Chapter 223

Saturday, January 30, 2010 at 8:26 PM
In a hotel room in London, Jon sat in disbelief, his cell phone clutched in one hand after he had absently-mindedly closed it.

What he had just learned did not seem possible. He had heard what Dorothea had said, what she had seen and found, but the hard knot in his stomach was filled with denial. Shaking himself out of his stupor, he quickly made arrangements to fly out late that evening.

The hours spent flying back to Jersey on a commercial jet dragged interminably as he called Amanda’s cell again and again and again, even as every call confirmed that her phone was still off.

The cab ride to his house seemed longer than the flight and he barely paused when they reached his home. He threw some bills at the driver, grabbed his bags, and was in the house with a single-minded purpose.

Jon climbed the stairs in two’s as he raced to the bedroom. He threw the door open and stepped inside, seeing what he knew he would see - an empty room. He slammed the door and strode quickly downstairs to his office.

The envelope was on his desk, right where Dorothea said she would leave it.

He approached his own desk as if there was a coiled snake waiting to strike with a poisonous bite.

He had to see for himself.

Reading the note Amanda had left, Jon half slumped, half fell into the heavy chair behind his desk.

Jon,

Something’s happened and I’m leaving for good.

I can’t tell you this to your face, but I lied to you.

When I saw you, I saw a way out. I needed money so badly and there you were. You
just fell
for everything I gave you.

You chased me like I wanted you to. And you kept throwing jewelry and money at me.
I got
caught up and let this get too far.

I can’t marry you.

I’m still married.

Amanda


He read the letter again, residual shock and grief changing over the next several minutes into burning anger and then rage. Jumping up from the desk he ran back through the living room and up the stairs into his bedroom.

Opening drawers at random he ransacked the room in a barely controlled rage, throwing Amanda’s clothes through the air until the garments fell like bright splotches of rain to the floor. Slamming the drawers closed, he half stumbled down the stairs into the living room.

And fell straight into a bottle.

~~~

The insistent ringing of her cell phone woke Amanda from a fevered sleep. She opened her eyes to find herself in an unfamiliar room and sat straight up in bed. This brought on another bout of nausea and after nearly crawling back out of the bathroom her phone had stopped ringing. She looked at her missed calls and saw it was Jon. She wasn’t sure how long she stared at his name, but eventually she put the phone down as another wave of dizziness rolled in.

Again and again her phone rang, over and over until she finally turned it off. Her resistance was weakening with each call and she knew she couldn’t answer. She had to let him go.

For three days Amanda lay in bed at the hotel the cab driver had taken her to. She ordered soups and teas from room service, took aspirin, and finally on the third day realized she was going to live.

She had taken the folder with her, but during the last several days had been too sick to do more than glance at it occasionally. She couldn’t face what was inside until the thought of doing so stopped causing somersaults in her stomach.

On this third day, sitting with coffee for the first time since she had gotten sick, she opened the folder and started reading. By the time she was finished she had a flight to California for late that night.

~~~

For two straight days Jon sat in front of the television, watching nothing, hearing nothing, drinking until he passed out at night, more often than not spilling the bottle he was drinking as he did so.

One call to his main assistant, Sharon, to hold or cancel everything until further notice took care of his upcoming business meetings, however, her information that there was nothing scheduled for at least a week since he had returned from London early was all he needed to hear.

Linda had arrived back from her week off early Friday evening, surprised when she walked in to see Jon sprawled on the couch, TV blaring, bottles and glasses helter-skelter around the room. She approached slowly.

“Mr. B…?”

No answer met her question, unless a soft snore was supposed to equal a hello.

She looked at him for a moment longer, shaking her head softly. There had been a time when this was a scene she could find on any given day, at least until he had pulled himself out of the depression he’d been in after his divorce.

Tightening her lips, she gathered up the dishes she could carry and quietly left the room.

~~~


Richie rose from a sound sleep to the ringing of his cell. Scooping it up quickly before Patricia could awaken, he saw it was from Jon’s home. Answering, he heard Linda’s voice.

“Hey Linda! What’s going on, darlin’?”

Although at the back of the house, Linda kept her voice low.

“Richie, there’s something wrong here. I’m not sure who else to call.”

Immediately Richie was wide awake, swinging his legs off the bed and standing to walk into the other room.

“What’s wrong?”

Listening as Linda described the last two days, Richie grew increasingly concerned at what he was hearing.

“Where’s Amanda?” He asked, surprised again to hear that she wasn’t there and Linda had no idea where she might be.

“Okay, listen, I need about an hour and then I’ll be there. And, Linda…you did the right thing. Thanks.”

Richie hung up to her grateful response and hurried into the shower. Patricia woke while he was in there and came in to join him. He gave her a brief but warm hug and quickly explained what he had learned. Trish urged him to go, asking only that he call her when he got a chance. Dressing quickly, hair still dripping, he kissed her, agreed, and was out the door at a run.

Richie arrived in far less than the hour he had projected and used his key to enter the house. He didn’t have to come in far before he saw Jon sprawled on the couch on his stomach, shirt off, barefoot, and the TV blaring.

He approached, expecting to see his friend awake and watching

… Ice Road Truckers? Jon?

However, he quickly saw Jon was asleep, a bottle of Jack held loosely in one hand. He left Jon as he was and moved to the kitchen to talk to Linda.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t anymore Linda could tell him and after asking her to start some strong coffee, Richie braced himself to confront an obviously drunk and unpredictable Jon Bon Jovi.

Setting the coffee on a low table in front of the couch, Richie moved some papers lying there when a handwritten note caught his eye. He read Amanda’s note. Looked from the paper to Jon, then back to the note.

“… I’m still married …”

What the fuck?!

“Jon … man … bro’ … wake up!” Richie called out, his voice getting progressively louder. Stirring, the bottle started to slip from Jon’s hand, but it was caught by Richie and set on the table.

Jon rolled over on the couch, staring at his friend with deeply squinted blurry eyes.

“… Rich …? What’s goin’ on? What are you doin’ … here …” Jon’s voice trailed off as pain hit him so hard his eyes closed and he turned his head away.

He looked at Richie and saw the note in his hand.

In a voice filled with rage, he asked his friend. “You see that? Did you read it? She fuckin’ played me, PLAYED ME!”

Richie shook his head, re-reading the note and then looking at Jon.

“This ain’t right, man…something’s not right…”

“No shit, Sherlock! What’s not right is that I’m a fuckin’ fool who believed someone who was never who she pretended to be!”

“Have you called her?” He crooked his head at Jon as he handed back the phone.

“Have I called her?!?! For fuck’s sake, that’s all I did on the plane back! It rang at first, but then went straight to voice mail. She turned the damn thing off!”

“Did something happen while you were in England? Did Carrie…?” Richie didn’t think this was possible, but he had to ask.

“No! Nothing happened. I talked to her and everything was fine. She was still sick as hell, but she sounded okay otherwise.” His voice trailed off, then rose again.

“And what the FUCK does any of that matter when she’s fucking married!”

Jon took another swig from the bottle of Jack as he finished yelling that last.

Richie was quiet for a few minutes, although he did move the coffee closer to Jon, who completely ignored it.

“Jon, I’m tellin’ ya, something just doesn’t sound right about this whole thing…” He was abruptly interrupted by a harsh bark of laughter.

“She took the jewelry, the cards, and the ring, Rich…she got what she came here for.”

“You can’t mean that, Jon.” Richie spoke softly, really looking at his friend.

“I damn well do mean it.” Jon took another long pull off the bottle of whiskey and his eyes seemed to glow with a fierce light as he looked at Richie.

Standing up, Jon finished the last bit of Jack in the bottle and moved towards the stairs.

Richie watched as his friend made his way through the room.

“Jon…” He stopped when he saw Jon’s raised hand.

His back to Richie, Jon spoke, his voice low, heavy, and final.

“I never want to hear her name again.”


********************************************************************************


Happy Birthday, Heike!

Chapter 222

Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 7:49 PM
Carol had driven home after confronting Amanda with a surprisingly heavy heart. She wanted to feel justified in her actions, but seeing the hurt she had caused went against her nature.

It would have surprised Amanda to know that Jon’s mother was known as much for her engaging personality as her determination. She had never shown her softer side and it was this side that felt no relief, no resolution, only an anger at herself and - to her surprise - shame. At this point there was nothing she could change though as the information the investigator had found would damage her son and that she could not allow.

Her husband was out for the evening when she made the final decision to go back to Jon’s. There was one more thing she had to do, as much as she now regretted it.

Calling out Amanda’s name as she entered the house, she went upstairs and saw that the room was empty. She went back down the stairs, walking through the house until she got to her son’s office. Sitting on his desk was an envelope addressed to him. She opened it, revealing the contents. Along with two credit cards, there was jewelry and the engagement ring. She unfolded the note that slid out and read it.

You won’t understand why I’m doing this and the worst part is that I can’t tell you. Something happened, Jon. Something I couldn’t have known. What matters is that I have to go and you have to go back to the life you had before we met. It turns out I’m not who I seemed to be. I love you. Amanda

Carol sat there for several minutes and then taking a sheet of paper from her purse, she replaced Amanda’s note with one she had written. She left it on the desk and took the envelope with her. Returning to her home was longer than expected as she found her eyes blurred more than once with unshed tears.

~~~

Jon looked at his phone with frustration as once again he was unable to reach Amanda on either her cell or his home phone line.

After hanging up with her earlier that morning, the day had been crazy. He’d been on the set constantly as the production seemed plagued with problems. Cameras breaking, lights failing, weather uncooperative. Even standing around waiting was not what it should have meant as script re-writes were coming at him faster than the rain on the set.

By the time he had been released, with instructions to return in less than seven hours, it was far too late to call.

Wednesday morning had progressed pretty much as Tuesday had done, until finally, at nearly four that afternoon London time, Jon was at the current point of staring at his phone, trying to think of reasons why he shouldn’t throw it against the nearest wall.

No answer to his text messages.

No answer on his home phone.

He tried her cell again.

Straight to voice mail.

That had his eyebrows drawing together in confusion.

He dialed again.

Again, straight to the message.

That meant her phone was off. He relaxed slightly as he thought that if her phone was off, she would have turned it off.

And, if she turned it off, after it had been ringing from his several calls, then at least he could assume she was okay …

He wasn’t buying it. Not one damn bit.

Another number dialed, a click…

“Hey, Dorothea? Would you do me a favor … ?”

~~~

It had taken Dorothea until two that afternoon to get over to Jon’s house. First one delay then another, including another call from Jon, until she had finally told him she was on her way.

Driving up to the door, she saw one of the guards who nodded as she got out of her car. He continued on his way as Dorothea went to the door.

“Hello? Amanda?” Dorothea called out as she came into the silent house.

Removing her coat, she walked to the stairs, still calling out Amanda’s name as she went up to the master bedroom.

The door was partially closed and she hesitated and then knocked.

“Amanda? Can I come in?”

There was no answer.

Dorothea pushed the door open and went into the room. It was dark with the curtains drawn, yet she could see there was no one in the bed. She moved to the bathroom, but the open door and darkened inside told her there was no one there. Flicking on the light, she took a quick look and then went back into the bedroom.

Moving to check the rest of the rooms upstairs, Dorothea found nothing of interest. Downstairs, she continued to call Amanda’s name as she went to the kitchen, the game room, the gym, and finally to Jon’s office.

Standing with her hands on her hips, Dorothea was turning to go look through the house again when the phone on Jon’s desk rang. She hesitated, then moved to the desk to see the caller ID. She grabbed for the phone.

“Jon …”

“Amanda!”

“No, it’s me, Jon, Dorothea, I saw you were calling and …” Her voice trailed off as Jon began shooting questions at her.

Trying to answer him, but failing to break through his questions and exclamations, Dorothea’s eyes strayed down to the desktop. She frowned when she saw an envelope there, with Jon’s name on it. She picked it up and slid the unsealed flap.

“Jon! Shut up!”

In London, Jon blinked in surprise at Dorothea’s tone while his rant came to a stumbling halt.

“What?” He growled into the phone, then repeated himself twice more into the silence that followed.

“Dot, what the fuck is it?”

Dorothea stared at the note she had found, her mouth opened slightly to answer Jon, but unsure as to what she should say.

Slowly she started telling him what she had found.

“Jon … she’s married …”

Chapter 221

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 6:03 PM
Carol threw out those words, knowing she had been right all along, that Amanda was only out to use her son. She watched as the words seem to reverberate around the room, her eyes never leaving Amanda’s face.

The moment of triumph she had anticipated never came. Amanda’s face whitened the most unnatural shade of pale Carol had ever seen and before she herself could do more than blink, Amanda hit the floor.

What?!? She fainted? Damn! Is she that sick?

Carol knelt beside the fallen woman, feeling her forehead, wincing at the heat radiating from her. She wanted to believe it was just her illness, that she had just stood too suddenly, that she was sicker than she had realized…but the truth had been there.

In the seconds after she spoken those two words, when Amanda’s face had whitened unnaturally, the shock in her eyes could not have been faked.

She didn’t know. Holy mother of god, she didn’t know!

Quickly dialing her cell, she reached one of her younger sons.

“Matt? I need you at Jon’s house, right now. Hurry!”

Carol started putting cool clothes on Amanda’s forehead, trying to rouse her from the faint. She wasn’t able to lift her back into the bed, but Matt was there before more than ten minutes had lapsed and he was able to get Amanda back into bed.

“Mom, what happened?” Matt looked between the two women, one still out, the other with an almost fearful look on her face.

“I came by to check on Amanda with Jon out of town and found her on the floor. She’s pretty sick, Matt.”

“No kidding, ma, where’s Linda?”

“She has the week off.”

“Should we get someone to stay with her?” Matt was also concerned about leaving her, knowing Jon would be seriously pissed if he found out she had been left alone while so sick.

Carol startled at those words. “No, no, I’ll stay with her. I just couldn’t get her back in bed. We’ll be fine, Matt.”

Knowing his mother’s attitude towards Amanda, Matt found this more than a little odd, but it was his mother and after making sure nothing else was needed, he left, saying he would check in with her later.

~~~

Amanda slowly woke, her head pounding, her stomach rolling, and quickly reached for the bucket beside the bed. A minute of dry heaves only made her stomach hurt worse and did nothing for her aching head. She closed her eyes and lay back down on the bed. She knew she had just had the worst dream of her life and was thankful beyond words that it had been only a dream.

“You didn’t know, did you?” The voice came from a far corner of the bedroom.

A small moan escaped Amanda’s parched lips as she recognized the voice. She knew now that it had not been a bad dream.

“ … No, I didn’t know …” Tears choked her words as she spoke.

Tears suddenly fell freely as she made herself look at Jon’s mother, expecting to see triumph on her face. Instead, for the first time, Carol seemed to be looking at her with something other than barely hidden contempt.

Clutching the bedpost as she rose, Amanda turned her face as she whispered.

“… please go away … please … no more … ”

Carol stood, indicating the folder that was still on the bed. Her voice was actually soft when she spoke.

“It’s all there, Amanda. Do the right thing. Don’t drag Jon into this. If you love him, don’t do this to him.”

“ … I’ll leave … because I do love him …”

She looked at Jon’s mother and whispered so low Carol almost wasn’t sure she had heard her correctly.

“…you’ve won…”

Amanda’s eyes then closed, tears streaming down her face. Carol stood for a moment looking at her, wondering if she should do this, if she could do this. When she thought of what the press would do to her son if they found out his fiancĂ©e was married, and to a drug dealer, she knew she had to do it.

She left the room without another word and made her way out of the house.

~~~

The first page of the report spelled it all out. In stark black and white.

She had no choice.

The note to Jon was the hardest thing she had to do. Compared to that, packing with a temperature of 103 degrees was a breeze.

Amanda left the cash and credit cards and all the jewelry he had bought her, with the exception of one item. She couldn’t make herself take off the bracelet he had given her. It was all she would take.

Dizzy with fever, making several unscheduled trips to the bathroom for her heaving stomach, she was finally able to go downstairs where she went into Jon’s office. She got a large envelope and put the cards and jewelry inside. Holding her left hand with her right, she sat for a moment in his chair at the desk, then with a sigh took off the ring and put it inside with the other items.

She picked up a pen, tears blurring her eyes, and wrote.

~~~

When the cab driver arrived, he put her small carry-on into the trunk. As Amanda was about to get into the cab, Steve, one of the three men assigned to her security, came around the house to the car.

He called out. “Amanda! Where are you going?”

She sighed, not prepared for the question.

“Hi Steve. I, uhm, I’m on my way over to Mrs. Bongiovi’s house. She knows I’m sick and that Linda is away, so she offered to have me come over there.” Her face burned slightly with her lie and she saw a bit of skepticism in his.

“Then I’ll drive you over.”

Her head was shaking ‘no’ even before she started talking. “No thanks. The cab is already here and I’m just going over to Jon’s mother’s house.” She got inside the cab to forestall anymore questions.

“Let’s go.” She quickly addressed the driver and closed the door.

Steve stood there for a few moments, watching the cab leave the gated estate. He was supposed to accompany her when she went out, but he had never been given actual instructions as to what he was supposed to do if she refused.

As the driver left the estate, turning onto the main road, he asked his passenger the address of their destination. Sitting, face turned to the window, Amanda didn’t hear him until he repeated almost gently “where to ma’am?”

Turning slowly to face the older gentleman, she gave a ghost of a smile.

“I have no idea.”

A frown crossed his face as he looked at her more closely.

“Ma’am? I need to know where you want to go.”

“To a hotel by the airport?” She asked wearily.

“Which one?”

Her answer was a sigh.

“It doesn’t matter.”

The driver gave her another look in his rearview mirror, saw the tears she had been trying to hide, and drove off.

Chapter 220

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 at 10:32 AM
Whatever flu bug had latched onto Amanda was a nasty one. She barely remembered Jon leaving when she woke a little later that morning. She drifted in and out of sleep, waking at the urging of her still violent stomach, and then barely making it back into the bed before sleep once again consumed her.

Jon’s flight had arrived in London on schedule and after meeting the car and driver, he called his house. The phone rang several times before it was answered.

A throat cleared as the phone answered. “hmm…hello…?”

“Manda? Hey, baby. How’re you doing?”

“Hey, Jon … I’m okay … a little better.”

He gave a soft chuckle. “Sure you are.”

Amanda breathed out in answer. “No, really…you alright?”

A smile crossed Jon’s face. “Yeah, got here fine. Listen, go back to sleep. I’ll call you tomorrow…”

Amanda’s eyes were already starting to close.

“… uhm hmmm … tomorrow …”

“Bye, baby.” He closed his phone, a thoughtful look on his face.

Amanda lay sound asleep, the phone slipping to the floor as she turned over.

~~~

Tuesday morning arrived and with it another day of grinding nausea and full on flu symptoms for Amanda.

One mid-day trip down the kitchen brought up enough ginger ale for three sick people, along with some crackers for when she thought her stomach could handle it. It was about one that afternoon when the phone rang.

“Hey babe! How’re you feeling?”

Amanda managed a slight smile even though Jon couldn’t see it.

“I’m here…”

“Barely. I can hear it in your voice.” He gave a small chuckle at how pitiful she sounded.

“How’s the movie?”

Jon waited until she finished coughing before he answered.

“Would you believe production may be on hold? Looks like I might have made this trip for nothing.”

“Oh! I’m sorry to hear that. Damn, baby, wish you were here…” Amanda tried, but failed to keep the note of self-pity out of her voice.

“I know…shit, I know! Do you want me to send someone over? I can call Linda or hell, even Dorothea would come…”

Amanda gave a small laugh, Jon’s plaintive tone taking her mind off her aches and pains.

“No…I just need to rest. I promise.”

Pacing in the small trailer that had been arranged for his use on the set, Jon sighed heavily, readying himself to over-rule her. The knock on the door caught him open mouthed.

“Hang on, Amanda … Yeah?”

She heard his voice yell not quite far enough from the phone.

“Okay … I’ll be there in just a sec.” Jon’s barely muffled voice came through loudly on the phone.

Amanda winced, moving the phone a bit from her ear.

“Honey? I’ve gotta go. Looks like things are moving ahead. Can I call you later?”

“Sure … I’m gonna sleep some more. Just call when you can.”

Jon’s voice came through a little hurriedly and she could hear the distraction in his tone.

“Love you, babe. Bye.” The phone clicked.

Amanda spoke into the empty phone.

“Love you.”

~~~

It was later that afternoon when Amanda was woken out of a restless sleep by hearing her name called. The room was dark and she turned on a light to see Jon’s mother standing in the doorway. The flu medicine she had taken, along with the fever she was running, had her blinking her eyes to focus on the woman in front of her.

Carol took in the woman in her son’s bed, seeing the tissues beside her, a mug of what looked like tea, and the bucket on the side in case she couldn’t make it to the bathroom. She tapped a folder against the side of her leg while she waited for Amanda to wake up enough to listen.

Sitting half upright in the bed, Amanda pulled the covers up as a chill overtook her. She sneezed abruptly and then looked again at Jon’s mother.

“Mrs. Bongiovi?” She asked softly.

“Yes, Amanda, it’s me.” Carol’s voice was calm and clear, waiting patiently for her moment.

“Uhm, Jon’s not here…” Amanda spoke, her confusion evident.

“I know that, dear. He’s in London. I came to see you.” The woman’s voice was now a near purr.

Amanda tried to answer, but started coughing. A drink of her tea calmed her throat and she turned questioning eyes to Carol.

Settling herself comfortably on the end of the bed, a folder on her lap, Carol looked Amanda up and down, then glanced at her own fingernails as if checking her manicure.

“Tell me, dear, how long did you think you would get away with it?”

“Get away with what?” Amanda shook her head as she answered. She had no idea what she was being asked.

“You’re very good, I must admit. You fooled everyone around you and my son was certainly taken in by your act.”

“What act? Mrs. Bongiovi, I don’t know what you’re talking about?” The hoarseness in her voice from her illness became more pronounced.

“Oh please! I know all about you. Did you really think you could hide something like this for very long? I had you investigated.” Carol’s voice seemed to purr from her throat.

“You had me … investigated?” Amanda shook her head slightly as she tried to make sense of what Jon’s mother was saying.

Carol practically snorted in derision.

“Of course I did. I have to give you credit though, you managed to hide your tracks pretty well. Fortunately, I can afford to hire the best investigators and this …” she raised the folder in her hand, “… tells a completely different story than you’ve told.”

Still shaking her head, Amanda looked from the folder to Mrs. Bongiovi’s face, trying to get some idea of what had been found out about her.

Her voice rising as her anger came to the forefront, Carol started in.

“I want to know where you got the nerve to do what you’ve done! How DARE you trap my son! How dare you accept a marriage proposal from him! You have to be the most cold-hearted bitch I’ve ever met!”

The shock of the words thrown at her combined with the seriousness of her illness had Amanda speechless, unable to even defend herself against the accusations coming like bullets.

“I will NOT let you drag my son through the press like some fool! You are going to leave this house and leave his life and never come back! Do you understand me?” Carol stood at these last words, brandishing the folder as if it were a weapon.

Finding her voice, Amanda broke through her paralysis, standing as best she could, swaying a little with dizziness.

“Why are you doing this? What did I do?” She finished in as near a shout as she could.

Carol just looked at her.

Grasping the footboard for support Amanda croaked throatily. “I don’t know what you’re talking about!”

Tossing the folder on the bed, Carol drew herself up, a sneer crossing her face.

“I’m talking about your husband, Amanda dear…” Carol spat out.

“He’s alive.”

Chapter 219

Monday, January 11, 2010 at 9:02 PM
Jon had loved her surprise. He had leered at her behind Richie’s back, the devilish light in his eyes reminding her of the outcome of their first ride. He was still talking about having the bike in Jersey as they all went to their rooms to dress. Following him into the room, Amanda felt a wave of dizziness flow over her and steadied herself against the frame of the door. Jon turned inquiring eyes toward her when she stopped.

“You okay”

Amanda shook her head, as if to clear it, and answered him.

“Yeah, just got dizzy. I’m fine.”

He looked at her penetratingly for a few more seconds, then turned toward the bathroom as she moved into the room.

“You wanna shower first, hon?” He asked, motioning towards the bathroom.

“Yeah, that sounds great. Give me a few minutes, okay?” She smiled and closed the door.

Jon stood for a few seconds looking at the closed door and then turned away to pull out a suit.

Inside the bathroom, Amanda began undressing, her skin crinkling at the coolness of the tile against her feet. She started to get into the running shower, but stopped suddenly when nausea hit, and hit hard. A sense of vertigo again swept over her and she found herself gripping the sides of the sink once her stomach allowed her to stand again. A knock at the door had her reaching for the mouthwash.

“Can I come in, babe?” She heard Jon call through the door.

Her answer contained the residue of a gargle, but it seemed Jon heard her anyway when the door opened and he came in. She smiled fleetingly, moving into the shower as Jon ran water to shave.

Amanda showed quickly as she just couldn’t get the water the right temperature. First too hot, then too cold, there never was a “just right”. Jon turned surprised eyes to her as she grabbed a towel from the rack.

“That was quick.”

She made a small grimace.

“Just couldn’t get the water the right temp.”

“You alright?” Jon’s head cocked to the side as he looked at her more closely. He reached out a hand to her forehead before she could answer.

Amanda started to answer, then stopped as Jon’s eyes narrowed.

“You’re really hot.” He frowned at her as she stepped away to reach her robe on the back of the door.

“I’ll take some Tylenol. I’m fine, Jon, really.” She slipped on the robe, settling it tightly against her wet skin.

“Go get your shower.”

He drew off his sweats as he answered.

“Okay, but take something.”

“I will.” Amanda closed the door as the shower turned on.

Heading for the kitchen, she paused once more on the steps as her stomach seemed to flip-flop.

“Please don’t let me be getting sick.” She mumble-prayed as she went into the kitchen. Getting a few Tylenol, she grabbed a ginger ale from the fridge to settle her protesting stomach, taking the pills with the first swallow.

By the time she had finished her makeup, the Tylenol had kicked in and she started to feel a little better. No longer so dizzy and with her stomach giving her a respite, Amanda dried her hair and finished dressing. Jon had gone downstairs and was on the phone when she joined him several minutes later.

Richie entered from the kitchen and at Jon’s nod toward the door, they grabbed coats and headed out to the limo.

~~~

Later on Amanda would wonder how she managed to make it through the night.

Whatever was happening to her, the feeling increased in intensity as the night wore on. She felt removed from the party, as if she was floating somewhere outside herself. The fever she’d had before seemed to return with a vengeance and her stomach was so queasy she’d almost had to bolt from the room a handful of times.

Introduction after introduction had blurred names and faces of even the famous into a memory consisting of snapshots without much substance. Bruce, Demi, Ashton, even Springsteen, it made no difference who or how famous.

She sank back into the limo seat, still relishing the cool night air that had accompanied their exit from the hotel. Jon was talking a mile a minute, flushed with good humor, the good wishes of his friends and family, and a not small amount of liquid cheer.

“That was great! Did you get to spend some time with Bruce? Isn’t he a great guy? Gotta give mom some credit, that turned out great!” He nearly bubbled with enthusiasm, turning his talk into a laugh as his phone rang.

“Rich! My man! What’s up?”

Amanda tuned out the conversation as the car drove moved in and out of traffic. She tried directing one of the A/C vents towards her face in a vain attempt to cool the heat of her skin. Her stomach rolled.

“Stop…” Her voice came out a whisper as she clutched her stomach and the side of the car to stop the spinning.

“Please … stop the car …” A low moan escaped her as the nausea escalated. She could hear Jon laugh at something Richie said.

She reached out and touched his arm.

“Jon, please … stop the car!” Her voice rose as she was seconds from disaster.

Turning from the phone, Jon saw her face as she raised her hand to her mouth. He pressed the intercom and the car rolled to a stop on the side of the road.

Amanda threw the door open, barely making it out. She dropped to one knee as the waves rolled over her.

Inside the car, Jon quickly ended the call and was out at her side within moments.

“Manda! Jesus! Honey, are you okay?”

Unable to answer, Amanda appreciated the assistance of his hand on her shoulder, the other helping to hold her hair back.

“Mr. Bon Jovi?” The driver hesitantly stood beside the two. “Do you want me to call…?“ His voice trailed off as he looked to Jon for the answer.

Jon threw the driver a glance, then turned back to Amanda.

She had raised a hand, waving it back and forth in a “no” manner.

“No, I guess not. Just give us a few minutes.” He turned his attention back to Amanda as the driver returned to the front of the car.

Getting to her feet with Jon’s aid, Amanda felt immeasurably better now that the worst of it seemed to have passed.

She drew her hand through her hair and sighed.

“I’m … okay …”

Jon helped her back into the limo, knocking the window to send the car moving.

The ride back to the house was interrupted twice more.

~~~

“Jon … you have to go.” Amanda’s voice was little more than a rasp at seven the next morning.

“I don’t want to leave you like this.” Jon paced the bedroom, a hand running through his unbrushed hair.

Amanda coughed, then drew the covers up further.

“It’s the flu. Go.” She sank down into the pillows, too tired and too ill to argue further.

Jon glanced at his watch, watching the numbers change from 7:02 to 7:03. The plane was leaving at nine that morning and if he didn’t go soon, he would miss it.

“Let me at least call Linda.”

Shaking her head, Amanda coughed again.

“No … she’s visiting her grandkids … I’ll be fine.”

Still hesitating, Jon looked at her as she met his eyes.

Managing a brief smile, she spoke again.

“Call me when you get in.”

He moved to her side, kissing her forehead, nearly wincing at the warmth. Within those few minutes she had fallen asleep again and his goodbye was a whisper she didn’t hear.

Chapter 218

Wednesday, January 6, 2010 at 7:59 PM
On the day of Jon’s birthday, Amanda woke unexpectedly later than her usual time. She lay in the bed for a few minutes, blinking her eyes as she attempted to shake off an unusual sleepiness. Feeling as if she was still slight wrapped in a fog, she showered and dressed, moving just a little slower than normal.

The bed had been empty when she had stirred less than half an hour before and she left the room in search of Jon. The sun was bright through the drawn back curtains of the rooms as she walked down towards the kitchen. It was close to ten, but someone had left a fresh pot of coffee ready to brew and she started it as she walked to look out the window at the fresh snow that seemed to have fallen overnight.

The house was quiet and she didn’t realize she had been standing just staring out the window for several minutes until the coffee pot gave the final gurgles that signaled it had run its brewing cycle. Adding cream to her cup, she walked back over to the window and took her first sip. The taste of the coffee, instead of being creamy and welcoming, caused her to nearly gag as she swallowed. The second sip proved no better and she reluctantly emptied the cup into the sink. Shaking her head in puzzlement, she opened the refrigerator, glancing inside at the contents. A container of orange juice caught her eye and she poured a glass, sighing as the cool liquid went down without a complaint.

As she turned to walk into the house to the gym where she thought Jon might be, a piece of paper on the kitchen table caught her eye. Picking it up she saw it was a note from Jon.

Morning, sleeping beauty! Richie and I ran into town on a few errands. We should be back around noon. Call if you need anything while we’re out.

Love, Jon

Amanda gave a small smile at the smirk Jon had drawn under his name, taking it as a sign that he was in an exceptionally good mood that morning. Grabbing a pad of paper and a pen, she wandered into the living room, settling herself on one of the comfortable couches. Pausing for a few minutes, she used the remote to turn on the TV and tuned in a news channel. Chewing thoughtfully at the end of the pen, she thought for a few minutes and then started her list of things to do before they left for London.

~~~

The doorbell ringing startled Amanda awake. Blinking in surprise, she glanced down at the table on her lap, the pen on the couch, and shook her head. The insistent chimes of the door didn’t allow her to linger on her confusion as she went to answer it.

Opening the door, she saw Paul moving away while motioning to a delivery truck to park. He heard her call his name and turned as she walked out.

“Paul?”

He smiled at her.

“Morning, Amanda. The driver has a delivery from Florida.”

Breaking into a wide smile, Amanda moved down to the driveway where the driver was opening up the back of the truck. Tucking her arms around her as the cold wind penetrated her light sweater, she quickly signed for the delivery and asked Paul if he could have the motorcycle put into one of the garages. Explaining the gift and cautioning him to keep it a secret, she then watched as the bike was hidden inside a garage, although she had to watch the tail end of it from inside the house as she was too chilled to stay.

Returning upstairs, she went into one of the unused bedrooms where she had hidden a large red bow in a closet. Once the bow was on the bike, she was back in the house rubbing her arms to warm herself. Glancing at a clock, she was pleased to see that it wasn’t quite 11:30 and her big gift for Jon had arrived and was properly bowed. She had no idea why she had fallen asleep after getting up so soon before, but coffee now sounded good again and she tried another cup from the still warm pot. This cup went down perfectly.

Amanda was just finishing her egg and toast breakfast when she heard the front door open and then the laughter of the two men as they entered the house. Greetings were called out and then bags and a box were set on the table. She watched in amusement as Jon wrinkled his nose at her when she turned her cheek for a kiss as she hadn’t quite managed to finish swallowing before he was at her side.

Jon quirked an eyebrow at her.

“You found my note, right?”

Amanda nodded at him, swallowing the last of her coffee.

“Sure did. Thanks.”

Casting her eyes over the brightly colored assortment of bags on the table, her gaze traveled between the two.

“You two? Shopping?”

Jon pointed to Richie.

“Him…” Her eyes swung once again to Richie.

They widened as she could have sworn she saw a light blush touch his face.

“They’re for Trish, okay?”

“Sure, okay…” Amanda smiled at the sudden little-boyness of Richie’s face.

“She’s going with me to LA to meet Ava and I wanted to get her some things and…” his voice broke off as Amanda nodded vigorously at his words.

“Richie, I was teasing! That was a really nice thing to do.”

Richie ducked his head and made a grumbling noise.

“Yeah, well, you didn’t have to take him…” and here Richie thrust a dramatic outstretched hand at Jon “…with you while doing it.”

Amanda turned toward the man standing at the opposite side of the kitchen, his head thrown back in a full-throated laugh.

“Jon…?” She questioned, even as a smile broke across her face at hearing his laugh.

He brought twinkling eyes to her face.

“Hey, can I help it if I am simply irresistible to the female sex?” He accompanied this statement with a squaring of his jaw and an exaggerated puffing out of his chest.

Amanda stared at him, holding in a giggle at his near Peter Pan pose.

“Oh my god!” She muttered, shaking her head in mock disapproval.

“Exactly!” Richie shot out as she turned to him.

“No matter where we went, all I heard was ‘Oh My God’ and then squeals.” Throwing his hands up, he continued.

“Now tell me, why do women ALWAYS have to squeal?”

Amanda gave Richie a barely held frown, a smile lurking underneath it, as she looked at him.

“Richie, I’m never gonna believe women don’t squeal when they see you. So, what happened?”

“I’ll tell you what happened…” Jon piped up from behind her, as she turned at his voice.

“He never minds when women squeal ‘cause if we’re out together there are as many running up to him as there are to me.”

Squinting her eyes in confusion, Amanda prompted him.

“And…?”

“Fans know our birthdays. And today is mine.” He gave a nod at the end of his last word as if that explained everything.

She glanced back at Richie to see if he knew what this explained.

Richie threw a scowl at Jon and rolled his eyes. Jon snickered.

“He got shoved.”

Richie’s scowl deepened.

“As in out of the way.”

Amanda’s eyes widened.

Jon laughed.

Again.

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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