Monday, November 24, 2008

Chapter 145

The closer their departure date got the more time Tori spent in the studio. The thought of actually playing on stage in front of thousands of people made her stomach clench and her palms sweat. Richie kept telling her to take it easy, that she sounded great, and that her hands were not ready for that kind of intense practice. She ignored him.

She did take time out for the promised lunch with Gail though. Walking into the hole in the wall Italian restaurant, Tori looked around until she spotted Gail sitting at a table in the corner.

“Hi.” She greeted her with a hug.

“Hello yourself. I wasn’t sure what kind of food you liked and took a chance with this place. I hope you like Italian.”

Tori snorted. “What do you think?”

Gail grinned. “I think you love it. It’s in the blood.”

Tori laughed. “Probably.”

“So how do you like California so far? Are you ready to become Hollywood’s latest darling?” Gail asked after the waitress left with their order.

Tori laughed. “Well, I haven’t seen a lot of California yet aside from San Diego and Anaheim, but I like it so far. The weather’s fantastic. As long as the earthquakes hold off, I’ll be fine. As for Hollywood, I don’t think it’s going to be an issue. Unless I’m out with Richie, I don’t imagine I’ll even rate a blip on their radar.”

Gail snorted. “You’re joking, right? Haven’t you noticed people in here looking at you? This town is carnivorous and you’re fresh meat.”

She had, but figured it was because she was with Gail. “There’s nothing about me to garner their interest.”

“Really. Let’s see. Adopted small town girl gets contacted by her birth family and donates a kidney to save her niece’s life. It turns out that the girl’s half brother is a famous rock star, and the girl has inherited the same music gene. She starts performing with her brother’s band, and falls in love with his lead guitarist and best friend. Then add a few dramatic scenes with the ex-wife and former girlfriend…, there’s nothing there to interest Hollywood.” She rolled her eyes. “It sounds like something straight out of a movie plot line. Actually it’s better than anything that’s been written here in quite a while.”

“I fell in love with him before I started performing with them. Are you trying to pitch me Gail?”

She laughed. “No, but if you ever consider putting your story on film, promise me you’ll give me the first run at it. I’ll bet we could get Soderberg to direct it.”

“With my luck it would be Wes Craven or M. Night Shamalan.”

“It’s hasn’t really been a horror story has it?”

“No, but it hasn’t exactly been a fairy tale either. Although there has been a wicked witch or two.”

“Mmmm. Don’t turn around, but here comes one now.”

“Hi Gail, how are you?”

“Good Heather, and you?”

“Good.” She turned to Tori. “Hi Tori.”

“Hi. Have a good trip?”

“Very good thanks. I’m glad I ran into you. When are you leaving for Europe?”

“We fly to Jersey next Tuesday, then to Germany on Wednesday.”

“If you’ll take Ava to school Tuesday morning, I’ll pick her up after.”

Tori nodded. “Sounds good.” She hesitated. “Are you going to let her join us when the other kids come out?”

Heather shrugged. “I don’t know yet. I’ll have to see what’s happening then. Has Jon decided when they’re to go yet?”

“No. He was checking with Dorothea about any plans the kids had. I’m thinking that it’ll be the last week in June, but I haven’t heard for sure yet.” She debated how far to push. “Steph and the boys would really like to see her.”

Heather shrugged again. “We’ll see. Oh, there’s my lunch date. I’d better go. Nice to see you Gail. See you later Tori.”


“See you.”

Gail raised a brow at Tori. “When did you two start getting along?”

Tori’s lips twisted wryly. “I think when she realized that my presence in Richie’s life wasn’t going to be temporary. Of course the fact that Ava likes me and that gives Heather the freedom to come and go as she pleases without looking like a neglectful mother when we’re home helped.”

“Yeah, it would. She’s really trolling for a movie role. She needs all the good will she can get. Hollywood’s a small town. People talk. The way she handled the whole divorce hurt her. Richie’s well liked. Blaming him and basically accusing him of infidelity and abuse didn’t sit well with anyone except the rags. It really wasn’t a smart move on her part.”

Tori nodded. “She obviously didn’t think about the thousands of loyal Jovi fans whose support she lost with her actions either.”

“Like I said, not real smart.”

The waitress arrived with their food and they changed the subject.

“Thank you for taking Kate with you to Disneyland. She had a great time.” She smirked. “All she talked about for days was how funny Richie was, and how you two must be in love because you hugged and kissed a lot – when you weren’t hugging Tigger.”

Tori blushed and laughed. “I’m glad she enjoyed herself. She’s a great kid. And yeah….I’m usually not a big fan of PDA’s but with Richie…..” She trailed of and shrugged. “Anyway, I was happy to have her along. She and Ava get along so well, and I know Ava gets lonely sometimes. Once the tour’s over and we’re home on a more regular basis, maybe we can arrange for them to spend more time together.”

“I know Kate would like that.”

The conversation turned to Gail’s latest project and her husband’s latest masterpiece, as well as insider gossip on who was currently in favour and who was on the outs. When the bill came, Tori pulled out her wallet, but Gail stopped her. “This one’s on me. You can get the next one.”

“You sure?” Gail nodded. “Okay, well, thanks then.”

They walked outside together, hugged goodbye and parted, promising to get together again after the tour.

Back at the house Richie was sitting by the pool. “Get caught up on all the gossip?”

“Yeah. There’s more drama around here going on behind the scenes than there is in them, and more politics than in Washington!”

He nodded. “Yeah. It’s hard to keep up with who’s doing what to who and with who. I just try to stay on the fringes and not get caught in the crossfire.” He grimaced. “If I can.”

“That reminds me. Don’t bother calling Heather with our travel plans. I ran into her at lunch today.”

“Did you ask her about Ava joining us with the rest of the families?”

She hesitated. “Yeah. She said to let her know which week it was and she’d see.”

He sighed. “At least it wasn’t a flat out no.”

Tori reached out to squeeze his hand. “Let’s hope that Jack comes up with something he wants her to do that week.”

Chapter 146

The Saturday before they were to leave Richie walked into the living room and saw Ava colouring in a book and watching cartoons.

“Where’s Tori?”

Ava pointed down the hall. “In the studio. Where else?”

With a frown he stalked out of the room, heading for the studio. He stood in the doorway and listened to her play. She really had the song down. Even Jon would be impressed. When she came to the end, she flexed her fingers and began again. Shaking his head he walked up and took the guitar out of her hands.

“Enough angel. It’s perfect. Leave it alone. It’s a beautiful day and our last weekend at home before we hit the road again. We should be spending it together.”


“No buts. You’ve been holed up in here for the better part of the last week. You need a break.”

“I need to be good enough to not embarrass you or Jon.”

“You are.” He grabbed her hand and tugged her towards the door. Hearing her breath hiss through her teeth, he glanced back at her. When she winced and tried to pull her hand from his he glanced at it…..and swore. “Dammit Tori!”

He shifted his grip to her wrist, dragged her into the living room and pushed her down on the couch. “Stay there!” He stomped off into the kitchen.

Ava looked at Tori, her eyes wide. “Uh oh, what’d you do?”

Tori showed her the blisters on the fingers of her left hand. Some were broken. One was bleeding. “I guess I overdid it.”

Ava grimaced. “Ouch!”

Richie returned with a bowl of ice water. Setting it in her lap he grabbed her wrist and thrust her hand into the bowl. “Leave it there!” And he stomped off again, returning with a towel and a first aid kit.

Sitting beside her, he spread the towel over his lap, lifted her hand out of the bowl and laid it on the towel. He dried her hand, gently blotting the tips of her fingers. “I told you it was too much, that your fingers weren’t ready, but did you listen to me? Nooo. After all, what do I know? I’ve only played the damn thing for 40 fricking years. Now look what you’ve done!” Picking up a tube he spread the soothing ointment over her damaged skin, then wrapped each finger in a bandage, his gentle touch in sharp contrast to the angry tone of his voice.

“Rich, stop scolding me like a disobedient child!”

“Then stop acting like one! Ava listens to me better than you do! Damn stubborn woman!” He paused. “And you’re still pushing too hard on the frets.”

She snorted. “No kidding.” She raised her hand and examined his work. “Are you finished?” He nodded curtly. “Then I’m going shopping.”

“What for?”

“Stage clothes.”

“Ooh, can I come?” Ava asked. She’d watched the whole scene quietly.

“Sure Bean. Us ‘children’ need to stick together.” She knew he’d been right and she should have listened, but that didn’t mean she appreciated the scolding.

Richie snorted. “Baby girl, maybe you can remind her that she’s supposed to listen to the teacher, not ignore him!”

Ava giggled as Tori stuck her tongue out at him and rose to grab her purse and car keys.

In the car, Ava was very quiet. Normally she chattered all the way to wherever they were going, so Tori knew that something was up.

“You’re awful quiet. What’s wrong Bean?”

There was silence for a long minute. “Are you and Daddy going to break up?”

Tori was stunned. She frowned, trying to think what would have made Ava ask that. “You mean because of this?” She raised her bandaged hand.

“He was angry. You left.”

“Oh honey, that was just…..I don’t really know how to describe it. Daddy was mad because I didn’t listen to him and I ended up hurting myself. I knew he was right, but didn’t like him scolding me, and didn’t want to hear it anymore, so I left. We’re not seriously angry with each other, just…annoyed. We’re not going to break up.”

Ava didn’t look convinced. Tori debated how to explain it to her.

“Sweetie, all couples argue from time to time. It’s how they argue and how they settle it that shows how serious the argument is and how strong the relationship is. If you noticed today, we didn’t yell at each other, and we didn’t say mean things to hurt each other. That tells you it wasn’t a serious argument. The fact that we joked with each other at the end tells you that the relationship is still strong.”

“But you left.”

“Yes. The discussion was finished. We both knew he was right, but I wasn’t ready to admit it.” She paused. “You know how you feel when you get in trouble and you know you’re wrong?” Ava nodded. “Well that’s how I felt and I just wanted to get away for a little bit. Daddy knew that and didn’t try to stop me. Do you understand?”

Ava frowned, but nodded slowly. “I think so. Mommy and Daddy yelled a lot. She called him nasty names and would yell at him to come back if he tried to walk away.”

Tori sighed. “I’m sorry you had to see that Bean. Sometimes when people are unhappy they lash out at the people closest to them so that they’re not the only ones unhappy. It’s not nice, but it happens.”

“But why would you want the people you love to be unhappy?”

“Sweetie, if you ever figure that out, let me know.”

They cruised a few shops, and picked up a couple stage outfits for Tori. In one store, while Tori was flipping through a rack of pants, Ava glanced around and frowned.

“Tori, this is the men’s section.”

“I know. I’m looking for some new pants for Daddy. Maybe if we find him some cool new ones, he’ll quit wearing those old purple ones so much.”

Ava laughed. “You can try, but I doubt it’ll work. He really likes purple.”

“I know, but I’m tired of it. Almost everything he wears on stage is black or purple.”

“That’s because that’s all he can see well….except jeans.”

Tori’s brows rose. She hadn’t thought his colour blindness was that extensive. Of course considering who he would have to rely on to tell him if something matched or clashed, it was no wonder he stuck to what was safe. “Well then he’s just going to have to learn to trust me.” She pulled out a pair of lace up butter soft chocolate brown leather pants.

“Oooh, those are nice. They’re the same colour as Daddy’s eyes.”

“Yes they are, aren’t they.” She turned to the shirt racks and started riffling. She was debating between two or three. “Bean, what do you think?”

Ava tilted her head and considered. “It needs a jacket.” She wandered over to the racks hanging on the wall. “Like this one.”

Tori glanced to where she was pointing and had to admit the girl had good taste. “That’s perfect.” The long jacket was subtly patterned in various shades of brown. She found two shirts that matched the shades in the jacket to complete the outfit. Laying everything on the counter she looked at it critically. “What do you think Bean? Is that an outfit worthy of a rock star?” She glanced at the clerk who nodded.

“It looks great. You should shop for Uncle David. He wears the ugliest stuff on stage.”

Tori chuckled. “I know. We’re working on that.”

When they arrived back at the house, Tori carried her bags into the living room and Ava ran to find her father.

“Daddy, we’re back! Come see what we got!”

“Judging by your excitement level, it must be pretty good.” Richie chuckled as he walked in from the kitchen, a coke in one hand and a cookie in the other. “We’re almost out of cookies.”

“Again? Jeez Rich how many have you had today?” She’d just made a batch less than two days ago.

He shrugged. “Didn’t count.”

Shaking her head she held a bag out to him. “Here.”

“What’s this?” Setting down his coke he took it from her.

“A peace offering.” Her lips twisted. “They didn’t have any apples.”

He grinned and reached into the bag. Whatever he was going to say was forgotten as he pulled out the jacket, which he immediately put on. Tori let out a relieved breath that it fit. The pants came next.

“Hold them up against you. I hope they’re long enough.”

He did, and ran his hand over them several times. “These are really soft.”

“Will they be comfortable on stage?”

He nodded. “Should be.”

She picked up one of the shirts and held it up to his chest. The combination of shirt and jacket really made his eyes pop. She nodded in satisfaction. “The colours really suit you.” He didn’t say anything. She frowned, then smirked. “It’s shades of brown, Rich.”

He glanced at her. “I know.”

“I wasn’t sure you would recognize it. After all it isn’t black or purple.”

He started to flip her off, then remembered that Ava was in the room. She saw and grinned.

“Wow, Daddy, that looks really good on you! Do you need Tori to label it so that you know it goes together?”

Tori choked back a laugh as Richie scowled at his daughter. “Hey! This is me here, not Uncle David!” Ava giggled.

“All kidding aside, do you like it?” Tori asked raising her bandaged hand to smooth the jacket over his shoulder.

“Very much. Thank you.” He leaned down to kiss her. “But you still have to be punished for disobeying the teacher.”

Chapter 147

Throughout the rest of the afternoon, dinner and the card game they played after, Tori was openly affectionate with Richie. While he was getting used to it, and in fact loved it, something about her actions seemed……determined… purposeful. When Ava ran to put the cards away and pick out a movie, and Tori rose to go make popcorn, Richie grabbed her hand. “Trying to suck up?”

She knew what he was referring to. “No, trying to reassure her that we’re not going to break up.”

His brows rose in surprise. “Why would she think….oh, because of earlier?” She nodded and gave him a quick run down of their conversation in the car. He sighed. “Thank you for being there for her and explaining the difference. I tried not to fight in front of her, but….”

She gave his hand a quick squeeze. “She’s alright. It’s just hard to understand at that age. We just need to be aware, when she’s around, of the impression our words and tone might give her.”

He nodded and handed her the popcorn bowls. “Take these in, I’ll bring the drinks.”

She walked into the living room and handed a bowl to Ava in her nest of blankets and pillows on the floor, and took a seat at the end of the couch. Richie came in handed a glass to Ava and set theirs on the coffee table. Taking the bowl from her, he flopped down on the couch and laid his head in her lap.

She smirked. “Do you want a pillow?”

She picked one up and he lifted his head so that she could slide it underneath. “Thanks. Okay baby girl, you can start the movie.”

When the popcorn was gone, he set the bowl on the table, turned on his side and slid his arm under the pillow and around her legs. She rubbed his back absently. He shifted and she sucked in a breath as she felt his hand slide up between her legs. She was wearing loose shorts and he managed to find his way inside the legs to stroke the soft skin of her upper inner thigh. Unable to suppress the tingling shiver that coursed through her at his touch, she clamped her thighs together. He chuckled softly and pushed at them.

“Richie!” She murmured, warning clear in her tone. He ignored her. In defence, she slipped her hand under his shirt and scraped her nails over the sensitive area on his lower back.

He stiffened, sighed, pulled his hand away, and settled for stroking her outer thigh and knee. “Brat!”

When the movie was over, Richie tucked Ava into bed while Tori cleaned up their bowls and glasses. They settled back on the couch and Richie grabbed the remote and started flipping through channels looking for something decent to watch. Out of the corner of his eye he saw her trying to peek under the bandages on her fingers.

“Leave them alone.” He growled. “I swear, you’re worse than a little kid!”

Dropping her hand to her lap she stuck her tongue out at him. “Bully!”

“Brat!” He grabbed her shoulders and pulled her face down over his lap. His hand rose and descended with a satisfying smack. “That’s for not listening to your teacher.” His hand rose and fell again. “That’s for being stubborn and hurting yourself.”

“Ow! Alright, alright! I’m sorry that I didn’t listen to you. You were right. I was wrong. I promise that from now on I’ll listen to you when it comes to the guitar.”

“Only when it comes to the guitar?”

“Sorry babe, but you’ll never convince me that you know more about keyboards than I do…..and as for other aspects of our lives…we’ll take it on a case by case basis.”

He sighed and chuckled. “Well, I had to try.” He turned her over to cradle her in his lap. A little while later, he raised her face to his to drop a kiss on her lips. The gleam in his eye warned her he was up to something. “Come on angel, time to finish your punishment.”

She frowned. “I thought we were done with that.”

“Oh, no. That was just the beginning.” Lifting her to her feet, he rose, gripped her hand and towed her upstairs. In their bedroom he gave her a gentle push towards the bathroom. “Go get ready for bed.”

She washed her face and brushed her teeth with trembling hands and tried to anticipate what he had in mind. As various scenarios ran through her mind, butterflies took flight in her stomach and her pulse kicked up a few notches. After debating for several moments, she pulled her nightshirt on, sure it wouldn’t stay on long, but she thought walking out naked would make her look too eager.

He’d turned down the bed and removed his shirt, but had left his pants on. Hearing her, he turned and ran his gaze over her. He motioned her towards the bed. Halting her beside it, he plucked at her shirt. “Take it off.” When she complied he urged her to lie on her back on the bed. He moved to his side of the bed, reached into the drawer of the side table and pulled something out. Climbing on the bed, he straddled her and reached for her injured hand. “We can’t have you hurting yourself even more.”

The butterflies did cartwheels as she watched him tie a scarf around her wrist. When he grasped her other hand, raised both of them over her head and tied them to the headboard, she shivered in anticipation as her adrenaline flow increased.

Rising, he stood beside the bed and let his gaze roam over her body. With a slow grin, he turned towards the door.

“Where are you going?” Surely he wouldn’t leave her staked out like this alone for long!

“To get a snack.”

Taking deep breaths she tried to calm down and not let her imagination run away with her. It didn’t work. It seemed like an hour before he returned although she knew it was only minutes. He was carrying a tray, but he held it high so that she couldn’t see what was on it. Sitting beside her he placed the tray on his other side so she still couldn’t see it. Reaching out with one hand he stroked her torso, pausing for long minutes over her breasts, teasing the nipples until they stood up for him, smiling when her bach arched in reflex. He leaned over to lightly touch his lips to hers, then traced her lips with the tip of his tongue. “Snack time.” He murmured.

Sitting up he turned towards the tray.

Sitting up he turned towards the tray. When he turned back he had a bowl in his hand. She raised her head trying to see what was in it. He scooped up a fingerful of the white fluffy substance and brought it to her lips. She sniffed it, then opened her mouth and licked and sucked the whip cream off his finger. Dipping his finger in the bowl again he dropped globs on the tips of her breasts causing her to gasp as the cool mounds made her flesh harden even more. He smirked and shifted his attention down her body. Nudging her thighs apart he opened her soft folds with one hand and with the other smeared cream over her sensitive flesh, filling every nook and crevice. She shivered and licked her lips, anticipation running rampant through her, her hips arching towards him. He shook his head. “Not yet.”

He set the bowl down on the tray and picked up another one. This one had a spoon in it. Glancing over her he debated for a moment, then scooped up a spoonful of a dark, slightly running substance and drizzled it into her navel until it overflowed just a little. “Don’t move.” He lifted the spoon to her mouth and let her take a lick of the chocolate sauce.

“Mmmmm.” She licked her lips.

With a wink he replaced the bowl on the tray and picked up the last one. Lounging beside her, he plucked a ripe strawberry from the bowl, dipped it into the chocolate in her navel, then the whip cream adorning a breast and took a bite. She swallowed heavily as she watched the fruit disappear behind his lips. He watched her watch him. “Want one?”

She nodded. “Please.” He chose a berry, prepared it, and held it to her lips. She took a bite and had to try to catch the juice with her tongue. She wasn’t completely successful.

“Tsk,tsk,tsk.” He leaned forward and licked and sucked the liquid that had escaped and was running down her cheeks. And so it went, one for him, then one for her. “So what do you want to do tomorrow? Should we go to Laguna again, or just stay here?” He dipped another berry into the chocolate.

She stared at him. He couldn’t seriously expect her to carry on a normal conversation while he casually dipped strawberries into various parts of her body! “Whatever you want.” She ended on a soft moan as, the cream gone from her breasts, he switched to the other source close by.

“Maybe we should just stay here. Then we can ….snack…whenever we feel like it.” He waggled his brows. She chuckled.

When the berries were gone, he set the tray on the floor. “Hmmm. You need some cleaning up.” He started with her breasts, licking and suckling first one, then the other until all residue of the cream was gone. Then he kissed his way down to her navel, circling and nibbling before dipping the tip of his tongue in the sensitive indentation to remove all traces of chocolate. She shivered at the raspy feel of his tongue stroking her skin. She closed her eyes and braced herself when he nudged her legs further apart and settled between to address the last of the whip cream. Here he took his time, licking slowly up one side and down the other, removing the cream from her outer folds. He held back those folds with his fingers to reach the inner cream.

She whimpered and uttered little mewling cries as he lapped at her, paying special attention to her clit. She wrapped her hands around the spindles of the head board as she felt her climax approach. Her hips moved trying to get him to move faster. “Richie, please!”

He glanced up at her and grinned. The muscles stood out in her biceps as she tightened her grip. Her eyes were squeezed shut, her head thrown back. Taking the nub between his teeth, he flicked it with his tongue, then sucked, hard and fast. She stifled a scream as she shattered. He didn’t let her catch her breath. Using both fingers and tongue he continued to remove cream from her pulsing flesh. He thrust his tongue deep inside her and wiggled it, then slid two fingers to stroke even deeper. She came twice more in quick succession. Sitting up he watched her body relax, her chest heaving as she tried to suck in oxygen, her hands finally giving up their grip on the head board.

She opened her eyes, the blue almost completely invisible around the dilated pupils. She was trembling in the aftermath of such intense sensations…but it still wasn’t enough. It didn’t feel…complete. She let her gaze roam over him, settling on his massive erection. She licked her lips.

He saw where her gaze had stopped and smirked. “Still hungry?” His voice was more of a growl.

“Mmmmhmmm.” She purred and nodded.

He reached down to the tray on the floor for chocolate sauce and whip cream, decorating the tip of his throbbing shaft. Rising up on his knees he moved to straddle her chest, and with one hand guided himself to her mouth. “Want a taste?”

She opened her mouth eagerly, her tongue coming out to lick a path across the tip, scooping up whip cream. Groaning, he eased deeper. For several minutes he held still as she licked and sucked the sweetness from his ultra sensitive skin. With a shudder, he reached above her to grip the top of the head board and started to move, watching his hardness slid in and out, feeling the suction of her mouth. Finally, he couldn’t take anymore. “Enough.” He tried to withdraw, but she closed her teeth very carefully on him and just sucked harder. “Baby stop!”

She glanced up at him, her eyes sparkling. His were glazed, sweat beading on his upper lip and forehead. “Mmmmm.” She shook her head.

He moaned and closed his eyes for a moment. Opening them he glanced down at her. Reaching out he pinched her nose closed forcing her to open her mouth wider to breathe, allowing him to withdraw. She pouted. “I wasn’t finished.”

“You want it?” He growled.

“Yes.” She licked her lips again, but he shook his head.

“Not that way. Not tonight.”

He shifted back, slid his hands under her knees and bent her legs up and back resting them on his elbows. Settling in between, he stretched out over her, positioned himself, gripped her hips with both hands and thrust deep, burying himself to the hilt. She cried out at his sudden entry. Holding her still he flexed his hips and ground into her in a circular motion.

“Mmmm, God Richie! More, baby please!” She moaned.

At her plea he switched to a thrusting motion, reaching deeper and deeper.

“Harder Rich!”

He raised her legs higher and pounded into her, her gasping cries echoing in his ears.

“God baby, you feel so good, so tight. Like hot, moist velvet. I can never get enough of you.” His voice rasped in her ear. He could feel her tightening around him. “That’s it baby. Come for me. Let me feel you squeeze me tight.”

“Oh, oh, oh God, yes, Richie! Mmmm, right there, yes, yes, oh, ooh, oh RICHIE!” She shattered, her walls clamped down like a vice around the hard flesh imbedded within her.

“Yes, Tori!” With a shout he broke and flooded her with his warmth, collapsing on top of her.

It was several minutes before either one of them could move. Finally, she nudged him. “Untie me please.”

He immediately reached up to undo the scarf. “I’m sorry angel. Are you okay?”

She nodded. “My arms are a little stiff, but other than that, I’m just wonderful.” She glanced around. “Definitely going to need to change the sheets though.”

He chuckled and rolled off her onto his back, pulling her into his arms. “So have you learned your lesson?”

She folded her hands on his chest and rested her chin on them so that she could look at him and grinned. “Maybe. But just wait until I get to pick your punishment.”

“What makes you so sure I’m going to deserve one?”

She rolled her eyes. “Because I know you babe. Five weeks on the road with Shirley without a break….it’ll be sooner rather than later.”

He chuckled. “But you like it when I’m naughty.”

She grinned. “Just gives me more opportunity to mete out punishment.” She yawned.

“Get some sleep angel. You’ve had an…..exhausting day.”

She reached up to kiss him. “Night Rich. I love you.”

“Night angel. I love you too.”

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This is my nice little story turned epic with Richie in the starring role - although Jon plays a large part.