TWELVE:

 

In the mayhem of the moment Kelly found herself being handed Brianna and was told my Chris to hold Colton's hand as they were rushed to the car. Chris opened the door and made them pile in the back seat then closed them inside.

Inside the car, Kelly turned in the seat to watch what was going on. She was worried about Joey not only for his outburst, but for the way that the boys wrestled with Joey to keep him on the ground.

Moments passed and Kelly started to get out of the car, but Chris shut the door on her when she opened it and pointed through the window and mouthed for her to stay in the car.

With nothing to do, but sit there, trapped in by Chris on one side and Meredith on the other Kelly finallyto hear the noise around her.

Colton was standing up on the back seat next to her crying and hitting on the tented window while, Brianna, who was in her arms, screamed hysterically. Kelly took a breath and began to check Brianna over to see if she was ok. She was crying as if she'd been hurt so Kelly wanted to make sure that in the chaos around them that she hadn't been squeezing her too hard.

"Didi!" she screamed as Kelly held her.

"Jelly bean, it's ok," Kelly tried to tell her. She turned her away from the fight that was still happening behind the car and held her close. "Daddy is ok."

"Didi--Didi--Didi owwie," she said in hysterical breaths.

"No baby," she said, "Daddy is fine."

Colton was still hitting on the glass so Kelly reached over and pulled him away from the window and made him sit next to her. She put her arm around him and hugged the two kids to her as she heard yelling still coming from behind him.

As Brianna and Colton were begining to calm down Kelly looked up at Chris to see if his face would show anything about what was going on behind them. Chris looked in at her with concern on his face. He finally seemed to see how hysterical the kids were and went and got in the driver seat. "Give me the keys Kelly."

Kelly handed the keys over and turned to see that Joey was now up and pacing over near the basketball court wildly yelling at his brother and father. Justin was watching while it seemed that JC had disappeared. "Where's JC?" she asked.

"Farzana and Meredith took him inside and the guys are gonna let Joey cool off a bit. His father is pissed off about it and they're gonna talk to him for a while. They said I should take you and the kids home."

Kelly nodded and watched in shocked state as Chris began to drive them home. He turned on the radio to a station that was playing soft music. Soon the only thing that could be heard was the soft sniffles of the children mixing with the soft piano music.

*****

When they got home Chris came into the house with them. Kelly was still in a state of shock as they walked into the house and Chris seemed to take over, taking Colton to wash his face before moving to take Brianna from her arms. She saw Colton next to her on the couch and reached to pull him closer.

Kelly nodded her head no to Chris about taking Brianna from her so Chris plopped down on the chair across from where she'd taken up residency on the couch and said, "How about I put in a movie for you guys?"

Colton nodded and leaned into Kelly. "Where's my daddy?"

"He'll be home in a while kiddo," Chris said, "Your dad and Grandpa and Uncle Steve needed to talk for a while."

Colton nodded and went and found the lap blanket and pulled it over himself and the two other people on the couch. "It's ok Kelly. Daddy will be home soon. Don't cry. Ok?"

Kelly just stared at him in awe. He'd just gone from a four year old to an adult in two seconds. He was looking at her with worry in his eyes, but this time the worry seemed to be about Brianna and her instead the worry that he'd had earlier over his father."

Chris put in the movie Shrek and disappeared into the kitchen for a moment. Kelly could hear him on the phone and shrank down more into the couch leaning to kiss Brianna who seemed to be getting very tired after being so hysterical during the fight and the ride home.

When Chris returned he sat in the seat next to them and gave a smile, "Joey is gonna stay at Steve's for a few hours. He'll be home tonight to sleep then Justin is gonna come and get him in the morning."

"Thanks for bringing us home Chris," she said in a soft voice.

"It's ok," he said. He sat there for a while then looked at the kids, "Are they ok?"

"Yeah," she said, "I should take Brianna up to go to go take a nap, but Colton should be ok."

Chris nodded. "Justin is coming over to get me in a little while. We can stay if you want us to, I mean for a while anyway."

"No," she said, "You should go home. I thought Dani would be out here visiting or something. You should spend time with her."

"Actually," he said, "We broke things off."

"What?" Her chin physically dropped open. "I thought you guys were doing great?"

"We were," he said, "But things happen. Don't worry about it. We'll get things settled. I think you have other things on your mind right now."

Kelly watched him with wide eyes. "What am I gonna do Chris?"

"Calm down about it," Chris said, "Joey's been stressed out the last few weeks. I think he just got fed up today."

"What's going to happen with JC?" she asked.

"Don't worry about it Kelly. It'll be ok. JC understands the kind of pressure that Joey's under. They're good enough friends to know that what Joey did wasn't something that should be taken seriously."

"Are you sure?" she asked.

"Yeah," he said.

"They're brothers. They'll get over it," Chris reassured her.


Joey lowered his head as he pushed through the door from the garage to the main part of the house. He'd parked the car and closed the garage and had sat in the car until the light from the door opener had gone out before he got out of he car. He was taking things extremely slowly that night. He had spent the better part of three hours screaming and yelling at his father and brother for letting the guys jump on him like they had then finally had gotten most of that rage out and had become extremely calm.

The house was dark except for the television being on in the living room. He found Kelly asleep with Colton on one side of her and Brianna on the other side of her. He knew that he should leave them there and just go to bed, but the urgency to hold his daughter overtook him. The last time he'd seen her she'd been screaming at him and so had Colton and he wanted to make sure that she was ok so he moved around the couch and went to take her from Kelly's arms.

Kelly began to wake up when he took Brianna from her. "Go back to bed sweetie." He whispered it out and as he did tears came to his eyes. He found himself not being able to breath right. Partly he felt the bruises that had been caused during his scuffle with the guys, but it was more of her expression that caught him. She was looking up at her with love in her eyes. He'd thought for the last few days that he'd never see that look again, but there it was, staring up at him. The anger that had been there earlier that day and earlier that week was gone.

Before he could get himself into more trouble he took a breath and sniffed back tears and cleared his throat and tried to keep the emotion from his voice. "I'm gonna change her diaper and put her to bed. You stay here and sleep."

Kelly leaned and kissed him then put an arm around Colton and pulled him close. Seeing that she wasn't going to move Joey left her and Colton and went to change Brianna.

He was putting Brianna down into her bed when Kelly appeared in the doorway holding Colton in her arms. "Joe?"

"I would have come back and got him," Joey said after Brianna was settled for the night. He walked over and took Colton from her arms. "I'll put him down. You should go and get a shower and go to bed."

Kelly nodded and leaned towards him, hugging him before she placed a kiss on his lips. "I love you."

Joey shook his head, but didn't say anything back. He moved Colton a little on his shoulder and moved away from her. "I'll put him to bed."

He could see the hurt in her eyes as he moved away, but he brushed it off. He needed more time before he tried to explain things to her. He had so many things that had built up over the last few weeks that he needed time to plan things so that he didn't blow up at her like he had earlier with his father and brother. He was still trying to figure out how he was going to apologize for that one, it was going to take a long time to make sure that Kelly understood what was going on.

Colton was changed and in bed a few minutes later and by the time he got into the masterbedroom Kelly was coming out of the bathroom wearing just a towel.

"What are you doing?" he asked.

"I was taking a shower, but I thought I could use a bath." She touched the towel and made sure that it was in place. "Come with me Joe. You need to relax too."

"Kelly I can't do this right now," he said as he kicked out of his shoes. It would be one of the only times Joey could remember refusing her, but he didn't feel like distracting himself at the moment.

"Please Joe," she said, "We need to talk and the best time would be when we're relaxed." She took a breath, "Besides baby. You're dirty from fighting."

"I'll take a shower later," he said rubbing his face.

Kelly's face dropped and she stepped away from the door. "Sorry then," she said with a pout, "I'll see you in the morning."

"Kel--" Joey moved across the room and stopped her. He was scared that if she walked out of the room that he'd never be able to talk to her again. She'd surely cut him off if he sent her away now. "I'll take a bath with you baby. Just give me a minute to get out of these clothes."

Kelly nodded and he could see her smiling a little as she walked back towards the bathroom. "I'll start up the water."

Joey nodded and walked into his closet. He grabbed his shirt and pulled it off and threw it to the ground. He hadn't noticed before, but the cloth on it was ripped a little and dirty and when he dropped his jeans to the floor he saw more evidence of his fight. He closed his eyes against the vision and took a deep breath to calm his nerves.

His hands shook and his heart lept into his throat as he walked back into the bedroom then went into the bathroom, finding Kelly already in the bubble bath that she'd started. He watched her leaning back as the water filled in the tub around her.

His mouth went dry and he looked away, feeling some kind of shame looking at a woman that clearly wasn't his wife. He didn't know why all of a sudden he felt this way, but after the fight he knew that a lot of things would be different. His whole way of thinking was now going to change and being there with her, although physically reeled him in, the mental part of him wanted to run away from her so that he wouldn't hurt her anymore.

"It's really nice in here," she said with a sultry voice. He didn't know where this intense interest in him was coming from, but it made him feel on edge. He had known her for years now, but all of a sudden it was as if he was seeing a stranger in front of him.

"Come here," she said.

Joey closed his eyes and dropped his boxers. Every muscle in his body tensed and he stood there for a moment waiting for something to click inside to tell him which way to go. He could leave her there and go to bed, the smart thing to do considering the trauma that had happened that day. His other choice was to make love to the woman that he'd been with for the last few years. He knew that sex in this state of mind wouldn't be very fulfilling, it would only block out the thoughts that he needed to face.

When Kelly moved out of the way Joey moved towards her to sit at the far end of the tub from the faucet and eased himself into the warm water. She moved so that she was sitting between his legs and leaned back against him. Her naked body against his was comforting, but the thoughts of what he'd done earlier and the screams of his children kept the tension in his body.

As the tub got filled Joey moved his arms so that they were resting on the outside of the oval shaped sunken tub. He knew that if his hands were anywhere near her that she would see their shaking and see that he was definitely not in his normal love making mood. To keep her from seeing the tension in his eyes he leaned his head back against the wall behind him and closed his eyes, letting his brain quiet as the heated water swirled around him. With his eyes closed he could feel and hear as Kelly grabbed for a washcloth and moved it through the water then found his thigh underneath the water and began to wipe his thigh before she moved to run the cloth over his arms from where she sat.

When she moved to face him he opened his eyes and looked at her through droopy lids. The water's heat eased the muscles in his legs and back and only made him more aware of ever nerve ending in his body. The thoughts of being with her again that night soon replaced his worries and his body fell limp against her touches.

"Joe are you ok?" she asked.

"I'm fine Kel." His hand slid out of the water and hooked around her neck to draw her near. He kissed her hard and drew a breath in. "I've missed this Kelly."

"Just relax baby," she said and kissed him again, "Don't think about today or tomorrow or last week. We need each other right now. So just think about right now."

As his hands roamed her silken body and she began to respond to his loving touches, that blush that covered her body, the way she licked her lips, and the small quick breaths that she took before he'd kiss her that clearly he was doing things right. They fell into their old pattern of love making so he let his mind go blank and concentrated on the look of love in her eyes. He guided her in the water so that they could be fully connected, took a deep breath and began to move with her.

It all woud have been perfect, if it weren't for the one thought that kept running through his mind. This woman wasn't his. She was by unspoken promises, but in truth either of them could walk away at any time. He wasn't so scared now that he might find someone to distract him from her, but that someone out there might distract her from him.

 

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