Saturday, February 21, 2009

Chapter 228

The next day after breakfast Tori was sitting in the den playing Snakes and Ladders with Jake when Romeo came running in. Knowing his habit of jumping into her lap, she braced herself to catch his hurtling little body. He surprised her when he stopped just short of her knees and frowned.

“What’s the matter Big Man?”

“Daddy said I not to crimb on you. He said I could hurt you or baby.”

Tori smiled and pulled him onto her lap. “Oh it’s okay to sit on my lap, just don’t jump around and hit my stomach. You won’t hurt me or the baby.”

Jake came around the corner of the table and sat beside her. “Are you really going to have a baby?”

“Yes, but not until June.”

“It doesn’t look like you’re going to have a baby.” He’d seen pregnant women before. “Your belly isn’t big.”

“Not yet. The baby’s still really little right now. In a few weeks my belly will start to get bigger.”

Romeo wiggled off her lap, bent over and pressed his ear to her stomach. “Hello? You in der? I’n Romeo. I your tousin.”

Tori’s eyes filled with tears. She blinked rapidly and stroked the blonde head in her lap. A sound had her looking up to find Jon and Dorothea standing in the doorway, Dorothea blinking away tears of her own as she smiled fondly at her youngest.

Jon took a seat beside Jake. “What do you think about having a new cousin buddy?”

Jake shrugged. Although he understood that his aunt was going to have a baby, it wasn’t real to him at this point. “Is it a boy or a girl?”

Jon looked at Tori. “We won’t know until it’s born.” She answered.

“You don’t want to know ahead of time?” Jon was surprised.

“I haven’t talked to Richie about it yet, but…no. I’d rather wait and be surprised.”

“Whatever makes you happy Angel. I like surprises.” Richie spoke from the doorway.

Tori smiled at him, and the tears started again. Jesse entered the room, looked at her and sighed.

“Do you want some ice cream Aunt Tori?” He handed her the box of tissues.

“No thanks Jesse, it’s not even lunch time yet.”

He shrugged. “It always worked for Mom.”

They were just about to sit down for lunch when the gate buzzed. The guys were beginning to arrive in preparation for the New Year’s Eve party that night. They heard the door slam.

“Boris! Where is she? Boris!”

“David! Why are you calling her Boris?” Karin frowned at him.

“Well, it’s that or Rosemary…or maybe…what was Sigourney Weaver’s character’s name in Alien?”

“Charlie, didn’t they tell you about the Jersey law that says you have to muzzle barking dogs?” Richie greeted them.

“She is not having a devil – or monster or alien – baby!” Karin swatted David’s arm.

“Honey, with Sambora for a father, you can’t be sure.”

“You know big brother, I think you’re right. Scarecrow Syndrome. Either that or his brain is as curled as his hair!” Tori reached up and grabbed a fistful of his shirt and pulled him down to her level. Her eyes narrowed and bore into his. “Don’t you know better than to bait a pregnant woman? Knock it off Shirley or I’ll show you a new place to hide lollipops and I promise you won’t like it!” She shoved him away glanced at Karin. “Come on Karin, I’ll introduce you to Dorothea and the kids and you can explain to me again why you want to be with him.”

David watched, stunned, as the two women headed towards the kitchen. He glanced at Richie, who grinned.

“Forgot about the pregnancy hormones didn’t you?”

David nodded. “Are they always that bad?”

“You think that’s bad? That’s pretty mild actually. Although, to be honest, I don’t see much of that side of it. I’m not stupid enough to prod the bear. Remember, she’s a Bongiovi, with the temper to prove it and I like all my parts just as they are.”

David shuddered at the thought and clapped a hand on Richie’s shoulder. “My sympathies man.”

Jon frowned at both of them. “Apparently Scarecrow Syndrome is contagious. It’ll serve you both right if she rips your ‘parts’ off and feeds them to you for dinner.”

“Come on guys, lunch is ready.” Stephanie came looking for them. “Uncle David, Mom says that if you upset Aunt Tori again you’ll be seeing in the New Year from a hospital bed and Aunt Karin says that you won’t get any TLC from her.”

David frowned and sighed. Richie chuckled. “Sounds like the women have joined ranks against you…again. You know, I really want to thank you. You’re making me look real good!”

David just grunted and followed the scent of food. In the dining room, Richie had just taken his seat when he saw Tori look at her plate then around the table.

He smiled and stood. “Hang on angel, I’ll get it.”

They all watched as he left the room and returned with the bottle of maple syrup and handed it to her.

“Eeew! Aunt Tori, that’s gross!” Jesse grimaced as he watched her pour syrup on her burger and dip her fries in it.

She shrugged. “No it’s not. It’s good.”

“With me it was peanut butter with Steph, oranges with Jesse, dill pickles with Jake and peanut butter and bananas with Romeo.” Dorothea offered.

Jon shuddered at the memories, then turned to Richie . “We have some, you didn’t have to bring your own, you know.”

Richie shrugged. “She prefers the real stuff. I got some when we were at her parents, and I make a point of carrying some with us wherever we go.”

Tori leaned over and kissed him. “My knight in shining armor.”

After lunch, they settled back in the den.

“So what does Ava think of having a brother or sister?” Jon asked. “As if I couldn’t guess.”

Richie chuckled. “Yeah, she’s just a little excited. I think my ears are still ringing with her screams.” He sipped his Coke. “She thinks it’s a boy.”

Jon shook his head. “Nope, it’ll be a girl. All your kids will be girls.”

“Why do you say that?” Tori raised a brow at him.

“Karmic payback. Nature’s way of making him pay for the misdeeds of his youth.”

She snorted, glad that the kids weren’t in the room. “Then how come you only have one daughter, and David only has two?”

“Because David was worse than me, but neither one of us was anywhere near to being in Rich’s league.”

“Riiight. Should we talk about the middle aged women in your neighbourhood that needed you for more than a little yard work?”

Jon choked. “Damn…do you remember everything I’ve said in interviews?”

She smirked. “Not everything…just the juicy bits. Plus, Tony and Matt have filled me in on a few things.”

Karin and Tori were relating humorous stories about adventures they’d experienced together when Tico arrived. He walked immediately to Tori. “Mamacita! Congratulations! How are you – and the nino- feeling?” Pulling her to her feet, he hugged her gently.

She smiled. “We’re doing just fine. How did you know?”

“Shirley told me.”

She raised a brow at David as she resumed her seat. He tried to duck behind Karin. “Karin said you didn’t want me to tell Jon. She never said I couldn’t tell Teek.”

Karin elbowed him. “You can’t keep a secret to save your life can you? I’m never telling you anything again!”

“Aw, come on babe, I was just so happy for them, I had to tell someone!” He nuzzled her neck. “You know you can tell me anything. If you asked me not to tell, I wouldn’t.”

Karin looked at him, sighed and stroked his cheek. He grinned and kissed her. Tori sniffed from her position in the curve of Richie’s arm. David glanced at her, his expression one of horror at the sight of her tears.

“Hurt her, and I’ll make sure you’re of no use to a woman ever again.” Tori warned him. Richie hugged her closer and pressed a kiss to her hair.

“Don’t worry Bela, I only want to make her happy.” David assured her. Karin blushed.

“Ugh. You guys are all making me sick with all this mushy stuff.” Jesse stood in the doorway and wrinkled his nose.

“Tell me that in a year or so.” His father retorted.

“Won’t have to wait that long.” Steph muttered, having come to greet Tico.

Jesse glared at her. “I’m going to watch a movie.”

Tori yawned. “And I’m going to have a rest before I have to start getting ready for the party or I won’t make it to midnight.” They were staying in the main house instead of the guest house because Richie didn’t want her risking the slippery driveway.

When she stood, David did too. “All joking aside, you know that I’m really happy for you and Chuck, right?”

She hugged him, smiling when he squeezed her carefully. “I know. Thanks.” As she left the room she sent her husband a meaningful look. He winked back.

Dorothea chuckled. “I think that look meant that she wants some company for her nap.”

Richie grinned and drained his glass of Coke and sat it on the table. “Yeah. I’d better go and see if she needs help with anything.”

“Make sure you lock the door so that Jake or Romeo don’t come visiting and get an eyeful.” Jon sighed. “I miss those days.”

Dorothea snorted. “I wasn’t aware that you were being deprived.”

“Oh, I’m not complaining honey, but there’s a difference between normal…hunger…and early pregnancy hunger.”

Richie, Tico and David all nodded, remembering smiles on their faces. Karin and Dorothea exchanged glances and rolled their eyes.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Chapter 227

Tori settled into her seat on the plane with a sigh. She felt like she’d spent more time in the air than on the ground lately. She wasn’t complaining – and was doubly glad that the baby wasn’t either – but she was looking forward to the next couple weeks in New Jersey. It wasn’t home, but it was close, and she’d could stay in one place for more than a day or two. Plus, the reaction to their news was sure to be more enthusiastic than the one they just experienced.

“Are you okay?” Richie murmured. She nodded. “I’m sorry about Heather.”

She turned her head to look at him, reached over and squeezed his hand. “You need to stop apologizing for her behaviour. You can’t control it, so don’t try to take the blame for it. Besides, I didn’t expect her to be jumping with joy for us.”

“But she could have been a little more pleasant.”

Tori shrugged. They had dropped Ava off at her mother’s on the way to the airport. Heather had met them at the door.

“Mom, guess what! I’m going to have a brother or sister!” Ava was hardly out of the car before she was sharing the news.

“Really? Well, that’s…..something. Why don’t you go on in Ava? Carmelita’s got a snack ready for you.”

“Okay.” With a hug for her father and Tori – and a pat for ‘Peanut’, she’d disappeared inside.

“Don’t you think you could have told me about this before surprising your daughter with it?” She’d almost sneered at Richie.

“Why? It was our right to tell her not yours. It’s not like it’s bad news that she needed to be prepared for. She’s fine with it. In fact, she’s ecstatic. Please don’t try and spoil it for her.” Richie frowned at his ex-wife.

“Hmpf. Well, you must be thrilled. I guess you finally got what you wanted.”

Richie had hugged Tori to his side and kissed her temple. “Yes I have…and I am.”

“It’s going to be a bit of an adjustment for her too.” Tori reminded him. “It’s one more sign that you’ve moved on with your life – and not with her. Actually, I was prepared for a more spiteful response.”

“She didn’t upset you?”

She shrugged again. “Not really. I’m happy, you’re happy, Ava’s happy….frankly, I don’t care what she thinks.”

Richie grinned and leaned over to kiss her. “I love you.” He set his hand on her stomach. “And Peanut.”

She chuckled and stroked his cheek. “We love you too.”

Several hours later they pulled their rental car into the Bongiovi estate and stopped in front of the door of the main house. Jon opened the door and stepped out to meet them.

“Be careful. It’s a little slippery.” He warned as Tori opened her door.

“Angel, wait until I come help you.” Richie admonished her.

Tori stepped carefully out of the car and opened the back door. Richie was pulling their suitcases out of the cargo area. He set down the bags and slammed the door when he saw what she was doing. “Tori! Will you wait!”

“I’m just getting the bag with the presents out.”

“Well stop! Wait for me. I’ll help you to the door.”

“Rich, stop it! I’m not an invalid! Stop treating me like I’m helpless! I’m perfectly capable of walking to the door.” She snapped.

Jon’s brow rose at her tone. Dorothea stood in the doorway and eyed her sister-in-law speculatively.

“I’m sorry angel, I just don’t want you to fall.” Richie tried to placate her.

“I don’t want to fall either.” Tori sighed. “I’ll be careful, I promise.”

“Let me take that.” Jon stepped forward to take the bag from her. “Happy holidays, sis.” He bent to kiss her cheek. “Everything okay?”

Her brows rose. “Everything’s fine. Why?”

He snorted. “Because you just bit Rich’s head off.”

“Did I?” She frowned. “I’m sorry honey.” Richie waved it off. “No, we’re fine. We’re great actually.” She let Jon take her arm and walk her to the door. “Happy holidays Dot.”

“You too Tori.” Dorothea hugged her and lead her into the foyer.

Jon turned to Richie. “Is everything really okay?”

“Yeah. It’s great.”

“Does she always snap at you like that?”

Richie hid a smile. “No. She’s just tired from travelling.”

The sounds of the kids descending on them prevented Jon’s response.

“Aunt Tori, Uncle Richie!”

“Hi guys!” Tori hugged them all.

“Hey! Save some for the rest of us!” John Sr. appeared in the doorway, Carol, Tony, Matt and Desiree close behind.

They settled into the den and passed out the presents. Tori looked around the room at her family and suddenly found herself blinking back tears. Richie noticed and reached over to squeeze her hand. She gave him a trembling smile.

Jon noticed too and frowned. “Tori, do you want a glass of wine?”

“No thanks Jon. I’d love a glass of cranberry juice though if you have any.”

Jon glanced at Dot. She nodded and stood up. “Yeah. In the kitchen. I’ll get you some.” When she returned, she handed the glass to Tori, sat down again and smirked at her sister-in-law. “So Tori, when are you going to make Jon, Tony and Matt here uncles?”

“What?” Came from all directions. Everyone stared at Tori.

Tori’s lips twisted into a wry smile. “June.”

The room erupted. The joy and genuine delight expressed wiped away the bitter after taste of Heather’s less than enthusiastic response. When the congratulations faded and Tori was able to sit down again, she looked at Dorothea.

“How did you figure it out?”

Dorothea grinned. “A combination of things. Richie insisting you not try to walk to the door without help, then not being surprised or bothered when you basically took his head off, then the tears when you looked around at the family, and finally, when you wouldn’t take any wine. Having been there, I recognized the signs.”

“How are you feeling Tori?” Carol asked.

“Pretty good actually. My doctor says that everything looks good. I had a little morning sickness at first, but that seems to have stopped. The hormones are firmly in control though.” She gave Richie an apologetic smile.

He leaned over and kissed her temple. “It’s okay honey. I know you don’t mean it and you can’t help it. I don’t take it personally.”

While the conversation continued, centered around pregnancy and babies, Jon stood and walked into the kitchen. Richie frowned. He had received his share of congratulations, but Jon’s had been a little more subdued than he had been expecting. He stood and followed his brother-in-law.

He found Jon pouring himself a cup of coffee. He glanced at Richie. “You want one?”

“Sure.” He eyed Jon carefully. “Spit it out Bro.”


“Whatever it is that’s got you less than thrilled about the baby.”

“Oh I’m happy for you and Tori, I am, it’s just…” He sighed and looked his best friend in the eye. “I want to make sure that you have your priorities straight. You have a new wife and a baby on the way. I want to be sure that your focus is on the future, not the past.”

“Of course it is! What are you talking about?”

Jon searched Richie’s face for a long moment. “You know that I love you like a brother, but she’s my sister. I don’t ever want to see her show up here again, alone, devastated because you’re more concerned about Heather’s needs than hers.”

Richie raked a hand through his hair and sighed. “I take full blame for that situation. I was wrong, and I know it. I should never have put Heather before Tori. I let my feelings of guilt convince me to go along with Heather’s game, and I hurt my wife. I didn’t even realize what I was doing until Tori pointed it out to me. I’ll make you the same promise I made her. Never again. Tori is everything to me. She’s given me my life back. She is my priority – now more than ever. I won’t make the same mistake again.”

Jon nodded. “Good. I’d hate to see the last twenty-five years thrown away because of a manipulating bitch trying to hold on to her glory days.”

Richie met his gaze. The two men stared at each other for a long moment ensuring that the message was clear, then both nodded and hugged.

“I am happy for you Bro.” Jon assured him. “I know how badly you’ve wanted this.” He grinned. “You’d better make the most of sleeping in over the next few months. Once the baby comes, your mornings will start a whole lot earlier – and that’s once the baby’s sleeping through the night!”

Richie laughed. “Yeah, well, a baby is worth losing a little sleep over.”

“No argument there man, although when they get to be teenagers, you lose sleep for a whole other reason….and I preferred the crying babies!”

“Dad, Uncle Richie, we’re going into the theatre to watch Mamma Mia.” Stephanie poked her head in the kitchen.

Richie groaned. “Again?”

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Chapter 226

That night when Tori entered her old bedroom she found Richie, naked, inspecting the mirror on her dresser. “What are you doing?”

“Hmmm? Nothing.” His lips twitched when he saw her in her nightshirt – his t-shirt. He had gotten used to her coming to bed naked. Of course, at home the bathroom was an ensuite, not down the hall like it was here. He climbed into bed beside her, but when he tried to take her in his arms, she stopped him. “What’s the matter?” She hadn’t had her daily quota and he knew she must be hungry.

She shrugged and actually blushed. “I know it’s silly, but it is my parent’s house, and I feel like a teenager again, afraid we’ll get caught.”

He chuckled. “Angel, we’re married! Your husband wants to make love with his wife. Are you going to say no? That you don’t want it? Have the cravings gone away already?”

“No. God, no. I want you so bad I ache! It’s just….”

“I know. It’s our first time under your father’s roof, and it feels a little weird. It’ll get easier after this.” He lifted her face up to his. “You know that there is nothing legally or morally wrong with us making love right?”

She sighed. “I know, but….”

His mouth crashing down on hers stilled her protest. While his tongue played with hers, his hands played with her body. He knew just the right spots to drive her wild. She didn’t even notice when her nightshirt went flying across the room. Within minutes she was writhing beneath him, her body humming with desire. Just when she thought she couldn’t take anymore he stopped and pulled away.

“What…?” She reached for him.

He turned himself around so that he was laying on his back, his head at the foot of the bed. He beckoned her with one hand. “Come here babe. Straddle me.”

Smirking, she obeyed, sat up and swung one leg over his waist. He gripped her hips and shook his head. “No not there.” Her brow rose. He stuck his tongue out. “Here.”

A shiver ran down her spine as she realized what he wanted. Her heart began to pound as she positioned herself as per his request, and felt his lips press against her damp flesh. His hands came up over her hips and long fingers pulled open her swollen folds, exposing her throbbing core to his questing tongue. She groaned and watched as he licked a path the length of her cleft. He tilted his head slightly until he could see the mirror. “Watch.”

Tori glanced in the mirror and gasped. “Oh God!” She stared, riveted at the sight of his lips and tongue exploring and tasting her most intimate flesh. Her first climax hit when she saw – and felt – his tongue push deep inside her. Her hands clenched on her thighs to keep from collapsing on him. He wasn’t done, and she didn’t have the will to stop him, or move away. All she could do was watch helplessly as he feasted.

When he felt her thighs quivering, his hands rose to cup and knead her breasts, squeezing the hard tips. But moving his hands hid the actions of his mouth from her view. “No!” She blushed, but was too far gone to let her embarrassment stop her. “I…I want to see!”

He grinned and eased back slightly. “Then use your own hands.”

She frowned. “I…I can’t.”

He shrugged. “It’s up to you.” He nuzzled her, and flicked her clit with the tip of his tongue.

With a ravaged moan she gave in and reached down to pull back the soft folds. He let her watch his tongue circle and lick her clit for several minutes, drinking her free flowing juices, before finally closing his mouth around the pulsing nub and sucking. She barely managed to stifle her scream as she shattered.

He caught her as she collapsed and helped her down onto the bed beside him. Sitting up, he sat back on his heels and watched her come back to earth. She turned her head, her chest heaving as she sucked in oxygen. Her eyes were dark and glowing as she took in the sight of him in all his glory, the evidence of his desire standing tall and proud.

She grinned and crawled towards him. “My turn.” Bracing one hand on his thigh, she used the other to tease and stroke his hard shaft. Unable to resist, she leaned forward and set her mouth to his flesh, licking, kissing and sucking her way up and down his erection. His hands slid into her hair, lifting it out of the way so that her actions were clearly visible. A glance at the mirror had her mouth watering and her arousal building again. Oh yeah I want that inside me, and soon! Her eyes met his in the mirror and she watched the heat increase in the chocolate depths with each swipe of her tongue over his flesh. Opening her mouth wide, she took as much of him as she could and quickly settled into a slow rhythm.

Richie alternated between watching the scene in the mirror and looking down to see his shaft slide in and out of her mouth, her tongue a teasing hot flame. Finally he couldn’t take it anymore, and he gently pulled her away. She pouted. He chuckled in his throat and brushed his thumb over her bottom lip. “Look at me.” His voice was deep and gravely. “Look at how big you’ve made me with your mouth.” He dropped to a whisper. “Do you think I’ll fit?”

She felt her insides melt as though to make room for him. The sight of him made her shiver. She hadn’t thought it was possible, but he looked bigger than ever.

“Do you want it?” He brought her attention back to their situation. She nodded. “Then turn around.”

She was turned half way away from him when she thought to wonder what he had in mind. One glance in the mirror gave her a pretty good idea. Breath shortening, she dropped and braced herself on hands and knees and watched him shift closer. She moaned softly at the feel of the broad head of his erection nudging her opening. She whimpered at his slow penetration.

“Does that hurt? Maybe it’s too much.” He started to withdraw.

“No!” She pushed back towards him. “It doesn’t hurt. I want it. I do. Please!”

“You’re sure?”

“Richie! Please!”

He chuckled and filled her slowly. Her eyes closed at the feel of him stretching her delicate tissue. “No! You have to watch and tell me when I’m all the way in.”

She forced her eyes open and locked her gaze on the sight of his enormous erection being absorbed by her body. She sighed when their bodies met.

“Is that all of it?” He clenched his jaw against the need to pound into her. She nodded. “Are you sure? What about now?” He flexed his hips and nudged deeper.

She smothered her scream with the blanket. She’d barely caught her breath when he started to move. He pulled all the way out only to slide back in again. They both watched in the mirror as he again pulled all the way out and slid back in. The next withdrawl brought more whimpers from her. “No! Stay! Please!”

“You want this inside you?” He thrust deep again.

“Yes! Baby please!”

“How do you want it? Gentle or hard? Fast or slow?”

“Hard and slow.”

He nodded and hoped he was up to it. He’d set up the visual aids to increase her desire and need, but it was working on him as well. Taking a tighter grip on his control he took a deep breath and gave her what she wanted.

She shuddered at the sight of them in the mirror. She was so primed it was only minutes before she clenched around him and felt the pleasure wash over her. Assured that she’d found heaven, Richie let go and did what his body had been demanding. He gripped her hips and pounded into her. Once again the blanket prevented her screams from reaching beyond the bedroom. This time he met her release and poured into her. They both collapsed on the bed.

She turned to see his face and raised a trembling hand to stroke his cheek. “Unbelieveable.” She panted. “Absolutely…incredible.”

All he could do was nod his agreement.

The next day after lunch Richie pulled his mother-in-law aside. “As you may have noticed, Tori’s craving maple syrup.”

Helen grimaced. “Yeah, at least I was hoping that’s what it was when she dipped her grilled cheese sandwich into it.”

He chuckled. “Yeah, that was one of the most disgusting combinations she’s come up with yet. The main problem is that she wants the real stuff and that’s hard to find in California. Is there some place around here that I can get some?”

“Yes. Friends of ours make their own. Tori’s always loved it. I can take you out there now if you like.”

“That would be great.” He called upstairs to Ava. “Bean I’m going out with Grandma Helen to pick up some maple syrup for Tori. Do you want to come with us?”


While they were getting their coats on the doorbell rang. Helen opened it, revealing Karin on the other side. “Hi Karin, come on in. Tori’s downstairs with Joan.”

“Hi Helen. Merry Christmas Rich, Merry Christmas Ava.” Karin stepped inside.

“Hi Aunt Karin!” Ava hugged her.

“Merry Christmas Charlie. We’ll be back in a little while.” Richie hugged her, smirked at her confused look and headed outside to warm up the car.

Karin hung up her coat and headed downstairs. After greeting Tori and Joan, she looked at her best friend. “Why did Richie call me Charlie?”

Tori frowned in thought for a minute then laughed. “Charles is the name of Shirley Temple’s husband. Congratulations Karin, you are now officially a member of the Jovi family. You have your own nickname.”

Joan rolled her eyes, but chuckled. Karin snorted and groaned.

“How is Shirley, anyway?” Tori’s smirk widened into a grin as Karin blushed.

“Good. Very good.” The look in her eyes told Tori she wasn’t talking about his health. They’d been seeing each other on a fairly regular basis for the past two months and she’d never been happier.

Tori chuckled and squeezed Karin’s hand. “Good. I’m very happy for both of you.” She paused. “I have some news.”

“Oh?” Her eyes lit up. “Have you and Richie fulfilled Ava’s wish?”

Tori laughed, but nodded. “Yes, or at least we will have come June.”

Karin gave out a small scream and hugged her friend tightly. “That’s wonderful! See I told you there was nothing to worry about! Can I tell David or do you want to?”

“You can tell him, but ask him not to tell Jon and Dot. We’re going there for New Year’s and we’ll tell them then.”

Karin nodded. “I’ll threaten him with discolouration if he spoils the surprise.”

Tori laughed. Even Joan joined in – she’d heard the war stories. They were still talking about babies, family and practical jokes when Richie, Helen and Ava returned.

Ava ran downstairs.“We’re back. We got you some real maple syrup so that you don’t have to eat the fake stuff, and some maple sugar for times when there’s no syrup around.” She informed Tori, then leaned over and patted her stomach. “Hi Peanut.”

Tori smiled and winked at her. Karin chuckled. “I guess I don’t have to ask if you’re happy about having a brother or sister.”

Ava shook her head. “I can hardly wait!”

“She thinks it’s a boy.” Richie added as he took a seat.

“And what about you?” Karin asked.

“Am I happy? No, I’m beyond happy. There are no words to describe my feelings. Do I think it’s a boy? I don’t know and I don’t care. As long as everyone’s healthy, that’s all that matters.” He kissed Tori’s temple.

“Aunt Charlie, where’s Uncle Shirley?”

Tori and Karin stared at Ava, then turned to Richie.

“I’m not being held responsible for that one!” Tori warned her husband. He just chuckled.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Chapter 225

“Tori! We’re going to miss the plane!” Ava yelled up the stairs.

“I’m coming, and no we’re not Bean. We’ve got plenty of time.” Tori assured her as she descended the stairs. Her companions stood at the bottom surrounded by their luggage. Richie was watching her.

“Be careful! Don’t fall.” Ava warned her.

“Don’t you start on me too Bean. One overprotective Sambora is all I can handle. I’m fine. I’ll be careful.” She stroked Ava’s hair. “I promise.”

Ava hugged her, then backed off and patted Tori’s stomach. “Okay peanut?”

Tori smiled and glanced at Richie who was watching his daughter fondly. “Peanut’s just fine and ready to go meet the rest of the family. Let’s go.”

Richie watched Tori carefully during takeoff. When the seatbelt sign went off, he waved at a flight attendant and ordered tea for her, coffee for him and juice for Ava. “Angel, do you want anything else? Crackers?”

Tori shook her head. “Not right now thanks, I’m fine.”

Ava looked at her curiously. “Are you going to be sick? Becky said that her mother was sick every morning for months before her sister was born.”

“No, I’m not going to be sick. I was at first, but that seems to have stopped now.” I hope.

Ava frowned. “Does he move around? I mean, can you feel him?”

“Not yet. I will be able to in another few weeks and you will too.” Tori was amused at Ava’s insistance on referring to the baby as a boy, although she supposed it was nicer than saying ‘it’.

The rest of the flight was spent answering Ava’s seemingly endless questions about the baby and reassuring her that Jenny would indeed be at Tori’s parents’ when they arrived. After landing they picked up their luggage and headed through customs.

“What is the purpose of your visit to Canada?” The customs officers asked as he checked their ID.

“We’re going to visit our family.” Ava spoke up before either Tori or Richie could.

Tori grinned down at her. Richie chuckled and guided them to the counter to pick up their rental car.

When they pulled up in front of Tori’s parents’ house, Ava was out of the car and halfway to the door before Tori and Richie had even gotten out.

“Grandma Helen, Grandpa Bill! We’re here!”

“I see that Ava. Merry Christmas!” Helen opened the door. “Be careful on the sidewalk, it’s a little icy.” She called as she watched Tori pick her way over the frozen ground.

At her warning, Richie slammed the trunk shut and rushed to catch up to his wife. Suitcase in one hand, he gripped her arm with the other. She shot him a look, but didn’t say anything.

“Hi Mom, Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas dear.” Helen hugged her daughter. “Merry Christmas Richie.”

“Merry Christmas Helen.” He bent and kissed her cheek.

Ava came running up from downstairs. “Nana’s here!”

Tori looked at her mother. Helen nodded. “We thought she should come up here and we could all be together.”

The rest of the family came to greet them. Matt offered to bring in the rest of the bags for Richie. When they were all settled downstairs, Ava was practically jumping out of her skin and kept shooting pleading looks at Tori. Finally, Tori nodded.

“We’re going to have a baby!” Ava announced.

Conversation stopped as everyone looked to Tori for confirmation. She nodded and glanced at Richie, who reached out to take her hand.


“That’s wonderful!”


“When are you due?”

“Yes, thank you, June.” Tori tried to keep up with the comments and questions coming at her from all directions. She turned to Joan – the only one who wasn’t surprised. “You knew didn’t you?” Joan smiled and nodded. “How? I wanted to keep it a secret until Christmas. What did I do to give it away?”

“Nothing. Well, I noticed that you seemed a little tired and a little emotional, but mostly it was Richie. He was watching you like a hawk, talking to you like you were psychotic and about to snap, and wouldn’t let you do anything on your own.”

Tori swatted her husband’s arm. “I told you! I didn’t give it away, you did!”

“Ow! Sorry! I can’t help it! I don’t want anything to happen to you or the baby.”

“Don’t begrudge him his concern.” Bill admonished her. “It’s his responsibility to make sure you’re taken care of.” Jim and Michael nodded.

“She’s pregnant, not sick.” Helen argued. Louise and Sue nodded. “Or are you? How are you feeling?”

“Fine. I did have a mild case of morning sickness, but it seems to have stopped. My iron was low and made me really tired, but that’s better now.” Tori replied.

“Hey Rich, how are the hormones?” Jim asked.

“Manageable.” Was all Richie would say.

“Uh huh.” Jim wasn’t fooled.

Michael shuddered. “Can you imagine with her temper?”

Jim grimaced. “Our sympathies, man.”

Tori glared at both of them.

“Ignore them Tori.” Sue advised. “When they can deal with having another life grow inside them, poking them in the ribs, stomping on their bladder, making them eat sometimes stomach churning concoctions, draining their energy, making them want to cry one minute and scream the next, and I’m not even going to talk about the actual birth.”

“Please don’t.” Billy interrupted his mother.

“Anyway, when they can share in the hard work as well as the fun of creating a baby, then they can complain about having to cope with some of the less predictable and less pleasant aspects of pregnancy.”

“So there.” Tori stuck her tongue out at her brothers.

Richie kissed her temple. “I’ll cope with whatever I have to. I just want you and the baby safe and taken care of.” Tears filled her eyes and she leaned more heavily against him.

“Uh oh. Here come the waterworks.” Jim warned. Louise cuffed him in the back of the head.

“Better that than the other side.” Richie assured him and grunted when Tori poked him.

“Can we open presents now?” Aaron turned the subject to something more interesting to him.

“Yes.” Helen agreed.

The go ahead given, the noise level in the room skyrocketed as sixteen people exchanged presents. After awhile, Joan sat down beside her son and glanced around the room. “This is quite the family you’ve gotten yourself here.” He nodded. “I’m glad. You were meant to be part of a big family.” She’d been watching him with the other kids. “You’re a good father.”

“She made me a better one.” Richie watched his wife checking out the clothes her parents had given Ava.

Joan nodded. “She’s an excellent mother.” She glanced at Richie. “I know I don’t have to ask if you’re happy about the baby.” His whole face lit up and his joy shone in the dark depths of his eyes when he looked at his mother. “That’s what I thought. How’s Ava taking it?”

“I think I’m still deaf from her screams. She calls him Peanut.”


He shrugged. “She thinks it’s a boy.”

“And you?”

“I honestly don’t care as long as he or she – and Tori – are healthy.”

“Hey look!” Jenny ran up to Ava and Tori. “I got Mamma Mia! And it has a sing-a-long version! Grandma says we can watch it later.”

“Cool! Tori knows all the words without having to read them!” Ava responded.

“Sounds like we’re going to get a show.” Joan chuckled.

Richie just nodded and smiled indulgently at his family. “They’re actually pretty good.”

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Chapter 224

The next few weeks flew by, and before Tori knew it Christmas was upon them. She’d worked hard to get everything ready, her only frustration was in not getting the redecorating done that she’d wanted to. Richie had refused to let any painting be done. He didn’t want her exposed to the fumes. She understood – and even agreed that the risk wasn’t worth it, but she was still disappointed that her plans had been put on hold. Little did she know that one of Richie’s gifts to her was to have workers come in and do it all while they were in New Jersey. Cathy would supervise and make sure that the environment was safe for Tori to return to.

Three days before Christmas they headed to Dr. Crandall’s office for Tori’s check up. She felt good, and hoped that the doctor would confirm her confidence that everything was continuing to go well.

“Tori, Richie. Merry Christmas.” Dr. Crandall greeted them as she entered the room.

“Merry Christmas.”

“How are you feeling Tori?”


“How’s the morning sickness?” She wrapped the blood pressure cuff around Tori’s arm.

“Better. I’ve only thrown up twice within the last week.” Her reprieve at Thanksgiving had proven short lived, but the nausea had eased a lot.

Dr. Crandall looked at Richie, a twinkle in her eyes. “How are the hormones?”

He didn’t even blink. “Not too bad at all. She’s handling the swings really well.”

Both women snorted. The doctor patted his shoulder. “Good answer.”

He grinned. “Well, my mother didn’t raise no fool, and I like all my parts just where they are.” That earned him an ‘I’ll remember that’ look from his wife.

The doctor turned back to Tori and gestured to the examining table. “Okay Tori, hop up and let’s have a look see at Baby Sambora.”

Richie helped her up onto the table, then settled at her side, positioning himself for a good view of the ultrasound screen. Tori shook her head at him. He raised a brow. “What?”

“Do you want pom poms or maybe a big foam finger?”

He took her hand, leaned over and kissed her gently. “I don’t need any help showing my joy and excitement over this.”

Tori’s eyes filled with tears. Even Dr. Crandall was blinking rapidly. “He’s good.”

Tori nodded. “Very good.” She squeezed his hand and reached up for another kiss.

“This will feel cold.” Dr. Crandall warned her just before squirting gel over her stomach. “Alright. Let’s see what we’ve got here.” She was silent for several moments as she moved the wand around. “Ah, there we are.”

Tori’s breath caught in her throat and her hand tightened on Richie’s as she stared at the image of their baby shown clearly on the screen – not just the blob the last ultrasound had shown. He squeezed back and kissed her temple.

“Everything looks good. There’s the heart beating good and strong. Growth and development is well within normal parameters. Now, let’s see baby’s most photogenic side. I think…there.” There was an audible click. “Okay, now I just need the usual blood and urine samples and we’ll be all done for today.” She looked at Tori. “Have you told anyone yet?”

Tori shook her head. “No. Considering the risks, I wanted to be sure everything was okay first.”

The doctor nodded. “I understand, and while there is still the possibility of complications – there is with any pregnancy, I think it’s safe to share the news now.”

“Thank you.”

As they were preparing to leave the nurse handed them what looked like Polaroid pictures. “Baby’s first pictures.” She explained with a grin.

Tori stared at them all the way home. Richie grinned at her. She knew exactly what she wanted to do with them, but she wasn’t ready to let them out of her sight yet. He sat beside her on the couch, slid his arm around her shoulders leaned close and traced the outline of a tiny leg with a fingertip.

“That’s our baby.” Her voice quivered.

“Yes. It is.”

She leaned her head against him and let the tears flow. He held her close and tightened his grip on his own emotions.

Christmas morning dawned bright and sunny. Tori laid in bed enjoying the quiet, lazy start to the day. This was the first Christmas in many years where she hadn’t been surrounded by family from the moment she woke up. She smiled and touched her stomach when she realized that it was also the last time it would happen for many years. Ava wouldn’t be coming until after dinner, so it was just the two of them for the day.

“Merry Christmas angel.” His warm breath caressed her ear as he moved in close behind her and wrapped his arms around her.

“Merry Christmas Rich.” She turned her head towards him.

He lifted his slightly and kissed her. “Mmmm. Do you know one of the things that I like best about this pregnancy?”

“I can think of one or two, but what are you thinking of?”

He chuckled. “Besides that! I like that it’s slowed you down a little and made you a little lazy so that I get to wake up with you.”

She rolled to face him and burrowed into his warmth. “I like that too.”

A finger under her chin lifted her face to his. He bent and kissed her again, gently, but thoroughly. Her stomach growled. He leaned back and grinned. “So I guess it’s either throw up or eat up?”

“Apparently. And I have to say that I prefer my food going down.” She started to throw back the covers.

He stopped her. “You stay here. I’ll go get breakfast and bring it up here.”

“Breakfast in bed? Mmmm, that sounds decadent. You’re going to spoil me.”

“I’m trying.” He pulled on a robe and made it to the door before she stopped him.

“Oh, don’t forget the….”

He finished her sentence before she could. “Maple syrup. I know.”

With a grin she settled back onto the pillows to relax and enjoy being pampered by her husband.

Their day was indeed peaceful and relaxing. Breakfast was followed by a leisurely bath which they shared and which included even more leisurely lovemaking. When they had the energy to move again Tori packed their bags for their trip to Canada the next day and hoped that Heather remembered to pack Ava some sweaters. Then they cuddled on the couch and watched a movie. After that Richie made dinner while Tori watched.

“If this is my Christmas present, I love it and thank you.” They’d agreed to wait to open their presents until Ava joined them.

“No, this is not your present. I’m sorry I haven’t done this for you more. You’ve been through a lot of crap lately because of me, and then all the joys of the first trimester on top of that. I want to pamper you a little bit. I can’t help you carry the baby, but I can help take care of you.” When she didn’t respond immediately he glanced up from chopping vegetables to see tears running down her face and her bottom lip quivering. He set aside the knife, wiped his hands, walked around the counter and took her in his arms.

“I…I love you so much!” She sobbed into his shirt. Her arms slid around his waist and gripped tight.

“Sssh, sweetheart. I love you too.” He stroked her hair.

“Daddy, Tori! Merry Christmas!” Ava yelled as she came through the door.

“Merry Christmas Bean!” Tori had to grab the doorframe to keep from falling when her stepdaughter flew at her for a hug.

“Hey! Take it easy Ava, don’t knock her over!” Richie rushed forward to brace them both.

“It’s okay. I’m alright.” Tori gave him a warning glance.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you.” Ava frowned in concern.

“You didn’t sweetie, I’m fine. Come on, let’s go open presents!”

The next hour was filled with the sounds of ripping paper, ooohs and ‘thank yous’, and several squeals of appreciation. Finally, Richie raised a brow at Tori and she nodded.

“Here’s another one for you Bean.” He handed her a small square, almost flat package.

Tearing off the paper, she stared at the strange looking pictures. “What’s this?”

“Come here, and we’ll explain.” Richie patted the cushion between he and Tori on the couch.

When she’d settled, Tori took a deep breath and pointed to the figure in the photo. “That is your little brother or sister.”

They quickly found out that Richie had been right about the need for earplugs. Her scream echoed through the whole house. “REALLY? I’M GOING TO HAVE A BROTHER OR SISTER?” She looked to her father for confirmation. He grinned and nodded. She turned to Tori. “YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE A BABY?” Tori nodded. Ava looked at the pictures again, then screamed again and hugged them both. Hard. “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” She studied the pictures again. “He looks really small.”

“He?” Richie asked sending an amused glance Tori’s way. “So you think it’s a boy?” Ava shrugged.

“Well, he – or she - has got a lot of growing to do yet before being born. At this point the baby’s only about this big.” She held her fingers about three and a half inches apart.

“Like a big peanut.”

Tori chuckled. “Yeah, pretty close.”

Ava looked at the pictures again, then at Tori’s stomach. “Can I see?”

“Sure, but there’s nothing really to see yet.” Tori lifted up her shirt, baring her stomach.

Ava put her hand gently on the warm skin. Then she leaned down and kissed it. “Hi peanut. I’m your big sister.”

Tori looked at Richie, her eyes once again filled with tears. He had to blink away his own as he reached out and gripped her hand.

After they got everything cleaned up, Ava picked up the Mamma Mia DVD they’d given her. “Can we watch this now?”

Tori glanced at Richie, who shrugged. “Sure Bean.” Little did he know there was a sing-along version. He watched his wife in disbelief as she danced and sang along with Ava.

Seeing him shaking his head, and hearing the intro of the next song, Tori smirked and headed towards him. Throughout the song she danced around him, rubbing her hands over his shoulders and chest, raking her fingers through his hair.

Half past twelve
And I'm watching the late show in my flat all alone
How I hate to spend the evening on my own
Autumn winds
Blowing outside my window as I look around the room
And it makes me so depressed to see the gloom
There's not a soul out there
No one to hear my prayer

Gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight
Won't somebody help me chase the shadows away
Gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight
Take me through the darkness to the break of the day

Movie stars
Find the end of the rainbow, with a fortune to win
It's so different from the world I'm living in
Tired of T.V.
I open the window and I gaze into the night
But there's nothing there to see, no one in sight
There's not a soul out there
No one to hear my prayer

Gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight
Won't somebody help me chase the shadows away
Gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight
Take me through the darkness to the break of the day

Gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight...Gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight...There's not a soul out there
No one to hear my prayer

Gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight
Won't somebody help me chase the shadows away
Gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight
Take me through the darkness to the break of the day
Gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight
Won't somebody help me chase the shadows away
Gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight
Take me through the darkness to the break of the day

He pulled her into his lap. “You’re crazy.”

“That’s why you love me. I fit right into this family.” She leaned in to kiss him.

“Yeah, it helps to be a little crazy to deal with Daddy. But we love him anyway.” Ava agreed.

Richie frowned. “Ganging up on me again! Maybe I should start hoping for a boy just to even things out a bit.”

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Chapter 223

When Richie entered their bedroom that night after locking up and checking on Ava, he found his wife already in bed. Her eyes followed him as he undressed and climbed in beside her.

“That wasn’t too bad, all things considered. I was afraid it was going to be a lot worse.”

“Mmmhmmm.” She turned on her side to face him, one hand reaching out to stroke his chest.

“Thank you for putting up with Heather for Ava’s sake. I’m sorry about her trying to relive the past.”

“I actually feel worse for Jack. I know why she does it to me, but I can’t imagine how that shit must make him feel.”

“You handled it really well. No sign of hormones at all.”

Her lips twisted. “You didn’t see me in the kitchen when I was looking for something to throw.”

He chuckled. “Well, I admire your restraint. Our little secret is safe. At least for now.”

“Mmmmhmmm.” One fingertip circled a male nipple. It hardened at her touch.

He glanced at her. “Why do I get the feeling that you want something?”

She shrugged. “Well, I was very good today. I let you sleep in, I put up with your ex-wife being a bitch without taking her head off like I really wanted to do, no outbursts of tears or temper, no hauling you off to have my way with you, no grossing everyone out with maple syrup…I did everything I could to make it a happy Thanksgiving. I think I deserve a reward.”

“And what would this reward involve?” His voice had deepened and taken on that whiskey smoothness that always set her nerve endings alight.

“Just the use of my stud to satisfy my other craving. Although, I should warn you, since I was deprived all day, I’m…..famished.”

He chuckled and rolled to face her. “I think I can handle that.” Calloused fingertips skated over her shoulder and upper arm. When he pushed back the blankets he wasn’t surprised to find her naked. Urging her onto her back, he set his hands to her skin, smiling when she sighed in appreciation. After roaming her arms and abdomen, he turned his attention to her breasts. He weighed and caressed her plump mounds, trying to decide whether they’d begun to enlarge already. He couldn’t wait to see them swollen with milk. They were going to be incredible!

“Please!” Her back arched in entreaty.

“Patience sweetheart. You know it’s better if you wait.” He braced himself for her response. It wasn’t long in coming. The fingers of one hand fisted in his hair and tugged. He glanced up to see the fire and hunger in her eyes. A grin spread across his face. Ever since she’d become pregnant, she’d only been interested in instant – and repetitive – gratification. “Easy honey, we’ll get there.” Bending, he replaced his hands with his mouth, kissing and licking first one breast then the other. He spent long minutes torturing her nipples, licking, nibbling and scraping them with his teeth.

“Richie, please!” She whimpered. Her other hand came up to join the first and cradle his head and tug him closer.

He gave in. Closing his mouth around one hard peak, he circled it with his tongue once, twice, three times, then suckled. The hands in his hair tightened almost painfully as she cried out and climaxed.

“You’re…amazing.” She panted.

He chuckled. “I’m glad you think so. I’d like to take full credit for it, but I’d be lying. You’ve read the book, you know that you’re more sensitive now.”

“Maybe, but you’re….still…amazing.”

He kissed her gently. “Thank you.”

“So come be amazing again.”

“Still hungry?”


“Guess we’d better see what we can do to satisfy that hunger then.” Once again he explored her body with hands and mouth, drawing sighs and soft moans from her throat. She tried to return the favour, but for the most part, he avoided her reaching hands – it was the only way he could keep control long enough to sate her craving. His stamina was good, but there were limits. If he let her have her way, he’d never last.

“No more teasing Rich. I need you now.” She gripped his shoulders and tugged, trying to pull him over her.

He stretched out beside her, rested on hand on her stomach and licked and sipped from her lips. “What do you need?”

She reached down and closed her hand around his hard, pulsing shaft. He groaned as she stroked. “I need this…” His eyes closed when she squeezed for emphasis. “…” Her other hand grasped the hand on her belly and moved it down between her thighs.

“Here?” He slipped two fingers into her warm sheath.

“Mmmmm…yes.” She whispered, her hips rocking against his hand, driving his fingers deeper. Suddenly she shook her head and tried to pull his hand away. “No! Not like that! Richie please!”

“But I thought you liked it?” His fingers never stopped their penetration and withdrawl, even as he fought to ignore her clever hand stroking him.

“I do..mmm… but it’s not enough….it’s not….deep…enough. Richie!” She wailed.

“Aaah. I see. You want something bigger….longer…more…satisfying.” He murmured, nibbling on her earlobe.

“Yes, yes, Richie PLEASE!”

Removing his hand, he pulled hers away and turned her on her side facing away from him. He slid one arm underneath her and pressed closer. His arm bent until he could cup a breast. The other hand skimmed down her side to her hip. “You want this…” His erection glided along the swollen female folds between her legs. “…here.”

Her hips tilted in search of the teasing hardness, her need quickly becoming desperate. Groaning, she reached down and guided him to her opening. Still he held back. “RICHIE!” She sobbed.

“Okay, okay. Sssh. I’m right here. I’m…. right…here.” Very slowly, he gave her what she wanted.

“Oh! Oh..oh…yes. There…right…there. Mmmmm.” She shivered at the feel of him buried inside her.

“There? Or…there?” He pushed even deeper. She shattered. He held still until her tremors subsided. “Satisfied?” She shook her head. “Okay, how about we try this then?” The hand on her hip drifted over her stomach, one finger coming to rest on her swollen clit. His other hand caressed her breast, teasing, squeezing and pulling on her nipple. He began to rock his hips.

She was caught between his hands on her front, his warm chest stroking her back with their movements and his hard flesh deep inside her. Each thrust sent electrical currents of sensation shooting through her from both the friction caused by the intimate rubbing of their flesh, and from his finger on her nub that massaged with each movement of her hips. She gasped as her body was overwhelmed and her climax ripped through her. This time he didn’t stop. He kept moving, whispering in her ear how her body felt in his hands and surrounding his erection, what he was going to do to her, and how long he was going to take to do it.

Shuddering, she came again. And again. And again. Still he didn’t stop. At this point, her orgasms were coming one almost on top of another. She didn’t even try to count. All she could do was grip his arms and hang on.

Feeling her go weak with the excess, he sped up his movements. When her walls fisted around him again, he let go and went with her over the edge. Heart pounding, he withdrew from her body, but didn’t let her go. Instead, he wrapped his arms more tightly around her and dropped a kiss on her shoulder. “Okay?”

She shuddered. “I’ll let you know when I know if I’m still alive.” She waited until her heartbeat slowed. “I don’t care what any book says. You. Are. Amazing!” Her head turned just enough to kiss the arm nearest her face. “Now THAT’s something to be thankful for!”

He chuckled and kissed her shoulder again. “I won’t argue with you.”

The rest of the weekend was spent shopping and otherwise working on preparations for Christmas. Tori had tried very hard to control her hormones and not give herself away. The closer they got to Christmas, the more she wanted to keep it a surprise until then. She thought she’d been successful – until Sunday.

They’d dropped Ava back at her mother’s on their way to LAX for Joan’s flight back east. Saying goodbye at the security gate, Joan hugged Tori and searched her face for a moment.

“Make sure you get plenty of rest. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.” She started to turn away, then turned back. “And don’t let Richie treat you like an invalid!” She pointed a finger at him. “Help her, don’t smother her!”

They could hear her chuckles as she walked away. Stunned, they stared at each other for a full minute, then spoke in unison. “She knows!”

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Chapter 222

Thanksgiving Day got off to a great start. Joan had come in the night before and Richie had picked her and Ava up and brought them home. Tori could see how happy he was to have his family all together. She had high hopes that the day would go smoothly. Even the baby was cooperating. She’d awakened feeling only a slight twinge of nausea, but hadn’t been sick. For a brief moment she debated about waking Richie to… celebrate, but he’d been so good getting up with her and sharing the more unpleasant aspects of early pregnancy, that she decided he deserved to sleep in. She almost lost it watching Ava eat a fried egg for breakfast, dipping her toast in the runny yolk. Quickly averting her eyes, she managed to suppress the urge to hurl, and was even able to finish her own breakfast – she’d opted for waffles so that she could get her maple syrup fix without raising any eyebrows. Although she turned a little green around the edges, Ava didn’t notice, and if Joan – who had joined them – did, she didn’t say anything.

“You’re letting Richie sleep in?” Her mother-in-law asked. She remembered the year before and Richie grumbling about being awakened to help with the dinner preparations.

Tori smiled. “Yeah. He’s been doing a lot of running around for me lately, helping prepare for today and Christmas, so I decided to let him sleep.”

“You spoil him.”

Tori shrugged and grinned. “He’s worth spoiling. Besides, he spoils me too.”

Ava nodded. “He’s good at spoiling.”

Tori reached out to stroke the shining blonde head. “Yes, he is.”

By the time Richie joined them it was almost noon, the turkey was in the oven, the rest of the meal was under control and the women were taking a break and discussing possible lunch menu items.

“Morning.” He greeted them.

His mother glanced at the clock and snorted. “Barely.”

He ignored her comment, winked at Ava and moved to where Tori was surveying cupboard and fridge contents. Standing behind her, he wrapped his arms around her middle, one hand coming to rest low on her stomach.

“I didn’t hear you get up this morning.” His murmur was for her ears only.

She turned her head slightly and grinned. “That’s because someone apparently decided to take a break and give me another reason to be thankful today.”

“That’s a Sambora for you.”

She snorted and shook her head. “What do you want to eat, goof?”

“You mean besides you?” He nuzzled her neck.

She sucked in a breath. “Ooh, that’s cruel to tempt me when we both know it’s going to be a long….” She glanced at the clock. “Eleven or twelve hours before we can….indulge.” A concerned frown creased her forehead. “I hope I can hold out that long.”

His chuckle was a low rumble in his chest. “Oh I think you’ll make it. Ava will help distract you.” He squeezed her, then let go. “How about Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches? Or, at least a variation of them? We have some left over roast beef from last night don’t we?”

“Mmmhmmm. I’ve never made them before, but I’ll give it a go.” She pulled the beef out of the fridge.

He took it from her hands. “You go sit down. I’ll make lunch.” She stared at him in disbelief. “What? You know I’m fully capable.”

“I know, it’s just that you do it so rarely that I’d assumed that you cooked only when threatened with starvation.”

“Or when he’s sucking up or trying to impress a woman.” Joan added.

“Or to avoid Uncle Jon’s cooking.” Ava chimed in.

“None of that’s true! Well, except avoiding Jon’s cooking, but that’s survival instinct. If you’re all going to gang up on me, I won’t ever cook again, since you obviously think that my trying to do something nice for my family is a cover for wanting something.” He sniffed indignantly.

Tori felt horrible, but before she could apologize, Joan stopped her. “Don’t fall for it! He’s playing you.”

“Ma!” Richie protested.

Tori had been looking at her mother-in-law in surprise, but at his outburst, turned to study her husband and the chagrined look on his face. She crooked a brow at him. His lips twitched and he wouldn’t meet her eyes. She snorted.

“Daddy, you are sooooo busted!” Ava giggled.

He wrinkled his nose at her, sighed and focused on his cooking.

When Jack and Heather arrived a few hours later, Tori was surprised to be greeted with a hug from Jack.

“Thank you for this.” He murmured. When her brow rose, he explained. “She didn’t want to spend the holiday apart from Ava, but Ava really wanted to be here.”

Dinner went as smoothly as Tori could hope for. Conversation was a little stilted at the beginning, but Richie, and even Jack exerted themselves to keep it flowing. And of course with Ava around, lulls were quickly filled.

Richie watched Tori stifle a sigh and suppress a grimace as she took a mouthful of food. He fought back a grin. When she headed into the kitchen to refill the mashed potato bowl, he followed her with the gravy boat.

“Here.” He reached into his pocket, pulled out his hand and offered her what was in it. “Maybe you could break them up and suck on them when you get the urge.”

“Maple sugar! Where did you get that?”

“At one of the airport stores when I was waiting for Ma. I thought it might come in handy.”

She threw her arms around his neck and hugged him tight, squeezing her eyes closed against the tears threatening. “I love you!”

He chuckled. “I love you too angel.”

Stepping back, she took a bite of the candy. “Mmmmmm.”

“This pie is great Tori.” Jack complimented. “I haven’t had pumpkin pie this good in a long time.”

“I made it.” Ava informed him. “Tori taught me how.”

Tori smiled at her and winked.

“Well you did an excellent job.” Jack assured her.

Heather frowned slightly, then her expression eased and she started to play ‘remember when’ about past holiday’s with Richie. Tori forced a smile on her face while she listened. Richie set his hand on her leg and squeezed reassuringly, hoping to diffuse the bomb he could sense ticking in the tense body beside him.

Finally, it became too much. She couldn’t take it anymore. She felt like she was going to explode. To avoid making a scene, she stood and began clearing the table. In the kitchen, she set down the dishes she was carrying, gripped the counter and struggled to keep her temper – and her hormones - under control. A noise behind her had her turning to see that Jack had followed her with an armload of dishes.

“Sorry about that.” He gestured towards the dining room.

She shrugged. “It’s got to be as hard for you to hear as it is me.”

He nodded. “Yeah.” He hesitated, then shrugged. “She can be a bitch, but I love her. And she’s not like that all the time. Just where you and Richie are concerned. I’ve tried to get her to stop with the dog in the manger routine, but…..” He shrugged again. “I’d like to know your secret though.”

“What secret?”

“How you get her to change her mind and do what’s right.” Tori just looked confused. “Like Ava’s birthday. She was determined to stay in bed and have the party cancelled, but you changed her mind. And today. When I suggested a week ago that we all spend the holiday together, she shot me down, then she spoke to you, and here we are. How do you do it?”

Tori smiled wryly. “She doesn’t want to come off looking petty and spiteful and….second best…compared to me. Especially if it’s something that will make her look bad in court.”

He nodded. “That would explain it. She certainly is afraid that you’re going to try to take Ava away from her.”

She looked at Jack for a minute. “She should be. As long as Ava is happy and healthy, well cared for and loved, not put at risk, and she wants to be with her mother, I’ll leave it alone. But if any of that changes, you can be assured that I will push Richie to sue for full custody. And let’s be honest, how hard do you think I’d have to push?” He snorted. “Exactly. Her little stunt after her DUI was her free one. She let us keep Ava after Richie’s, so it was only fair. I don’t want to be on bad terms with Heather. I’d like us to get along – for Ava’s sake if nothing else, but I won’t stand by and see that beautiful girl used as a pawn in some game her mother wants to play for her own benefit.”

Jack’s brows rose. “You’re not just another pretty face are you? There’s a brain and a spine of steel under that soft exterior.”

She shrugged. “I’m a Bongiovi. It’s in the genes.”

When she returned to the dining room she found that she had another ally in Joan. When Heather finished with her latest trip down memory lane, Joan turned to Tori and asked about the redecorating that she was planning to do. Everytime Heather tried to talk about the past, Joan managed to change the subject to the future. Tori wanted to hug her. Even Richie realized what she was doing and shot her an appreciative glance. After a while Heather gave up.

“Thank you so much for letting us all be together today Mom.” Ava hugged her mother as Heather and Jack were preparing to leave.

Tori and Joan exchanged glances. Maybe Ava was more aware than they gave her credit for.

“Of course sweetie. We’re all family after all.” Heather replied.

Tori resisted the urge to snort and roll her eyes. In full actress mode I see. Jack caught her eye and winked. When the door closed behind them, Tori let out a relieved breath. She turned to find Ava watching her.

“Thank you for today.” Her eyes were shining. “I love you Tori.”

Her eyes filled as she pulled Ava close. “I love you too Bean.”

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Chapter 221

The next week was a busy one for the Sambora family. Tori was trying to get preparations underway for both Thanksgiving and Christmas and Richie was scheduled to present an award at the American Music Awards on Sunday night.

“Man, one thing I kinda miss about Canada is having Thanksgiving in October. Having it so close to Christmas is an organizational nightmare!” Tori grumbled one afternoon early in the week as she pored over lists.

“Think of it as a challenge.” Richie suggested. “Besides, if you’d let Rosa help…..” He trailed off and raised his hands defensively when she lifted her head and he saw her face. “I know, I know, it wouldn’t be the same. Sorry I mentioned it. I just don’t like to see you wearing yourself out when you should be taking extra good care of yourself.”

“I just want it to be perfect.” Her eyes filled with tears.

“I know you do. And it will be. Everything you do, no matter how it turns out, is perfect, because you do it with love.” He wasn’t sure if he’d said the right thing or not – it was hard to tell these days since she cried about everything – but he thought he was safe when she crawled onto his lap and hugged him. When she released him he tucked a curl behind her ear and kissed her gently. “What can I do to help?”

“Well, you can help me figure out how we’re going to fit in visits to all of our family over the holidays, what to get Jon and Dot for Christmas, and sort out with Heather once and for all who’s getting Ava for Thanksgiving.” They’d been arguing for the last couple of weeks and still hadn’t come to an agreement.

It was decided – after many phone calls – that they would spend Christmas Day at home in L.A, then head for Canada on Boxing Day for a couple days. Ava would travel with them. They would return to L.A., then spend New Year’s in Jersey and stay for a couple weeks since Jon wanted to work on some songs for a new album.

“Already?” Tori was surprised when she’d been informed of Jon’s wishes.

Richie nodded. “Yeah. He’s rolling around some ideas on how to commemorate our twenty-fifth anniversary. If I were you, I’d keep up my practising. You know he’s going to want to include you.”

Tori snorted and glanced down at her stomach. “Well then he either needs to do it soon or wait until next summer or fall. It won’t be long before I won’t have a lap to sit a guitar on.”

“And you’ll be even more beautiful, although I don’t know how that’s possible.” He kissed her temple.

She snorted. “Wow, you’re on your best behaviour. Do you want something or are you just trying to avoid the down side of the hormone roller coaster?

He grinned. “Neither. I’m just being honest.”

“Uh huh.” She didn’t sound convinced.

Organizing Thanksgiving didn’t go quite so smoothly. Richie and Heather still hadn’t come to an agreement about Ava and Tori was getting fed up. When she walked into the living room to hear Richie, on the phone, once again arguing, she decided she’d had enough.

“Oh for fuck’s sake…ENOUGH! Give me the phone!” She held out her hand, her eyes daring him to say no. He handed over the phone. “Heather, this is ridiculous! This is supposed to be a family celebration and the two of you are fighting over your daughter like dogs over a bone! Now, we’re all reasonable adults, surely there’s a compromise here. Why don’t you and Jack come here for Thanksgiving dinner? Joan will be here, and Ava can have all of her family together.”

There was silence at the other end of the line for a long minute. “Why don’t you come here instead?”

Tori grit her teeth. “Because I asked first and I’ve already got the preparations started. You can have the next one.”

Heather sighed. “Okay.”

“Great. We’ll eat at five, but feel free to come over earlier if you want.”


Tori hung up and handed the phone back to Richie. He eyed her carefully. “Are you sure you want to do that?”

She shrugged. “I’ll do whatever I have to do to have a nice family holiday.” He kept staring at her. “What?”

“You might want to keep in mind that she’s not a na├»ve, easily distracted eleven year old. You’re going to have to really watch yourself or she’s going to figure it out.” He didn’t give her favourable odds. Hormones were hard to control at the best of times, and half the time she didn’t even realize the signals she was sending out.

She frowned but nodded. “Warning noted.”

Friday Richie picked up Ava and Kate after school and took all of them to the Laker’s game. Saturday, Tori and Ava spent all afternoon baking and freezing cookies for Christmas and the evening making shopping lists and watching a movie.

Sunday, they were getting ready to head to the AMA’s when Tori realized that she’d left her lipstick upstairs. Richie stood at the bottom of the staircase and watched her all the way up.

“Daddy, are you and Tori fighting or something?”

“Hmmm? No, we’re fine Bean, why?”

“’Cause, you keep standing here watching everytime she goes up and down the stairs, you’ve been talking to her like she’s upset and you’re trying to make her feel better and she cried during the movie last night.”

Richie debated his response. “Well, I watch her on the stairs in case she has another dizzy spell. I don’t want her to fall. I didn’t realize I was talking to her like that. I didn’t mean anything by it. As for the movie…well sometimes she gets so into the movies that its like she’s part of them and she gets emotional.”

Ava frowned. “I thought her dizzy spell was because she got up too fast.”

“It probably was. I’m just being extra careful. Just like I was with you when you were learning to walk. I wouldn’t let you get more than a foot away from me in case you lost your balance. I wanted to be there to catch you if you fell. I want to protect the people I love and keep them from getting hurt.”

She grinned and hugged him. “I love you too Daddy.”

“Okay, I’m ready. Let’s go.” Tori joined them, caught Richie’s eye and raised a brow. He just shook his head.

“Oh Daddy look, there’s the Jonas brothers! Can we go meet them? Please?!” Ava gripped her father’s hand and did the dance that had earned her her nickname.

“Sure sweetie.” Richie dutifully let himself be tugged over towards the young men standing by the refreshment table.

Tori chuckled and followed more slowly, while she glanced around the room. They were backstage before the show, doing a bit of a meet and greet with the other artists and presenters who would be participating that evening. She was startled to hear her name being called. Looking towards the voice she saw Chris Daughtry waving at her. She smiled, waved back and changed direction to meet him. “Hey Chris. How are you?”

He hugged her. “I’m great. How are you?”

“I’m good. Really good.”

“Really? The story I heard must have been wrong then.”

“What story?”

“That you actually married Sambora. But it can’t be true or you wouldn’t look so good and so happy.”

She laughed and raised her left hand to display her rings. “Yup, it’s true.”

He shook his head sadly. “And Jon let you? I can’t believe he’d throw his only sister to the big bad wolf. And I thought you had better taste than that.” The twinkle in his eyes gave away the joke.

“Well, you were already married, so what other choice did I have?”

“Hey! Are you trying to steal my wife Daughtry?” Richie slid an arm around her waist and hugged her tight to his side. “Hands off man. She’s mine.” He slanted her a look. “As for you, Mrs. Sambora, what’s with trying to pretend I’m second best? We both know no one can compete with the moose.”

“Richie!” She swatted his chest and looked around. “Where’s Ava?”

“Over there with the Cyrus’. She’s talking a mile a minute with Mylie. Billy Rae says that they’re a lot alike.”

“She’s gorgeous man. You are so screwed when she starts dating. I look forward to watching the fireworks.” Chris grinned and clapped Richie on the back.

Richie flipped him off and grimaced. “I know it.”

“Aw, don’t worry honey, I’ll help you through it.” Tori assured him.

“I know that too. That’s one of the reasons I married you. I knew I couldn’t survive it on my own.” He frowned. “Although, so far all I see is the two of you ganging up on me.”

“Of course. I told you before that women stick together when dealing with overbearing males. We need to help each other keep our identities and our sanity.”

Richie snorted. “You’re a Bongiovi. You don’t need any help.” She just grinned.

“Seriously though man, congratulations to you both.” Chris shook Richie’s hand and kissed Tori’s cheek. “I wish you the best.”

“Thanks Chris.” Tori hugged him.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Chapter 220

Tori awoke the next morning with the fire warming her face and Richie’s hard chest warming her back, her head pillowed on his arm, the rug a soft mattress underneath them. Wanting to wallow in her contentment for awhile longer, she didn’t move, hoping that by remaining still she could hold off her usual morning rush to the nearest bathroom. It worked for about fifteen minutes before she had to jump up and bolt or risk creating a mess on the living room floor. She didn’t even feel her elbow connect with Richie’s stomach as she struggled to her feet.

Richie grunted when she poked him and cracked his eyes open in time to see her bare butt disappear into the hallway. Yawning, he dragged himself to his feet and followed her. After her reaction yesterday morning he didn’t even attempt to greet her, he just held her head and silently handed her a glass of water when she’d finished. While she rinsed her mouth he went down to their bathroom to get her toothbrush. When she’d rinsed her mouth again he took the chance of speaking. “Bed or rug?”

She debated between their cold bed or the soft rug in front of the warm fire. It wasn’t much of a debate. “Rug.”

He nodded and followed her back to the living room, waited until she’d laid down again, covered her with the blanket, joined her and curled his body around hers. The arm pillowing her head bent so that he could trail his fingertips over her bare shoulder. The other hand settled over her stomach. He kissed her neck. “I love you angel.”

“Mmmm. Love you too Rich.” She answered sleepily, one hand moving to grip his forearm that laid across her upper chest, the other to cover his on her abdomen.

When they awoke again – and after Richie had provided the service she required – and Tori was in the shower, he thought about her concerns from the night before. He had an idea for something that would help, but neither one of them could get it without spilling the beans. He reached for the phone to call L.A. and ask Rosa for a favour.

They opted for a nearby diner for brunch before heading for the airport for the short hop to Cleveland. Richie hoped he could keep down his meal as he watched his wife devour her club sandwich dipped in maple syrup. Tori hoped she could keep hers through take off. Both were successful.

Tori was surprised when they met Les Paul for dinner before the show. For a man of his advanced years, he was still quite agile, his mind was sharp as a tack and he had a wonderful sense of humour.

“Well, well, well. How did an old man like me get so lucky to have such a beautiful young dinner companion?” Was his greeting after Richie introduced them. He held out his arm for her. “Sambora, you can go find a table somewhere else. I have all the company I need right here.”

Tori laughed. Richie snorted. “Not on your life man. I know how you work. There’s no way I’m leaving you alone with my wife!”

Dinner passed in a frenzy of stories and jokes – mainly at Richie’s expense, and heavy flirting between Les and Tori. Richie knew they were only teasing, but his inner caveman was on alert as he watched his old friend charm his wife.

“Seriously sweetheart, he might have some skill, but these old fingers still have plenty of magic left in them. I haven’t taught him everything I know.” Les waggled his brows at her. Beneath the teasing Tori could sense his real appreciation of Richie’s talent.

“You’d never be able to keep up old man. She’d kill you. Believe me.” Richie retorted.

“RICHIE!” Tori flushed bright red.

Les laughed and patted her hand. “I don’t doubt that he’s right, but what a way to go!”

Richie’s only really uneasy moment came when he heard Tori order salmon. His insides quaked at the thought of what she might do with it, until he read the description and realized that there was maple already in the sauce. Hopefully it would be enough to satisfy her craving.

“Come on beautiful, let’s go set the gossip’s tongues wagging. Will you be my arm candy this evening?” Les mock leered at her as they prepared to leave the restaurant.

“I’d love to. I always like walking in to a party with the most handsome man in the room.” Tori agreed and took his arm.

“Hey!” Richie protested.

Tori reached up and patted his cheek. “Don’t worry Rockstar, we’ll let you tag along.”

Les sighed. “Bit of a third wheel, but I guess, if we have to. Just make sure you stay back out of the camera shot Sambora, we don’t want your ugly mug taking away from this gorgeous vision at my side.”

Tori chuckled and kissed his cheek. Richie frowned, shoved his hands in his pockets and grumbled all the way out to the car. When they got to the Hall of Fame, Les and Tori led the way with Richie following behind. He had to force a smile as the reporters spotted them.

After the show, the adrenaline of performing, followed by fulfilling his job as his wife’s stud against the wall in his dressing room – he told himself that it was safer there than on the plane, but the caveman knew better – restored his good humour. Even Les’ parting shot didn’t dampen his mood.

“Sweetheart, you ever get tired of the rockstar here, just say the word and I’ll take you away and show you how a man really treats a beautiful woman right.” He took Tori into his arms and kissed her.

When he released her she waved a hand in front of her face. “Whew! You’ll be the first one I call.”

Richie wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her tight against his side. “Not freaking likely! Get your own old man. This one’s mine!” Then the two men hugged and Richie and Tori left to catch their flight back to Philly.

When they settled into their seats on the plane, Tori glanced at her husband and smirked. “He’s quite a character. I really like him.”

“Uh huh.” He shot her a look. “He really likes you too.” She grinned. He snorted. “He’s a good man, a hell of a musician….and a great judge of women.” He acknowledged. Her eyes shone as he leaned over and kissed her gently.

Back in L.A. the next day, Tori was very proud that she’d managed to control herself the entire flight back. Of course she’d put Richie through his paces very thoroughly before they’d left the condo, and was planning on doing it again as soon as they’d settled in. Rosa met them in the foyer with a package, which she handed to Richie.

“Thanks Rosa.” He held it out to Tori. “Here. I think this might help you understand what’s happening and prepare for what’s to come. We can read it together.”

Curious, Tori reached into the bag and pulled out a book. What to Expect When You’re Expecting. “I’ve heard about this. Thank you.” She frowned. “But how did you…..?”

“After our….conversation….the other night, I thought it might come in handy, but I knew that neither one of us could walk into a book store to buy it without it becoming tabloid headlines. I thought about asking Henry to get someone to get it for us, but I knew you didn’t want to tell anyone. Then I realized that Rosa was perfect. No one would think anything of her buying the book and she already knows.”

Tori nodded in agreement with his reasoning. She turned to Rosa. “How did you figure it out anyway?”

Rosa chuckled. “Oh, Mrs. Tori! I have six children and twenty-five grandchildren. I see signs of bebe coming many times. But no to worry. I no tell anyone. You tell when ready. Is only right.” She hesitated, then waved at the book. “You have questions, I can help.”

Tori hugged her. “Thanks Rosa. I will remember that.”

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Chapter 219

“Hold it right there!” Richie’s voice boomed up the stairs from where he stood at the bottom, going over their schedule with Rosa. “What do you think you’re doing there missy?”

Tori’s brow winged up. “Um…gee, let’s see….getting ready to leave so that we don’t miss our flight?”

“And what are you doing with that?” His finger pointed at the suitcase in her hand.

“Well, I didn’t think that you wanted to walk around Philly and Cleveland, not to mention appear on stage in front of an audience – as appreciative as they might be – naked, so I packed us some clothes.”

He climbed the stairs quickly and took the suitcase from her with a growl. “You don’t lift anything heavier than a bowl or a tea cup…..or a tray of cookies.”

Tori looked at Rosa and rolled her eyes. Rosa smirked and headed for the kitchen. “Have a good trip.”

As she started down the stairs, she felt Richie’s arm slide around her waist. She slanted him a look. “I’m fine. No dizziness at all.” He just grunted. She sighed. “I don’t know how I go up and down these stairs a dozen times a day without your strong arm to help me.”

He frowned, but ignored her sarcasm. “You shouldn’t be doing that either.” Seeing her eyes narrow dangerously, he continued. “What would happen if you had another spell and no one was here to help you? You could fall and hurt yourself or the baby.” She didn’t look convinced. He sighed. “All I’m asking is that you not run up and down the stairs without someone close by in case you need help. Please? For my peace of mind?”

She sighed in resignation. He really wasn’t asking for much, and the truth was she broke out into a sweat whenever she thought about what might have happened if she’d fallen. “Fine.” Besides, what he didn’t know when he wasn’t home wouldn’t hurt her.

He hugged her closer and kissed her temple. “Thank you.”

Settling into her seat on the plane, Tori fastened her seatbelt and prepared for takeoff – her least favourite part of flying. She closed her eyes at the feeling of ‘whoosh’ and being pushed down into her seat.

Richie studied her face and as soon as they reached cruising altitude, got up and headed for the galley. When he returned, he handed her several packs of saltine crackers. “Here. The flight attendant’s going to bring you a cup of tea. Are you going to be sick?”

She shook her head. “I don’t think so. Thanks.” She grimaced and ripped open some crackers.

A few minutes later the attendant flipped open her tray, set a cup in front of her and gave her a sympathetic look. “Can I get you anything else?”

“No, this is great. Thank you.”

“Let me know if that changes. It should get better in a little while, and landing should be okay, at least it always was for me. If it’s any consolation, I found with both of mine, that after the first trimester flying didn’t bother me at all.”

Tori turned an accusing look on her husband as the attendant walked up the aisle. His brows rose. “What? I didn’t tell her, honest! I just said that you were feeling queasy and asked for the crackers and tea. It’s not my fault she guessed right.”

“Mmmhmm.” She wasn’t sure she believed him, but she supposed it was possible, and she didn’t want to fight. Leaning her head back against the seat, she closed her eyes, sipped her tea and waited for her stomach to settle.

A couple hours later they were watching the movie. Tori glanced around the cabin, flipped the arm between their seats up out of the way and shifted closer. She laid her head on his shoulder and one hand on his chest. He shifted the seat back a little further to make her more comfortable, covered her hand with his and kissed her forehead. Her other hand settled on his thigh. Her fingers began to play.

He glanced down to see the familiar gleam in her eyes and grinned. “Hang tight angel, we’ll be home in a few hours.”

Her bottom lip came out in an exaggerated pout. The fingers on his thigh slid higher. “Don’t want to wait.”

He sucked in a breath and grabbed for her teasing hand. “Um sweetheart, I hate to disappoint you, but this is a public plane.”

“So? It has a bathroom with a lock on the door.” She reached up to kiss him.

He could taste the hunger in her kiss. “Easy honey. You don’t really want to make a public scene now do you? I’ll make it up to you and give you all you can take when we get to the condo. I promise.”

She frowned. “When did you get to be such a prude Mr. Rockstar? And don’t try to tell me you’ve never done it before.” She pulled away from him, her eyes filling with tears of frustration. “Maybe I won’t be in the mood later. Maybe I won’t be in the mood for a very long time!” With a sniff she stood, brushed by him and headed for the bathroom. Throwing an aggravated look back at him, she opened the door and disappeared inside.

He watched her in stunned disbelief. Did she just threaten to cut me off if I don’t fuck her in the bathroom? And that’s what it would be. Time and space restrictions weren’t conducive to lovemaking. He grinned. He’d definitely found his match! Gotta love pregnancy hormones! Glancing at his watch he looked around the cabin and decided he’d wait another couple minutes before joining his wife.

In the bathroom, Tori reached under her skirt and slipped off her panties. She didn’t know what had made her wear a skirt today – she usually travelled in jeans – but she was glad she did. Or she would be if Richie would quit playing the uptight killjoy and come and give her what she needed! She blew out a breath and waited, trying to ignore the blood humming in her veins. She was just about to give up when she heard a soft tapping at the door.

“Angel? It’s me. Let me in.”

With a grin, she reached out to flip the lock, lifted up the back of her skirt to prevent any embarrassing stains and hiked herself up onto the tiny countertop.

Richie squeezed into the small compartment and locked the door behind him. He studied his wife then looked around. “Are you sure about this? It isn’t going to be very comfortable, and we can’t stay in here long or we’ll get caught. And although you’re right, I have done this before, a long time ago, I don’t think either one of us wants to have this….interlude….splashed all over the gossip rags.” She simply raised the front of her skirt and held her arms out to him. He groaned at the sight and gave in. “Okay, but this is going to be hard and fast.”

When he took a step towards her she grabbed his shirt with both hands and pulled him closer yet. Her mouth reached for his while her hands rapidly undid the buttons on his shirt, slid inside and stroked the warm skin she found. Mouths melding, he set his hands to her body, knowing he needed to arouse her quickly. One hand found its way under the hem of her sweater and up to cup her breast and tease her nipple. The other hand slid up her thigh to her female core to check her readiness. He needn’t have worried. She was already drenched and swollen. He speared her with two fingers just to be sure. She gasped through their kiss and lifted her hips towards his hand.

Her hands left his chest, reached for the bottom of her sweater and tried to remove it. When he realized what she was doing, he broke the kiss and shook his head. “No time.” He raised her sweater, tugged one side of her bra down, exposing her creamy mound, bent and closed his mouth over the already hard tip. Her cry echoed around the small room. He lifted his head. “Ssh. You have to be quiet.” Even though she nodded her understanding he knew she wouldn’t be able to hold back. He fused his mouth to hers once again.

Tasting him, she reached for the waistband of his pants, stripping open the button and easing down the zipper. She pushed both his pants and underwear over his hips, then closed her hand around his rapidly swelling shaft and stroked.

The teasing warmth of her hand and her obvious urgency had him hard and aching in seconds. Withdrawing his fingers from her pulsing flesh, he nudged her legs wider, gripped her hips with both hands and stepped closer, pulling her to the edge of the counter. When she felt his broad head nudging her opening, she raised her legs, wrapped them around his waist and squeezed. They both groaned at the feel of her body opening to let him in, then closing tightly around him as he filled her.

The murmur of voices outside the door got him moving. “Tell me if its too much.” He muttered against her lips. She responded by sucking his tongue into her mouth, wrapping her arms around his shoulders and tightening her legs even more. He set a fast, hard driving rhythm, only mildly surprised that she kept up.

It was over in minutes. He swallowed her scream as her body shuddered in release. Her walls clamped down around his buried flesh, taking him over the edge with her. He held still while his hot seed flooded her womb.

Richie eased back, wiped himself with some toilet paper, pulled up his pants and fastened them. Glancing at his wife, he chuckled. She was leaning back against the wall, eyes closed, panting heavily. He reached for more paper, cleaned her up as best he could and kissed her gently. “Babe, you need to go out first. I’ll follow in a few minutes.”

She sucked in a deep breath, nodded and sat up, patting around for her panties. Finding them, she slipped them on, wincing slightly at the scratch of lace on her sensitive skin. She stood and touched her lips to his. “Thank you.”

He grinned. “That’s what I’m here for. Now scoot before we get busted.”

She was still chuckling when she resumed her seat and flagged down a flight attendant. “Could we get a couple Diet Coke’s please?”


Richie slid into his seat beside her. “Feel better now?”

“Much.” She smirked.

The same attendant who had brought her tea earlier brought their drinks. “Dinner will be served in a few minutes.” She caught Tori’s eye and winked.

Tori grinned. “Thanks.” When the attendant had moved on she leaned over. “I think we got busted.”

He nodded and sipped his drink. “Uh huh.” He’d seen the wink. “I warned you.”

“I wonder how she figured it out?”

Richie shrugged. “We were in there for quite awhile. Maybe she saw me go in and you come out.” He wasn’t about to tell her that her flushed face and the sated, slumberous look in her eyes was a dead give away.

“Maybe.” She shrugged it off, too content to worry about it.

When dinner arrived, Tori surveyed her plate and glanced around for the attendant. “Do you have any maple syrup?”

The attendant frowned in thought. “Let me check. There may be some left from the morning flight.”

“What do you want that for?” Richie asked.

“My chicken.”

The attendant did manage to find her some pots of syrup and Richie watched in awe – and a bit of disgust – as Tori dipped her chicken into the syrup before eating it.

“Is it good?” He couldn’t imagine how it could be, but he had to ask.

“Not bad, but it would be better with real syrup, and not this fake stuff.”

He just smiled, made mental notes and went back to his own dinner. Yup, definitely a craving.

It was mid evening when they arrived at the condo.

“Good evening Mr. Sambora, Mrs. Sambora.” The night door man greeted them.

“Evening Joe.” Tori replied with a smile. His form of address for her was finally right.

Tori was laying on the couch watching T.V. when Richie joined her. He’d been on the phone finalizing the arrangements for his performance the next evening. She curled her legs giving him room to sit. He did, pulled her feet into his lap, removed her socks and began to rub them.

“Mmmm. That feels good.” She sighed in appreciation. He grinned. A few minutes later she pulled her feet out of his lap, stood and almost ran out onto the balcony.

Richie watched her go, stunned. He’d seen the tears in her eyes, and didn’t know what had caused them. What the hell? Did I do something, or not do something? With a sigh, he followed her. She was standing at the railing, her hands gripping it tightly. “Angel? What’s the matter?”

She wouldn’t look at him. “What’s wrong with me? I’m like some kind of sex addict. I can’t seem to get enough.” Tears were running freely down her cheeks.

“Sweetheart, it’s okay.”

She shook her head. “No it’s not! Look at what I made you do on the plane! What if we’d been caught – or God forbid, photographed – by someone? You tried to tell me, but I wouldn’t listen. I couldn’t even control myself for a few hours! Then after that, all it took was you rubbing my feet, to rev me up again. A look, a touch, your scent, hell, just the heat of you close to me, and all I can think about is making love with you! I’m never like this. THIS ISN’T ME! I don’t understand.” She turned her head, her glistening eyes begged him for an answer. “What’s wrong with me?”

Her tears were the only thing that stopped him from laughing. She really didn’t understand. He enfolded her in his arms. “Ssssh. Sweetheart, there’s nothing wrong with you. What you’re feeling is perfectly normal, and unfortunately, from my point of view, won’t last. It’s all part of the early days of pregnancy. One of the best parts. Just relax and let us both enjoy it.”

“You’re sure? I’m not being too demanding?”

“You could never be too demanding in that department. And yes, I’m sure. I’ve been through this before remember?” As soon as the words were out, he wished he could take them back.

She went from tears to anger in the blink of an eye, and stiffening, pulled away from him. “You don’t need to remind me that you know more about having a child than I do, that while it’s my first time, it isn’t the first time for you, that we won’t be sharing the experience for the first time together!” Spinning on her heel, she stalked to the door and slammed it shut behind her.

He let his head fall back on his shoulders and stared up at the stars hoping for heavenly assistance. And there’s the bad side of pregnancy hormones. Way to go Rich. When are you going to learn to think before you speak?! Taking a deep breath, he followed his wife. He found her huddled at the end of the couch, a blanket wrapped around her. He turned on the fireplace before joining her on the couch, sitting sideways to face her. His hands curled over her upraised knees. “Sweetheart, listen to me. There’s nothing I can do about my past, and I know you wouldn’t wish Ava away either, but you and our baby are my future. I want to share everything about this experience with you. I may know a few things that you don’t right now, but that doesn’t mean that this baby means any less to me.” He knew what her earlier outburst had really been about. “I love you and the baby so much it hurts sometimes. You are my life!”

Back to tears again. “I’m sorry. I know you love me. I don’t know why I said those things.”

“Ssssh.” He pulled her into his arms. “It’s okay. You can’t help it. Your horomones are pulling you in a hundred different directions at once.”

She sniffed and buried her face in his neck. “When will it stop?”

His lip twisted. “A few weeks after the baby’s born.” If we’re lucky.

She groaned. “That long?”

“Afraid so.”

She licked and nuzzled his neck. “You really don’t mind being my….service stud?”

He chuckled and squeezed her tighter. “I’ll service you wherever, however, and as often as you want, and thank you for the priviledge. In fact…” He trailed off as he stood, scooped her into his arms and gently deposited her on the fur rug in front of the fireplace. “How about now?”

“Mmmm…you read my mind.” She slid one hand to his neck and tugged him down to her.

This time he took his time, undressing her slowly, caressing her silky skin with hands and mouth. When he had her naked he stood and stripped off his own clothes, then laid down beside her once again. His hands were reverent and worshipful as they roamed her body, pulling sighs of appreciation and soft cries of pleasure from her throat. Tears – happy ones this time – filled her eyes at the expression of love on his face and his gentle touch as he stroked and dotted kisses over her stomach.

He brought her to gasping, screaming climaxes over and over with his hands, lips and tongue. It wasn’t enough for her. He inundated her with pleasure, but it still felt like something was missing. She was a shivering mass of zinging nerve endings when he finally joined his body with hers. Yes! THAT’s what she was missing. As much as she enjoyed his skilled hands and mouth, she needed this merging of flesh to satisfy her deepest craving.

He used long, slow thrusts to slake her desire. He’d lost count of the number of orgasms he’d brought her to. It didn’t matter. This wasn’t some adolescent game. He wanted – and needed – to show her that he could provide everything she needed. She was fulfilling his greatest desires. He just wanted to return the favour. The fact that he was getting incredible pleasure out of it as well was just a bonus.

When he’d judged she’d taken all she could, he let go, emptying himself deep inside her. Long minutes later, he rolled off her and cuddled her close. Sated and exhausted, she fell asleep almost immediately. He thought about carrying her to bed, but was too comfortable where they were. Reaching out he snagged the blanket she’d used earlier and a pillow off the end of the couch. Within minutes he let the dancing flames, and her even breaths bathing his chest, lull him to sleep.
This is my nice little story turned epic with Richie in the starring role - although Jon plays a large part.