John Francis - Chapter 20

Friday, April 18, 2008 at 6:21 AM
This time they had the limo had to let them off a bit of a distance from the club as the streets were jammed with people and other vehicles. As they started walking to the club, Jon’s hand intertwined with Amanda’s. She snuggled her shoulder closer to him and he squeezed her hand.

“Thanks for coming, Mandy. We don’t get to relax and have fun as much as it might seem we do.”

Her heart melted a little at that and she vowed she would not cause any discomfort for any of them just because it might be something she wasn’t used to. She squeezed his hand back, then grinned and growled at him.

“Just STAY OUT of this ladies’ room, you beast!” His flash of grin was enough. She was in trouble.

From long experience, the men staggered the timing of their entrance into the club. Tico went first as he was more of a regular living part of the year down here. A few minutes later Richie ducked his height a little and entered, heading to the bar. Jon steered Amanda to enter in front of him as he knew that would take care of the male portion of the crowd inside. He stayed close enough to her that they actually made it to the bar to join the others without incident.

Richie had a beer in hand when he wandered over to the stage where a house band was playing. Dr. Feelgood’s, owned by Vince Neil of Motley Crew, was known for the quality of its house bands and the guys on the stage were certainly familiar with Richie Sambora. Broad grins and slaps of hands greeted his entrance and he spoke with them for a few minutes. Nods all around confirmed that he would be able to play.

Jon and Tico exchanged grins. “There he goes again,” groaned Tico.

Jon laughed softly and nodded. “You know Richie, he’s gotta play.”

Tico took his beer and walked over the group. He also was well known and from the looks of it the drummer of the band didn’t mind turning over his drum set at all. The house lights had dimmed and Amanda could barely see Richie putting on a guitar and doing some tuning. He had turned to Tico and the other guys playing and soon the sounds of “Hard Times Come Easy” came pouring out.

A ripple went through the crowd as the lights came up a bit and they got a good look at the guitar player and then the drummer. When Richie started singing Amanda felt her mouth drop open. Jesus he was good! The people in the crowd were dancing and singing and the whole atmosphere felt charged. She felt herself starting to dance unselfconsciously. She just couldn’t not move to the music.

Jon got a good look at her shaking her ass and moving to the music and the quiet words “aw hell” slipped out. Richie started in on a Beatle’s tune and the crowd roared its approval.

Jon pulled Amanda close for a moment, nodding at her. “I’ll be right back”. She returned his nod and kissed his cheek, still swaying to the music.

Jon moved over to the stage, catching Richie’s eye. He grinned at his friend rather sheepishly and Richie rolled his eyes, but nodded. After finishing with the Beatle’s, the lights were dimmed again as the crowd screamed for more.

The stage was darker than before and as two guitars started strumming the opening chords for an extremely familiar song, the ripple that had been there before turned into a tidal wave. As the opening chords of “I’ll Be There For You” were recognized and the lights came up people actually screamed.

Amanda stood so still she could have been a statue. Jon, Richie, Tico, and the other few musicians played flawlessly. The charged atmosphere turned into rocket fuel as the crowd recognized Jon. They sang so loudly he was almost drowned out, but years of stadium play had taught them how to hold their own.

She moved towards Jon without even being aware of it. She stood at the edge of the dance floor, about 10 feet away, mesmerized by Jon, Richie, Tico and the song. One of her true favorites. She could not believe this was happening. Jon saw her come over and saw the expression on her face. He also caught the glint of tears in her eyes as she was overcome with emotion watching him sing and play.

What he wanted was for her to get his message. He continued the song after the normal ending, ad libbing as he sometimes did on special occasions, with extra verses. He looked straight at her as he sang, saying with his singing what he could not yet put into words:

“Baby I’ll be there for you
Baby if you want me too
I’ll do anything for you
All you gotta do is hold my hand and I’ll be there
Baby call my name
When you need a shoulder to lean on, to cry on, baby, I’ll be there for you
In the pouring rain
In the charging snow
I’ll come all the way home again
Just to be there in your arms
Baby I’ll be there
Oh when you need me
Please believe me
And I’ll be there.”

Author’s Note: This is the web site for this youtube video version of “Ill Be There For You”:

He saw her shake her head, looking straight into his eyes, actually shake her head no. He held her gaze as he had so many times in the past and repeated the chorus while nodding his head yes. It was a subtle gesture, but she caught it. He saw her take a deep breath, drop her head and then raise it. She again looked directly at him and nodded her head – yes.

The roar of the crowd as the song ended broke the spell he had her under. She moved away from the dance floor to the very edge of the crowd that surrounded the guys. Needing a moment alone, she slipped out a side door leading to an outside patio. There was an exit from that area and she went in that direction. She walked a few steps outside the patio area and stood looking up and down the street, trying to decide which direction to walk for a moment. She had not taken more than half a dozen steps though before a hand caught hers.

“Where ya going, Mandy?” Jon asked softly.

Instead of answering, she turned to face him and drew his head towards hers. He felt her soft lips gently touch his and then press harder as she made love to his mouth with hers. His hands caught her hair and back, pressing her to him, oblivious to where they were or who might be watching. They were lost in that moment until both broke away with shaking breaths.

Suddenly they were surrounded by women of all ages who had spotted Jon leaving the club. His name was called over and over and the sheer number of the crowd forced them apart as Jon tried to hold onto her hand. She was jostled aside and almost fell but a strong pair of male hands caught her and she heard a familiar voice in her ear.

“I got ya, darlin,” came Richie’s honeyed drawl.

Turning, she saw Richie and Tico who had come out immediately after seeing Amanda was not anywhere in sight. They knew Jon would follow and they knew that there were quite a few fans here. Tico was already on the cell phone calling the limo driver and she overheard “…hurry man” before Richie raised a hand to Jon to let him know Amanda was safe.

Jon smiled his “press smile”, the one that did not quite make it to his eyes as the women surrounding him plucked at his shirt, his hair, and one even dared to grab his ass. Moving towards the others, he explained that he had to leave. Inside he was seething. He had seen what happened to Amanda and as much as he usually did appreciate the fans, the fact that his woman had almost been knocked to the ground set his teeth on edge.

The limo arrived within moments and Richie immediately got Amanda inside, while Tico extricated Jon from the enlarging crowd. With practiced ease the men entered the limo, shutting and locking the doors. Jon immediately turned to Amanda.

“You okay baby?” Concern was evident in his voice.

Still trembling from their kiss and from the close call, she gave a shaky laugh. “Yep, got rescued myself that time.”

Richie quipped, “Well, it’s wasn’t a tree, but there were a bunch of nuts out there.”

Jon gathered her close to him and she curled towards his warmth. He looked at Richie over her head and caught the other man’s eyes. Over 25 years worth of traveling, playing, partying, and living had the two so close they could almost read the other’s mind. Jon’s eyes said “thanks man” and Richie’s nod was “you’re welcome”.


  1. Opester Says:

    Oh, to imagine what it would be like to have Jon sing special lyrics just for her-did she realize they were special given that she isn't that big of a fan? or that Richie usually sings that song?

  2. Hathor Says:

    Gawd, can you imagine going to your favorite club and having that happen? I've been to Stephen's Talkhouse out in the Hamptons a bunch of times, and Billy Joel frequents that place, which is cool, but seeing Richie jam with the house band, well, that would be something else.

    Hope Amanda doesn't get too freaked out at the "rock star" side of Jon's life.

  3. willow Says:

    I'm still reading and still really loving your story. The way you capture the personalities of everyone is really special. Your desciption of Mandy's first outing with the guys was really intense.

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