Gasping, Tori jumped to her feet. “I’m sorry. I know I shouldn’t be in here. I didn’t touch anything other than the piano.” She started walking towards the door.
Richie stopped her with a hand on her arm. “Don’t go.” He’d been watching Jon’s face and he recognized the look in his eye.
“But….” She began.
Jon interrupted her. “Can you do other songs, or just that one?” There was a strange note in his voice.
Tori blushed and smiled a little sheepishly. “I can sing pretty much the whole catalogue and can play about half of it.”
“Do you play any other instruments?” Richie asked.
“Clarinet, flute, sax.” She answered.
“Why didn’t you tell anyone you were a musician?” Richie felt oddly hurt that she hadn’t shared her talent with him before now.
“Because compared to you guys, I’m not. I just dabble.” She answered. Glancing at Jon, she waited for his reaction.
He actually allowed a wry smile to twist his lips. “Well I guess it was bound to show up somewhere besides me. Tony and Matt are basically tone deaf.” He looked at her speculatively for a moment. “Let’s try something.”
Grabbing a guitar he pulled up a stool and sat. Checking the tuning, he plucked out a familiar intro. Grinning, Richie nodded and joined in. Giving Tori a challenging look Jon began to sing.
I spent twenty years trying to get out of this place
I was looking for something I couldn’t replace
I was running away from the only thing I’ve ever known
Both men looked at her expectantly. Stomach fluttering she took a deep breath and answered the challenge.
Like a blind dog without a bone
I was a gypsy lost in the twilight zone
I hijacked a rainbow and crashed into a pot of gold
Jon nodded in encouragement.
I’ve been there, done that, I ain’t looking back on the seeds I’ve sown
Saving dimes spending too much time on the telephone
Who says you can’t go home….
When they finished the song Richie looked stunned. “Wow!”
Even Jon was impressed. “That sounded pretty good.”
“Pretty good!” Richie snorted. “Your mind isn’t the only thing that’s not working right. You should record that and listen to the play back. Your voices blend beautifully.”
“Rich, would you call the guys please?” Jon asked then turned to Tori. “The Kidney Foundation has asked us to play at a fundraiser they’re holding next month. I would like you to join us.”
She looked at him for a long moment. “Thanks for the offer, but I’m going home tomorrow.”
“Yeah, about that.” Jon stood up and started to pace. “I owe you a big apology. I have treated you badly right from the beginning, I know that. I think I blamed you for what my father did, but more than that your existence symbolizes what can happen even in the best of marriages. I’ll be honest, it could have happened to me. And I was trying to protect my mother from the pain I imagined she was feeling when she looked at you.” He smiled ruefully. “Little did I know that it wasn’t pain that you made her feel. There was regret, yes, not that you were born, but that you weren’t hers. I jumped to conclusions about you and never gave you a chance. And I never should have sicced that PI on you. You were right. I was being arrogant, paranoid and cruel for no reason. I should have talked to you. I should have realized by the reactions of my family members to you that you weren’t the evil conniving con artist that I was trying to make you out to be. I’ve been an asshole to you, and I know I’ve hurt you and I’m sorry. You’re my sister and I should have taken the time to get to know you. I’d still like to if you’d let me.” He stopped in front of her, licked his lips nervously and winced. “Tori? Will you let me? Will you stay?”
Standing, she stepped closer to him, searching his eyes for long moments. “My mother thinks that you and I are a lot more alike than either one of us would like to admit. I don’t know if she’s right, but I’d like to find out. I’d like to know if the reason – or at least part of the reason that I feel such an affinity to your music is because of some genetic connection.”
Smiling, he opened his arms. “Welcome to the family, sis.”
Stepping closer she accepted his hug and returned it. When he released her she took a step back. “Now, will you tell me what happened to your lip?” She could see that it was swollen and there was dried blood surrounding a cut.
He grimaced. “Ask your boyfriend.”
“He needed his attitude adjusted, so I decided to help him out.” Richie explained walking up to them.
“You hit him?” Tori asked him incredulously.
Richie nodded. “He’s been hurting you for weeks. He deserved to share the pain.”
“Dammit Richie! I told you I didn’t want to come between the two of you and now you’ve actually come to blows because of me!” She glared at him, obviously upset.
“Hey, don’t blame him. I deserved it.” Jon jumped in. “If he hadn’t done it I think my wife or my – our - father would have.” When she didn’t look convinced, he lifted her chin with a fingertip. “Tori, seriously, it’s ok. I think our friendship can withstand a well deserved punch or two.”
Sighing, she turned to Richie. When she frowned he looked down and adjusted the bracelet on his wrist, then raised his gaze to hers and crooked a brow. Seeing it, she had to laugh – knight in shining armor indeed! “What am I going to do with you?”
“Anything you want, angel, anything at all.” He replied with a grin.
“I don’t want to hear this!” Jon covered his ears and walked back to pick up his guitar. “Do you think you could stop flirting with my sister long enough to get some work done? We’ve got a lot to do if we’re going to be ready for that fundraiser. Tori, grab a stool and help us pick out which songs you’re going to sing with us.”
Hanging up the phone David turned to the people still gathered in the den and grinned. “That was Richie. Jon wants us” He nodded at Tico, “to join them in the studio.”
“Where’s Tori?” Carol asked concerned.
“With them. Apparently Jon’s not the only Bongiovi with musical talent. It seems that Jon’s finally come to his senses, and the hatchet has been buried – and not in Jon’s thick skull like I would have done. He wants her to sing with us at the Kidney Foundation fundraiser – so I guess that means she’s staying and he wants to start working on which songs and how to arrange them.” David explained.
“Hmphf. Guess Richie knocked some sense into him – literally.” Tico commented. “About time too. Ok, let’s go. I want to hear Tori sing. She must be good if Jon’s wants to include her.”
“Figures.” Tony grumbled.
“What?” Matt asked.
“That she’d get the music gene. Now she’s the only girl AND has the talent!” Tony explained.
“Look at it this way Tony, you’re not the middle child anymore.” His mother pointed out.
Tony just frowned. Matt laughed. “Aw Mom, you just took away his favorite excuse for griping!”
“Well, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m going out to the studio. I want to see this for myself!” John announced as he rose from his chair.
“I’ll go with you. Just let me run upstairs and tell Steph and Jesse where we’ll be.” Dorothea said.
The entire group trooped across the lawn to the studio.
When David and Tico walked into the studio they found Jon and Richie hunched over guitars and Tori seated at the piano, frowning in concentration.
“Hey boss, we’re here, what’s up? Richie hog tying you with piano wire and beating you with drumsticks?” David quipped.
“Naw, I did think about sticking his head in the bass drum and banging on it for awhile though.” Richie answered.
“High hat works better.” Tico offered. “The ringing echoes in the ears longer.”
“Are you finished?” Jon pitched his voice to be heard over the laughter. “Can we get to work? Let’s try Broken. Tori, I’ll do the first verse you come in on the chorus and do the second verse.”
Tori nodded her understanding. “Do you want me to do harmony or melody on the chorus?” She slid off the piano bench moving out of David’s way. Richie pulled up a stool beside him for her.
“Let’s try it melody first, then we’ll do one with harmony and see what we’ve got.” Jon replied.
After the first run through David and Tico stared at her in disbelief. Richie and Jon just smiled.
“Darlin’ you’ve been holding out on us!” David complimented her.
“Thank you.” Tori smiled, and blushed.
“Nice job Tori. Now let’s try it again.” And Jon was off and running in full work mode, playing with chords and arrangements and getting Tori to try different harmonies. They were discussing the latest of these when the rest of the family arrived.
Tico saw them enter the room and walked over. “Come to check out the new addition?”
“Yeah. How’s it going?” Matt asked.
“She was a little nervous at first, but she’s settled right in. It’s a little creepy actually. She seems to know what Jon wants almost before he says it.” Tico said. “She’s good though. And they sound amazing together.”
“Hmmm.” Tony headed for the control room. Dorothea and Carol followed him, while the rest spread out around the room to listen.
After an hour Jon headed for the fridge to get a couple of bottles of water. Seeing Tony at the control panel he approached him. “What are you doing?”
“Recording this. You never know when it might be useful. I just wish I had a camera.” Tony replied.
Opening the water, Jon took a big swig and walked over to his mother and his wife. He put his arm around Dorothea’s shoulders, but she shrugged it off and stepped away from him. “What?”
She glared at him. “Tori might have let you off the hook, but I haven’t.”
“Aw, come on Dot. I’ve apologized and she’s accepted. I know I’ve been an ass. I’m sorry.” Jon cajoled. Dorothea didn’t answer. Sighing, he turned to Carol. “So what do you think?”
“About Tori’s singing or you being an ass?” She asked. “I think she has the voice of an angel, and I’m withholding my judgment on your apparent change of heart until I see how long it lasts.”
Throwing up his hands he headed back into the main room where the rest of his family were surrounding Tori offering their comments and opinions.
“Honey, that was incredible!” John remarked. “Why didn’t you tell us you had such talent?”
Tori smiled wryly. “Nobody asked. And considering this group, I wasn’t about to say ‘oh by the way, I sing and play too’. I’m not in the same league as these guys.” Taking the bottle of water Jon offered, she smiled her thanks.
“Don’t sell yourself short Tori, you’re really good.” Jon assured her.
“Coming from you that means a lot. Thanks.” She beamed.
It was after midnight, when Carol called a halt. “That’s it boys, rehearsal’s over. You may be able to go all night, but Tori needs to rest – and so do I. You can continue this tomorrow. John let’s go home. Dorothea, thanks for dinner. Richie, happy birthday and I’m relying on you to take care of Tori.”
Tori struggled not to laugh as everyone obeyed without argument. A general couldn’t have deployed her troops more efficiently. Feeling an arm slide around her waist and urge her off the stool she looked up to meet Richie’s warm gaze.
“Come on angel, it’s past your bedtime. You must be exhausted.” He let her go ahead of him through the door and down the stairs.
“I’m not tired – I’m exhilarated! That was fun!” She assured him. Walking arm in arm they headed for the guest house.
“Adrenaline.” He informed her. “When it wears off you’re going to feel like you’ve been run over by a truck.”
“Spoilsport!” She stuck her tongue out at him.
He laughed. “Don’t do that unless you mean it baby.”
“I always mean it. It’s you who keeps saying no.” She retorted. A plan began to form in her head.
“Didn’t you ever hear that anticipation is the best part?” He asked.
She glanced at him in disbelief. “Who are you trying to kid?”
He chuckled. “Myself. It’s helps my self control.”
Entering the guest house Tori shut the door behind them and locked it. Richie heard the sound and raised a brow at her. “Afraid someone’s going to try and break in?”
“No, I’m afraid someone’s going to try and break out.” She replied as she advanced towards him. Reaching him she twined her arms around his neck and pulled him down for a kiss, raising on tiptoe to meet him.
He responded to her kiss, but kept his hands on her hips. When she opened for him he sent his tongue exploring, tasting, savouring her flavour, groaning when her tongue tangled with his.
Purring in her throat she pressed closer against his hard body.
Breaking the kiss, he eased her back from him. “Baby, no. Not yet.”
Lowering back on her heels she frowned at him. “Richie, I’m fine!”
He shook his head. “It’s too soon. I’ll hurt you.”
Suddenly a thought occurred to her that had her stomach knotting. “You don’t want me.”
“WHAT? Don’t be ridiculous. Of course I want you!” He assured her.
“Not really or you wouldn’t keep putting me off.” She blinked back the tears, but he could see the wetness in her eyes.
Groaning, he crushed her against him, gripping her bottom and lifting her until their hips met. “Does that feel like I don’t want you?” He growled.
Sliding one arm around his neck, she reached down with the other to stroke him. She teased his lips with the tip of her tongue, then nibbled on his bottom lip. “Richie? Do you really want me?”
Moaning he tried to capture her mouth but she kept lifting her head. He gasped as she gripped him firmly. “God baby I want you so much I’m losing my mind!”
“Then Richie,..” He growled as he felt her opening his pants. Reaching inside she grasped his shaft tightly. “Stop telling me no!”
Surrendering, he carefully pulled her hand away, swept her up into his arms and carried her into the bedroom. Stopping beside the bed he stood her on her feet.
“Do you know what I like best about these sundresses of yours?” He asked, against her lips, pulling the clip out of her hair, letting it fall down around her shoulders.
“No, what?” She responded brushing his mouth with hers.
Grabbing handfuls of the skirt of her dress he stepped back and in one smooth movement lifted it up, over her head and off, dropping it on the floor. “They’re so easy to take off.”
Sliding her hands under the hem of his t-shirt she returned the favour. His already undone shorts just needed a push to leave his hips and hit the floor. He kicked them aside.
The heat in his eyes as he let his gaze roam over her melted the last of her doubts – and her knees. Lifting her again he gently laid her on the bed, pulling off her panties as he released her – she wasn’t wearing a bra. Shucking his own underwear he laid down beside her.
Leaning over her he smoothed a curl back from her face. “You’re so beautiful.” Bending, he covered her lips with his, moving them gently against her. Teasing with his tongue he sucked tenderly on her bottom lip.
Reaching up with one hand she threaded her fingers through his hair and tried to pull him closer, making a frustrated sound when she couldn’t budge him.
Chuckling, he applied a little more pressure, but still kept the kiss light. His hand slid along the side of her face, down her throat and over her collarbone. Caressing her breast with just his fingertips he smiled when her back arched trying to push her flesh more firmly into his touch. Cupping her firm globe he teased her nipple with his thumb, running it slowly back and forth.
Beneath him Tori felt her breath shorten as his touch set fire to her skin. The feel of his calloused fingertips sent shivers down her spine. Her fingers spasmed in his hair. She turned her head to gasp for breath and lost it when his mouth trace a path down her neck, pausing to suck on the sensitive spot beneath her ear.
Continuing his path he suck-kissed his way over her upper chest and the top curve of her breast. Reaching her nipple he laved it with his tongue and blew on it lightly before taking it into his mouth.
The tug of his mouth on her nipple sent sharp tingles of sensation straight to her core, opening and heating her even more. Moaning she ran her hands over his shoulders, raking him lightly with her nails, before fisting her hands in his hair and pulling him harder against her. “More,….. please Richie,….more”
Lifting his head despite her grip he shifted just enough to repeat his torture on her other breast. At the same time, he slid his hand over her stomach and down to nestle between her thighs, inwardly smiling in satisfaction when they opened at his touch. Stroking her gently he teased her petals apart. When her hips lifted towards him he probed her with one finger before sliding it deeply inside her. Feeling her grip his finger tightly, he groaned. She was going to kill him! Suckling harder on the kernel of her nipple, he began to slowly stroke his finger in and out.
Tori groaned at the feel of him inside her. Part of her was a little concerned about how she was going to take all of him, when she felt this full with just his finger. The rest of her didn’t care – she just wanted it, and soon! Her hips moved in counterpoint to his movements letting him sink even deeper. She gasped. “Richie, I need more,…I need you…Richie, please!
Glancing up at her he noted her glazed eyes and flushed skin. Without removing his finger he raised up a bit so that he could see her eyes better. “Baby, I need you to listen to me. Tori, look at me honey.” He waited until he was sure she was focused on what he was saying. “Baby, it’s been a long time for you. You’re really tight. If I took you now I could seriously hurt you. I can take care of it, but you need to relax and trust me. Do you understand?”
She nodded. “I trust you. Just don’t stop!”
He chuckled. “Baby, I couldn’t walk away now if my life depended on it.”
Capturing her mouth he continued working his hand between her thighs. When she was writhing beneath him he broke the kiss and moved down her body pausing to salute each breast in turn before moving on to kiss and lick his way over her stomach.
Spreading her thighs wider he settled in between. At first he just watched her as he caressed her with his fingers, gauging her reactions. Then, unable to help himself he bent to taste her.
At the first touch of his tongue Tori thought her heart would burst in her chest. Her hips thrust towards him silently asking for more as she cried out her pleasure. “Oh God Richie, YES!”
Settling in to feast he traced every fold and crevice of her womanhood, reveling in the cries he drew from her. Finally, he caught her tender nub of ultra-sensitive flesh between his teeth. Sucking hard he pushed her over the edge, hearing her scream echo in the room.
He gave her only a couple of minutes to catch her breath before he started again. Sliding a second finger alongside the first he gently stretched her, moving them slowly in and out, deeper and deeper.
“Richie?” There was a note of surprise in her voice. The sensations that had started to subside were revving up again, only this time they were stronger and more intense.
“Relax baby, just a little more.” His voice was a throaty growl. He was starting to shake with his own restrained need.
Picking up the speed of his movements he had to close his eyes against the sight of her undulating against his hand or he would lose control. Sensing she was near the brink again, he carefully added a third finger.
“RICHIEEE!” She screamed as the wave swamped her again.
Breathing like a racehorse he jumped up and grabbed his shorts, rapidly going through his pockets. “SHIT!”
Opening her eyes with some difficulty she saw him with his shorts in his hand and an apologetic look on his face.
“Ah, baby?” He began.
Understanding his predicament, but not having the strength to speak she just pointed at the night table drawer.
Opening it, he grinned when he saw the little box. Ripping it open, he pulled out a foil packet. “Thank God one of us was thinking tonight.”
Protection taken care of he rejoined her on the bed and set about stirring up the embers of her passion again. Stroking her body with long sweeps of his hands he kissed her deeply, mimicking with his tongue what he would do with his body very soon.
She could taste herself on him and was amazed at how erotic that was. After her recent climaxes her skin was super sensitive and her muscles were mush. She could do nothing but lay back and absorb the feeling of his hands on her body and hope she could survive the onslaught. Her nerve endings were sending sparks to her brain and her core with every sweep of his hands. It was beginning to scare her. “Richie, please, I can’t take anymore.”
Chuckling, he settled his hips between her thighs, testing her readiness with the tip of his shaft. Bracing himself with his arms so that he wouldn’t put his weight on her incision, he caught her eye. “Tell me if I hurt you.”
Swallowing hard, she didn’t look away from his eyes as she felt him slowly enter her. “Jesus!” She whispered. She’d never been filled so full. She wasn’t sure she could take him. He seemed to know when it became too much and he’d withdraw a bit and start again. The friction was too much and she started to shake.
“Baby? Am I hurting you?” He was watching her eyes for any sign of pain.
“No, it’s just…I…Oh my God!....RICHIE!!!” Her eyes widened in shock as she climaxed yet again and he wasn’t even all the way in yet!
“It’s ok baby, let go.” He held still and closed his eyes as he fought not to lose control and give in to the lure of her channel squeezing him tightly.
When he felt her muscles relax, he started moving again. This time her body was so relaxed he was able to slide all the way in.
“Wait! Stay there.” She pleaded, trying to catch her breath. Every movement he made sent the sparks flying again. She wasn’t sure she could survive another round. She could feel the blood pounding in her veins and it was making her light headed. Spots were appearing at the periphery of her vision and she couldn’t seem to get enough oxygen in her lungs. She was out of control and scared.
He held still for long moments, letting her body adjust to his. When he started to move again he saw the fear in her eyes. “Baby, look at me. Stay with me. I’m here. I won’t hurt you.” He panted.
Locking her eyes on his, she saw his desire and approval of her reflected in the chocolate depths. As he increased the speed of his movements, it felt as though he was pushing the air from her lungs and sending electrical currents through every nerve in her body. She had never felt anything like this before. Reaching out she gripped his waist and held on to the only stable thing in her rapidly dissolving world.
“That’s it baby, hang on, we’re almost there.” He rasped.
Rolling his hips he thrust harder, going that extra little bit deeper. She went rigid and he gave a throttled shout as the velvet fist surrounding him clamped down hard and broke through his control, taking him over the edge and down into a sea of pleasure unlike any he’d ever experienced before.
The feel of him so deeply inside her was more than she could bear. The scream was ripped from her throat as the pleasure centres of her brain exploded and the world went black.
Opening his eyes, he looked down at her. Her unnatural stillness had his heart pounding. “Tori? Are you all right? Baby, answer me!” Quickly withdrawing from her he checked her pulse. Light, a little fast maybe, but steady. Realizing she had simply fainted he exhaled a relieved breath, disposed of the condom, gathered her into his arms and waited for her to come to.
Opening her eyes, she was presented with an expanse of warm chest in front of her. Blinking rapidly she lifted her head to look at him. “What happened?”
“You fainted.” He answered smugly.
“Oh, is that all? I thought you’d killed me.” She remarked.
“Well if I did, then you returned the favour, because this is definitely heaven.” His hand stroked down her back.
When she looked up at him warily, he chuckled and kissed her lightly. “Go to sleep honey, we’ve both had a long,…hard….day.”
Smiling she kissed his chest, laid her head back on his shoulder, place her hand over his heart and followed his suggestion.