For the next week Tori poured herself into her work, trying to keep thoughts of Richie – and therefore her loneliness - to a minimum – at least during the day. Unfortunately, she couldn’t control her dreams. Even though she talked to Richie every night, it didn’t make up for not being able to curl up against him and feel his arms holding her close. Christmas had never seemed so far away.
She was sitting across from Karin in their favorite restaurant when her cell went off.
But I’m strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother
Checking the window, she looked back at Karin and grinned.
“Jon.” They said in unison.
Laughing, Tori opened the phone. “Hi Jon.”
“Hi. Am I interrupting you?” He could hear their laughter.
“No, it’s okay. Apparently Richie’s being playing with my ringtones.”
“Oh no. What did I get? Or should I ask?”
“He Ain’t Heavy…”
“He’s My Brother…” Jon finished with a groan. “That’s pretty cheesy, even for Rich.”
“Obviously you need to keep him busy. You see what happens when he has too much time on his hands.”
“Actually, that’s why I’m calling. Do you think you could get a few weeks off in November and December?”
“Umm, probably, why?”
“We’ve decided to move the tour up and start with a Canadian leg and I thought maybe you could join us and be our tour guide and interpreter.”
Her eyebrows rose. “You do realize that we speak English in Canada, right?”
“Well, it gets a little dicey in Montreal. Not to mention that apparently ordering coffee and those donut holes is a whole different language. By the way I never asked. Do you speak French?”
She laughed. “Yes I do, and I’ll teach you Timmese.”
“Mmmmm the language of Tim Horton’s. Although since you drink your coffee black, there really isn’t much to teach you – except that the donut holes are Timbits. Oh, and you might be interested to know that they’re making lots of cookies now too.”
“I better make sure the hotels all have gyms or I’m in trouble.” He groaned. “So will you come with us?”
“I’ll see what I can do. It shouldn’t be a problem. After all, I am the boss’ daughter! What dates are we talking about here?”
“November 14 to December 16. We’re hitting Montreal, Ottawa, London, Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.”
“Wow, the folks out west will be flipping! They’ve been bitching for years that you never go out there anymore. I’ve never been to Saskatoon or Edmonton, so that would be fun.”
“You’ve been to all the rest?” He asked surprised.
“Yes. I live in between Toronto and London, I did a three month exchange in Quebec when I was in high school and visited Montreal, I lived in Ottawa for a little over a year, I went to University in Winnipeg, and I took vacations in Vancouver and around Calgary. Make sure you build in some extra time around Calgary and Edmonton. I’ll take you to Banff – it’s one of the most beautiful places in Canada.”
“Sounds like a good idea. Okay, that gets us to Christmas and through the holidays. Then it’s Japan, then back to the U.S….eastern part we can work out some dates…then west...close to home…” He seemed to be talking to himself. “Is your passport valid?”
“How about a trip to Europe in June?”
“I could probably arrange that too. Jon what are you doing?”
“Keeping my wingman focused and sober.” He answered.
She drew in a sharp breath. “Has he been drinking?”
“Not that I’m aware of, and I intend to do what I can to keep it that way. Have you seen any signs of him drinking?”
“No. I talk to him everyday and he’s always sober. Why are you afraid that he’ll relapse? Life on the road?”
“That’s part of it. The other part is the way he moped around here after you left. I made him take an early flight back to L.A. so that he could be near Ava. I figure the more I can keep him around at least one of you, the better it will be for him – at least until we get him through one tour sober. After that it should be okay.” He explained.
“Okay, I guess that makes sense.” Tori agreed. “How’s everyone in Jersey?”
“Everyone’s good. The kids miss you. Stephanie’s trying to arrange a get together, and since she can’t until the tour is set she’s driving me nuts. She runs a dozen different ideas by Dorothea every day, trying to come up with something she thinks you’d like.”
She thought for a moment. “How about a Soul game?”
“Really? You’d like that?”
“I’d love that!” She assured him.
“Ok. I’ll let her know. I think we can arrange that.” He said. “Okay, well I’d better get back to work. Let me know when you know for sure about those dates.”
“Okay, will do. Give my love to everyone there and I’ll talk to you soon.”
“Will do. Bye Tori.”
“Bye Jon.” Closing her phone she turned to Karin. “Sorry about that.”
Karin waved off the apology. “What was that all about? Are you going on tour with the band?”
“Well, kind of. For the Canadian leg anyway.” Tori frowned. “Jon seems to be concerned that the lifestyle of being on the road may be a problem for Richie. He also invited me to join them in Europe in June.”
“Are you going to perform with them?”
“Good God no. I’m just going to hang out and be sort of their Canadian tour guide.”
“So you’re going to get to see more of Richie than you thought…and you’re going to get to travel.” Karin observed.
Tori smiled. “Yes. Two of my favorite things. Be prepared to go to a show in November or December. I don’t know the exact dates for Toronto yet. By the way, you don’t know anything about the tour.”
Karin winked. “Gotcha. I’ll wait for the official announcement and act surprised.”
Tori sighed. “Now I just have to find a way to maintain my sanity for another two months.”
“Phone sex.” Karin advised.
Tori laughed. “Have you been talking to Richie again?”
The next two months dragged by slowly, no matter how hard Tori worked. Projects that normally would have taken her weeks to do she finished in days. She did the bulk of the year end inventory in October so that she wouldn’t feel guilty dumping it on the girls while she was away.
Her nightly conversations with Richie were getting more and more heated, particularly during the run of shows in Newark. He would call when he got back to his room, adrenaline still coursing through him. After discussing the show he would proceed to tell her – in great detail – precisely what he wanted to do to her when he saw her next. He kept trying to get her to participate, but Tori just wasn’t comfortable with that. Each night he’d go further and further before acceding to her pleas to stop.
The night of the last Prudential show was no exception. It was after midnight when Tori’s phone rang. Knowing Richie would be calling she had taken the phone into her bedroom so she wouldn’t have to get up.
“Hey babe. How was the show?”
He chuckled. “What would you do if it wasn’t me?”
“At this hour, if it wasn’t an emergency, I guess I’d be listening to a heavy breathing obscene caller…oh wait, that’s you too.” She retorted.
“Only for four more days sweetheart, then you’ll be able to feel my breath in your ear instead of just hearing it.” His voice had dropped significantly.
In spite of herself, Tori felt her body react – both to his voice and his words. After more than a week of his murmured erotic descriptions she was primed and more than ready.
“Richie.” She said warningly.
“Come on baby, are you going to tell me that you don’t want it as much as I do? That you don’t long for the pleasure we bring each other?”
“You know I do. I would just prefer to wait the four days until I can have the real thing, and not just a fantasy.”
“But this isn’t just a fantasy. This is a memory and a promise. You want me to be open and honest about my feelings. Well, right now I’m more than a little horny and I’m missing you like crazy. I miss the smell of your hair and the taste of your skin and the feel of you in my arms.”
“Richie” She moaned softly.
“Yes….I miss those breathy little sounds you make when I please you. I miss the goosebumps that form on your skin at my touch. I miss the way you bite your lip when the sensation becomes too intense. I miss the way your eyes glaze and your pulse races when you’re aroused. I miss seeing your nipples harden, asking to be sucked. I miss the way you can make me hard with just a look. Most of all I miss watching you come apart in my arms, and hearing you scream my name, knowing that I’ve brought you to such an exquisite peak of pleasure.”
Closing her eyes, she fought the sensations his words evoked. But it had been so long and she missed him so much her body wouldn’t listen to the injunctions of her mind. And he didn’t stop.
“I want to strip you naked and lay you on my bed. I want to lie down beside you and feel your heat reach out to me. I want to lick your lips and see them part for me, inviting me to come inside and stroke your tongue with mine. I want to trace your ear with my tongue and kiss that spot below it that makes you shiver. I want to see your skin flush with arousal. I want to caress your breasts and knead them gently just the way you like it. I want to tug on your nipples with my teeth before taking them in my mouth and suckling them hard. Do you remember how that feels?” His voice was now a gravelly murmur.
“Yes.” She breathed, remembered sensations streaking through her, causing her back to arch slightly as though she was pressing her breasts more firmly into his touch.
“Then I want to smooth my hands over your stomach and savour the silken feel of your skin. I want to explore your navel with first my fingertip, then my tongue and watch your muscles contract in reaction. I want to feel your firm thighs tense under my hands as I urge them apart exposing your most sensitive flesh to me. I want to stroke that flesh, exploring every nook and crevice. I want to taste you, hot and wet and sweet on my tongue.”
“Richie, please!” Her lower body melted and throbbed. Her breath was coming in pants.
“Please what baby? Do you want me inside you? Because that’s where I want to be.” His voice was a raspy growl. “I want to see the ecstasy on your face as I bury myself slowly in you, inch by inch. Do you remember how that feels? How I fill you full to bursting? Do you remember that baby? Do you want to feel that again? I do. I want to feel your tight walls stretching to take me then closing around me like a hot, moist glove. I want to feel the electrifying friction sending shock waves to my brain as I move inside you.” He was panting now. “Can you feel it? Can you feel me thrusting deep inside you?”
“Yes.” She was moaning low in her throat and gasping for breath like she did when she was close to the end. Her hips were moving involuntarily, reacting to his words and the images they created in her mind.
“I want more. I want to feel your legs wrapping tight around me pulling me even deeper. I want to feel your arms holding me close, your soft body cradling mine, your breath rasping in my ear. I want to hear the little whimpers you make when your climax gets close. I want to feel your body slowly tighten around mine. Then I want to drive harder and deeper into you, until your body goes rigid. Then I want to hold you tight and absorb the shudders that rack your body, while deep inside you squeeze me tighter and tighter until I explode. And I want to hear you scream your pleasure as you come apart beneath me. ” His breath caught and she heard him give a throttled shout.
Knowing what that sound meant pushed her over the edge. “Oh, oh…RICHIEEE.” She let out a little scream.
For several long moments, the only sound was their laboured breathing as they waited to come back to earth. Richie recovered first.
“And I want to hold you in my arms afterward and watch you drift off to sleep, knowing that I’ve taken you to the same heights of ecstasy that you’ve taken me. Knowing that I’ve finally found my other half and I’ll never let you go.” He whispered.
“Jesus Richie! What….I….” She stuttered, unable to form a thought, stunned that he could bring her to climax with only words.
He chuckled. “Liked that did ya? I told you it would be good. I grant you that it’s not as good as when we’re actually in the same room, but it sure beats lying in a lonely bed and just thinking about it, don’t you think?”
“I’ll let you know when my brain starts functioning again, and I’m sure my heart didn’t explode.” She replied dryly. “I can’t believe I did that…that you did that….that we did that!”
He heard what she didn’t say. “Scare you?”
“Yes.” She admitted. “I don’t know what scares me more…that you can do that to me….or that I liked it.”
“I love you.”
“I know. I love you too. That’s the only thing that’s keeping me from running far away and hiding. I know that I’m safe with you. That you won’t hurt me.” She blew out a breath. “But baby, I gotta tell you. If you’ve got anymore little tricks like that up your sleeve….leave them there – at least until I can cope better with the ones you’ve already shown me.”
He laughed. “I hear ya honey. I’m not sure I didn’t blow my own mind tonight. I don’t know what it is about you, but you make everything better than anything I’ve ever experienced before.”
“Same here.” She sighed. “I wish you were here. I miss curling up against you and sleeping in your arms, hearing your heartbeat under my ear.”
He groaned. “God baby, you’re killing me. Just four more days sweetheart. Then I’m taking you to bed so that we can do more that just talk about it!”
“I can hardly wait. I’ve got a few tricks of my own that I just might be willing to share.” She purred.
“Thanks for the warning. Maybe it’s a good thing that I have four days to prepare.” He yawned. “Sorry, I think the adrenaline truck just hit me….among other things.”
“Get some sleep Rockstar. I expect you to be fully rested when I join you in Montreal.”
“Count on it baby.”
“’Nite Richie. I love you.”
“I love you too angel. Sweet dreams.”
Tori should have known that as anxious as she was to get to Richie, things wouldn’t go smoothly – and they didn’t. In fact the day she headed for Montreal was definitely a Murphy’s Law day.
Double checking before she left her apartment that she had the VIP Access All Areas pass that Jon had sent as well as her plane ticket and the hotel information, Tori ran down to the cab that was taking her to catch the airbus that would take her to the airport. They were about halfway there when they got a flat tire. Arriving at the airport she discovered that the cold and rain they’d been experiencing off and on all day had delayed her flight. She guessed she should be thankful that it wasn’t snowing or freezing rain – after all it was November in Canada – or the flight could have been cancelled. Landing in Montreal something finally went right – briefly. Entering baggage claim she found a driver standing there holding a placard with her name on it. Taking her bags, he led her out to the car waiting to whisk her off to the hotel. There the frustration continued. It took the desk clerk fifteen minutes to track down the VIP concierge, who then not only had no clue who Tori was or that she was scheduled to arrive, but wouldn’t even confirm that the guys were staying there. Keeping the lid on her temper with increasing difficulty, Tori debated calling Jon, but decided that since they were already at the arena she would just go ahead and join them and speak to one of the staff when she got there. Thanking whatever higher power had put the idea in her head to travel dressed for the concert, with Jack, the driver,’s help she convinced the concierge to let her leave her bags there instead of carrying them back and forth with her.
At the arena Tori flashed her pass and was immediately let in the door. She had been delayed so long that Hedley, the opening act was already on stage. Even though she would have liked to stay and listen, she knew she would have plenty of time to see them over the next few weeks, but right now Richie was waiting. Walking up to the security guard standing at the side of the stage she once again flashed her pass and was waved through. Entering the hallway behind the stage she looked around trying to figure out which way to go. Before she could make up her mind her path was blocked by two large security guards wearing BJM shirts.
“Excuse me miss, but you can’t be back here.” The first one informed her.
She smiled and flashed her pass. “Can you tell me where I can find the band?”
“Sorry darlin’ but we can’t do that.” The second guard responded.
“Only authorized personnel are allowed.” The first guard explained.
“Look, my name is Tori Adams. I’m Richie’s girlfriend...and Jon’s sister…..and I have a pass.” She held it out for them to see.
Both guards laughed. “Richie’s girlfriend…right.” The first one looked her up and down thoroughly. “More like a groupie hoping to get into Richie’s pants.”
“And I don’t care where you found that pass sweetheart, Jon doesn’t have…a….sister.” The second guard trailed off, frowning as though trying to remember something he’d heard.
Tori’s frustration was reaching peak levels. “Yes, he does.” She replied to the second guard. Turning to the first one she gave him a withering look. “And as for wanting to get into Richie’s pants, I’ll let you in on something. I’ve been there, done that and I’m looking forward to doing it again. Tonight. Right after the show.” Taking a calming breath she tried another tack. “Look, why don’t you use your radio there and call Jon, or Richie or Obie, or your head of security and tell them I’m here and see what they say?”
“Yeah, right, like we’re going to bother any of them to help us deal with a groupie.” Guard number one snorted derisively.
“Uh, Steve, maybe we should.” Guard number two suggested.
“No way Tom. We need to show that we can handle this kind of stuff so that they’ll keep us on for the whole tour. If we have to call for help to deal with some floozy, they won’t believe that we can do the job.” Steve reminded him.
“Yeah, but what if she’s telling us the truth?” Tom asked.
“She’s not. Look at her. There’s no way she’s Richie’s girlfriend.” Steve assured his partner. “Come on darlin’, I’ll escort you back to your seat.” He reached out to take her arm, but she pulled away.
Being this close to Richie after all this time apart and being prevented from getting to him snapped the last tether on her temper. Pulling out her phone she gave each of the two men in front of her an icy glare of contempt. “Ok, I didn’t want to do this, but you’re not giving me any choice. You thought your job was on the line before, you just wait.”
Backstage, Richie was pacing and driving everyone nuts. “Where is she? She should have been here hours ago. Why hasn’t she called?”
He’d been asking the same questions over and over for two hours and they’d been giving him the same answers.
“Relax Rich. She’ll be here. We know her flight was delayed. She probably went to the hotel first to change or something.” Jon replied – again.
With a frustrated growl Richie left the room to pace the hallway. Jon smiled and shook his head, then frowned. He was a little concerned himself, but didn’t want to exacerbate Richie’s mood. The ringing of his phone made him jump. Looking at the window he let out a relieved breath.
“You’re late. Where are you and why are you calling me and not Richie?”
“You really want to know? I’ve had the day from hell and I’m calling you because you’re the boss and your…..minions….are PISSING ME OFF! First the airbus gets a flat tire, then my flight’s delayed, then I get to the hotel, and the concierge not only has no idea that I’m coming, he won’t even acknowledge that you guys are staying there. Then I get to the arena and I run into Tweedledee and Tweedledum here who don’t believe me when I tell them who I am and won’t let me near you and don’t seem to understand that Access All Areas, means ACCESS ALL FUCKING AREAS!”
“WHAT? Where are you?” Jon jumped to his feet and headed out the door, his own temper rising quickly.
“I’m in a hallway behind the stage on Richie’s side.”
“Stay there, I’m on my way.” Jon hung up and stuck his head in the doorway of the command centre. “Who was responsible for notifying the hotel that Tori was coming?” He asked in a biting tone. He got blank looks in answer. Growling he turned to Kevin who was following him. “Give me your radio.” Kevin handed it over. “Jon for Mike.”
“Mike here. What’s up Jon?” The head of security answered.
“I want a security meeting. Now.” It wasn’t a request.
“NOW Mike!” Jon handed the radio back to Kevin as he continued down the hallway.
Snapping her phone shut she smirked at the guards. “Jon’s on his way.”
Steve snorted. “Yeah right, and pigs will fly tomorrow.”
“You better warn the airlines.” She retorted then caught a glimpse of a familiar face.
“Thank God! Obie! Obie! Will you please tell these two geniuses’ who I am?”
“I’m sorry I’ve never seen you before….” Obie trailed off as he came closer and got a good look at her face as she gave him a withering look. “Oops, not in the mood, sorry Tori. Where’ve you been by the way?”
“Don’t ask. Just please tell these…Neanderthals who I am.” She bit out between clenched teeth.
Obie turned to the guards. “Guys, this is Tori. She’s Richie’s girlfriend and Jon’s sister, and if I were you I’d find a good place to hide.” Turning back to Tori he gave her a quick hug, kissed her cheek and stood back to look at her – and whistled. “Damn Tori! I’m not sure I want Richie to see you before the show.”
“Why not? Don’t I look like I should be hanging out with rockstars?” She glanced down at her knee high black leather boots with their four inch heels over jeans tight in all the right places, which she had paired with a royal blue shirt that had a halter neckline and wrapped around her torso and clung faithfully to her curves. She’d topped it off with a short black leather coat very similar to one Richie had.
“You look great, but the guys go on in about thirty minutes and I don’t want them to be late. And if Richie sees you….”
“She really is Richie’s girlfriend?” Steve asked in disbelief. “But, she’s…”
“I know, I’m not blonde and I’m not built….go figure.” Tori finished dryly.
“Why should we hide?” Tom asked Obie.
“Because by the look in her eyes and the stomping boots I hear headed this way you’re about to get a double barreled blast of the Bongiovi temper.”
He no sooner got the words out than Jon came around the corner. Stopping in front of them he gave the guards an icy glare. “What part of Access All Areas don’t you understand?” He ground out.
“Ah, um,…we thought she had made it up herself.” Steve started to explain.
“And when she told you who she was?” Jon’s voice was rising.
“We didn’t believe her.” Tom admitted.
“So why didn’t you FUCKING CALL SOMEBODY?” Jon let his temper fly.
“We didn’t want to bother you. We thought she was just a floozy we could handle ourselves.” Steve stated. “We didn’t think she could really be with you guys.”
Seeing identical glacial stares directed at them, the guards finally realized just how deep a hole they’d dug for themselves. “Sorry.” They murmured.
“Command centre. NOW.” Was Jon’s only response. Turning to Tori he hugged her. “I’m sorry about all this mess.” Stepping back he looked her over. “Christ Tori! What are you trying to do? Give me a heart attack or Richie?”
“What’s wrong with the way I look?” Tori was beginning to get self-conscious.
“Nothing, if you weren’t my sister.” He sighed in resignation. “Don’t let him make us too late starting.” With his hand on her back he urged her down the hallway. Turning the corner into another hallway she could hear Richie.
“Where is she?”
Walking as fast as she could in four inch heels she called out to him. “Richie!”
Seeing him emerge from a doorway she started to run. Reaching him, she threw her arms around his neck and fought back tears as she felt his arms close around her and lift her clear off the floor.
“Oh God baby, where’ve you been? I’ve been worried sick!” He leaned back frowning slightly. “You’ve lost weight.”
“A little.” She admitted releasing him enough to see his face, but keeping her hold on his neck.
“But nothing. I like your curves….including your butt.” Holding her up with one hand he reached down and fondled the item currently under discussion.
She laughed and kissed him, sighing when he urged her lips to part and allow his tongue to invade her mouth.
Groaning, he broke the kiss. “Hey bro, I think we’re going to be late tonight.”
“Oh no you’re not!” She pushed lightly as his chest, but he only held her tighter. “Baby, I’ve missed you and I love you, but I refuse to be a part of that headline.”
“What headline?” Jon asked.
“Concert delayed because Richie had to get his rocks off!” Tori retorted.
Jon laughed. Richie pouted. “But baby….!”
“Everyone’s gathered in the command centre Jon.” Kevin interrupted.
Jon nodded. “Come on Tori, I would like you there for this.” Turning on his heel he headed down the hallway.
Richie followed, still carrying Tori. “You can put me down you know.” She grinned.
“Don’t want to. That would mean I’d have to let you go.” However, when they reached the doorway he did set her on her feet, although he kept his arm around her waist.
Jon stared down the group gathered in the room.
“Uh oh. What happened?” Richie murmured in her ear. She turned her head to look at him and raised a brow. “Jon’s got his pissed off stern dad look. Someone’s in deep shit.”
She chuckled. “He’s in ‘protective older brother/pissed off boss’ mode.”
“This,” Jon indicated Tori. “is my sister Tori. Take a good look at her so that you will recognize her on sight. She will be with us throughout this leg of the tour and off and on throughout the rest of it. I don’t ever want to hear of her being denied access to me again.” He glanced at Steve and Tom for a long moment.
“Or me.” Richie added.
“She is a member of my family, and Richie’s girlfriend and I expect all of you to treat her accordingly.” Jon continued. “Tori arrived at the hotel and was unable to get into her room. When I ask for things, I expect them to be done. Jack, thank you for picking her up at the airport. If someone shows up with a backstage pass and you’re not sure about who they are CALL SOMEBODY. The band members will all have various friends and family members showing up at various shows, and I don’t want them treated like intruders. If anyone has a problem with any of this, you know where the door is.” Pausing on his way out the door he looked at Mike. “Your team better shape up.” The or I’ll ship them out was unspoken, but understood.
Heading towards the door Tori was stopped by a staff member. “Miss Adams…Tori, I’m sorry about the mix up at the hotel. I’ve talked to the concierge and your bags have been taken up to Richie’s room.”
“Thank you.” Tori replied.
“Thanks Diane.” Richie added.