“Hey darlin’,” he slurred. “I missed you today. Did you miss me?”
She shook her head. “You are plastered. Let’s get your clothes off.” She pulled his shirt over his head.
He grinned. “Oooh. You did miss me.” He attempted to stand and leaned in to kiss her as she reached to undo his pants.
She laughed quietly, returning his kiss. “Oh, like you are in any shape.” She managed to slide his jeans over his hips right before he fell back onto the bed. She bent down to remove his shoes and pulled his pants off.
“While you’re down there,” he began, attempting what he thought was a sexy smile.
“Yeah. Not gonna happen.” Jordan said, standing as she tossed his pants aside. She took the glass of water from the bed stand and held it out to him. “Drink this.” He took the glass, bowing his head like a scolded puppy. He finished it and she took it from him, filling it from the pitcher that was sitting on the nearby dresser. “Again,” she instructed, and he did as he was told.
When he was finished, she took the empty glass and set it back on the night stand. She pulled the covers back. “Okay, get in.”
He sighed and fell back against the pillows. “I like it when you’re bossy. Can we try that handcuff thing sometime?”
She laughed, pulling the covers up and sitting beside him. “We’ll see.” She reached out to brush the hair from his eyes. “Look at you. Baby, what did you say to Richie?”
“What did I say to Richie about what?” He answered, reaching to undo the belt on her robe. He looked sleepily at her. “Get in here with me.”
She smiled softly. Even in his drunken state he was pretty irresistible. She let him tug her robe off her and turned the switch on the lamp, sliding in next to him. “About us, Jon—what did you say to him about us?”
“Oh,” he answered, planting a trail of kisses across her breasts before laying his head on her stomach. “I just told him to give up the chase, because you’re mine.” He sighed contentedly as his voice trailed off. “Because I love you…”
Jordan shook her head and let her fingers play in his hair. In vino veritas. “I love you too,” she said, softly.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
When Jon woke, he was alone and the room was dark—the heavy shades had been pulled shut and only a sliver of daylight shown through. It felt like a freight train was running through his head.
“Fuck,” he mumbled to himself. He looked at the clock on the nightstand. It was past noon. Where the hell was he? He lie there a moment, trying to piece together the events from the night before. He remembered getting back to the hotel and going to Richie’s room. More wine…
Jesus, asshole, how much did you drink?
Then he remembered their conversation. “Shit.” He ran a hand through his hair as he sat up in the darkness. He had a vague recollection of Jordan undressing him and putting him to bed.
“Fuck,” he said again. He needed some water. And some coffee. And about a million aspirin.
Jordan was at the desk working on her laptop when he came out of the bedroom. She looked up and smiled softly. He looked like hell. “Coffee?” he asked, and she gestured towards the table.
“I can get it,” she said, standing, and he shook his head.
“No, I got it,” he answered. He moved to the table, squinting in the brightness of the room. He reached for the pot and poured the steaming liquid into a cup. He sat in one of the chairs with a sigh.
“You want some food?” Jordan asked, joining him at the table.
“Not yet,” he answered. He sipped at the coffee and sat quietly for a few moments. Finally he spoke up. “I did something really stupid last night.”
He looked at her. “You know?”
She nodded. “Richie brought you over here.”
“Ah,” he nodded. “That explains that. What did he say?”
Jordan smiled softly. “I was going to ask you that same question. He didn’t say much to me at all.”
He sighed. “I don’t really remember. He won’t tell anyone, if that’s what you’re worried about it.” He took another drink of coffee. “Did he seem pissed?”
Jordan looked at him. “Well, he didn’t seem thrilled.”
Jon sighed. “I don’t suppose he is. Well, he was bound to find out sooner or later. I just hadn’t decided how I was going to tell him.” He attempted a smile. “I guess he just kind of forced my hand.”
She looked at him. “Did he tell you what happened between us?”
He sat his coffee cup down. “What do you mean? What happened between you?”
Way to go, Jordan. “Nothing—I mean…” Shit.
Jon shook his head. “I’m sorry. That was a shitty thing to ask. I suspected he had a thing for you. I didn’t know if you knew or not.”
She smiled softly. “Well, I didn’t, really. Not until yesterday. But he was a total gentleman.”
Jon smirked. “Good. Because I’m in no shape right now to kick his ass.” He groaned. “Jesus Christ. My head feels like it’s going to explode. Do you have any morphine?”
She laughed quietly and stood, leaning over to kiss his cheek. “No, but I’m sure I have something.”
He wrapped an arm around her waist and rested his head on her hip. “You’re my angel, you know that?” He noticed the door to the adjoining room was open. “Is that my room?”
She nodded. “Yes. I took the key out of your pants and snuck in this morning to open it up. I even went and messed up the bed.”
He laughed. “Sorry I couldn’t be of assistance there.”
She grinned. “You certainly were full of ideas, though.”
He cringed. “I just bet I was.” He shook his head, patting her ass lightly. “I’m glad I didn’t scare you off.”
“Yeah, well…if I was going to run I’d have been long gone by now.” She ran her fingers through his hair.
He smiled softly. “Me too.”
Jon decided to try to sweat out his alcohol-laced demons in the gym. It was torture, each step on the treadmill feeling like a hammer on his head. By the time he was done, however, he felt a little better. Jordan had joined him for a workout of her own, and when they got back to the room, he was in slightly better spirits. He pulled her to him for a hug, and she made a face.
He laughed. “Is it that bad?”
She nodded guiltily at him. “You smell like a vineyard, and not in a good way.”
He burst out laughing. “Nice. Fine, I can take a hint.”
“If you want, I can join you,” she offered, smiling slyly.
“I can’t believe I’m going to turn this down, but I don’t think I’m up to the challenge yet.” He grinned. “I am quite sure, however, that my dick wouldn’t know the difference, and I need to salvage what little energy I have for the stage tonight.”
She feigned disappointment, sighing heavily. “Fine. Maybe I’ll just indulge in a little self-play while you’re in the shower,” she teased.
He shook his head, chuckling. “You are an evil woman.” He gazed at her for a moment, and he felt that familiar rush of contentment at the way she was looking at him. He wished he didn’t have a show that night, that the rest of the band wasn’t steps away, and that the two of them could just hole up with each other, the way they had in Chicago. Before things got complicated…
“Would you order me some food?” he asked, and she nodded, moving to the desk to pull out the room service menu.
Jon took a moment to call home before he hopped into the shower. The European leg was wrapping up and he couldn’t deny that he was anxious to see his family, his kids especially. He’d have a couple weeks with them before hitting the road in the US again. It would be easy to continue having Jordan along for parts of that, he realized, but he had yet to figure out what they would do when the tour was over. He sighed, shaking his head as he stepped into the shower.
Jordan pulled the door to her suite open, expecting room service. Instead she found Richie standing there. Her breath caught in her throat. “Hi,” she said quietly.
“Is he up?” Richie asked. There was no smile in his voice and his eyes were unreadable.
Jordan nodded, gesturing him in. “He’s in the shower.” She smiled lightly. “He’s attempting to feel human.” Richie didn’t return her smile, so she continued. “Richie, I’m… I’m sorry.”
He laughed wryly. “Oh, I doubt that.” He looked at her a moment, finally shaking his head. “You sure had me fooled. Had us all fooled.”
“Richie, no. I didn’t…” she began, and he interrupted her.
“I gotta hand it to you, Jordan…you’ve managed to accomplish what hundreds of other women have only dreamed of.” His voice dripped with contempt. “Christ…you even got him to offer you a job. Brilliant.”
“It’s not like that,” Jordan replied, her voice soft.
“Really? Well what is it like, exactly? Obviously you’re not just the fuck of the month. Hell, did you see him last night? Why do you think he was so goddamned drunk? Newsflash, babe: guys don’t drink that much on their own if everything is right with the world.”
Jordan remained silent and felt herself begin to shake.
He shook his head again. “So what are you expecting to come from this? Looking to sell a tell-all biography? Or just sell your story to Entertainment Tonight or something? Or maybe just a little extortion?”
“What? No!” Jordan exclaimed.
Richie smirked. “He’s usually a lot smarter than this. That must be one platinum pussy you have between your legs.”
Jordan gasped. It felt like he’d reached out and slapped her across the face.
“Rich, that’s enough,” Jon’s voice was loud and angry as he entered the room.
“Jon,” Richie began, and Jon shook his head.
“Not one more fucking word. You don’t have a goddamned clue what you’re talking about, and if you know what’s good for you you’ll get the hell out of here. Now.” When Richie didn’t move, he repeated himself. “Now. I’ll see you at sound check.”
Richie sighed, realizing he’d gone a little overboard. The pain in Jordan’s eyes gave him less satisfaction than he’d hoped. He shook his head and stormed to the door, pulling it open and almost colliding with the room service waiter. “Sorry,” he mumbled.
Jon motioned the waiter in and signed off on the check, and turned to Jordan as soon as the door was closed. She was obviously shaken. He moved to her, taking her in his arms.
“Baby, don’t listen to him. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He’s mad at me and taking it out on you.”
Jordan shook her head. “Jon, he thinks I’m some sort of black widow or something.”
Jon sighed. “Well, if he does I’ll set him straight.” He smiled, taking her face in his hands. “I know you didn’t set out to trap me in your web.” He kissed her. “But trust me, he is mad at me. Mostly because I didn’t tell him. Partly because he’s jealous. And partly because he’s had a shitty year and this is just one more thing he has to wrap his head around.”
Even as he spoke, trying to soothe her, Jon was fighting the anger brewing in his stomach. Richie was way over the line with this one, regardless of how pissed he was.
They held each other for a few moments, and Jon eventually felt her trembling subside. Our lives are getting twisted…
“Food,” he said aloud. The aroma coming from the table that had just been wheeled in made him realize just how hungry he was.
At sound check, the two men spoke to each other only when necessary, and it was impossible for the band and crew to miss the tension that was present. Jon had cut five songs from the set list and snapped at a crew member when the updated version wasn’t provided to the rest of the staff in a timely enough manner. When they were done, Jon exited one side of the stage and Richie the other. Dave looked at Tico and Tico shrugged. Both knew to just lay low and not ask any questions. Richie and Jon didn’t fight often but when they did it wasn’t pretty, and they knew from experience that the two had to work it out on their own.
Jordan was getting ready to jump in the shower when Jon entered her room. He still didn’t look very good. She moved to him, wrapping her arms around his waist and kissing him softly. “Honey, why don’t you try to catch a nap? You look like you could use it.”
He smirked. “Is it that obvious?” He pulled her more tightly against him, burying his face in her neck. He breathed in her scent, finding it surprisingly comforting. “Want to join me?”
She smiled. “Actually, that’s what I did while you were gone. It felt good. You should do it. Alone,” she added, letting her hands wander down to squeeze his ass gently.
He sighed. “I think I will. Wake me in about ninety minutes?” She nodded.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Jon was surprised when Jordan slipped between the sheets with him, kissing him softly and then planting a trail of kisses down his stomach before taking him in her mouth. He moaned softly, tangling his hand in her hair. God she was so good at this…
Suddenly the door to his room flew open and the light came on, and he saw his wife standing there. Surprise, honey!
He jerked awake, his heart pounding. “Shit,” he said quietly, sitting up and looking around the dimly-lit room. He laid back down, closing his eyes, knowing that the chances he’d fall asleep again were slim. He tossed and turned for another twenty minutes, his mind refusing to let him rest. He needed to regain control of his life, and he wasn’t sure exactly how he was going to do it.
Later, on stage, he forced himself through the motions, but his heart wasn’t in it. He had hoped the roars of the crowd and the over-the-top admiration of the fan club members in the first few rows would draw him in, but it wasn’t happening. He found himself being overly critical of the women who were dressed much more scantily than their bodies—and age—would respectfully allow, and of the audience members who held up signs that said stupid things he would rather pretend he hadn’t seen.
Jordan watched from the wings, her heart aching. Jon was visibly removed from his performance, and she had no doubt that many of the audience members could tell. He seldom flashed his trademark smile, kept the songs short and refused to interact at all with the fan pits on the sides of the stage. During the songs where he and Richie typically came together, they remained distant—there were no smiles between them and she saw little evidence of any camaraderie.
This is my fault.
As the first song of the encore ended, Jon gave the signal that it was over. The band joined one another at the front of the stage, joining hands to take their bows. The guys looked at each other, waiting for Jon to give the sign that they’d do one more. Instead, he pulled the monitors out of his ears and gave a final wave to the crowd before turning and leaving the stage. She watched as Richie turned to leave just as abruptly, and as the remaining band members forced smiles and blew kisses to the crowd.
Once in the dressing room, Richie flung his towel against the wall. “They sure got their money’s worth tonight, didn’t they?”
“Fuck you,” Jon answered.
“No, fuck you,” Richie responded, just as the door opened and Dave and Tico entered the room.
“Guys…” Jon began, and Tico nodded.
“We’ll just go on back to the hotel,” he said, and he and Dave stepped back out the door, closing it behind them. Jordan walked up and Dave shook his head.
“Jords, you don’t want to go in there.”
She nodded. “Okay.” She stood there awkwardly, not knowing what to do or how to behave.
Tico spoke up. “Let’s just go back to the hotel. Let them hash out whatever is bothering them.” He looked around, grinning. “Anyone seen my wife?”
Inside the dressing room, Richie pulled a bottle of beer from the cooler. He glared at Jon.
Jon returned his stare. “What the hell is your problem? So I'm sleeping with her. That’s not a capital offense. And there are plenty of other women out there who would gladly keep you warm at night.”
Richie laughed angrily. “You think this is about jealousy? Jesus do you have an ego.”
“So what is it then? You’re pissed because I didn’t tell you?”
“I’m pissed because you obviously are thinking with your dick and not your head.”
“You don’t know that,” Jon retorted, opening a beer for himself. His headache had returned and he really didn’t want to be having this fight right now.
“No? Why is she with us, then?” Richie challenged him.
“Because she’s good at what she does.”
Richie laughed wryly. “I just bet she is.”
“Fuck you, asshole, that’s not what I meant.”
“How well do you know this woman, Jon? Do you realize what kind of risk you’re taking?”
“I know her. There is nothing to worry about.”
Richie took a swig of his beer. “I just don’t get it. It isn’t like you to let someone on the inside, and it isn’t like you to hook up with a woman on this level. It’s a lot safer to stick with one night stands.”
Jon sighed. “I know. But this is different. She’s not just keeping my bed warm.”
Richie shook his head, thinking of how drunk his friend had been the night before, and the obvious turmoil he was in. “Where did you meet her?”
Jon laughed lightly. “On a plane back in January. I was on my way to Denver and we got caught in a snowstorm in Chicago.”
“And since then she’s managed to find a way to make you risk everything you value the most. Pardon me if I don’t sing her praises.”
“God damn it, Rich…you’re wrong about her.” Jon plopped down in a chair, bringing his beer bottle to his lips.
“How do you know that?”
“Because. I was the one who pursued it, not her. For the exact same reasons you found her attractive.” He laughed then. “She fought me every step of the way.”
“Fine, so you had a nice fling. That still doesn’t explain why she’s here.”
“She’s here because I couldn’t stop thinking about her. Because…” his voice trailed off and he took another drink. “Because I didn’t want to let her go.”
They sat silently for a few minutes. Finally Richie spoke up. “Does she love you too?”
Jon nodded. “I think so.”
“You think so?”
“Rich, she’s scared. More so than I am. You don’t know what she’s lived through.”
“Actually, I do. Some of it, at least,” Richie answered. He shook his head. “Jon, do you really think you can be this girl’s hero?”
“I don’t know. But I want to be.” Jon sighed. “It’s just that…”
Richie’s anger dissolved as he looked at his friend. “I’m sorry, man. And I’m sorry for what I said to Jordan. I guess I just never thought I’d see you fighting this battle.”
Jon chuckled. “Yeah. Neither did I.” He ran a hand through his hair. “I’m sorry, too. I don’t mean to be insensitive to what you’re going through.” He smiled. “If I wasn’t so fucking crazy about her I’d have already set the two of you up, if it's any consolation.”
Richie shook his head, smiling. “Not much, but thanks.” He laughed. “I just wish you would have told me before I made an ass of myself.”
They showered before returning to the hotel. “I’m calling it a night,” Jon said, and Richie nodded. “Look, I know I don’t need to tell you this but…”
Richie shook his head. “Don’t worry.”
Jon smiled. “Thanks.”
“What are you going to do?”
Jon sighed. “I wish I knew.”
“Well, look…if there’s anything I can do, let me know.” Richie offered, then chuckled. “Because I am such an expert on relationships and women…”
Jon smirked. “And here I am, the poster boy for rock and roll marriages. Don’t think I don’t realize how crazy this is.”
“She is pretty fantastic though. I can see how it happened.” Richie smiled. “And I haven’t even seen her naked.”
Jon laughed, shaking his head. “And you won’t. See you in the morning.”
He let himself into his room and then into Jordan’s through the connecting doors. He found her soaking in the tub.
“Hey there,” he said, from the doorway. “Are you okay?”
She looked up at him and smiled sadly. “I don’t know. That depends. Are you?”
He pulled his shirt over his head and kicked off his shoes. “Yes. I’m fine. And so is Richie.” He reached to undo his jeans. “Can I join you?”
She nodded, and he removed the jeans before sliding in behind her. He pulled her against him and kissed the top of her head. “Look…he’s my best friend, and we fight like brothers. We had it out and everything is fine. And he’s sorry for what he said to you today.” He rested his chin on her shoulder. “You know what I want now?”
Jordan smiled softly. “Oh I think I can guess.”
He laughed. “And you think I have a dirty mind.” He nuzzled her ear. “I just want to be with you ."
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