The next morning Tori left Richie sleeping, met up with Stephanie in the hallway, picked up the required bodyguard in the lobby and headed out for a day of sightseeing and shopping. They visited the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and even followed Rocky’s path up the steps of the Museum of Art, leaving even their bodyguard breathless.
And they shopped. Tori found a beautiful bedroom suite that she fell in love with on sight in the window of a small furniture store they walked by. She stopped dead.
“Oooh Aunt Tori, that’s beautiful!” Stephanie exclaimed.
They went inside for a closer look. It looked even better up close. The oak had a honey finish and gleamed under the lights. It came with two night stands, a dresser and mirror and a chest of drawers. It was perfect. With only a small shudder at the price, Tori handed over her new credit card and made arrangements for the furniture to be delivered to the condo.
And so the day went. Tori found a few other items including some that Stephanie thought Ava would really like. They also bought some clothing and souvenirs. They were only stopped once for an autograph and they may have avoided even that, except that Steph didn’t notice them watching them and called Tori’s name to bring her attention to something she was looking at. They also wanted pictures. “Not of Steph.” Tori asserted quickly, knowing Jon’s feelings.
They had stopped only briefly for lunch, and by three o’clock, they were both ready for a rest and a snack. They were sitting in a small café when Tori’s phone rang.
On the good ship Lollipop
It’s a sweet trip to a candy shop
Where bon-bons play
On the sunny beach of Peppermint Bay
Stephanie looked at her in confusion. Tori laughed.
“Hi Bela. How goes the girls’ day out?”
“Having a blast. But I think poor Tom is about done in.”
He laughed. “Are you coming to sound check?”
“Yes. We’ve just got a couple more stores we want to hit real quick and then we’ll be heading back to the hotel.
Tom, the bodyguard, sighed in relief.
“Ok, we’ve got a huge cake coming in, and some of the Soul players. It’s not really a surprise, because Jon knows we always do something for his birthday, but he doesn’t know what we’re doing, so we’re hiding everything in the control room. We think we’ve got everything organized, but I was thinking…..we need some goofy t-shirt or something for him to wear, either at dinner or the after party. I usually get something, but I haven’t seen anything that I really liked. Have you girls come across anything in your travels today?”
“Way ahead of you Shirley. Stephanie found the perfect shirt. It’s got a picture of an ugly old man on the front and says ‘Kiss me, it’s my birthday’, then on the back it says ‘Like my suit?’ with a rear view naked picture.”
He laughed. “Perfect! When are you planning to give it to him?”
“Good. Okay. I think we’re set. I’ll see you back at the hotel.”
Hanging up, Tori turned to Steph. “Well, I guess we’d better get going if we want to hit those other stores. I need to be back for sound check soon.”
They headed off again, Tom biting back a groan as he followed them out the door. When they arrived back at the hotel, the others were gathering in the lobby, preparing to head to the venue.
“There they are!” Carol saw them first. “How was your day girls?”
“We had a blast!” Stephanie enthused as she took her purchases from Tom.
“What about you Tori? Got that condo furnished yet?” John chuckled.
Tori laughed. “Not quite. I did find a few things though.”
“Oooh she saw the most beautiful bedroom set!” Steph told them. “She was practically drooling!”
“I hope you bought it.” Richie looked at Tori.
“I did. It was a little pricey though.” She winced.
He shrugged. “I don’t care what you spend. Buy whatever you like. I guess I better call Henry and let him know that there will be some deliveries this week.”
Jon laughed. “Whoa bro! Giving a woman carte blanche? Well I guess I know you’re in for another album. You’re going to need the income to finance her spending sprees!”
Tori blew him a raspberry.
“Honey, did I tell you that I’m thinking about redecorating the entire house, and the guest house and the Hampton house?” Dorothea smiled at her husband.
He stared at her for moment while the laughter swirled around them. “yes dear. Let’s go to work.” He grumbled and led the way to the van.
After sound check they headed to a nearby restaurant for a private birthday dinner. The t-shirt elicited much laughter, even from Jon, who immediately put it on and puckered up. At a quiet moment, Jon turned to his sister.
“Everything go okay today?”
She knew what he meant. “We were only approached by one group that recognized me. It was fine. They just wanted autographs and a picture.”
Jon frowned. Stephanie saw it. “Don’t worry Dad. Aunt Tori wouldn’t let them take my picture.” She rolled her eyes.
Jon looked relieved. “Thank you.”
The show went smoothly as usual. During a break when Jon was off stage, Richie brought out the Soul players and the cake, called Jon back out and got the crowd to sing “Happy Birthday.” Jon graciously thanked everyone. “I love you all, now get the fuck off my stage.”
The after party was a continuation of the birthday party. There was a cake and balloons and a D.J. Tori helped Dorothea put Jake and Romeo to bed where a hotel staffer was sitting with them. Returning to the bar, Tori realized that there had been an influx of people since they had left. Since that wasn’t an unusual occurrence at these things, she didn’t think anything of it. Plus, there were probably a lot of Soul people here too.
She threaded her way through the crowd until she found Richie. “Whew! What a crowd tonight.”
He nodded. “Come on, let’s dance.”
As they circled the floor he asked her about her purchases for the condo. “So the credit card got broken in then?”
She smiled. “Yes. More than I’d really planned actually, but when I saw that bedroom suite, I couldn’t resist. Wait until you see it! It’s beautiful. A little paint, and a few accessories and our room at least will be done.”
He smiled gently at the obvious joy on her face. “Glad you focused on the most important room first.”
She blushed at the look in his dark eyes. “Is your mind always in the gutter?”
He shrugged. “I’m a man.”
She laughed and hugged him. “No argument there babe. And I thank God everyday for it!”
He bent to kiss her.
On the side of the dance floor Jon had paused to watch them, smiling at the evidence that they were very happy together when Tico came up to him.
“Hey man. We have a potential problem.”
Tico nodded towards the end of the dance floor. Jon’s gaze followed Tico’s gesture. And scowled. “What the hell is she doing here? And how the hell does she keep getting in?”
When they came off the dance floor they found Jon and Tico waiting for them. “Hey Tori, you want a drink?” Tico asked.
“Get me one too?” Jon asked.
“Sure. Come on Rich help me carry them.”
When they returned, Richie handed Tori her drink, glanced around their immediate area, and draped his arm around her shoulders. David and Hugh soon joined them. When other people called out to them, they waved, but never left the group.
Dorothea walked up. “What’s with the huddle? Are you hiding someone in there?”
The laughter was half-hearted at best. Tori frowned, looked around the group and realized they had surrounded her like a protective barrier. She raised a brow at Richie. He just smiled and dropped a kiss on her lips. “I love you angel.”
“I love you too. Now what’s going on?”
“Richie! Hey baby, I’m here!”
Tori’s second brow joined the first and stretched towards her hairline. Richie sighed. Jon, Tico, David and Hugh stiffened. The sudden tension in the air had Tori’s stomach knotting. She turned to face the owner of the voice and her nervousness quickly changed to anger.
“You must be Jasmine.”
“Yes. Who are you?” The Japanese girl was even more beautiful in person.
“Tori Adams.” She was gratified to see a startled look pass over the other girl’s face.
“My sister.” Jon spoke up.
“My girlfriend.” Richie added.
Tori smiled at the men. “Oh she knows who I am.”
“How do you know who I am?” Jasmine asked.
“I’m also Richie’s assistant.” She paused and locked eyes with the asian beauty. “I deal with his mail.”
Jasmine’s eyes widened. “Oh.”
“Yeah.” Tori glanced at her protectors. “Guys could you give us a few minutes please? We need to have a little girl talk.” When the men all just looked at each other and didn’t move she smiled. “It’s okay. I’m not going to hurt her. Dorothea will referee.” She wanted a witness. Richie still looked uncertain. She raised a hand to caress his cheek. “Really, it’s okay.”
He sighed, but nodded. “Okay, but we’ll be just over there and we’ll be watching. Signal if you need us.” He tipped her face up to his and kissed her – very thoroughly. “I love you.” He murmured.
She smiled. “I love you too. Now scoot.”
When the women were left alone Tori turned to Jasmine, gratified to see a look of uncertainty on her face. “So Jasmine how exactly did you meet Richie?”
Jasmine actually blushed. “A friend of my brother’s works for one of the radio stations in Tokyo. He got me into the after party. I found Richie sitting at a table. There was an empty chair, so I sat down and we started talking.” Her expression turned dreamy. “He was so wonderful, and easy to talk to. It was if we’d known each other for years. I felt a real connection with him. When he invited me to Sydney I was thrilled and thought he felt the same way about me.”
“He invited you to Sydney?” Tori interrupted, the look in her eye warning the girl not to lie.
Jasmine shifted uncomfortably. “Well, I told him that I was thinking about going and he suggested I should that it would be a really good show. When I left and told him that I would see him in Australia he seemed really pleased. He gave me a big smile and a kiss on the cheek and said he’d see me there.”
Tori relaxed and exchanged a glance with Dorothea, who nodded slightly in agreement. Normal interaction with a fan. Poor girl took him literally. “And in Sydney?”
Jasmine smiled. “I was able to talk my way into the after party. I told the guy at the door that Richie was expecting me. I didn’t think he was going to let me in, but he got distracted and I was able to walk right in.”
“And was Richie happy to see you?”
Jasmine frowned. “He looked at little surprised at first, almost like he didn’t remember who I was, but I knew that he must just be pretending because Jon was watching us.”
Dorothea’s brows rose.
“I finally had to get him out on the dance floor so that we cold have some private time.” That dreamy look was back again. “Being in his arms, was heaven. Well, I don’t have to tell you, you know what I’m talking about.” Tori grunted. “And when he kissed me...” She sighed. “I felt it right down to my toes. I had goosebumps.”
Tori’s eyes narrowed dangerously. Dorothea knew that look, took a step closer and tried to prevent the Bongiovi temper from exploding into physical violence. “You said that Jon was watching you. So you knew that Richie was in a relationship with his sister?”
Jasmine bit her lip. “Yes.”
“And yet you still pursued him?”
She shrugged. “He didn’t seem to mind. Besides, Jon’s as much as said he hasn’t been faithful, so I figured it wasn’t something they got too uptight about.”
Now Dorothea’s eyes narrowed. Tori was just stunned at this girl’s reasoning. “And what about after the kiss? What did Richie say?”
“Oh he gave me some story about how the song we’d been dancing to had made him think about you, and that he was taken and wasn’t interested in me.” She waved a dismissive hand. “But what else could he say with Jon standing nearby? He could hardly show how he really felt in front of your brother. So I knew I had to come to America so that we could find some time to be together.”
Tori glanced at Dorothea who threw up her hands in a gesture that clearly said go for it she’s all yours.
“Let me see if I’ve got this straight. You really believe that Richie is interested in you and the only reason that he didn’t act on it is because my brother was standing there watching?” Tori kept her tone carefully neutral. Jasmine nodded. “And it doesn’t bother you that he has a girlfriend? You really would be okay with being the other woman?” She had to ask. She couldn’t believe anyone would think like that.
Jasmine shrugged. “You’re not married or anything. Besides, it wouldn’t be for long. He’d be mine soon enough.”
Tori stared at her, then laughed shortly. “I’ll give you this much, you’ve got guts. Not many women would actually tell me to my face that they’re out to steal my man.” She paused and her voice turned to icy steel. “I hate to burst your bubble, honey, but it ain’t gonna happen. The way he was with you in Tokyo is the way he is with everyone. There’s nothing special about it. He’s just a really friendly man. As for Sydney.” She shrugged. “Well you saw what happens if you try to make it more than friendly. He loves me and I love him. So, enjoy your trip to America but don’t count on Richie providing your….entertainment. Find your own man.”
Jasmine smirked. “You didn’t see the way he kissed me.”
“No, but as you pointed out, Jon did. And he knows Richie better than anyone. So if he wasn’t worried, then I’m not going to be.” Tori smiled. “I actually should thank you. He came home from Australia and asked me to move in with him. I guess he realized how much he loves me and doesn’t want us being apart so much.”
Jasmine snorted. “That was probably to get out of the doghouse after you read my letters.”
“Actually he set the plan in motion before he knew about the letters. Besides, if you’re so sure he’d want you over me, why would he kiss you then come home and make a commitment to me?”
“Because he hasn’t had the full experience yet.”
Tori snorted. “And he’s not going to.”
Now Jasmine snorted. “Because you say so?”
“ No, not because I say so, but because he says so and he would never do anything to hurt me.”
“And despite whatever you think Jon has done in the past, these guys don’t screw around.” Dorothea added.
Jasmine just smiled weakly. Tori held on to her last shred of patience. “Look, I’m only going to say this once. If you want to talk to Richie, fine. I have no problem with that. But don’t expect it to go any further. He’s not available. Aside from the fact that you don’t read men very well and an unfortunate moral problem, you don’t seem like a horrible person. I’d hate for you to get your hopes dashed when he doesn’t respond like you seem to think he will. He doesn’t want you. I advise you to give it up before you get hurt.”
“Is that why you kept the black belt around for this? To threaten me?” Her tone was belligerent.
Tori and Dorothea looked at each other and burst into laughter. Winding down Tori shook her head. “I don’t need my sister-in-law’s help to deal with the likes of you. It wasn’t physical pain I was referring to.” Her eyes turned glacial and her voice dripped venom. “Although if you insist on your present course of action, it’s not out of the question. Let me make this as clear as I can. I didn’t want to do this. I wanted to be nice. But you don’t seem to be getting the message. Stay away from Richie. He isn’t interested in you. He’s taken. He’s mine. And I will fight for what’s mine.”
Jasmine just blinked at her, her confidence obviously shaken. Dorothea decided to give the final push. “And I think you’ve worn out your welcome here…..or at any other after party. Do I make myself clear or do you need Jon to say it?”
Jasmine just nodded, eyes shining and she quickly turned and headed out the door. When she turned back for once last look at Richie it was to see him take Tori in his arms for a hug and kiss. Sighing, she walked away.
From where they had been standing the guys had watched the entire confrontation. When Tori’s eyes narrowed Richie took a step forward, but Jon held him back. Then Dorothea’s eyes narrowed and it was Richie’s turn to hold Jon back. When Jasmine finally walked away they decided it was safe to approach their women.
“Baby, are you okay?” Richie asked anxiously, pulling her into his arms to give her a hug and a kiss.
Tori looked at Dorothea. They both grinned and high fived each other. “Yeah, I’m fine.”
“You two look pretty proud of yourselves.” Jon smiled.
“She just needed to see the lay of the land. Now that she understands the situation, she won’t be back.”
“I have to admit that was pretty civil. I was expecting a cat fight.” Tico commented.
Dorothea looked at her husband. “Tori controls it better than you.”
“The Bongiovi temper. It’s there, but she keeps a pretty tight lid on it.”
“Really? Since when?” Jon retorted dryly. “I haven’t seen any sign of it.”
Tori shrugged. “You’re family. When you give me temper I’m going to give it back. It’s what I need to do to make you listen to me. But all she needed was to see a glimpse of it. She’s a fan so she’s undoubtedly heard the stories of yours. I just needed to let her know that I had it too. Apparently she didn’t want to take me on.”
“No one wants to take on a Bongiovi in full temper – at least if they have half a brain.” David assured her.
“Well that explains it.” Jon sounded like he’d just discovered the answer to a mystery that had been bothering him for awhile. When they all just stared at him, he elaborated. “Why David keeps prodding my temper every chance he gets. It’s the Scarecrow syndrome. I guess the straw coloured hair should have been a clue.”
A little while later Tori was sitting with Richie at a table taking a breather from the crowd.
“You’re quite the little fireball when you’re riled.” He raised a hand to tuck a lock of her hair behind her ear.
She raised a brow. “You already knew that.”
“Yeah, but it’s different when its not aimed at me. It’s actually rather…..stimulating.”
She snorted. “Let me know when you find something that doesn’t…stimulate you.”
“I can’t help it if I have a healthy appetite.”
“Oh no. I am not going there again!”
“Ooh that sounds kinky.” David commented as he joined them.
Tori shook her head. “Men! Your minds really are in the gutter all the time, aren’t they?”
“Naw, not all the time. Just 97 percent of it.”
“Only 97? What about the other three percent?”
“Food, sports and cars.” He explained.
“Ah I see.” Tori laughed.
“So Tori, are you going to be Richie’s bodyguard now too?” Hugh asked as he took a seat. “You seem to be off to a good start.”
Tori raised her brows. “What do you mean?”
“Take a look around. After you ousted the stalker, the women in the room are afraid to come near him.”
Glancing around, Tori realized Hugh was right. There were several groups of girls who kept looking over, but none were willing to make the move to come closer.
“Kevin wants to hire you as his assistant.” Jon told Tori as he too joined the group.
“No way. The only body she’s guarding is mine!” Richie protested. “You’ve already got Dorothea, leave mine alone.”
“Already got me for what?” Dorothea walked up.
“He was trying to steal Tori for Kevin’s assistant. I was just pointing out that he already has you. Tori’s mine. Hell, with you around he doesn’t even need Kevin!”
Dorothea snorted. “Most days I’m more inclined to kick his ass rather than protect it.”
“I love you too honey.” Jon leaned over and kissed her.
“What are you going to do about those fans?” Hugh asked.
“What fans?” Jon asked.
“The ones that are standing over there looking, but won’t come near Richie for fear of getting tag teamed.”
Tori laughed and took pity on the girls. She caught the eye of one who was holding a piece of paper and a pen. She smiled, nodded, and motioned her forward. The girl smiled her thanks and stepped forward glancing warily at Dorothea as she approached. Dorothea just smiled. When the others saw it was safe, they also came forward in small groups for autographs and pictures. Every one of them looked at Tori when they said thank you.
“I think I kinda like this.” Tori laughed.
“What?” Richie asked.
“Controlling who gets close to you.”
David groaned. “Oh no! Don’t you know you never give a control freak even a little bit of power? They turn into Jon!”
“See?” Jon looked around the group. “Scarecrow Syndrome.”
An hour later they headed up to their room. As the door closed behind them Tori grabbed Richie’s hand and towed him into the bedroom. He smiled at the determined glint in her eyes. Apparently she was still in control mode. Curious as to what she had planned, he kept quiet and followed her lead. She stopped beside the bed and turned to face him. She slid her hands up his chest, gripped the sides of his shirt with both hands and with one firm jerk, ripped it open.
“I really liked that shirt you know.”
She shrugged. “So buy a new one.”
He chuckled. “Still feeling feisty are we?”
“Just reinforcing my claim.”
Having dispensed with his shirt, she turned her attention to his pants. These she opened much more carefully. He smirked. Seeing it she smiled.
“Don’t want to damage the goods.”
She turned him so that his back was to the bed, pushed his pants and underwear over his hips and nudged him to sit while she knelt and removed them completely along with his boots and socks. “Lie down for me.”
He moved over on the bed, stretched out and lacing his fingers together behind his head settled back and waited to see what she would do next.
Tori slowly undressed, her eyes surveying the prize laid out in front of her, and debated how she wanted to proceed. Naked, she climbed on the bed and smiled at what she saw. “So what was it that you found stimulating this time? Watching me undress or anticipating what I’m going to do?”
Chuckling she straddled his waist, settling carefully on him. When he would have moved his hands to reach for her she shook her head. “Leave them there.” He hesitated, then obeyed.
Balancing herself with her hands on his chest she leaned forward to kiss him. When his mouth opened under hers she accepted his invitation, sending her tongue to explore and taste and tangle with his. By the time she finally broke the kiss, they were both breathing heavily.
Turning her attention to his chest she stroked and kneaded the firm muscles and teased the hard kernels of his nipples. Then she brought her mouth into play, kissing and licking and sucking with the odd bite purposely thrown in, making sure not an inch of skin was missed. She spent long minutes on his nipples, flicking them with her tongue before suckling hard.
His back arched slightly and a groan was dragged from his throat. The muscles in his arms tensed as he fought to remain passive and let her have her way.
Shifting back slightly, she continued her torture over his hard abs to his waist, swirling the tip of her tongue around his navel. She shifted back even more until she was straddling his thighs. Sitting up she contemplated her next move, running one finger up the underside of his now achingly hard shaft. She glanced at his face and smiled into the hot dark eyes that met hers. She watched beads of sweat gather on his upper lip and his adam’s apple bob as he swallowed heavily. She closed her hand around him, stroked from base to tip, squeezed the tip gently and watched the tendons in his neck stand out and his eyes go black as he moaned.
Bending down she shook her hair to one side and dragged it over his ultra sensitive flesh, chuckling when his hips bucked in response.
“Jesus baby, you’re killing me!” His voice was a husky rasp that scraped over her nerve endings making her shiver.
“Mmmm.” She murmured tracing his length with her tongue. Over and over she licked him, wetting the entire surface and running the tip under the ridge. Holding him upright with one hand she cupped his sac with the other and took the swollen tip into her mouth. She settled into a slow rhythm, taking him as deep as she could, then backing off, suckling lightly. Periodically she would lift higher and carefully scrape her teeth across the tip or tease the slit with her tongue.
“Oh GOD! Baby, please!” His voice was down to a whisper. Glancing up she gloried in the sight. His passion black eyes were glazed, his face was flushed and covered in a film of sweat and the muscles in his arms stood out as he fought his release.
“Tell me what you want babe.” She whispered as well.
“You. I want to be inside you. I want to feel your hot flesh squeezing me tight.”
Her lower body melted at his words and she couldn’t resist any longer. Moving up she guided him with one hand and slowly impaled herself. When she was fully seated she flexed her internal muscles and squeezed him, and got the throttled shout she was looking for. “Like that?”
He couldn’t speak, could only nod, his eyes caressing her body. His hips bucked against her. She obliged and started to rock her hips. She rode him slowly. Watching his eyes move over her body, she decided to ramp up his tension a notch, and used her own hands to stroke her skin just like he would if she hadn’t figuratively tied them. She circled, kneaded and massaged her breasts even pulling on her nipples like he often did, then slid down her stomach and over her hips. He groaned.
“Tori, please baby, now!”
Grinning, she picked up her speed. Now she rode him hard and fast, his hips lifting to augment the rhythm. Feeling her climax approaching she locked her eyes on his and squeezed him tight. With a shout he exploded. When she felt his warmth flooding her she bent forward and sank her teeth into the hard tendons in his neck and followed him into ecstasy. Licking the marks she had purposely left she growled in his ear. “You’re mine!”
He chuckled breathlessly. “Baby there was never any doubt.”