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Chapter 71 – Surprising Birthday Gifts

"Y'know what, Little Angel? You're just too adorable for your own good," Kevin cooed softly to his goddaughter. Lying on the couch, his head in Austin's lap, he pulled his knees up and had cradled Olivia against his thighs, making sure to keep a steady hand on her. Her small hands curled into tiny fists, she waved them in the air, staring at him with her large sapphire eyes. Smoothing his fingers over her bright honey curls, he grinned. "Your Gramps is going to have to go oil his shotgun to keep the little boys from stealing you away…"

Idly running her fingers through her fiancé's hair, Austin smiled slightly at their interaction, Olivia's soft coos of contentment laying a peaceful atmosphere over the quiet living room of the hotel suite. On the other sofa, Howie and Cheyanne were similarly occupied; Cheyanne snuggled close to Howie's chest as he flipped through the day's itinerary. "What's on the schedule for today?" she questioned after a moment, wondering how much more quality time she would have with Kevin before he was whisked off to an interview or a sound check.

“Cinnamon and Darlin’ are going to be enjoying the Kansas City Zoo,” Cheyanne volunteered as she buffed her fingernails, wanting the smooth and polished so she wouldn’t hurt her child. Glancing up, she caught Austin’s wry smile and had to offer her own impish grin. “Okay, so I’m going to be taking the children to enjoy the zoo at my expense. Ain’t my fault I like animals… They have like white tigers, kangaroos, monkeys, and… I need something to do?”

"You could like, come to the sound check?" Austin returned, shaking her head. "And then you could come to like the concert?"

“Bite me,” Cheyanne returned, flipping a polished middle finger to her friend. “Besides, y’know I can’t take Olivia to sound check or the concert. It’s way too loud and she’d never keep the earplugs in her ears. All those screaming girls give me a headache, I can’t even imagine what my Cinnamon Sweetness would do.”

"Actually, the dressing rooms and greenrooms are relatively quiet," Kevin informed her with a sigh as he shifted Olivia so she was lying on his chest, her head tucked under his chin. "You and La-La could stay back there and she wouldn't be bothered at all. And didn't Drew say that Josephine and Katie-Doo will be coming on the tour for a couple weeks? So you'll have her to keep you company…"

"And Baylee, too," Austin added with a smirk, setting her book aside.

“Maybe I want to take the kids to the zoo?” Cheyanne returned with a gentle shrug of her shoulders, tucking her nail file back into the beautiful diaper bag Austin had bought her, using it as a semi-purse as well as for Olivia’s needs. “And, I was planning on inviting Josephine and Katie-Doo to the zoo… Not that Darlin’ would probably approve of that… He met her earlier this morning…”

"And good God, they hate each other," Howie bemoaned, shaking his head. "I still say Bay overreacted, though…"

“She shouldn't have hit him with her little shovel," Cheyanne stated simply.

“Perhaps he shouldn't have called her a Doo-Doo Head?" Howie returned, pulling her closer into his embrace. "Are you sure you don't want to come to the venue? …I was hoping you'd come…"

“I thought you said you’d be more comfortable with me here while you guys are at the venue?” Cheyanne returned, affectionately rubbing Howie’s thigh after she made sure to wrap his arms about her waist. She knew exactly what he was fishing for. It was the day before his birthday, so the group would have a cake celebration with the fans during the concert. It was always tradition, but Howie had yet to say anything to her about his birthday. So, Cheyanne decided that she could play into that, acting as if she had forgotten such an important day, when she had actually created something spectacular.

"I am… But aren't you going to bring Cinnamon to one show so she can see her Daddy do his thing?" Howie questioned, kissing the top of her head. He could not believe she had forgotten his birthday. He wasn't the type to just blurt out that tomorrow was his birthday and he wanted her at the show so she could see the cake and everything that the others always did.

“She wouldn’t be able to see the show… She’d be backstage and all she would feel would be your sweaty body afterwards,” Cheyanne chided as she turned in Howie’s lap, reaching to kiss him softly. “But, I’ll think about bringing her to one of the shows for you… Just not today… We have plans.”


"Are you going to the zoo with our daughter?" Kevin asked, glancing up at Austin as he handed Olivia over to her.

“No, I’m going to the sound check and the concert,” Austin answered, bringing Olivia close to kiss her cheeks.

"Are you going to claw out the eyes of every woman who screams my name?"

"That'd be what, two? Austi can handle those with one hand tied behind her back," Howie mused playfully, grinning at his friend.

“Two more than you’d ever have, D,” Kevin retorted, sitting up so Austin could hand Olivia over to her mother. The young infant had been smacking her lips for several minutes, signaling that she was growing hungry. Cheyanne seemed to anticipate the need, crawling out of Howie’s arms to retrieve the small nursing blanket Austin had made Cheyanne for private purposes. Sitting at the other end of the couch, she took Olivia into her arms, cooing softly.

"I've got one woman to scream my name, that's all that's important," Howie said easily, glancing over to make sure Olivia was secured at Cheyanne's breast. Once the blanket was adjusted just so to afford her the privacy she needed, he got to his feet, pausing to kiss Cheyanne's cheek softly before heading into the small kitchenette to get her a glass of juice.

“I better be the only one he’s got screaming his name,” Cheyanne murmured possessively, briefly holding up the blanket so she could peek down at her daughter. Olivia was taking long sucks of milk, though when her eyes fluttered open to catch her mother’s gaze, she paused to smile. Cooing softly, Cheyanne cloaked her daughter in darkness to help her slumber easier, feeling the small hand rest against the warmth of her breast. Glancing up, she caught Howie’s rueful smile as he disappeared into the kitchenette.

“You do realize that you’re supposed to be at the concert tonight for very important reasons?” Kevin suddenly announced, glancing back to make sure that Howie was oblivious to their conversation. His emerald eyes were dark as he glanced to Cheyanne, prepared to scold her. “Reasons that make Howie look absolutely pitiful because you’re forgetting.”

“I didn’t forget anything,” Cheyanne answered smoothly, patting her daughter’s behind softly.

"Then why--"

"Relax, Pretty Boy," Austin murmured, patting his thigh lovingly as she stood. "Don't you think if Chey had actually forgotten I would have been on her ass harder? And, no, I'm not going to tell you what's going on, 'cause I know you'll just scamper to Howie and blab it all. So you'll just have to find out for yourself," she cooed, leaning in for a quick kiss.

“You two are so damn conniving…” Kevin trailed in bewilderment.

“Yes and my Sweet Tea is going to have a very Happy Birthday,” Cheyanne approved with a small smirk.

"He damn well better," Austin muttered as she headed down the hall. "All the hard work you've put into it…"

“You’ve been planning it for awhile?” Kevin questioned Cheyanne.

“Yes and I’ve done it all myself,” Cheyanne answered with a small air of pride to her voice.

"And you weren't going to tell me a word about it? Am I that untrustworthy?"

“Would you really be able to hide it from Tea?”

"As long as he didn't start pouting and moaning 'cause you forgot his birthday…" Kevin sighed, shaking his head. "Better not tell me, Angel."

“Thank you, Kevvy,” Cheyanne cooed with a laugh as Howie returned.

"If ya think I'm sexy, just reach out and touch me, come on baby, turn me on!" AJ sang loudly as he burst into the living room, gyrating wildly to the music floating from his earbuds. "Can you feel my body--"

“For God's sake, Aje, quit that screeching!" Howie cried in horror, covering his ears after setting Cheyanne's drink within reach on the end table.

“I think we need to get him a dancing pole,” Cheyanne giggled in sheer amusement, watching as AJ danced over Howie to do some wild pelvic thrusts from behind, oblivious to Drew bringing in his girlfriend and girlfriend’s daughter for introductions.

"Oh Lord…" Drew trailed in horror, shaking his head as he glanced around the room.

“Mommy! That's Allie! Him's here!" Katie cried with delight.

Whirling around, AJ caught sight of the little girl. "My Katie-Did!" he shrieked, abandoning his dancing to scoop her into his arms. "Are you eighteen yet?"

“NO!” Katie shrieked with laughter, though she hugged AJ’s neck tightly just the same.

“Looks like someone is in love,” Cheyanne cooed softly, amazed at how taken AJ could be with so charming with the little girls, yet so very vile with the rest of humanity.

"Like I'd let you take my baby out," Josephine sighed, leaning against Drew as he led her further into the living room. "She's off-limits for you, Allie."

"My Allie!" Katie exclaimed, clinging to him as he moved to flop into the armchair.

"Jo, this is Kevin and Howie… You know the doofus there already, and Cheyanne… And if I'm not mistaken, little Olivia is under the blanket. Guys, this is Josephine… And Katie-Doo," Drew added, rolling his eyes as Katie proclaimed her undying love for her Allie.

“So this is the woman that Cheyanne set Drew up with in a matter of minutes?” Kevin laughed wryly as he stood, abiding by his mother’s insistence on southern hospitality. He smiled as he reached to take the woman’s hand, deciding she was quite pretty. She had long auburn locks with rusty red highlights tossed into a messy bun, setting off the brilliance of her dark brown eyes with specks of golden flickers. She wore a complimentary gauze peasant top with a pair of khaki shorts, complimenting her curvaceous figure. It figured that Cheyanne would find someone so perfect for Drew so quickly. “It’s really nice to finally meet you.”

"Nice to meet you too," Josephine replied softly, gripping his hand gently. "And blame Katie, too… She insisted on calling him cute… Otherwise I wouldn't have had the nerve to let him take me out for dinner."

"Dew-Dwop's toot, Allie," Katie stated in all seriousness, glancing up briefly from her examination of the tattoo decorating the back of AJ's hand.

“Down-right gorgeous,” AJ agreed, reaching with his other hand to brush his fingers through her growing chocolate curls. He loved the dark exotic look of the toddler, though he was equally charmed by Olivia’s fairness. He couldn’t choose between them, though he had to laugh at Drew’s dark glare. “I’d try to be his girlfriend if it weren’t for your mother.”

“Drew-Drop wouldn’t be able to handle you,” Cheyanne teased from her position on the couch, covering her breasts as Olivia finished eating and was more concerned about playing with the nursing necklace. Gingerly removing the blanket, she put Olivia to her shoulder, packing her back gently to elicit the tiniest of burps. “But it’s nice to see you again, Josephine.”

"Silly Allie! You c'be my boyfriend!" Katie cooed, glancing up at Kevin when he stepped over to greet her. "Who you?"

Sitting on the couch next to Cheyanne, Josephine smiled sweetly at the tiny baby sucking her thumb. "Can I hold her?"

“Yeah, of course, after all, you saved us at the airport,” Cheyanne answered, carefully transferring her daughter into Josephine’s arms as Howie took a seat against her legs and Drew sat beside Josephine to admire Olivia.

"Awe, look at you," Josephine cooed softly, settling next to Drew as she cuddled Olivia close. "I can't believe Katie was ever this--"

"OW! WHAT'D YOU HIT ME FOR?!" Kevin exploded, stumbling back away from AJ and Katie.

"--Sweet and innocent," Josephine sighed.


“That little brat is pure evil!” Kevin exclaimed for what seemed like the hundredth time as he cringed at the makeup artist brushing powder against his nose. It looked as if he was talking to no one, because Howie hadn’t been very receptive and Austin was hysterical. It just wasn’t funny. When he had first met the infamous Katie, she had backhanded him quite quickly with a powerfully tiny fist. He had almost been convinced that he was bleeding, his nose broken in half, and to make matters worse, Austin had laughed at him. Katie had been so affectionate with Austin that it was unreal, making Kevin’s claim pure rubbish. Though, it was nothing of the sort and Kevin had the proof on his nose – a faint bruising.

“You ain’t telling me no’fing new!” Baylee exclaimed as he climbed into Kevin’s lap, curling close for protection, knowing Katie was lurking somewhere backstage within the venue. She had already cornered him in the game room and it hadn’t been pretty. Shivering, Baylee gripped tight to Kevin’s shirt, just wanting his Angel.

"I just can't believe that sweet little darling of a girl would hit you… Are you sure AJ didn't hit you for moving in on his girl?" Austin questioned over her giggles, leaning against the counter to appraise her lipstick in the lighted mirror. As though that little angel could have actually left such a bruise. "And what are you talking about, Bay? Did Katie attack you, too?"

“WITH A SPOON FROM THE FOOD!” Baylee exclaimed loudly, immediately turning in Kevin’s lap to reach for Howie. “Uncle Howie! Where my Angel?”

"A spoon… What'd you say to little Katie to make her hit you with a spoon?"

"Honey wanted to stay at the hotel with Cinnamon… She doesn't like loud noises," Howie explained softly, pulling the boy into his lap and hugging him gently. He had tried until the last moment to talk her into coming to the show, but she had been adamant.

“But it your birf’day?” Baylee questioned in confusion, glaring at Austin for even suggesting he had been the cause of the brutal attack.

"I know… But it's okay, Bay… She's got to take care Cinnamon--"

“But she d’otta take care of you, too, Uncle Howie…” Baylee interrupted with a great amount of seriousness to his voice, turning so he could stare into Howie’s dark eyes. “You miss my Angel, huh?”

"I always miss her when she's not with me," Howie murmured, glancing into the mirror to see AJ heading into the dressing room, Katie clinging to him.

"Allie, it's dat cootie boy!"

“Uh-oh,” Baylee yipped as he stood on Howie’s lap, peering over his shoulder to see who was coming. Furiously shaking his head, he climbed off Howie’s lap, wasting no time in running, even before his feet hit the floor. “Gotta go eat my carrots!”

"He no eat them! He stuff them in the sofa!" Katie screeched. "An' he 'tole mine!"

"Good God," Austin breathed. "C'mere, Katie-Bug," she cooed, reaching for her. "Let Allie get him's makeup so he'll be pretty, otay?"

“I told you she’s evil!” Kevin exclaimed in a hiss of a whisper toward his fiancée once the makeup was finished. Hurriedly hopping off his seat, he made sure to slide by Howie, far away from Katie’s reach. Patting his friend’s bare shoulder, he hoped to catch Howie’s attention. “You think you might want to get a shirt on for the concert? I mean, it might be good to start out in something more than a muscle tank, D…”

"I'll have the white jacket for the first few numbers… Besides, it's summer, Kev… Not everyone can go around in long sleeved shirts like you…" Howie trailed softly as Austin sat in Kevin's vacated chair, cooing at Katie about making her pretty for her Allie. "…I have time to call Honey before we go on, don't I?"

“Yeah, you have a good chunk of time to spare, but at least go check out some of the shirts in the changing room… We’ve got to have a good shirt to entice AJ into throwing you in the cake,” Kevin agreed, feeling a kick in his backside. Glancing over, he saw Austin give him a sharp look, telling him to stop overdoing it. Though, Kevin thought maybe Katie was transferring some kind of energy to Austin.

"Okay, okay… Sheesh…" Getting to his feet, Howie paused to admire Katie's makeup before heading out of the room.

"We having cake?" Katie questioned hopefully, beaming up at Austin.

"Yes ma'am… And if Kevvy doesn't behave, we'll give you his slice--"

“Yeah, I’ll give her my slice all right,” Kevin mumbled.

Howie bit back a solid laugh as Austin reached to smack him hard on the shoulder, though Katie hopped out of the seat to finish the job. There was a solid whelp of pain from the oldest as Howie closed the door to the makeup room, sauntering down the hall toward their changing room. Throwing open the door, he was pleased to find that no one was around. Reaching into the back of his jeans pocket, he plucked out his thin cellular phone with every attention of hitting speeding dial. But, he was caught unawares as one of the chairs spun to face him, Cheyanne smiling sweetly as she crossed her legs demurely. “You always have taken forever to get ready. Guess it shouldn’t be any different for a concert.”

"Honey!" Howie breathed in honest surprise, tossing his phone aside as he crossed the room to pull her into his arms. "What are you doing here? …Where's Cinnamon? I thought--"

“You thought I forgot your birthday,” Cheyanne interrupted with a soft teasing note to her voice, leaning up to silence his questions with a sweet kiss. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she smiled at the excitement shimmering in her fiancé’s dark chocolate eyes. “I’m here because it’s your birthday and you obviously wanted me here. Cinnamon is being entertained by Vivie, Brian, and Jo for a few, and happy early birthday.”

Howie grinned, holding her body close to his as he enjoyed the softness of her kiss. "I don't think it could get any better--"


“Then just ignore that,” Cheyanne laughed as she cupped Howie’s face in her hands, satisfied that he had the door closed and she heard the thump of Brian’s body hitting the floor with Baylee. Not that she didn’t want to run out and protect Baylee from the attack, but she knew Howie was far more important in her life. She wanted to spend this day lavishing him with attention. Reaching up to kiss him once more, she pulled away slightly from his embrace, glancing down at her outfit. She was wearing a deep purple tube top with a flattering handkerchief hemming that exposed some of creamy peach flesh of her sides matched with a pair of snug, white capri pants. Her hair was curled in long ringlets of perfection. A bit of gloss touching her lips. Cheyanne smiled shyly as she confessed, “I even dressed up for you.”

"You look beautiful," Howie assured her, reaching to cup her cheeks in his hands. "You're always so beautiful, Honey…" Kissing her softly, he sat in the chair she had just vacated, pulling her down with him. "I have plenty of time before the show to tell you just how beautiful you are, too," he whispered, wrapping his arms tightly around her waist to hold her near.

“Just remember I’m taking you out after the show,” Cheyanne answered with a soft laugh, bending down so she could kiss him once more. She smiled eagerly when his lips parted for her, allowing her tongue entrance. Slowly, she concentrated on hardening her kisses, allowing her tongue to pass over his in sweet, long strokes. “Sorry I made you so miserable before the show… But I wanted it to be a surprise…”

"You're taking me out?" Howie murmured softly, his hands lightly stroking the bare skin of her sides. "…We can take a quick shower after the show if you like?" he suggested, one hand easing under her top, his lips trailing to suckle lightly at her neck. He was unable to deny himself the pleasure of shifting beneath her, nibbling her soft skin gently.

“Yes, I’m taking you out after the show. Jo, Vivie, and Austi have some kind of pact between them to watch Cinnamon,” Cheyanne explained, unable to hide the sharp intake of breath expressed her delight with his assault to her skin. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she closed her eyes, smiling as she placed kisses to his forehead. “And, as much as I would enjoy a quick shower after the show with you to clean up whatever you’re thinking about doing right now… We can’t… Otherwise you’re going to have no energy left for your fans.”

"I'm sure I could muster enough energy to do a few quick twirls…"

“I’m sure your fans would be quite disappointed in me,” Cheyanne confessed with a soft pout, pulling herself out of his arms. Moving over to the couch, she took the two shirts she had bought him specifically for the show. “But I come bearing gifts for my Sweet Tea.”

Feeling as though ice had been dumped down the front of his jeans, Howie cleared his throat. "I get you and gifts? You didn't have to get me any gifts, Honey--"

“I wanted to. You have to have something better than just ordinary stage clothes for your birthday concert,” Cheyanne explained with a trivial shrug of her shoulders, offering him the two shirts. One was a short sleeve button up ocean blue shirt with two different colors of brilliant blue and white stripes and the other to go underneath it was light blue with a picture of a nun and the saying You ain’t getting nun! “Besides, I think you’re going to look so damn good in these…”

"I love them," Howie grinned, already on his feet and peeling off his muscle tank. Just as he reached for the t-shirt there was a soft knock on the door.

"Chey?" Vivian's voice called. "Olivia's rooting around at Jo's boobies looking for some milk… Jo said that even though she loves your little girl to pieces, she ain't about to whip out her girls in front of everybody just to pacify her…"

“That means I get to go whip out my boys for everybody to pacify my little girl,” Cheyanne decided ruefully, laying the shirts on the chair and leaning up to kiss her fiancé softly. It seemed as if Olivia had inherited her father’s hunger, which Cheyanne didn’t mind. She was so tiny and it didn’t take long to fill her tummy. Though, it meant that Cheyanne would have to leave Howie for a few. Calling out to Vivian to let her know she’d be right there, Cheyanne offered Howie another sweet kiss. “You get dressed and I’ll go feed Ollie.”

"I'll join you in a minute," Howie promised softly, dropping soft kisses across her cheek as she slipped away. "And, Honey? …I love you."

“I love you, too,” Cheyanne promised with a coy smile as she slipped out the door. “And happy birthday.”

"Honey…" Howie called softly, smiling when she turned to give him an expectant look. "Why don't you bring Cinnamon back here and we can snuggle on the couch?" he suggested, pulling the blue t-shirt over his head.

“You better get a soda if you’re thirsty,” Cheyanne reminded him with a teasing laugh, disappearing down the hallway.

"I don't even get a taste?!" Howie called after her, feigning hurt. "Just a little?!"

Cheyanne rolled her eyes as she stepped into the lounge room where the rest of the party, minus Nick, was congregating in. Baylee was attempting to stay as far away from Katie as possible, practically sitting on his father’s shoulders as Brian held the slightly fussy infant. Cheyanne smiled apologetically as she scooped up Olivia, explaining quickly that she’d return both Olivia and Howie when the time came. Not waiting for anyone to object, Cheyanne cuddled her daughter and moved back the hallway to the dressing room. Slipping inside, she found Howie still sulking over her initial comment. She grinned ruefully as she patted her daughter’s back and locked the door to assure her own privacy, wilting onto the couch. “You don’t need to be shouting that down the hallway, Tea. Like you really need the tabloids getting hold of that.”

"Like anyone would have known what I was talking about--"

"Yo, D! Get a taste of Chey's milk for me!" AJ shouted through the door as he passed.

"I'm going to kill him…" Howie groaned, easing onto the couch next to Cheyanne as she adjusted Olivia at her breast. Draping his arm over her bare shoulders, he breathed a soft sigh of contentment. He couldn't imagine spending the time before a concert in a more relaxing manner.

“Yet you’re still going to tell him that you got a taste,” Cheyanne mused as she held her daughter in the crook of her arm, sliding the weight to one side so she could pluck the nursing beads from her pocket. Slipping it around her neck, she focused back on Olivia. Gingerly she ran a tender knuckle along Olivia’s full cheek as she drank, cooing softly to elicit the adorable baby smile. Like always, the little girl splayed a tiny hand to the warm tissue of her mother’s breast, thrusting a tiny socked foot out toward her father’s chest as if to tell him to stay away.

"Nuh uh," Howie defended, lightly rubbing Olivia's foot. Resting his head on Cheyanne's shoulder, he gazed down at Olivia. "I'll tell him that you kept a blanket over your chest," he promised.

“Like he would believe that for a minute,” Cheyanne laughed as Olivia yanked her foot away from Howie’s hand with a squeal. Though, after a few seconds, she gave it back to him to repeat the process. “Apparently, her feet are quite ticklish…”

"Takes after her Momma, doesn't she?" Howie mused, grinning as he rubbed Olivia's foot. Immediately it was yanked away, only to be quickly offered again. "What do you think she'll be when she grows up?"

“I haven’t really thought about it…” Cheyanne trailed as Olivia’s hand reached to grasp the necklace, thought she clutched it to the breast as she continued to drink hungrily. “I was just content having her stay little and tiny… She was trying to pull herself up the other day during tummy time with me and Austi… She’s just so quick… Whatever she does, she’ll be successful…”

"I just want her to be happy… No matter what she chooses to do, I want her to be happy doing it… Whether she's flipping burgers or curing cancer," Howie murmured.

“Our baby is going to college,” Cheyanne reminded him with a grin. “So, let her choose a professional career. Someone so bright shouldn’t have to settle for anything less.”

"Well according to Austin, there's only two hundred dollars in her college fund… Maybe she should do a little dance for AJ to get some more?"

“I’m going to get more money into her college fund,” Cheyanne disagreed. “When I finally move down to Florida to settle, I’ll find a job at one of the Pediatric offices…”

"…You're going to get a job?"

“I thought that’s what you’d want me to do?”

"If you want to… But you don't have to, you know. I can provide for you."

“I know you can provide for me, but… What do you think would be best? For our family?”

"I think it would be best for you to stay at home… But I don't want you to think I'm keeping you locked away. Maybe once the kids are up in age you could get a job? When they're in school… And if you want, maybe we can arrange something with management and you can be the tour nurse?"

“I know you’re not keeping me locked away,” Cheyanne assured as she felt the beads starting to move along her neck. Glancing down briefly, she noticed Olivia was getting more playful though she continued to drink. It would only be a few more minutes before she would need to be burped. “But, I really would like to stay home and raise the kids… And if you go somewhere, I’d like to have the option of going with you… And, could I really be the tour nurse? With AJ always hurting himself, that’s got to be a gold mine…”

"It would include our injuries and hypochondriac moments as well as security and the band… Just as long as Brian doesn't request daily penis inspections, I think it would be okay," Howie assured her with a grin, dropping a soft kiss on her cheek. "And Vivian would probably want some breast exams--"

“You really need to keep me away from those two… They’ve been trying to get me alone with them way too much and…” Cheyanne glared playfully toward Howie as she shifted Olivia to her shoulder to burp, noticing the playful gleam in his eyes. “I’m glad you find it so damn funny that I’m being tortured with all this influx of relationships.”

"They're just having a little fun, Honey… It's not like Vivian's going to tie you to their bed or anything," Howie assured her, sitting up to reach for his other shirt.

“She’s been swinging Brian’s neckties at me…”

"Maybe you should take them up on the offer?"

Cheyanne blanked in shock, immediately moving her body toward the end of the couch, away from Howie as she held Olivia protectively within her embrace. “Excuse me?”

"I was kidding!"

“You ain’t funny!”

"Honey… Come on, it was a joke!" Howie cried as she hopped off the couch.

“You were dead serious,” Cheyanne disagreed as she unlocked the door, stepping into the hallway. “And I’m going to take you up on the suggestion. I have to get Cinnamon to Jo, then Brian, Vivie, and I can slip back to the tour bus till the show starts--”

"You wouldn't!" Howie leaped off the couch, following her quickly. "You're bluffing!"

“So much for your birthday present, huh?” Cheyanne challenged, smirking as Howie practically fell into the hallway, quick to scramble to his feet to follow her into the lounge.

"Don't you dare--"

"Where's the fire, Sugar?" Vivian questioned in confusion as Cheyanne skipped into the lounge.

“I was looking for you,” Cheyanne answered as Austin was quick to take slumbering Olivia from her grasp and tuck her into the travel bassinet they brought. Offering a smile of thanks toward Austin before glancing back to Vivian. “And I was wondering how much energy Bri has… Well, extra energy?”


"Bear always has extra energy… Why? Whatcha need him for?" Vivian questioned with a grin, taking in Howie's disbelieving expression.

“I need him for another piercing inspection… And you to help…” Cheyanne answered vaguely as if she were shy, though turning to glance at Howie for a moment, she instantly straightened. “Hell, I’d like to take you up on the threesome offer before the concert if y’all are still willing? I can be quite the spitfire… Or so I’m told… And Austi said I’m just like Barbie ‘cause everyone wants to undress me…”

Vivian instantly blanked. "Are you shitting me?!"

"Good God," AJ breathed in shock, nearly dropping Katie as he turned from the buffet table. Glancing over at Kevin, he grinned suddenly. "Hey, Kev! How about you and Austi--"

“HELL NO!” Kevin exploded, though he couldn’t tear his gaze away from Cheyanne, digging for his cell phone to call the local convent.

“No, I ain’t shitting you. Tea said I should take you up on the offer, so here I am!” Cheyanne answered brightly, though she puckered her bottom lip innocently. “You don’t want me anymore?”

"Honey, I didn't mean --"

"Bear, does our offer still stand?" Vivian asked her lover, turning to give him a sweet smile. "I'd hate to break Sugar's heart when she's all set on it…"

“Like I’d turn down a naked Cheyanne,” Brian answered excitedly as he slid from beneath Baylee.

“Fantastic!” Cheyanne drawled. “I figured we could head out to the tour bus right quick--” Her suggestion was halted when Brian suddenly rushed her like a football player. Throwing her over his shoulder, he grasped Vivian’s wrist and went running toward the private bathroom in the back. “Or the bathroom’s good!” Cheyanne laughed as the door slammed shut behind them, followed by a loud crash, thumps, and wild giggles.

Howie stared at the door in shock, not believing the turn of events. "What the Hell?! Chey!"

"Oh, yeah, like she can really hear you over all the noise they're making in there," Austin sighed with a shake of her head. Turning, she buried her face against Kevin's chest to smother her giggles. Only they grew louder as there was a series of loud thumps against the closed door.

"YES!" Brian exclaimed in triumph.

“What’s Daddy doing to my Angel?” Baylee questioned in confusion as he crawled off the couch, making a point to stay far away from AJ and Katie as he moved to tug on Howie’s jeans. “They d’ot games in d’ere? Daddy winning?”

"Well, one thing's for sure," Austin mused, grinning wickedly. "I don't think Howie's won…"

"CHEY! WATCH THE TEETH!" Brian shrieked, followed immediately by giggles.

“Hey, D… Can I unwrap your birthday present next?” AJ called as he balanced Katie on his hip.

Howie was about to open his mouth to voice his disgust at AJ's statement when yet another series of boisterous thumps erupted from the other side of the door, followed by a very distinct moan. One he had heard himself many times.

“Oh!” Cheyanne suddenly squealed in shock, “That piercing is really cold, BB!”

“…I’m buying her a chastity belt,” Kevin growled toward Austin.

"…I'm buying her a pierced toy," Austin returned with a smirk.

"…I'm locking her on the bus for the rest of the tour," Howie grumbled.

“…I’m getting pictures to sell on Ebay!” AJ boomed, his voice projecting louder than intended as the loudest screams suddenly died into silence. Immediately, AJ plopped on the couch with Katie, fully intent on watching the door as it unlocked. Sure enough, Vivian came out first in a black bra and shorts, swinging Brian’s jeans in a circle. Brian was next, sauntering out in his boxers with Cheyanne’s capris on his head. And, finally, Cheyanne popped out in her bikini underwear, tube top, and Brian’s shirt around her neck.

“I want to do that again,” Cheyanne confessed innocently.

Howie glared at her. "Cheyanne Grace Lorde, I swear to God--"

“You said I could,” Cheyanne interrupted with a soft pout.

"I didn't think you would actually--"

"YOUR DADDY LOOKS FUNNY NAKED!" Katie shouted at Baylee from the safety of AJ's arms.


“—Go into the bathroom and give Brian my pants?” Cheyanne teased, ignoring the squabbling toddlers as she jumped into Howie’s arms, wrapping her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist. Leaning, she nibbled affectionately on his neck.

"You… You didn't… That was too damn quick for anything… Honey, I swear, you're going to drive me crazy," Howie sighed, burying his face in the crook of her neck.


“WELL…” Baylee’s face grew red. “FUCK YOU, PISSFUCK!”

"BAYLEE!" Brian shrieked in horror.

"Holy Hell," Austin breathed, clapping a hand over her mouth.

Her face puckered in anger, Katie leaped from AJ's lap, snatching up the plastic bat Baylee had been playing with earlier. "YOU'RE DEAD, BLONDIE!" she shouted, racing over to him and swinging.