Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now!
Chapter 7 - Epilogue
It was mid-June; the “Babylon Project” was making good progress. Since this was a very important contract for Kinney Bros., Brian decided to work more regularly at Kinnetik to stay closer to the action. He’d pop over to the construction site at least once a day. He had no idea what he was looking at, so he left the construction questions to John and Gordon but he made himself available to answer questions from the community. Babylon was an important part of the local community even to those who had grown up and no longer went to the club. Babylon had become a stabilizing fixture in the neighborhood.
The school year was almost at an end. This was very concerning to Bree who still hadn’t made up her mind what she was going to do about Ashley. Bree wanted the camp job and she definitely wanted to go to North in August with Gus and Raymond, but she also wanted to spend some time with her best friend. And then there was another important family issue that required attention.
“No, dads, I don’t want a fuss,” Patrick was heard to say from across the sun porch. He was up in his dads’ office discussing graduation plans. Or the lack thereof. The dads wanted to have a big celebration while Patrick wanted to keep things low key. Brian and Gus just happened to be in Brian’s office confirming the August plans when the conversation across the porch began getting loud. Father and son exchanged looks as their infamous eyebrows arched. They stood up to go across. The Anderson-Morrison conversation was becoming even a little more animated when Brian and Gus entered the office.
“Patrick,” Brian began in that low, serious tone of his that commanded attention. Brian and Gus turned those infamous eyebrows in Patrick’s direction.
“In this family, we celebrate accomplishments,” Brian continued. “You’re graduating high school with honors; this qualifies as an accomplishment. Let’s compromise. If you don’t want to make a big deal on your graduation day, that’s your right; however, you’re lucky to have two sets of grandparents and a special aunt and uncle that would very much like to celebrate the day with you. We can do a nice quiet dinner here on graduation day with all your favorite dishes. How does that sound?”
Patrick nodded. John and Bobby relaxed a little.
“And when we have our Fourth of July barbecue, all bets are off. The family get to celebrate as they see fit,” said Brian.
“Okay,” Patrick replied with a resigned sigh. He wasn’t sure where the compromise came in, but at least there wouldn’t be a fuss on the day itself. He was nervous about the graduation ceremony and the thought of going off to college was making him anxious. At least he’d have a couple of weeks to chill before the family descended on the fourth. Patrick already decided to take the summer off.
John and Bobby were happy.
Calm once again reigned in the conjoined cottages; it was business as usual.
Justin was once again in mega abstract mode. His floral canvases were bursting with color and selling like hotcakes. He was staring at one canvas in particular contemplating the addition of more color as he nibbled on the wooden end of the fully loaded brush.
“Daddy!” Bree shouted as she entered the porch startling the artist and making him jump. Justin’s brush landed on the floor with a splat.
“Jeez, Bree, wear a bell, will ya! You scared the life out of me,” Justin shouted back when his feet touched terra firma and he caught his breath. Bree stomped over to her Daddy and his latest masterpiece.
“Daddy, you know you’re not supposed to nibble on the end of your brush. You’re going to get brush poisoning or something.”
“Stop exaggerating,” Justin said as he picked up his abused paint brush; it did look a little gnarly. He then cleaned up the mess on the floor. “You sound just like your Dada,” he mumbled.
“I’m not exaggerating,” Bree denied as she stared at her father’s latest work. She and her elder father were trying to break Justin of his annoying habit of nibbling on his brushes. Neither one of them wanted to live through another allergy crisis.
“It’s done, Daddy, there’s no more room for another flower or a leaf or a blade of grass. It’s done,” Bree declared with a stomp of a dainty foot. Justin joined his daughter by the easel to study his painting with clearer eyes.
“You’re right,” Justin stated with resignation. His canvas was finished; it couldn’t hold another drop of paint. “Thank you,” said Justin as he gave his wise daughter a hug. And then his stomach growled. “Help me clean up and we’ll have a snack.”
“Good idea, Daddy,” said Bree with a bright smile. Working quickly with experienced hands, all paintings were hoisted to the rafters and supplies put away.
“What’s wrong, Baby Girl?” Justin asked as he prepared some healthy and not so healthy snacks for them to munch on. Bree poured them some milk before sitting down at their kitchen table. “You’re worried about something,” Justin observed.
“How do you know I’m worried about something?”
“You get quiet and moody like your Dada. That’s how I know,” Justin replied. “So spill. You know you can tell me anything. Is it boy trouble?” Justin asked with a smirk. It was the first thing that popped into his head.
“No, Daddy, it’s not boy trouble,” Bree snarked as she rolled her eyes.
“Then what’s gotten you looking like you’ve lost your best friend?” Justin asked then it occurred to him, this was about Bree’s best friend. “Oooh, wait a minute, this is about your best friend. You’re worried about how to fit some friend time into your busy schedule this summer.”
“Let’s figure this out,” Justin suggested as he took out his phone then popped up his calendar. “Look,” Justin said as he turned the phone towards Bree. “If you work these three weeks at camp, you’ll have this week to spend with Ashley. I’ll call Ashley’s mom now to make sure that Ashley’s free that week.” Bree’s smile lit up the room.
After several phone calls to Susanna, Brian, Gus, and the camp, Bree’s life for the next couple of months was finally sorted out.
“This calls for a celebration,” Justin announced as he jumped up then took out the fixings for Shirley Temples. “Drinks all around!” Justin called out, making Bree laugh.
“Wait, Daddy, we should make a toast,” Bree said as she held up her glass. Justin had added a fancy skewer with cherries and a slice of pineapple.
“What should we toast to?”
“Um, an organized summer?” Bree asked. Justin pondered for a moment then agreed.
“To an organized summer,” he said as he held up his glass. They clinked glasses as Bree repeated the toast. They laughed then took a sip.
“And what are you ladies celebrating?” Brian asked as he sauntered through the front door.
“Dada!” Bree called out as she ran to greet him.
“You’re home early,” Justin said as he pecked Brian’s lips.
“Ya, well, Kinnetik was getting boring,” Brian stated.
“In other words, Cynthia and Ted are tired of you kibitzing and told you to go home,” Justin translated.
“Something like that,” Brian admitted with a lopsided grin. “The boys are back to work so they really don’t need me,” Brian said with a sigh. “And the construction plans are clearly posted at the site. We also posted them inside Babylon. Anyone with questions can call Kinney Bros. and John or I’ll deal with them. So, it looks like you’re stuck with me.”
Both Bree and Justin cheered.
“Would you like a cocktail, Dada?” Bree offered with big smile.
“Sure, I’ll have what you’re having,” Brian replied.
“Bartender, one Shirley Temple for my Dada, please,” Bree called out.
“One Shirley Temple, coming right up!” Justin shouted back.
Brian smiled as he went to change his clothes. The laughter of his blonds followed him to his room.
Later that evening the boys were relaxing in the sun porch. Brian and Justin were sharing a chaise while John and Bobby each had one to themselves. Bree was in her room happily chatting with Ashley. Patrick was out with his friends.
“How goes the construction?” Bobby asked to the room at large.
“I think it’s going good, but ask the 'rock man'. What do I know?” Brian teased.
John rolled his eyes. “We’re right on schedule. The parking garage and market should be completed some time in the Fall. The office building and apartments should be done after the new year,” John stated with confidence.
“Wow,” Justin commented.
Bobby nodded. “I’m impressed,” he said.
“They’re not complicated structures. The apartment buildings will look similar to the one in the Village,” John explained.
“Minus the toxic waste,” Brian threw in reminding them all of the state that building was in prior to restoration.
“And the office building?” Bobby asked.
“Nothing too fancy but a different façade to distinguish it from the apartments. Brian, what do you think about Kinney Bros. having it’s office there?” John asked.
“You mean finally moving all those blueprints and files out of our office,” Bobby asked as he indicated their attic office. “I’m all for it!”
“You’re serious,” Brian said as he turned toward his brother.
“Sure, why not. We’ve taken on a lot of projects. Kinney Bros. deserves a place of its own. We can have City Hall come to us for meetings and I don’t mean out here,” John further stated.
“And when you have a particular project that you’d like to keep a close eye on, you can do it from your official Kinney Bros. office and not from Kinnetik,” Justin said with a knowing grin. Justin gave Brian a peck on his chin to take away the sting of his words.
“I hear you, Sunshine,” Brian conceded but gave Justin a little pinch to his butt.
“That does make a lot of sense,” Bobby tossed out. “Anderson Construction has a Harrisburg office but nothing in Pittsburgh. Your businesses have grown and warrant a permanent presence in Pittsburgh,” Bobby the lawyer stated logically. “There’s nothing in the rules that says Kinney Bros. can’t share an office with Anderson Construction. I bet Gordon will like it too.”
“Here’s to our new office,” Brian said as he waved his beer bottle in the air. The boys followed suit. “Maybe we can have one of those fancy carved stones saying 'The Kinney Building' above the main entrance,” Brian joked as he sucked in his lips.
“Maybe,” John murmured to himself. He had already thought of something just like it.
Somewhere in Europe at a not so fancy hotel, Max Jacobs was on the phone with a business associate. The conversation wasn’t going well; Max was getting angry and frustrated. He slammed down the phone then poured himself another drink. At least the alcohol wasn’t arguing with him.
He found the remote for the TV and began channel surfing. “Hundreds of channels of crap,” he mumbled. Max was about the throw the remote across the room when a news clip from the U.S. caught his attention. The story was about a set of brothers who were helping to revitalize their city. The reporter was covering the “ground breaking” ceremony and the local politicians’ reactions. The story was a few weeks old but it fueled Max’s foul mood.
“Kinney,” Max said with a sneer as he poured himself a shot of vodka then replayed the clip.
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