“Wow,” Tina said simply, shaking her head. They had changed their lunch date to drinks after work and now sat in a booth at an upscale wine bar that was on the way home for both of them.
“Yeah,” Jordan answered, swirling the claret-colored liquid in her glass. “I know. To be perfectly honest I can barely believe it myself. You understand why I didn’t tell you, right?”
“Well, kinda. But then again…” she shook her head again. “Jesus Christ, Jordan! That’s one hell of a secret to keep. I knew something was up but never in a million years would I have suspected this. And from YOU, no less.”
“I know, I know,” Jordan replied. “But I just couldn’t help myself.” She smiled softly. “I tried.”
Tina laughed. “I can’t believe you went to his room. I’d have been scared to death.”
“I was terrified,” Jordan smiled at the memory. “But I guess lust overcame fear. And I was pissed at David. Then suddenly there I was with this rock star, and he’s telling me he wants me. And I realized that I wanted it more than I’d ever wanted anything.” She sighed. “You think I’m crazy, don’t you?”
Tina took a drink of her wine. “A little. But hell—you’re both consenting adults. God knows you needed it. And he is SO fucking gorgeous.” Too fucking gorgeous, if you ask me. So much so as to make a woman lose her senses.
“He is, isn’t he?” Jordan grinned. “But believe me…it doesn’t end there.”
“Apparently not. And to think I was talking to you about shopping for vibrators.”
They laughed together then, and Jordan sighed. “I really did want to tell you. But I haven’t exactly wrapped my head around it yet. When I left Chicago I didn’t think I’d ever see or hear from him again.”
Tina’s mind flashed back to the flower delivery, and to the chain of events that followed. “That was a nice act the two of you put on at the after party, by the way.”
Jordan smiled. “Yeah, that was fun. I had no idea any of that was going to go down, though.”
“So to speak,” Tina giggled. “So how are you now, that’s he’s gone and life goes back to normal?”
Jordan took a breath. “Well, actually…I’m going to L.A. this weekend.”
“What? You’re going to L.A. Seriously? Because he’s there?”
“Well, he invited me—it’s not like I’m following him around like some groupie.”
“I didn’t mean that. But still,” Tina paused, doubt in her voice.
Jordan continued. “Look, I am well aware of all the factors in play here. And it’s not as if I have any expectations. We’re just having fun.” Their eyes met and Tina remained silent. “I just can’t say no to him. And right now I don’t want to.”
Tina sighed. “Jordan…”
“Tina, please. Please don’t ruin this for me. I know what I’m doing.”
“Well I don’t know about that,” Tina teased. “But since you’re going to do it anyway… have fun and be careful. I don’t want to see you on the cover of People magazine next week as the new mystery woman.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Across the aisle, two attorneys and their legal assistant were going over their notes from the day’s proceedings. One of the men had looked up briefly when the two women entered the room and had been distracted ever since.
She looked fantastic. Vibrant, sexy, and clearly quite happy. Life must be treating her well, he thought. The last he’d heard she was engaged but she wore no ring on her finger now, engagement or otherwise. He found the knowledge disconcerting, which surprised him—especially since he was planning on proposing on Saturday to the woman he’d been living with for the past two years.
But as he watched her, he couldn’t help but get caught up in the little things he hadn’t thought of in a long time. The way she absent-mindedly let her fingers trail through her hair when listening to someone else talk, and how easily she blushed when embarrassed. How she never tried to hide the delight in her laughter, and how she stroked the stem of her wine glass when trying to be coy.
The voice of his colleagues interrupted his thoughts and he drew his attention away from her. He kept stealing glances at her, however, taking care that he remained discreet enough that neither woman noticed him. When they rose to leave, he bowed his head long enough for them to turn away, then watched as they walked out the door.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“I may not be able to see you before the show,” Jon had told her on the phone. “Our schedule is pretty packed on Friday. I’ll have Chris come get you and see to it you are escorted to and from the hotel, and get you into the room afterwards.”
She had laughed at that. “I’m curious…how exactly do you plan on explaining me?”
He chuckled. “I don’t have to explain anything, you know. But actually I plan on telling them that I’m having you out on business. You have your own room on a different floor and everything.” She could hear him smiling on the other end of the phone. “Of course, I’ll leave you a key to my room. It will be easier for you to sneak into mine than vice versa.”
“I have to say, I’m beginning to feel a little like your personal love slave.”
“And that’s a problem why?” He teased. “Do you know how many woman would jump at that opportunity?”
“I do. But maybe I’m not like all those other women.”
That’s the understatement of the year. “I know you’re not. And that’s why you get a key.”
Jordan replayed the words in her mind several times over the next few days, and she spent more time preparing for her weekend getaway than she wanted to admit, even to herself. She talked her favorite hair stylist into squeezing her in, and scheduled manicure, pedicure and bikini wax appointments as well. It felt very decadent and self-indulgent and in many ways, she felt as if she were living someone else’s life.
She had just left Neiman Marcus and was walking in to Victoria’s Secret when he called. She was smiling when she answered the phone. “If you want phone sex, now’s not the time.”
He laughed. “Dammit. I was already naked and everything.”
“Well that’s a picture I like,” she answered.
“Oh well, I’d rather wait for the in-person version anyway. So how’s your week going? I didn’t catch you in rush hour traffic or anything, did I?”
She smiled softly. “No, actually, I’m doing a little shopping for my trip.” She told him where she was.
He chuckled. “Oh, you are an evil woman. I’ve got to be on stage in a few hours and now all I’ll be able to think about is you in some thigh-highs and lace.”
Well at least she knew what to buy now. Hopefully the red bumps from her waxing would be gone in time to make the most of it…
“So I don’t need to bring the flannel night shirt along, huh?”
“Baby, as long as you bring yourself I’ll take care of the rest. I’ll give you one of my shirts to keep warm.”
She felt the familiar rush through her veins at the thought. “So where are you again? San Francisco?”
“Yes. Then we have a day off. We’re not staying tonight so I thought I’d give you a call now since I won’t be able to later.”
She realized that was his way of telling her he was going home tonight after the show and spending tomorrow with his family. She tried to brush aside the mixture of emotions she was feeling at the thought.
“So can you sleep on the plane okay?” She imagined it would be exhausting flying back and forth from coast to coast.
“Actually, yes, I can. I’ve gotten pretty good at it. Not to mention we have a really nice plane. Of course I probably won’t fall asleep until right before we land, I’ll be so wound up. And those assholes always want to drink and play poker or something,” he said, but there was no animosity in his voice. “I should be able to catch a few hours before the kids get home from school so that’s good.”
Jordan was stunned by the amount of jealousy she suddenly felt for the woman he’d made his life with and who had the good fortune to be the mother of his children. Thus far she’d managed to not to let herself think about it. Much.
“I bet they miss you,” she replied, sincerely.
“Sure, but they get it. Well, the older ones do, anyway. And we have a good time when I’m home. I talk to them almost every day, so it’s not that bad.” Jon sensed it was probably time to change the subject. He knew he wouldn’t be comfortable hearing about the other loves of her life if she were the married one. “Look, I should let you go. You can finish shopping,” he added with a grin.
She smiled. “You’re an expensive habit, you know?”
He laughed. “But I’m worth it. I’ll be happy to reimburse you.”
“Please. I can afford to buy my own lingerie, thank you very much,” she teased. “Besides, you’re paying for the plane ticket and my hotel room.”
“Yes, but I expect sexual favors in return,” he joked.
She laughed. “Oh, like that will be a problem.” She lowered her voice. “I can’t wait to feel you again.”
He groaned. “Hang on to that thought. Okay, I gotta hit sound check. I’ll see you in a couple days. I miss you, baby.”
Jordan smiled as she folded the phone shut and moved towards the aisle containing the thigh highs.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The cab stopped in front of The Four Seasons, and the valet held the door open as Jordan stepped out. She paid the driver and took a moment to let the warmth sink in. It was unseasonably warm, even for California, and the sky was actually bright blue without the normal haze of smog. It had been a long time since she’d taken any sort of vacation and she’d decided to make the most of every minute.
Upon giving her name at the registration desk, she was handed her room keys along with a sealed envelope. The bellman led her to the elevators and to a luxury suite on the 14th floor, giving her a mini tour before graciously accepting his tip and closing the door behind him.
On the table in the middle of the room there was a basket containing fruit, cheese, some sinful Swiss chocolate truffles and Perrier, along with an iced bucket containing a bottle of Conundrum. There was also a gorgeous tropical bouquet and a stunning arrangement of red roses with white and star-gazer lilies. She smiled softly as she opened the envelope she’d been given at the front desk. Inside was a card with a hand-written note. “Welcome to LA! Chris will pick you up a little after 7:00. Make yourself at home. I’ll spoil you myself later.” He had signed it with a broad “J” and a smiley face and included a room keycard.
She walked to the window, taking in the panoramic view of the Hollywood Hills. A girl could get used to this. She opened the bottle of wine and poured herself a glass before slipping out of her clothes and into the shower.
Two hours later, she applied a light spritz of perfume before slipping her new lightweight black suede shirt over her shoulders. The extravagant purchase was a perfect match for the equally indulgent embellished jeans, which had elaborate black embroidery on their flared legs. The ensemble—not to mention the new panty and bra set underneath—was almost as much as her mortgage payment and she was feeling a little guilty. Especially considering the money she dropped at the salon. But she had to admit it looked good.
Besides…she had a wedding and honeymoon fund she no longer needed. What the hell.
Chris arrived at around 7:15, greeting her with a smile. “Nice to see you again,” he said politely. “Ready to go?”
Jordan returned the smile and reached for her room key. “I am.”
He led her to a nondescript grey sedan that was waiting for them outside the lobby, and a short ride later they pulled into the loading dock entrance of the arena. He handed her a lanyard with a laminated badge that read “Access All Areas” and she slipped it over her head. Curious, she followed him through the door.
There were several people racing back and forth, many with walkie-talkies or headphones, trying to hear or be heard over the noise of the opening band. No one gave her a second look, although several acknowledged Chris with a nod as they passed by. He stopped at a door and knocked, listening briefly before opening the door and gesturing her in. The room contained a couch, coffee table and a few chairs, along with a television, a small bathroom and a dressing table. “Wait here for a few minutes. I’ll be back shortly.”
She took a seat, reaching for the copy of Rolling Stone that was on the table. She thumbed through the pages without really seeing them, suddenly aware of the butterflies in her stomach.
After what seemed like an eternity, the door opened and she heard Jon’s voice before she saw his face. “Just give me a few minutes,” he was saying to someone. She tossed the magazine aside and stood as he entered the room, closing the door behind him. “Hey beautiful,” he said with a grin.
He literally took her breath away. He was in full “rock star” mode, dressed in faded denim that hugged his thighs and a visibly soft black calf-skin shirt that molded around his shoulders and biceps, unzipped almost low enough to show the muscles in his stomach. He’d obviously been in the tanning bed and his chest was smooth and bronze. A small pewter cross dangled from a black leather necklace around his neck. She found herself more than a little star struck, unable to speak.
“Earth to Jordan,” he laughed, moving closer to wrap an arm lazily around her waist. She let him pull her to him for a kiss and slowly came out of her daze. The scent of leather complimented the redolence that had become “him” to her and she found it a bit intoxicating.
“Holy shit you look amazing,” he said, stepping back from her and letting his eyes peruse her up and down. He chuckled. “We sort of match, don’t we?”
She blushed then. “Did I overdo it?”
“Not at all. Let’s just say that I don’t have a lot of room in these pants to show my full appreciation.”
She laughed, shaking her head. “Well, good. Although I didn’t think I was going to see you until afterwards so if you have to go on stage with a limp it’s not my fault.”
“I know, but I wanted to at least say hi before the show. Make sure you made it in all right, that they’re taking care of you, etc.”
“I did, I’m fine, and I’m very happy to be here,” she answered, smiling as she toyed with the zipper pull on his shirt. “Although this is very tempting.”
He laughed and grabbed both her wrists, wrapping her arms around his waist. “Oh no you don’t, you little tease. I have to go to work.” His blue eyes were sparkling as he looked at her. “I’m glad you’re here.”
He kissed her again, letting his hands wander up beneath the hem of her shirt, his thumbs brushing the lace on the underside of her bra. “I should go,” he said, making no move to pull away.
“Break a leg,” she answered with a smile, her hands sliding lower to deliver a gentle squeeze. “God you have a nice ass.”
“And on that note,” he laughed, letting his hands cup her breasts quickly as he gave her a final kiss. “I’ll see you later.”
He stepped out of the room and moments later Chris appeared. He led her around the back of the stage, eventually winding around to the barricade at the front and depositing her once again in the front row, in a section of several empty seats. “Here you go. Can I get you anything?”
“No, this is great,” she answered, feeling a little self-conscious.
“Are you sure? Would you like a drink or anything?”
“Well, actually, I wouldn’t mind a bottle of water, if it’s not too much trouble,” she replied, realizing that she might be sorry if she didn’t have one handy once the show started.
Chris nodded and disappeared behind the stage, returning a few minutes later with a bottle of Evian. “Enjoy the show. I’ll be back to get you,” he said simply.
A short while later, the lights went out and the roar of the crowd went up. Jordan felt the goose bumps rise on her arms. She had to admit… this didn’t suck.
Sometime during the first song, the seats around her filled, and she was surprised when she looked over and realized she was standing beside Kevin Bacon, who was with a young boy she assumed was his son. A few seats from her on the other side she saw Emilio Estevez with a dark-haired woman she didn’t recognize. She smiled. Welcome to L.A.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Her ears were still ringing slightly when Chris escorted her through the doors of the Presidential Suite on the top floor of the hotel. Several people were mingling, and waiters wandered through with trays of passed hors d’oeuvres. They walked to the bar, where she chose a glass of Pinot Noir and he, a Heineken. He smiled, raising the bottle in toast. “To another successful show,” he said. She returned the smile and toasted with him.
“So is it your job to babysit me tonight?” she teased, and he laughed.
“I wear many hats,” he responded. “But yes, tonight you’re my responsibility, at least until I’m told otherwise.” He winked at her. “I’ve had worse assignments, though.”
She laughed. “Good to know.” They chatted for a bit, and she watched as guests continued to file in. There were a number of celebrities, including those who had been seated near her earlier. “This is some party,” she said, laughing.
Chris smirked. “Yeah, pretty much this only happens here and in Vegas. The band kind of feels obligated to throw a private party, whether they’re in the mood or not.”
Jordan nodded. “So this isn’t for them so much as for everyone else?”
“Kind of, yeah. They like a party as much as the next guy, I guess…but I think they are just as likely to enjoy a quiet evening with just a few people as they are something on this scale. Although, this being Hollywood, it usually doesn’t last that long, either. People make an appearance and leave.”
Just then the band walked in, Jon leading the way. She felt her breath catch in her throat. Damn. Why does that happen every time he walks in the room?
She was prepared to wait while he worked the room and was surprised when he spotted her and came right over. He nodded at Chris. “Thanks, buddy.” Chris smiled and nodded in return. “Have a nice night,” he said to Jordan, and he took his leave.
“That’s it? He’s dismissed?” Jordan teased. “And I was just getting to know him.”
“Well he’s served his purpose for tonight. I’m taking over now,” Jon replied, smiling. He was once again dressed in the white shirt/black jacket combo, and she smiled slyly, thinking of them lying in a heap on her floor.
“What?” he asked, then thought better of it. “Never mind. From the look in your eyes, I probably don’t want to know. At least not right now.”
He put a hand on the small of her back and led her through the crowd. The rest of the band greeted her with hugs and kisses. If they were surprised to see her, no one let on. They continued to meet and mingle over the next hour or so, until Jon saw an opening at a couple chairs near the window. He sat with a sigh, stretching his legs out in front of him. He took a sip of wine and smiled softly at her. He debated whether or not to bring up his proposal but decided it could wait. He was anxious to get her alone, however.
“I don’t know about you, but I’ve had about enough of the festivities,” he said casually.
“I agree,” she answered. “So I assume the key you left me was to your room?”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Thirty minutes later, Jon said goodnight to the guests, and was the first of the band members to leave the party. He took the elevator down one floor and let himself into his room. There were candles burning and soft jazz playing over the sound system. He grinned, tossing his keycard on the desk. She was nowhere to be seen, however.
He chuckled when he saw the trail of rose petals that led into the bedroom. He slipped off the jacket as he followed the path. In the bedroom were more candles and more rose petals scattered across the pillows on the bed.
“It’s about time,” she said, and he turned to see her standing in the doorway of the bathroom. “You said I could borrow one of your shirts…I hope you don’t mind.”
His stifled a groan as his eyes took it all in. The shirt she’d chosen was almost identical to the one he was wearing, and lie open to reveal the black lace ensemble beneath, complete with lace-top thigh highs and some serious fuck-me pumps.
He shook his head with a resigned smile. “Woman, you are going to be my downfall yet.”
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