John Francis - Chapter 179

Monday, October 6, 2008 at 8:48 AM
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There were seven tables set up for the 56 guests, most with eight to a table. The wedding couple, along with the matron of honor and best man were seated at the long table in the front of tent. The tables for the guests had been arranged to allow a largish dance floor in front of the wedding table and in-between the guests’ tables. A small three piece band was at the back of the tent, softly playing a mixture of songs from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, as well as a few more well known songs of the last several years. Not surprisingly, the band had been instructed not to play any Bon Jovi.

Finding their larger table, the eight approached to see Carol and John Sr. already seated. Jon had been placed next to his mother, Amanda next to him, then Richie, Tico, Alejandra, Hugh, Kelli and David. As the men helped seat the three women with them, everyone greeted the senior Bongiovi’s.

John Sr. was a genial man, a bit soft-spoken in comparison with his wife, and he returned the greetings of the men who had been in his life since his eldest son was in high school. Dot had carefully placed Jon by his mother and David by his father as David’s personality was such that he could talk to anyone about anything and Jon would be able to ride herd on his mother’s outspokenness.

A member of the catering staff was assigned to each table and producing bottles of both red and white wine, their server filled the glasses as each made their choice. John and Carol were already sipping a dark red. They had been in the tent for several minutes as Jon’s group was the last to enter.

As conversation at the table grew more lively, Carol leaned over and hissed in Jon’s ear.

“What happened?” Her voice was harsh despite its near whisper.

Turning towards her, speaking low so only she would hear, he answered her.

“I told you. It was over between us.”

Continuing her unreasonable campaign to besmirch Amanda’s motives at every turn, Carol’s voice once again shot into Jon’s ear.

“It was her, that woman. I know it. If she was gone, you would have worked things out with Dot.”

Anger, tightly coiled inside, flickered enough to make Jon’s response harsher and his voice a bit louder than he intended.

“One more word and I’m outta here. Understand?” He caught his mother’s eye as he spoke and that single look was enough for her to know that she needed to stop…for now at least.

Both Amanda and John Sr. had overheard Jon’s last comment and although neither knew what had been said before, both could hazard a guess. John Sr. pulled on his wife’s arm and placing an arm around her chair, cautioned her in low tones to stop whatever she was doing or Jon would do what he said. Amanda simply sought Jon’s hand under the table, almost gasping as he clenched her fingers just a little too hard in an attempt to tamp down his anger. He quickly realized what he was doing and sought to soothe away the hurt he had caused by slowly rubbing her abused hand. She patted his, letting him know she was okay.

The evening passed. Dinner was served and afterwards toasts were made, some silly and some serious, with quite a few on the mildly ribald side. Several glances were cast toward their table and Jon knew that he would have to say something, if not for Dot and Eric’s sake, then for the unity they were trying to show in front of their children. After several toasts had been made, all preceded by the ringing of a spoon against a glass, Jon did the same and rose. A hush settled over the guests as there was not a single person there who did not know who he was. Jon raised his glass, smiled, and looked at his ex-wife and her new husband.

“Dot…Eric…I wish the best for both of you. The love you two share is so easy for everyone to see and I really wish that the happiness you both feel at this moment is eclipsed every day by the love and sharing of your lives to come.” He raised his glass as those at the other tables followed.

“To Dot and Eric!”

“To Dot and Eric!” a chorus of voices was heard from every corner.

Jon sat back down, turning to see Amanda’s smile. She leaned over to him and whispered in his ear.

“You did good, honey.”

He turned his face and kissed her, fast and hard, and she felt the tingle of his whiskers against her lips. Catching a glimpse of Carol’s face as Jon released her, she saw the older woman’s mouth compressed into a hard flat line, her displeasure evident to anyone who cared to look.

As dinner dishes were cleared, Jon’s children started arriving one by one to be with their dad. Jake was first as he was a quick eater and he climbed up onto Jon, stepping in between his dad and Amanda. She smiled as Jake started talking a mile a minute and when he paused for breath, she managed to get in a “Hi Jake!”. He turned to her and smiled. “Hi Manda” he grinned at her, then returned to talking to Jon.

A pressure against her side revealed the small form of Romeo. Seeing his brother on his dad’s lap, he turned to Amanda and put up his arms. She quickly scooped up the small child and sat him on her lap. She was near to astonishment when he quickly gave her a sticky kiss the cheek and started talking.

Amanda’s face had softened with sheer enjoyment as Romeo started a long litany of “ya know what’s?” followed by some small bit of something the boy had seen or heard.

“Ya know what?”

“What honey?” Amanda answered.

“Stephie drawd on her EYES!” His voice rose in his excitement.

“She did?”

“Uh huh…ya know what?”

“What?”

“I gots to eat s’getti cause mommy knowd I don’t like that yucky stuff on my meat!” She knew he was referring to the BĂ©arnaise sauce on the steaks that had been served.

“You don’t like that, hmmm?” She drew him out.

“Nope, don’t like that yucky stuff. Ya know what?” He asked again, this time not even pausing, “Mommy and Eric is leavin’ to go to…maica and granma and granpa are stayin’ wif us.”

“I know, Romeo, your mommy and Eric are going to Jamaica for their honeymoon.”

“What’s a honeymoon?” Romeo asked as he scrunched up his face in concentration.

“It’s a special vacation people take after they get married.” She explained.

“But no kids gets to go…” His lip pouted a bit at that and she thought how much this little one resembled Jon.

“I know, sweetie, but that’s the rules.” She figured he would understand about rules.

“They gots rules ‘bout moons?” He opened his mouth in amazement.

“They sure do!” She struggled to control her laughter. “But you’re so lucky! You get granma and granpa to stay with you and I know your daddy wants you to come visit him!”

“You gonna be at daddy’s house too?” He asked her.

“Yes, I’ll be there.”

Squirming now to get down, Romeo just said “good” as he got down and walked over to his mother’s table. A smile lingered on Amanda’s face as she watched the youngest Bongiovi swagger over to his mother.

Stephanie wandered over next, standing by her father who was occupied at that moment with getting Jake down off his lap as the boy was ready to go. Jon turned to look at his oldest.

“Hey baby girl.” Warmth and love changed the timbre of his voice.

“Dad!” Stephanie’s mock wail at the ‘baby girl’ was belied by her smile.

“Hi Manda…” she smiled at her. “…You look really pretty today.”

“Thank you, Stephanie, so do you!”

And she did. She had – as Romeo had so delicately put it – used a small amount of eyeliner, no doubt a special treat allowed by her mother. Jon jumped in then.

“You gonna save a dance for your old man, babe?” He grinned at her and it was obvious that Amanda was not the only one who found him irresistible.

Stephanie smiled back at him and their mutual admiration was unmistakable.

“Of course, daddy!” She kissed him, smiled at Amanda, and then went off to visit with others.

Jon glanced around for Jesse and saw his oldest son a bit off to the side, back toward the musicians. With a quick ‘excuse me’, he rose from the table and made his way to his son’s side. Amanda watched as the two talked and although she could not hear the conversation, whatever Jon was saying seemed to ease any concerns of Jesse’s as he was soon smiling at his dad with an almost identical grin. Jon roughed his hair and Jesse playfully punched his dad on the arm. Jon followed Jesse into the main area of the house, returning after a few minutes with another drink.

Amanda gave a small frown that she quickly discarded as he approached their table again. He didn’t quite make it though, as he was waylaid along the way by several people who wanted to talk to him. Those at their table were engaged in different conversations and she sat quietly, sipping her wine. Carol was talking across the table to Alejandra and Kelli, again seeming to ignore Amanda. Fortunately, Amanda was not bothered by this in the least.

Richie finished listening to something Tico had said and then turned to Amanda.

“How ya doin’ darlin’.” He asked her quietly.

She smiled at him, assuring him she was just fine. She leaned a little closer then and lowered her voice.

“I’m a little worried about Jon’s drinking, Richie.”

“Yeah, I noticed that too. We’ll keep an eye out, okay?” He assured her, motioning with his head to include not only her, but the others at the table.

She nodded back at him. “Okay. Thanks.”

Richie, in fact, was quite concerned about Jon’s drinking tonight and was watching carefully to see that he did not over-indulge. He’d seen Jon eat a full dinner and knew that would help, but if he continued on the straight Jack…well, that could be a problem.

~~~

The music started to pick up in volume and Michael, Eric’s brother, loudly announced that the bride and groom would have their first dance. The musicians started playing “Here and Now”, the version made popular by Luther Vandross, and Eric led Dot to the floor. Slipping into his seat as the couple made their way to the dance floor, Jon took a big sip of his drink and slid his arm around Amanda’s shoulders.

Jon knew he was drinking too much, but like the cigarette he was suddenly craving, he felt the need to numb himself a bit tonight. His hand played lightly along Amanda’s shoulder as he watched the couple on the floor dance to the romantic song. He continued to take sips of his drink, wishing the numbing effect he was seeking would arrive soon. He was brought out of his thoughts by the sudden clapping of the guests as Eric and Dot finished their first dance together as husband and wife.

Another slow song started and other couples joined the newlyweds on the dance floor. Stephanie was suddenly standing beside her dad. He got up and took his daughter out onto the floor where they danced to two slow songs. Stephanie was beaming by the time the songs were over and reaching up on tiptoe she kissed her father on his cheek. They parted and Jon returned to the table.

Amanda smiled at him. “You just made someone very happy.”

“Yeah, she’s a real sweetheart.”

His gaze was wandering, although his hand remained on her knee under the table where he had put it when he returned from dancing with his daughter. Turning to her, he caught her eye.

“You mind if I talk with Rich for a few?”

She shook her head. “Of course not.”

Jon stood and tapped his friend on the shoulder. Richie turned to look at him. “Hey man, got a minute?”

Richie nodded and followed Jon out of the tent. Grabbing drinks at Jon’s insistence, they moved through the house to the back side door where Jon had gone outside earlier. Richie followed, not sure what was going through his friend’s mind.

Stepping outside, the first thing Jon did was light a cigarette. He drew deeply on it as Richie watched. Finally unable to contain his curiosity, Richie spoke.

“You okay, man?”

Jon took another drag of his cigarette and downed half his drink.

“No.”

11 comments

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I love where you are taking this. I can't wait for more! I love The Plane too! Thanks for all the hard work!

  2. Anonymous Says:

    you have me hooked on this story.
    I can't wait to see where you are taking this!
    Loved Romeo's little conversation with Amanda.
    Thanks for sharing your story with all of us.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    sigh You keep setting me up! Just when I think they are going to be okay, you add a line or two to the bottom that makes me wonder..........

    I'm on a roller coaster here, are they going to be okay, or not???

    Have a great week :)

    Linda

  4. Anonymous Says:

    I love Jon and Amanda but I would so love for them to have something to work through. Hopefully he regrets Dot's break-up and marraige a bit.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Hmmm Jon hasnt even asked Amanda to dance :( I fear that there are some turbulent times ahead. I do love this story.
    Chris

  6. Anonymous Says:

    really love this story, it's getting very interesting.but...what about the plane? has it ended already? cheers

  7. Anonymous Says:

    I fear that Jon and Amanda's relationship is over....Even though Jon cannot go back to Dot because she's happily married now!
    Why does he not want to share his life with Amanda? I don't understand this.

  8. Kay Says:

    I think they're both sort of regretting not sticking it out because they are, in fact, still in love with each other.

    I can understand Jon feeling a bit melancholy about the end of his life with Dot.

    BUT for him to try and numb those feelings is not a good sign.

    Perhaps he's not ready to start a new life with Amanda?

  9. Oh my good heavens! Jon is about to spiral... and it ain't gonna be pretty. I hope Richie and Amanda can pull her out of it.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    Once again... how do you make every chapter a cliff hanger! I wanna know what's wrong with jonny boy!

  11. Shelly Says:

    rut row....it looks like things are about to take a downward spiral.

    Maybe Jon's just feeling guilt for his part in the marriage not working out. Wishing that it had, wondering about things that could have been?

    This is fantastic work.

Warning and Disclaimer

The content of this blog is pure fiction. Actual places and real people are named, but in no way should anything be taken as fact. This is a story, with adult content and mature situations. If you are offended by such, please do not read.

Please do not copy any of this material to any other web site.

No harm of any sort is meant to the real people in the story and there is no disrespect intended towards anyone's family.

This is PURE FICTION and hopefully those that like this type of story will enjoy it. Comments are GREATLY appreciated!

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