John Francis - Chapter 85

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 5:27 PM
Christmas at Dorothea and Eric’s house was a noisy family affair. With the four kids, grandparents, other in-laws, and Jon, there was laughter and tearing of wrapping paper and kids’ shouts of joy at their gifts. Jon found himself watching Eric a bit and noticed that the man really did seem to be trying to just be a friend to his children. He deferred to Jon when appropriate and from what Jon could see he seemed to adore Dot. Jon acknowledged to himself that if he had not had Amanda he would have been in agony at the visible change to his family, but knowing her and what she had said seemed to make it better.

Dot noticed the change in Jon and in the kitchen getting coffee for the other adults, she smiled at him.

“Thank you, Jon.”

He looked at her, puzzled. “For what, Dot?”

“For how you’re treating Eric and everyone else. I gotta admit I thought you might be a bit put out not having Amanda here…” she held up a hand, “…I know, it was her idea, but still…and you aren’t. So, I have to ask…why?”

“Truth?”

“Yeah, Jonny, truth.”

“Because she told me to go and enjoy every single moment with my family and not waste one second, that it was too precious…and she really meant it.”

Dot nodded at that, grudgingly liking Amanda even more. “She sounds almost too good to be true…”

He was gazing off into space… “Yeah, almost…” For the first time in a while, the years of people using him for something or wanting something from him began to creep back into his mind. She is too good to be true an evil voice whispered in his head and a dark demon of doubt joined forces with the newly awoken cynic from the day before and both sunk their claws into Jon at that moment.

They went back in to join the rest of the noisy family inside.

~~~

Amanda and her mother were enjoying breakfast at Jon’s, having exchanged their gifts with each other. Her mother loved the gifts Amanda had chosen and Amanda actually laughed out loud when her mother presented her with several beautiful nightgowns and other sleepwear.

“Are these a hint or a help, mom?”

Laughing herself, Jennifer replied, “I just thought you would like them – now hush – I’m still your mother!”

Hugging her, Amanda responded, “I’m so glad you’re here. It would have been hard to be alone in a strange city on Christmas. I would have missed you.”

Amanda’s cell rang and she saw it was Jon.

“Hey handsome!”

“Well, good morning again! What’s going on there?”

“Coffee, breakfast, and our gifts. How are things there?”

“Good and that’s part of the reason I’m calling so soon. I’ll be done here around 11 and then I’d like to get you and your mom for a late lunch here. Sound okay?”

“Sounds great! Please thank Dot for me.”

“I will. So, think you two can be ready around 11:30?”

He heard a quick discussion between the two women and then Amanda came back on the line.

“Yep, we’ll be ready. See you then.”

“Love you.”

“I love you too, Jon.”

~~~

At 11:15 Jon pulled into his driveway. Entering the house, he saw Amanda’s gifts waiting by the door and he took a few minutes to take them out to the car. Both women were coming down the stairs as they had heard the door. Jennifer was dressed in a casual outfit that complemented her skin tones. Amanda had on a pair of black dress pants and a deep red shirt that brought out the darker tones of her skin and hair. She had pulled her hair back into a long braid, although a few front wisps managed to escape. Her makeup was light and she had only minimal jewelry on. She took his breath away.

The two women actually started laughing as Jon was just standing there looking at Amanda. He heard their chuckles and a light blush lit his face.

“Okay, okay, I deserved that…”

~~~

During the drive to Dot’s house, Jon told Jennifer a bit about his kids and his ex, along with his mom and dad, as well as Dot’s fiancé. It only took 10 minutes to get to the house and Amanda felt her nerves beginning to get a bit unsettled. Jon took her hand in his.

“Everyone wants to meet you both and I want you to meet them. It’s going to be fine, baby.”

They turned into the drive and found a place to park amongst all the cars already there.

“Oh, hey, Tony and his wife and Matt and his are there. Looks like we get this done in one fell swoop!”

“Don’t try to make me feel better, John Francis, it’s not going to work!”

He grinned that smile at her and against her will she melted. She hissed at him, “Stop that!”

They all got out of the car, arms filled with gifts for everyone and were heading toward the door when Eric opened it.

“Hey! Need a hand there?” He moved to Amanda’s mother and took some of the items from her.

“Thank you, they were heavier than they seemed!”

Ushering everyone in the house, they walked in to see the entire Bongiovi clan gathered in the living room where there were stacks of presents and a huge tree. Tony and Matt came forward to take the other gifts.

Knowing it was up to her to set the tone, Dot moved to Amanda. Holding out her arms, the two women exchanged a hug, with Amanda thanking her for inviting them to her home. Introductions were then made and coffees served. Jon took Amanda over to his parents and they spent some time talking. Carol and John, Sr., carefully watched their son and his interaction with this woman. They were surprised at how friendly she was and then Amanda’s mother was introduced and the two older women sat down to talk.

Most of the people were socializing after the initial “how do’s” and Jon took Amanda over to meet his children. Starting with Stephanie, he then introduced her to Jesse, Jacob, and Romeo. She was startled to see so much of their father in each child, some with his eye color, another with facial features, and yet another with just his manner. She could also see their mother in them and thought they were all very beautiful children. Not trying to push anything, she just thanked them for including her in their Christmas and left it at that.

Taking some of the coffee cups into the kitchen, she and Dot ended up being alone for a few minutes waiting for another pot to brew.

“Can I help you with this lunch you’re putting together?” Amanda felt the need to do something to help as there was a rather large crowd waiting to eat.

“How are you at salads?”

“No problem, just tell me what you want in it.”

They worked companionably for a few minutes, with only the sounds of chopping and mixing to be heard.

Dot cleared her throat. “Amanda?”

“Yes?”

“Thank you.”

With surprise written all over her face, Amanda asked, “For what?”

“Jon told me what you said to him this morning.”

Amanda’s mouth dropped open. “He did?”

“Yes, about not wasting one precious second…and he didn’t. He was totally there for the kids and really pleasant to Eric. I think that’s because of you.”

Shaking her head, Amanda said, “It was just because I know how fast life can change. You can lose everything in a split second. I lost so much with my husband’s death and then afterwards I sort of lost myself…I’m learning now not to take anything for granted.”

Dot said softly, “I think Jon’s finally starting to learn that too.”

The two women looked at each other and nodded with understanding.

3 comments

  1. blackbird Says:

    Jon needs to kick that SOB devil to the far curb!

    If he doesn't, he'll find out that she IS too good for him.

    Then Richie will be kicking Jon's ass, for sure!

  2. Opester Says:

    I really like the way you had Jon second-guessing his comfort with Amanda. Ideas like that don't grab hold all of a sudden-they creep in slowly and insidiously and you are showing the process to perfection!

    I also really liked this line:
    “It was just because I know how fast life can change. You can lose everything in a split second. I lost so much with my husband’s death and then afterwards I sort of lost myself…I’m learning now not to take anything for granted.” That makes so much sense and really does explain Amanda's comfort with Jon being with his kids and appreciating their time together. She is a very wise woman, and so are you, Sunstreaked!

  3. jovikitn65 Says:

    Jon please don't listen to that dark voice in your head, cause if you hurt Amanda I am going to kick your ass!

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