Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Chapter 218

Richie awoke when his wife left the bed in a rush. The sounds of her retching had him sitting up, rubbing a hand over his face then rising to fulfill his part in their new morning routine. Much to Tori’s chagrin, what she had hoped was nausea brought on by the dizzy spell had turned into regular morning sickness. Thankfully, it seemed to be fairly mild. She’d throw up once, then after about an hour or so, would recover completely.

Nudging the bathroom door wide, he knelt beside her to hold her head and waited for the spasms to end. When she finally sat back he stood, filled a glass with water and handed it to her. “Morning.”

She glared at his cheerful tone. “Is it really? I hadn’t noticed.” Taking the glass, she rinsed her mouth and sighed. “Sorry.”

Hiding a smirk, he kept silent. He knew the hormone roller coaster was tricky to deal with at the best of times. He shuddered at the thought of what adding the Bongiovi temper to it would do. Reaching for her toothbrush, he squeezed toothpaste onto it and handed it to her.

“Thanks. You can go back to bed now.”

He helped her to her feet, then left her alone and did as she suggested. A few minutes later the bed dipped as she crawled back in between the sheets with a sigh. He opened his arms and gathered her close when she accepted the invitation. Long fingers stroked her back soothingly until he felt her breathing even out and her body sink further into his as she drifted back to sleep.

It had been an interesting couple of weeks since Tori had informed him that he was going to be a father again. Unless you were around her all the time you wouldn’t guess that she was pregnant. Aside from the morning sickness, she had surprisingly few symptoms, and most of those that she did have seemed to be directed at him, which he guessed was only right. Of course, the hormones were just starting to kick in. He sighed. That was the hardest to deal with. He wasn’t sure which was worse, seeing her in tears or being blasted by her temper for the slightest thing. And he knew from experience that it was only going to get worse. He had a feeling that he was going to find out just how thick his skin was. She was still tired a lot, but that was slowly getting better. One of the aspects of pregnancy that he’d always found fascinating – aside from feeling his child moving inside its mother’s body – was the food cravings that emerged. He was curious to see what Tori’s would be. Nothing had really shown up yet, although last night he’d walked into the living room to find her having a snack.

“What are you eating?” He was trying to identify what was in the bowl aside from ice cream.

“Chocolate ice cream.”

“Mmmhmmm, I can see that, but what’s on it?” It looked like some kind of sauce.

“Maple syrup.” She’d answered like it was something so common that he should have been able to figure it out. “Want some?” She’d offered him a spoonful.

“ thanks.” The combination turned his stomach.

He’d have to watch and see if was an occasional thing or became a regular part of her diet.

The most unsual and also the strongest symptom – at least he assumed her behaviour was due to her pregnancy – was her need to be close to him. If they were sitting on the couch watching T.V., she cuddled up next to him. She didn’t like it if they were apart for more two or three hours unless it was absolutely necessary, and even when they were both home, if he was in a different room for more than half an hour, she would come looking for him. If he was working she wouldn’t disturb him, she just wanted to know where he was. If he wasn’t working…then, quite often she would put him to work….on her. Her ‘surge in activity’ wasn’t restricted to bedtime or morning – or even the bedroom – anymore. Anytime of the day, if she felt the urge he could expect her to track him down and make him aware of her needs. If this kept up she was going to kill him before the baby arrived. Not that he was complaining – especially after what had happened three days ago.

He was sitting in the studio, acoustic guitar in his lap, writing when Tori came running in all excited from her shopping trip with Gail. They had gone to check out a few antique stores in search of furniture for her redecorating plans.

“Honey, guess what we found!” She barely waited until he moved the guitar before taking its place.

“What?” He looped his arms around her hips and smiled at her excitement. At times like this she reminded him of Ava.

“The most beautiful partners desk!” She had been looking for one for the office here, rather than having two or trying to share one – not that Richie used it very often – but this would make it much easier.

He didn’t know what it was, but she was obviously happy and that was all that mattered to him. “When are they delivering it?”

“Tomorrow.” She grinned, one hand rested on the bare skin of his chest, revealed by the open buttons of his shirt, the other played with the hair at the nape of his neck.

He watched her eyes darken and begin to glow. Knowing what that signalled, his blood heated and his body hardened in anticipation. When she leaned forward he moved to meet her. For long minutes they simply tasted each other, licking, nibbling and sucking on each others lips, tongues duelling.

Unsatisfied, wanting more, Tori quickly undid the rest of the buttons on his shirt and ran her hands feverishly over his chest. Breaking the kiss, she slid her mouth to his ear where she continued to lick and nibble. One hand drifted down to grip and stroke his erection through his pants.

He groaned. “Ah sweetheart, if that’s what you’re after, we’d better shut the door, or poor Rosa or Cathy’s may get an eyeful.”

With a chuckle she stood, walked to the door, closed it, and locked it. She leaned back against it for a moment while she studied him. Straightening, she began to strip off her clothes as she approached him.

His brows rose as he watched her shirt and bra land on the floor. “No more foreplay?”

She shook her head. “No. I need you to fill me. Now.” Her jeans hit the floor with a soft plop. She kicked out of them and ease her fingertips under the waistband of her panties.

His lips twitched and he shrugged out of his shirt. “Yes dear.” His eyes followed the scrap of lace as it slid over her hips and down her legs. At her raised brow he grinned, stood and quickly removed his pants and underwear. He spread his arms. “I’m all yours babe. How do you want me?”

She moved to stand in front of him, placed her hands on his shoulders and stroked down over his pecs. There she stopped and gave him a little shove until he sat down again. She nudged his knees apart with one of her own and knelt between them. Leaning forward, she explored his chest with hands and mouth, moving quickly down to her goal. She felt his fingers clench in her hair as she closed her hand around his swollen, pulsing flesh. Her mouth watered when he swelled even more. She used long strokes to tease and caress him.

“I thought you said no more foreplay.” He ground out between clenched teeth.

She shrugged. “I changed my mind.” Holding him with one hand, she cupped his sac with the other and squeezed rhythmically. He groaned. She bent her head and ran her tongue along the big vein on the underside of his shaft from base to tip. Blue eyes locked with brown, she licked her lips, opened her mouth and swallowed as much of him as she could.

His breath hissed through his teeth and his whole body tensed as he watched his throbbing flesh slide in and out of her mouth. The flick of her tongue ripped a moan from his throat. When she sucked, his hips bucked involuntarily and his hands tightened in her hair, helplessly guiding her. His breath came in pants as he neared the end of his control.

“Angel, unless you want this over in the next few minutes…” His Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed heavily. “Enough!”

Releasing him, she grinned, stood, straddled him and swiftly impaled herself in his lap. “Yes!” Her cry was pulled from her as he stretched her delicate flesh. She gripped his shoulders and began to undulate against him.

He watched in amazement as she climaxed in mere minutes. He held tightly to his control, knowing that once wasn’t enough for her these days. His hands stroked her back while he nuzzled his spot under her ear. She shuddered, and started to move again. Twice more he watched her peak before he couldn’t hold back any longer. Sliding his hands up her back, he grasped her shoulders and tipped her upper body away from his. She gasped as the change in position pressed him even deeper inside her. Gasp turned to scream when his mouth closed over a hard nipple and suckled. His hips thrust hard against hers while his mouth tortured first one breast then the other.

“Oh! Oh…oh…mmmmmm…yes…oh God! Yes…Richie!!” Her nails bit into his arms as she shattered, this time taking him with her.

No, he definitely wasn’t complaining. He just hoped that his stamina was a good as he thought it was! With a sigh he glanced at the clock to see how long they could nap. They were flying to Philly that afternoon. He was performing at a tribute to Les Paul at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame the next day. Normally, he would have flown in the day of, but Tori was insisting on coming with him – although if he was being honest, she didn’t have to insist very hard, he didn’t want to be separated from her either – and with her morning issues, he couldn’t expect her to travel in that condition. So they would stay at the condo tonight and travel to Cleveland tomorrow afternoon.

Feeling Tori press closer, he tugged the blankets higher around her, closed his arms more firmly around her and let himself drift off.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Chapter 217

When they entered the living room, Ava ran up to Tori and searched her face. “Are you okay?”

Tori smiled and hugged her. “Yes sweetie, I’m fine. When I heard you come in the door I jumped up and ran down the stairs. I got dizzy and that made me sick.”

“Like when you ride the teacups?”

“Exactly like that.”

They settled on the couch and Tori sipped her tea while Ava filled them in on all the latest happenings in Mrs. Thurgood’s sixth grade class.

“Dinner’s ready.” Rosa announced from the doorway.

As Tori neared the kitchen and the aromas hit her nose, her stomach started churning. She stopped and put a hand to her stomach. Catching Richie’s eye, she grimaced and shook her head.

“No, no Miss Tori. You don’t come in here. You go sit in the living room. I bring you another cup of tea and some toast to settle your stomach.” Rosa urged her to turn around.

The knowing look in Rosa’s eyes told Tori that she had somehow figured out what the situation was. She smiled wryly. “Thanks Rosa.”

A few minutes later Richie came to check on her. “You feeling any better angel?”

She nodded. “Yeah, but if this isn’t because I got dizzy, then somebody better tell my stomach that this is pm not am.”

He chuckled and leaned over to kiss her forehead. “It’ll get better.”

“Don’t lie.”

“I’m not. It will get better. It just might get worse first.”

“Well aren’t you the bearer of glad tidings?” She gave him a baleful look.

He grinned and shrugged. “Well, you told me not to lie.”

“Oh, go finish your dinner and leave me to finish mine in peace.” She picked up a piece of toast and took a bite.

“Yes dear.” He kissed her forehead again and headed back to the kitchen.

By the time Richie and Ava joined her, having finished their meal, Tori’s stomach had settled and she felt herself again.

“So Bean, what do you want to do tonight?” It was Friday.

“Ummm….do you feel up to a guitar lesson?”

“I’m up for it if Daddy is.” Tori assured her.

“Sure. Do you want to go into the studio or bring the guitars out here?” Richie asked.

“Let’s go into the studio.” Tori didn’t want him to coddle her.

As Richie reached down to help her up, Tori stood on her own, settled an arm around Ava’s shoulders and lead the way down the hallway. Lips twisting wryly, Richie followed.

Two hours later, they called a halt to the lesson, and returned to the living room to watch a movie. Richie followed Tori into the kitchen where she opened a cupboard and reached for the popcorn.

“Are you sure you’re up to that?” He frowned slightly.

Tori set two bags in the microwave and pushed the buttons. “We’ll soon find out, but I feel fine now.” As the scent of the popcorn filled the room she inhaled deeply. “Yep, back to normal.” She glanced at him. “Relax Rich, we’ve got a long way to go yet. If you get uptight this soon, you’re never going to make it another seven and a half months.”

He sighed. “I know. I just need a little time to let it sink in.”

She stepped up and hugged him. “I know the feeling.”

The beep of the microwave broke them apart. Richie reached up and pulled two bowls from the cupboard and handed them to Tori while he went to the fridge to grab Coke’s for all of them.

In the living room, Richie handed Ava her drink and Tori handed her a bowl of popcorn. Turning to the couch, she watched as Richie set their drinks on the coffee table, settled himself in the corner and patted the cushion beside him in invitation. She accepted and curled up beside him, holding the bowl so that they could both reach it. His arm snaked around her, holding her tight against him. She leaned more heavily against him, rested her head on his shoulder and smiled as she felt his hand slide under the hem of her shirt and curve protectively over her still flat stomach, his thumb stroking the smooth skin idly.

After tucking Ava into bed, Richie returned downstairs and found Tori in the kitchen cleaning up their dishes. Walking up behind her where she stood in front of the sink, he wrapped his arms around her and nuzzled his spot beneath her ear. “Are you happy?”

She tilted her head to the side to give him greater access, leaned back against him and rested her arms over his. “About the baby you mean?”

“Mmmhmm.” Talking about wanting a child was one thing, but sometimes being faced with the reality instead of just the idea was something completely different. He’d been down that road before, and he needed to know where her head was at.

“Ecstatic. You?” She sensed his need for reassurance, although she didn’t understand it.

“I….I don’t have words. Happy is too tame to describe what I’m feeling. It’s like….I’ve come out of the dark and found my world and my future brighter than ever. And it’s all because of you.” He squeezed her tighter. “And I’m scared to death that I’m going to fuck up and lose it all again.”

“Oh honey.” She turned despite his tight grip to face him, framed his face and searched his eyes. “You’re not going to lose anything. Remember what you told me that day by the river? There’s nothing we can’t handle together. And I’m not going anywhere. As long as we’re open and honest with each other, we can work through anything.” She reached up to kiss him. “I love you with all my heart. I’m not going anywhere.” She reached for his hand and pressed it against her womb. “We’re not going anywhere.”

They stood there for long minutes just holding each other. Finally, he sighed heavily, kissed her and released her. “You’ve had a long, emotional day. You should go on up to bed.”

“Are you coming?”

He nodded. “Just as soon as I lock up.”

When he entered their bedroom he found her in bed, still awake, a soft look in her glowing sapphire eyes as she silently watched him undress. She lifted the covers and he slid in beside her, chuckling when she immediately cuddled close. He kissed her softly and stroked her back. Deepening the kiss, she caressed his chest and pressed even closer. Despite responding to her kiss – everywhere – he didn’t take things further. She could feel him holding back, and she had a feeling she knew why. To hell with that! I’m not going to be celibate for the next seven months!

Breaking the kiss, she narrowed her eyes, laced her fingers in his hair and tugged. “Don’t even think about it Sambora!” His brows rose. “I’m not some fragile piece of glass, and nothing we’ve done over the past five weeks has caused any problems, so knock it off. Your pregnant wife wants you to make love with her. NOW!”


“NOW Richie!”

He chuckled and gave in. “Yes dear.” Despite her words he touched her carefully, reverently, rolling her on her back and stroking her from collarbone to waist over and over lingering on her sensitive areas while his lips and tongue teased and tasted her mouth.

“Hmmmm…” She sighed, closing her eyes and savouring the feel of his calloused fingers on her skin.

Grinning, he slid his mouth to her ear, nibbled on the lobe and nuzzled beneath it, noting the usual shiver that shook her body that made it his favourite spot. Moving down, he dotted open mouthed kisses over her upper chest and the top curve of her breast. He watched her face as he took the taut peak into his mouth, swirled his tongue around it and suckled lightly. She gasped and shuddered, her hands clenching in his hair, her back arching. Lifting his head, he kissed his way across her chest to give her other breast the same attention, keeping his caresses light as she was obviously more sensitive here now.

She smoothed her hands over his shoulders and back. “Richie now please! No more playing. I want to feel you inside me. I need to feel you inside me!”

Long fingers explored the swollen fold between her thighs. Finding her already moist, he slid two fingers deep, just to be sure she was ready.

“Mmmmmm…” She moaned, her hips lifting against his hand, trying to drive him deeper. When he just continued to massage her sensitive flesh with his fingers she frowned, shook her head and dug her nails into his back. “No! Not enough. I need more! Richie please!”

“Okay, okay.” He withdrew his fingers, shifted over her and lowered his hips between her eagerly spread thighs. Positioning the head of his swollen, aching erection at her opening, he braced his weight on his elbows, locked his eyes with hers and slowly penetrated her, not stopping until he was buried to the hilt. He watched her eyes darken and dilate, her pleasure clear in her face. He kissed her briefly and began to move. He kept his strokes slow and gentle.

“Oh! Mmmmm….yes…” She purred and caressed the long muscles of his back.

“There? Is that where you want me?”

“Yes! God yes!”

He lowered his chest down a bit more until the hard tips of her breasts were abraded with each of his movements. With a cry, she arched towards him and shuddered hard with her first climax. He continued to move, driving her on, never deviating from his rhythm. Twice more he brought her to the heights of ecstasy.

Panting, she raised a shaking hand to stroke his face and crooked a brow at him. He grinned. “Once more.”

This time he thrust just a little more forcefully – not hard, just not as gentle as he had been, and a little deeper. He growled his approval when she wrapped her legs around his waist and clung to him.

“Yes baby. Hang on tight. Take it all.” His breath was a hot gust over her ear.

“Richie!” It was more of a gasp than a cry as her body went rigid, then convulsed.

“Yes! Baby yes! Almost there.” He kept thrusting. “Tori!” He finally gave in to the demand of her sheath clenching around him, feeling his own climax overtake him, and let her body milk him dry.

When he had given her all he had, he quickly withdrew and rolled off of her, not wanting to crush her. Her body followed his, not wanting to give up the feel of his skin against hers. His arms gathered her close and they laid for several minutes waiting to catch their breath and for the world to stop spinning.

Glancing down he saw the smirk curving her lips. “What?”

The smirk became a grin. “Oh I was just thinking that the rumours of your stamina are just as on the mark as the ones regarding your…size…..and I am eternally grateful….for both!”

He chuckled. “Glad you approve.” He stroked her back and arm for several minutes. “You’re sure you’re okay?”

She lifted her head enough to meet his eyes. “I’m more than okay. You didn’t hurt either of us. I feel wonderful!”

“You are wonderful. I love you.”

“I love you too.” She yawned.

He chuckled. “Go to sleep angel.”

“Mmmmmhmmm.” She kissed the warm skin of his chest, settled her head in her favourite spot where she could hear his heartbeat and drifted off.

Pressing a kiss to her forehead, he followed.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chapter 216

If the trip to the doctor’s office was fuzzy, the trip home was a blur. Entering the house, Tori ran upstairs to put her pills in the bathroom. For long minutes she stared at her reflection in the mirror. Her eyes were sparkling, her cheeks were flushed, and she wanted to jump out of her skin with excitement. She glanced at her watch and groaned. It was still going to be a couple hours before Richie got home. She didn’t know how she was going to pass the time. She knew she wouldn’t be able to concentrate on work or decorating or even the guitar. With a sigh, she wandered back into the bedroom, picked up the remote, settled on the bed and tried to find something on T.V. that would distract her.

She was awakened two hours later by the sound of Ava’s giggles and Richie’s deep chuckles floating up the stairs, as father and daughter shared a joke, followed by the closing of the front door. Grinning, she jumped up off the bed and rushed out of the room. “Richie!”

Reaching the top of the stairs, she started to run down them. Suddenly a wave of dizziness hit her and she had to grab for the banister to keep from falling. Heart pounding at her near disaster, she sat down, her knuckles white with the strength of her grip, her eyes closed as she fought the black dots that had appeared at the periphery of her vision.

“Tori? What are you doing? Are you okay?” Ava had heard her and had come to investigate.

Tori forced her eyes open to gaze at her stepdaughter standing at the bottom of the stairs. “Get Daddy please.”

Ava took one look at Tori’s face and ran. “Daddy! Come quick. Something’s wrong with Tori!”

“Angel? What’s wrong?” Richie rushed into the foyer, and seeing her, ran up the stairs. “What is it?”

“Dizzy. Help me down please.”

He scooped her into his arms and descended the stairs. Setting her on her feet he watched her carefully, ready to catch her if her legs wouldn’t support her. “Angel, what’s wrong?” He remembered his mother’s concern. He guessed she was right. Tori hadn’t been herself for the last few weeks and now this. “I think we need to take you to a doctor.”

She shook her head and grinned at him. “Already been.” She had to stop to swallow heavily. All colour left her face. Suddenly, her eyes widened, she clapped a hand over her mouth and ran for the bathroom.

Richie stood in the foyer and watched her flight, a worried frown creasing his forehead. Then the pieces began to fall into place for him. He looked up at the step he’d found her sitting on, then back to the doorway she’d disappeared through. Several other bits of information came to him including her sudden…how had she described his behaviour in Hawaii…..surge in activity…and the tiredness that she thought she was hiding from him. He didn’t know how he hadn’t seen it before. Slowly, a wide grin wreathed his face, and he followed his wife.

“Daddy? Is Tori okay?” Ava’s eyes had darkened with her concern.

“She’ll be fine sweetie. Her stomach’s a little upset, that’s all. Would you go ask Rosa to make her a cup of tea please?”


Tori heard the bathroom door open and close, but she was too busy losing the contents of her stomach to look up. Besides, she had a pretty good idea who it was. One large hand gathered her hair up and held it back from her face. The other braced her forehead. When the heaving subsided, he handed her a glass of water to rinse her mouth, settled her down on the floor, wet a washcloth and gently bathed her face. “Better?”

She nodded. “Thanks.”

“This happen often?” He sat beside her on the floor.

She shook her head. “This is the first time. I was laying down and I think I jumped up too fast. I guess the dizziness made me sick.”

He studied her face. “So. Do you have something you want to tell me?”

Her lips twisted wryly. “Looks like it’s your turn to say ‘I told you so’.”

“ Just so there’s no miscommunication here…..say it.” His dark eyes were intense as they bored into hers.

“I’m pregnant.” She threw herself into his arms, tears of joy wetting her cheeks. “I’m pregnant.”

He held her close for long minutes, his eyes wet with his own tears. Pulling back a bit, he went to kiss her, but she turned away.

“You don’t want to do that until I brush my teeth.”

He chuckled, framed her face with his hands and dotted kisses all over it. “When?”

“Dr. Crandall said that the new little rockstar will make an appearance in June. She said I’m about five weeks along.”

Counting in his head, he smirked. “Five weeks huh.”

She eyed him warily. “What?”

He blew on the fingernails of one hand and polished them on his shirt. “Right out of the gate. My boys still got it!”

She rolled her eyes, then let them grow round before closing them and with a groan burying her face in her hands.

“Angel? What’s wrong? Are you feeling sick again?”

She shook her head.

“Then what’s wrong?” She didn’t lift her head. “Honey, you’re scaring me here!”

Blowing out a breath she raised her head. He was surprised to see her face flushed and an embarrassed expression on it. She stared at him, then shook her head. “I don’t want to even think about it.”

“What? Come on babe, tell me what’s got you looking like you just got caught having sex by your father.”

She snorted. “This is worse.”

“Worse than that? What could be worse than that?”

She sighed heavily. “Do you realize that there’s a very good chance that this child was conceived with me tied to a bed?!”

He tried to keep a straight face - he really did – but he couldn’t stop the grin. She picked up the washcloth and threw it at him. He caught it just before it landed in his face and chuckled. Leaning over he kissed her cheek. “Ah, me beauty, I warned ye I would put my mark on ye!” She had to laugh. His hand came up to caress her cheek. “I love you angel.”

She could see the happiness glowing in his eyes. “I love you too.”

There was a knock on the door. “Daddy? I’ve got Tori’s tea. Is she okay?”

“Thanks Bean. Yeah sweetie, I’m fine. We’ll join you in the living room in a minute.” Tori gazed thoughtfully at the door.


Richie stood up and reached down to help her up. “Do we have any earplugs?”

“I don’t think so. Why?”

“We’re going to need them to withstand her screams when she finds out we’re going to make her greatest wish come true.”

Tori crooked a brow. “I thought it was your greatest wish.”

He shrugged. “Like father like daughter.”

She chuckled, then frowned slightly. “Honey….There’s something I’d like you to do for me, but I don’t think you’re going to like it.”

“I’d do anything for you, you know that.” He was surprised to see her so tentative with him.

“I’d like to keep this just between us for right now.” When he frowned she rushed to explain. “This is a high risk pregnancy, and I just want to make sure that everything’s okay before we tell everyone.” Her eyes begged him to understand. “Just until Christmas. Then we’ll have reached the three month hurdle and you can shout it from the rooftop if you want to.” She reached up to stroke his cheek. “Please? We’ll tell everyone at Christmas. I promise.”

He sighed heavily. “Okay. We’ll keep it just between us until Christmas.” The look on her face told him she wasn’t finished. “What else?”

She bit her lower lip. This was going to be the tough part. “That includes Ava.”

“What?! You want to keep this from her too? You want me to hide the fact that she’s going to have a brother or sister from my daughter?”

She winced at his tone. “You said yourself how excited she’s going to be. She’ll never be able to keep the secret. And what happens if there’s a problem? How do we explain it to her? Despite Dr. Crandall’s confidence, between my age and having only one kidney, the chance of something going wrong is not insignificant.” Her eyes filled with tears at the thought. “I just want to be sure the baby’s off to a good start before we tell everyone. I couldn’t bear to have everyone all happy and excited for us and then have to tell them that something happened.” Her voice broke. “I know it’s a lot to ask. I would never ask it of you if it wasn’t really important to me.”

He pulled her into his arms. “Ssh, sweetheart. It’s okay. We’ll keep it to ourselves until Christmas – Ava included.” With a finger under her chin he lifted her face until he could look into her eyes. “I don’t want you worrying and fussing. Everything’s going to be just fine. You and the baby are going to be just fine.” He grinned. “It’ll make one hell of a Christmas present!”

She smiled, relieved to see the twinkle back in his eyes. “Thank you. I love you so much.” Her eyes filled again. “Damn.” She reached for a tissue to dab at her eyes.

He chuckled. “Hormones. Don’t try to fight it. It won’t work.” His lip twisted. “And frankly I’d rather deal with tears than the temper that’s also bound to make regular appearances.” He kissed her gently. “I love you more than I have words to say.” Releasing her, he took her hand. “Come on. Your tea’s getting cold. And we need to let Ava see that you’re alright.”

She nodded and let him lead her into the living room.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Chapter 215

Three weeks later Tori sat at her desk, cradling her head in her hands. She couldn’t ignore it anymore. She needed to see the doctor. Something wasn’t right. Their days had fallen into a normal – well, normal for them – routine. Her week in New Jersey had dealt with the most urgent needs of her new job. She felt that she had it under control, and Dorothea had lived up to her promise to keep Jon under control, so the pressure had been off there, she’d kept on top of Richie’s mail, and Heather had backed off and pretty much left them alone. She’d had so much free time that she’d decided to start the redecorating that she wanted to do. But it had never gotten passed the planning stages. She couldn’t seem to shake the lethargy that continued to drag at her. At first she’d blamed it on her hectic schedule over the last several months, and the emotional upheaval with Heather, but it wasn’t getting any better. One day two weeks before, she’d sat down on the couch in the living room to plan her afternoon, and fallen asleep. Then, last week, she’d been in the spare room across the hall from their bedroom, trying to decide how to decorate it, when she’d gone into their room to get something, looked at the bed and decided she had to lie down for just a few minutes. She’d awakened two hours later. She’d added a few pieces to their gym and gotten back to her usual workout routine, thinking that would help. It hadn’t. She’d taken to napping most afternoons. Luckily, Richie was gone most of the day working on a score for a movie, so he wasn’t around to see how tired she was and worry and fuss over her – or put a stop to their new morning activities. What had started out as a way for her to make up for falling asleep on him at night, had become a regular occurrence, whether they’d indulged the night before or not. She wasn’t sure why, but it seemed that ever since that incredible night in Hawaii, her body craved his whenever he was near. She smiled as the memories sent shivers through her body and had her glancing at the clock to see how long she had to wait until he would be home and they could indulge again.

With a sigh, she went over her symptoms in her head, knowing that the doctor would want to know. As she ran down the list, she frowned. She wasn’t a doctor, but she’d heard enough about what her sisters-in-law experienced, that everything pointed in the same direction. Could it be? She picked up the calendar sitting on the desk in front of her and started counting. She rechecked her figures three times, her heart beating faster each time. Don’t get your hopes up Tori. It could be any number of things. Her hand was shaking as she reached for the phone.

“Dr. Crandall’s office.”

“Hi. This is Tori Sambora and I’d like to make an appointment to see Dr. Crandall as soon as possible please.”

“ Well, we’ve just had a cancellation, so if you can be here in an hour, she can see you then. Will that work for you Mrs. Sambora?”

“That’s great. Thank you. I’ll see you then.”

It was a good thing that traffic was light on her way to the doctor’s office, because Tori’s mind definitely wasn’t on her driving. In fact, she couldn’t even remember the trip. The time she spent sitting in the waiting room seemed like hours, but was actually only about five minutes. The next five minutes waiting for the doctor was an eternity.

“Hello Tori. Congratulations on your wedding by the way. What can I do for you today?”

Tori quickly explained her symptoms and what she hoped it might be and watched the doctor’s face for any reaction.

Dr. Crandall nodded. “And when was your last period?”

“The second week of September, but I only stopped taking birth control on the 20th.”

“Any spotting at all?”


Dr. Crandall nodded again. “Ok. We’ll take some blood and send it down to the lab for confirmation.” That done, she patted the examining table. “If you’ll get undressed, we’ll examine you and see what’s what.” With that, she left the room to ask her nurse to run the blood sample to the lab for testing and to ask the lab to put a rush on it.

Tori undressed and blew out a nervous breath as she settled on the table and waited for the doctor to return. The fact that the doctor wasn’t giving anything away wasn’t helping her nerves.

When the doctor returned she started poking and prodding Tori’s breasts and abdomen. “Any tenderness in your breasts?”

Tori frowned in thought. “Not really, just…” She blushed.

The doctor smiled. “Just an increased sensitivity when your husband touches them?” She guessed.

Tori nodded. “Yeah. A little.”

“Ok. I’m going to do an internal now.”

Tori nodded her understanding and tried to relax.

“Any nausea or dizziness?” Dr. Crandall probed a little deeper.

“No.” That was the one thing that made her doubt the possibility.

“Well, you might be one of the lucky ones, or it may come later.” She stepped back and pulled off her gloves. “You can get dressed. I’ll go check to see if the tests are back yet.”

Tori was pulling on her jeans when the doctor’s comments finally registered. Does that mean what I think it means? She sat down heavily in the chair. She cautioned herself again about jumping to conclusions. She wouldn’t believe it until the doctor came right out and said it. When the door opened, she looked up, all her hopes shining in her eyes.

Dr. Crandall smiled. “Congratulations Tori. You are indeed pregnant. It’s hard to tell at this point, but if I had to guess, I’d say about five weeks. Now, because of your age I’m going to have you come in more regularly than I normally would at this stage, and I want you to call me if you have any pain or spotting or if anything just doesn’t feel right.” She was a big believer in listening to a woman’s instincts when it came to the workings of her body. “Your iron is a little low which is making the tiredness worse. I’m going to give you a prescription for that and for prenatal vitamins.” She searched Tori’s face. “I know that you understand that a pregnancy at your age has increased risks. But you’re strong and healthy and I see nothing in your history or your family history that concerns me. I want you to go home and tell that handsome husband of yours that a new little rockstar is on the way and will make an appearance in June. I want you to celebrate and enjoy this.”

Tori nodded, not even aware of the tears running down her face. “Thank you. Thank you so much!”

Dr. Crandall gave her a hug. “Call me if you have any questions. Lisa will set up your next appointment.” She handed over the prescriptions and walked her out the door.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Chapter 214

After lunch, Tori dialled the phone and handed it to Ava so that she could thank Jon and Dot for her birthday gift. While they talked, she slumped on the couch and closed her eyes, her early morning activities having left her drained, yet exhilarated at the same time.

“Tori, Aunt Dot wants to talk to you.”

She opened her eyes and took the phone Ava handed to her. “Hi Dot.”

“Hi. Talking to Ava has answered one of my questions. She seems to be doing okay. How about you?”

Tori smiled and watched Ava head for the kitchen to check on their latest baking effort. “Better. I told him how I felt, and about my suspicions about the extent of Heather’s illness. Then I set a little plan in motion, and I think I’ve convinced him that I was right.” She went on to explain everything that happened the day before. “At the very least I got him to promise no more meetings without her doctor there.”

“Good. Sounds like Heather got the message. Hopefully, she’ll back off now and you can get on with your lives together. How serious are you about going for sole custody?”

“If she continues playing games, very.” Tori sighed. “But unless Heather does something to put Ava at risk, I’m going to have to let things be. As much as I want her with us, despite everything, she loves her mother and I can’t take that away from her. All I can do is try to be there for her when she needs someone.”

“Yeah that’s a tough one. I just wish that Heather deserved such devotion. Maybe when Ava gets older she’ll see what’s really going on. In the meantime, don’t worry, she already knows that you’re there for her. Is Joan still there?”

“Yeah.” Tori yawned. “She’s flying back later this afternoon though.”

Dorothea heard the yawn. “Are you sleeping?”

“I’m sleeping just fine. No insomnia. I think everything – the tour, the wedding, all this with Heather – is just catching up with me.” Not to mention my very active mornings lately.

“Mmmm….could be. At least you’ll be able to take it easy for awhile.”

Tori snorted. “And are you going to lock your husband up somewhere without a phone to make that happen?”

Dorothea laughed. “I’ll give him strict instructions to leave you alone. That might buy you a couple weeks of peace.”

“As long as something doesn’t go wrong. I live in hope.”

“Miracles do happen. I’ll work on Jon, you work on relaxing. Spend some quality time with your husband.” She hesitated. “I’m here if you need anything.”

“Thanks Dot, I appreciate that. I’ll talk to you soon.”

“Anytime. Bye Tori.”

Hanging up, Tori rubbed a hand over her face, stood and went to join Ava and Joan in the kitchen, hoping that Joan had managed to keep Richie from eating all the brownies.

Several hours later, they were at the airport waiting for Joan’s flight. Tori and Ava entered one of the shops to take a look around, but Joan stopped Richie from following them.

“Tori looks tired. Is everything okay? Maybe she should go see a doctor.”

“I think it’s just everything we’ve been through the last few months. The tour, the wedding, the new job, then the emotional upheaval of all of this stuff with Heather. I think she just needs to relax and rest for a few days – we both do.” Especially, if she's going to continue waking me up in the morning!

Joan wasn’t convinced - she’d been watching Tori all day - but she didn’t argue. “Well, keep an eye on her. Keep in mind that she’ll be more stubborn than your average person. She’s a Bongiovi, she can’t help it. It’ll be up to you to make sure that she’s taken care of.”

He nodded and wondered what his mother was worried about, but before he could question her, his daughter distracted him.

“Daddy, come look at this cool hat!”

Later that evening, they were sitting on the couch together. They had dropped Ava off at her mother’s earlier, so it was just the two of them. Richie was reading a movie script that he was scheduled to start writing the score for in the next few days, trying to get a feel for what might work. Tori was curled up next to him, reading through the latest batch of his fan mail. The ping of an incoming text message on Richie’s cell phone, which was sitting on the table beside him, sounded loud in the silence of the room.

He picked up the phone to check the message. Karin about to call. Don’t answer it. She’s going to rip you a new one. D. His brow rose.

“Anything important?” Tori asked.

Before he could answer, the land line rang. He stared at the cordless receiver that was also sitting on the table beside him.

“Aren’t you going to answer that?” Tori asked after the second ring.

He picked up the phone and held it out to her. “It’s for you.” It rang again.

She frowned. “How do you know that? You haven’t answered it.”

“Trust me. It’s for you.”

Giving him a bemused look, she took the phone. “Hello?” She winced, and held the phone away from her ear, as Karin’s angry voice came blaring through the line.

“So what? Now that your married you don’t talk to me about your problems anymore? Or maybe now that you’re famous you don’t think that I’ll understand or be able to help! And tell Richie that if he’s fucking around and hurts you, I’ll break every one of his fingers and turn the moose into a mouse!”

Tori glanced at Richie and almost laughed at his horrified expression – Karin’s voice had come through loud and clear.

“Whoa there girlfriend, don’t mess with my favourite toy! What are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about whatever’s going on that upset you and had your new husband staying home while you went to New Jersey. And I want to know why you didn’t tell me about it!”

Tori sighed. “I was going to call you tomorrow. I just got back Friday night and we’ve been on the go ever since with Ava’s birthday yesterday and Joan coming in for it. I didn’t tell you about it before, because…well….I was trying to determine the extent of the problem….and you were so happy and excited about Shirley, I didn’t want to bring you down with my…..concerns. How did you hear about it anyway?”

“Jon told David, and he asked me if I’d talked to you and whether you were okay or if he needed to beat some sense into Richie.”

Tori laughed, then frowned. “What, exactly did Jon tell him?”

“Just that you had come to Jersey for meetings without Richie, that you were upset and that he thought that it had something to do with Heather. He was more than a little annoyed that you wouldn’t let him help and that Dorothea knew more than him and wasn’t talking either.” Karin paused. “So what’s going on Tori? Do we need to come out there and….remind Richie of where his loyalty should lie?”

“No. He just needed to have his blinders removed.” She went on to explain what had happened and how she had dealt with it. “We’ve talked it out, and I think he understands now why I was upset.” Richie kissed her temple. “We’re on the same page now.”

“Good. I’d hate to have to tell Jon he needed to find a new guitarist, although I got the feeling that he wanted to be the first in line to have a go at him.”

Tori chuckled. “Yeah, he’s turning out to be even more protective than Jim and Michael. Luckily Dot’s there to keep him bearable.”

“You talked to her about all this?” Karin tried to hide the hurt, but Tori could hear it.

“Yeah. She knows Heather and I knew she could tell me whether my suspicions were plausible or if I was way off the mark.”

“You know that regardless of whether or not either of us are married or starting a new relationship or who we’re involved with, I’m still here for you, right? I still want to know what’s going on with you. We’ve been there for each other through good times and bad for too many years to let it fade away now just because we’re on opposite sides of the continent and your life has changed so drastically.”

“I know. You’re the sister I never had. I’m sorry I didn’t talk to you sooner, but I really was going to call you tomorrow. I figured I’d better wait until after the weekend since I wasn’t sure where you’d be.” Tori smirked. “So…were you home this weekend or in Jersey?”

Karin chuckled. “Yeah, you got me. I was in Jersey.”


“And….I decided to take your advice and just see where this goes. I have to admit that I was surprised. We had such a…..normal…..weekend together. We even went out for dinner and to a movie and didn’t get mobbed. Not an autograph hound or vulture in sight.”

“It happens. Not often, but it’s nice when it does. The scary thing is that you actually kinda get used to the vultures. The fans are usually polite and sometimes amusing. I know it’s hard to believe, but they really are just normal guys for the most part.” Tori paused. “So…did you sleep in the guest room again?”

There was a long pause. “Yes, but I think it was for the last time. We’ve agreed to take it slow, but to be honest, I don’t know how long I can wait!”

Tori laughed. “What is it with these guys and waiting? In our case I could sort of understand it, since I’d recently had surgery and Richie was afraid of hurting me, but…what are they waiting for?”

“It’s called being a gentleman.” Richie informed his wife. She snorted in disbelief. He smirked and shrugged. “Waiting until her desire reaches the point where she becomes the aggressor increases the pleasure for both of them, and assures him that she really wants him.”

Tori frowned. “So what’s the difference between that and the groupies that are forever throwing themselves at you?”

Richie grinned. “We’re forcing the cavewoman out, not having her forced on us.”

Tori snorted, shook her head and spoke into the phone. “Did you hear that?”

“Yeah and it’s giving me a few ideas for next weekend.”

“Going to Jersey again?”

“No, he’s coming here. My turf, my home, my rules.”

Tori laughed. “Well, have fun. Let me know how it goes.”

“I will. Let me know how the whole Heather situation pans out. And you can tell Richie that his parts are safe….for now.”

“I will. I’m sure he thanks you, and I do too. I like his parts just the way they are. Talk to you later.”

“Bye Tori.”

When she hung up, Richie took the phone from her hand, set it on the table, took her in his arms and nuzzled his spot beneath her ear. “You like my parts huh? How about going upstairs and showing me which parts you like the best….and where you like them?”

Her chuckle was a low purr. “I might be persuaded.”

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Chapter 213

Tori woke the next morning to find herself once again wrapped in her husband’s arms. Damn! That’s two nights in a row that I fell asleep on him. We’re never going to have a baby that way. As memories of the previous morning’s activities flitted through her mind, a smile curved her lips. Well, he didn’t seem to mind me waking him up yesterday. She stroked a hand over his chest, then rolled onto him even more. One fingertip circled one male nipple while her tongue circled the other. A grin spread over her face as she felt his body respond. Long fingers stroked along her spine and she glanced up to find hot dark eyes watching her.

“Starting a new habit?” His voice was gritty with sleep.

“Would you be opposed if I was?” She slid her thigh along his hardening shaft

He snorted. “Not in this lifetime.” With a quick move, he rolled her underneath him. “Just want to make sure we keep this fair.” When she crooked a brow at him he explained. “Yesterday you got to play. Today it’s my turn.”

She gasped as his hand roamed her torso, finding all her sensitive spots. Her hands clutched his shoulders as he bent to capture her mouth with his. Tongues twining, he weighed each breast, kneaded them and tugged on the hard tips.

She tore her mouth away. “Please baby. Don’t make me wait. I need you now!”

Leaning back he gazed at her, surprised to find her eyes dilated and glazed with hunger, her skin flushed with arousal and her body already writhing with need.

“Richie please!”

He slid his hand down over her stomach to her pulsing female flesh. Separating her swollen folds he tested her readiness and slid two fingers deep inside her. Her back arched and she cried out as she climaxed. Stunned, he added a third finger, and massaged her delicate tissue, grinding his palm against her clit at the same time. He watched ecstasy take over her face as she peaked again. Giving her a minute to catch her breath, he slid his fingers free and nuzzled her neck. He licked and kissed his way over her upper chest in a direct path to a nipple that was standing tall, begging for his attention. When he merely brushed it with his lips, her hands slid into his hair and tugged.

“Please!” When he still hesitated, she tugged again.

He relented with a chuckle, parted his lips and took her into the heat of his mouth. His tongue swirled around it several times, then suckled. Releasing her, he kissed his way across her chest to give her other nipple the same treatment. Her cries echoed around the room. She was shaking by the time he decided to move on. His mouth roamed her abdomen, tasting the film of sweat that covered her skin, making him thirst for something more.

Gasping for breath she tried to brace herself for what she knew was coming when he spread her thighs with his shoulders. His lips burned a path from her knee to her groin. She moaned when his tongue traced her cleft. Opening her with his fingers, he settled in to feast. Her fingers clenched in his hair as he lapped at her.

“Mmmmm, yes…oh God…mmmmm…Richie!”

“Sweet….so sweet. You taste so good baby, I can’t get enough.”

He felt her thighs tighten and knew she was on the brink. Thrusting his tongue deep, he let her fly. He wasn’t finished. He licked and sucked and teased and brought her to climax twice more, before he decided it was his turn. Sitting back on his knees, he flipped her over onto her stomach.

Panting for breath, her body a quivering mass of sensation, all she could do was lie there and wait to see what he had planned next. She sighed as she felt his lips dot kisses along her calves and the back of her knees and thighs. Warm, large hands caressed her buttocks, followed by kisses and light nips. Next, his attention turned to her back, massaging the long muscles first, then following with soft kisses. His tongue traced the groove of her spine. She shivered. He nibbled her earlobe.

“Ready for more?” It was a gravelly whisper.

She nodded. She should be exhausted, but just the sound of his voice – and the promise of pleasure that his words conveyed – had her body humming, aching for more….for him. She felt him lift her hips to slide a pillow under them. A touch of his hand had her spreading her legs as wide as she could, making room for him. She felt his weight on her back a split second before she felt his hard shaft penetrate her.

“Oh God!” She moaned and shuddered.

Richie rocked gently against her, his thrusts long and slow. Supporting most of his weight with his elbows, he rubbed his body over hers. It wasn’t long before her hands gripped handfuls of the sheet and she muffled her scream in her pillow as she once again tasted ecstasy. Slowing his movements even more, he rode out her storm. When her convulsions faded, he raised up on his knees, lifting her hips with him. Gripping her hips firmly, he began moving again, pulling her back towards as him as he thrusted so that he could reach even deeper. This time, he rode her hard and fast.

“Oh! Oh…Oh…Oh God!” She was beyond speech.

“Yes! That’s it baby. Take it. Take it all!” He was panting, and grunting with the effort behind each thrust. “I want you to come for me baby. I want you to come hard. NOW!”

Only the pillow prevented her scream from reaching beyond their bedroom, and alerting the household. Richie collapsed on her, his body shaking as he emptied himself inside her.

“Are you trying to kill me?” She panted.

He chuckled breathlessly. “No, just trying to keep up.”

It was several minutes before he had the strength to withdraw and roll off of her onto his back. Still panting, he turned his head to find her watching him. He could see the tears shining in her eyes, but there were no shadows clouding the sapphire depths. He was confused.

“Angel? What’s wrong? Did I hurt you?”

She raised a shaking hand to stroke his cheek and shook her head. “No, you didn’t hurt me.” She paused, trying to catch her breath. “You are an incredible man. You make me feel things I’ve never felt before. Things I didn’t know I could feel. I love you so much.” She swallowed and her tears overflowed. “I don’t know what I’d do if I ever lost you.”

“Oh baby! I love you too.” He gathered her into his arms and held her tight, pressing a kiss to her forehead, his hands stroking her soothingly. “I’m not going anywhere. You’re never going to lose me.”

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Chapter 212

They met Joan at baggage claim. “Hi you two. How was the honeymoon?”

“Hi Joan. Hawaii was beautiful.” Tori hugged her. “The people were so warm and friendly, and I’ve never seen such gorgeous flowers! I could have stayed there forever.”

Joan snorted. “If you think that I believe that you saw much of the people and the flowers, you must think that I don’t know my son at all!”

Tori laughed. Richie could feel his face flush. “Ma!”

“What? Oh get over yourself Richie, I’m slightly more than seven you know – and I had a honeymoon once too. Ah, here comes the luggage.” She glanced around as the conveyor belt began to move. “I hope there aren’t any of those pesky reporters lurking around downstairs.”

“If there are we’ll let Tori take care of them. She’s in Bongiovi Boss mode today.”

Tori crooked a brow at him. “What do you mean by that?”

“I mean, Fuck with me and I’ll kick your ass mode.”

“Richard! Language!” Joan admonished him while she fought a smile.

“Sorry Ma.”

Tori’s brow arched higher. “Keep it in mind or you’ll find yourself next on my hit list.” She winked at Joan.

Brown eyes twinkled. “Yes dear.”

Joan chuckled. “Good for you Tori. He requires a firm hand to keep him in line.”

She felt his familiar hands slip around her waist and his breath in her ear. “Mmm….a very firm hand. But then you already know that don’t you angel? You know just what your hand can do to me.”

“Stop it!” She hissed, swatting him on the arm, ignoring the shiver racing down her spine at the image his words evoked, and her own flushed face.

He just chuckled and hugged her tight before releasing her to reach for his mother’s suitcase. “We’d better get a move on before the vultures find us.”

That evening as they arrived at the restaurant in the Village, Tori heard her name being called. Turning as she stepped out of the Hummer, she grinned and caught Ava as she flew at her. “Hey Bean. Ready for your big party?”

Ava nodded, dark eyes shining, a huge smile wreathing her face. “Mommy came too! She said she couldn’t miss my birthday party.”

Staring into the young girl’s happy face, Tori knew she couldn’t take her away from her mother. She couldn’t hurt her that much. In spite of being generally ignored, being relegated to second or even third place, in spite of everything, Ava loved her mother. As long as she felt that way, and wasn’t at risk, as much as she wanted Ava for her own, she’d have to let things stay as they were –for now. She smiled. “I’m glad.”

Tori watched Heather approach while Ava greeted her father and grandmother. The two women nodded politely to each other, then Tori turned towards the restaurant. “Come on Bean, let’s go see your friends.” They headed inside, leaving Richie to escort his mother and his ex-wife.

“It’s okay angel, go ahead and say it.”

Tori raised a brow at her husband’s murmur. “Say what?”

“You told me so.” He nodded slightly in Heather’s direction.

She looked at him and grinned. “Obviously I don’t have to. Just remember not to doubt my instincts when it concerns some woman trying to destroy my happiness.”

“Yes dear.” He searched her eyes. “But you know I’m not going anywhere, right?”

She raised a hand to caress his cheek. “I know.” She hesitated. “So…no more ‘therapy sessions’, at least without her doctor present?”

He covered her hand with his, then turned his head to kiss her palm. “No more without her doctor. I promise.”

“Thank you.”

The sound of Ava’s squeals of delight had them turning back to watch her open her presents. Tori watched the glow of her face as she laughed with her friends, holding up her gifts to show checking with both her parents, Tori and Joan, to make sure they saw. Suddenly Tori’s eyes filled with tears and she blinked rapidly to try and clear them. Richie noticed.

“Angel? What’s wrong?”

She shook her head, not taking her eyes off Ava. “Nothing, just….wishful thinking.”

It took a minute, but the penny finally dropped for him. He reached over to squeeze her hand and kissed her temple. “Patience angel. It’s only been a few weeks. It’ll happen for us.”

She just sighed and squeezed his hand. “Mmmmm. We’ll see.”

He frowned. “Hey, what happened to our agreement? I haven’t pressured you. Stop pressuring yourself!”

She glanced at him and smiled weakly. “I’m trying. Actually I haven’t even thought about it since we got back from Hawaii. It’s just looking at Ava…..anyway, I must be tired.”

“Daddy, Tori, did you bring me this from Hawaii?” Ava brought their attention back to her as she held up the exquisitely carved and painted wooden doll in tradional Hawaiian dress.

“Yes.” Tori answered her. “We found it at the luau we went to and thought you might like it.”

“The artist’s son had a crush on Tori. He brought her a flower for her hair.” Richie added. Tori smiled at the memory.

“Really? What did you do?” Ava asked wide eyed.

“I gave him a kiss.” Tori admitted. At the surprised looks aimed at her, she explained. “He was about seven years old.”

There was a chorus of ‘oh’s’, then attention was returned to the unveiling of Ava’s loot. The sparkle in Tori’s eyes as she turned to her husband should have warned him to brace himself.

“Oh! I forgot to thank those divers properly for the lei!” She managed to look upset with herself.

He narrowed his eyes at her and grunted, then leaned closer to murmur in her ear. “Just remember what happens when you provoke the caveman.” Blue eyes locked with brown and he smirked when she shivered.

As the party broke up, they helped load the gifts into Heather’s car – except for the few Ava want to bring with her to her father’s house where she was spending the night so that she could spend some time the next day with her grandmother – piled into the Hummer and headed home.

Back at the house Tori watched Ava run up the stairs to put her bag in her room. Joan watched Tori.

“So when are you two going to make me a grandmother again?”

Richie grimaced at his mother behind Tori’s back. “Jeez Ma, we just got married!”

Tori just smiled weakly and walked into the living room. Joan would have followed, but Richie held her back, making sure that Tori was out of earshot before quickly filling her in on the situation and Tori’s fears.

Joan frowned. “But you’ve only been married for three weeks. She’s got to give it a fair try before worrying that something’s wrong!”

“I know Ma. Deep down I think she does too, but….” He shrugged.

Joan smiled. “But she’s a Bongiovi and wants things to happen when she wants them to.”

He nodded. “Exactly. We’re working on it, but only time will settle this one I’m afraid.”

“Well I’m sure you’re doing everything you can to make sure that it gets settled as quickly as possible.”

“Ma!” He might be closer to fifty years old than he’d really like to think about, but that didn’t mean he wanted to talk about his sex life – even remotely - with his mother!

Joan just chuckled and followed her daughter-in-law.

When they were all settled in the living room with drinks and popcorn – and in Richie’s case cookies, ignoring his mother’s pointed look at his stomach – Ava popped in a new movie that she gotten from Kate. Tori curled up beside Richie, resting her head on his shoulder. His kissed the top of her head and laced their fingers together.

Halfway through the movie, Joan got Richie’s attention and gestured towards Tori, and whispered. “She’s asleep.”

He nodded. “I know. It’s been a long few days for her, plus I think she’s probably still suffering from jet lag.” He glanced at Ava. “That reminds me. Don’t forget to call Aunt Dot and Uncle Jon tomorrow and thank them for your gift.”

“I know. Tori said we’d call after lunch. Do you want me to go up and pull back the covers so that you can carry her up to bed?”

Richie smiled. “Please.”

Monday, January 5, 2009

Chapter 211

Tori walked into the living room with a plate of freshly baked cookies. She’d heard the phone ring a few minutes ago and Richie was still talking when she entered the room. From his side of the conversation – and his tone and body language – she could tell it was Heather. She frowned as she heard him agree to go over there. Well if he thinks he’s going to leave me home this time, he’d better think again! Step 2: assess the opposition.

Richie hung up the phone and eyed his wife warily as she set the plate of cookies on the table in front of him. “Thanks angel.” He hesitated. “Heather wants to see me this afternoon.” He braced himself for her reaction.

Tori stared at him for a minute. “I’m going with you.” She held up a hand when he would have protested. “No. I’m a member of this family and she and I have to deal with each other. If you’re still worried about her having to face me after what happened….well millions of people all over the world have seen her mug shot. I’m the least of her problems. Besides, I haven’t seen Bean since the we dropped her off on our way to Hawaii. If you won’t bring her here, then I’ll go there.” Her look dared him to argue.

He studied her determined expression and knew if he tried to argue he’d be dealing with a Bongiovi in full temper. He was no fool. Besides, she was right. He sighed and nodded. He just hoped he didn’t have to play referee.

Tori was quiet on the drive to Heather’s. She stared out the window, deep in thought. A little kernel of an idea had popped into her mind and she was letting it develop into a full blown plan. If she was right about Heather, this would prove it…at least to Richie.

When they pulled to a stop in front of the door, she turned to her husband. “Will you do one thing for me?”

“I’ll do anything for you angel. What do you need?”

“Don’t let her ruin Ava’s day. The arrangements have been made at the restaurant, her friends will all be there, your mother’s coming in….this is how she wanted to celebrate her birthday….don’t let Heather try to ruin it.”

“You’re really convinced she’s playing games aren’t you?”

“Let’s just say I have a pretty strong hunch.”

“Daddy! Tori!” Ava came running out to meet them.

“There’s the birthday girl! How are you Bean?” Tori climbed out and hugged her step-daughter tightly. “Oooh, I’ve missed you!”

“I’m okay. I’ve missed you too. How come you didn’t come to see me?”

The shadows in the dark eyes so like her father’s nearly broke Tori’s heart. The look she gave Richie had him squirming uncomfortably. Yet another way he’d hurt her – both of them actually – without meaning to. He sighed heavily. So much for good intentions.

Tori covered for him. “Daddy and I thought that Mommy needed you. Do you remember last March and Daddy’s…” She hesitated, not sure how to word it.

“Act of stupidity?” Ava supplied.

Tori bit her lip against a smile and almost lost the battle when she glanced at Richie to see him staring at his daughter, a chagrined look on his face. “Yes, well when that happened Mommy let you stay with him to help him right?” Ava nodded. “So we thought it was only fair that we let you stay and help her.”

“But why didn’t you come here with Daddy to see me?”

“Well, we thought it best to wait until Mommy was feeling better.”

“But you’re here now and she’s not feeling better.” Ava frowned. “She doesn’t even get out of bed most days.”

“Of course I’m here today. It’s your birthday! I wouldn’t miss that for the world!” Tori assured her.

Ava’s face lit up. “So you’re coming to the Village with us tonight then? Oh, I can hardly wait! Nana’s coming and all my friends, and they have the best food, and the most wonderful cake, and it’s going to be so much fun!”

Tori smiled at the young girl’s excitement which just reinforced her determination to make sure that nothing spoil the party.

They found Jack inside, sitting in the living room watching T.V. He looked up when they walked in. “Hi. Heather’s upstairs.” He lowered his voice and muttered. “As usual.”

“Thanks.” Richie replied, glanced at Tori, and headed upstairs.

Tori sat on a couch. Ava sat beside her. “How are you Jack?”

“I’m good. How was the honeymoon?”

“Great while it lasted. Hawaii was beautiful.”

“Yeah, I’ve been there a couple times. It truly is paradise.”

“What did you do? Did you take pictures? Did you bring me anything?” Ava’s questions came fast and furious.

Tori chuckled. “You’ll just have to wait until the party tonight to find out.”

For the next hour, they talked about Hawaii, Tori’s new job, and Jack’s upcoming projects. When Julie came in to tell Ava that Kate was on the phone wanting to discuss what they were wearing to the party, Tori waited until she had left the room, then turned to Jack. “How is she really?”

He shrugged. “Some days better than others. Sometimes she seems to be almost her old self, talking about going to some event and then suddenly she relapses and can’t get out of bed.”

“Is that when she calls Richie?”

His lips twisted. “Generally, yeah.”

Tori considered him for a moment. “Do you remember what happened just before her last couple relapses?”

Jack frowned. “Well, this afternoon we were talking about Ava’s birthday party….Ava was excited that she was finally going to get to see you,... yesterday was just a bad day all round, and the day before…..she was fine until….oh, one of the entertainment news shows were talking about the year’s big rock tours, and mentioned Bon Jovi and showed pictures of them – and you.” Tori nodded. His eyes widened. “You think she’s faking don’t you?”

“I wouldn’t say faking exactly. I think she really is clinically depressed, I just think that she’s….exaggerating how sick she is in order to get attention.” She frowned. “Specifically, Richie’s attention. Not that she wants him necessarily, I think it’s more of a signal to me to show how much power she still has over him.”

Jack considered that for a few moments then nodded. “You may be right.”

She waved a hand towards the stairs. “I don’t know about you, but I’ve had about enough of these little tete-a-tete’s.”

Jack snorted. “I had enough about a week ago.”

She nodded. “Then it’s time to put an end to them.”

“I hope you have better luck than I’ve had.”

Her lips pressed tightly together. “Oh count on it.” With that she rose and headed upstairs. She found them in Heather’s room, Richie in a chair beside the bed where Heather was laying. “Hi. Sorry to interrupt, but Rich, we need to get going. You’re mother’s plane will be landing soon and you know how she hates waiting around the airport. Plus, she’ll want to have some time to rest before the big birthday party tonight. How are you feeling Heather?”

“Not too bad thanks. But I don’t think I’m up to going out tonight. I think we should cancel the party and just have a family dinner here.”

Tori caught Richie’s eye. He knew that look and that if he didn’t step up, he’d pay later. Damn! How did she know Heather would pull something like this? “No. Ava’s been looking forward to this for weeks. The arrangements are made, her friends will all be there, I think we should go ahead with it. This is her day, she should get to celebrate the way she wants.”

Tori smiled approvingly at her husband, then turned a considering glance on Heather and assumed a sympathetic expression. Step 3:Put plan into action. “I’ve been thinking. Maybe Ava should come and stay with us for awhile – just until you’re feeling better. I know how active she is, and that way it would be quieter around here for you and might help your recovery.”

Heather narrowed her eyes and almost sneered. “Are you threatening to take my daughter away from me?”

Tori raised her brows at her tone and replied with seeming innocence, except that anyone who knew her – or Jon for that matter – and saw her eyes, would recognize the icy fury and determination in the blue depths. “I’m not threatening anything. I’m just suggesting, that since you need to focus your attention on looking after yourself, that it might be better for Ava to be with a parent who is able to make her well being their priority. I know that Julie does a wonderful job looking after her, but I think you’ll agree, that even the most caring nanny is no replacement for a parent. I understand that you’re still finding it difficult to get out of bed most days. I just thought by us taking Ava that it would be one less thing for you to worry about and you can concentrate on your recovery.”

Richie managed to hide his surprise at Tori’s suggestion, but watched Heather’s reaction carefully. Tori was forcing her hand. Either she was well enough to get up and look after their daughter – and attend the party – or she was truly ill and Ava would be better with them and out of that environment. Very clever angel!

The two women stared at each other for long seconds in silent communication, Heather trying to intimidate, Tori refusing to back down. Finally Heather sighed. “Let me think about it.”

Tori nodded. Richie stood. “We’ll talk about it tonight. We’d better get going. I don’t want to keep Ma waiting.”

“See you later Heather.” Tori smiled, although it didn’t reach her eyes.

“Uh huh. Would you send Jack up please?”

“Sure.” Richie nodded as they left the room.

Outside, Richie opened her door for her. “Nice job of calling her bluff.”

Tori waited until he had rounded the front of the Hummer and climbed into the driver’s seat. “Who was bluffing? If she continues to play games, we will be visiting your lawyer and we will be suing for full custody. That beautiful child doesn’t deserve this bullshit!”

Richie smiled at how fiercely she protected his daughter. No doubt about it, she’s going to make a wonderful mother! “Yes dear.”

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Chapter 210

As Tori regained awareness the next morning she realized that she was in her husband’s arms before she was even fully awake. The warm skin covering hard muscle under her cheek told her that, as did his familiar scent that she inhaled with every breath. But beyond that, there was the sense of peace, and safety, and…..home….that she always felt when she was close to him like this. She’d never felt that with anyone else, and she didn’t want to lose it. Their conversation of the night before replayed in her mind. Nice control there Tori, it’s a wonder he didn’t call Heather’s doctor to see if he had room for another patient! She sighed. At least now he knew how she felt. She knew that he was sorry for hurting her and that he never meant to, but she wasn’t sure that he believed her about the extent of Heather’s illness. She needed to find a way to convince him. She had to. She couldn’t bear to think about her life without him in it. Dorothea’s words echoed in her head. If you want him you’re going to have to fight for him and knowing Heather, you’re going to have to fight dirty, it’s the only way she knows. Tori frowned. Hmmm…fight dirty huh? Her fingers toyed idly with the patch of hair on the far side of his chest as she tried to come up with a strategy. She opened her eyes and watched her fingers and saw his nipple harden as her fingers played. Her lips curved in a slow smile. Step 1: remind him who he belongs to.

She let her hand wander, caressing his chest and down over his stomach, smiling when his muscles contracted at her touch. Lifting her head slightly, she brought her lips and hair into play as she kissed and licked her way over his torso. She spent long minutes exploring every inch of skin until she had memorized every bump and hollow. Then she moved down, resting her head on his stomach while her fingers played with his already half hard shaft. She ran her fingers up and down his length, and watched it swell and harden more, amazed that it actually fit inside her body. Not only did it fit, but it never failed to bring her the most incredible pleasure. As his erection grew, so did her own arousal. It had been so long since they had been together, her body ached for him. But she didn’t want to end it that soon. First she wanted to tease him to the brink, to remind him of what she could make him feel, that this unique….connection…they felt went both ways, of the power she had over him. As she closed her hand around him as best she could and stroked his length, periodically squeezing very lightly, she forced her mind to think of Ava’s birthday party, Karin and Shirley….anything to distract herself from the effect her explorations were having on her. Every so often, her hand would leave his shaft to cup the sac beneath it, stretching the skin, then raking her nails lightly along the inside of his thighs. She smiled absently as some part of her mind noted the tensing of his thigh muscles and the arching of his back.

Richie had awakened at the first touch of her tongue on the hard kernel of his nipple, but had remained motionless, waiting to see what she would do. He was on the brink of losing her, and he knew he had to let her have her way, that this time must be the way she wanted it. But as time passed and she merely continued to play he found it harder and harder to remain passive. Sweat broke out on his skin and his breathing became laboured as he fought against his release. He wanted more than this. He ached to possess her. He just hoped she did too. Finally he couldn’t stand it any longer. His hand reached to stroke her hair.

“Are you going to do something with that or just tease me all morning?” His voice was a husky growl.

His voice brought her attention back to the matter at hand – or more precisely, in her hand. Her head lifted just enough to turn so that she could see his face, her lips twisting, a glint in her eyes. “Did you say that you wanted me to tease you? Okay.”

“No! That’s not what I –ooooh shit….” His voice trailed off as his breath hissed through his teeth at the feel of her hair and breath caressing his most sensitive skin.

She grinned to herself as she licked him from base to tip. Running her tongue around the ridge she flicked it along the slit in the tip and blew on it. Next she suck-kissed her way back down to the base and over his sac. He shuddered. She tortured him with her mouth for what seemed like hours, licking and kissing and taking him into her mouth to suckle on him, wringing moaning cries of pleasure from his throat. Finally, she couldn’t take anymore. Teasing him had brought her own arousal to flashpoint. Taking the swollen tip into her mouth one last time she sucked it like a lollipop, then backed off and rose to straddle him. Guiding him with one hand she sank excruciating slowly down on him.

His hands clenched into fists as he watched her body absorb his flesh. He almost lost control at the feel of her warm passage opening to let him in, then closing around him like warm honey. She fit him perfectly. Like they were made for each other. God he’d missed this in the last week or so! No one had ever made him feel what she did. Even his orgasms were different with her, more….intense. And it just kept getting better and better. He couldn’t lose her. It would be like losing a piece of himself.

When she was fully seated, she braced herself with her hands on his chest and started to rock against him, squeezing him lightly with her internal muscles, making him groan. She reached out to rub and pluck his nipples with her fingers. He groaned, his back arching and hips rocking in time with hers. His hands gripped her hips involuntarily, searching for an anchor is his rapidly dissolving world.

“Angel, you’re killing me! God, you feel so good!”

She just grinned and panted for breath and watched the expressions of passion and pleasure on his face, fighting to hang on to her control. Suddenly he arched his hips more, driving deeper into her and she lost it. With a cry she clamped down on his buried flesh, and felt him explode inside her before she collapsed on his chest.

They laid there like that for long minutes catching their breath, Richie’s hands stroking her back soothingly. Even though she hadn’t completely recovered from the last time yet, Tori wanted more. She tilted her head and ran her tongue up his neck to his ear where she nibbled on the lobe. At the same time she flexed her internal muscles around the masculine flesh that was still buried inside her.

With a grin he tightened his arms around her and rolled, bringing her beneath him. Rising up on his elbows, he smoothed her hair back from her face. Reverent fingers traced her features. “You are so beautiful. I love you so much. I love the feel of your skin.” He stroked her cheek with a fingertip. “I love your scent.” He nuzzled his spot under her ear, grinning when she shivered. “I love your taste.” He traced her lips with his finger, dipped the tip inside when they parted, then groaned softly as she circled it with her tongue and sucked on it reminding him of when she’d done the same to another of his appendages, resulting in a predictable bodily response He bent and replaced his finger with his tongue.

She purred deep in her throat at the feel of him filling her once again. As her tongue duelled with his her hips began undulating against him. He held still and let her. Raising his head he stared in to her glowing sapphire eyes, his own dark with emotion – passion...and regret. “Baby…Tori….you know I’d never knowingly hurt you right?” She nodded. “I’m so sorry.”

She placed her fingers over his mouth. “Rich?”


“Less talking, more loving.”

He chuckled, kissed her fingers and obeyed. Her hands gripped his shoulders as he slid his mouth down her throat. Frustrated that he wasn’t moving, she braced her feet on the bed for leverage and lifted her hips towards him, driving him even deeper.

“Mmmmm….yes.” She sighed.

For long minutes he tasted her - her skin, her lips, the deep recesses of her mouth while he rubbed his chest over hers, feeling her nipples harden against him. Her hands slid down his back and settled low on his spine and pressed, trying to urge him on. Her breath shortened as her arousal grew by leaps and bounds. He lowered his weight onto her so that he could free his hands to stroke her sides. Shifting again, he cupped her breasts and massaged them gently.

“Mmmmm….” Her back arched, silently asking for more.

Taking her taut peaks between thumbs and forefingers he squeezed them firmly. Her eyes flew wide as she suddenly climaxed. His brows rose and he studied her face. “More?”

She panted and nodded. She was ravenous for him. It must be my recent abstinence after that marathon night in Hawaii. My body feels deprived.

He began to move, keeping his strokes unhurried and gentle, gauging the depth and speed of his rhythm by the strength of her hands gripping him and the cries he drew from her. Within minutes she peaked again. He kept moving. “More?” Again she nodded. He continued to ride her slowly, driving her to climax over and over, each time asking her if she wanted more. When she finally shook her head, her body shaking, her arms flung out to her sides, with no more strength to hold him to her, he put his lips to her ear. “My turn.”

She groaned as he lifted her legs to his shoulders, grasped her hips with his hands, lifted her towards him and started to thrust hard and fast. She gasped as her body responded to his demand. This time when she screamed and went over the edge, he let her take him with her.

Rolling off her, breathing like a race horse, he gathered her into his arms and waited to see if his heart was going to explode. If this was what their married life was going to be like, she was going to be the death of him. But at least I’ll die a happy man! He stroked her arm and back lightly. When he could speak again, he took a deep breath and faced his fear. “So where do we go from here?”

“Back to sleep.” She murmured, totally worn out.

He chuckled and kissed her forehead. “Good idea. I love you angel. Only you.”

“Love you too Rich.” Step 1 complete.
This is my nice little story turned epic with Richie in the starring role - although Jon plays a large part.