John Francis - Chapter 173

Tuesday, September 23, 2008 at 7:40 AM
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At almost exactly six that night, the doorbell rang and Jake ran to open it. His mother and Eric came in and the younger kids were immediately at her side. She laughed and hugged her sons, noting they were all cleaned and dressed in their clothes for the dinner. Somehow they had even managed to keep Romeo’s small suit jacket on, although she knew he would be out of it as soon as he could. Stephanie walked down as she had heard the door and her mother’s eyes lit up at the sight of her beautiful daughter.

“Sweetie, you look gorgeous!” Dot hugged her oldest to her as Stephanie returned the hug.

The three adults were waiting in the living room and stood up when Dot and Eric walked in. Richie and Jon had been jumping up and down to keep a close eye on Romeo, knowing the youngster could get dirty faster than an eye blink and so they were constantly following him around.

“Hey everybody!” Dot called out as she and Eric came into the living room followed by the kids.

“Hi!” Amanda, Jon, and Richie called out as they entered.

“Wow!” Richie gazed fondly at Dot, “Don’t you look great!”

She smiled at him as Eric grinned and put an arm around her waist.

“Thanks for that! Now maybe she’ll believe me!” He laughed as Dot raised an eyebrow at him.

Eric turned to the kids. “Everybody ready to go eat?”

A chorus of loud voices calling “yes!” met his question. They all moved toward the door and said their good nights. Waiting until everyone was loaded into the car, they waved from the doorway and then went back inside.

~~~

Turning to Amanda, hands on his hips, Jon grinned at her.

“I’m guessing the kids are coming back here in a few hours?”

Barely restraining a grin herself, she nodded at him. “Yep! Dot agreed.”

She did grin now at him. “Aw, honey, it’s a nice thing to do, give her the night before her wedding to just be herself.”

He shook his head, but was in no way annoyed. He appreciated her thoughtfulness towards Dot and the kids. He realized he also wanted this last night with them before the changes that were taking place occurred.

Making their way into the kitchen after hearing Linda call out that dinner was ready, the three sat eating, talking about the next day.

“I had promised Dot that I would make sure the caterer was doing what was needed, so do you think we could go over at about 4:30 tomorrow as they’re due at five?” She directed her question at Jon, but included Richie by look.

“I don’t see why not. Besides the kids will need time to get ready and probably a hand if the nanny still has the flu.” He answered her thoughtfully.

Turning to Richie, Amanda asked if he was bringing anyone to the wedding. Giving her a lop-sided smirk, he answered that he had at first thought of Jackie, but since that was over, he guessed he was coming stag. Amanda’s half smile-half smirk at his response was unrepentant as she still believed that Jackie did not deserve such a great guy.

The remainder of their evening passed quickly and soon the doorbell was ringing again, allowing entry of two very sleepy small boys, a yawning-but-trying-to-hide-it young man and a still beautiful young woman, accompanied by two beaming adults. Jon quickly took Romeo into his arms as his youngest looked like he was walking in his sleep. With a grin at Dot and Eric, he urged Jake to follow him up the stairs as he carried Romeo. With kisses for both their mom and Eric, the boys were taken up to get ready for bed. Jesse and Stephanie also said their goodnights and with an extra hug for her two older children, Dot watched them follow their father upstairs.

Amanda and Richie made small talk while Jon was busy with the kids. Moving with Dot a little to the side, she discussed their coming at roughly 4:30 to provide any last minute help that might be needed. Dot smiled her thanks and surprised herself by giving Amanda a quick hug first this time.

A short time later Jon returned, letting them all know that Romeo and Jake had fallen almost immediately asleep and Jesse and Stephanie were watching some TV in their rooms.

Taking Dot’s hand in his, Eric thanked them for keeping the kids tonight and accepted the hanging garment bag that contained his tux that Amanda handed to him. Turning to Amanda as she handed him the bag, he gave her a huge smile.

“I saw what you did this afternoon. Everything is really beautiful and Dot said it’s all due to your arranging. Thank you, Manda.”

Jon and Richie turned to Amanda at Eric’s statement. She blushed lightly at his praise, but firmly laid the credit at Dot’s feet.

“All I did was see to the placement of what Dot had already arranged. If it’s beautiful, it’s due to her good taste, not mine, so you…” she motioned at Eric, “…need to give her your complements!”

Eric laughed at that, but shook his head in mild disagreement.

“I know what I know, Amanda. Remember, I did talk to the author of that good taste before thanking you!”

“Hey, don’t forget who contributed the most – these two here…” she motioned to Jon and Richie, “…they brought the kids over and gave us the break we needed to finish things!”

Dot and Eric thanked Richie and Jon, both men theatrically moaning about running after the younger two. After a laugh by all at that, Amanda spoke again to Dot.

“So, we’ll see you all tomorrow about 4:30, right?”

Jon jumped in then at Dot and Eric’s nods. “We’ll keep the kids until then and then be available to help with whatever is needed.”

Jon answered her, his own hand seeking out Amanda’s. Everyone smiled their goodnights and soon it was just Jon, Richie, and Amanda who were left. Amanda excused herself to talk with Linda regarding the next day and what would be happening as she had not yet retired for the night. With breakfast and lunch discussed, Linda nodded her approval at Amanda and left the kitchen.

Sitting in the living room with their glasses of wine, the three discussed the next day. Richie was closely watching his friend as he knew that tomorrow would be hard for him, even though the situation was not likely to change.

Knowing tomorrow would be busy, Amanda said she was going to go to bed and Jon and Richie agreed that they too would be heading that way shortly. One quick and one lingering kiss later, Amanda said goodnight and went upstairs. A quick stop at both Stephanie and Jesse’s rooms assured her that they too would be going to sleep quickly as it had been a long day. Romeo and Jake were fast asleep, one curled up and one sprawled across the bed. She covered them and closed their doors.

~~~

Sitting in silence for a few minutes after Amanda had left the room, Jon’s sipped at his wine. His thoughts seemed turned inward and his gaze was distant. Richie gave his friend a few minutes and then spoke.

“How you doin’, man?” His voice was soft as he broke through Jon’s thoughts.

“Huh? Oh, I’m okay…” Jon answered, Richie’s voice reminding him that he wasn’t alone in the room.

“You know I’m here if you need anything, right?” Richie asked in guy speak to let his friend know he would listen if Jon wanted to talk.

“Yeah, I know…” Jon’s voice now equally quiet, “…just doing some thinking.”

“I can relate to that. This has to be bringing up a whole lot of different things. It’s not my ex-wife or my kid and MY thoughts are all over the place!” Richie spoke as honestly as he could, trying to get Jon to open up a bit.

“There’s nothing that’s gonna change, Rich, things have been over for longer than you know.” Jon answered softly, then rising quickly to forestall anymore questions, he announced, “…think I’m gonna call it a night.” He put down his wine glass and glanced at Richie.

“Thanks.” His single word and the nod that accompanied it conveying his understanding of what Richie had offered.

He turned toward the stairs, calling back “goodnight” as he climbed up to his room. After seeing his two youngest were fast asleep, he checked on Jesse and Stephanie. Jess was already asleep and Stephanie explained she was finishing watching a movie. Moving into the room, he kissed his daughter goodnight and she hugged him tightly.

Pausing, he sat on her bed. “You okay, baby girl?”

Stephanie nodded, but Jon saw the shimmer of unshed tears in her eyes. Taking her hand in his, Jon spoke softly.

“Yeah, honey, I know…” his voice trailed off as he acknowledged her feelings, as well as the feelings he could feel stirring inside himself.

A small sob escaped Stephanie as she moved into her dad’s arms. “I just kept hoping daddy…I just…”

Jon held his daughter as she softly cried and murmured to her, reassuring her of his and her mother’s love for her and her brothers. The love she felt from her father soon calmed the young woman and with a brush of his hands across her cheeks to remove the tears, he kissed her.

“Mom and I will always be there for you, Steph, for all of you guys. We can’t ever stop loving you, that’s one love that never ends.” Looking at her dad, Stephanie nodded and gave him a small smile.

“I know, daddy. I love you.”

“I love you too, baby. Get some sleep, okay?”

He brushed her hair softly back from her face as she settled herself down into the covers. He paused at the doorway as she smiled at him and he returned the smile as he closed her door, hearing the click of the light as she turned it off.

Jon turned from the room, deep in thought as he walked back to his own.

~~~

Entering his bedroom, Jon found Amanda sitting up with a small pad and a pen, writing something that commanded her attention for a few moments when he came in.

“What are you doin’, hon?” He asked as he began getting undressed.

“Just making some notes about tomorrow, some things I remembered after helping out a little today.” She bit the end of the pen, thought for a moment, added one more item and then put the pad and pen aside.

“Kids all settled in?” She asked, giving him her full attention.

Nodding at her a bit absentmindedly, he finished undressing and went to the bathroom before returning to the bed. Getting in beside her, he gave an audible sigh and she turned to him.

“What?” She asked, knowing something was on his mind.

“Steph was a bit upset. She said she kept thinking her mom and I would…work things out, I guess.”

“I’m sure this must be hard for them, especially Stephanie and Jesse as they’re both old enough to understand.” She put her hand on his shoulder. “Was she okay when you left?”

“Yeah, we talked and she seemed okay. Hate to see her cry, though.” Jon’s voice roughened a bit as it was hard to see his child hurt.

“I’m sorry, Jon. This must be hard for all of you.” He nodded at her, but didn’t answer.

Not sure what he needed, she just took his hand in hers and held it. The warmth of her hand in his finally penetrated and turning to her, his eyes took in that she was wearing a nightgown, something she hadn’t done before.

Plucking one of the shoulder straps with his fingers, he asked with a small smile, “What’s this?”

“Just in case we have a night time visitor.” She answered him, smiling in return.

Turning to her fully now, he moved his hand from her shoulder to her breast, his eyes darkening already.

“You can put it back on,” his voice lowered as he swiftly divested her of the garment.

Silently he touched her, rousing her to accept his need. Quickly moving on top of her, he buried himself inside her, his eyes closed. Something in his body language clued Amanda into the knowledge that tonight was more than just simple lovemaking. Jon was escaping from his thoughts, however, on this night Amanda couldn’t fault him and simply gave him the release he needed, both emotionally and physically. Her own pleasure came quietly and afterwards she just held him, bearing his weight on her until he finally rolled off.

A few minutes later she put her nightgown back on and Jon followed her example with a pair of loose shorts. After what seemed longer than what it really was, Jon turned on his side, pulling her back towards him and curled around her. Sleep was long in coming to both that night.

5 comments

  1. Anonymous Says:

    sigh...sad and happy times

    Linda

  2. Anonymous Says:

    oops, got so wrapped up in the chapter that I forgot to tell you that I LOVE the new picture!!

    Linda

  3. Opester Says:

    Pausing, he sat on her bed. “You okay, baby girl?”

    Stephanie nodded, but Jon saw the shimmer of unshed tears in her eyes. Taking her hand in his, Jon spoke softly.

    “Yeah, honey, I know…” his voice trailed off as he acknowledged her feelings, as well as the feelings he could feel stirring inside himself.

    A small sob escaped Stephanie as she moved into her dad’s arms. “I just kept hoping daddy…I just…”


    Aaawww, damn, now my eyes are all puffy and swollen! This one was such a tear jerker and I could just picture the whole thing and I felt so sad for both of them!

    Love the new pic of Jonny-nag-I actually didn't have that one, LOL!

  4. what a wonderfully touching chapter!

  5. jovikitn65 Says:

    Loving the pic : ) This was a bittersweet chapter for me. See I remember when my parents split up, it hurt fora long time. When both my parents married other people that is when I realized they would never be together again. Just be there for the kids Jon.

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