John Francis - Chapter 180

Wednesday, October 8, 2008 at 7:22 AM

Inside the tent many of the people were dancing and others were table hopping, talking to friends and relatives. Carol had finally left the table to visit with some of the others and silently Amanda breathed a sigh of relief. She simply had no idea how to break through to Jon’s mother and every time they met her dislike of the woman grew. It was a situation she had not ever found herself in as Jeremy’s mother had been a wonderful woman who was so welcoming that Amanda felt like she almost had a second mother. It had been devastating when his mother had experienced a heart attack in her late 50’s and they had lost her. In contrast to that experience, she realized had never been so actively disliked in her entire life as she seemed to be by Carol Bongiovi.

Hugh had asked her to dance, as had David, while Tico and Alejandra enjoyed a few turns on the floor themselves. She noticed it had been quite a while since Jon and Richie had left wherever they had gone to talk and she wondered if Richie would be able to help Jon through some of the emotions he seemed to be experiencing. Jon had not turned away from her, but had not turned to her either.

Sitting again at the table with Tico and Alejandra, the cake had been cut and it was time for the bride to throw the bouquet. Amanda found herself cajoled into getting into the group of single women, but made sure she was well to the rear. In fact, when she saw that Dot was looking where everyone was, she had moved to the left after Dot had turned her back. She felt catching the bouquet of this particular bride would simply prove too awkward. Her decision had been sound as the squeals of delight from one of the other young women caught everyone’s eye.

Jon and Richie were still not back inside when Eric threw the garter and it was one of the younger men who caught it, a light blush coloring his face at the teasing from the other men. It was now time for Dot and Eric to change clothes as they would be spending the night in a hotel and then flying out the following afternoon. The younger kids had already changed and everyone was waiting outside when the couple returned from their room. Outside the guests had all been given rose petals to throw and after giving her children a hug and a kiss good-bye, Dot joined Eric for the run out to the car amongst a shower of petals and slightly lewd jests from many of the well-lubricated guests.

Carol and the nanny ushered the two younger children into the house, with Jesse and Stephanie following. It was now almost nine and past time for the two youngest to be in bed. Romeo was getting cranky and Jake soon would not be far behind. The remaining guests began gathering their belongings as they prepared to leave. The catering staff was already involved in the clean up that was part of their service. Amanda busied herself with bringing in glasses and dishes from the living room and other parts of the house.

The bartender was still serving the lingering guests and Amanda got another drink while she worked on helping with the clean up. She didn’t believe Carol would welcome her help with the kids, so she stayed downstairs. She again hoped that Richie would get Jon to talk to him. Their friendship seemed to know no bounds and if anyone could get through to him, it would be Richie. She did wonder fleetingly though when he might turn to her.


Standing outside in the cold January night, Richie listened as Jon talked. After telling Jon he had heard what his mother said, Jon’s surprise at being overheard seemed to open a door inside him that allowed some of the riotous emotions he was experiencing to escape.

“I talked to Dot because I guess I had to know…my mother was right about that, but for the wrong reasons. Dot and I needed to know if this was really it, the end…and it was.”

Looking closely at his friend, Richie cocked his head.

“So what’s up, man?” His voice soft as he tried to get Jon to open up.

“I’m not sure. I don’t know what I’m feeling. I think…I think I still love her, Rich.” Jon’s admission was accompanied by a pained look and a shake of his head as confusion flowed through him.

“Do you still love her or is it that today changed everything?” Richie questioned, more astutely than even he knew.

When Jon didn’t answer, Richie continued his attempts to get him to talk.

“You know what Dot wanted, Jon. She wanted a more normal life and a husband who came home every night and who was there with her every day. She wanted something you can’t ever be. Could you have changed everything you are to do that? And if you did, how long would it have been before you resented it and her for forcing you to change who you are?”

Looking at Richie closely now, Jon forced himself to answer honestly.

“But I lost everything I had because of who I am.”

“You didn’t lose it, it changed. I know this for a fact because it happened to me first. I’m still Ava’s father and I always will be. You’re still a father and you always will be.” Richie tried to get Jon to understand that things had changed, not been lost.

“From what you said, you had the chance to stop the wedding, to tell Dot that you still loved her, but you didn’t. Why?” Richie softly asked as Jon shook out another cigarette.

Delaying his answer as he lit his smoke, Jon drew on it, blowing out the smoke in more of a sigh than an exhale.

“Because…I don’t love her enough to stop being who I am.”

Jon felt Richie’s hand on his shoulder.

“Then you did the right thing, didn’t you? You love her enough to let her have what she really wanted…and you love her enough to realize you couldn’t give it to her.”

Silence hung thick in the air as Jon drank and thought about what Richie was saying to him.

“Then why do I feel so shitty?” His eyes, full of pain, met Richie’s.

Shaking his head, Richie answered honestly.

“Because you’re human and even if it was the right thing, it still hurts.” Richie replied, his own experiences guiding his response.

Finishing his drink and his cigarette, Jon nodded, acknowledging the truth of what his friend had said. Moving now to go back inside, not wanting to talk anymore, Jon turned to Richie as he opened the door.

“Thanks.” His voice was slightly thickened and as he went to step inside he heard from behind him one last remark.

“Don’t forget who’s waiting inside for you. Someone who loves you for who you are, not what you are.”

Pausing, emotions running even more rampant inside him, Jon could only manage two words.

“I know.”


The majority of the guests had departed, although roughly two dozen still remained. They consisted mostly of family members, with a few close friends thrown in. Hugh, Kelli, David, Tico and Alejandra were at the bar with Amanda. She had offered a brief explanation of Jon and Richie’s disappearance, but couldn’t provide more as she herself didn’t know when the two would return. Jon’s brothers were still there, as was Eric’s, and the group was growing a bit more boisterous as they continued drinking and enjoying the small post-wedding party that was continuing even though the bride and groom had departed.

Stephanie and Jesse came back down and joined them and with everyone trying to entertain the youngsters, their laughter was soon ringing throughout the room. Their dad’s band mates were all as close as uncles to them and the kids were as comfortable with them as they were with their actual uncles. It was almost 9:30 now and while the tent area had been cleared from the dinner, the dining area remained open with food available and of course the bar was still serving. Dot and Eric had planned on people remaining for a while and the catering company had been prepared for guests to be present until at least eleven that evening.

John Sr. soon joined the group after talking quite extensively with Eric’s parents, while Carol was still upstairs with the two youngest children. Talking with Stephanie and Jesse, John Sr. was discussing some of the ideas he had in mind while their mom was away. Although the kids would be in school, the weekend was here and they were already making plans. Carol returned as Stephanie was talking to her granddad about going over to her dad’s.

“Stephanie, we’ll have to see about that. Your father seems to be very busy these days.” Carol’s voice left no doubt in the minds of all who heard her that she was directing the ‘very busy’ comment towards Amanda.

Speaking up in defense of Jon, Amanda quickly interjected.

“I know your dad has been talking a lot about you guys coming over. He’s really looking forward to it.” She directed her comment to Stephanie, but included Jesse as she spoke.

Carol’s voice was sharp as she bristled at what she believed was Amanda’s interruption.

“I think Jon should be making the decisions about what he wants his children to do.”

Those in the group watched silently as tension seemed to thicken the air.

“Of course Jon will make the decisions, but I’ve heard how eager he is to spend time with the kids.” Amanda replied in a neutral voice.

Carol’s eyes narrowed tightly in direct opposition to the feigned sweetness of her tone.

“Amanda, dear, I really don’t believe you should be speaking about what my son wants or doesn’t want.”

Audible gasps were heard from those who were present as Amanda’s face reddened slightly at the uncalled for rebuke.

“I think Amanda can speak for me anytime she wants, mother, as I’ve made quite clear to you several times before.” Jon’s voice cut through the assemblage as all turned at his entry to the room.

Turning to face her son, Carol’s face couldn’t quite manage the change from her expression of anger towards Amanda before it reached Jon. He shook his head at her, moving past her to put an arm around Amanda’s waist.

“Hey hon, I think it’s time to head out, don’t you?” His words were spoken to Amanda, but his look was all for his mother.

“Jon, I was just…” his mother began, but he cut her off immediately.

“I know what you were ‘just’ doing and I for one have had enough.” He turned away from her and smiled widely, if a little drunkenly, at his friends and assorted family members.

“Well, guys, it’s been a hell of a day…” his smile changed a little as he continued, “…and Steph and Jesse, let’s talk tomorrow about when you guys are all coming over, okay?” He moved to hug his two oldest and they returned his hug, Stephanie kissing his cheek as she did so. Turning to Amanda, he told her he was going to go see the little ones and he would be right back.

Those who knew Jon the best saw the simmering anger underneath the smiles he had for his children and Amanda, and his departure to say goodnight to Jake and Romeo left a bit of an awkward silence. Conversation resumed gradually for the next few minutes, but none dared direct any of it towards his mother.

Tico, Alejandra, Hugh, Kelli, David, and Richie maneuvered somewhat unconsciously in-between Amanda and Carol, while her two other sons and her husband moved more to her side. John Sr. spoke softly to his wife within hearing of her other sons.

“You’re pushing him away, Carol. I don’t know what your problem is with Amanda because you won’t talk to me about it, but I want you to know that every word out of your mouth against her is pushing Jon away from you.”

Carol looked at her husband with astonishment. He was usually so reticent about speaking to her about her behavior that for a moment she didn’t know what to say. She was embarrassed and angry that he had spoken to her like this in front of her other sons and hoped no one else had overheard. She hissed at him with her next words.

“He would have gone back to Dot if it wasn’t for her.”

Her husband shook his head softly at her when he heard that.

“If you believe that, then you don’t know him at all.” Her eyes widened as he continued his quiet admonishment.

“When have you ever known Jon to let anything stop him from something he really wanted?”

Narrowed eyes again met those of her husband as her other sons stayed silently by their sides.

“I know my son and that woman has nothing to offer him. He could have anyone!”

Her husband answered her with a mixture of anger and pity in his voice.

“Oh, Carol…you can be so blind sometimes. He loves her and she loves him. Everyone can see that but you.”

Carol’s mouth opened to reply, but then slammed shut as a hard line formed. She refused to discuss this further, but her eyes left no doubt that her husband would be getting an earful when they were alone.


  1. Romaine Says:

    Can someone please buy Jon's mother a fly to the moon, one way ticket :-D

    It's good that Jon stood his ground and supported Amanda! She needs that right now!! I hope they find back together, really back together. They need to talk over everything. Please don't let them break up!!!

    I sooo love your story :-)

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Hopefully, Jon's putting his mom in her place is the first step on his path back to Amanda.

    Loving your story-don't let it, or them end soon!


  3. Anonymous Says:

    can we say "MOMMY DEAREST"?
    Jon has got some things to figure out
    and he better do it quick!

  4. Kay Says:

    Personally, I don't think Mrs. B cares if Jon is happy or not.

    She's just concerned about losing her control over him.

    Jon needs to work out his feelings before he and Amanda can be a couple again.

  5. Oh Carol... you poor woman. You really have no idea who you are dealing with, do you??

    I love this chapter... and I can't wait for more.

  6. jovikitn65 Says:

    Oh Mrs.B would you please just shut the hell up already! Jon take Amanda home and talk to her, tell her what is going on in your head, tell her what is in your heart. If you don't then you just might lose her.

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