Tori awoke the next morning to discover she was lying on her side with Richie pressed tightly to her back, one arm underneath her, his hand teasing her breast, the other sliding over her hip and down to stroke between her thighs. Judging by the sensations coursing through her body he had been at it for awhile. Gasping, she clutched his forearms and arched into his hands.
“Good morning angel.” He murmured in her ear, nuzzling the sensitive spot beneath it, causing goosebumps to race over her skin.
Feeling his hard shaft nudging her buttocks, she pushed back against him and smirked when he groaned.
His hand caressing her moist slit and sliding one finger inside caused her to do some groaning of her own. Feeling her readiness, he nudged her top leg forward and tilted her hips back towards him. Holding her open with his fingers he guided himself to her entrance. Moving his hand to her hip, he held her still and slowly filled her.
She gasped at the feel of him stretching her. Reaching down, she massaged him with her fingers, gratified to hear him moan deep in his throat.
Holding her to him with one hand on her breast and one on her hip, he buried his mouth in her neck and slowly rocked her, rocked into her, groaning as her gentle massage had him hardening even more.
For long minutes, the only sound in the room was his laboured breathing and her ravaged moans.
When he could no longer hold back, he dug his fingers into her hip, and thrust deeper into her tightening sheath, hitting the spot that sent lightening bolts through her nervous system and brought her to a screaming climax.
Holding tight to each other, they waited to come back to earth. Turning her head she searched for his mouth. Finding it, she kissed him ravenously, but briefly – they were both still trying to breath.
“You can be my alarm clock any day, baby.” She panted.
He chuckled. “If all my mornings started like this I wouldn’t try so hard to avoid them.”
Withdrawing from her reluctantly, he dealt with the condom and glanced at the clock. “I guess we better get up, or you’re going to miss your flight.”
She sighed and nodded. “Yeah, I guess. I haven’t finished packing yet either.”
Leaning down he kissed her again. “I’m going to hit the shower first, ok?”
She stroked his cheek with her hand, and nodded, feeling the lump she’d been fighting for two days blocking her throat.
When he had left the room, she got up, pulled her suitcase out of the closet and laying it open on the bed, began packing her clothes, leaving out only what she was going to wear on the plane and Richie’s t-shirt that she had been using as a nightgown. That she laid aside for him.
When she came out of the shower, Richie had coffee ready and had even scrambled some eggs. When she raised a brow at him, he just shrugged. “I’m hungry and you need to eat. No sense bothering them at the main house when we can feed ourselves here.”
Tori smiled, knowing that that was only part of his reason. The other part was wanting to spend as much time alone together as they could before she left. She understood, and agreed. Wrapping her arms around his waist she raised up on tiptoe to kiss him. “You’re pretty handy in the kitchen there Rockstar. I’ll have to let you cook for me more often.”
He snorted. “Oh, yeah I’m a master chef….as long as all you’re looking for is broken eggs or a sandwich.”
She chuckled. “Hey, any meal I don’t have to cook is a special treat for me. I like to cook, but cooking for one isn’t a lot of fun.”
“We’ll have to see what we can do to put some fun in your life then.” He responded.
After breakfast they reluctantly headed up to the main house, Richie holding her suitcase in one hand and Tori in the other. Leaving the case on the porch they went inside so Tori could say goodbye.
“Aunt Tori!” Romeo came running up to hug her, his eyes red and teary. “Mommy says you’re reaving! Why are you reaving?”
“I have to go home and go back to work sweetie.” She explained. “My vacation here is over.”
“Don’t want you to reave!” The toddler insisted, his bottom lip quivering. “Want you to stay here. You can work for Daddy!”
“Oh sweetie. I’m sorry, but I have to go home. I have family there too that are waiting for me.” She hugged him close and struggled to speak past the lump in her throat. “But I’ll see you again. I promise.”
“Maybe Aunt Tori can come back for Christmas.” Dorothea proposed from the doorway to the den, where she and Jon had been watching.
Tori nodded. “Yes, I think I can arrange something for then.” Looking down at Romeo she wiped his tears. “Ok?” He sniffed, but nodded. Standing as he ran back into the den, Tori blew out a shaky breath and blinked back her own tears. Richie stroked a comforting hand down her back.
Dorothea, smiled sympathetically and motioned her into the den where the rest of the kids as well as John and Carol were waiting.
Sitting on the couch, she was immediately surrounded. Jake and Steph sat beside her, Jesse sat on the other side of Jake and Romeo crawled into her lap.
“You really have to go?” Steph asked.
Tori nodded. “I’m afraid so honey.”
“But Romeo says you’re coming back for Christmas.” Jesse wanted confirmation.
“Yes, I will.” She assured him. She glanced at Jon and Dorothea.
“We’ll make sure that we have regular get togethers with Aunt Tori just like we do with Uncle Tony.” Jon promised his children.
“And you can always call me or e-mail me.” Tori reminded them.
“Jesse won’t let me use his ‘puter.” Jake pouted.
“I’ll help you on mine.” His sister offered.
“Car’s here.” Richie murmured.
They all walked her outside. She hugged all the kids while Richie put her suitcase in the trunk.
“Thank you.” Steph murmured, hugging Tori tightly. “For saving my life.”
“Thank you for introducing me to the other half of my family – the other half of me.” Tori replied.
Carol stepped forward to get her hug. “I’m so glad we found you. Now promise you’ll keep in touch. We’re not going to lose you now.”
Tori smiled. “Absolutely! I’ll call as often as I can, I promise.”
John was next. “Sweetheart, I can’t tell you how happy I am to finally have you take your rightful place in my family. I only wish I’d known about you from the beginning and that I’d been able to find you all those years ago when I tried. Tell your parents how much I appreciate everything they’ve done for you and for taking such good care of my daughter. It’s very obvious that you’ve been raised with love. I couldn’t be more proud if I’d raised you myself. Come back soon.”
Once again fighting back tears, Tori smiled and hugged him. “Thank you. And thank you for not giving up on finding me, and for filling in the gaps I had felt deep inside for a long time. I too wish we’d met sooner, but I guess it’s better late than never. We still have lots of time to know each other.”
Turning to Dorothea she smiled and shrugged. “I don’t know how to thank you for everything, for making me feel so welcome in your home and a part of your family.”
Dorothea hugged her. “And I don’t know how to thank you for my daughter. You’re welcome here anytime. Don’t be a stranger. Call often.” She glanced towards Jon and Richie. “If you need anything, or just want to talk, I’m here.”
Tori nodded. “Thanks.” Turning to Jon she could feel the tears burning her eyes and clogging her throat. “Well, I always knew that meeting you would be a monumental moment in my life. I have to say that you didn’t disappoint.”
Jon laughed. “I can promise that being a part of my life will never be boring.” Sobering he met her gaze. “I just wish we’d met sooner.” He frowned. “I want to apologize again…”
Tori interrupted him. “Jon, stop. I thought we’d put that behind us. Besides, what you said at the fundraiser and letting me sing with you made up for the pain you caused. I don’t have words to express what that experience meant to me. I got to play the rockstar! How many people ever get to do that, even for one night?”
He smiled. “You earned your place in the spotlight. We’re going to see you during the tour right?”
She nodded. “As much as I can. You’re starting in the New Year, right?”
“That’s the plan at this point. We’ve got a few shows in Newark first though. I’ll let you know the itinerary as soon as it’s set.” He saw her smile slightly. “What?”
“Oh, I’m just thinking that it’ll be interesting to see who I hear it from first – you or BJ.com.” She laughed.
He shook his head. “Fans! But remember I have inside information. Just don’t share it ahead of time.”
“No worries.” She assured him. “It’ll be fun knowing things before the girls do, although it will be tough not responding to their speculations.”
“Angel, we’ve got to go.” Richie warned her. He was going with her to the airport.
Nodding, she held out her arms to hug Jon. “Thanks for everything big brother. I’ll see you on the road.”
Kissing her cheek he squeezed her tight. “Thank you sis. For my daughter, for making our family complete…” He glanced at Richie. “And for bringing life back to my best friend. We’ll see you soon.”
Releasing him she turned and climbed into the car, desperately trying to hold it together. Richie followed her in. As the car pulled away she waved out the window until they were out of sight.
Closing her eyes, she leaned her head back against the seat. Richie took her hand in his, lacing their fingers together, and with his free hand wiped away the tears she couldn’t hold back. Sighing she leaned her head on his shoulder. “That was even harder than I thought it would be.”
“It’ll get easier. It’s not like it’s goodbye forever. You’re all family now. This isn’t the end, it’s just the beginning.”
“Thank you.” She said softly.
The rest of the ride to the airport was spent in silence as they just absorbed each other’s presence and gathered themselves for the parting that was coming.
After checking her luggage, Richie followed Tori through security and accompanied her right to the gate. She still had about twenty minutes until her flight would be called, and they spent it looking out the big wall of windows, wrapped in each other arms, her head tucked under his chin. Surprisingly, although a few fellow passengers appeared to recognize Richie, no one approached them and they were left alone.
Finally, they heard the boarding call for her flight. Richie released her, but Tori didn’t let go. Lifting her chin with a knuckle the sadness and tears in her eyes broke his heart.
“Sssh, angel, no tears now. This isn’t goodbye either. This is just see you later. I love you. I’ve searched for you for a long time, and I’m not about to lose you now. We will find a way to make this work! Okay?” She nodded. “Now, smile for me, give me a kiss and promise to call me when you get home so that I know you’re safe.”
Obeying, she stood on tiptoe to kiss him, savouring the softness of his lips, and the flavour of his mouth. “I love you.” She murmured before stepping back and heading for the gate. Handing the attendant her boarding pass, she looked back at him one more time. Catching the kiss he blew her with a watery smile, she turned and boarded the plane that would take her back to the home she’d always known, but away from the home that she had never expected to find when she had left for New York, but had started to build and now desperately wanted in the loving arms of the tall, dark and wonderful man she’d just left.
Tori sat staring blindly out the window of the plane. Even the novelty of flying first class for the first time couldn’t distract her from her sadness. Sighing, she struggled to snap herself out of her melancholy. If she couldn’t handle this, they were never going to make it. He’d said it got easier, that this was so hard because it was the first time. She hoped he was right.
“It’s hard saying goodbye to your man.” The lady beside her observed kindly. “I know, I’ve done it many times.”
Tori nodded. “He says it’s not goodbye, it’s just ‘see you later’.”
“How long will you be apart?”
“I’m not sure, a few months anyway. Maybe until Christmas.” Tori replied.
“And then the tour?” When Tori looked at her in surprise she smiled. “I recognized him, but you two obviously wanted to be left alone, so I didn’t want to interrupt.”
“Thanks. I appreciate that.”
“If it helps any, look at it this way. He has the resources to bring you together whenever your schedules permit. And when they don’t you can still see him whenever you want by just surfing the net for pictures and videos. And of course there’s always that wonderful invention called the telephone.”
Tori had to smile. “Thanks, that actually does help.” She blew out a long breath. “I’m Tori Adams, by the way.”
“Melia Clapton.” Came the response.
Tori’s brows rose. “As in Eric?” Melia nodded. “Then you do know what I’m going through.”
Melia nodded again. “And I can tell you that as much as the ‘see you laters’ really suck, the ‘welcome home’s’ are fantastic!” Tori laughed. “Not to mention the indescribable feeling when he writes a love song with you as his muse.” She frowned. “Although in your case it might be a little weird, considering that it will probably be your brother singing the song.” Again Tori stared at her in surprise. Melia chuckled. “Hey, I watch the entertainment shows too. Plus, the Kidney Foundation is one of the charities I’m involved with. I just wish I’d been able to attend that fundraiser. From what I’ve heard you guys blew everyone away.”
Tori smiled. “It was a lot of fun, well, most of it.”
Melia grimaced. “Yeah, the vultures can be brutal.”
The rest of the flight was passed in friendly conversation and well meaning, helpful advice from someone who’s been there.
Arriving at her apartment, Tori sighed at the layer of dust on everything. After giving her parents, and Karin a quick call to let them know she was home she set to work. When everything was once again spic and span she set about unpacking. Opening her suitcase she lifted out several dresses and t-shirts and stopped. Laying the clothing in her hands down she reached for the item that was now on top. It was Richie’s t-shirt that had become her nightgown. Knowing that he must have put it in her bag made her smile, and the ache of missing him increase. Glancing at her watch she returned to the livingroom, grabbed her phone and curled up on the couch.
“Hi baby. I’m home, safe and sound.”
“What happened? You should have been home a while ago. Is everything ok?” The concern in his voice warmed her heart.
“Everything’s fine. I wanted to have everything settled here before I called you so that I could relax and focus on you.” She assured him.
“I like the sound of that.” He chuckled. “So how was your flight?”
“It was actually pretty amazing. You’ll never guess who I sat beside!”
“Who?” He smiled at her obvious excitement.
“It was. She saw us at the airport, but said she didn’t want to interrupt. She could see that I was upset and had a pretty good idea why. We had a great conversation about life with a rockstar and how to cope. She was very helpful.”
“I thought you had already talked to Dorothea about all of that.” He stated.
“I did, but Dorothea was there from the beginning. She learned to cope along with the rest of you. Melia came into it more like I have, dealing with the already established celebrity rather than one in the making. Dorothea had some good advice, but Melia understands more what I’m feeling. I actually feel much better, knowing it can work.” Tori explained.
“Good, I’m glad.” He paused. “So you’re all unpacked?”
She smiled. “Not completely. I started, but then I found something of yours and wanted to hear your voice.”
He chuckled. “So you found it then.”
“Why did you put it in my suitcase?” She was curious. After all, it was just a t-shirt.
“Because I wanted to be able to picture you wearing it every night like you did here. I like knowing that something of me – even if it’s only a t-shirt, or a picture in a locket – is close to you when I can’t be.” His voice was soft.
“Oh, Richie.” She whispered. “Do you have any idea what you do to me when you say things like that?
“Tell me.” He whispered back.
“You make me love you even more.”
“Good. Mission accomplished.”
“What can I do to return the favour?” She asked. She was half teasing, half serious.
“Just have faith in me and in us. Be my rock and my sounding board.” He paused. “Plus I could think of a few other, more hands on ways, if you’re interested.”
She chuckled. “I’m sure you could. I’m sure I could too if you were here. I guess I’ll just have to store up my ideas until we’re together again.”
“Not into phone sex?” He sounded disappointed.
“I’d rather have the real thing. But who knows, I may just get desperate enough that your voice and my imagination will be a welcome alternative.” She cleared her throat. “So when are you heading back to L.A.?” She steered the conversation to a safer topic.
“Chicken.” He accused
“Cluck, cluck.” She returned.
He laughed. “I’m leaving the day after tomorrow. I’ll have a couple weeks to spend with Ava before having to be back here for SNL and tour rehearsals. What are your plans for the next little while?”
“Work, work, and more work.” She answered wryly. “I have a lot to catch up on. Oh, and I’m going to Karin’s for dinner tomorrow night.”
“So if my ears are burning, I’ll know why then.”
“Yeah, I’d say that it’s a safe bet that you will be a topic of conversation.” She chuckled. “But don’t worry, I’ll be kind.”
“Mmm,hmmm” He answered skeptically.
“Oh, and you and Jon never talked about your girlfriends?”
“Only with the utmost respect.”
She snorted. “Yeah, right, and I’m the Queen of England.”
“I’ll be your consort any day Your Majesty.”
“And will you kneel at my feet?”
“If that’s where you want me baby.”
“So you’re willing to earn your knighthood, then.”
“Mmm. Are you willing to..um…polish my armour?”
She dissolved into laughter. “Oooh, you’re bad!”
“Actually, darlin’ I’ve been told I’m rather good.” He countered.
“Who told you that?”
“You did…multiple times.”
She snorted. “I must have been delirious.”
“Oh, you were.” He assured her.
“I give!” She surrendered, laughing too hard to come up with a topper.
“Yes you do, and very well too, I might add.” He chuckled.
“Stop!” She gasped.
“That’s not what you were saying last night…or this morning.”
“Okay, okay, I’ll stop.” He laughed. “For now.”
She sighed, wiping the tears of laughter off her cheeks. “I miss you already.”
“I miss you too baby.”
“So, you have SNL, then rehearsals, then ten nights in Newark, then what?”
“I don’t know yet. Jon and Paul are meeting with Island, Universal and AEG to try to plan the tour, but at this point they’re still arguing over venues. Maybe I can get away to come see you after the Prudential shows.”
“That would be great.” She stifled a yawn, but he heard it.
“I heard that Angel. You need to get some sleep, especially if you’re going to work in the morning. I’ll call you tomorrow night, or you can call me when you get back from Karin’s.”
“Okay. I’ll talk to you then. ‘Nite Richie, I love you.”
“’Night angel, sleep tight. I love you too.”
The next morning Tori went in to work early, but didn’t get much done. Everyone wanted to know how she was doing and how everything went. They all knew the circumstances surrounding her absence, but they apparently hadn’t heard who her biological family was.
At lunch she started going through her e-mails. There were several from her longtime friends asking her to let them know when she was home and how things went – and to give them the scoop on her new family members. Then there was a few from some of the girls she’d met online. Those ones she really wasn’t sure how to answer. She didn’t know if they had made the connection between the Tori they’d shared pictures and stories with online and the one that they surely would have read about in interviews with Jon and seen in pictures with Richie. Mostly she was unsure of her continued acceptance on the boards considering her new connection with the band. She guessed she’d have to just play it by ear. She held off responding to those e-mails until she could get online and see what comments, if any, had been made.
There was also a couple from New Jersey wanting to know if she got home okay. Those she answered, giving them a quick rundown of her trip, and adding special little note on Dorothea’s for the kids. Thinking about the kids made her think about something else. Glancing at the clock she reached for the phone and called her doctor’s office to make an appointment.
The afternoon flew by as she finally made some headway on the mountain of work that had piled up in her absence. By the time she arrived at Karin’s she was tired, frustrated and more than ready to sit, have a drink – or two – and enjoy a good dinner and a good girlfriend session.
Settled on the couch with a glass of wine, Tori filled Karin in on all the details that she had glossed over in their phone conversations when she was in Jersey, starting with the family members.
“John and Carol are great. I don’t think I could ever call him Dad – Dad is the one who raised me - but I’ve grown very fond of him. We have quite a bit in common. Carol is a pistol. She rules her family of men with an iron fist – velvet covered, but definitely iron. Even at forty-five, a look from his mother can shut Jon up! All three brothers show her great respect. She told me that if she’d known about me from the beginning she would have taken me and raised me herself – and I believe her. She says that I’m the daughter she never had. Tony and Matt took awhile to warm up, but they came around. Tony’s grumbling that he’s not the middle child anymore, and Matt’s ticked that he’s still the baby, but they’ve become your typical protective brothers.”
Karin chuckled. “I don’t envy you five brothers. My one is bad enough.”
Tori agreed. “Thank God I have sisters-in-law that keep four of them at least somewhat under wraps and Tony lives in California.”
They moved to the dining room to eat.
“So tell me about Dorothea and the kids.” Karin urged.
“Dorothea is probably the strongest woman I have ever met. She is very kind and caring, but also very determined in regards to things that she wants, or thinks is right. She was the first to accept me – although that may have had more to do with Stephanie, at least at first. She’s very protective of her loved ones too. You should have seen her light into Jon when she found out about the private investigator he’d hired to check me out! I swear there were sparks shooting out of her eyes! It’s a good thing for Jon that she only uses her skills in self defense!” Tori laughed.
“The kids are great. Their father’s celebrity means nothing to them at all. They’re just typical kids. Stephanie is just so happy to find another Bongiovi girl, she says that since there’s so few of us we should have t-shirts. She couldn’t understand why we all cracked up when she wanted to call us the BG’s. Jesse’s your typical twelve year old. Loves his video games and has taken up the guitar. It’s funny watching Jon resist the urge to show him how it’s done. Jesse doesn’t want his dad anywhere near him when he’s practicing, although he will accept help from Richie. Jake is five and he’s a sweetheart. He knows what his dad does, but doesn’t really get it. The other day he was playing with his transformers on the floor. One fell over and he said ‘whoa, you’re slippery when wet’. Then he pointed another one at an imaginary foe, said ‘you’re living on a prayer pal’, shot him, curled his lip and sneered ‘have a nice day’. I couldn’t help it, I lost it. Jon just shook his head and Dorothea rolled her eyes. Romeo is three and is a doll. He has a problem saying his l’s and he almost broke my heart when he cried because I was ‘reaving’.”
“It sounds like you miss them.” Karin commented.
“I do.” Tori admitted. “For the first time in my life I sat in a room full of relatives and could see reflections of myself. I never thought I’d have that.”
Karin nodded in understanding. “I think I envy you that most of all.”
They took their coffee back into the livingroom. Setting her mug down on the table Karin leaned forward and met Tori’s eyes. “Ok, let’s get serious here. Dish time. Tell me about Richie.”
Tori grinned. “He’s wonderful.” She said simply. “He’s smart, he’s funny, he’s romantic, he’s sensitive, caring, strong, but gentle….”
“Well hung…” Karin interjected. Tori laughed and blushed. “I knew it! Not to mention he’s not hard to look at.”
Tori couldn’t disagree. “That’s true. If you looked in the dictionary under tall, dark and handsome, you’d see his picture. I lose myself in his chocolate eyes, and his voice is so smooth it sends shivers down my spine.”
Karin grinned. “Lucky bitch.” Then she sobered. “And what about his….issues?”
Tori sighed. “In the time I was there, I never saw him take a drink or any sign that he’d had one. The one time I saw a bottle that looked like wine it was non-alcoholic. Jon says that he’s back to his old self, so I’m hoping that the worst of that is over. I know he’ll never be ‘cured’, but he seems to be controlling his problem well so far.”
“And the exes?”
Tori shrugged. “I haven’t had to deal with them yet. Denise did call once and I suggested that he not answer it and he didn’t. I accept that he’ll have to have some dealings with Heather – she is the mother of his child, but there’s no reason for Denise to have any call on his time anymore. I don’t know, I guess I’ll just play it by ear and cross those bridges when I come to them.”
Karin nodded. “Probably a good idea for now. So, what’s the future look like for this relationship?”
Before Tori could answer music issued from Tori’s purse:
Love exciting and new
We’re expecting you
Love, life’s sweetest reward
Let it flow
It floats back to you
The two girls stared at each other. “The Love Boat?” Karin asked incredulously.
Pulling her cell out of her purse, Tori looked at the window and laughed. “That’s Richie’s sense of humour.” Opening the phone she hit the button. “Someone’s been playing with my phone I see.”
He chuckled. “Like that?”
“I laughed, but Karin thinks you’re nuts.” She snickered. “So love boat, what’s up? I thought I wasn’t going to talk to you until later.”
“Actually I wanted to talk to Karin.” He admitted.
“Karin? Why?” She was surprised.
“Because I have a question for her.” Was all he’d say.
Tori handed over the phone. “He wants to talk to you.”
“Me? Why?” Karin asked as she took the phone. Tori just shrugged. “Hello?”
“Hi Karin, how are you?”
“Fine thanks Richie, how are you?”
“I’m good thanks. You are probably wondering why I wanted to talk to you.”
“Well, yeah.” She admitted with a laugh.
“Well, you’re her BFF right?”
“Yeah,” She answered, amused at that phrase coming from him.
“So, as two people who love her, I thought we should get to know each a little.”
“Tori’s told me a bit about you, and I’m sure that she’s told you all about me. Do you have anything that you would like to ask me? You can be as personal as you like.”
“Actually, yes.” Karin answered, standing up and walking into another room so that Tori couldn’t hear what she was going to say and try to stop her. “I would like to know how serious you are about her. I was there when Brian died and helped pick up the pieces. She was devastated and blamed herself for a long time. For the first time in five years she’s truly happy again. I want to know if this is going to be a long term thing or only temporary. I understand that you’ve had a brutal year. You’re carrying a lot of baggage. I don’t want Tori to be just a calm port in the storm of your life. Finding her birth family has been a big upheaval in her life. I need to know if you’re going to be another one. I encouraged her to give you a chance. I need to know that I didn’t make a huge mistake. I need to know if I’m going to have to be prepared to put her back together again when you walk away and leave her shattered.”
“Wow!” He exclaimed softly. “She wasn’t kidding when she said you could be very blunt and brutally to the point.”
“Sorry you let me ask a question?”
“No, I appreciate that you’re looking out for her. And to be honest I was half expecting the question. I guess I just wasn’t prepared for how direct you would be.” He blew out a breath. “To answer you, all I can tell you is that I love her. For the first time in a very long time I’ve found someone who loves me for who I am, not what I do. I can’t tell you how wonderful that is. I have no intention of walking away from that….I couldn’t even if I wanted to. I can’t predict the future and I’ve learned the hard way that shit happens, but I can promise you that I will never do anything to intentionally hurt her. I only want to make her happy. You said that she’s truly happy again for the first time since Brian’s death. Well, she’s made me truly happy again for the first time since….I don’t know when. I’ve learned how precious happiness is and how easily it can be taken from you. This time I’m holding on…tight.”
Karin smiled. “Good. I’m glad to hear it.”
“Now I have a question for you.”
“Is there anything you can think of that Tori really needs or wants? Anything that she’s always dreamed about?”
Karin’s heart swelled at the sentiment behind the question. “Between you and Jon, you’ve already made her dreams come true. She’s found the other half of herself in her birth family, she’s sung on stage in front of an appreciative audience of strangers and she’s found love. The only thing she really needs is you. Of course a girl can never have too much jewelry.” She added with a smile.
He laughed. “Did you have anything in particular in mind?”
“Oh, I think you can figure that out on your own. She’ll love anything you give her.”
“You should come with Tori to see us at our next show up there. I’d like to meet you in person.”
“I’d like that. Know where I can score a good ticket?” Karin asked walking back into the livingroom.
“I think I just might be able to hook you up.”
“Looking forward to it. It’s been nice talking to you Richie. I’ll give you back to Tori now.”
“Nice talking to you too Karin. Keep an eye on our girl for me?”
“You bet. Bye.” Karin handed the phone to Tori.
“So are you going to tell me what that was all about?” Tori asked him.
“I just thought that Karin and I should get to know each other a little bit, that’s all.”
She knew she wasn’t going to get any more out of him, but she figured she could get it from Karin. “What time’s your flight tomorrow?”
“Jon booked me on a ten o’clock flight.” He answered in disgust.
“In the morning?” She asked in disbelief.
“What’d you do to piss him off?”
“You mean besides sleep with his sister?” Tori snorted. “I’m not real sure. He said something about being tired of seeing my moping face.”
“Moping huh. Any particular reason why?”
“Fishing for something angel?” He chuckled.
“Are you going to take the bait?”
“With you as the lure? Every time baby, every time.”
“So I’ve caught you then?”
“Hook, line and sinker sweetheart.” He assured her.
“Ok, Karin’s giving me a disgusted look, so I’d better go. Have a safe flight and call me when you get home.”
“I will. Enjoy the rest of your evening and don’t give Karin too hard a time about our conversation.”
“Why would you think I’d give her a hard time?”
“Because I didn’t give you enough information to satisfy your curiosity….. and I know you angel.” He explained.
“Hmmpfh!” Was her only response.
He laughed. “Goodnight angel. I love you.”
“I love you too Richie. ‘Nite.”
Karin was watching her as she hung up the phone. “You really are a lucky bitch, you know that?” She stated quietly.
Tori smiled gently and nodded. “I know.”