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The next day Kevin and the boys began rehearsal for the upcoming tour. I spent the day unpacking my boxes and trying to get things settled.

"Hey darlin" I heard the front door close.

"Hey boo" I ran from the kitchen and jumped into Kevin's arms.

"If this is what I get every time I come in the door, I'm going back out." He started to let me go.

"If you think this is good you should see what you get once you put down that stuff and come upstairs" I teased. Kevin dropped everything he had in his hands and swept me up into his arms carrying me up to our bedroom. We lay there together, Kevin talking about his day of dancing and singing and me about unpacking and getting us settled.

"Hey Cass"
"Would you be ok if I invited all the guys and their girlfriends over for a bar-b-cue on the 4th"

"Oh, Kevin that sounds like fun, sure"

"Cool, I'll talk with the guys tomorrow and make all the plans. We can just do burgers and chips and stuff and layout by the pool if that's ok."

"Sounds great, I like the way you think Mr. Richardson"

"Well, would you like me to tell you what I'm thinking now?" he rolled up onto his side, the sheet sliding to cover just his waist, his green eyes sparkling.

"OH, you don't have to tell me, I'm well aware and two steps ahead of you." I rolled him over on to his back and straddled his waist.

"Well,...." He began as my lips crashed down on his.

It was decided that all the girls would arrive around 3:00pm and the boys would come straight from rehearsals. Kevin and I had decorated around the pool in red, white and blue.

"Cass, anybody here" I heard Leigh calling from the front door.

"Out back, come on in." I yelled from the back patio.

"Hey girl, wow this looks great" I heard her as I was straightening the tables.

"Yeah, looks real good girl" Lisa spoke up.

"LISA!!" I turned around quickly to see her and Leigh standing there in the backdoor way.

"OMG, I didn't know you were coming?"

"Well, Kevin told Nick he could invite me"
"Oh no, that's great, I just didn't know that you and Nick were still" I stopped short.

"THAT SO GREAT" I yelled.

It turns out that Nick and Lisa really hit it off at the wedding and had continued to see each other after they returned to Orlando. I could hear the sound of Kevin's truck driving into the driveway.

"The boys are here" the girls turned to see the front door opening.

Kevin, Nick and Brian all came in at the same time.

"Hey darlin, I'm home" I could hear Kevin yelling from the foyer. I took off running towards the door.

"WHOA, watch where ya going girl" Nick said as he and Brian jumped out of the way. I jumped into Kevin's arms and laid a big kiss on him.

"NEWLYWEDS" we heard the two of them echo at the same time and started laughing.

"Just wait you two, one day this will be you" Kevin put his stuff away and went to change into his shorts.

"Hey babe" I heard Brian greeting Leighanne.

"Hey Bri-bear" she replied wrapping her arms around his neck. The two began to make out.

"GET A ROOM" I yelled. "BETTER YET GET MARRIED ALREADY". Everyone started to laugh.

Nick made his way to Lisa.

"Hi'ya You" He whispered gently bending down to kiss her on the lips.

"Hi yourself" she whispered back. Nick took her hand and they walked over to the hammock swing, Nick sat down pulling Lisa into his lap.

Howie and Maria and AJ and Tina arrived at the same time. We all gathered out back relaxing and enjoying just being together.

As the sky turned dark we began to see the sparkle of fireworks going off all around us. We had set up the pillows and blankets all around the fire pit outside and all the couples were enjoying laying together and watching the sky light up. It felt so good to be wrapped up in Kevin's arms. Lisa and Nick were enjoying cuddling next to the fire; they seemed lost in their own world. It was so wonderful to watch them. I knew they would be perfect for each other, I just hoped that they would see it too. All of a sudden a big barrage of fireworks began to light the sky it was amazing. With that Brian stood up from the pillows.

"Hey, You ok Cuz" Kevin asked. "Is Little Bri Bri afraid of the big bad boom noise" He continued to pick.

"No Kevin, but I have something that I have to say and right now just seems the perfect time."
With that Brian turned to Leighanne who had sat up on the pillows.

"Leighanne, being here tonight with everyone seems so perfect, seeing Kevin and Cass and how happy they are, to see how nice it is to come home to someone that you love is just amazing. Leigh, you know I love you more than anything. Well..."
Tears began to sting my eyes, I looked down at Kevin. "OMG" I mouthed. He squeezed my hand tighter.

I could see tears in Leigh's eyes as well. No one made a sound. Brian dropped to one knee and pulled the ring box from his pocket in one swift movement.

"Leighanne Wallace will you do me the honor of being the one I come home to. Will you marry me?"
"OMG, Yes Brian, oh yes" Leigh burst out crying and jumped to hug Brian knocking them both over on to the pillows. Everyone burst out laughing and offering congratulations. Brian sat up and slid the ring on Leigh's finger. It was a perfect ending to a perfect day. Everyone was so happy and in love. All the couples left and Kevin and I sat out by the fireplace talking about the day.

"Wow, Kevin, can you believe it?"
"Yeah, Brian had told me he was going to ask Leigh, even showed me the ring, but he never said when. It's so great,

So the tour began and I traveled with the boys, we knew it would be hard, but Kevin and I also knew that we didn't want to be apart for that long since we were still newlyweds. It was interesting to see how the fans reacted to me being on the tour. For the most part the fans were great. There were still a few who thought that they should be with Kevin, but we took it all in stride. Brian and Leighanne were planning their wedding, Leigh wanted a big wedding in her hometown and Brian was going to make her dreams come true. Nick and Lisa were getting closer and closer. Howie and Maria were still steady and AJ and Tina were on and off. All in all we had a blast. We went home for the Thanksgiving Holidays. We only had 4 days to be home, but Kevin and I knew that we wanted to be in Kentucky. Brian and Leighanne flew with us home to spend some time with Brian's family. We had a wonderful home cooked meal with Mama Ann and all the family and headed back to the Cabin. As we walked we talked about the tour and the Christmas holidays. I told Kevin that I wanted to be here at the Cabin for Christmas. He agreed. We walked towards the stream and stood by the willow, Kevin standing behind me holding me tight. We watched the moonlight dancing on the water just standing there listening.

"What'cha thinking darlin."He leaned down to speak in my ear. The whisper of his voice sending a chill thru me.


"What about Christmas?"
"Well, there's something I want to get you, but I'm not sure that I can or if it's something that you really want?"

"Well, tell me what it is and I'll tell you if I want it?" he laughed.

"Kevin, I'm serious" he could hear my voice tremble. He spun me in his arms.

"What ever you get me will be wonderful, I know enough about you to know that everything you do for me you do with love, I will love whatever it is."

"But, this is different Kevin, it's something that well, something you can't buy in a store and something that can't be returned."

"Well, do you want to tell me what it is?"

"Kevin," my voice began to quiver. What would he think? Is it too soon? Will be happy or angry?

"Come on Cass, you can ask me anything you know that?"

"Well, I was just wandering how you'd feel about" I stopped and looked up into his eyes.

"Go on."

"Well, I wanted us to build a barn over there and buy some horses so that we could have them to ride whenever we come back here." I looked down. He burst out laughing.

"You were scared to ask me that" He picked me up and gave me a big hug.

"Babe, that would be a great idea, I love you for even thinking about it. We could hire someone to take care of them while were away." His eyes were sparkling with excitement.

"Well, I talked to Tim tonight and told him my idea, he's agreed to do that for us."
"Oh Cass, I love you."

"I love you too Boo."

We decided to call the contractor the next day and begin the plans for the barn.

"When we come back for Christmas the barn will be done and we will go together and buy the horses, Ok"

"Ok" I kissed him and headed into the kitchen to start dinner.

The tour resumed and it became very hectic. They were trying to fit in a lot of the concerts before Christmas in order to give the boys 2 weeks off for the holidays. It was so fun watching the boys perform and the crowd went crazy every time the boys came on stage in Santa outfits. We toured children's hospitals and did numerous appearances.

"Aaachhooo....aaahhh this cold is killing me" I mumbled as I made my way to the front of the bus to get some orange juice.

"Oh babe, I'm sorry your not feeling well. Only 1 more week and we'll be headed to the cabin for Christmas.

"I know I just hate this." I jumped up and ran to the bathroom.

"She going be ok man?" Jimmy looked at Kevin with concern.

"Yeah, said that the congestion in her head along with the swaying of the bus seems to get her sick. I can understand it does it to me too when I'm sick. I've arranged for the doctor to meet us at the next venue to get her some medicine to get rid of this cold." Kevin and Jimmy continued their game of cards.

I went and lay down in the back of the bus.

"Lisa" I whined into the phone.

"Hey girl, how's it going"?

"I'm so sick, this is awful"

"What's wrong"?

"I have this cold, my nose is all stuffy and all this drainage is making me sick. The rocking of this bus is awful." I continued my complaining.

"AWWW poor baby. At least you get to be with Kevin. I'm missing Nick so much. Hey Guess what?"

"Nick and I have decided to move in together over the Christmas break.

"AAAHHH" I screamed. Kevin came running back into the room.

"What's the matter, are you ok"

"Oh, sorry boo, I was on the phone with Lisa, her and Nick are moving in together"
"Jeeze Cass, you scared me to death"

"Sorry boo" he turned and headed back to the front of the bus. Lisa and I burst out laughing.

"Lisa, this is so great"

"Yeah, God Cass, I have fallen head over heals for that blue eyed babe."

"Oh Lisa, do you love him?"
"Yeah, we've actually both admitted that to each other. He's so amazing, I mean, I could see us together forever."
Lisa and I chatted for a while longer.

"Well Lisa, I need to go, I'm like really tired"
"Ok Cass, I'll see ya soon."

I put the phone on the bedside table and curled up with Kevin's pillow and drifted off to sleep. I felt Kevin slip in beside me and pull me close. We slept the rest of the way to the next city.

"Cass, babe' I felt Kevin moving the hair from my face. "Cass, where here, how ya feeling."

I jumped up and ran past him into the bathroom. I could hear him at the door. I slowly made my way back to the bed.

"Cass, there's a doctor here to see you, can I bring him in?"

"Yeah" I just lay back down. I could hear Kevin talking with someone at the front of the bus.

"Mrs. Richardson?"
"Yes" I opened my eyes to see a gentleman standing in the doorway.

"Hi, I'm Dr. Carpenter. I'm the boy's private physician. Kevin says you been a little sick."

"Hi, yes, I have this horrible sinus congestion and I get dizzy and nauseated."

"Ok, well sit up and let's take a look at ya." He began to exam me asking me questions about my general health and looked in my ears and throat. "Ok, this should take care of it, just remember to get lots of rest and drink plenty of orange juice." He turned and left.

"Dr. Carpenter, is she ok?" Kevin had been pacing up front waiting on the doctor to come back out.

"Yeah, Kevin she's perfect, I've given her a prescription and advised her to get lots of rest and drink lots of orange juice. She'll be fine." With that he left.

"Cass, babe" Kevin opened the door and came in and sat beside me on the bed.

"You ok?"

"Yeah, the doctor said I'd be fine. When we get checked into the hotel I'll go downstairs and get this prescription filled."
"I can do that or I can get Jimmy to do it?"
"No it's fine, he said that I needed rest and orange juice so I'm going to get some while I'm out and get me a good book to read while I lay around in the bed."

"Ok, you sure, I don't mind?"

"No, it's fine. Kevin, I'll be fine."

"Ok, but you let me know if I can do anything for you. I want you better for Christmas."

I began to snuggle back down into the covers.

"Oh, I will be, I will be." And I drifted back off to sleep.

Christmas in Kentucky is beautiful. The snow all around, the stream was still flowing, but the banks were covered in white and the willow tree held snowflakes in its limbs. Kevin and I spent the whole day in town buying Christmas decorations and a tree for the house. Our first Christmas as married couple, it was going to be wonderful. We were going to have Christmas eve with the Littrell's and Christmas Dinner at Mama Ann's with all the family gathered together.

We arrived at the Littrell's around 7 pm Christmas Eve.

"Hey Everyone" Kevin yelled as we walked into the living room. "MERRY CHRISTMAS"
Greetings and hugs were exchanged with everyone. Leigh and I caught up on all the wedding details and she asked me to be a bridesmaid. I told her I was honored. Brian asked Kevin to be a groomsman.

We sat around enjoying the company and singing Christmas Carols. Kevin and Brian took turns singing and Kevin played the piano. I felt like a love struck teenager just starring at him as he relaxed and played. It was so amazing to watch him; his voice was clear and calming. We decided around 10:30 to head back to the cabin and settle in for the night.

"BRR it's cold out there," I said stomping the snow off my boots. Kevin and I took off our jackets and headed into the living room.

"I'm going to go change, ok boo."

"Ok, I'm gonna stoke the fire and I'll meet ya out here."

I changed into a short red satin nightgown and brushed out my hair. I reached under the mattress and grabbed on of Kevin's gifts that I had hid there. I carried the package out to the living room.

"OHH Sexy Mama." Kevin whistled as I twirled around to give him the full view.

It had become customary for Kevin to wear the white satin pajama bottoms on all special occasions. He had changed in the guest bathroom.

"Not so bad yourself Mr. Richardson" I ran my hand down his chest and stopped on his hip. I reached up and gave him a kiss on the lips. I laid the package on the hearth and sat down on the pillows and blanket he had piled on the floor in front of the fireplace.

"Wine for the lady." He handed me a glass. I sat it down on the coffee table.

"What's the matter, you don't want any."

"Not right now."

"He sat down beside me and I scooted up to lean on his chest."
"This is nice," I mumbled.

"Uh huh" we sat starring at the fire flickering in the fireplace the chime.

"Hey darlin"

"Yeah boo"

"Merry Christmas" He leaned down and placed a gentle kiss on my lips as the clock rang midnight.

"Merry Christmas to you too Boo." I whispered.



"I want you to open one of your presents now" I looked at him. A smile crept across his face.

"Only if you open one." He reached under the chair and pulled out a small box.

"Kevin Richardson what have you done?" I tried to look angry but I couldn't

"It's just a little something, I know that we are going to buy the horses day after tomorrow, but I wanted you to have something more personal." I began to slowly unwrap the box.

I opened the lid.

"You didn't" I squealed.

"Yep, I did" I jumped up and began hugging him.

"Ok, Ok I get it your excited."

"Is it the one we looked at?"

"Yep, with a few additions. It's still the black Tahoe, but I also had an entertainment package added and new tires and rims, I also had a satellite radio system and a GPS tracker installed."

"Oh Kevin, thank you so much." Before we left Orland to fly home for Christmas Kevin and I had went car shopping, he couldn't stand the idea of me being in my Mustang anymore. He said he didn't think I was safe in it.

"I called the dealer later that afternoon and had it ordered. Jimmy's picking it up on Tuesday and he'll put it in the garage at the house."
"Oh Kevin I love you so much." I cuddled up into his lap and began kissing him passionately.

His hands began to move across my back.

"Uh uh, I said sliding back onto the pillows beside him."

"But!" He said with a pout on his face.

"NO way mister, you have to open this first."

"Ok." He began to unwrap the paper.

It was a thin rectangular box. He slowly lifted the lid, as he unfolded the tissue back his head shot up and his eyes burned into mine.


"Well?" Kevin was looking at a baby's first year album. "Look on the inside" I whispered.

Kevin's hands were trembling. He opened the front cover.

"Daddy, I'm sorry I won't be here for Christmas, but mama said that it would be ok. She said that I should tell you that I would be here by August, just in time for the tour to wrap up. I hope you don't mind my unexpected appearance, but I just couldn't wait to meet you. I love you. Your baby."

Kevin lifted his face; I could see tears in his eyes. The tears had already begun to fall from mine.

"Cass" His voice caught.

"Yes, Kevin. I just found out. Remember when I was so sick back at Thanksgiving." He just shook his head. "Well, Dr. Carpenter began asking me all these questions, I began to realize where he was heading with them and cut him off telling him that there was no way possible. He left me a prescription for pre-natal vitamins and for antibiotics with the promise that I would take a test before I filled them. Well, that's why I went to get the prescriptions filled by myself. I didn't want you to get your hopes up. When the test came back positive I got the vitamins filled. I saw this book and knew that this would make the perfect gift for you for Christmas." He still wouldn't speak. "Kevin, are you ok, I mean, I know we haven't talked about this a lot and we definitely didn't plan this, but"

"Oh God, Cass, no I mean, I'm just" the tears turned to sobs. I gathered him in my arms and held him.

"Kevin please talk to me, you're scaring me, are you Ok?"
"OK, God Cass I'm perfect. I can't believe this. This is the best present you could ever give me. Are you Ok? Is the baby ok? I mean, Oh God." He pulled me in his arms. "I'm fine, the baby is fine. Wanna see?" He bolted up again.

"I went to the doctor here last week just to confirm things, while I was there they did an ultrasound." I grabbed the book and flipped over two pages to where the "BABYS FIRST PICTURE" page was. I had taped the ultrasound pictures inside. Kevin held the book and moved his fingers over the picture.

"Our baby" He looked up. "Cass, you've made me the happiest man in the world. Thank you so much. I love you baby. This is everything I've ever wanted" He pulled me into his lap and began to kiss me. We made love in front of the fireplace. Kevin picked me up and carried me to the bed afterwards. "Thank you Cass. I love you." He fell asleep with his hand on my stomach.