The next day was the last one where they would all be together for a while, and Tori was determined to make it a fun one. Richie and Joan must have had the same idea as they both settled in the kitchen to help – or in Richie’s case, hinder – the two bakers.
Richie was on a roll. He had a smart ass remark about everything and was constantly in the way. It finally got to the point that his mother told him if he didn’t knock it off she was going to thump him with the rolling pin. Ava giggled. Tori grinned. Richie pouted.
“So how is Stephanie doing?” Joan asked.
“Good, really good. There’s no signs of rejection and her doctor is really happy with what he’s seeing.” Tori answered.
“I’m fine. My other kidney is taking up the slack and functioning normally. I feel really good.”
“You certainly do darlin’.” Richie murmured, running a hand over her hip and giving her a squeeze as he reached past her for a cookie.
“Can I see your scar?” Ava asked.
Without waiting for Tori to answer, Richie stepped back and lifted her shirt to reveal what was now just a thin white line.
“Cool!” Ava responded, then frowned. “Daddy, how did you know where it was?”
Tori bit her lip and looked at Richie to see how he would respond. Joan smirked.
Richie stared at his daughter for a few seconds. “I saw it when she was sitting by the pool at Uncle Jon’s in her bathing suit.”
“Oh.” Ava turned back to placing balls of dough on cookie sheets.
Richie wiped his hand across his brow in a gesture of relief and winked at Tori. She just shook her head – and smacked his hand with a wooden spoon when he reached for yet another cookie.
“Stay out of them or there won’t be enough for Christmas!”
“But I’m the official tester. How can I test them if I don’t taste them?” Then he grinned, noticing the crumbs she’d missed at the corner of her mouth from her own sampling. “Maybe I should just taste you.” Grabbing her from behind, he dipped her way back, ignoring her squeak of surprise and licked up the crumbs before capturing her mouth and tasting it thoroughly.
Ava looked at her grandmother and rolled her eyes.
When he stood her up again, Tori swatted his arm. “Can’t you find something to do?”
“I’ve already got something to do.”
“I think she means something other than bugging us and eating all the cookies Daddy.”
“Oh, I’m bugging you am I?” With a mock growl he grabbed her, hung her upside down and tickled her until she begged for mercy. Setting her on her feet again he snickered at her red face.
Tori motioned Ava to her and whispered in her ear while Joan kept Richie distracted. Ava grinned and nodded.
She walked back over to the bowl where she’d been mixing the ingredients for gumdrop cake. The applesauce in it kept the cake from being dry, and made the batter a little on the runny side. She stirred the batter a couple times, then frowned down at the spoon. “What is that?”
“What?” Ava asked coming to take a look. “Eeeew! Daddy come look at this!”
Curious, Richie bent over the bowl. “What? I don’t see anything.”
“Right there.” Tori pointed with finger. Ava moved to hold the bowl.
“Right where? I still can’t see anything.” As he bent closer, Tori pushed on the back of his head driving his face into the bowl full of batter that Ava held tightly so that it wouldn’t slide away.
He came up sputtering and spitting raisins. “Hey! What was that for?”
The females cracked up at the vision he presented with batter clumping his eyelashes and gumdrops dripping off his chin.
“You know what they say about paybacks.” Tori choked out between gasps.
He licked his lips. “This one’s pretty tasty.”
With Richie in the shower, they were finally able to get the baking done.
That evening, Tori helped Ava with her homework, then they all played Uno for an hour or so before heading to bed.
The next morning they all loaded into the Hummer. They would drop Ava off at school and then take Joan to LAX to catch her flight home.
Arriving at the school, they all got out to say goodbye on the sidewalk in front of the main doors.
“Bye Nana. Have a safe trip home.” Ava gave her grandmother a kiss.
“Bye sweetie. I’ll see you at Christmas.”
Ava hugged Tori tightly. “Thanks again for everything Tori. It was really nice to meet you. I can’t wait until Christmas.”
“Me too Bean. And you’re welcome.” She tipped Ava’s face up to hers. “If you need anything, or just want to talk, call me, okay?” She handed her a piece of paper with her cell phone number on it. “Here’s my cell number, or you can reach me on your dad’s for the next couple weeks.”
Ava nodded. “Thanks. I will.”
“Come on sweetie, you’re going to be late. I’ll walk you to the door.” Richie held out a hand to her and they headed for the door.
“Don’t let her see your tears.” Joan advised. “It’ll just upset her.”
Tori nodded and turned her head.
When Richie and Ava reached the door, she turned to him and smiled. “Thank you for bringing Tori home with you. Try to hang on to this one Daddy, I like her.”
He couldn’t help but chuckle. “I’ll do my best. I like her too. A lot.” He lifted her up for a hug and a kiss. “Be good baby girl. I’ll talk to you soon. Call me if you need to.”
“I will. Bye Daddy. I love you.”
“Bye sweetie. I love you too.”
Ava turned to wave one last time at Tori and Joan who waved back. Richie walked back to the tank and they all climbed in. They rode in silence for several miles.
Finally, Joan sighed. “Hey you two. She’s going to be alright you know.” Both heads nodded, but neither said a word. “She’s got a roof over her head, food in her belly, clothes on her back, she’s not being beaten, she’s not being deprived of any necessities. She’ll be okay.”
“She deserves better. She deserves to be loved.” Tori stated quietly looking out the window.
“She is loved. By both of you. And she knows it.”
“She deserves a loving home and a mother who knows how to be one, not the half assed attempt she’s faced with everyday. I want better for my daughter.” Richie argued bitterly.
“Then I guess you’ll have to find an alternative for her, won’t you.” Joan commented. She knew she was sticking her nose in where it didn’t belong, but Richie wasn’t the only parent in the car that wanted their child to have a happy home life. It was blatantly obvious to her that these two were perfect together, and if they needed a little push she’d be happy to provide it.
Incredulous, Richie shot a glance at Tori, then met his mother’s eyes in the rearview mirror. She tried to look innocent. He held back a snort, but he looked thoughtful as they took the cutoff for LAX. Tori hid a smile and refused to look at Richie as she continued to gaze out the window.
Arriving back at the house, Richie closed the door behind them. The house was very quiet. Suddenly they both realized that, with the exception of the staff, they were alone. Tori turned and saw an intense, predatory look on Richie’s face. She slowly backed towards the stairs, and he followed her like a lion stalking its prey.
With a barely stifled squeal she turned and ran up the stairs, her adrenaline spiking when she heard his footsteps pounding after her. Reaching the top she turned and ran towards her room. As she passed his she felt an arm snake around her waist and lift her off the ground. She bit back a scream.
“Oh no you don’t!” He growled low in her ear. “Now I have you all to myself.” Juggling her he turned her to face him, still holding her off the floor. Sliding one hand up to tangle in her hair, he tugged gently, urging her face up to his.
When she obliged his mouth crashed down on her, his tongue forcing its way into her mouth. This was no teasing gentle kiss. He ate at her mouth. She whimpered as his urgency transmitted itself to her and her emotions quickly rose to match his. Lacing her arms around his neck, she returned the kiss, opening her mouth wider and sucking on his tongue. But it wasn’t enough, she wanted – she needed to be closer. She raised her legs and wound them tightly around his hips and ground herself against him.
He groaned at her actions, and turning, staggered into his room, kicking the door shut behind them before slamming her up against the wall. Pinning her between the wall and his hard body, he freed his hands to grasp the hem of her t-shirt and wrestle it up and off of her. Her bra quickly followed.
Panting, she returned the favour, ripping off a couple of buttons in her haste to rid him of the offending garment. Recapturing his mouth she ran her hands over his arms and shoulders, nails raking lightly, and pressed her breasts against his chest.
His hands were running up and down her sides, thumbs teasing the verges of her breasts. Easing back a bit he slid both hands between them to cup and knead her firm mounds.
She moaned and rocked against him. Unable to wait any longer she tried to reach for the waistband of his pants, but his arms were in the way.
Realizing what she wanted – it was what he wanted too – he released her and nudged at her legs. He set her on her feet long enough to strip off her jeans and panties. She slid his over his hips and down his legs. When she would have reached for him, he caught her hand and pushed her back up against the wall.
“No. I’m too far gone for that.” He rasped when she protested.
He lifted her again, and urged her legs back around his hips. Gripping her buttocks in his large hands, he squeezed, then slid one long finger along her cleft and buried it deep inside her, checking her readiness. Feeling her wetness, he removed his finger, positioned himself and filled her with one hard thrust.
She gasped at the suddenness of his entry. He froze.
“Okay?” The word was barely recognizable. The feel of her warm sheath engulfing him had closed his throat.
She nodded, unable to form words – it was taking all of her concentration to breathe – and wriggled, trying to ease the fit.
Assured that he wasn’t hurting her, he started to move. He wanted to be gentle, but his blood was boiling in his veins, and the feel of her in his arms and the taste of her in his mouth made it impossible to hold back. He pounded into her, over and over, grunting with the effort.
For long minutes the only sounds in the room were the slap of flesh on flesh, the thumping of Tori’s back hitting the wall, Richie’s groans and the sawing of oxygen being sucked into deprived lungs.
As her peak approached, she tightened her grip – both on his neck and on his shaft – sucked his ear lobe into her mouth and bit down.
In response he thrust even harder driving her into her climax and letting her take him with her.
She clung to him, feeling the warmth of his release deep in her core and waited for the shudders to subside and her brain to start functioning again. When she could take a deep breath again she started to relax her legs and separate from him.
With a growl he pulled her tighter against him and lifting his head from the wall where he had been resting it while he caught his breath, he straightened and carried her to the bed. He laid down on his back, settling her on top of him, still intimately joined, and slowly stroked her back as they both enjoyed the afterglow.
Within a few – very few – short minutes Tori grinned against his chest as she felt him swelling and hardening inside her. She lifted her head enough to look down into his eyes and crooked a brow at him. “Haven’t you had enough?”
He leered up at her. “Baby, I’ll never get enough of you.” With that he wrapped his arms around her and rolled her underneath him. Raising up on his forearms he bent his head to trace her mouth with his tongue and nibble on her lips. He trailed kisses along her jaw to her ear and nuzzled the spot that always provoked a response – and this time was no exception. He could feel the shiver that racked her body ripple through the satiny flesh that clasped him like a glove – and felt himself swell even larger in response.
Tori groaned at the sensation. He filled her full, stretching her delicate sheath to its limit.
“Richie.” She sighed and rotated her hips against him.
At the sound of his name on he lips he initiated a hip movement of his own, rocking slowly into her, pressing deeper and deeper until he could go no further. But he wanted to. He may have said the words in a joking tone, but he meant them. No matter how many times he had her, it was never enough.
“Baby, you’re so tight…God you feel good!”
Apparently he wasn’t the only one on the fast track today. It was less than five minutes since her last climax and already her body was on the edge of another one.
He obliged, thrusting faster and faster. His breath groaned in her ear. “That’s it baby, take it….take it all!” It wasn’t enough – he needed more. Two strokes later she went rigid in his arms and screamed his name, her nails sinking into shoulder blades and raking down his back. Yes! “Tori!” His own cry reverberated around the room as he followed her over the edge.
Rolling off her to sprawl at her side, he closed his eyes and fought for breath. “Baby, you’re going to be the death of me!”
“Me?!” She rolled up on one elbow to look at him. “Babe, if it was me, I’d be pushing to go again.” He eyed her warily. “But I don’t have the strength.” She collapsed onto her back. “Maybe after lunch.”
He chuckled. “Why did I know you’d want food?”
“Because sating one appetite builds up another.”
“Can we rest for a few minutes first?”
She thought about it for a minute, then rolled over, into his arms, and rested her head on his shoulder. “Okay. I understand that when men get to a certain age, it takes them longer to regain their strength after strenuous activity.” She held her breath and waited for his reaction.
The hand that had been stroking soothingly down her back, paused on her hip, then slapped one firm cheek lightly. “Brat! You’ll pay for that one later.”
“Baby, I’m counting on it!”
All too soon their break was over and they were on a plane heading for Toronto to rejoin the tour. They were dozing when Richie’s phone rang. Checking the display he glanced at Tori.
“Jon. Probably wants to make sure that I didn’t leave you locked up in my house.”
She grabbed the phone. “I’m sorry Richie’s not available right now. I’ve kidnapped him, tied him up, and I’m not letting him go.”
Jon chuckled. “Hi Sis. How did you like L.A.? And by the way…tying him up is not a punishment for him.”
She laughed. “I’ll keep that in mind. As for L.A., the house is beautiful, Ava’s adorable, he’s got the most wonderful cook, the shopping was fantastic and the weather was a hell of a lot better than what we’re heading back to.”
“I told you you’d like it. Where are you anyway?”
“I’m not real sure, but if I had to guess I’d say somewhere over Michigan.”
“Ok, you’re going to get there before we do.”
“What’s the matter, you guys running late?”
“Yeah, Romeo had a little accident this afternoon.”
“Oh no, is he alright?”
“He’s got a hell of a goose egg on his head, and a cut that bled like crazy, but other than that he’s fine. He found out the hard way why we’re always telling him to watch where he’s going.”
Tori smiled. Romeo liked to run around at top speed – usually looking over his shoulder or down at his feet. “What did he run into?”
“A door. He was running to tell Steph that we were leaving and yelling at us over his shoulder that he was going to get her and WHAM! For a minute he just had this stunned expression on his face, then he saw the blood and us wincing, THEN he started to cry. It took us ten minutes to calm him down and another twenty to clean him up and make sure he was okay.”
“Poor little guy. That had to hurt. I bet it didn’t slow him down any though.”
He chuckled. “You’d be right. Dot could hardly get him to sit still long enough to put a bandaid over the cut before he was off and running again.”
“So how late are you going to be?”
“We should land around five. I’ll have somebody pick you guys up and take you to the hotel. We’ll meet you at the ACC. We’ll just go straight there. When is your friend Karin coming?”
“Tomorrow night. We’re going to spend the afternoon together and then I’ll bring her to the show.”
“Okay. Sounds good. I’ll see you later then.”
“Didn’t you want to talk to Richie?” After all it was his phone that Jon had called.
“Naw, I just wanted to know where you guys were. Although you might tell him that he’s supposed to wait until the cake is baked instead of eating the batter.”
Tori’s jaw dropped. “How do you know about that?”
“Mom was talking to Joan the other day. Mom could hardly tell me the story she was laughing so hard. She said that Joan was full of praise for the way you handled him – and Ava. I wish I’d been there. I’d have liked to have seen him with a face full of batter.”
She grinned and winked at Richie. “It was quite the sight. My favorite was the gumdrops dripping off his chin.”
Richie grunted and pulled a magazine from the seat pocket in front of him.
“I always told him that one day his smart mouth would get him into trouble. And I have to say that I’m glad that it was a Bongiovi that dished it back to him! I guess I don’t have to worry about you being sucked in by the Sambora charm.”
“Oh I think I can hold my own.” She assured him.
He chuckled. “I’ll see you in a few hours. If you could see your way clear, I’d appreciate it if you could untie my wingman before the show – or at least make sure that the bindings aren’t cutting off the circulation. His hands are valuable you know.”
“Oh, I know, and very talented too.”
“I’m going to take that as a reference to his guitar playing abilities…..’cause anything else, I don’t want to hear about!”
Her laugh was low and dirty. “Don’t worry I’ll make sure he arrives in good condition. See you soon Jon.”
Hanging up she handed the phone back to Richie.
“Oh are you done talking about me? And how did he find out about your little stunt?”
“Your mother told his mother. You should know by now that there are no secrets within this family.” She grinned at his pout. “Still love me?” She hugged his arm, batted her eyes at him and pursed her lips for a kiss.
He grunted, gazed down at her for a moment, then sighed, kissed her briefly and went back to his magazine. “What did he want anyway?”
Grinning, she laid her head on his shoulder and told him about Romeo’s accident, them being late and the arrangements Jon had made.
A male flight attendant – one of the few straight ones Tori had ever seen – approached a few minutes later.
“I’m sorry to disturb you, and I really shouldn’t be doing this.” He paused to look to see if any of his colleagues were watching. Tori sat up to give Richie room to write, but froze in shock at the attendant’s next words. “Miss Adams, could I have your autograph?”
“Uh,…sure.” Stunned, she took the pen and paper that he held out to her. “What’s your name?”
“Well Jerry, here you go…and you can tell everyone that you got my very first autograph.”
“But I’m sure it won’t be her last.” Richie commented with an indulgent smile.
“With a voice like hers? No way!” Jerry gushed. He would have added or a body like that, but decided it wouldn’t be prudent to say with her boyfriend sitting right there.
“Thank you Jerry.” She still wasn’t used to all this fan stuff. But she had to admit, it felt good.
When Jerry walked away, she watched him for a moment, then turned back to Richie with a grin. He just smiled and nodded.
When they arrived at the arena, the others were already there. As they walked down the hallway towards the dressing rooms they were greeted by several staff members. Hearing them, Jon came out to meet them.
“Hi Jon. How’s the little man?” Tori gave him a hug.
Jon looked at his sister curiously. “Proudly showing off his ‘owie’ and Superman bandaid,” he rolled his eyes. “And running around as much as ever. What’s got you looking like the Cheshire Cat? It can’t be from hanging out in Hollyplastic with this guy.”
Richie flipped him off, but smiled gently at Tori. “She signed her first autograph on the flight here.”
“Aaah.” Jon responded, nodding in understanding. “That reminds me.” He motioned for Kevin to bring over Tori’s radio. She took it without a word.
“Hey, they’re here!” Hugh came out of a doorway followed by David and Tico. “How was L.A. Tori?”
“It was great.” She replied.
“Hey look Dave, it’s the doughboy.” Tico grinned.
“Gumdrop?” David offered Richie the bag he held in his hand.
Scowling, Richie glared at Tori. “Angel, you are so going to pay for this!”
She didn’t look worried. “You know, babe, you keep making that threat, but I’m still waiting for the follow through.”