Waking the next morning, Tori stretched and glanced over at Richie to find him sound asleep. She slipped quietly from the bed, pulling up the covers so he wouldn’t get cold. Walking into the sitting room she saw the little coffee maker and got it started. While she waited for it to perk she wandered around exploring the room. When she neared the door she noticed a piece of paper had been slid underneath. Picking it up she read a list of the band members and senior BJM personnel with the names they were registered under (Richie was Sir Lancelot this tour – which made Tori roll her eyes), and their room numbers. There was also a schedule for the next day including interviews and who was expected to be where, and when. She was pleased to see that today’s schedule was blank.
When the coffee was ready, she poured herself a cup and sipped it, while gazing out the window at the city spread out around them. She thought about where she would take the guys today, but mostly how she was going to deal with her current situation. Sighing, she strolled to the desk and idly flipped through the hotel services, stopping when she saw the write up about the fully equipped gym. Since there was no point ordering breakfast until Richie woke up, she thought that maybe she’d found a good way to kill some time – and some energy.
Returning to the bedroom she quietly pulled on her sweats, and leaving a note in case Richie woke up while she was gone, grabbed a key and headed out.
She was on the treadmill, finishing up her workout when the door opened and Jon walked in. “Morning.”
“Morning.” He answered. His lips twitched. “I know why I’m feeling the need to work up a sweat, but why are you here?”
“Trying to burn off excess energy – thanks to you.” She glared at him.
“Me? What’d I do?”
“You spoke to Richie yesterday didn’t you?”
“I talk to Richie everyday.” He hedged. At her withering look, he relented. “Yes I talked to him.”
She sighed. “Jon, I love that you’ve accepted me so completely that you feel you need to watch out for me. But I’m not Stephanie. I’m your sister, not your daughter. I’m a grown woman. I appreciate that you’re there for me when and if I need you, but we need to come to some sort of agreement, particularly where Richie is concerned.”
He frowned. “Like what?”
“I’ll let you look after my safety when it comes to things dealing with the tour, the band – as a whole – and anything that may come up due to your celebrity. I will come to you if there’s something I need you to talk to Richie about, but until then I need you to stay out of my relationship with him…and PLEASE stay out of my sex life! Deal?”
He sighed. “Deal. I’m sorry. I know I was out of line. I saw you hurting and my protective instincts kicked in. But believe me, that’s not a conversation I want to have again – with either one of you,….ever.” He shuddered.
“Yeah, it didn’t do a whole lot for me either. But Jon, he’s your best friend and has been for over twenty years. And I’ve heard the stories about the lines outside his door in the eighties. Did you really think he would hurt me?”
“Not on purpose, but people can get carried away, and you’d been apart for quite awhile, and…I don’t want to talk about this anymore!” His face was flushed from more than the exertion of the treadmill.
She chuckled. “Have you talked to Dorothea this morning?”
“Yes. That’s why I’m down here!”
She laughed. “Well don’t look to me for sympathy!”
He just grimaced and punched up the speed of the treadmill.
Opening the door to the room, she closed it quietly behind her in case Richie was still sleeping. He was. She headed for the shower. She felt a cool draft as the door opened.
“Morning angel. You ready for some breakfast?”
“Morning honey. Yes please!”
“Anything in particular?”
“A cheese and mushroom omelet, toast and some fruit please.”
Standing in front of her suitcase she debated what to wear. Seeing Jon’s state this morning had given her an idea. She wasn’t sure that explaining to Richie how she felt was really going to get her point across as well as she’d like. She thought maybe a demonstration was in order. Smirking to herself she pulled on tight black jeans and a light blue cowl neck sweater that had a very deep cowl that showed more than a hint of her cleavage, cut outs that bared her shoulders and was so soft it just begged to be touched. She would have added the high boots, but she was going to be doing a lot of walking and sore feet wasn’t part of her plan, not to mention they had no traction for snow and ice. Instead she opted for her low boots – not quite as sexy, but still stylish.
She heard a knock at the door. “Breakfast’s here!” Richie called.
Walking into the sitting room she noticed the waiter’s eyes widen briefly before he recalled himself and put his professional mask back in place.
Looking up from signing the check Richie paused, his eyes licking over her. He handed the waiter the slip and pen, thanked him and closed the door behind him.
“Wow darlin’ you look fantastic!” He couldn’t resist sliding his hands up and down her arms, pleased to find that her sweater felt as soft as it looked.
“Thank you.” Raising up on tiptoe she kissed him briefly. “Mmmm. That smells good.” She stepped away from him to set out their plates, and taking a seat she poured them both coffee, picked up her fork, and began to eat.
Richie took his seat across from her, but wasn’t sure what he ate. He couldn’t take his eyes off her. When she bent over to pick up the napkin she’d dropped, the neck of her sweater fell away from her body giving him a clear view right down to her navel. His mouth went dry. His nobleness of the night before was coming back to bite him now. He was so focused on looking down her top he missed the satisfied little smirk that twisted her lips when she saw where he was looking.
After breakfast, he showered – a cold one at that, shaved and dressed and they went downstairs to meet the rest of the guys.
The day was a busy one. Tori took them to the major sites in Canada’s national capital including the Byward Market and the Museum of Civilization. She thought they had lost Tico in the National Art Gallery.
Tori was amazed that, for the most part, they were left alone. There were a lot of people who looked twice, but their expressions said that they thought they must be mistaken. Those that did approach, were polite and the guys graciously signed autographs and posed for pictures.
Intent on her mission, Tori took every opportunity available all day to tease Richie. Whether it was brushing her breast along his arm, or rubbing up against him under the premise of showing him something, or resting her hand on his thigh when they were sitting, and of course all the little touches and caresses that loving couples bestow on each other almost without thinking whenever they are in close proximity to each other. By late afternoon he was beginning to tense when she got close and his eyes, when he looked at her, were dark and hot.
They were debating about where to eat when Tori’s phone rang.
Here I am at
Jon looked at Richie and shook his head. “You need to find a hobby!”
“Hi Mom” Tori answered without even bothering to look at the window.
“Hello dear. I just have a few questions for dinner on Sunday. Is roast beef good for everyone?”
“I think roast beef will be fine.” She glanced around the group who all smiled and nodded.
“Good. Now, are there any vegetables that anyone doesn’t like?”
“I think you’re probably okay, but let me check.” She turned to the guys. “Any vegetables anyone really doesn’t like?”
“Brussel sprouts.” Hugh answered with a grimace. No one else had anything to add.
“Ok Mom, stay away from the Brussel sprouts and you’re good. And don’t forget the Yorkshire pudding.”
“That’ll have to wait until you get here. You know I can never get that to turn out right.” She went on to give Tori the entire menu she had planned.
“That sounds good Mom. You really don’t have to be worried. If you saw what these guys eat on tour most of the time, you’d realize that a home cooked meal of any kind is a welcome relief for them.”
They all nodded vigorously.
“Ok Mom, we’ll be there about five on Sunday.”
“That’ll be good dear. We’ll see you all then. By the way everyone will be here. They’re very anxious to meet Jon.....and Richie. How is Richie by the way?”
“Richie is just fine Mom.” Tori rolled her eyes.
“Hi Mom!” Richie called.
“Hello Richie dear.”
“Mom, I’ve got to go. We’ll see you Sunday.”
“Ok. See you then.”
She closed the phone. “Mom says hello.” She told Richie.
“She likes me!” He informed the rest.
“Yeah, well, you’re going to get to meet my other two brothers, and they don’t know you like Jon and Tony and Matt do. They are also older than Jon, so they are the senior brothers. You might want to hold off on that smugness.” She retorted. He just grinned.
They ate dinner at one of the many restaurants around the market, then found a bar with a live blues band. Taking a table in a dark corner to avoid detection, they settled back to enjoy the music.
The setting and atmosphere fit perfectly into Tori’s plan. Finally, in self preservation, Richie dragged her out onto the dance floor where he could at least control her hands. He quickly realized his folly. Her hands were the least of his problems. The slow sensual music allowed her to sink into his arms, her head on his shoulder, her body pressed close to his as they moved together.
“Darlin’, as much as I love feeling your hands and body stroking mine, unless you want to be part of an embarrassing public display, I suggest you tone it down a bit.” He growled in her ear.
She gave him an innocent look, then hid her smile in his shirt when he just grunted at her. She did give him some space to allow him to cool down though. She didn’t want to frustrate him….yet.
By the time they returned to the hotel, his tension had eased and the heat between them had cooled. Climbing into bed, she leaned over to kiss him. He slid a hand into hair at her nape to hold her to him while he leisurely explored her mouth with his tongue. His other hand stroked her back, then slid around to cup a breast.
Feeling him hardening against her hip she pulled back despite his grip. “Sorry babe, I’m beat, and you’re too sore.” She yawned and turned away curling up with her back to him.
Flabbergasted, he rolled on his side towards her. “I’m not sore.”
“You will be if you ever pull a stunt like you did last night again. I wasn’t sore either, but you didn’t bother to find out, you just decided that you knew what was best for me.” She retorted without moving from her position. She waited for his reaction.
He rolled onto his back, blew out a breath and lay staring at the ceiling for several minutes. “Jon was right. Your paybacks are a bitch!”
Chuckling she rolled over until she was laying on top of him. Folding her hands on his chest, she rested her chin on them and gazed down at him. “Message received?”
He grimaced. “Yes. I’m sorry. I should never have assumed to know how you were feeling and what was best for you. I should have talked to you about it instead of making the decision for you.”
Her brows lifted in surprise. “Very good!” She sighed. “Honey, I love that you want to protect me – even from yourself, but we should be making those kinds of decisions together.”
“Would you tell me if I was hurting you?”
“Truly hurting me, yes.” She assured him. “I will admit that the other night came close – due to duration after we’d been apart for so long more than anything.”
He nodded. “I’m sor..”
She cut him off with a hand over his mouth. “If you apologize for that night I’ll be really pissed! It was incredible and definitely worth any tenderness I felt the next day. Richie, do you have any idea how it made me feel to know that I had driven you to that state? I have never felt more desired in my life! Don’t you dare tell me you’re sorry for that!”
He grinned under her hand and kissed her fingers. She lifted her hand. “I wouldn’t dream of it angel.” His hands rose to her shoulders and stroked down her back. “Are you really too tired?”
She frowned. “I should make you suffer like you did me last night!”
Reaching the hem of her – his – t-shirt he slid his fingers underneath to cup her buttocks with both hands and smiled when he found only bare skin. Kneading the firm globes he rocked her against him. Lifting one hand he traced the crease between the halves down until he reached her wet, heated cleft. “Are you sure you want to do that?”
Gasping at his touch she arched into him. “Lucky for you I don’t hold grudges.” Spreading her legs she opened herself to him.
Chuckling, he slid first one, then two long fingers inside her and stroked them slowly in and out.
She groaned and flexed her hips, rocking in time with the movement of his fingers, caressing his erection. Eyes glazed, she licked and kissed his chest, sucking on his hard nipples.
Moaning, he tugged her shirt up with his free hand until she was forced to raise her torso enough to remove it. He cupped her breast, kneading and squeezing, matching the rhythm of her hips and his fingers.
Panting, she braced her knees on either side of his hips and lifted just enough to fit her hand between them and wrap it around his hard shaft – well, as much as she could. She stroked from base to tip, squeezing rhythmically, keeping to the same beat as his hand.
“God, baby! You feel like molten lava around my fingers.”
Her internal muscles contracted in response to his murmured words. He groaned.
“Richie, no more teasing! I need to feel you inside me!” She begged.
“You are feeling me.” He rasped, thrusting his fingers more forcefully.
She shook her head. “It’s not enough. I need to feel this!” She tightened her grip on his erection and lengthened her strokes.
Now he was panting and rocking his hips in counterpoint to her hand.
Sliding her free hand up over his shoulder, she placed it on the bed. Rising up further on her knees she leaned forward until she could reach his mouth with hers. She licked first one lip, then the other, sucking on his bottom lip, then nibbling. When his tongue came out to lick at her, she stroked it with hers, following it back into the warm cavern of his mouth. The kiss turned incendiary as each tried to take control.
Finally, with her arm shaking with the effort of holding her up and her body aching for fulfillment, she lifted her head and moved her hips back and down.
“Baby please!” She whispered.
Responding to her plea, he slid his fingers out and gripping her hips urged her back. Using her hand to guide him, she whimpered at the feel of him nudging her slick flesh.
He froze and held her hips still. “Hurt?” His voice was a gravely rasp.
She shook her head and fought against his hold, wanting only to feel him fill her deeply, completely. “Richie!”
Relaxing his hold he let her move to take him fully. When he was finally buried to the hilt, they both groaned and paused, fighting for breath.
“Mmmm, baby you feel so good!” He gasped.
Unable to wait any longer, Tori pushed herself up into a sitting position, driving him even deeper. Moaning she began raising and lowering herself.
Panting he lifted his hands to cover her breasts, kneading and squeezing her taut peaks. His hips thrust up with every downward movement of hers. Glancing down he watched his shaft gliding in and out of her welcoming body. The sight was so erotic, it caused him to swell and lengthen even more. When she gave a ravaged moan at the sensation he shifted his gaze to her face. Head tilted back, eyes closed, skin flushed, her expression pure ecstasy, she was more beautiful to him than any woman he’d ever met.
Forcing her eyes open she met his gaze, a desperate plea in hers. “Richie, help me!”
In response, he pulled her down onto his chest, then rolled her beneath him, never missing a beat. When he felt her legs wrap around him he started thrusting harder and faster.
“Yes, Richie, YES!” She screamed as the wave of her orgasm swamped her.
Her velvet walls squeezed him tight, demanding he join her in paradise. “Tori!” He cried out as he followed her into oblivion.
She held him cradled in her arms as they both shook with the force of their climaxes, and fought for breath.
When he started to move, she held him tighter.
“I’m crushing you.” He protested.
She shook her head. “Please. Don’t leave me yet.”
Compromising, he held her close and rolled onto his side, taking her with him so that they remained intimately joined. He smoothed her hair back from her face and kissed her.
“I love you.”
“I love you too.”
They fell asleep that way.
The next day they slept in, ate a late breakfast – more like brunch actually – packed and just relaxed before heading over to the arena early for interviews before and after the sound check. Since this was the first time they had ever played this venue, Obie was insisting on a full on extended sound check.
While the guys were doing interviews, Tori wandered around and watched the merchandise booths set up. Looking over the display, she grinned. Maybe Jon really had listened to her! There were beige and green and pink shirts among the black and white and grey. And while there were still the “kiddie” shirts for women, there were normal sized ones as well. The prices were still a bit high, but they hadn’t increased from the last tour like the marketing team had wanted. All in all, she was pleased by what she saw.
She was still standing there when she was approached by a BJM staffer. “Tori, P.K. asked me to give this to you.”
“Thanks.” She took the envelope from him and opened it absently while she tried to decide which shirts she wanted. Glancing inside the envelope she frowned and headed for the tour office.
Entering the room that BJM had commandeered for the control centre, she glanced around until she found Paul. As usual, he was on the phone. She approached his desk slowly, waiting for him to finish his call.
Hanging up, Paul glanced up and saw her. “Hi Tori, what’s up?”
“What’s this?” She waved the envelope.
“Your paycheck for the Montreal shows. Jon asked me to give it to you.”
She stared at him for a moment. “Where is my brother right now?”
He glanced at his watch. “He’s in interviews for another half hour. Then they have sound check.”
“Ok, if you see him first will you tell him I’m looking for him please? I’ll be in either his or Richie’s dressing room.”
Wandering down to the dressing rooms, she went into Richie’s first. Going through his stage wardrobe she put together what she thought was a cool outfit and set it aside for his consideration – not that he needed the help. He always looked good without any help, but she was a little bored. She glanced at her watch and headed for Jon’s dressing room to wait for him.
After pacing around for a few minutes, she started surveying Jon’s wardrobe, also pulling out an outfit for him. She was debating between two shirts when he walked in.
“The blue one’s more comfortable.”
Nodding, she laid the blue one with the rest of the clothing she’d set aside. He looked over what she’d put together and nodded his approval. “That’ll work. Paul said you were looking for me. What’s up?”
She pulled the envelope from her pocket and waved it at him. “This is what’s up.”
“Paul said it was my paycheck.”
“Oh, good, you got it.”
“Why am I getting a paycheck?”
“Because you performed.”
She snorted. “For all of, what, half an hour, total? And why do you feel you need to pay me?”
“Everyone who performs with us gets paid, no matter how long the performance.”
“But I’m family!” She argued.
“So? Matt gets paid for running the fanclub, and Tony gets paid for the various projects he records and produces. Why shouldn’t you?”
“Because it’s not the same thing! They provide a service or a product that promotes the band. I just sang a few songs.”
“What do you think I do?”
“Cute. I’m serious, Jon.” She paused. “I don’t need your money.” She finished quietly.
“I know that.” He studied her face. “Why do you think I’m paying you?”
“To try to make up for being separated from the family for all those years.”
He smiled ruefully. “Yeah, maybe a little. You’ve missed out on a lot over the years. But mostly, I’m used to taking care of my family, and having them involved with the band. I’m just trying to be fair. Please let me do this.”
“What about the rest of the band?”
“What about them?”
“Well, is this coming out of your share or are they contributing?”
He laughed. “I was going to cover it, but they insisted on pitching in.”
She still wasn’t real comfortable with it, but she knew it would make him happy – and it wasn’t a huge amount. She would just have to make sure it didn’t happen again. Then she realized what his last comment meant.
“You mean Richie knew about this?” She asked with a frown.
“Yes. I talked to him and Tico and David before I told Paul to cut the check. Is that a problem?”
“That depends. When did you talk to them?”
“Just before the interviews today.”
“Where’s my woman?” They could hear Richie hollering down the hallway. “Anyone seen my woman?”
Tori sighed and shook her head.
“Subtle isn’t he?” Jon laughed.
“Like a brick.” She stuck her head out of the door. “I’m right here.”
“Oh, hey baby. I couldn’t find you.” Richie complained.
“Uh huh, and you looked real hard.” His dressing room was right next to Jon’s. “Any particular reason you were looking for me?”
“Just wondered what you were doing. Did you lay out those clothes for me?”
“Yeah. You don’t have to wear them if you don’t want to. I was just bored. I picked out some stuff for Jon too.”
“What about me?” David asked as he walked up to join them.
Richie snorted “You’ve got to have something worth choosing first. She’s not a miracle worker!”
“Richie! It’s not that bad! We got him some nice stuff the other day.” She turned to David. “I didn’t want to just walk into your dressing room and nose around without your permission.”
“Consider it given. You’re welcome to nose around and work your magic on me anytime.”
“Mmmm.” He gestured to Richie. “You’ve made him almost bearable to be around again – at least as much as he ever was. That’s some pretty strong magic. I think Tico named you right when he called you an angel. Either that or a witch. Either way if you can do that for him, feel free to use your skills on my behalf.”
“I told you before, get your own. This one’s mine!” Richie growled, wrapping his arms around her possessively.
“Sound check!” Obie called.
While the guys were busy with doing sound check, Tori pulled together an outfit for David, then went out to watch Obie put them through their paces. Then it was back to interviews for the band, and Tori went to check out the crowd.
She noticed a few people looking at her and whispering, but she figured it had more to do with the VIP pass around her neck than anything else. She was standing to the side watching a merchandise booth to see if her theories were right. A staffer walked by and waved at her. She waved back. Suddenly he stopped, backed up and came to stand beside her.
“Repeat that please.” He said into his radio, then held it so that Tori could hear too.
“If anyone sees Tori, can you tell her she’s wanted back stage right away please?”
Tori sighed and grabbed the radio. “Tell Richie to chill out. I’m on my way.”
“With all due respect Tori, if it’s all the same to you, we’ll let you tell him that.” The staffer on the other end of the radio replied dryly.
“Don’t tell me you’re afraid of him!” She laughed.
“Uh, ok, I won’t tell you.” Came the response.
Shaking her head, she handed the radio back and headed for the dressing room area. She found them all sitting in Jon’s room. She got blasted as soon as she walked in the door.
“Where were you?”
“What were you doing?”
“Whoa! Down boys! I was out watching a merchandise booth to see if my theories were right.”
“Alone?” Richie asked with a frown.
“No, there were about eighteen thousand fans there with me.” She replied dryly.
“Not funny Tori.” Jon retorted.
She sighed. “I was bored. You guys were doing interviews, and I was looking for something to occupy my time. I had watched them set up the booths earlier, and saw the new merchandise.” She smiled at Jon. “I decided to see how sales were going.”
“I don’t like the idea of you wandering around out there alone.” Richie’s frown deepened.
She stared at him. “Unless I’m with you guys, no one knows who I am. And your security people are always roaming around and they all know me now – after that lecture from Jon they’re not about to screw that up twice. They walk by me and wave or nod. They’re never far away if I need help. I wasn’t in any danger.”
“Still, I think you should stay backstage.”
She gazed at him in disbelief. “And do what? Twiddle my thumbs while you’re tied up with interviews? No thank you.”
“So bring a book.” His voice was firm.
It was his tone more than his words that had her eyes narrowing. “No.”
“No.” Turning on her heel she headed for the door.
“Where are you going?!”
“To watch Hedley!”
She didn’t stop.
Richie turned to Jon for support, but he just raised his hands defensively. “Don’t look at me. I’m not getting into this one.”
“Aren’t you worried about her safety?”
“Of course I am. Why do you think she’s seeing so many security and staff members? They’re keeping an eye on her. I just figured it was better not to shove it in her face.” Jon replied.
Tori stood by the side of the stage and watched Hedley do their thing, laughing at frontman Jacob Hogarth’s antics. At one point he saw her and winked. She smiled back. They had met at the after party in Montreal and had chatted a little. When they were taking their bows, she sighed and headed backstage.
She turned to see Jacob hurrying towards her. “What’d ya think?”
“Very good – a little manic, but good.”
“We’re not in their league, though.” He admitted, nodding towards the Jovi dressing rooms.
“You also haven’t been around for twenty-plus years either. They’ve been where you are. Just keep plugging away and stay true to yourselves and you’ll get there.”
He looked surprised. “That’s what Jon said.”
She laughed. “Well, there you go. He would know.”
“Thanks Tori, I guess I’ll see you later.”
“You bet. See you Jacob.”
She walked down the hallway and stopped in front of Richie’s door. Taking a deep breath she blew it out, opened the door and walked in. Richie glanced up when she entered, but didn’t say anything. He finished tucking his shirt in and checked to make sure the ‘danglies’ were not tangled.
Tori walked over to help. “You ready?”
“Do you need anything?”
He stepped away and reached for his jacket. Putting it on, he leaned back against the dressing table to look at her. “Yes. An explanation.”
She didn’t even try to pretend that she didn’t know what he was referring to. She frowned. “I don’t like being told what I can do and where I can go and generally being treated like a child who doesn’t know enough to come in from the cold. I understand that you’re concerned about my safety. I get that. But I’m not a child, and I’m not stupid. I was watching the crowd. If they had shown the least bit of interest in me I would have grabbed one of the staffers that Jon has keeping an eye on me.” Richie looked surprised. “I told you, I’m not stupid. I’ve been going to Bon Jovi concerts for a very long time, and I’m beginning to know my brother. I’ve never seen so many BJM staffers wandering around among the crowd. I know that Jon has them watching over me. We have even developed our own little code. They nod at me and I nod back to say that everything is fine. I really don’t believe that the fans pose a threat to me. They may want to say hi, but it’s you and the guys they want to maul, not me. The threat comes when I’m with you or Jon. Then I become an obstacle that needs to be removed in order to reach the goal.”
“Do you know what it would do to me if you were hurt?” He asked quietly. “Knowing that it was because of me and my lifestyle and that I did nothing to prevent it? I told you that I’m possessive. I also have this overwhelming need to protect you.”
“I understand that. And when I’m with you, I will absolutely accept the protection. But Richie, you’re making me feel like you’re trying to control me. I can’t walk out of a room without you asking me where I’m going and what I’m doing. I don’t want to feel like I have to account for every minute of my day to you!”
“I’m sorry you feel that way. That’s not my intention. But I need you to acknowledge that I know more about what can happen in this environment than you do at this point. I will agree that not many people will recognize you right now. But that will change as time goes on. I will even give you that, on the whole, the Jovi nation is not going to hurt you. But there are nutcases out there that would love to get their hands on you. Your connection to me and to Jon puts a very big target on your back. I’m glad that you realize what the staff are doing and that they’re there to help you if you need it. I know that all of this is very new to you, but Tori, like it or not, you’re part of it now, and you’re going to have to adjust your expectations and your lifestyle to accommodate the circus that comes with being part of the Jovi family. And you’ve got a double whammy to cope with. Jon and I will help you as much as we can, but you’re going to have to trust us and not jump on us when we ask you to do or not do things for the sake of your safety.”
He walked over and wrapped his arms around her, lacing his fingers together and resting them in the small of her back. “Sweetheart, I’m not trying to control you, but I need to make sure that you’re safe. Until you become more familiar with all of this, I’m sorry, but I’m going to keep close tabs on you. I have to. I love you.”
Before she could respond, there was a knock on the door. “Five minutes!”
They could hear the rest of the guys in the hallway. Releasing her, Richie grabbed her hand and led her to the door.
“Wow, David you actually look like a rockstar!” Hugh commented.
“Yeah, maybe you should hire Tori to be your personal shopper and stylist!” Tico suggested.
“Nobody is hiring me to do anything!” Tori informed them, shooting a look at Jon. “I’d be happy to help.”
Jon smirked and motioned them all forward glancing back and forth between Richie and Tori. When they reached the stairs to the stage, Tori wished them luck and went around to the side to access her usual spot.
Jon raised a brow at Richie, who shrugged. “She’ll be alright. She’s just having a hard time adjusting to the circus.”
Standing in the wings watching the show, Tori realized that if she stayed there, chances were that Jon would bring her out to sing again, and then try to pay her again. On top of that, the more she was in the public eye, the more recognizable she became, and the less her life would be her own. She knew when she was acknowledged by the Bongiovis and got involved with Richie that she would lose some privacy, but she hadn’t anticipated the extent of the changes she would be asked to accept. She wasn’t sure she was prepared to give up that much control of her life. She had been so concerned with figuring out how to cope with Richie’s past, his issues, and his lifestyle, not to mention Jon and his family, she hadn’t considered how her own life would be altered.
Leaving the stage, she told Richie’s tech that she was going back to the dressing rooms, and snagging a glass of wine from the command centre, where there was some refreshments set up she settled herself in a chair in Richie’s room to think.