Twenty eight

Caleb

If there is anything I have learned about this family in my twenty six years of life, is that we cannot do anything in an organized manner.

For example, today.

We have to be at the airport in half an hour.

Wes is currently looking for his pants because his apparently got switched with someone else's.

Tyler fell asleep on one of the Kalanski's lawn chairs outside. He had to have makeup put on by Belle, Lexi and Emma, to cover the fact that his face resembles a fucking lobster.

Amy is laughing at the fact that he resembles a fire truck. She's calling it her pay back for him laughing at her after all the times she's turn red when we'd all be drinking.

Danielle and Ben made only what I can describe as a four year old pact and threw both Danny's and Ryans dress shoes in the pool.

Arya is yelling...per usual.

The Kalanski men are, well actually they're out together.

That Kalanski woman though. She's chaos.

And it is fantastic.

Since returning I've gotten glimpses of the old Bailey, the one that was loud and outspoken, a leader. Brazen even. She was a force to be reckoned with, she still is, but she lost her confidence and control.

Today though, the Bailey Belle I grew up with is back.

She jumped into the pool to get the shoes, she mixed makeup to match Tyler's skin tone, right now she's currently helping Wes in finding the right pants for his suit. All while yelling at those around her to stop being dumbasses.

All with hair barely dried and no makeup done.

It was a good thing we were flying in early and staying in one of the penthouses in downtown Dallas tonight after the event. Everyone agreed to finish getting ready once we arrived, or in Baileys's case, get ready in general.

"I found his pants," she slumps into a chair across from me at their table, "It's like I have a damn kid, I'm too young for a kid right now,"

"You realize our parents both had kids when they were younger than us right?" I grin at her tired face.

"Nope, don't want to think about that," she shakes her head "I love Danielle, and kids would be amazing but it would also be terrifying as hell," she snorts, her eyes meeting mine.

I don't doubt her fears, especially growing up with the mom she did. She once told me all the women In her family were terrible, believing she was bound to end up like her mother.

At fourteen Bailey was twice the woman her mother ever was, I could only imagine her kids being proud to have her as their mom.

"I completely understand," My grin matches hers. There was a point where I wanted a lot of kids, I mean I still do but with my life as insane as it is I don't know if it would be possible.

Liv is also weary of kids, and despite the many I want, the decision is ultimately hers.

Though I'm not sure where her and I stand at this point in our relationship. I love her but things have been different since I came back here and she hasn't been the Olivia I fell in love with.

She doesn't trust me at all, no matter what I do, and I don't know if she ever will. I question if I really want to spend the rest of my life with someone like that.

I don't deserve that.

"You spaced out," Belle laughs at me, her smile bright.

The difference time back here has made with her.

"I do that a lot,"

"You do" she nods "When should we be leaving?"

"About half an hour ago," I crack a smile, we were never on time "We gotta be at the airport in twenty minutes,"

"Oh great, we'll have enough time to get ready there right?"

"Yeah, you'll have plenty of time Belle," She was the only one not ready, or at least the only one of the women who didn't have her hair and makeup done. She was too busy fixing everyone else's problems to concern herself with...well, herself.  The rest of them were just going to get dressed when we got there, it was an hour flight up north to Dallas, so we'd have plenty of time.

Just as I say this, people start stumbling into the kitchen. Ty is first followed by Wes and the child, Spencer. 

"Does my skin look okay?" He questions.

He looks less ridiculous than he did, that's for one.

"Damn Bails you matched it perfectly," I state impressed. He had a slight burn in his face but it wasn't bad looking, it looked like it was intentional.

"I've gotten pretty good at makeup and covering things," She states this as if it were normal, a simple offhand comment with an innocent shrug. Her words are anything but though, my chest growing heavy at the notion of her makeup abilities.

Ty and Wes snort, as if she's talking about hickies.

Spencer and I are the only ones who catch the undertone to this statement. She wasn't talking about hickies.

"Move the collar of his shirt," Wes chimes, lightening the tension in our bodies "He goes from normal to fire hydrant so quick.

Tyler does so and proves Wes correct, the makeup was blended down his neck but stopped at the base.

"I still can't believe you fell asleep," I shake my head, my lips rising slightly

"I can't either," He simply groans slipping in a chair besides Belle. "I was supposed to look hot as fuck tonight and now I'm wearing makeup,"

"It's really not noticeable Ty, besides guys who wear makeup can be sexy," she attempts to comfort him

"Really?" He questions, she simply nods reassuringly

"Yeah, just don't take it off for the next four days," I snorts, "Your face is red enough to repel any woman right now,"

He simply flips both wes and I off muttering something about how Bailey is his favorite right now.

After another hour of struggle and rounding eveyone up, we're finally on my jet  to Dallas.

"I forgot to ask when we boarded but when the fuck did you buy a plane?" Arrex looks around. They were all shocked when we arrived at the airport, the shock hasn't worn off.

Yeah I probably should have told them I bought a jet.

"Uh I believe it's a jet," Em corrects him, a grin on her face, "Our boys a pro athlete babe,"

"Know what, fuck you for that Kazer," Tyler chimes

"What?" Confusion crosses my face.

"You have ruined any chance I had at being the fun uncle, all of our nieces and nefews will favor you," He pouts...this grown twenty six year old literally pouts at not being the favorite.

"You know what? I second that, fuck you Kazer," Beck adds

"Thank guys, appreciate you too," I just laugh at dumb and dumber before a though dawns on me. "You guys realize I'm not even the current favorite for all of our nieces and nefew right?"

"Oh." Wes contemplates, before a grin spreads across his face "Wait that's true, I'm the favorite,"

"The hell you are, I'm the favorite," Tyler debates him.

Somehow I watch as their arguments turns into a full out wrestling match in the center floor of the plane.

I always have free entertainment when in the presence of these two. Making no move to break them up I sit back in my seat and watch as they fight it out.

Some people just never fully grow up, I hope these two never do. They will always unashamedly be themselves, and I will always appreciate them for it. These two have been through some shit, much like the rest of us, but no one has been able to remain themselves like they have.

They're two constants in my life. Two of the most reliable people I will ever know.

"You know, if we crash I am one hundred percent blaming you both," Bailey grins, side stepping them before sitting down in the last open seats in the main area of the cabin beside me.

"You think I could jump out of this thing one day Kazer?" Danny chimes glancing out the window. His statement stops Ty and Wes who immediately nod their heads in agreement.

"Family skydiving day?" I raise a brow looking at them

"That would be fun as fuck," Beck grins

"No it doesn't," Arya states

"Hm afraid of skydiving sweetheart?" Danny props his head on his hand, his attention fully on my sister. They obviously have something going on, it's been obvious since the day they met, I just can't tell what that something is.

"Anyone who isn't fucked in the head would be," She retorts her voice cold as it usually is when they bicker. Danny just grins at her. It's funny, the meaner my sister is to him, the more he smiles.

She has been known to be called a cold bitch, not my words, but words used to describe her nonetheless. She carried the title with pride honestly, her icy glares and tone of superiority are enough to scare most men away. Danny clearly isn't most men.

"Ahh okay," Spencer nods "That explains it," he motions to Wes and Tyler. I just nod in agreement

"I'm not fucked in the head and I'd do it," Belle chimes beside me, looking at my sister with a grin on her face. Aryas harsh resolve towards Danny melts on the spot looking at one of her best friends.

"Babe I love you, but you are definitely fucked in the head,"

Bell just grins at Aryas remark, sitting back in her seat. Her eyes move to mine, catching me staring.

"Are you okay?"

"Yeah why?"

"You always hated flying,"

Damn, she remembered that?

"I've been forced to get over my fear of flying," I didn't have a choice really. I fly all across the country for games, I'd be teased relentlessly if I started bitching out on a plane.

"I guess that makes sense," She nods. Her eyes flash with remembrance, her mind going to the same moment all those years ago when we flew to Chicago.

She'd known I hated flying, she was my comfort the whole three and a half hours of that flight.

Her eyes drift to the window beside me, I glance out, seeing the clouds and blue of the sky skimming by.

"Have you been to Chicago since?" I question. Everyone else was talking around us, but I didn't tune into the topic of their conversation. My focus was in one place.

A slightly hurt look crosses her face, she shakes her head, the frown still present. "I haven't,"

"Leland's is still there," I tell her, trying the first thing I could to get rid of the hurt on her face. Anything to lighten her mood.

"How is she?"

"She's still Leland," I grin. I go there once a week, I have since I moved there, Leland is still the loud larger than life woman she's always been. Two years ago she finally agreed to marry Rick. They fought for years over it, he finally convinced her. "She tries to give me free food, calls it compensation for all the free press I give her,"

Her lips upturn at this.

"I miss her," She nods, looking down at her hands like she didn't know where else to look.

"She asked about you a lot," I couldn't tell her much though.

I could tell her all about Baileys days at home, all the shit she did growing up. Her favorite color, favorite food, what her favorite song of the week had been.

But after we left? I couldn't. I had no idea if her favorite color had changed to a different shade of blue, or to a new color entirely. I couldn't tell her what Belles song of the week was and I had no idea if she tried some new food out in California and fell in love with it.

I couldn't tell Leland one current thing about the woman sitting beside me, aside from things you could look up online. So eventually, she stopped asking me about her.

"Her and Rick would love to see you,"

"Honestly I don't know if I could go back," she states

"Just like you thought you couldn't come back home?" I counter.

"It's just different. The last time I had been to Chicago, Jordan was alive and happy,and we-" She stops that sentence short, but I already know where she had been going.

We were together. Yes we had been broken up for most of that trip, but in reality there wasn't a time in that period where her and I weren't connected. The was never a time then, where I could say I didn't love her.

Jordan knew that obviously, he knew us, hence the whole baseball game.

"I get it," I tell her, my voice soft and quiet for only her to hear. Nudging her arm slightly, she looks up at me, a strain of pride goes through me at the lack of hesitancy for her to do so. She was slowly becoming less guarded, less scared.

There we go Bailey.

"I understand where you're at with it,"

It's different than coming back here. Home had already been tainted by his death for her, where Chicago wasn't. Her last memories of home were ones of him being buried and sympathetic looks, but Chicago was full of memories where he had been present, lying for the sake of us, and doing gymnastics terribly in the backyard of her friends house.

Chicago symbolized happy memories for her and going back without him would ruin it all for her.

I understand. So painfully much.

"So you watch my games?" I change the subject, knowing the abrupt mood change would make her smile; or at least grin.

I know it works when her shoulders relax. She released a breath at fries to cover it by narrowing her eyes as she semi glares at me. She was starting to act like she used to, I was starting to see the old Bailey.

"I'm a Bears fan Kazer," is all she says

"And I'm the Bears quarterback Bailey-Belle," I'm sure she's annoyed by the grin on my face; but I have to mess with her somehow. This is how we used to be, it was how we've always been and I'll be damned if I wasn't going to act myself around her.

I just wanted something normal back.

"Yeah I've seen better," She throws right back at me making my grin grow. Sitting back in my chair, I challenge her stare with mine.

"Statistically, I'm currently the best quarterback in the league and a record breaking athlete
In just five years of playing. Ain't no one better than me princess,"

And just like that, the moment ends.

It slipped out of my mouth like it had been reflex.

She locks up at the nickname, her body freezing over at the sound of it leaving my lips. She no longer grinning, now just staring at me.

"Belle-"

"It's okay," she nods like the nickname was a gut punch to her stomach "Dont apologize for that,"

She's standing up as she says this, taking a shaking breath and putting on a bright face for everyone else on the plane that she's about to walk past.

"I am going to go to the bathroom," she states avoiding my eyes

I'm left speechless as she walks away, feeling as if I have fucked up everything we started rebuilding.

Fuck.