John Francis - Chapter 174

Wednesday, September 24, 2008 at 7:29 AM
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Early the next morning both Amanda and Jon were glad they had chosen something to sleep in when a small figure climbed onto the bed. A knee to the belly brought Jon fully awake to see his youngest son settling himself on his stomach.

Yawning, Jon reached out to seat Romeo more comfortably.

“Hey buddy. What are you doing up so early?”

Jon’s voice woke Amanda and she saw the young boy straddling his dad.

“Hi Romeo.” She smiled at the youngster.

“Hi Manda…” Romeo smiled at her then turned back to his dad. “…where’s mommy?” His confusion at not seeing his mom next to his dad was evident.

“She’s at her house, big guy, remember?” Jon answered him softly, not quite anticipating this question.

“I want mommy…” Romeo stated, his small chin starting to quiver.

Jon made his voice as cheerful as he could as he sat up, carrying Romeo with him.

“We’re gonna see her in just a bit, but let’s go brush our teeth and get some breakfast first, okay?”

Responding to his father’s voice, Romeo suddenly smiled and said, “…’k daddy, I’m starvin’!”

Jon tickled him then, getting a giggle as a reward and shooed him out to his room to brush his teeth. Romeo laughed and ran out and Jon threw Amanda a look that clearly said ‘here we go’ and moved off to the bathroom himself. Both adults were downstairs quickly, Amanda helping Linda get breakfast as the kids started arriving, pretty much one after the other. All four were hungry and made short work of the breakfast that had been prepared, while Jon and Amanda poured cup after cup of coffee and managed to get a bit to eat between helping Jake a little and Romeo a lot.

Jesse paused while eating to look at his father. Swallowing his last bite of toast, he started talking.

“Mom said you and Amanda are coming tonight.”

Jon turned from the coffee pot and answered his son. “That’s right. We’ll be heading over there a little after four so you guys can all get dressed.”

With a bit of anger in his voice, Jesse’s next question suddenly burst out.

“Why don’t you love mom anymore?”

Jon’s eyes widened at the unexpectedness of the question as he and his older children had gone through many discussions about what had happened during the separation and before and after the divorce.

“Jess, we’ve talked about this before. I’ll always love your mom because of all the years we were together and because she gave me you guys. It’s just that our love changed and when that happens…it just wasn’t going to work between us anymore.”

Stephanie and Jake were following this conversation closely, while most of it was beyond Romeo’s ability to understand.

Looking his eldest son straight in the eyes, Jon responded.

“Your mom and Eric love each other now, Jess, the way a man and a woman are supposed to love each other. That’s why they’re getting married today.”

Jesse’s eyes cut towards Amanda then. “Does that mean you’re gonna marry her?”

Again Jon found himself unprepared. Drawing in a deep breath, he slowly exhaled.

“Jesse, Amanda and I are learning about each other…we’re…”

He hesitated, not sure what to say, knowing that whatever he said was sure to be repeated to Dot today. Amanda jumped in as she realized Jon was floundering. Her voice was soft as she directed Jesse’s attention toward her.

“Your dad and I haven’t known each other long enough to talk about marriage, Jesse.”

“But you’re living with him!” Stephanie burst out, then slapped her own hand over her mouth.

Now it was Amanda who was unprepared to answer. Turning to look at Jon, her eyes were wide and questioning as to how to answer his oldest child.

“Steph, Jesse…I…” He paused, seeking the right words. “…I love Amanda and she loves me. But even if Amanda weren’t here, mom and I wouldn’t be together anymore. Our lives changed and mom loves Eric and wants to marry him. I love your mom…but not the same way anymore…and I want her to be happy.”

Making sure to meet the eyes of his children one by one, Jon continued.

“Today is a very special day for her. I like Eric and he already loves you all, so I want mom and Eric to have each other the way they want because that’s what will make your mom happy.”

The older three children were quiet as they thought about what their father had said. Jesse tried one more time to have his old life back.

“We don’t get a choice, do we, dad?”

Shaking his head softly at that, Jon looked at his oldest son with love in his eyes.

“No, son, with things like this, you don’t get a choice.”

Soft tears brimmed in Jesse’s eyes but he angrily brushed them away.

“It’s okay, dad. I’m not mad.” He tried to reassure his father.

“I know you aren’t, Jesse, but it’s okay to be a little sad. I am too, big guy.”

Jon’s hand descended softly on his son’s shoulder and his eyes met Stephanie’s. She blinked, but nodded at him and gave him a small smile.

Amanda watched and listened silently, wondering who would find today and the changes it would bring more difficult – the kids…or Jon.
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The day passed more quickly than anyone anticipated and soon it was time for the adults to shower and dress and get the kids ready to go. Richie and Linda helped and a little after four everyone got into Jon’s large SUV and drove over to Dot and Eric’s house. The kids were a quieter than usual, but the three adults strove to use their happiest voices and talked eagerly about the upcoming event.

Arriving at the house, all seven entered to find Carol and John, Sr. in the living room, along with other relative’s of Dot and Eric’s. Jon, Richie, and Amanda were introduced to Eric’s parents, Janet and Mark Richardson, along with Eric’s brother, Michael. Carol immediately moved to fuss over her grandchildren, whisking them away to get ready for the wedding. She gave Jon and Richie a kiss hello and nodded at Amanda. Despite her best intentions, Amanda couldn’t prevent a small eye roll that unknown to her was witnessed by Richie.

The adults all made small talk getting to know one another. Jon strove hard to blend into the crowd, as much as he could anywhere, talking sports with Michael, Eric’s brother, and learning more about Eric’s accounting firm from his mother and father. Making herself useful, Amanda refilled coffees and took empty glasses and cups to the kitchen. She popped out into the tent area to make sure everything was still in order.

While out there she called the catering company to learn they would be on time as scheduled, arriving at five. Long tables had been set up in a large dining room where there would be a buffet-style array of h’ordeurves. She knew from yesterday that after the service, the tent would be transformed quickly into a dining area while h’ordeurves were served to the waiting guests, along with champagne and various other alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. The catering company would handle both the pre-dinner tidbits and the dining set up in the tent.

Returning to the kitchen, Amanda refilled her own coffee cup, taking it out to the living room where Jon, Michael, Eric, John Sr. and Mark Richardson were all talking football. Smiling and softly shaking her head, she gave a small chuckle at the propensity of men to almost always find that one subject in common. She glanced around and saw Richie surrounded by several of the female relatives. This had her shaking her head in earnest and when he glanced in her direction she gave him a wink.

At exactly five there was a knock on the door and peering out a window in the front Amanda could see the caterers had arrived. Moving in that direction and opening the door, she instructed the man to use the side door at the kitchen and after pointing out the way to go, went back to the kitchen to let them in. She quickly saw they were professionals in every manner. Their efficiency and orderliness had her moving out of the way as it was evident they knew their business.

While simply observing from the sidelines, she noticed a woman enter the kitchen and move towards the caterers. Quickly introducing herself as Melissa, Mrs. Bon Jovi’s matron of honor, she stated she was here to see what instructions the caterers had been given. While waiting for the supervisor to come into the kitchen, Melissa turned, saw Amanda and walked over to her, barely looking at her as she began to speak.

“I want you to make sure your company understands that immediately after the guests clear the tent following the ceremony, they should move in to set up the tables for the dinner.” Melissa spoke quickly and assuredly while gesturing and looking towards the working men and women, obviously expecting Amanda to immediately comply with her instructions.

A smile broke out on Amanda’s face. There must be something about me that just screams “hired help”, she thought.

“Hi Melissa. We haven’t been introduced yet. My name is Amanda, but I don’t work for the catering company.” Amanda extended her hand during her introduction.

The woman’s head whipped around to look closely at her and a slightly shocked look overtook Melissa’s face and then it reddened.

“Oh my god! Amanda! I’m so sorry, I didn’t really see you. I just assumed…” Melissa trailed off, obviously embarrassed.

“Please don’t worry about it. I was checking on the caterers too.” Amanda smiled and tried to put the other woman at ease.

Melissa smiled gratefully. “I’ll have to tell Dot you’re here. She asked me to let her know if I saw you, but…” she trailed off, again aware of her goof.

“How’s Dot doing today? Her gown is simply beautiful, isn’t it?.” Amanda responded.

Giving a big sigh, realizing she was being let off the hook, Melissa gushed, “Oh! Yes, it really is gorgeous! Let me go tell her you’re here.”

And with that Melissa made a quick exit towards the back and upstairs to Dot’s room.

Amanda gave herself a few minutes before returning to the main room. She only knew a few of the people there and didn’t want to just hang onto Jon’s arm while he made the rounds. She had seen that those who had not yet met him seemed to just gravitate to his side and whether it was his celebrity status or that he was Dot’s ex-husband, she wasn’t sure. The man in charge of the catering company sought her out at that moment, confirming what they were to do.

“Well, as I understand it, after the ceremony the guests will come back inside here to the main room where the tables are set up for drinks and h’ordeurves, so those should be ready as soon as the wedding begins. After the guests leave the tent, you’ll need to do the table set ups for the dinner.”

The supervisor nodded his understanding of this and explained they had done such things before and that everything should go smoothly. She was impressed with his confident attitude and smiled at him, confirming her faith in his company’s abilities.

“This is a very special occasion for them, as I’m sure you can imagine. I’m glad to see everything will be in such good hands.”

The supervisor smiled at her, pleased at her complements. He moved off then to continue the organization needed. Amanda lingered a few more minutes watching his efforts and then moved to return to the main gathering area.

6 comments

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I now feel the need to write a comment. I've been reading this story since the beginning and I have to say, it's getting better and better. I really enjoy following Jon's and Amanda's way and your writing style is just great. As a pure Richie-Girl I must admit, this is the only Jon story I'm reading lol So if you have some ideas for a Richie-story, feel free to let them out. You'll have one reader for sure lol

    I'm looking forward to the next chapter. Greetings from Switzerland

    -Heidi-

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Love the story. Can't wait for more. I keep checking for new Chapter. Thx!

  3. Sunstreaked Says:

    Heidi - Thanks so much! Glad you like Richie cause he's about to get into this story in a BIG way!

    Thanks to all you are reading! Hope you are enjoying the pictures as I'm trying something new.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    A smile broke out on Amanda’s face. There must be something about me that just screams “hired help”, she thought.

    LOL-that was too funny! And yes, I'm loving the new pix :)

    Linda

  5. very nice!! i'm finally getting caught up

  6. Shelly Says:

    okay playing catchup!!!

    Sun I fall more in love w/this story every time I read it.

    I love Amanda and Jon's relationship and how it's really evolving now.

    Off to read more!

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