Beta reader: Bryan.
Any mistakes in this chapter are mine. I didn't have time to get some parts betaed. Please excuse any mistakes.
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Annaliese picked up the phone while lounging in her bath tub which was filled with bubbles. She clicked in Kevin’s office number and waited while it rang. Panicking slightly when the call went unanswered and went to voicemail she sat up and called his house.
Licking her lips in relief she spoke up, “I want to speak to Kevin.”
Howie Dorough rolled his eyes and matched her tone, “And you are?”
Annaliese pulled the phone away from her ear to glare at it before speaking, “Annaliese Adams!”
Howie smiled at the huffy tone of her voice. No matter how many times she called he still asked her to introduce herself.
“Mr. Richardson’s not in at the moment. Would you like to leave a message?” he asked politely.
“No,” she said before hanging up.
Annaliese fumed and smacked her palm against the bubbles while thinking about what to do. She slid back until she was immersed up to her shoulders when there was a knock on the door.
Monique entered her daughter’s bathroom. “What did he say?” she enquired while taking a seat on a chair.
Annaliese pouted, “Haven’t been able to get in touch with him. He’s not answering at the office, he’s not at home so I’ll have to call his cell phone. Oh mom, I don’t think he’ll let me keep him from his little weekly dinner with Robert this week! Can’t you do something that’ll prevent Robert from going?” she whined.
Monique shook her head. “Well I can’t do anything about dinner but I can call him away early enough. Martha and Sally are coming over for drinks and dessert. They can bring their husbands along easily enough. Robert will come home, which is when you can go over there. I wish you hadn’t made such a bad and weak impression with the Richardson’s honey,” Monique said with a sigh.
“It’s not my fault they love precious Nick so much,” Annaliese said angrily.
Monique refused to get into this argument with her daughter again. “Ring Kevin on his mobile.”
Annaliese huffed and did as her mother asked. She frowned, “Voicemail.”
Monique’s expression matched her daughter’s, “Leave a message.”
Annaliese waited for the beep and dutifully left a message, “Kevin, hello… I’m meeting some friends for drinks tonight and thought you might like to join us.”
Monique nodded as her daughter ended the message, “A nice, casual message.”
Annaliese sighed, “Mother it’s one thing for us to lie to Nickolas and make Kevin and my relationship sound more than it is but the fact of the matter is that we haven’t gotten anywhere with him yet! Any other man would’ve been in my bed a long time ago!”
Monique looked at her daughter in exasperation, “Please make up your mind my dear! What do you want more, Kevin in your bed or his ring on your finger?”
Annaliese pouted, “Both.”
“Well then just jumping into bed with him won’t help you achieve them both. Yes Kevin is a young, open minded man but he has a lot of respect for his parents and Robert. The Richardson’s haven’t taken much of a shine to you and if they find out that you slept with their son it certainly won’t help matters!”
Annaliese didn’t bother to tell her mother that Kevin barely reciprocated when she touched him. Instead she steered the conversation in another direction while keeping the topic the same.
“I’ve been hearing rumours that he has someone in London.”
Monique looked at her daughter sharply, “A girlfriend?”
Annaliese shook her head, “I’m not sure. Could be either but people have been talking about a redhead a lot. A woman,” Annaliese clarified.
Monique shook her head, “I doubt it. I don’t know of many people who would have a long distance relationship and not see their boyfriend for over three months while staying completely out of the press’s eye. You know nothing gets by the paparazzi.”
Annaliese smiled and agreed with her mother. She’d been in a bad mood ever since she’d heard the rumours. She jumped when her phone rang and quickly dried her hands so that she could pick it up.
“Hello,” she purred.
“Annaliese? It’s Kevin. How are you?”
She shivered as his voice flowed over her like a smooth glass of wine, “I’m well darrrling , how are you?” she asked in a throaty voice.
“I’m doing good, thank you. About tonight, I’m sorry I’ll be unable to join you; I have dinner plans with Robert. Thank you for the invite.”
Annaliese laughed, “Oh is today your usual dinner date with Robert? It had completely slipped my mind. Well if you get done with dinner and would like to join us we’ll be at Red Light. I’d love for you to join us.”
“All right. Enjoy your night Annaliese.”
“Thank you darrrling, you too.”
Monique smiled at her daughter in satisfaction while picking up her own phone to tell her friends to bring their husbands too for dessert.
Later that night…
Robert rolled his eyes while Nick and Kevin laughed at his expense. “Yes yes, that was very funny,” he said while joining in their laughter.
“Ready for dessert?” Kevin asked while looking at Robert and Nick.
Nick clutched his stomach, “I don’t think I could eat another bite.”
Robert smiled at his son, “You will love Howie’s desserts kiddo.”
Nick smiled, “I’m sure I will dad but just not right now.”
“We can eat after awhile. There’s no hurry, is there?” Kevin asked while looking at Nick and then at Robert.
Nick smiled and shook his head, “No hurry at all.”
Robert’s phone began vibrating on the table before he could answer. He excused himself to answer it when he saw that Monique was the caller.
Nick and Kevin were in the middle of a discussion about some Spanish movie that he hadn’t heard about when Robert rejoined them.
“I’m sorry boys but I have to leave,” he said regretfully.
Nick immediately pouted, “Why? Aren’t you enjoying us making fun of you?” he asked, his pout dissolving into an impish smile.
Robert smiled fondly at his son, “It’s been the highlight of my day kiddo but Monique has invited some people over to the house and requested that I be there.”
Nick sighed and nodded, “Ok dad.”
“Well then Robert you’ll just have to take your dessert to go. There is no way Howie would forgive me if I let you go without it,” Kevin said in an attempt to diffuse Nick’s sadness.
Nick smiled slightly at Kevin after he saw the smile on his father’s face.
“That sounds like a brilliant idea,” Robert said.
The three of them went into the kitchen together where Kevin revealed the night’s dessert – Chocolate brownies with strawberries. Kevin put the biggest brownie into a bowl and handed it to Robert along with a fork.
“Here, now you can eat this in the car,” Kevin said.
Robert smiled and thanked him. He let Kevin and Nick walk him out to his car where he shook hands with Kevin before warmly hugging his son.
“You drive home safe ok?” Robert told Nick before kissing his forehead.
They watched Robert’s car move down the driveway before going out the gates. Once the gate had shut Kevin turned to Nick.
“Staying?” Kevin asked while looking into Nick’s eyes.
Nick nodded slightly.
Alan laughed at the blissful expression on his Robert’s face as he ate. Robert met his gaze in the rear view mirror and winked at him.
“I don’t know how you don’t like chocolate Alan,” Robert said while finishing off the last of the brownie.
Alan turned onto their street, “It’s too rich for my tastes. I don’t understand how you’re such a chocoholic and manage to look the way you do.”
Robert took a deep breath once they pulled up to his house. The chocolate in his system would help him get through this little get together.
Clad in a blue sheath Monique smiled as Robert walked into the living room.
“Hello darling,” she said as Robert crossed the room and bent down to brush his lips against her cheek.
“Hello,” he said before turning to greet their guests.
“Sorry I had to pull you away from Kevin darling. I completely forgot tonight was your little dinner thing with him,” Monique said.
Robert smiled, “It’s alright. I’m sure he won’t be lonely.”
Monique exchanged a look with Martha and Sally.
“How so?” Sally asked.
Robert took a sip of his coffee, “Nickolas is with him.”
Martha choked on the piece of pie she was eating. Robert looked at her with concern.
“Nickolas?” Monique and Sally asked in surprise.
Robert nodded, “Yes. Kevin invited him.”
“And Nickolas is still at Kevin’s house with him?” Martha asked.
“Yes, he stayed to give Kevin company over dessert since I had to leave,” Robert said innocently.
He then sat back and started a conversation with Sally and Martha’s husbands while trying not to laugh at the look on the three women’s faces.
Monique knew there was no possible way to call or text her daughter and let her know that Nickolas was with Kevin without being rude. She quietly plotted with Martha and Sally while trying not to think about Kevin spending time alone with her stepson.