John Francis - Chapter 171

Thursday, September 18, 2008 at 9:42 AM
Motioning for Amanda to follow her to the kitchen, Dot made to grab for coffee cups, but Amanda held up a hand and directed her to a chair.

“Sit! Just tell me which cupboard.” Dot did so and Amanda got the coffee, cream, and sugar, bringing two cups back.

Draining half her cup, Dot gave a big sigh and slumped down in her seat a little. Amanda grabbed the pot and brought it to the table. She saw a notepad and pen by the phone in the kitchen and grabbed those too.

“Okay, take a deep breath and have a little more coffee, then tell me what you need.” She watched as Dot visibly relaxed at having a few minutes respite from whatever had been happening that morning.

“The kid’s nanny has the flu. Eric’s tuxedo is still at the cleaners. My dress is not fitting right. I can’t get the kids out from underfoot. The chairs and table areas need to be arranged in the tent. The caterer is here to see the set up and it isn’t ready. The florist just called and will be bringing the flowers today instead of tomorrow as one of their trucks broke down and there isn’t time for a rental. Eric had some last minute business stuff that took him into the city and I’m very quickly going insane!”

“Wow! No wonder! That’s a lot to deal with.” Amanda paused, thinking hard.

“Alright, let’s tackle this a little at a time.” She pulled out her cell and dialed.

“Jon? Hey, you and Richie need to do something. Yeah, I know you’re in the studio, but this is more important…No, I’m not kidding...I need you and Rich to come over and get the kids for a few hours and watch them. No, the nanny is sick and there is too much to be done for Dot or Stephanie to handle. Yes, right away. Jon!…Okay, see you in about 15 minutes.” She hung up her cell and wrote on the pad in front of her.

Dot’s mouth hung open briefly as she listened to Amanda ordering Jon around. She then shut it and gave a small smile. Amanda was gazing off into the distance thinking and didn’t notice.

“Now, the chairs and tables?” She asked Dot.

“There is a heavy duty party tent already up outside with heaters ready for tomorrow. The chairs need to get arranged and there is an arched flower lattice work alter that will be where the ceremony will take place. The florist is bringing that.”

“You got a nice break on the weather, having this outside.” Amanda glanced out a nearby window as she spoke.

“Yeah, I triple checked the forecast, but there was no snow and supposedly relatively mild weather. Besides we’re going into the tent from the house and there will be the heaters.” Dot answered.

“Okay, give me the name of the dry cleaner’s where Eric’s suit is and directions and I’ll get that after the chairs and the florist arrive.” Dot did so. They were refreshing their coffees when they heard a knock on the door and then the stomping of several kid feet and grown males entering the house.

Jon and Richie came into the kitchen followed by the boys and Stephanie. Amanda addressed them all.

“Your dad and Richie are going to take you all to his house for the afternoon. Let’s go get your clothes for tonight and you can shower there and be ready for the dinner.” Turning to Dot, she verified the time. “They need to be ready to leave at six, right?” A nod ‘yes’ answered that question.

Both men shot her a look at the idea of getting the three younger boys ready and she just raised her eyebrows at them in a “forget it” look. Turning to Dot, she asked about the kids’ clothes.

“All in their closets in hanging bags.” Amanda marched out of the kitchen and enlisting Stephanie’s help she gathered the bags and shoes for the boys. Making sure she had their clothes for tonight, as well as for the wedding tomorrow, she packed some small bags with shoes, pajamas, underwear, and the like. Jon didn’t know it yet, but they were keeping the kids tonight.

She cajoled Stephanie with the thought that with her dad and Richie watching the boys, she would have more time to get ready as “we girls just need more time and men just don’t get it”. Stephanie nodded her agreement and by the time they all returned downstairs she was all smiles. Dot gave a quick look to make sure the boys had everything, including clean underwear, and Richie and Jon took the clothes and bags out to the car. Dot just gave a tired wave as they all began to depart, but Amanda followed them out to the car.

Pulling Jon and Richie aside, she made it clear that they were to watch the boys, not return to the studio, as it would spoil things for Dot and Eric if one of the kids got hurt right before their wedding and honeymoon. Both men nodded at her, not sure how she had commanded this performance, but realizing they were well and truly stuck now. Everyone got loaded into the SUV and giving Jon a quick kiss and a whispered “thanks babe” in his ear, she waved them off.

As Jon was leaving with his car filled with kids and bags and a guitarist, the florist arrived and was directed by Amanda back toward the tented area. The guys wanted to go through the house to save some time and distance, however, she firmly vetoed that, with a frown and a sharp “you’re going to track mud through her house the night before her wedding? Were you planning on getting a tip or just doing this for fun?” The men looked at her, standing with her hands on her hips and a no nonsense expression on her face and just started hauling the flowers around.

Amanda stopped one of the men. “Who’s in charge here?” The man pointed out a dark blonde man, a bit older than the others. Moving immediately to his side, Amanda held out her hand.

“Amanda Matthews, coordinator, and you are?”

“Sam Johnson, supervisor.”

“Nice to meet you, Mr. Johnson. Once your men have the flowers back in the tent area, please let me know so we can get the correct placement.” He nodded at her and returned to directing his men.

Amanda went back into the kitchen. Dot was still sitting over her coffee.

“Dot? Where are the chairs and the tables?” Pointing her to an alcove off the kitchen that led to a large garage area, Amanda found a side door and looking out saw the equipment delivery truck and crew. Coming back through the kitchen to grab her pad, she wrote the name of Sam Johnson - flowers, on it and then sought out the people responsible for the chair delivery. She found five men outside towards the back, leaning against the house, having a smoke.

“Who’s in charge here?” She again began. One man identified himself and she added his name to the list, as well as the name of his company.

“The chairs need to be brought to the tent area and set up.”

“Not in our contract lady.” The man who had identified himself as in charge replied laconically, taking a deep drag of his cigarette.

Amanda smiled sweetly at him. ‘Mr. Hanson, I’m sure a man in your position has a copy of that contract with you.”

“Nope, back at the office.” He casually tossed out.

“Well, I’m sure then that Mrs. Bon Jovi has a copy, but first let me make a phone call.” She pulled out her cell phone in front of the men and dialed, but did not push the send button to connect.

“Hi, Mr. Bon Jovi? It’s Amanda. Jon, I need a favor. There is a delivery company called ‘New York’s Finest’ that has delivered the chairs and tables to Dot’s. Oh, you’ve heard of them? Well, here’s what I need you to do. I need you to put out the word to everyone from the mayor of New York City to the ones in Jersey to Philadelphia on down the line that this company should never under any circumstances be used for anything or anyone of importance.” She kept half an eye on the man name Hanson as she pretended to speak.

“Well, of course I know the governor was planning on using them in a few weeks, Jon, after all that is my job. Oh, you’ll call him and have him cancel any order he was going to place? That’s great, Mr. Bon Jovi, I really appreciate it. What? Yes, Jon, I understand this means getting another company for all Soul functions and local Jovi concerts too. Yes, I appreciate your help with this. Thanks so much. Bye for now.”

During this conversation, Hanson’s face had been growing redder and redder and the men who worked with him were becoming visibly upset and glaring both at Hanson and at her.

Amanda fixed him with a sweet but deadly stare. “Now Mr. Hanson, have you suddenly recalled that the contract does call for set up of the rented equipment or do I make that phone call for real?”

While she was sure she could see him mouthing the words “fucking bitch” as he motioned the men to get busy, she was quite delighted to get another thing done.

“Make sure everything is perfect inside that tent, Mr. Hanson, because I will make that phone call and I will make sure the owner of your company knows the reason why.”

~~~

Within a short time the inside of the tent had been transformed. The chairs were in perfect alignment with their rose colored covers neatly placed, a crisp bow at the back of each. The florists had placed their deliveries under Amanda’s watchful eye and the area where the actual vows would be said was a riot of pinks and mauves that would show off the happy couple to perfection.

In between doing the tent arranging, Amanda had sent Dot off to take a hot bath and relax. She returned to the house now and after calling her name, found Dot in her dressing room, sitting in a warm terry cloth robe. Amanda handed her a glass of wine she had brought with her and sat for a moment with her own, giving Dot an update on what had taken place.

With a look of amazement on her face, Dot finally managed to ask, “How did you know to do all that?”

“I ran my husband’s company for years. We had deliveries, vendors, clients…you know, the usual. Some needed a firm hand and I was the one who supplied it as my husband was usually out in the field.”

“Thanks so much, Manda, I think I just got a little overwhelmed.” Dot’s smile was grateful and much more relaxed than when Amanda had first arrived.

“I’ll be picking up Eric’s tux on my way back to Jon’s, but first I wanted to see what you meant about your dress not being right.” Dot drew her wedding dress out from its protective bag. She had her underwear on underneath her robe and pulled the gown up over her shoulders, with Amanda buttoning the back.

“I tried this on earlier by myself and it seemed that one side was hanging longer than the other.” Dot explained. Standing back a distance Amanda looked at the dress from all sides. It was an elegantly simple off-white A-line lace over satin sheath that was floor length, but without a train. The scooped neck and long sleeves that ended in a triangle over the top of her hands added to the elegance.

“From what I can see, everything is perfectly even. I think with all the small buttons in the back and the fact that you were doing it yourself, they weren’t all matched. It looks perfect and you look so beautiful in it.”

Her smile was genuine as Dot really did look so lovely in the dress. Helping her take it off and putting it back in the protective bag as Dot put her robe back on, Amanda decided she would soon ask the question that had occurred to her back when Dot first asked her for help today.

As the two women walked down the stairs into the kitchen, Amanda had her peek into the tent to see the results. Dot’s wide smile was answer enough. The trucks were gone and other than the rehearsal dinner tonight, everything was ready. The caterer would be there at five tomorrow to set up and Amanda promised herself she would make those phone calls.

Sitting in the kitchen again, this time with a glass of wine instead of coffee, the two women sat in companionable silence. Amanda finally threw caution to the wind and asked her question.

“Dot…why me?” She knew the other woman would know what she meant.

“You mean why you and not one of my close friends?” Dot eyed her over the rim of her wine glass.

Shaking her head ‘yes’, Amanda agreed that was the question.

“I had one of my friends over earlier, but all she kept talking about was Jon – Jon and me, Jon and you, our divorce, everything. It was too much and I didn’t want to hear it, so I told her I had everything under control and I would see her tonight.”

Meeting Amanda’s eyes in a steady gaze, Dot continued. “I knew you wouldn’t do that.”

“Nope, not a chance of that happening!” Amanda had to smile at the absurdity of that even remotely occurring.

Dot also smiled, then took a deep breath and turned to fully engage Amanda’s attention.

“I have a confession to make…” she started out, softening her words with a half smile, “…I really didn’t want to like you.” Amanda made wide eyes at that, but wisely said nothing.

After pausing for what seemed an extremely long time, Dot took a deep breath and continued, her voice low and soft, her eyes distant.

“It’s been so long I can’t remember not loving Jon. After the divorce, I could handle his one-nighters because I never really knew anything concrete about them and never met them. You, though…he brought you to his home. You…I could see right away…were going to be a problem.”

Amanda took a deep breath, but wasn’t sure what to say. She just kept her eyes on Dot, waiting to hear what Jon’s ex-wife had to say to her.

“But I took a chance myself and got to know you a bit over the last several weeks. I’ve seen how you are with the kids, with Jon, and with me. You aren’t perfect, thank god, and I think you’d better develop a stronger backbone with Jon or else he’ll start taking things for granted, but I am glad to see that the person he brought around, the one who’s going to be with the kids, is you.”

Slightly stunned at Dorothea’s words, Amanda was quiet for a few minutes as she thought. She raised her eyes then, meeting Dot’s.

“You still love him.” It wasn’t a question, it was a statement.

Taking her own deep breath now, Dot answered honestly.

“Yes, I still love him.”

Feeling an ache begin inside, Amanda made herself ask the question she expected to break her heart.

“Then why, Dot? Why don’t you tell him?”

5 comments

  1. Anonymous Says:

    OMG she cant have him - she gave him up and now he belongs to Amanda. :( Amanda dont you dare give in so easily!!!!
    Chris/rutpop

  2. Anonymous Says:

    AGGGGGGGGGGHHHHH

    Okay, that was not cool-I'm going out of town early in the morning and now I'm not going to know what happens until Sunday?????

    :)

    Linda

  3. Shelly Says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

    Manda fight.....NOOOOO!!!!

    Maybe dot can clarify love...in love? friendship, i'll always love but it way?

    Not in love....No....LOL

  4. Lori Says:

    Wow, these were great chapters. Dying to know if it's Mrs. B. messing with Amanda. Interesting new twist with Dot too. Please don't keep us waiting too long.

  5. Oh my! I am sure its all going to be ok, tho.

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