John Francis - Chapter 47

Tuesday, April 29, 2008 at 2:31 PM
Sitting at the coffee shop known as Dave’s, Amanda was finally feeling warmer from her walk and a few cups of coffee and the time to think had been good for her. She replayed the conversation she had heard and tried to get to the root of what bothered her. Part of it was the anger Dot had towards Jon, or rather the resentment that he had strayed so often from their marriage. Another part was the public aspect of Jon’s life, where someone or more than one of his trusted associates had betrayed him. The most troubling aspect though was his infidelities. That was the bald truth. She felt she had fooled herself into thinking that love was enough with a man like Jon and that didn’t seem to be the way it was.

A cold blast of air announced the opening of the door. So lost in thought she didn’t look up, she was startled when a tall dark figure settled in the booth opposite her. She looked up into Richie’s face. He reached for one of her hands.

“Hey pretty lady.”

Not trusting her voice, Amanda just nodded her greeting. She gave herself a small shake and cleared her voice.

“Hey Rich, thanks for coming.”

“I talked to Jon. He’s going nuts, by the way.”

“I just needed a little time to myself. Needed to do some thinking.”

He raised his eyes at her. “Hope that thinking didn’t include leaving?”

She didn’t answer and wouldn’t meet his eyes.

Fuck! This is worse than I thought. Gotta get her to talk.

Throwing a few bills on the table, he took her hand and pulled her to her feet.

“Let’s get outta here.” She followed without a word, getting into his car.

He drove in silence for a few minutes, then pulled into a parking lot by a kid’s park. Turning off the car, he looked at her.

“Honey, talk to me.”

She shook her head ‘no’ and continued to look out the window.

He tried another tactic. “Didn’t you say we were friends?”

She nodded ‘yes’.

“Then let me be your friend. Talk to me.”

Tears rolled down her face as she tried to explain the real issue.

“I can’t be with someone who will cheat on me…I can’t take being scared of getting some disease…or seeing him with someone younger…or becoming someone he wants to leave behind…” She was actually sobbing now as she expressed her deepest fears.

Richie took in and blew out a deep breath. Jon was going to have to talk with her about this, but he couldn’t not say something. Before he could begin, Amanda continued.

“It has to stop now, Richie, I can’t love someone this much and lose them again. I can’t have another person taken from me…if someone is going to leave, this time it’s going to be me…”

Richie’s cell rang at that moment as Amanda continued to cry softly.

“Hey man…yeah, we left Dave’s…Jon…JON!…let us talk for a few, okay? Let me call you in a bit…man, calm down…she’s okay…just give us a little time, alright? I’ll call soon…yeah, I know, man, I know…soon…”

Amanda’s tears had slowed and Richie turned to her.

“I want to ask you something, honey…” Richie began and then continued at her nod. “You love Jon, right?” Again she nodded. “And, you’re scared, right?” Another nod. “Will you believe that I know Jon just about as well as anyone, maybe even better than his ex-wife in some ways?”

She thought about that for a few seconds, then nodded her assent.

“Ok, here’s the truth as I know it. Jon did fuck around on the road, especially when away from Dot for long periods. Since the divorce, well, as you’ve seen, he’s been an asshole. But, and this is a really big but, you have to believe that he has not been the way he is with you with anyone before.”

Still no words from Amanda, but she was listening.

“Dot has been in his life since they were 17. They did love each other and a long time ago I believe they were in love. No one could have known what would happen to the band and when things got big and continued to get bigger, Dot didn’t want to be a part of that life. She left Jon alone for long periods of time because she didn’t want to hang with the band and then they started having kids. He really has been alone for a very long time. I think with you he wants someone to share his life with and someone who will be there with him every step of the way.”

“Richie…” Amanda began, but he interrupted.

“Wait, please, let me finish…” he motioned to her. “He is in a different stage of life now and he wants you to share it with him. And you told me you had found love again. Do you know how rare that is? Are you really going to throw it away?” He held his breath waiting for her answer.

With a deep sigh, she spoke. “…no…but I’m really scared of being so hurt again…”

“Aren’t you going to be hurt if you leave him?”

Shaking her head, she answered, “…it’s crazy to love him this much this fast…so, yes, I don’t know what I would do without him…”

“So, let’s go talk to the man…okay, honey?”

She turned teary eyes to him. “Take me there, Richie.”

Within moments they were turning into Jon’s driveway, to see Jon standing outside, phone in hand. He was pacing rapidly back and forth and only stopped when he saw Amanda was with Richie. Racing to her side of the car, he threw open the door and practically pulled her out. Holding her tightly in his arms, he just shook with emotion. His eyes were closed as he held her almost savagely, not wanting to let go.

Richie got out of the car and at the sound of the door, Jon opened his eyes and looked at his friend. He saw a small nod and just held Amanda tighter. She returned his hold with equal fervor.

Making a motion towards the house, Richie spoke. “Let’s go inside, guys.” They all moved into the house and the living room. Jon would not let go of Amanda’s hand which caused problems when she tried to remove her coat. Finally, sitting down with glasses of wine, Richie started the long overdue conversation.

“I know this should really be between you two, but I’m in it now and you both are going to listen to me.”

They looked at him, waiting to hear what he had to say. He started with Jon.

“Man, you are my brother, closer to me than anyone, so I’m not gonna bullshit you. If you want this woman in your life, you are going to have to change. No more fucking around, no one night stands, no rock star notches, nothing…because the thought of that terrifies her. It is enough to make her leave you, right now, and you would be losing the best thing to ever happen to you besides your kids.”

He turned to Amanda now. “You are going to have to accept that Jon was a certain way, but he doesn’t want to be that way any longer. You’re going to have to begin to trust him, not just love him, because you want to be in his life more than anything.”

Richie gave them a few minutes to absorb what he had said. Jon turned to Amanda.

“Is that what it was? Hearing that I was unfaithful and the pain I caused to Dot?”

She nodded. “I know this sounds like some sort of ultimatum, but it isn’t. It’s just what I can and can’t accept. Never once during my years with Jeremy did I have to worry about being cheated on, or catching a disease, or being left for someone better. This is just something I can’t do…leaving you now would break my heart…finding out you cheated on me or that I had become a burden…well, that would break me.”

The quiet determination in her voice, instead of making him feel cornered, made him want to do anything for her.

“I can only tell you that I know what my actions did before. The possibility of finding someone like you didn’t even exist for me and I will do anything to have you know that I don’t want to repeat my mistakes. I want a partner, someone to share a life with, someone who wants to be with me as much as I want to be with them. You are that person, Manda, I love you and I need you. Please give me the chance to show you.”

Amanda looked at Richie for a moment and at his nod, she turned again to Jon.

Almost in a whisper, she told him, “I want that chance too.”

He kissed her softly, lovingly, then turned to his friend.

“Thanks, man, thanks for being there for both of us.” Amanda got up and kissed Richie’s cheek and added her thanks.

“Hey guys, don’t sweat it, I don’t want to lose any friends either, whether they’re an old friend or a new one.”


  1. Opester Says:

    I hope Amanda gives Jon a chance to show that he's seen the error of his ways. He needs to show her he can be different and he needs to know that being a rock star doesn't absolve him of responsibility for fidelity. I hope he can follow his words with actions!

  2. Hathor Says:

    I loved Richie in this chapter. What a great friend. And he's totally right. I hope the two of them can see that.

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