"No darlin." I couldn't turn around. What if I'm dreaming, tears began to run down my face.
"Please don't let me be dreaming?" I whispered
"If you are then I don't want you to wake up." I knew. My body slowly turned.
There he was, those green eyes, those arms that knew how to hold me, that body that fit perfectly with mine.
"OH GOD, KEVIN!" I felt him grab me as I collapsed. My arms went around his neck. All I could do was hold him. He felt so good in my arms.
"WOOAAHH" Sarah sat up in the chair and looked at me.
"What's the matter Sarah?" I giggled.
"Are you telling me?" She placed a hand over her mouth.
"Yes Sarah, Kevin is alive and back home where he belongs."
"Oh lord." A tear escaped her eye.
"I know, and that's why were glad that you were already scheduled to do this interview today. We couldn't think of any better way to tell everyone that Kevin was alive and well than to tell the whole story, and we wouldn't have told it to anyone other than you."
"Oh Cass, this is wonderful news, I'm so thrilled for you."
"Thanks Sarah, this is the only thing I could have ever wanted and well, what can I say I do believe in miracles now."
"So where's Kevin now?"
"Oh, he's sleeping, it was a long night, but he'll be down soon. He wants to see you."
"I bet it was a long night." She half whispered as she giggled.
"I'll never tell." I grinned. "Now do you want to hear the rest, or do you think we should stop here."
"Oh no, please finish."
All I could do was hold him. He felt so good in my arms.
"But how, oh boo, Oh god, I thought I lost you." My words coming out choked as I tried to calm my crying.
"Oh Cass, darlin, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry." He just held me and we cried and kissed each other. I buried my head in his chest, as I opened my eyes I could see Brian standing there, just staring.
"Brian." I whispered and Kevin turned to look at his cousin standing there, still in shock.
"Hey, B-rok, wassup?" Brian still unable to speak stepped towards Kevin. "It's ok man." Kevin grabbed Brian and brought him into the hug we were sharing. Brian's body began to shake and finally he spoke.
"Thank God you're alive. Kevin, how, where have you been? Why couldn't they find you?"
"I know you have questions and Brian, I want to answer every one, but first I need to see my kids. Can you call everyone and tell them to come over. Don't tell them why; just tell them to get here now." Brian nodded and headed towards the door, he turned around to glance back at Kevin. We heard him as he walked out. "Thank you God, Thank you."
"Oh boo, I can't believe you're here." My hands moved over his shoulders, I traced every inch of him. Then I noticed the bandages. "Are you ok?" I asked.
"I am now that I'm back home. I'm so sorry Cass. Let's go to the bedroom so I can change and I'll tell you the whole story ok?" I just nodded as he took my hand and led me to our room. I sat on the edge of the bed as he undressed. I saw bandages on his hands and chest. There was a cast on his right foot. As he dressed he told me what had happened.
"Cass, it was so unreal. I mean I was flying along, just enjoying the scenery I had your necklace with my thumb ring on it in my hand. I was thinking about you and the kids and the future. I mean, with the tour coming, I realized that we would be apart again. I wanted to clear my head and figure out what I should do. Then all of a sudden the engines just shut off. I tried and tried to get them restarted but they just wouldn't. I got so scared, all I could think about were you and the kids; I couldn't let this happen, I had to get back to you and to them. I noticed a clearing below and began to guide the plane towards it. It was so hard to steer but somehow I managed to get it angled just right. When it hit I remember feeling the pain shoot thru my body and I was flung out. I landed in this patch of bushes. I just lay there for what seemed like forever. I just wanted to close my eyes. I hurt so badly." He pulled his shorts on and then his t-shirt and walked over to the bed and sat up to the headboard pulling me with him. God it felt good to be in his arms again.
"I got up and forced myself to begin walking towards what I thought was the highway. My ankle hurt so much. I kept walking then it got dark so I got some branches and made a make shift shelter under one of the rock formations. I feel asleep thinking that I could forget the pain. I'm not sure how long I was there, but when I woke up I knew that I had to get out of there. I began walking again. Cass, I walked for days. I just knew that I had to keep moving, I had to get back here." I could hear his voice cracking.
"Oh boo, I'm sorry, they looked for you, and they kept thinking they would find you."
"I know, but I was headed in the wrong direction. I wandered out there for days, from what I can gather from the news reports I heard this morning, I must have wandered until late Tuesday night or yesterday morning, I found berries to eat and a stream runs through there so I had water. I just kept following the stream I new that it would have to lead to somewhere. I must have blacked out because the next thing I remember was waking up in the back of this pick-up truck. This man and his wife, Tom and Debbie Jacobs, they had been hiking and seen me lying by the stream. They took me to the to the hospital. I was there yesterday, that's how I found out what was going on. I saw the interview on MTV. Cass, I'm so sorry you had to do that. It broke my heart to see the guys up there, but I wanted to die just seeing the pain on your face, Cass I don't want you to ever have to do anything like that again. I'll do anything to keep you from ever experiencing that much pain again, I'm so sorry."
"Kevin, why didn't you call me from the Hospital?"
"Well, I was going to, but they had to reset my ankle and game me something for the pain, so I drifted in and out.
I couldn't stay awake long enough to even tell them who to call. This morning I demanded that they release me and I called a cab. I knew you would be at the service and figured that none of you would have a cell with you or that you would be taking any calls here at the house. I didn't think we would ever get here. All the lights were off and I knew that you probably were all asleep, I went to the stream, I was so scared to come in here. I know that you all have been so upset and Cass I can never make that up to any of you, but darlin I promise I will never do anything like this again. I'm giving up flying for good. I can't risk leaving you or the kids again." He was crying as he talked.
"When I saw you standing in front of the T.V. tonight I fell in love with you all over again. God Cass, I can't believe that I almost lost you."
"I almost lost you?" I corrected. "Kevin, I didn't know how I was going to make it, I didn't know what to do next. God, I didn't even think I would breathe again. Thank you for coming back to me." His lips crashed down on mine as he pulled my body on his.
"Kevin I want you so bad. I've missed you so much. But not now." I pulled away.
"I want you to darlin, and I promise as soon as we are alone again I'm going to show you just how much, but your right. I need to see my babies. Wanna help a cripple up the stairs." We giggled as we headed out the door. Our hands never letting go of the others. As we came into the living room we saw Brian standing next to the fireplace.
"I called everyone, they're a little mad about getting woke up, but they are all on the way."
"Thanks cuz." Kevin whispered. I could tell he was fighting the need to cry. "We're going up to see the kid's." Brian just nodded as we headed up the stairs.
As we got to Lexi's door Kevin took a deep breathe. Slowly he opened the door and walked over by her bed. I just stood there watching the whole thing.
"Hey princess." He whispered. I could see Lexi's eyes open.
"Daddy?" she asked in almost a whisper.
"Yeah princess it's me." She leapt into Kevin's arms her sobs could be heard all over the house.
"Shhh baby girl. It's ok, daddy's here."
"But daddy, they said, they said." Again her tears over took her ability to speak.
"I know, but I'm here Lexi and I promise that daddy will never leave you again."
"You promise." She looked into his eyes.
"Cross my heart." He made an x over his heart. "And sealed with a kiss." He kissed her on her forehead.
"Oh daddy, I'm so glad your back. I was so sad. I love you so much." Her little arms locked around his neck.
"Me too princess, me too... I love you more than you'll ever know. Now let's go get Will. Ok?"
"Ok, daddy." She jumped out of bed and grabbed Kevin by the hand and began to pull him towards Will's bedroom.
"Whoa there, I can't walk quite that fast, I got a better idea." He bent down and swept her up into his arms. She laid her head on his shoulder and held on with all her might.
We crept into Will's room and Kevin put Lexi down as he leaned over Will's bed.
"Hey there caboose." The boys had nicknamed Will that a few years ago.
"Hi daddy." Will answered and then rolled back over to sleep. Kevin turned and looked at me.
"Well he is his father's son." We both laughed.
"DADDY." Will turned back over when he realized what was going on. He sat up and held his arms out for Kevin. He picked him up and they stood there hugging. I caught a glimmer of light in the tears on Kevin's face.
"Hey buddy." He whispered.
"Mommy said you were gone daddy, she said you died."
"Well, mommy thought I had. The police had told her that. But I'm not buddy."
"See Will I told you you were wrong." Lexi stuck her tongue out at Will.
"Hey now you two." Kevin walked over to the rocking chair in Will's room and pulled both the kids into his lap.
"Do either of you know how much I love you?" He spoke softly to both of them.
"We love you too." Lexi answered.
‘Well, I promise you from now on, you'll never have to worry about me going away again. I finally know where I need to be and that's here with you two and your mom. From now on there's no more going alone, we're either together or we don't go. Ok." They both nodded. "Well, everyone is coming over so they can all find out the good news, but you two need to get back to bed. Tomorrow is going to be a busy day. I promised someone a pony ride. How does that sound?"
"Oh daddy, you remembered." Lexi hugged him.
"Of course, I'll always remember my promises to you."
"Daddy will you tuck me in?" Will stretched and yawned as Kevin lifted him and tucked him back into his bed.
"Ok princess, on you go and I will carry you back to your room." Kevin squatted down and let Lexi climb up on his back. I silently watched the interchange between father and child and it made my heart fill with so much joy.
"Good night Princess." Kevin kissed her and headed back toward the door.
"Night daddy. I love you, thank you for coming back."
"Anytime princess, anytime." He pulled her door too and grabbed me. He stood there crying and holding me. I just let him hold on until he was ready to let go.
"God Cass, I can't believe how amazing they are. I'm so glad I still get to be in their lives, I would have missed them so much."
"They would have missed you too boo. I hear voices downstairs, you ready?" He quickly kissed me and turned back towards the staircase.
"Ok B-rok, what's the deal? It's freaking 11:00 pm at night and you call and wake us up to get our butts over here. What's going on?" Nick spoke first. I could see Lisa and Howie and Susie standing up behind Nick.
"Yeah man, what's up? Why the wake up call?" AJ chimed in standing next to Cierra who was sitting next to Leighanne on the couch. Kevin and I were standing at the top of the stairs looking down when Brian spoke.
"He's what's up." Brian pointed towards the staircase.
"Oh my god." AJ sank to the couch next to Cierra and his hand went to his moth.
"Holy Crap." Nick stood there starring.
Howie couldn't speak; he just stood there pointing.
"Hey Guys, wassup, good to see ya." Kevin said as he began to hobble back down the stairs. They all starred in amazement as Kevin and I came into the room. Kevin walked over to Nick and Howie and grabbed them both into a hug. Tears began to fall from everyone in the room as the magnitude of what was happening hit them. The three men released from their embrace as Kevin walked around the couch and held out his hand to AJ.
"Hey bone." AJ was up in Kevin's arms before any more words were spoken. I could see Kevin beginning to wince.
"Boo, you need to sit down. Did they give you anything for pain?"
‘Yeah, it's in that bag in the kitchen."
"I'll get it, anyone else want anything while I'm up?" No one spoke; they all just sat there starring at Kevin.
"Ok, then I'll be right back. Prop up that foot in the recliner." I went into the kitchen and grabbed his favorite glass and filled it with tea. I reached for the bag and began to pull out the items inside. Tears filled my eyes as I pulled out the clothing he had been wearing. The material torn and dirty, I could see dried blood on the arms and chest of the shirt and on the pants leg. I turned around and threw them in the garbage. I didn't want to be reminded of what could have been. I found his pain medicine in the bag and went back out to the living room. Kevin had just finished his story of what had happened. Nick, AJ, Brian and Cierra were all standing at the back of the couch; you couldn't see Kevin thru the wall of people. Lisa, Leighanne and Howie and Susie were all sitting there entranced in the story Kevin was telling. I gave Kevin his tea and meds and watched as he swallowed the tiny pill. He reached out and pulled me down to sit on the arm of the recliner. I heard the front door open and stood to see who it was.
"Brian Thomas Littrell, what in the world is so important that you had to drag your aunt out in the middle of the night?" Kevin stood up quickly and headed towards the door. Anne was busy looking at Brian and didn't notice him step around the back of the couch.
"Umm, That would be my fault mama, I had him...." Before he could say anymore Anne had turned and saw her son standing before her.
"OH MY LORD," her hands flew up to her chest. "Is it really.."
"Yeah mama, it's me." He had stepped up to her; he gently reached out and took her hands in his. She immediately reached out and grabbed hold of him pulling him into her arms.
"Oh my baby. Oh you're alive. I just knew in my heart your weren't really gone." Her tears falling freely as she held on to Kevin.
"It's ok mama, I'm here." Just as Kevin spoke Tim and Jerald came thru the door.
They both stopped dead in their tracks when they saw their mother and brother.
"OH man." They echoed each other. They exchanged hugs with Kevin and then allowed him to go sit back down to prop his foot. I returned to my position on the arm of the chair. Kevin filled his mom and brothers in on what happened.
"Well, we'll have to make a statement to the press." Howie finally spoke.
"I think I know how to handle that." I spoke up. I told them my idea and they all agreed.
"Hey Sarah." A voice came from behind the chair Sarah had been sitting in, a voice she'd recognize anywhere.
"OMG, Kevin. I'm so glad you're alive and Ok." They exchanged a hug and Kevin came to sit next to me on the sofa. All the other boys had left sometime after the story began so it was just the three of us left.
"Well, Sarah, you enjoying the story of Kevin and Cass so far?"
"Yeah, but I never would have believed the ending if you weren't here in front of me."
"Well, I couldn't have the little woman out here on cameral all by herself all day, besides it is my story to?"
"So you have something to add then do you Mr. Richardson?"
We watched as Sarah drove away. She was on her way back to the home office to edit the story and get it ready to run. It would be on the 5:00 pm show announcing to the world that we had not lost Kevin, he was still alive and well and home with his family. He had thanked his fans for all their support over the years and for the support they had given during the time he was missing. The kids were with Nick and Lisa, and Kevin and I finally had our alone time.
"Wanna walk to the stream?" I asked.
"Nah, kinda tired and my foot hurts."
"That's ok, I rearranged the bedroom, you can see the stream from the bed."
"Then what are we waiting on?" He wiggled his eyebrows and bent down scooping me into his arms, my arms wrapping tightly around his neck.
"So Mr. Richardson, did you mean what you said to Sarah?"
"Bout what." He began walking towards the bedroom.
"About how much you love me and the kids?"
"Now Cass, do you even have to ask that?"
"Nope, but what about hoping to extend the family?"
"Well, I was thinking that I'd like to make another baby with my wife, if she was willing?" He closed the door to the bedroom and slid me down the front of his body.
"Hmm, so if you wife is willing to have another baby, then you fine sir would like to get started when?"
"Depends on what her answer is." I felt his hands grasp the hem of my shirt and pull it up over my head. I closed my eyes as his finger traced over my skin.
"And if her answer is yes, she would love to have your baby?" I began to unbutton his shirt; it slid easily to the floor. My hands tracing the muscles of his body, avoiding contact with the scratches and bruises that marked him.
"Then I say we start right now?" I looked up into his eyes. They were a dark shade of green and full of passion.
"Well, then I say we get started?" His lips crashed down on mine. The need to feel each other was so strong. We made sure that we touched every part of the others body reassuring ourselves. He was so gentle and it was so perfect. We lay there in each other's arms watching the sunset over the stream outside our window. As our breathing returned too normal he spoke.
"Cass, you make me so happy, I've been so blessed to have you in my life, my arms, in my heart. Thanks for loving me? It still amazes me that you choose me; you choose to give yourself to me. I don't know what I did to deserve this, but I'm glad God saw fit to give you to me."
"Oh boo, I'm the one that should be thanking you. You've given me more than anyone should ever be allowed to have. A family, a home and a husband that's my best friend, and like I've always said Kevin; I'm yours and yours alone. You know. I'm the one that has to ask what I did to deserve this?"
"You loved me Cass, you just loved me."