throat once every one was seated. All heads turned towards him.
Kevin smiled cordially and began to speak, “We as a group and individuals would like to thank all of you for coming today. I’m sure ya’ll are waiting on some news about A.J., so after we make our announcement, we’ll answer as many questions as we can with the time permitted to us.”
The guys were worried how the fans would take the news. They had discussed every option available to them. They had decided that they would give refunds if the fans requested them. The tour was already running in the red anyway.
Nick began to fidget as Kevin unfolded a piece of paper. Nick gulped water from the water bottle that had been placed in front of him.
“We have decided as a group to not return to the tour…” Audible groans came from the press, halting his speech. “Hold up now,” Kevin placed the paper down on the table. “We will resume the tour in two weeks. After listening to A.J.’s medical advisors and counselors and A.J. himself, we all decided that he is not ready to go back out on the road. We will re-schedule as many shows as possible. A.J. needs more time. He’s family to us and he needs this. We’ll wait for him. He needs an adjustment period to acclimate back into society.”
A resounding applause went up in the room; the guys were shocked. Nick leaned into the microphone after hearing the same question asked several times. “A.J. is doin’ good but we want what is best for our bro.”
Brian was hesitant at first, not sure what the aftershock would be after the announcement. The press began to loosen up knowing that the tour would resume in two weeks. The questions started flying at all of them at the same time. The men answered the questions as fast as they were asked. This had been the first time the group had been together in weeks.
The tour would resume in Milwaukee. Ticket holders who did not want to wait would be issued refunds. Cameras swung around the room and flashbulbs went off at a machinegun pace. The girlfriends and wives seem to entice a few shutterbugs, until security stepped in blocking their view. Kevin couldn’t even see Kaylin even though his eyes had crossed the doorway more than once. Gillian was pressed up against the wall but he could see Kaylin’s hand firmly attached to Gillian’s. Someone asked if Mary was A.J.’s doctor before a gulping ‘no’ came from Brian, followed by a disdainful stare.
A small voice came out of the crowd. It was a kid reporter from the local paper. There had been times in the past when the band would run into this. Little kids papers, little kid reporters. Kevin’s eyes rolled when he heard the little girl ask the question again. “What?” he chuckled, unsure if he had heard her correctly.
“What was the best present you ever got since you were a Backstreet Boy?” She stood with her tape recorder high in the air.
Brian’s jaw dropped. Howie began to giggle. Kevin’s hand streaked through his hair. Pushing his chair out he looked at each of the guys, right down the line, to see who had set him up. Nick covered his mouth with both hands to keep the laugher in. Licking his dry lips, he thought for a split second.
“Yeah Kev, what was the best present you ever got?” Nick was snickering as Kevin tried to avoid the question.
Kevin had a flashback of a previous episode like this. Nick liked to yank Bron’s chain, this was over and above that. When Bron was done with Nick, there wouldn’t be enough left for fish bait. Kevin glanced back to the tiny correspondent.
“The best present I ever got was my wife. She truly was a gift.” Kevin laughed hoping it would all go away. As he turned his head to the side, he saw Nick burst out laughing as well as Brian and Howie. The reporters gave him, “Awws.”
The next thing his eyes locked on was Kaylin. He prayed silently but it was too late her mouth was opening. “What about the baby?” she yelled.
Kevin could have sworn every single camera was now pointed on Kaylin. Bron was going to kill both of them. Kaylin for opening her mouth and Kevin putting her in a position to do so. “Yes, we are expecting a new baby this... winter.” Kevin closed his mouth but the smile on his face was two fold. One of worry and one of great joy, the big secret had been let out. Now he needed to get home and explain. He put his press-face on to hide the worry.
Gillian gasped, turned, and left with Billy behind her and Kaylin next to her. The press conference was immediately closed. The doorway was blocked off from view by security as the boys exited. “Way to go Kev!” Nick slapped him on the back. “Gotta tell everyone,” Nick laughed until Kevin punched him in the shoulder.
“I can’t believe you would do that to us!” Kevin was screaming at Nick, not giving a damn who heard him.
“I didn’t do it,” Nick looked confused and startled.
“You didn’t?” Kevin frowned at him.
“Hell no! I wouldn’t do that to you guys,” as he rubbed his shoulder. “You asked us not to say anything…”
“I’m sorry,” Kevin dropped his head and squeezed his eyes shut. “Cole!” Kevin yelled for their contact person.
“Why would you do that?” Cole barked at him. “It’s bad enough that there is another two week delay now you tell the entire world you’re having a baby!” Cole was seeing red, then he saw Carlos’s back as Kevin marched out to a waiting van with a small child being towed along next to him and getting a lecture on the way. He could have sworn he heard the words, “Your Mama is gonna skin us alive.”
Everyone missed the broad smile on one gentleman’s face in the back of the room. So far everything was going nicely as far as he was concerned. This charade was getting harder and harder for the Richardsons’ to maintain. Soon, very soon, he would make his move. He had done very well so far at pushing Bron's buttons. Not enough to shove her over the edge but enough to cause her extreme worry from his understanding. She would have this kid over his dead body. If she did have the child, she wouldn’t have it long. Kevin could keep it, all he wanted was her.
Kevin lumbered into the van while apologizing to Kaylin for yelling at her, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry… I didn’t mean to yell like that…”
Everyone outside the van was looking at her and then began to get closer to the van.
The van surged away as an onslaught of reporters headed towards them. Kaylin turned her face towards Kevin and moved as close as she could next to him.
Kevin looked like an attentive father the next day in a picture of them sitting in the van. One arm protectively around her shoulders, his other hand rubbing her arm as they spoke. The caption underneath the photo the next day read, ‘Backstreet Boy to become a father, again.’
Kevin thanked his lucky stars that the last of the work had been done. By the time he reached Kris’s house, he was worried about Bron. Information traveled like wildfire, the last thing he wanted was for his wife to be confronted without any firsthand knowledge of what had happened. He was over his anger at Kaylin; actually, he hadn’t really been mad at her at all. She was a kid and kids make mistakes. He hoped that Bron would see what had transpired the same way but somehow he knew she wouldn’t. In Lexington Bron had some anonymity, which would be no more. At home she was known as Mrs. Richardson the business owner and contractor, not the ‘Backstreet Boy’s Wife.’
Kevin called three times, on the third try Suzie picked up. “Been busy I hear? Kaylin is such the little chatter box.”
“Oh no, not already....” Kevin groaned.
“It didn’t take long. Reporters even showed up at one of the job sites today, camera crew and all. Too bad, she was gone for the day. Thank God!”
“Shit,” Kevin grimaced as Kris played with Kaylin in the pool. “I thought with the time difference it might help.”
“It did, she’s here and she’s been waiting for you to call.”
Kevin heard the canned music playing in his ear and made a mental note to record something better than what he was being forced to listened too right now.
The music stopped and but he didn’t hear anything come from the other end of the phone line. “Bron... honey... are you there?”
“Yes, I’m here, dear. How is the trip going so far?”
“Cut the shit, you know what happened.” Kevin wasn’t in the mood to play games.
“NO I DON’T BUT WHY DON’T YOU TELL ME!”
Bron screamed so loud he thought maybe the earth had moved. He knew he lost a few brain cells on that shout. “It was an accident, she got excited... Ya know how she is...”
“Bullshit, she shouldn’t have been there. I have people chasing my ass all over Lexington. One guy even cornered your mother for Christ sakes while she out having lunch with....” Bron stopped; let him stew for a second.
“With who?” Kevin was waiting for the answer.
“Oh God, help me,” Kevin’s heart dropped. MeeMaw would give anyone some serious shit if they messed with her blood.
“Tell me it went okay?”
“Not for the guy with the camera. You get your damn ass home tomorrow and help me figure out what to do. Mc can’t help me and Stevie isn’t here.”
“I promised her Darlin’...” Kevin knew he couldn’t break his promise to Kaylin again.
Bron sat at her desk, “Fine, you’re right, you can’t, not again. I can handle it. I’ll just think of someway to ditch them. Andrew and Jake will help me.”
“I don’t like the sound of that,” Kevin motioned for Kaylin to come in the house. He wanted Kaylin to talk to Bron; it might help both of their causes.
“I don’t really give a shit what you like and don’t like right now.” Bron responded in her classic manner and then heard the crying apology of her daughter. All she did was repeat, “I’m sorry,” over and over again.
“Bounce, it’s okay. I’m not mad at you. I’m upset but I’m not mad. It was suppose to be a secret...” Resting her head on her desk, she listened as Kevin consoled Kaylin on the other end. She had a bad feeling about this from the start. Now she knew why.
Once Kevin was back on the phone, they talked a little longer. As soon as Mc was able to return to work, they were going to take a few days and go to the house in Florida. Kaylin didn’t start school for another two weeks. They just needed Mc to get well as fast as possible. Mumbling that they would talk again tomorrow, they said their good-byes.
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