John Francis - Chapter 251

Sunday, December 18, 2011 at 6:34 PM
Jon kept running into a brick wall.

No, a castle made of brick.

No, no, a castle of brick inside a fortress of steel inside a mountain of rock.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

He had called Amanda’s mother three times when the last call went straight to voice mail, a sure sign she had turned her phone off. He’d stammered through a message that he was sure was a soliloquy in incoherence.

Jon stared at his watch. 10:30. He hit a speed dial button and started barking orders at his assistant, Sharon, before she’d even finished saying, “Good morning, J…”

Their conversation consisted of several “uh-huh’s”, “okay’s” and finally an “I’ll call you back.”

Jon hung up, a satisfied smile on his face. He would know where Amanda was by the end of the day.

Nothing was going to stop him.

Not even a brick wall.

~~~

Richie sat on the couch in Trish’s apartment, lost in thought. He had most of his attention tuned into the bathroom where Trish had gone, ready to spring into action if she was sick again. He was so engrossed in listening for sounds that she needed him that the ringing of her phone barely registered. The second ring had him looking around for it. By the fourth ring he knew he wasn’t going to get there in time, but he managed to fish it out from under her purse just as “Missed Call” showed on the display. More out of habit than curiosity, he hit the button that showed the last caller.

No name, just a number.

+30 22860 86267 (DO NOT CALL THIS - I MADE IT UP! LOL!)

Richie’s head tilted in the near universal sign for confusion as he looked at a number that was decidedly not from the US. He traveled enough to know that +30 was a country code. He took out his own phone and a quick search had the answer. +30 was for Greece.

Who the hell did Trish know in Greece?

Richie looked up as Trish came back into the living room.

“Hey babe, your phone rang, but I didn’t get there in time.”

She smiled at him and reached for her phone.

“Who do you know in Greece?” Richie asked.

Trish’s eyes widened slightly as she looked at the last call on her phone.

She knew someone in Greece alright.

“My … cousin.”

Richie smiled then himself. “Gorgeous country. You ever been there?”

“No,” Trish answered, shaking her head, “haven’t had the chance yet.”

“We should go. You close to your cousin?” He paused, then smiled even more widely. “Didn’t even ask if your cousin was a he or a she…?”

Feeling the tension that had risen with Richie’s first question begin to drain off, Trish gave a small laugh as she thought for a few precious seconds. “A female cousin…” She trailed off, not wanting to make her lie any bigger. Richie saved her from adding any more as he returned to the subject they’d been talking about before she’d left the room a few minutes earlier. Trish mentioning her cousin in Greece had him thinking of honeymoons which in turn had him right back where they’d left off.

“Trish, you -- you weren’t saying you don’t want to marry me, were you?” he asked.

“No, I wasn’t saying that. I -- we -- it’s just I want us to get to know each other better. This pregnancy -- we wouldn’t be talking marriage yet if I hadn’t gotten pregnant.” Trish fixed him with a firm look. “And you know that.”

Richie’s lips tightened a bit, even as he knew she was right. He knew he was falling for her. Hell, he might even have already fallen. It sure felt that way. But he also knew he could be a bit impetuous and a slight grimace crossed his face as Denise flashed into his memory.

“No, we wouldn’t be talking about it yet, that’s true,” he said. “But things have changed --” He gestured expansively, managing to include her belly and the entire world in the gesture. “We’re going to be parents together and I think we should be married when when we do.”

A dog with a bone, Trish thought to herself. She widened her eyes at him in a playful manner, a small smile on her face. “We’re going to be parents whether we’re married or not.” She reached out, putting her small hand into his large callused one.

“Richie, if this is right between us, a little time isn’t going to hurt, and if we’re wrong, we won’t be adding a divorce to it.”

He didn’t want to admit it, but she was making a lot of sense.

Why then was he so disappointed?

~~~

“Amanda! Thank god you didn’t call me from your cell phone!” Trish nearly shouted into the phone a few minutes after Richie had kissed her good-bye. She’d told him she really wanted to sleep that afternoon and he had reluctantly admitted he was now wide awake, so they’d agreed to meet later for dinner.

“Why? What’s the matter? Are you ok? Trish, dammit, I’ve been frantic over here!” Amanda’s voice was also loud in her excitement.

“I’m ok, but I have something to tell you,” Trish answered. “I got back from the doctor’s a little while ago and -- Amanda, I’m having triplets!”

“Oh--my--god…” Amanda’s voice rose on every word. “TRIPLETS?!”

Trish answered in a breathy near whisper, “Yes. Triplets.” She yanked the phone from her ear when Amanda let out a loud shout.

“I’m so happy for you!” Amanda continued. “Did the doctor say everything was okay with the babies?”

“Yeah, he did. It’s really early, almost too soon to really know, but apparently just enough!” Trish laughed as Amanda squealed again.

“What did Richie say?” Amanda asked.

“He fainted.” Trish said, a chuckle beginning low in her throat.

“HE WHAT?” Amanda shouted and Trish nearly dropped the phone as she doubled up with laughter.

“Fell flat on the floor. All six feet of him.”

“Oh, poor Richie …” Amanda crooned, then laughed. “That I would have liked to see.”

Trish hiccoughed as her laughter slowly wound down. “Oh no, you wouldn’t! He scared the hell out of me!”

They laughed as friends do for another minute until Amanda remembered what Trish had first said when she’d called back.

“Why did you say it was good I hadn’t used my cell to call you?”

Trish took a deep breath, letting it out with a small shudder. “Because Richie picked up the phone.”

“Oh god,” Amanda whispered, “that would have been bad.”

There was silence from both women over the miles separating them as they thought of the secret they shared. It hadn’t started out that way. It had begun the night Richie had brought Trish over to Jon’s house and they’d all had dinner at Buddakan, They’d exchanged phone numbers later that evening as they’d talked in the ladies’ room and a few phone calls later they were talking almost every day.

Amanda had mentioned to Jon that she and Trish were talking and Trish had said she’d done the same with Richie. What neither had seemed to have done was tell their men just how close they’d become.

Trish didn’t know anyone dating someone like Richie … except Amanda … and the same was true for Amanda. While Susan was still her dearest friend, the relationship she had with Jon seemed to be off limits in their discussions and she wasn’t sure when it had become that way. What she had come to value, though, was how she and Trish could talk as equals, each knowing quite a bit about how the other’s life was simply by virtue of dating the same category of men.

Over the last few months they had become closer than either of them had expected and during the last few weeks Amanda had come to rely on the support Trish provided, as had Trish with her situation. While neither shared intimate details of their lovers, each was able to find answers from the other when needed.

“Has he asked you if you‘ve talked to me?” Amanda asked.

“You mean Richie, right? I haven’t seen Jon since … well, since before all this happened,” Trish answered.

Amanda sighed deeply. Even hearing Jon’s name hurt. “Yeah, I mean Richie,” she answered.

“No,” Trish said, “and I’m surprised he hasn’t.”

Amanda smiled, although she knew Trish couldn’t see her. “I’m not. Not really. Those two are so close. There’s just this -- bond -- there that is more than just friends. Jon’s closer to Richie than to his own brothers. You can just feel it.”

“I haven’t spent as much time with the two of them as you, but I believe it,” Trish answered, then paused, taking in a deep breath. “Amanda, Richie -- he asked me to marry him.”

“Oh, Trish!” Amanda gasped, and then laughed. “So when’s the date?” Silence met her question and Amanda’s voice softened as she spoke. “Trish?”

“I’m here,” Trish said. “Not yet, Amanda, I didn’t say no, but I know we wouldn’t be talking about marriage if it weren’t for this pregnancy. It’s too much right now. We need more time to see if we work.”

“Aww, honey,” Amanda sighed. “I understand. You have some time.”

“I know we do and if it’s right between us -- and I think it might be -- then we’ll take that step,” Trish said.

Amanda nodded as she spoke. “You’ll know, Trish. You really will.”

“I think so too,” Trish said, then she took a deep breath herself. “Amanda? I need to tell you something.”

“Ok, I’m listening…” Amanda said.

“Jon wants you back.”

John Francis - Chapter 250

Sunday, December 4, 2011 at 4:36 PM
Too wired to sleep after Richie left, Jon started making coffee…and lists. He liked lists. They clarified his thinking, sorted out his plans, and gave him a direction to take. He’d usually have two or three filled with his barely legible scrawl before he’d even stop to take a real breath. Which is why he found himself frowning, scowling really, at the blank sheets of paper in front of him.

At first he’d thought of hiring a private detective, but considering that his mother’s hiring of one had started this whole avalanche of fuck-uppery, he was hesitant to go that route. He didn’t have any friends in NCIS to triangulate Amanda’s cell phone signal and even if he did, he’d be hard pressed to convince them this was the emergency he thought it was.

Jon sighed and lit another cigarette.

Fuck.

Shit. Fuck.

Shit. Fuck. Motherfuck.

Even swearing wasn’t helping.

He looked at his watch. Almost nine. He dialed the number he’d stored in his cellphone from months earlier and waited while it rang.

“Hello? Mrs. Adams? It’s Jon Bongio --”

He didn’t even get his entire name out before he was speaking to a dead phone.

Apparently calling Amanda’s mother was working out just as well as he thought it would.

Which was not at all.

~~~

Amanda was up the rest of the night and saw the dawn with eyes blurred from lack of sleep. She had found herself unable to go back to bed, afraid she would dream again. It was bad enough that she kept replaying it over and over as she sat outside, a blanket keeping her warm, a single carafe of wine slowly being emptied.

Dreaming it again and waking to find it was real life would be too much. She would have to sleep, of course, but not tonight. Not if she could help it.

As light gradually brightened her terrace, she stirred from her blanket cocoon and walked into the bathroom. The shower helped her wake up a little more, the water warm and soothing. She dressed for the day, intending to spend it walking as much as she could so that when she tried to sleep that night, she would do so without dreaming.

Please, God, no more dreams.

It didn’t help to know that being awake wasn’t any better.

Amanda had been in Greece for almost a week. It was gorgeous and the people were warm and friendly, yet every day so far had passed in a fog of pain that sleep brought no relief from.

What she wanted was for her love for Jon to die.

Learning what Jeremy had done had killed her feelings for him with one swift slice through her heart. The cords that held her to him had been severed the moment she’d learned that he’d betrayed her in the way that he had. An affair she might have forgiven. Ending their life, her life, as she knew it had not only had ended her love for him, but had changed what she knew thought she knew about herself. About who she was and her place in this world.

Amanda fingered the bracelet on her arm, the tangible reminder of the man known as Jon bon Jovi and that for a brief moment he had been in her life. The problem was that she did not give her heart lightly. She would have been with Jeremy until the end and there would never have been a man named Jon who would have awakened feelings she’d never felt before. She had come to realize over the last few days that while Jeremy was her first love, he was not her true love.

Her true love was a man she would never see again.

~~~

“Richie!” Trish screamed as the big man suddenly hit the floor with a bone-jarring thud. She sent up a silent prayer of thanks for thick carpeting and no nearby sharp edges.

One cold rag later, Richie found himself blinking his eyes and staring up as Trish wiped his forehead as water slowly trickled down and into one of his ears.

“Trish?” he asked, squinting his eyes in confusion.

“Richie! Thank God! Are you alright?” Trish’s hands seemed to suddenly be everywhere as she tried to check that everything was working properly.

Richie sat up, a little slowly as new aches and pains added themselves to the ones he got just a short while ago from his bout with Jon.

“What happened?” Richie asked, looking around, surprised to find himself on the floor.

“I think you fainted,” Trish said.

Richie’s face suddenly reminded Trish of an indignant cat.

“I did not faint. I have never fainted in my life.”

Trish just grinned at him now that she realized he hadn’t been hurt. She watched him stand and only reached out a hand once when he wobbled just a little.

Richie wasn’t sure his legs would hold him up. They seemed to have turned into a curious form of leg-shaped jelly and he willed himself to take several deep breaths.

Trish cleared her throat softly. “Uhm, Richie, do you remember the last thing I said to you?”

He looked at her and it was apparent he was thinking. She knew the moment he remembered when his eyes widened and his mouth formed a soft “O”.

“You’re pregnant,” he gulped and Trish almost smiled as he stated the obvious. “And -- you’re -- triplets?”

Trish nodded with a bemused look suddenly on her face.

Richie started to speak. “Well…” He cleared his throat and tried again. “I think I -- want to sit down.” He matched action to words and sat heavily on the couch.

Trish sat down on the other end of the couch, a bit unsure of herself in light of Richie’s apparent shock at her announcement although she was a little relieved to see she wasn’t the only one who’d had her whole world rocked.

She had always wanted a baby. Maybe even two, three if she had to pick the magic number, but one baby at a time. Just one. Learning she was going to have three at once had been enough to bring her to alternating bouts of laughter and tears throughout the morning. Richie had happened to arrive after one of the crying spells.

Finally realizing he could speak in entire sentences, Richie asked, “What did the doctor say?”

She sighed. The doctor had said quite a lot actually. “Lots of rest. No lifting anything over ten pounds. No vigorous exercise. And he wants me to see a nutritionist.”

Richie nodded along as Trish recited each item. “Good, good, okay, we can do all that.”

They fell into silence then, each with their own thoughts.

Trish finally spoke. “I’m terrified, Richie.”

Richie looked at her, seeing the truth of her words in her eyes.

“You’ll be ok, baby. We’ll make sure of it.”


(*wink* Bayaderra)

John Francis - Chapter 249

Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 9:07 PM
Richie turned the key to his apartment and groaned softly as his sore fingers hit the door jam as he did so. He shook his head, cursing again under his breath at his mistaken notion that having it out with Jon would be a good idea. His tongue ran over the small split in his lower lip where a right hook from Jon had caught him when he had zigged instead of zagged. He chuckled a bit at the idea of two men near 50 years of age trading punches like teenagers just proving their manhood. His grin faded as he “Ow”d at the tenderness of his lip.

He shut the door softly as he entered, throwing his keys onto the table near the door. Raking a hand through his hair, he stood for a moment by the door, feeling every single bump and bruise screaming at him that he wasn’t a kid anymore. He’d called Trish once he’d left Jon’s as the sun was just barely a warm rising glow. She’d sounded sleepy and he knew he’d woken her. He’d told her he was fine and that he would talk to her later that morning. All he wanted to do now was stand for a few hours in a warm shower until the aches and pains of the night were turned to a dull roar.

He settled for just under thirty minutes and stepped out of the steamy shower feeling as if he was only 90, instead of 95. Wrapping a towel around his waist, he shook back his hair then ran a brush through it. He cleared a section of the mirror with a swipe of his hand and took stock. The swelling in his lip was going down, although he might end up with a minor black eye before all was said and done. He left the bathroom, throwing on a pair of loose shorts. The kitchen, or more importantly, coffee, beckoned.

Richie wanted to speak with his lawyer first thing, which unfortunately meant waiting until at least 8:30, to get the paperwork in order. With serious money came considerations beyond just love and there were things he had to protect no matter who entered his life. He could afford to be generous, but he could not afford to be naïve.

Another thought popped into his mind and he gave a quick glance at the wall clock. Damn! Too early to call Ava in California. He’d also have to talk to Heather about he and Trish getting married. A small involuntary sigh escaped him. He’d thought he wouldn’t ever recover after Heather initiated their divorce. He had really expected to be married to her forever and to find that she had fallen out of love with him, no matter what excuse she gave to the press about another woman, had been devastating. The cruelest words on the planet had to be “I don’t love you anymore”.

Richie shook his head to clear away the small pain that seemed to linger like old cobwebs in an abandoned home. He knew his feelings for Trish were new, but he felt a peace when he was with her that he had not experienced for a very long time. A smile lit his face as thinking about Trish had him also thinking about the coming baby. He was going to be a father again and this time he would have a wife who wanted to travel with him and one who wanted to experience everything his life could give them.

By the time Richie had finished his coffee, it was close enough to 8:30 that he could call his attorney. Jack Marshall answered his private line with a deep-throated hello.

“Hey, Richie! How are you doing?”

Richie smiled as he answered, “Good, Jack, working but not right at the moment.”

“Good, take some time for yourself when you can.” Jack replied.

“I do, my man, I do, and that’s pretty much the reason I’m calling you so early,” Richie said.

“What can I do for you?” Jack asked.

Richie gave a small chuckle. “Jack, I’m getting married.”

Jack paused mid-sip of his own coffee. “Wow! Congratulations! Who’s the lucky lady?”

“Patricia Russo, she’s a psychologist and -- well -- we’re having a baby…” Richie blurted out, then winced. I sound like a kid telling my dad!

“Holy shit, Rich!” Jack said, a slight hint of caution entering his voice.

“Yeah, I know, Jack, but it’s a good thing and I’m really happy,” Richie said.

Jack nodded, knowing as he did so that Richie couldn’t see him, then spoke. “Fair enough. So -- I guess you’re calling me about the legal aspect of this marriage?”

“I need you to draw up a prenuptual agreement.”

“Can you come in this morning? About 10:30?” Jack asked.

“Sure, I’ll see you then.” Richie answered.

“Okay -- and Richie? All my best, man.”

~~~

Richie was finished at the lawyer’s a little before noon and as he was leaving took out his cell phone to call Trish, getting her voice mail.

“Babe! I’m on my way over. See you in about 15 minutes.” He hung up and hoped she wasn’t feeling bad today as he had another time set with Jack Marshall that day for Trish to sign the prenup. He wasn’t too worried about her signing the papers, but he was a bit worried about rushing her through it. But, dammit, he wanted to be on a flight later today to Vegas so they could get married, so it had to be a little fast.

He drove the roads effortlessly, although not just a little recklessly as he was distracted with a thousand and one thoughts about his future. Pulling up in front of Trish’s apartment, he nearly bound out of the car, so eager was he to see her. He kept his wide smile until she opened the door.

“Trish? My god, what’s wrong?” Richie’s voice shook as he took in the face of the woman before him. His first thought was a terrible one - she had lost the baby. His second thought, that someone had died, wasn’t much better, yet all he could think was disaster as her eyes were red from crying and she hadn’t yet spoken a word.

“Are you okay?” Richie demanded.

Trish shook her head. No, Richie, I’m not okay.

“Trish, what is it?” Richie’s voice rose as his sense of panic grew.

“I had to see the doctor this morning.” Trish started to explained. Richie nodded vigorously, urging her on.

“I woke up and when I went to the bathroom, there was some blood.”

Richie closed his eyes as fear trilled through him. He waited to hear the worst.

“The doctor said the pregnancy is fine and that the spotting was normal for some women.” Trish’s voice drew to a whisper as she watched Richie’s eyes snap open in surprise and relief.

He stuttered as he spoke. “Ssss…so you’re okay? The baby is okay?”

Trish nodded and then swallowed hard, trying to find the words to finish what she needed to tell Richie.

“Why were you crying? Is something else wrong?” Richie asked.

Trish shut her own eyes now, but quickly opened them as his grip on her arms suddenly tightened.

“Trish, you’re killing me here. What’s wrong?” Richie demanded, fear once again rising. “Is something wrong with the baby?”

Time seemed to stop as he waited for Trish to answer his question. If she was okay and the baby was okay, then…

“What did you just say?” he asked, stunned out of his thoughts by the strange word she had just whispered.

Trish raised her eyes to his, staring at him as she repeated the news that had sent her home from the doctor’s in a near panic, the word from the doctor that had changed her whole world.

“Triplets.”

John Francis - Chapter 248

Saturday, November 26, 2011 at 9:05 AM
Jon was proud of himself.

He’d waited until his parents had gone, the door closed and locked behind them, before he turned and smashed his coffee cup against the stone fireplace with one strike-out strength throw.

Richie sighed, re-adjusting the ice pack he’d applied to his swollen lower lip.

“How much you gonna trash?”

Jon turned at Richie’s wearied tone.

“I still can’t believe you didn’t fucking tell me.”

Raised eyebrows and a near sneer met that statement.

“Oh really? You can’t believe it? When did you get stupid?”

“Fuck you, Sambora.”

“No, fuck you. What was I supposed to tell you?” Richie’s voice rose as his own frustration overflowed.

“Was I supposed to tell you that your mother threw Amanda out, that she set it up so Amanda would look like she was a fraud? Is that what I was supposed to tell you?”

Jon didn’t answer as everything he had learned whirled inside him. He flew between one extreme and the other, first so angry that words almost wouldn’t come and then overwhelmed with the loss he had been denying for days.

“Shit -- no, I guess not. Jesus, Rich--how the hell could she do that?” Anger rolled through Jon again, along with impotent rage that the person who had hurt him the most was his mother.

Richie looked at Jon as he stood there, bits of broken glass sparkling in the light. He took a breath and shook his head.

“Bro’…it’s wasn’t all her.”

Jon’s head snapped up as his eyes locked onto Richie’s.

“You helped by allowing her to say what she wanted. She put Amanda down and you barely said a thing…” Richie held up his hand as Jon pursed his lips to speak.

“Just listen for a minute.”

Jon signed, the anger spilling away a drop at a time.

“You’ve always defended your mom, always. Not to mention you would take the head off anyone, including me, who said something bad about her. Hell, I would too. But this time she was wrong. And she knows she was wrong.”

“So you’re saying this is my fault?” Jon asked incredulously.

Richie shot him a look.

“How long did you look for her?”

“What?”

“Admit it. You came home. Read that note. Called her for a few days and that’s it.”

Jon’s jaw was set stubbornly as he tried to think of a way to deny Richie’s accusations.

“Your goddam ego was bruised. Wasn’t it?” Richie moved closer to Jon as he spoke, his own frustration bubbling over into his words.

“How dare she? Wasn’t that part of it, Jon?”

The two men stood there for a moment as Jon’s hands opened and closed at his sides, the knuckles whitening as his fists clenched.

“Yeah, dammit, that was part of it. Why didn’t she trust me? She’s always talking about me letting her in and then she shuts me out and fucking leaves?”

“Okay, hold it right there. Just hold it. Listen to what you’re saying. She should have come to you…riiiight.”

Jon blinked at the sarcasm in his friend’s tone.

“She did come to you. The concert -- Remember?” Richie waited for Jon to speak, but when silence met silence, he asked the question he’d wanted an answer to for days.

“What the hell happened that night at the hotel?” Richie asked.

“The hotel -- awwww, fuck …“ The words escaped Jon’s throat in a whisper. “I…we…” He made a sweeping motion with his hand that was meant to summarize the encounter with Amanda, but he stilled as a sense of shame again welled.

“We spent the night together -- and then I left.”

“That’s it?” Richie raised rather dubious eyes, remembering Jon’s voice the next day and his accusations.

“I left her a note, okay?”

Richie continued to look at him, knowing there was more.

“A note? What did you say?”

Jon winced, recalling what he had done.

“It wasn’t really a note -- I -- left my autograph.”

“Oh fuck, man! Were you trying to hurt her?”

It seemed Jon wasn’t going to answer, until a sigh was heard and a voice filled with self-disgust spoke.

“Yeah --I was.”

~~~

Amanda was up again at 3:00 AM, the sheets sticking to her sweat-soaked body. She had been dreaming, a nightmare. Jeremy was walking down the street with a little boy’s hand in his and his arm around a heavily pregnant woman. He and his family moved in her direction and as she stood on the sidewalk, tensing to confront him, they had walked right through her, as if she wasn’t even there. She had called his name, but he had never turned to look at her.

She had watched them move down the street until they were out of sight and all she could see was a single figure walking towards her. Sunlight flashed off his hair as he approached and his eyes were so blue, so alive.

Until he saw her.

Then those eyes stopped being alive.

And as he walked past her, she realized he could no longer see her. Would no longer see her.

She finally escaped from that nightmare.

Until she woke.

And realized it was real.

~~~

Jon and Richie talked late into the night and dawn was just breaking on the horizon when Richie returned again to the timeline of what had happened.

”…so after I found those papers I thought the same thing you did. Except it just didn’t fit. She’s a really lousy liar and she had no clue what I was talking about when I demanded your stuff back. No idea. So after I got home I read the papers again and realized the photographer was her husband. Well, ex-husband. The next day I went there and he told me everything. He seemed glad to do it. To let me know she didn’t know anything about it.”

Jon had re-read the report from the investigator after Richie had started telling him about meeting Amanda in California. It was sometime during the middle of it that he began to realize what she had done for him, because of him.

“She refused to tell you about your mom, Jon. And I mean absolutely refused. We sat there trying to come up with a way to tell you, without telling you, and there was nothing. No explanation except the truth, and --well...”

Jon stood up, his entire body itching to move, to do something.

“Have you been talking to her? Where is she?”

Shaking his head, Richie gave a mildly disgusted sigh.

“She sent me a text saying she was fine, but that’s been it. No phone calls. Nothing.”

Richie watched Jon move from one end of the room to the other, raking a hand over and over again through his hair. He stopped to pull his cell out, looked at it, then his hand slowly sunk down.

“How the hell am I gonna get her back, Richie?”

Richie cocked an eyebrow at Jon, then shook his head as he spoke.

“How the hell are you gonna find her?”

John Francis - Chapter 247

Sunday, November 20, 2011 at 5:15 PM
One cold shower later, two cups of strong black coffee, and near a quarter pack of cigarettes had Jon staring at his mother.

“Jon…say something!” Carol’s voice rose slightly as she looked at her son.

She had told him.

Everything.

And he just stared at her.

Frozen.

Then he looked down at the envelope she had given him.

The one with everything inside that he thought Amanda had taken.

He had been played alright, but not by the person he thought.

Carol looked at her husband and at Richie, but both men were eyeing Jon, watching him, both of them knowing that underneath stubbornness lived a temper Richie had just experienced and John had just watched.

Jon’s mind tumbled over itself, thoughts coming faster than he could hold onto them, his mother’s words tumbling like loose boulders, striking each other and throwing off new thoughts until his head roared from the avalanche.

He lowered his head as tears only half from anger filled his eyes.

“I’m so sorry, Jon…I’m --” Carol’s voice wound down as her son raised his eyes to meet hers.

Carol gasped, her heart giving a sharp jolt.

Such pain. Such rage. At her.

Jon shook his head slightly as he continued to look at her. He spoke, his voice hollow, as if the emotions were draining out of him, leaving an empty core.

“How am I supposed to forgive you for this?” He asked. “I love her and now she’s gone. Because of you.”

His mother just looked at him as tears spilled from her eyes.

“Why, mom? Why did you do this?”

Struggling to find her voice, crying openly now, Carol answered her son.

“I wanted better for you.”

Jon’s mouth dropped open, then closed only to let out a roar.

“You WHAT?!”

His chair scraped loudly as he abruptly stood up from the table, no longer able to sit quietly as he listened. He moved to the door of the kitchen, then turned back to face his mother who was looking at him as his sudden rage seemed to simmer in the air.

“You wanted…you wanted..better for me? What was better?” He stood across from her, hands on hips as he waited for her to answer.

“She came from nothing, Jon. She’s -- she’s a --” her voice trailed off as Jon’s lip curled in disgust.

“She’s a nobody, right, Ma? Isn’t that it?”

“Jon -- you, your success, your influence -- you could do anything, go as high as you wanted to --” She stopped when John put his hand across her arm.

“When is it going to be enough, Mom? When will I be successful enough for you?” Jon shook his head, his mouth hard with his anger.

“I don’t know how many times I have to say it to you, I don’t want to be in politics! God dammit, Mom! You did this for your ambitions, not mine.” Jon pounded his fist on the table in front of her, anger rising as he realized just why she had done it.

His voice tight and hard, stabbed with every word.

“Listen closely. Don’t ever bring this up again. Don’t ever speak to me about what you want me to do.”

Carol nodded, but her mouth tightened just a little in defiance, from years of getting her own way -- eventually.

Jon’s eyes narrowed as he looked from her to his father. John’s head cocked slightly to the side and he gave a small shrug of his shoulders. Permission was given.

“I promise you, you don’t want to test me on this --” Jon’s voice trailed off.

“Jon, I --” Carol began, then stopped abruptly as Jon held up his hand.

“No, we’re done here. Done.”

He started at her, the full force of his blue eyes and the chips of ice they could turn into now turned to her.

“I’m going to find Amanda and I’m going to beg her to give me another chance.”

His mother opened her mouth to speak, then stopped as Jon didn’t give her a chance to do more than draw in a breath.

“When I do--” Jon’s jaw tightened as he stared into his mother’s eyes, “--don’t ask me to choose between her and you--“

Carol’s eyes widened as Jon held her with an iron stare.

“Because I won’t choose you.”

John Francis - Chapter 246

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 6:42 PM
Morning sunlight filling the bright white of the interior rooms of the villa was what woke Amanda. She stretched out on the clean sheets, enjoying for a brief moment the sensation of blankness until where she was and why she was there came rushing back and she froze. Closing her eyes in an effort to shut off her thoughts worked and she got out of bed, throwing the covers back up as she did so.

An hour later found her outside where Mrs. Christopoulos was enjoying her morning coffee on her own terrace.

“Good morning.”

A bright friendly smile greeted Amanda as she walked onto the patio.

“Good morning, αγαπητέ.”

Smiling herself at the woman’s words, Amanda cocked her head in puzzlement.

“What did you say?”

“I say ‘good morning, my dear.”

Amanda’s smile widened as Mrs. Christopoulos motioned for her to sit at the table.

Sitting in comfortable silence in the morning light, overlooking the blue of the sea hundreds of feet below them, the two drank the deep, rich coffee.

More awake this morning, Amanda was able to fully appreciate the beauty of the island, at least the side she could see. There was so much to do here and she knew a scooter was the preferred method of travel. She felt sure her hostess would be able to provide any information she needed. A voice broke through her thoughts.

“Market now, yes?”

Turning from the view of the ocean, she met the woman’s warm eyes.

“Yes.”

They both rose and started the walk in to town.

Amanda tried very hard to convince herself she really was on a vacation.

~~~

John and Carol pulled up to Jon’s house as Carol tried to reach Richie’s cell phone once more. She shook her head at her husband when he turned an inquiring eye toward her. The phone had again gone to voice mail. She admitted to herself that she had wanted Richie here when she told Jon, if nothing more than to help rein in her son’s famous temper a bit.

The senior Bongiovi’s got out of their car, Carol with reluctance slowing her down. John crooked an eye at her. A small look of peevishness crossed her face and threaded through her tone.

“I’m coming, John,” she said, then stopped, a look of surprise on her face.

She hadn’t realized until just that moment how furious John was with her. What she had just seen on her husband’s face was a look that had never been there before. For a moment she was truly frightened. Her eyes dropped for a moment and then rose as she called his name.

“John?”

He turned toward her and she winced again at the look he wasn’t bothering to hide.

“I’m sorry. I know how wrong this was,” she said.

John looked at his wife, holding his jaw tightly clenched for a moment before slowly nodding at her.

“You’re going to make this right, Carol.”

She nodded at him, swallowing hard as she struggled to get the words past a suddenly tight throat.

I will, John. Somehow, I will.”

They walked to the door and John raised his hand to knocked as the door shook, sending both the senior Bongiovi’s stepping backwards as the door seemed to vibrate in its frame. They looked at each other wide-eyed as the sounds of glass breaking came from inside the house.

Carol stammered, “John?”

John tightened his lips as he pounded on the door.

“Jon!” he called, pausing only long enough to ring the doorbell in-between hammer-like blows.

Carol added her voice. “Jon! Open the door!”

She fumbled for her keys at the moment John reached for the doorknob and turned it. He signaled her to stay behind him as he opened the door and stepped into the living room of his son’s house. Carol had no intention of being left out and hurried behind her husband, nearly slamming into him as John came to a dead stop.

An overturned couch, at least three lamps crashed to bits on the floor, dirt from a large plant ground into the carpet … John and Carol blinked in disbelief before grunts and blows drew their attention from the disarray to the two men crashing back into the living room from the direction of the kitchen.

“Get the fuck off me, Jon!” Richie ground out between clenched teeth.

“You knew! All along you fucking knew!” Jon’s voice carried all the Jersey he had left behind so long ago.

Jon swung once again at his friend, alcohol and anger over-riding the caution years of friendship should have brought to his mind. He missed, then stumbled as Richie’s fist caught him in a sharp direct blow to his stomach. He stood stunned, reeling, gasping for air. He heard a woman’s voice.

“Jon?” Carol called out softly.

He turned to see his parents standing in the doorway.

Jon squinted, clutching his stomach, as he tried to make sense of a world that seemed to have gone mad.

Then he threw up.

~~~

It was midnight in Greece on the same day that Jon’s mother started her talk, when Amanda rose from the bed and moved out on her terrace. She had tried to sleep, but after an hour of restlessness, she knew no sleep would be coming for some time. Opening a bottle of water, she wrapped a blanket around her shoulders, tucking her feet up on the chair and underneath the warmth.

The sea around her was relentlessly black the further out she looked, with only the sparkle of a few boat lights to give the sense of something out there instead of empty space. She thought back to dinner that first night with the family who owned the villa, relishing the time off from her thoughts as she asked and answered questions.

Santorini was definitely a tourist destination in some areas of the island, but time and news seemed to travel a little more slowly, at least in her own little corner, and no one had recognized her or asked any questions. She had moved around freely the entire day, a hat on her head for shade, and sunglasses for the sunlight reflecting off so many white buildings. She soon saw there was no need hide who she was.

Mrs. Christopoulos had introduced her to several of the market stall owners and she had added a few words to her previously non-existent Greek vocabulary. She now knew ‘hello’ and ‘good-bye’, as well as ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. She had added a phrase or two by the end of her first week on the island. Her days were quickly settling into a routine of sorts. Every morning she had coffee with Mrs. Christopoulos, then one or both of them went to the market, and then she would take off on the scooter, visiting a different area every day, usually ending with a trip to one of the beaches. Dinner, other than the first night, was alone.

Sitting outside that night, she swore silently as once again she converted the time in her head to what time it was in New Jersey. Five p.m. When would she stop doing that? When would she stop turning in a crowd when a certain shade of hair caught her eye? When a baseball cap on a male tourist stopped her in mid step. It had been almost a week and she was still looking for him.

You need to stop this. He doesn’t know where you are and even if he did, he’s not coming.

Tears still refused to fall.

Until she finally slept.

John Francis - Chapter 245

Monday, November 14, 2011 at 4:29 PM
Jon sat there, the disconnected cell phone dangling from one hand.

Motherfucker.

Disgust curled his lips as his mind raced with what he had learned, adding in bits and pieces to what he thought he knew.

It had taken a few moments to convince Jeremy, or ‘Mark’ as he now called himself, that he really was speaking to Jon Bon Jovi.

Then the revelations started.

The double life Mark had led that Amanda knew nothing about. Mark’s son and the two on the way.
Why the FBI had thought he was involved in drugs and how he was cleared. His and Amanda’s divorce and his remarriage. Everything he had kept from Amanda.

Jon had been startled out of his thoughts at one of Mark’s questions.

“Didn’t Richie tell you all this?”

“What?” Jon asked, barking out the word.

Mark repeated, “Didn’t Richie tell you all this?’

Jon nearly slapped himself off the stool as his palm met his forehead. Everything suddenly clicked into place and he was furious to the point of not having words.

“Mr. Bon Jovi?” Mark said.

“Yeah, I’m here. Fuck.” Jon said, the last word spoken on a low breath. “Listen - thanks for telling me this.”

“Jon?” Mark asked.

“What?” Jon answered, distraction clearly evident in his voice now.

“When you see Amanda, tell her … tell her… ”

Mark’s only answer was a phone line gone dead.

~~~

“Trish, I need to go to Jon’s. Will you drop me off there?” Richie asked, already pulling out his wallet to pay their bill.

Trish looked startled for a moment, then nodded, taking a last bite of toast as she stood, settling her purse over one shoulder.

Richie threw some bills on the table and took her elbow as they walked to the door in silence. A silence that lasted for nearly half of the 20 minute drive to Jon’s house. Finally, after several loud sighs and not a few curse words, Richie filled Trish in on everything that had been happening. He’d told her some of it, but now, with words running into each other as he tried to fit it all in before they arrived, he told her the rest.

“Jon’s mother is going to meet me at his house,” he explained, running his hand through his hair in agitation. “This has got to stop. She has to tell Jon what she did.”

Trish rested a hand lightly on Richie’s arm. “Are you sure that’s what she’s going to do?”

Richie nodded. “Yeah, she said so on the phone.”

“Okay,” Trish said, “then just call me when you need picked up.”

“I will,” he grinned at her. “Meet me with a bag packed for the both of us.”

Trish’s forehead crinkled slightly as she looked at him with questioning eyes.

Richie’s grinned widened, but he didn’t answer as he entered the security code at Jon’s gate and then pulled into the driveway.

“Richie! Why am I meeting you with a bag?” Trish demanded only half teasingly.

Shaking his head, grinning even more widely, Richie pulled the car to a stop. He put it in park, got out and waited for Trish to come around to the driver’s side. Laughing eyes met his smile as Trish stopped in front of him, a hand resting on her hip. Richie kissed the tip of her nose.

“Because we’re going to Vegas, baby, and we’re getting married! I’ll call my lawyer after I’m done here and get the papers ready and everything will be set for you to become Mrs. Sambora!”

Trish smiled back at him, although Richie didn’t notice that it wasn’t quite her normal smile. She nodded, turning to get into the car. He waited until she’d fastened her seatbelt, then banged lightly on the top of the car as she began to go.

He wasn’t looking forward to the next several minutes and was glad at least one area of his life was going well.

Trish drove out the gate of the home of Jon Bon Jovi and was livid before the car tires had connected with the street.

How DARE he just assume I'll marry him?

She loved Richie, and she was having his baby…she just didn’t know yet if she wanted to marry him.

~~~

Jon heard a knock at his front door from what seemed to be a long way away. He’d been toying with an empty wine bottle as he thought about what Amanda’s husband -- no -- her EX-husband had said. Even with a mind fuzzy from alcohol, some things just didn’t make sense.

The knock came again and he grumbled under his breath as stood up, wincing a little at the stiffness in his back. He wasn’t sure how long he’d been sitting there, but feeling the twinge of his lower back as he stood meant it had to have been a while.

“I’m coming, dammit!” He hollered as he walked through the living room to the door.

Throwing the chain and snapping the dead bolt, he opened the door.

Jon stepped back, waving Richie into the house. He closed the door, turned, and punched Richie right in the mouth.

Richie staggered, his back hitting the wall as his feet fumbling beneath him. He slid down the wall, a stunned look in his eyes, blood trickling down from one corner of his mouth.

Jon stood, looking down at him.

“Motherfucker.” Jon said, venom coating his words.

Richie raised his hand to his mouth, touched the blood that flowed and looked at it. He raised his eyes to Jon.

“Likewise.” He said, a half-grimace, half-grin crooking one side of his mouth as he rose to his feet.

The sounds of fists hitting fleshed echoed through the silent house.

John Francis - Chapter 244

Friday, July 8, 2011 at 9:25 PM
“I left a message.” Carol called out to John in the other room.

She heard him closing the refrigerator.

“We’ll wait a bit, then call back.” John said, as he brought her a cup of coffee.

Carol took the cup gratefully. They both sat silently, sipping the hot liquid, thinking their own thoughts as they waited for Richie to return the call.

John cleared his throat and Carol looked up at him, startled out of her thoughts.

“You have to tell Jon everything, Carol,” John said, peering at her closely.

She grimaced. “He says he knows.”

John arched an eyebrow. “You don’t know what he knows. Part of making this right is you talking to our son and telling him everything.”

Pain shot across her face. She knew Jon loved her, but she feared what she would lose when he learned what she had done.

“I’m going to try Richie again,” she said.

~~~

Finally starving, Trish and Richie had just sat down for an early dinner at their favorite local place.

“Everything!” Trish said, laughing as she answered Richie’s ‘what do you want to eat?’ question.

Richie grinned and nodded, teasing her by handing the menu to the waitress and saying, “Just bring it ALL!”

“Stop, you fool!” Trish said when she was able to slow down her giggles.

They settled back in the booth after ordering, a comfortable silence between them. Both were coming down from their earlier giddiness at finding they agreed on the baby and the excitement of that future.

Trish, for her part, had no expectation that Richie would ask her to marry him. It wasn’t that he wasn’t that type of man, but that he was who he was. No matter how he was with her, Richie was a celebrity, and a very rich celebrity at that. She was sure he had a team of lawyers - or at the very least Bon Jovi did - to make sure no one took advantage of him.

All she wanted was for him to take an interest in their child. To be there when he could as their child was growing up. From how he had acted earlier, she now believed he would be there and she was content.

Richie, silent on his side of the table, had a thousand thoughts running through his head. He was relieved Trish wasn’t seriously ill, thrilled she was pregnant, terrified she was pregnant, elated she was pregnant, and scared shitless she was pregnant. He kept hearing the word “pregnant” in his head like the boom of Tico’s drums.

BOOM!

She’s PREGNANT!

BOOM! BOOM!

Trish is PREGNANT!

BRRRIIIIIING! BRRRIIIIIGG!

Richie blinked, wondering why the booms had turned to rings. He glanced around, still in a bit of daze, finally realizing the sound was coming from his cell phone ringing, vibrating against the table.

“Hello?”

“Richie? It’s Carol.”

“Hey there! What’s going on?” Richie asked.

“I need to ask you something.” Carol replied.

“Sure.”

“Did you tell Jon?”

Richie’s eyes widened. “No, I did not.”

“He knows, Richie,” Carol said. “He called me just a little while ago. Said he knew what I’d done.”

“Carol, I haven’t told him.” Richie replied.

Her voice lowered as she spoke. “I didn’t think so, Richie … because he said I did him a favor.”

Richie actually took the phone away from his ear and looked at it incredulously. He quickly put it back.

“I don’t know what to say. I didn’t tell him anything.” Richie said, his voice drawing out as he tried to think how Jon had learned about Amanda.

“Carol, will you meet me at the house?” Richie asked.

“When do you want to go?”

“Right now.”

~~~

Jon sat at his bar, sipping yet another glass of wine.

A pile of papers sat in front of him, spread out over the marble bar top. Jon was idly shuffling through the report from Davidson Investigations when he saw a handwritten note on the back of one of the sheets he had missed before.

It was Richie’s writing; Jon would have known that no matter what was written.

Mark Russell - Amanda’s ex-husband

Fabulous You Photography
4187 Hacienda Lane
Las Angeles

323-555-8027

For Jon


Jon blinked, then turned the page over, then back again. His vision blurred slightly, making the words appear to swim on the page.

Amanda’s ex-husband.

Ex-husband.

Ex.

A moment later, a phone in Los Angeles began to ring.

~~~

After Amanda ate some of the fresh fruits Mrs. Christopoulos had provided, she unpacked a few items, changed into cooler clothes, and sat with a glass of wine on the outside terrace. The sea air blew her hair softly around her face. The sun was warm that afternoon but even that could not seem to reach into the deep cold inside her. Other than the few minutes in that hotel room in California with Richie, she had not cried. She couldn’t cry and she couldn’t understand why not.

Her thoughts would drift and a dim crack would start to appear in her frozen emotions and then she would slap up another coat of ice and lock them away. Sounds drifted up from other homes and soon smells of many different meals brought her attention to the passing of time. She finally rose when her skin goose-bumped from the cooling air. The wine had caused a pleasant lethargy to flow through her limbs and she thought she just might be able to sleep.

She would have been surprised to learn that she cried when she dreamed.

John Francis - Chapter 243

Sunday, June 26, 2011 at 11:07 AM
In the studio in his home in New Jersey, Jon poured another glass of wine that was half gone in two swallows. He set the glass down and turned once again to pace from one end of the room to the other. He stopped at the piano, glanced at it without touching it, moved to his guitar, then the window, and back to the wine glass.

He could not get Richie’s voice of out his head.

What if there was a reason why she left?

The argument that had landed Jon in his current position was still fresh in his mind. Earlier that day he and Richie had been working, trying to put the finish on a song for their new album. Jon had only been one bottle into the day at that point, but lack of food had the wine hitting him faster than he actually knew. He’d barely noticed when Richie had left the studio for a few minutes and was actually dozing off when Richie came back in. He didn’t see his friend stand there, watching him as he half dozed on the couch, the wine glass barely gripped by slackening fingers.

“Jon?” Richie said.

“Hey.” Jon said, stirring awake and clutching the slipping glass.

“Hey yourself. What are ya doin’?”

“Sitting here having a fine pinot noir and thinking.”

“Yeah? Thinking about what?”

The wine sloshed over the rim as Jon raised it to wave in the air.

“Oh, this and that.” A splash punctuated his words.

“Shit! You’re drunk!”

“No, no, not nearly as drunk as I’m gonna get tonight.” The slur in his words was now more evident.

“Jon, this ain’t fuckin’ helping…”

“Oh yeah, it sure as shit is.”

Richie walked over to the couch, standing above the nearly prone figure sprawled there.

“Look, you know you want her back…” He began, then stepped back as Jon suddenly flew up from the couch, the glass crashing into the wall behind Richie’s head.

“Want her back? Are you fucking insane?” He actually took a step toward Richie as he spoke, hands curled into fists at his side.

Richie saw Jon’s clenched hands and then raised his eyes back to the incensed face in front of him.

“What are you gonna do? Huh? You gonna hit me because I’m tellin’ you the truth?” He stood his ground, his eyes filled with a mixture of anger and pity at what he saw.

Jon stared into the eyes of his friend of almost thirty years, the one person he trusted beyond all others. Richie could actually see the anger leak out of Jon as he seemed to deflate in front of him, his shoulders and then his head slumping. Jon turned his head away before he answered.

“I don’t want to love her anymore.”

His voice revealed heartbreak with every word.

“Shit, Jon, it doesn’t work that way. You can’t will it to stop.”

“What if there was a reason why she left? Richie’s voice was soft as Jon raised his full wine glass.

“It wouldn’t matter. She led me along real well and I fell for it. Whatever the reason, it’s not good enough.”

After that, the entire conversation had gone to hell.

He sat down on the edge of the couch, one leg crooked over the arm, the wine glass full once again.

So what if there IS a reason she left?

She’s still married. She still lied about it.

And I’m still right back at square fucking one.

The empty wine glass at his lips had him scowling and rising from the couch with a hand out to steady himself. He walked over to the wine bottle, swearing softly at the few drops that remained. With a disgusted shake of his head, he moved to get the other bottle he had brought with him and tripped over something beside the chair just as his hand reached the wine.

“FUCK!”

Jon’s arms flailed wildly for a moment as he sought to regain his balance, smacking one hand against the wall and scraping his knuckles as he struggled to keep the bottle and the glass from falling.

“God dammit!”

Back against the wall, Jon stood for a moment slowing breath that was suddenly too fast.

“Son of a bitch,” he muttered.

Jon straightened up, thankful the wall had caught his fall. He looked around to see what had made him trip.

Shit. Richie’s bag. Apparently he’d pissed Richie off enough earlier that he’d left without it. Jon grabbed the bag, moving it from the floor before he forgot it was there and crashed over it again. He tossed it on the couch and let loose with another string of cuss words when the contents of the bag spilled across the couch and onto the floor. He closed his eyes, tilted his head upward, and asked once again to be given the gift of patience he so lacked in this lifetime. When he opened his eyes, the bag was still open and the papers were everywhere.

Jon stopped swearing long enough to pour himself another glass of wine and then moved over to begin picking up the contents of Richie’s bag. Taking a sip, he reached for the first scattered sheets. He really had no intention of reading anything, but scan reading happens without conscious thought and bold type letterhead caught his eye.

Davidson Investigations.

Jon stopped in mid-pile as he read those words. Crinkles appeared at the corners of his eyes as he squinted a little to see what was on the page.

“Through various government sources who will not be revealed in this report, it has been determined that Mark Russell is the former Jeremy Matthews, reportedly deceased in a car accident in Miami, Florida, on December 6, 2007.”

… Jeremy Matthews …

Amanda’s husband.

Jon sat down hard on the floor, scrambling to find the rest of the report amongst the scattered papers.

It wasn’t more than a few minutes before he knew the whole story. Not only was Amanda married, her husband was a suspected drug dealer. He searched through the papers again, finally turning Richie’s bag upside down, causing a cascade of the remaining papers to fall out.

He picked up a hand written note, his eyes widening as he read it.

Amanda –

Inside are papers detailing the information my investigator has discovered about you and your husband. The husband you claimed was dead, who is very much alive.

Whatever scam you were planning involving my son is over. You are a married woman and you accepted an engagement with Jon. I don’t know if you wanted money or whether you are like so many today who want their fifteen minutes of fame, but you aren’t getting anything.

I will not permit you to drag my son into the sordidness of your life. Your husband is apparently involved in drugs in some way and the FBI is investigating him. If there was a way to have you arrested for fraud, I would do so.

Instead you are going to get out of his life – immediately! And you are going to do it in such a way that he never wants to see you again. You obviously have a talent for lying and deceiving, I’m sure you’ll think of something.

If you had a conscience, you would be deeply ashamed. But a woman who would plan what you’ve done obviously has no conscience at all.

Carol Bongiovi


Jon reached for the wine bottle as he set the page down. He poured the dregs into his glass and threw them back with one hard swallow. He stood, swaying a little, as he gathered the entire report together, taking it and his empty wine glass into the house.

A short while later, halfway through the third bottle of wine, Jon reached for the phone.

“Mom?”

Carol sounded surprised when she answered.

“Jon?”

“Listen, I wanted to tell you I know what you did and that I don’t blame you.”

Carol couldn’t speak for a moment as her mind raced. What did Jon know and how did he know it?

“Mom?” Jon said.

“Uhm, I’m here Jon. What are you talking about?”

“You had Amanda investigated, right?”

A small gasp met his question.

“Ye…Yes, I did.”

“I’m not mad, Ma, you did me a favor.”

Jon’s words took Carol completely by surprise.

“Jon, no, I didn’t do you a favor. You don’t understand. I was just about to call you…” Carol trailed off as Jon interrupted her.

“Ma, don’t worry about it. S’it’s okay…” Jon’s words slurred a little and on her end of the receiver Carol squinted her eyes in suspicion.

“Jon, are you drinking?”

“Juss a little, Ma, don’t worry about it. ‘nd, donn worry ‘bout Manda anymore either.”

“Jon!”

“Love ya, Ma, bye.”

Carol looked at the cell phone in her hand and then at her husband, who was watching her with worried eyes.

“John, he knows and … he thanked me.”

Her husband rose from his seat and walked to her.

“What did he say, Carol?”

“He said he knew what I did and that I did him a favor…” Carol’s voice trailed off as puzzlement overtook her features. “I don’t understand.”

“Did Richie tell him?” John asked.

“I don’t know!”

“Call Richie. We need to get to the bottom of this.” John said.

“Alright, I will.” Carol said, dialing as she spoke the words.

~~~

The ringing of Richie’s phone found him in mid-stroke in the final moments of the second time he had made love to the woman who was carrying his child.

Understandably, he ignored it.

“Uhh….Richie…uhh… your phone…” Trish gasped, nearing her climax.

“Fuck it…” Richie ground out over her feeble protests.

“Ahhhhhh…god!” They cried out together as Richie thrust one final time, sending them both over the edge.

He slumped over her, resting his weight on his elbows. His eyes sought hers, a grin curving his lips.

“So … we’re having a baby…”

Trish grinned up at Richie.

“Yeah…we are.”

They both forgot about the phone call.

John Francis - Chapter 242

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 at 6:06 PM
“Trish, dammit! Let me in!” Richie yelled through the closed bathroom door, kicking the door frame in frustration. He could hear her inside the bathroom, throwing up again, for the fourth day in a row.

Richie had come to see her after leaving Jon’s that afternoon, too angry to want to be on his own. He’d hoped Trish would let him use her for a sounding board again as his frustration in not being to tell Jon the truth about Amanda was making him more than a little crazy. He’d entered her apartment just in time to see her running for the bathroom.

“You need to see a doctor!” He rattled the doorknob once more, in case it had been unlocked when he was shouting. He glared at the door as if he could frighten it into opening and then resumed pacing in front of it.

“Four days you’ve been sick …” he mumbled as he strode in ever-increasing steps. “Every morning you’re in the bathroom, puking up your breakfast, and now you’re doing it in the afternoon …”

He turned and faced the door, arms wide as he shouted once again.

“Every morning you’re sick! Trish, you‘re going to the doctor! You shouldn’t be throwing up every … morning…”

His voice wound down as he actually heard what he was saying. His eyes went wide and he drew in a sharp breath.

Ohhh…shiiiitt. She’s throwing up every morning? Jesus H. Christ…she’s pregnant?

Richie startled when the toilet flushed, his mouth snapping shut. He heard the water faucet turn on, then a moment later the click of the lock being turned. He stepped back as Trish opened the door. Her eyes met his and he watched as the color drained from her face. He reached out and put his hand on her arm, afraid she would faint.

Trish knew from his face that Richie had figured out what was wrong with her. She opened her mouth to speak, then closed it, then opened it again, finally shaking her head. She didn’t know what to say. Once the words were spoken it would be real and she would have to deal with it. She would have to let him know what she was going to do - no matter what he said.

Richie took Trish’s hand in his and led her out into her living room. He motioned for her to sit on the couch and she did so without a word.

“Do you want some water?”

Trish nodded her head so hard her hair swirled.

Anything to delay.

“Yes! Please!” She said, her voice a bit louder than she intended it to be.

Richie stood for a moment, still looking at her, then turned toward the kitchen.

Trish slowly let her breath out as she watched him walk away. She was petrified. This was not a discussion she was ready to have yet. She’d wanted more time to prepare - to find the right words - to …

Her thoughts just stopped as Richie returned with the glass of water, the ice cubes clinking softly as he handed the glass to her. Trish took a sip gratefully, her throat dry and tight. Richie sat down on the other end of the couch, facing her. He gave a small cough that was more a beginning of speech than clearing his throat.

“So…” Richie said, then making the same sound, he tried again. “So…” He waved one hand around in an all-encompassing motion, then sighed, giving a small shake of his head.

Trish watched him as he, like she, seemed to be searching for words. Jesus, she was nuts about this man. A small smile crossed her face.

“Richie…,” she began, pausing as she licked her suddenly dry lips, “I’m pregnant.” She started to say more, then bit back the words.

She heard Richie take in a great chest full of air and then blow it softly back out. His voice seemed to take a great deal of time to travel from his throat to her ears.

“And…?” he said.

“And I’ve made up my mind and there’s nothing more to be said about it.” Trish said, nodding for emphasis.

Richie’s eyebrows rose, then lowered ominously.

“What does that mean?” He rose to his feet, agitation beginning to color his voice.

Trish also got to her feet, too nervous to stay in one place.

“It means I’ve done nothing but think about this for days now and I’ve approached it from every angle, as clinically as I could considering how hard it is to remain objective when you, yourself, are the subject and being completely objective is never …”

Richie listened to her ramble on in ever-increasing psychobabble, the complexity of her words increasing as she tried to convince him that she had made her decision.

What she had decided, he had no idea, but she was very sincere.

He tuned back in more fully as he heard “…and I don’t want you to think that you have to do anything…”

Richie raised a hand. “Trish. Stop. Just stop.”

She did, mid-word, her teething making a “thunk” noise as her mouth closed.

“Are you telling me I don’t get a say in this?” Richie said, his jaws doing their own bit of tightening.

Trish’s eyes got wide. “No! That’s not what I mean. I want to hear what you have to say, but no matter what you have to say, I’m …”

Richie shook his head and again held up his hand for her to stop.

“We need to talk about this before you make a decision.”

“Richie, talking about this isn’t going to change my mind.”

“Dammit, Trish! This is not just your decision!” Richie tried to control his voice as it neared a shout.

“Dammit, Richie! I’m the one who has to live with the decision!” Trish’s voice also rose.

Both Richie and Trish stood for a few moments, their breathing the only sound in the room.

Richie sighed loudly. “Ok, let’s both calm down.”

Trish nodded, not trusting her voice as she felt tears prickle behind her eyes. This was not how she wanted to tell him.

“Alright,” Richie began, “we’re two adults here and we can talk this out and …” He stopped as again Trish shook her head.

“What?” Exasperation tinged Richie’s voice. “Why are you shaking your head? Aren’t we adults? Can’t we come to a decision? Can’t we… Trish, you’re not alone here!”

Her chin rising, Trish said, “Yes, we’re adults and yes we can come to a decision, but you’re not understanding that what I do is already decided!”

“So you’re not going to listen to anything I have to say?” Richie said, an incredulous look overtaking his face.

“I’m listening to everything you have to say!”

Richie’s eyes widened in astonishment.

“Trish, you’re not letting me say anything!”

Trish gaped at him.

“You’re telling me you want to discuss this and I’m telling you that I’ve thought about this logically and taken everything into consideration and I‘m …”

Richie yelled just as Trish finished and the words were almost identical.

“… having this baby!”

“What?!” Trish said, not sure she had heard what she thought.

“What did you say?” Richie asked, sure he had not heard her correctly.

“I said, I’m having this baby.” Trish’s voice was suddenly calm, as the words were finally out.

A slow, easy grin spread like honey across Richie’s face.

“Richie? What did you say?”

“The same thing you did, darlin’. We’re having this baby.”

Trish fell that final bit more in love with Richie as she looked at him and burst into tears.

Richie just grinned as he took her in his arms and kissed her tears away.

John Francis - Chapter 241

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 7:35 AM
Amanda sat in another airport, waiting for another connection, one that would take her to a destination she had chosen almost on a whim.

She’s lasted two days in London before realizing she needed to get away - not just from the States, but from anywhere that reminded her of Jon. She certainly wasn’t going to do that in London, not with Bon Jovi signs seeming to be everywhere she turned and her memories of the time she had spent with him there. She needed some place not associated with him and that was what had led her to pass by, then backtrack, to a travel company she’d found on one of her long walks.

Brochures seemed to overflow the rack, each destination more exotic than the next. Africa, Australia, Russia, even the Middle East - at least parts of it - beckoned with flowery words and promises of “the adventure of a lifetime”.

She didn’t want adventure. She wanted to disappear to somewhere she couldn’t be found where she could lose herself in sights and sounds that did nothing to remind her of what she had left behind.

What she had lost.

It was the colors that caught her attention. The gorgeous blues of the roofs against the white of the buildings, themselves against the blue of the sea.





Santorini island. Greece.

She’d never been there and even better, she’d never heard Jon talk about it.

Eighteen hours later, two connections, and one layover, she was one short boat ride away from the villa she had rented. She sat on the deck of the ferry as it chugged on its way to the village of Oia where she would finally be on the island. Although the sun was bright and high in the sky, Amanda felt her eyes closing behind the dark lenses of her sunglasses. It had been a very long 18 hours and she wanted nothing more than to shower, change into something cooler, and fall into bed for at least as long as it took her to travel there.

She let her head fall back against the wood of the deck wall and her mind drifted to brochure she’d read a dozen times on the plane. There were several small villages on the island, from Fira - a town perched on cliffs - to Megalochori, a traditional Greek village known for its old white churches. Pyrgos was the highest point on the island, while Kamari was home to a renowned black pebble beach. And Mesaria was the center of the island.

The ferry docked at the port of Athinios and Amanda waited her turn to get off the boat, noting wryly that she was apparently in with the other tourists who were gawking at the sights around them. Those who hurried off seemed to be natives who had seen the wonders around them a thousand times before. Amanda, on the other hand, wondered if she would ever get her mouth to close again. She wanted to be everywhere on the island at once, but didn’t want to leave the dock as she hadn’t seen it all yet.

Shaking her head with a slightly embarrassed grin on her face, she scolded herself.

“You can come back down, ya ninny,” she mumbled softly, moving to where a taxi was returning from taking others up the steep hill.

She handed the smiling taxi driver the address she had scrawled while at the travel agency in London. She knew it was in the Santorini caldera, one of the highest points on the island, and yet somehow “highest point on the island” hadn’t quite registered in the confines of the travel agency. It did when the taxi began the steep climb upward, taking first one 180 degree turn, and then another, and another, and another until Amanda was afraid to keep counting, although not keeping track was impossible.

Seven turns later, slightly dizzy and not a little carsick, Amanda breathed a sigh of relief as the road seemed to have gone as high as it could - or at least there no more turns in sight. Her smile of relief turned into a concentrated frown when the driver stopped the car in front of the entrance to a villa.





She scrambled from the back seat at the driver hurried to the trunk to get her bags.

“Excuse me!” She held out the paper in her hand with the address of her room on it.

“Is this the right…?”

The driver interrupted her, smiling and pointing at the door.

Amanda crooked an eyebrow and made a moue of her lips as she paid the man and then watched as he made a several point turn on the narrow road to head down the marina once again, the “toot-toot” of his horn barely disappearing before he did.

Sighing, still doubtful she was in the right place, Amanda rolled her suitcase down the stairs and then came to a dead stop.

Now she knew she couldn't be in the right place.




“My god!” Her voice sounded hoarse even to her ears.

An infinity pool spilled out before her, on a balcony overlooking the sea. It was one of the most beautiful sights she had ever seen.

A touch on her elbow jarred her out of her stupor and she turned slowly to see a woman who appeared to be in her early 70’s.

“Hi,” Amanda breathed in a rushed whisper, then cleared her throat and tried again.

“Hello. I…think I might be in the wrong place.”

The woman smiled at her, crinkles appearing next to still bright blue eyes.

“You are Mrs. Matthews, yes?” The English words had the inflection of a Greek accent and sounded musical to Amanda after her long trip.

“Y--es.” Amanda drawled out questioningly. “Mrs. Christopoulos?”

“I am Mrs. Christopoulos. You are in right place.”

Amanda looked around wide-eyed as she followed the woman into the interior of the home.






As Mrs. Christopoulos pointed out the living area, the bedroom, and the bathroom, Amanda found herself in the unusual position of not being able to think of a single thing to say. She was stunned and frantically trying to remember just what she had booked nearly a day ago during that spur of the moment decision. Whatever it was, she wanted to make sure she did it again.

This was a slice of heaven and it was hers. She could stay here. Hell, she might move here.

The sudden silence brought her attention back to the woman looking at her curiously.

“Your home is lovely.” Amanda managed to sputter as a wide, delighted smile spread across her face.

“Thank you. I am much happy you come to stay.” The owner smiled back at her, taking in her slightly travel-worn clothes and the fatigue that seemed to weigh her down despite her glowing smile. She’d rented out this portion of her home for years and had seen many expressions on the faces of her guests. Some were detachment from the surroundings, never stopping their chatter on their cell phones to bother to see what was right in front of them. Others were delighted and carefree as they began their foreign adventure.

This woman in front of her was different somehow. She’s seen the shock on the woman’s face as she took in the outside of the villa and as they’d moved inside she’d seen Amanda’s eyes dart over the features she’d taken such care to preserve. That shock had turned to delight, yet something in the woman’s eyes hinted that her reasons for being here were not for a carefree vacation.

There was a decanter of wine on a small table and Mrs. Christopoulos poured a glass for herself and Amanda, as a soft breeze from the open terrace doors fluttered the napkins piled neatly to the side.

“You come to me, any problems, I fix. When you here, you family to us. Share dinner if you want, not share if you want private.” She smiled as Amanda kept looking around at different things in the room.

“There is small basket of food in refrigerator for you, to welcome. Tomorrow I take you to market where there much fresh fish. You like fish?”

Amanda gave a huge smile as answered. “I love fish and I would love to go to the market.”

Nodding in approval, Mrs. Christopoulos patted her on the arm and turned to leave the room. She stopped at the door, giving Amanda a thorough look from head to toe.

“You rest here. Much peace. You need this, yes?” She cocked her head as she spoke, her eyes searching Amanda’s.

Nodding back, her wide grin fading, Amanda nodded.

“Yes, I need this.”

Chapter 240

Friday, June 10, 2011 at 9:42 PM
For Jon, the next few days seemed to defy the concepts of time and space. He was extraordinarily busy with all his business ventures and yet, each day seemed to have a thousand hours in it. He was constantly surrounded by people, but he felt detached and alone in a way he hadn’t for a while. Over-riding it all were his emotions that roller-coasted from a high every time he tried to reach Amanda on the phone, to a low with every unanswered call.

Four days after he had seen her at the hotel, his emotions and his exhaustion were reaching rock bottom. Richie hadn’t spoken another word to him about Amanda, but an uncommon tension between them had Jon on a defensive edge. An edge small enough that he was starting to fall over into an abyss of anger that had him turning his rage outward.

By the end of that week even those closest to him were walking on egg shells. He’d made his assistant cry twice, Dorothea had hung up on him, Dave and Tico were speaking in one syllable words and Richie had raised his eyebrows so many times they were starting to take root at his hairline. It wasn’t that often that “Jon” and “douche” were used in the same sentence, however, as the week crawled by murmurs of that - and worse - could be heard by those left in a room after Jon had scorched the paint from the ceiling.

For Carol Bongiovi the last few weeks had passed with their own distortion. For her, though, the two weeks since she’d seen Richie, since he’d told her the truth of what she had discovered, had flown by with a speed that seemed to pressing her closer and closer to the confrontation she had hoped to never have.

She was going to have to talk to Jon.

Every day since Amanda had been forced to leave, forced by her interference and distrust, by her manipulation of people and events, Jon had grown progressively more distant and more depressed. Where he had been kind, he was now cruel. Where he had been open and friendly, he was now closed and distant. He barely spoke to the guys, refused to discuss anything with Dorothea, and his tone with her was at the lowest level of civil when she called him.

Carol was sitting in the study of her home, the room where she came to do her correspondence, make phone calls, and to think. She was staring out the window at the late afternoon sun when she heard her husband knock at the open door. She turned to him.

“Carol, what’s wrong? I’ve known you too long not to know when something’s bothering you.”

She gave a small smile at her husband, a mere ghost of a smile, and nodded.

It was time.

~~~

John sat there after his wife had finished telling him what she had done. She explained her reasons, which in hindsight sounded petty and selfish, and what she had learned, both from the investigator and from Richie. She voiced her concerns over the changes in Jon and how she wanted to tell him what she had done, but she feared losing even more of his love than she already had.

Her husband looked at her. She was scared of what he would say, how he would be right to call her out for the being the petty tyrant she had tried to be. She had made so many mistakes and now she simply didn’t know how to fix them.

“You know what you have to do, don’t you?” John asked her softly.

“I’m afraid, John.” She whispered back.

“Do you want our son back, Carol?”

“More than anything…” she began, but John interrupted her.

“Enough to admit you were wrong, wrong from the beginning, and that you were the cause of what happened between the two of them?” He loved his wife, but the time for cosseting her was over.

“I was wrong. I hurt that girl, John. When she was so sick she could barely stand, I told her that her husband was alive, thinking she knew, that she was a fraud. She passed out cold when she heard that and that’s when I knew. I knew she wasn’t lying, that she didn’t know her husband was alive. And then, as sick as she was, I made her leave.”

Carol admitted all this, getting it out now, while she was brave enough to tell her husband everything.

John started to speak, but she hurried before he could say anything.

“I told her to leave and then I manipulated things in such a way that Jon would never look for her. I made it look like she deliberately hurt him so he would get over her and get on with his life.”

Tears filled her eyes as she looked at her husband.

“How could I have been so cruel? How could I have done that?” Tears started in earnest now as she felt the deep shame of what she had wrought.

Looking at his wife, John found himself shocked at what he was hearing. Carol could be cold when she chose to, when she felt someone or something was threatening her family, but she had never treated anyone before like she had treated Amanda.

“Carol, you were against her from the first. You never even gave her a chance. Why?”

“I’ve been thinking about that since Richie came here to the house. This is going to make me sound even worse, John, but the truth is I liked how much Jon involved me in his life after his divorce. I felt needed again in a way I hadn’t in years. And then he brought Amanda in and again the truth is I felt he could do better. He had a chance to find someone who would enhance his life in a way Dorothea never could and again he chose someone like her. I wanted better for my son.”

Shaking his head side to side, John looked at her and his eyes had hardened.

“What was better for him that someone who really loved him? Who wanted to be in his life just the way it is?”

Carol opened her mouth to answer, but then the words John had spoken sank in as his eyes held hers.

“Nothing. Nothing was better than that.” Her voice was flat in final acceptance of how wrong she had been.

John stood up and extended his hand to her. She looked up in surprise.

“What? Where are we going?” Her voice shook a little, as deep inside she already knew.

“To see our son.”

~~~

Jon and Richie were in the studio, although to say they were working would have been a little like saying a dog has fleas. Jon was almost frenetic in his obsessive need to keep himself busy, his thoughts occupied, and his mind on anything but how unhappy he was. Richie was quiet, not at all his usual self, his mind returning every so often to the text message he had received in response to the repeated calls and voice messages he had left on Amanda’s phone. It had taken her almost two days to respond, but at least he knew she was okay, even if he had no idea where she was.

I’m fine. Away for a while. Don’t worry. Thanks for your help.

Some message, Richie thoughts were a growl, doesn’t tell me a damn thing. He was interrupted when he heard the distinctive sound of a cork being pulled from a bottle. Looking up he saw Jon opening another bottle of wine.

“You trying to become an alcoholic?”

Standing still for a moment, Jon just lifted his head and raised a mocking eyebrow.

The insinuation in that movement made the hackles rise on the back of Richie’s neck. He set his guitar down, stood up and looked at his friend. With lightly squinted eyes and a voice roughened by repressed anger, he answered that look.

“Yeah asshole, I know what you’re thinking. It took the worst decision I ever made, driving after drinking with my kid in the car. Took that for me to learn. What’s it gonna take you?”

The two men stared at each other, neither wanting to take another step along a path leading to words that could not be taken back.

“What if there was a reason why she left? Richie’s voice was soft as Jon raised his full wine glass.

“It wouldn’t matter. She led me along real well and I fell for it. Whatever the reason, it’s not good enough.” Jon’s voice was a low growl filled with anger and hurt and frustration. Amanda hadn’t answered a single phone call. He had no idea where she was and he couldn’t admit to Richie - hell, he could barely admit to himself - that he wanted to talk to her. That he wanted to see her.

Richie turned to leave the studio at hearing that. He paused with his hand on the doorknob at Jon’s voice.

“Where ya going?”

He turned back and answered.

“Outside for a break.”

Jon nodded and started to turn away.

“Oh, and Jon?” Richie called out as he opened the door.

Jon turned back and looked at Richie in question.

“I want you to remember what you just said. About no reason being good enough.” With that he left the studio, closing the door softly behind him.

Jon stood for several moments staring at the closed door.

Wondering ...

What the hell has happened to my life?

Chapter 239

Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 7:03 PM
London was a total fail as far as Amanda was concerned.

Apparently Bon Jovi was taking up “residency” at the O2 in a few months and the entire city was awash with advertisements for the event. It seemed she couldn’t enter a shop or travel on a bus without having Jon’s face in front of her.

First it hurt, then it aggravated the hell out of her. She was so over Jon Bon Jovi. Finished, done, through, kaput.

She told herself that about a gazillion times during that day and each time she believed herself until she would come smack up against his face. Again. On a poster or a billboard or a bus and then she knew she was lying to herself.

Walking the streets the first day she’d arrived had been done on auto pilot. True to her nature, she had become completely lost, wondering why on earth the city couldn’t have normal North/South and East/West streets. She then realized she was criticizing architecture and promptly asked directions and returned to her hotel.

It had been a miserable first night.

A weak sun lightened her room the next morning as she woke in a familiar pattern. First, awareness, then … WHAM! It hit her. What had happened. Like a mini-movie starting with her own personal wicked witch in the form of Jon’s mother. Then Jeremy. Then … the last night with Jon.

She stopped herself on that thought, taking just a few moments to remember the smell of his skin against hers. The warmth of him. The tight muscles and the golden softness of hair on his arms, his chest, his …

Her breath caught as desire flooded through her.

She hated herself for it.

And still she lingered, her eyes closed, seeing him in all his naked splendor as he had thrust inside her last night. And again. And then again. His eyes blazing into hers, his face so intense as he reached his release. There was a moment when his eyes had softened as he’d looked at her and she had known that her heart was forever his.

Until the next morning. When she awoke … alone.

When once again it was all over and it became another part of the nightmare from which she couldn’t seem to wake.

Tears flowed slowly from her eyes and she turned on her side in the soft fluffiness of the bed.

And cried.

Again.

~~~

After Susan had hung up on him, Jon had just sat quietly for a while, thoughts flying through his head as he tried to plan.

Jon liked to have a plan. He was a plan kind of guy. He knew what he would be doing from the moment he woke up to when he would crawl, exhausted, into a bed at night. Right now he had touring to plan, meetings to attend, his charity to oversee, songs to write, and an entire life to get on with.

Which was exactly why he sat there, unmoving, as the more he tried not to think about Amanda, the more clearly he saw her.

How she’d looked last night as he bent over her, crushing her breasts with his hands as he filled his fingers with her softness. The slick sheen of sweat on her skin as orgasm after orgasm overtook her. The tangle of her hair in his hands as he’d buried himself inside her.

A groan escaped him, startling him into opening his eyes and making him aware of a straining hardness in his already tight jeans. With a wince, he twisted up from his chair, determined steps taking him from his office into the kitchen.

He needed coffee.

He needed to get his mind back in the game.

He needed to call his assistant, the guys, hell, his mother. Anything to take his mind off the one thought that wouldn’t leave.

That what he really had was questions to ask.

And to get the answers he was coming to need, he had a woman to find.

Now he needed a drink.

~~~

Moaning and retching woke Richie. He had spent the night at Trish’s and they’d stayed up late, talking after their love-making in quiet whispers and loud laughter.

He rolled over in the bed as he looked around, trying to find out where the sounds he’d heard were coming from. Not seeing Trish, he got up and quickly moved to the closed bathroom door. He knocked softly as he called her name.

“Trish? You okay, honey?” He waited for her answer, grimacing in sympathy at the sounds of gagging traveling through the door.

“Trish!” He turned the handle, but the door was locked. He knocked again, calling her name louder, but the sounds of her illness only increased.

His brow wrinkling in concern, Richie thrust one broad shoulder against the door and it gave way, banging back against the wall. His momentum carried him into the room and he saw Trish bent over the toilet, holding her hair out of the way, the other hand braced on the rim. Tears flowed down her cheeks as her stomach rebelled again and again. He moved quickly to her side, grabbing her hair and holding it up, his other hand supporting her shoulder.

“Baby, what’s wrong? Do you need a doctor?” His attention remained focused on her and he gave a sigh of relief when she shook her head no.

Trish fought and lost another round with her protesting stomach, aware of the irony that this gave her a few moments to think. Her answer, while rather strangled sounding, sent the conversation in the direction she needed it to go.

“Flu.”

“Honey, are you sure?” Richie wasn’t sure he’d heard someone so wretchedly ill in a while, especially where alcohol wasn’t involved.

Trish gasped as she managed to win the current round. “Sure. Just flu.”

Richie’s hand closed over hers as she held hair up and away and gently tugged it out of her grip.

“Just relax, babe. I’ll take care of you.”

Her eyes closed as another wave of nausea passed through. Her stomach seemed to be settling and she relished the warmth of Richie’s hand against the small of her back. Trish had no idea how to begin to tell Richie what had happened. She certainly hadn’t expected to get hit so hard with morning sickness and knew using the excuse of a “flu” wouldn’t last more than a day or two before he would become concerned enough to insist she see a doctor.

Those few days would give her time to decide what to do.

Trish sighed softly as she pushed up to stand and move to the sink.

Washing out her mouth, she let her hair fall to the sides again, shielding her for a few more moments.

She knew what she was going to do.

What she didn’t know, was how to tell Richie.

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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