Jordan was still in a bit of a daze when the dressing room door opened once again and the band poured in.
“God DAMN,” David said, his smile wide. “Were we hot tonight or were we hot?”
“I don’t need no fucking stadium,” Richie answered, laughing. He scooped Jordan up and twirled her around, then bent her back and kissed her hard on the lips.
Jordan laughed, flustered. “What was that for?”
“For being our good luck charm,” he grinned, before moving to the cooler that was sitting on the table. He fished through it and pulled out a Heineken. “Whad’ya say, guys? Should we make it a ritual to kiss the lady before stepping on stage from here on out?”
Tico shrugged. “I could live with that. Kinda make up for having to look at Jon’s ass all night.”
Jon smiled, shaking his head. “You’re the only one complaining about looking at my ass,” he said, good-naturedly. He peeled off the T-shirt he had donned just before taking the stage after leaving Jordan in the dressing room. The torn blue linen shirt still lie on the floor where it had landed earlier, and he and Jordan looked at it at the same time before looking at one another, but no one seemed to notice.
“Hell, Jonny, you gotta admit—it was pretty fucking amazing out there,” Dave said, taking a beer for himself. He pried the top off. “Almost as good as sex.”
Jon smirked. “Almost,” he answered. “And pretty fucking amazing is right.” His eyes held Jordan’s for a moment before he looked back at the guys.
“Speaking of sex,” Richie began, and Jordan felt her heart leap into her throat. “I think the most perfect way to follow this show—”
“Besides the obvious, you mean?” Tico said, and they laughed.
Richie cocked an eyebrow. “Well, yeah. Although I suppose we could still go that route… I’m sure there are still plenty of girls outside.”
Jon shook his head. “Alright—I don’t wanna hear it. I’m getting in the shower.”
Richie laughed. “No-I mean, we are in Amsterdam. When’s the last time we were tourists here?”
Dave grinned. “Hell, yeah! Let’s do it.”
Jon grinned, shrugging. “What the hell.”
Jordan watched, puzzled, and Richie moved to her, putting a sweaty arm around her shoulders. “You wanna be one of the guys, Jords? This is your opportunity.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
A couple hours later they were wandering along a street in the famed Red Light District. Jon moved beside her, putting an arm around her as they slowed a bit to let the others gain a few steps in front of them.
“So how ya’ doin’?”
“I’m good,” she answered, smiling softly. “I’m hanging with the guys—you know, looking at naked women…”
“Naked women are good,” he laughed, and then squeezed her a bit more tightly. “But that wasn’t what I was asking.”
“I know. And I’m good there, too.” She looked at him. “Just trying to wrap my head around everything.”
“I know. Me too.” He leaned in to kiss her temple and brought his mouth to her ear. “But I have no regrets.”
Her heart jumped a little at his words, and she brought her eyes to his. “Neither do I.”
Dave’s voice interrupted them. “Hey you two, no talking shop—there is depravity to be experienced and enjoyed.” He waited for them to catch up and then moved between them, wrapping an arm around each of their shoulders. “Jords—he may be the boss but every once in a while we have to remind him that too much work and not enough play…”
Jon laughed. “I’m playing, I’m playing.” His mind flashed back to earlier in the evening. If they only knew.
Richie and Tico slowed. “I think we need to go in here,” Richie said, pointing towards the sign over the doorway. In bold yellow letters it read “Sex Museum.”
Jon laughed, shaking his head. “Only if Jordan is okay with it—I don’t want a sexual harassment suit on my hands.”
Jordan looked at them—Richie was wiggling his eyebrows and Dave started whining like a puppy. She laughed. “How can I say no? Besides—I think I need to enjoy the full Amsterdam experience. Lead the way.”
Richie grinned broadly. “Jon, where DID you find this woman? She’s perfect. Can we keep her?”
Jon smiled. “Yes, she is.” And I’m working on it.
They wandered through the museum, laughing at some of the displays and even taking pictures next to a few of them. Jordan found herself blushing once or twice, but if anyone noticed they kept it to themselves—except for Jon. At one point, as they stood looking at some particularly erotic artwork, he moved up behind her and leaned in to whisper in her ear. “Is any of this having the same effect on you that it is on me?”
She moved on, pretending to be offended. “I’m not even going to dignify that with an answer.”
He chuckled. “I thought so.” They moved into the fetish room and came to an S&M display, complete with leather, whips and other assorted costumes and accoutrement.
Jordan decided to pose a question to the group. “Okay, boys, seriously: how big of a turn on is this?”
Tico spoke up. “This isn’t going into the book, is it?” They all laughed.
“No,” Jordan responded, smiling. “I’m just curious as to how many men really have this kind of fantasy.”
Richie shrugged. “Well I for one am not into pain. But a half-naked slave girl calling me Master—hell, yeah.” The others nodded in agreement.
Jordan’s jaw dropped, and she looked at Jon, who cocked his head and give her a crooked grin. “I don’t believe you guys!” She laughed. What IS it with men and the I-Dream-of-Jeanie thing?”
Dave laughed. “You don’t really have to ask, do you?”
“Oh, come on Jords, are you trying to say that you’ve never wanted some guy to cater to your every whim?” Richie teased. “Maybe call you Mistress J or something?”
Jordan couldn’t help but laugh. “Mistress J?” She glanced at Jon, who was refusing to get involved, an amused smile at his lips.
Richie grinned. “Sure. If you want we can start calling you that instead.”
She rolled her eyes. “Thanks, but no.”
“Fine. We offered.” Richie was having fun. “So nothing kinky? Really? I don’t believe it. You’re a little too rock and roll to be that straight-laced. So what is it? Being tied up with silk scarves or something?”
Jon raised his eyebrows and opened his eyes wide, as if eagerly awaiting her response.
“Jon,” Jordan pleaded.
He shook his head. “You started it, baby.” He chuckled. “You wanna hang with the boys you’d better get bigger balls.”
She sighed. “I can see I’m totally outnumbered here.”
“Pretty much, yeah,” Jon responded. “So what is it? Silk scarves or do you prefer handcuffs?”
“Feathers?” Dave offered.
“Blindfolds?” Tico added.
“Or maybe chocolate sauce.” Richie suggested, and Jon choked down a laugh at the stunned look on Jordan’s face.
“I think we have a winner,” Dave grinned.
Jordan gave a resigned sigh. “I hate all of you.”
“Yeah you do.” Richie laughed. He put an arm around Jordan and they moved on to the next display. “So, Dave. Feathers… really?”
Dave nodded. “Well, I tried using the whole chicken once and it was a little much.”
Jordan burst out laughing.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
On the ride back to the hotel, Jordan was surprised when Jon reached to take her hand in his. Sure, it was dark and no one could really see, but still…normally in the presence of the others, any physical contact they had was either brief or seemingly innocent—sometimes both.
He lay his head back against the headrest, his eyes closed, and squeezed her hand before letting his thumb caress the back of her hand gently. She found it oddly comforting, especially since she wasn’t aware she even needed comforting at that moment.
The past eighteen hours or so had been intensely emotional and in many ways she was still reeling from it all.
You want me to say it? I’ll say it. I love you.
Her heart quickened at the memory. She’d heard it from other men before, of course, but not like this. It was as if he’d made a confession, not a proclamation. Then the passion with which they’d come together afterwards…
In any other situation it might have seemed seedy, but instead it had felt so appropriate—and necessary, even, as if words alone were not sufficient. As if they needed to consummate the admission right then and there.
The memory of it, combined with the erotic images she’d been witness to after, made her want him again. She suddenly couldn’t wait to get him alone. She smiled softly to herself and let go of his hand, sliding her hand up his thigh.
He chuckled quietly and stretched his legs out in front of him, as Dave, Richie and Tico traded barbs in the seats behind them. Sometimes it was just good to be him.
It was late and they were all dragging when they stepped off the elevator, but it was a satisfied weariness. They hugged each other goodnight before retiring to their rooms.
Once they were safely inside their suite, Jon reached for Jordan without even turning on the light. “Okay, you little tease,” he said, kissing her. “Was that sex museum just too much for you or what?”
Through the moonlight streaming in the window he saw her smile. “Maybe a little,” she answered. “I just…” Her voice trailed off as she brought her mouth to his, her tongue sliding between his lips. She unbuttoned his shirt and let her mouth trail down his chest and across his stomach, as her fingers undid the buttons on his jeans. She was insistent and forceful, and he had no inclination to stop her. When he felt her mouth envelope him, he fell back against the door.
“Jordan,” he managed, trying to summon an argument to stop her before it was too late, but the feel of her mouth, her tongue and her hands on him was more than he could fight. And the sight of her, clearly hungry for him, for his pleasure, made his knees weak.
She took her time, relishing the sensation of the silkiness of him on her tongue and the pulsations of his desire. If she wasn’t able to say the words, she could at least convey the message. She felt his legs quivering as a hand tangled in her hair and heard his voice as his climax approached.
“Jordan…baby…I…” he gasped, as she took him deep in her throat. When she finally released him, he slid down the door, his heart pounding. He pulled her to him, his voice shaky. “Holy shit.”
She let him hold her there, her head resting against him, feeling his heart thudding against his chest.
“Wow,” he said finally. “What did I do to deserve that?”
She looked at him. “What makes you think that was for you?” She smiled softly.
He chuckled. “And that would be the nail in my coffin.” He smoothed her hair back. “How did you come into my life?”
She smiled. “Just lucky, I guess.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
A few days later, they were enjoying brunch on the terrace of their Dusseldorf Hotel before leaving for Vienna when Chris interrupted them. “Jon, the car is out front to take you to the airport.”
Jon looked at his band mates and at Jordan to see if they were playing some kind of joke on him. From the looks on their faces he could tell that probably wasn’t the case. “What are talking about? What car?”
“Your trip to London? Did that get cancelled? It’s still on my calendar.” Chris looked worried that he’d screwed up.
Jon’s head dropped. “Shit. I forgot. Damn it.” He sighed. “Fuck. Tell them I’ll be down in about ten.” Chris nodded and left to deliver the message. “Fucking photo shoot I agreed to do for a friend,” he explained to the rest of them. He couldn’t believe he’d forgotten; of course he’d been a little distracted lately…
He sighed again. “So much for breakfast,” he said, rising. “I guess I’ll see you guys in Austria some time tonight.” He looked at Jordan for a moment, and they both realized there was no way he could kiss her goodbye without it looking suspicious.
Richie spoke up. “Don’t worry about it. We don’t have sound check until later tomorrow anyway. And Jords has been doing this with us long enough now that you don’t need to baby sit her.”
He was right, of course. “Alright,” Jon said, although he was clearly not thrilled. He really did not want to go play model.
After he left, Tico laughed. “I wouldn’t want to be that cameraman today.”
Dave laughed. “No shit. I can’t believe he forgot—he’s usually the one on top of the itinerary.”
Richie shrugged. “He’ll be fine. You know how he is, he’ll pout for a while and then do what is expected of him.”
On the short flight to London, Jon berated himself again. It was so unlike him to not be totally aware of his schedule. But his mind wasn’t exactly where it should be these days, and he knew it. Between the tour and this latest twist in his personal life, things were bound to fall through the cracks. It was not easy keeping his relationship with Jordan a secret, and then trying to make sense of his own emotions…it was tiring, to say the least.
How had this happened? He’d had no intention of falling in love with her, although in retrospect he realized he had done little to prevent it. It wasn’t as if he’d ever really bought into that “one true love” bullshit, but he’d been surrounded by long, solid marriages his whole life. Occasional sexual indiscretions happened, but hell—that was just exchanging fluids. He was fairly sure that his wife enjoyed her own dalliances on occasion, and oddly enough it didn’t bother him that much. He didn’t want to see it or hear about it, but to him it wasn’t the worst thing that could happen, because in the end he was the father of her children and it was his bed where she slept and his home where they’d made a life. And it was she who had helped make him everything he was today.
But this thing with Jordan…it was different on so many levels, and his love for her was just as real. And the freshness of it—the thrill of discovering new things about each other, both in and out of the bedroom—it was enough to cloud anyone’s judgment. He loved her combination of strength and vulnerability. Her intelligence, compassion, and humor were just as sexy as her physical beauty, and their sexual chemistry was the inevitable result of it all.
He sighed. What the hell was he going to do? If he weren’t famous it would be much easier, he realized. Men did it all the time. He smiled wryly to himself. For the first time in his life he found himself seeing how polygamy might just make a little sense.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Tico’s wife had flown in to surprise them and was waiting when they arrived at the hotel in Vienna. Jordan was stunned by the woman’s beauty. After the two of them disappeared upstairs to their room, Richie and Dave laughed. “Yeah…our wives used to surprise us, too.”
Jordan felt her heart jump. It had never occurred to her that Jon’s wife might just show up. She realized, however, that Jon probably had already thought of that and surely wouldn’t take such risks if there was a chance they’d get caught. It was one thing taking chances around the band—but being discovered by his wife was something Jordan couldn’t even fathom having to face.
We’ll figure this out. I promise.
“I’m told there is a pool table in my suite,” Richie was saying. “Do you guys want to come over? I could use a night in, I think. We could order some food up and lay low.”
Dave nodded. “Works for me. Jords?”
Jordan smiled. “Sounds good.”
Two hours later she was laughing so hard her face hurt. The two of them played off one another like a comedy act, and she realized that, rock stars or not, they were two of the most down-to-earth, unassuming men she’d ever met in her life. The stories they shared and the jokes they told once again reminded Jordan how truly fortunate she was to have been given this opportunity, both professionally and personally.
They were on their third bottle of wine when Dave set his wine glass on the coffee table and announced he was calling it a night. “So soon, really?” Jordan was surprised.
Dave nodded. “Yeah. I’m feeling a little bit of a cold coming on, and since we have a show tomorrow night I thought it might be good to try to stave it off sooner rather than later.” He also was keenly aware that Richie would like to be left alone with her, and this was one woman he thought worthy of his friend. “You need to quit dating starlets, pal, and date someone you know isn’t using you for publicity,” he’d told him just a day earlier.
Richie and Jordan finished the bottle themselves, their conversation eventually turning to more serious topics. She told him of her parents’ divorce and her mother’s death, of her relationship with her sister and how close she was to Tina and Kevin. He told her about growing up as an only child and why his band mates were truly his brothers in every sense of the word but the literal. He expressed his concerns for his own parents’ health and smiled as he talked about the joys of fatherhood, moving next to her on the couch to share pictures of his daughter.
She smiled. “Wow, she’s beautiful. And I bet she has her daddy wrapped around her finger,” she added.
His brown eyes sparkled. “Are you kidding? She is the single greatest thing I’ve ever done. You should try it,” he said, smiling.
Too late she realized he was moving in to kiss her.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Jon’s stomach was growling as he stepped onto the charter plane to take him to Austria. The photo shoot had gone fine, as those things go. He’d been fussed over, made up and posed, fluffed and sprayed until he thought he’d scream. Fortunately they’d kept the wine flowing so he’d at least kept some amount of humor through it all. But not much.
Once in the air he accepted another glass of wine and a fruit and cheese plate. He really wanted a nice steak dinner but this was better than nothing. He was tired, hungry and grouchy. He really could have used a down day—his life was starting to kick his ass, much as he hated to admit it. And right now he was envious of his band mates who were enjoying an evening of no obligations. He thought of Jordan and wondered how she’d spent her day. And if she was as anxious to see him as he was her. It had been less than twelve hours and he was already missing her. Get a grip, man. He shook his head and downed his wine before signaling for another. “Just leave the bottle,” he instructed.
When the plane landed there was a car waiting for him. As he slid inside, he saw an open bottle of wine chilling on ice. He chuckled. The grape gods were with him tonight.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Richie’s mouth was soft and warm on hers, and it wasn’t until she felt his tongue sneak through her lips that Jordan pulled away. “I’m sorry,” she said, quietly. “I think we’ve had too much wine.”
“We’re not doing anything wrong,” he said quietly. “And wine or no, I’ve been wanting to do that for quite a while, beautiful.”
Jordan’s mind was swimming. She hadn’t meant to lead him on, but even through the wine haze she realized that he had every reason to think it was okay to kiss her. She was alone with him in his hotel room, drinking wine and having some very intimate conversation. And as far as he knew, she was totally available. God Jordan, what were you thinking?
“What, you don’t like the way I kiss?” he teased, and she laughed.
“No, it’s not that,” she answered. Not at all. In fact, if the situation were different she was quite sure she’d be going back for more. “It’s just that…” In all good conscience she couldn’t use the “we work together” excuse. And she liked him—and respected him—too much to lie. But she couldn’t tell him the real reason, either.
Finally she said, “I just was taken a little by surprise, that’s all. And I’m tired and a little drunk…”
Richie smiled. He was a little surprised at her reluctance—it wasn’t something that happened to him very often—but he realized it made her even more intriguing. He suspected she wasn’t quite over her ex yet, but that was something he could work around. He leaned in to kiss her cheek. “Okay. How about we watch a movie instead?”
She smiled, grateful for his understanding. “Actually, I think I should call it a night. I hear my bed calling my name.”
He winked at her. “Are you sure it’s not my bed you hear?”
She laughed then, and reached out to muss his hair. “You’re incorrigible.”
“Well, If you change your mind, you know where I am.”
She smiled. “Yes, I do. And I’m sure I’m missing out.”
He grinned. “You don’t know the half of it.” They stood and he walked with her to the door. “Sweet dreams,” he said, kissing her cheek once again. Jordan smiled. Like brothers.
Richie sighed as he walked to the bathroom and turned on the shower. He stripped off his clothes and stepped in. He closed his eyes and let the hot water rain down on him. He wasn’t prepared to give up on her just yet. In the meantime…
His hand wandered down across his stomach. The feel of those lips on his had only increased the ache between his legs, and he pictured her lying beneath him as he addressed his desire himself.
He was toweling off when he heard a knock on the door of his suite. Sure, after I jacked off. He smiled to himself. Surely he couldn’t be that lucky. He pulled his jeans back on before going to answer it.
He pulled the door open to find Jon standing on the other side. “Hey buddy, how’d it go?” He stepped aside and motioned Jon in.
“Fine,” Jon grumbled. “Remind me next time how much I hate those things.” He noticed the spread of food on the table and walked to it. He poured a glass of wine and reached for one of the shrimp, dipping it in the cocktail sauce. “Where is everyone?”
“Tico’s in his room with the little woman and Dave decided to call it an early night,” Richie answered. “You just missed Jordan.”
Jon nodded, reaching for another shrimp. “So did you all just stay in tonight?” His words were slurred and Richie realized his friend was more than a little drunk.
“Yeah. Good food, wine, friends… you missed out.” He grinned.
Jon sighed. “Don’t rub it in.” He drained his wine glass and filled it again before sinking into one of the chairs.
Obviously something was on his mind, Richie could tell. The challenge was figuring out whether he wanted to talk about it or not. He poured himself a glass from the bottle and then sat down as well.
“Do you ever miss the days when it wasn’t so complicated?” Jon asked.
Richie laughed. “Jon, it’s always been complicated.”
Jon nodded. “Yeah, but you know what I mean…when we could do what we wanted without worrying about the consequences.” He sighed. “Like drink as much as we felt like and not care if we were hungover the next day?”
“I miss a lot of it,” Richie answered. He laughed. “Right now I’m missing the women.”
Jon grinned. “You remember those cocktail waitresses in… where were we?”
“The redhead and that girl from Brazil?”
“Houston,” Richie answered.
“Damn. Sometimes I can still picture that…” He shook his head. “I don’t know where the hell that came from. I haven’t thought of that in years.”
“Well, if you’re going to summon a memory, that one isn’t a bad one. I know I’ve found it useful on occasion…”
“True.” Jon took another drink. “But you know…I wouldn’t go back.”
Richie smiled. “Actually, neither would I. But we have some great stories.”
“We did our share of mindless fucking, didn’t we?”
“Our share and then some. Of course our options were a little more enticing back then,” Richie shook his head. “There was not one woman in the lobby when we checked in today that I would even consider bringing up here.” He laughed lightly. “Well, I guess there was one…”
Jon perked up. “Yeah? Wanna go see if she’s still there?”
Richie shook his head. “No, she’s not.” He grinned sheepishly. “She’s in her room across the hall.”
Jon was taking another drink as the words penetrated his mind. He let the liquid pour down his throat and reached for the bottle again.
“Rich, don’t. Not this one.”
“Jon, come on. We’re not twenty-five anymore. I’m not just looking to win the who-gets-to-fuck-her game.”
“I know. But just take my advice and let this one go.” Jon leaned his head back against the cushion and closed his eyes.
Richie felt himself getting annoyed. “Why? Because you say so? Why do you get to stake your claim? Shouldn’t we at least give her a chance to explore her options?”
Jon laughed, shaking his head. “You just don’t get it, do you?”
Jon opened his eyes and lifted his head, his eyes meeting Richie’s. “She was mine before you even met her.”
Richie regarded his friend for a moment. In his mind, he went back over the past few months, from how they’d met her, to her appearance in Los Angeles...
…the bar in Dublin…
…the shared suite in Amsterdam…
…Jordan’s reluctance with him earlier…
…and now, his very drunk and troubled friend sitting in front of him.
Jordan heard an insistent knock on her door and rose from her bed, pulling her robe over her shoulders as she moved to the door. She opened it and found Richie standing outside, his arms supporting a very drunken Jon.
“I assume this is where I should deposit him,” Richie said simply.
She opened her mouth to reply and Richie shook his head. “Just take him.”
To next section...