Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Chapter Thirty-Eight: Start of Something Good





Why were women complicated? He thumbed the cork out of the wine bottle that he’d hoped he’d be sharing with Devon. But instead he was out on the roof, bare foot with a cigarette and a glass staring at the New York Skyline that towered into the distance.

He didn’t get it. Maybe he wasn’t supposed to. Something was wrong but he didn’t have a fucking clue what it was. Things had been good…no-great between them. He had felt more alive in two weeks than he had in two years without her. He poured another glass and flicked his ash away. His phone sat dead. There was more chance of world peace being declared than her texting him tonight.

He needed to relax and let it go. Had he been too pushy? The whole week had been a see-saw of signals. Luckily they usually swung in favour of him but he’d put the rest down to her nerves.

His phone beeped and he snagged it quickly only to grunt at the message from Richie. Something about coming out again later next week for a writing session.

What the fuck ever.

He tossed the phone down and slugged his wine back. All he cared about tonight was how quickly he could forget the name Devon Scott.

For at least a couple hours.

~

Devon hung her dress in the closet and tightened her robe before slipping into her pink fluffy slippers. She was exhausted but too twisted up to sleep. If she counted how many times she’d picked up her phone to call Jon, it would be embarrassing.

He would only press her now. Ask her what was wrong and beg—no, convince—her to tell him.

That was the problem. Jon was so convincing and trustworthy. She already knew from the the way he carried himself with his band and personal business how much trust and loyalty meant to him. And she loved that about him. Every girl’s dream was to meet a man that loved them so fiercely that they’d protect what was theirs at whatever cost. But those men only existed in romance novels. Or so she thought until Jon Bon Jovi walked into her salon.

She poured herself a glass of wine and sat at the desk by her small box window that looked out into SoHo. God, she’d kill for a glass of New Zealand Sav right now. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath before opening the lid to her laptop. She stared at the screen blankly. Who would she write to? No one. She had no one to write to as no one knew she was here.

The people in her life now were in the salon and Jon. That was it. She’d never been one to have a best friend she could dial up and gossip for hours with, well not since she was a teenager.

How times had changed.

She clicked on a local New Zealand news site and scrolled through the happenings of the day where places and names were still so familiar to her. Soon the autumn would be nipping at summer’s feet as they rolled into the cooler seasons. She missed it. More than she cared to admit but it was her home after all.

Her fingers rested on the keys and trembled as she typed his name. The one name she hadn’t thought about in a very long time and the one reason she’d left.

Jared Coupland.

Did she dare to press enter? And allow the memories to inch back in?

She took a swig of wine and then another as she scrolled down further to a New Zealand page with news from six months ago. The wine burned a path down her throat and to her belly as she read.

Parole Denied for Coupland.

Her chest squeezed tight as her ex-boyfriend downloaded to the screen. Of all the mistakes she’d made in her life, this was by far the worst. Jon couldn't have been more different to him than a bar of soap. God, she’d been stupid.

If Jared had never happened, she wouldn’t have met Jon. She would have never had the opportunity to leave New Zealand and start a new life, even if everything about those circumstances were wrong.

And Jared was still there. Still paying the price.

Their price.

There was another name that she hadn’t dared to type into Google for a very long time and the very thought of it terrified her. The wall of tears she’d held back in the car crumbled as she fingered the keys.

Charlie Mason.

Make that Police Chief Charlie Mason.

“Daddy,” she whispered brokenly as she flicked through the newsletters from the Christchurch websites. The only thing worse than the guilt was the void inside her not having her father to talk and confide in all these years. Would he have been proud at how she’d turned out, despite everything? Would he see what she had learnt from him all these years when he thought she wasn’t paying attention?

The best advice was always the advice from your parents, the one you always rolled your eyes at the time thinking they had no idea what they were talking about. Her father had been right about Jared, he didn’t have her best interests at heart. Only his own. She didn’t blame Jared though, she had made her own choices and she was the one that had chosen how now to live with them.

Southern Police Chief recognized for Twenty-Five years of service. She scrolled through the article and pictures of the event which featured her family. She glugged her wine down to numb the deep ache inside her heart. Her mother looked wonderfully radiant and she’d taught Devon many tricks of the trade she used today in her salon.

She clicked closed her laptop lid. She couldn’t take it any longer. She had to save herself from losing Jon, he was the best thing that had happened to her in a long time and she loved him like crazy.

It was surreal. This kind of whirlwind romance only happened in the movies with Ashton Kutcher or Drew Barrymore. Not her, and the way she’d behaved tonight was appalling. She just didn’t have the strength to fight it tonight.

She crawled into bed and pulled the covers up around her, leaving the lights burning behind her. She needed to clear her head and needed to find the words and the courage to let Jon into her life. In such a way that wouldn’t let everything that she’d dreamed of slip away through her fingers.




~

It wasn’t unusual for Devon to be up before the sun-rose so when she padded down stairs in jeans, ugg boots and a black wrap-around cardigan to her coffee machine she had only one thing on her mind.

Jon.

It had been a restless night but she knew what she had to do. Even if she had to admit to some of her past that she wasn’t particularly proud of. It didn’t take a genius for Devon to know that Jon loved the fun, carefree and sweet Devon that she’d ignored for years now. Ultimately she knew that was who she really was and it had taken him to make her realise that.

She brewed the coffee and snapped two lids on the Grande cups, scrawled Jonathan a note that she would be late and could he open up for her. That was something she’d never done but she trusted Jonathan to do it and she owed Jon as much time as it took to get through to him.

With her pink scarf wound loosely around her neck she ventured out into Mercer Street which was all but deserted apart from the couple of pieces of rubbish that flew past her feet. She’d taken a leap of faith before so she prayed that he would take another one with her now.

That was of course after he killed her for waking him at five-am.

The corners of her mouth twitched as she realized he was going to be grumpy but probably adorable at this time in the morning. He wasn’t a fan. But if she had to wait a minute longer she’d have gone crazy and she needed to go out on a limb for him now.

She let herself into the lobby of Mercer Street and the night guard buzzed Jon’s apartment for her before he’d let her through. She was either going in, or she was going back to her shop with two large cups of coffee to drink and her tail between her legs.

“Go right up ma’m.”

Whew. Relief set in as she stepped into the elevator. It took eternity to reach the top floor but when the doors opened and he was against the entrance way to his apartment with his arms folded. His clothes were crumpled and his hair was a mess.

“Do you know what time it is?” His eyebrow cocked but his face remained flat.

“The best time of the morning.” She forced cheerily as she stepped out into the lobby and let the elevator close behind her.

“Peace offering?” She held out one of the cups to him.

He rubbed the five o’clock shadow on his face and his eyes, still and grey stayed on her. “I didn’t know we were fighting.”

“We’re not, but I owe you an apology. Please. I’d really like to talk to you, I’ve been going crazy all night about this.” She rolled back on her heels and bit on her bottom lip.

His eyes shifted to her pink fluffy ugg-boots and she caught him tying to hide the small smirk on the edge of his lips. “You should come in then.” He took the coffee and stood back to let her in. She caught a whiff of booze and cigarette’s as she walked past him and felt a little bit guilty knowing she was probably the cause of whatever binge he’d gone on last night.

The apartment was dim and the curtains were drawn. A blanket lay rumpled on the couch next to a head-dented cushion. Her courage wavered but she held her ground.

“Can we go outside? I need a smoke.”

“Sure.” Now wasn’t the time to tease him so she followed him out to the wonder-terrace that was more like a mini version of the Empire State Building viewing deck. Or so she imagined if she’d done those tourist attractions.

He lit his cigarette and took a deep drag and leaned back against the railing facing her. “Are you OK?”

She perched herself on the edge of the outdoor dining table and swung her legs gently under them while she took a deep breath of courage. “Not really. I mean I am but I feel like an idiot for how I behaved last night.”

He flicked his ash off the side of the railing. “I wouldn’t be too hard on yourself. It wasn’t exactly a normal situation.”

She shook her head. “Don’t pretend you didn’t notice it. I was awful, especially when we came home.”

He shrugged. “If you mean you left me horny, I got over it.”

God, he was being such a boy. She deserved it but he wasn’t helping the situation. Her stomach already was a ball of butterflies. “That’s not what I mean.” She took a sip of her coffee and sighed.

“I panicked. I just wanted some time to think.”

“Why did you panic Devon? Did I do something?”

“God-no. You did everything right. It’s not everyday people get their own Pretty Woman movie to live.”

He lifted his eyebrow and chuckled. “Right, so what was the problem?”

“I don’t want to lose you. I’m sorry if that makes me one of those needy and pathetic women.”

“You’re definitely not one of them and why on earth would you think you were going to lose me?”

“Because I’m not who you think I am.”

He tipped his coffee to his mouth and his gaze rested out on the skyline. “Oh?”

“I’m not this strong woman you think I am. I’ve done somethings I’m not proud of.” Her arms trembled but she pulled herself back into the moment. She had to get through this. She owed it to him and to herself to.

“Like? I’m not exactly perfect either Devon and you know that.” She knew that because he’d told her and Jon knew his weaknesses even if he didn’t want to admit them. He knew.

“I’ve been alone for a long time Jon. You came walking into my life and breathed something back in me, something I thought I had lost forever.”

He turned back to face her and his eyes softened. “Believe it or not. I know what that’s like, but you’re not alone Devon. Look at the salon...and you have family.”

She shook her head and the tear slipped down her cheek. “No I don’t. They don’t want to know me and they have every right to. The things I’ve done are unforgivable and I miss them so much.”

He took a step closer but didn’t approach her. “Is that why you came here? To America?”

She nodded. “I left out of shame. I was my father’s shame.”

“What happened?”

“Jared happened. I can’t blame him it was my choice in the end. He didn’t approve. Jared wasn't the nicest person in the world but he made me feel like a million bucks and I stupidly fell into that trap that he loved me and he hated my father and always convinced me my father was just trying to control me and didn’t want to have a life. Little did I know that it was actually the other way around. Jared was jealous of my family and didn’t like that they’d do anything for me.”

“Men can be pretty convincing, especially when it comes to women.. That doesn’t seem like you though Devon, you have so much spirit.”

“I do now. I didn’t back then. I don’t even know how it happened when I look back and how I let it get so bad.”

“He was the policeman, right?”

“Yeah. The best actually, you’d have liked him a lot.”

“So that’s why I’m not getting the tour anytime soon huh? When was the last time you spoke to them?”

“Before I left for the United States.” It hurt just as much now as it did back then, if not more. Time healed only so much and there was only so many band-aids you could mend a broken heart with.

“Dev. God. Do they know where you are?”

She shook her head.

“Hell.” The worst part that she didn’t tell Jon is that they probably thought she was dead. She’d been listed as a missing person three days after she’d left New Zealand by boat.

“I don’t expect you to understand, I look at you and your family and see what we were and god.” She blinked the tears away as she looked up at the stars that were melting into the morning sky. “We were so like that.”

“Sure. I don’t understand as I wasn’t there but doesn’t mean I don’t care.”

“You shouldn’t. I’m a horrible person.”

He rested his coffee down on the table beside her and placed his hands on her shoulders and rubbed gently. “You’re not. Things happen and we regret them. Doesn’t mean you can’t put things right.”

She shook her head. “I can’t Jon. Not yet. I’m not ready, I want to-but I’m not ready.”

“Shhh. Ok.” He kissed the top of her head. “You’re not alone Devon. I can’t promise you this will be forever, I don’t think anyone really can but I can promise you I really do want to be with you and want to make this work.”

She didn’t deserve such a wonderful proclamation but it made her heart swell. “That’s more than anyone has ever said so I’ll take it.”

His hand cupped her cheek. “It’s been a crazy couple of weeks hasn’t it.”

“Yup but still the best.” Her hands slid up his chest and rested on his shoulders. “I’m sorry Jon.”

“Don’t apologize. That’s quite the burden you’re carrying around with you there love. I could help you if you wanted to make amends.”

“No-I mean not yet. But thank you.”

“Thank you for telling me. I know it had to hurt to bring it all up.” His thumb scraped along her cheek and she felt just a little bit lighter.

“Only because you make me feel things I haven’t in years Jon.”

“Oh, so now I’m to blame?” He teased as their noses bumped and the familiar sparkle returned to his eyes.

“No, not at all. I love you.” She kissed him squarely on the lips and tasted a mouthful of wine and smoke.

“Gross. What the hell did you drink and smoke last night?”

He laughed and nodded towards the lounger where the empty glass sat next to the wine bottle and a full-ashtray. “Maybe I was a little over-indulgent last night.”

“Oh, sorry.”

“Yeah I get pissy when I don’t get what I want and what I wanted last night after seeing you in that ridiculous dress.” He kissed her nose. “Was you.” He brushed a lock of her hair back and his thumb pad traced down her jaw.

He leaned in and his rough cheek brushed against hers and she sighed as his warmth was back. “I know. I did too.”

“You know, I’m excellent at something else too.”

“What’s that?” she asked fingering the hair at the bottom of his neck.

“Make-up sex.” He pulled back letting his hands run down her arms to her hands. “After a shower.”

“I’ll have to be the judge of that then. Go and have a shower home-boy. I can wait.”

He dragged her into him and he kissed her again. “What about work?”

“I’ve left Jonathan in charge-so hurry up before I change my mind.”

“Ah, my little control freak.”

She laughed and breathed a sigh of relief.

“Oh and by the way.” He pointed at her boots as he put one foot inside. “Cute boots.”

Her cheeks flushed. “Oh shut up. I didn’t care what I threw on, which is so not like me. See what you are doing to me?”

He winked and grinned wider. “Get into my bed woman. I’ll be five minutes.”

And then he was gone. She took a minute to take in the early morning of New York city before popping herself off the table. She’d put herself out there and shown him the most vulnerable part of her. It wasn’t all of her but some parts had to stay buried, for the good of everyone. Things were definitely starting off better than they had been in a long time.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Chapter Thirty Seven: Torn




Jon checked his watch and frowned. Devon was taking her time and had been so withdrawn which wasn’t like her at all. Of course this wasn’t exactly the easiest place to bring someone that wasn’t used to it and his Dad’s words about looking out for her rang true.

“Stood up?” A strong hand cupped his shoulder and Jon looked up into familiar heavy-set eyes.

“Sonofabitch! Hell must have frozen over for you to be here.”

Bruce grinned and they shook hands. “Patti was the one that wanted to come. She loves the work Elton does so I had to come by. I figured someone local would be here I could hang with and voila. Here you are - minus a date? Lost your charm Jersey boy?”

“She went to the bathroom actually, smart-ass.”

“Patti did too so they’re probably talking and trading secrets or whatever women do in bathrooms, maybe Voodoo.” He wiggled his eyebrows and laughed.

“Is this a suit?” Jon teased. Bruce was the local pin-up boy for the blue-collared class so it was not every day on saw him in a pressed Boss.

“Now who’s the wise-guy? Yes it is. I woulda worn jeans and a shirt but Patti would have killed me.”

“Not to mention it is Black Tie, Bruce.”

“So, you still crazy in lurveeee?”

Jon narrowed his eyes and then shoved a hand into his hair.

“That bad huh?”

“No, just this-Devon got overwhelmed I thought she’d be OK with all this.”

“With the more flashing lights than the Rockefeller Tree outside in your face? Yeah sure, it’s a trip.”

He glanced in the direction of the ladies. It had been a weird day, from when he surprised her she’d been on edge and not like the Devon he knew at all. He could read her well but there was still something that nagged at him that shouldn’t have. She was afraid of something but he wasn’t sure what.

He did have to realize that she was out of her depth as well and this may have been the every-day thing to do for him but it had to be something completely different to her.

“I suppose you’re right, not exactly a relaxing evening out. This is the last place I’d expect to see you.”

“Meh-we hadn’t been to one for awhile. The extravagance of these things annoys the shit out of me.”

Jon raised his brows. “And you pick Elton’s to come to - that was a bad choice then.”

“Well as I said Patti wanted to come and I can handle wearing a suit for a few hours. Just.” Bruce winked and patted his arm and then straightened his jacket. “You look worried Jonny. She’ll be out soon, you know women they like to do their thing in there.”

“I know.” God. He could kill for a cigarette but he wasn’t about to leave not knowing if she was coming out or not.

He had to be OK with this. He wasn’t going to screw up another relationship being overly anal about things. He’d made that commitment to himself and he intended on keeping it. A puff of air left his lungs as he caught sight of her with Patti across the room. The strip of skin was distracting in the middle. How was he supposed to pay any attention to anything above her neck when the dress practically dragged his eyes down to trace the keyhole in the middle.

He could almost taste her skin. He wasn’t above burying his doubts deep inside her either because when they connected it was something else. The sparkle of on her shoe caught in the light but he wished it matched the look in her eyes. She searched the room and when her gaze landed on him she smiled.

“Here they are. The best two looking women in the room. Evenin’ young Devon.” Bruce leaned forward and kissed her cheek and Jon did the same to Patti.

“Lovely to see you again Patti.”

“Hi.” He said just out of ear shot of Bruce and Patti as he slipped his arm around her waist. “Everything ok?”

“Yes, fine all those lights are not good for the face so a little touch up with in order.”

Patti grinned. “Ain’t that the truth. Imagine my surprise finding this darlin’ in the ladies room. Now what’s everyone having to drink?”
“I’ll have a white wine and Devon will too?” He finished as she nodded.

“We’ll be back soon.” Patti hooked her arm through Bruce and dragged him towards the bar. Subtly sometimes wasn’t her strong suit as he knew damn well her and Bruce didn’t drink barely anything at these events.

“Did you want to dance?” Jon asked hoping he could coax her nerves away with a little dance.

“That would be lovely.”

He winked and took her hand and led her into the sea of people. A low sultry beat was playing and he shifted her hand into the small of her back and pulled her in. Her sweet scent surrounded him and her lips parted. He leaned in and kissed her gently letting his lips hover for just a second.

“You made it through.”

Her eyes flicked up to his but then the lines in her face relaxed. “I did. You must think I’m silly.”

He pressed his cheek against the side of her head as he swayed her gently and clasped his hand in hers. “I would never think that. This isn’t exactly-normal.”

“It’s your normal.”

He chuckled and let her drift with him. “It’s overwhelming though?”

“Most things about you Jon are.” He could hear the smile in her voice and closed his eyes and enjoyed the simple moment. Hips lips brushed her ear.

Some day, when I'm awfully low,
When the world is cold,
I will feel a glow just thinking of you
And the way you look tonight.


“That’s not the song playing silly.”

“You should know by now I do what I want.”

She tipped her head and their eyes met, a small smile played on her lips. “No comment.”

He brushed back her hair and his thumb scraped along her jaw.

You're lovely, with your smile so warm
And your cheeks so soft,
There is nothing for me but to love you,
And the way you look tonight.


He wanted her to trust him, implicitly as he’d never felt like he could trust someone the same in a long time. Song had been the easiest way to express himself all his life and hell, who could go wrong with the greats he so loved and admired. The lights were low and his hand slid down her back and rested over her ass. She lifted her arms up around her neck and reached up to kiss him gently.

“You’re lovely Devon.”.

Her blue eyes deepened and her fingers sifted through the ends of his hair on his neck and she smiled. He took a step back and let her twirl out and back in close to him. Each word he whispered into her hair.

Lovely ... never, ever change.
Keep that breathless charm.
Won't you please arrange it?
'cause I love you ... just the way you look tonight.


The song was true, a classic Sintara track covered by many others but it rang true tonight. She was lovely, and it didn’t matter to him if there was press lining up to get snaps of them or she felt awkward around them, it’s what made her real and if he was honest he hated the red carpet so it was refreshing to have someone that didn’t have an agenda with him. Her innocence was one of the most attractive things about her and that was something new for Jon.

A breathless charm was perfect in the way to describe her. Franky definitely knew his stuff when it came to women.

“No one has ever sang to me.”

His brow lifted and he winked. “Get used to it.”

“It’s just us.”

“Huh?”

His hand cupped her jaw and he pressed his lips against hers. “Forget about the room, the photographers, the people...just be here now, with me. That’s all that matters.”

Her body tensed as his hands slid over her ass and he frowned. She wasn’t herself at all and he wanted her back.

“Dev-come back to me.”

She eased up a little and she pressed up against him, all her soft curves against him. His cock jumped to attention. He couldn't help it-- all that skin and straps up against him. She tipped her chin up and her eyes filled with warmth.

“I am here, silly.”

He kissed her gently. “Good- so stay with me.”

~

She closed her eyes and the music swirled around her. She wanted to get lost with him but it was holding her back. She loved Jon and she loved the idea of his life, she screamed for it from the inside. She truly did.

The week had been overwhelming and maybe she needed a couple of days away from him just to screw her head back on properly. Ground herself. Take a few moments and just breathe. It pained to her to even consider it as she’d been so used to being alone, living in her world with her people and just doing fine. Now she craved Jon more than she did being alone so it wouldn’t be something easy to give up. If she had to give it up.

“Do you know all of these people?”

He chuckled softly into her ear. “Not intimately no. Elton has circles far and wide than I could ever rival.”

“Well he is a knight.” She murmured as his fingers drifted down her back and she took in the spice and strength that surrounded her.

His lips hovered over hers. “I could be your knight.”

She curled her fingers around her lapels. “You already are.” That was something that couldn’t be more true. He had rescued her, more so from herself than anything else.

She took a quick intake of breath before his mouth covered hers. It was soft and sweet at first but he tugged her in closer and fire burned inside her belly. His finger tips steadied on her hairline as he tipped her head up for a better angle and the kiss went deep. It hit her knees and melted through her like a sweet creamer in your coffee. Her hands slid onto his chest, all that firm muscle under her palms as he tasted each corner of her mouth. It would never stop amazing her how quick he could make her forget any given moment and just want him.

Her eyes fluttered closed and his hand cupped the back of her neck, they were out of view concealed in the corner of the dance floor while the rest of the guests floated around them.

Time stood still in the moment that connected them. It was overwhelming and it wasn't till she moaned as his lips hit her neck that she stepped back. “I should go.”

The worry etched in the lines of his face made her stomach bottom out. “Why?”

“I-I’m just not feeling well.”

His hand rested on her shoulder. “We can both go. I don’t have to stay.”

She nodded her head but didn’t have the heart to tell him she needed to be alone. God dammit she didn’t want to be alone but she had to take a step back from all this and gather herself. But she wanted to get out of here, she didn’t belong here and she certainly didn’t deserve to be here no matter how hard she was fooling herself.

She should have gone and said goodbye to Patti and Bruce but she couldn’t bring herself to do it, the more she was there the faster she needed to leave.

In the safety of the town car she breathed a sigh of relief away from the choker-chain of press photographers. Jon tapped in his phone and then tucked it away in his pocket and slung his arm around her shoulders.

“Are you sure you’re ok?”

“Maybe this was too soon.” She rolled her lip over her teeth.

His fingers teased a wisp of her hair. “Maybe it was. It’s a lot to take in.”

She wasn’t sure if she was thinking about the night or Jon for a second there. On paper what she’d had in a week was the stuff storybooks were made of and she had loved every minute of it, pretending she was someone else, someone that could fall in love easily and well, live happily ever after.

The dimness of the car was a blessing as she bit back the tears that threatened to spill down her cheeks. Patti was right, she had to tell Jon the truth but what was the point if she was going to lose it all. You couldn’t have your cake and eat it too.

God, I am so stupid.

“How about we have one of those famous bubble baths and just unwind tonight?”

“I just want to go home Jon.” She sat still with her knees together and her purse tucked under her hands neatly on top.

“Ok-your place it is.” He nuzzled into her ear until she spoke again.

“Alone.”

His arm dropped away from her shoulders. “What’s wrong?” His tone fell flat. He wasn’t amused with her.

“I just need a little time out. I’m tired and just need a girl moment or two.”

He let out a sigh. “I don’t like it only because I know that’s not all there is to it.”

Her behvaiour had been a little on the dramatic side so she needed to be the good actress she was or she’d lose Jon for good without even trying. “Honestly, I just need a bit of time. We agreed we’d had a huge week together and it’s been everything a girl dreams of. Jon, I’m just-”

Scared.

“Tired.” She finished. She rubbed his knee gently and forced a smile. “Honestly.”

The car rolled to a stop outside her place and the driver opened her door and Jon got out on his side and followed her to the door.

“Are you sure I can’t change your mind? I don’t like to think of you like this Dev.”

She stood on the first step and kissed the top of his head. “I’ll call you tommorow?”

“I love you dammit.” His fingers dragged under her jaw as their gaze met.

“I love you too.”

That’s the problem.

The sincerity in her voice was enough to ease the worry on his face.

“Call me anytime - but call me tomorrow. I’m not happy about this.” He stole a quick kiss but held it for a few seconds before stepping back.

“Night Jon.”

As he slid back into the car she turned around and the tears spilled down her cheeks. It was ridiculous really, why was she crying? Because she was in love with a man. But it was more than that, she was in love with a man that loved her back, unconditionally. And that was the problem.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Chapter Thirty-Six: The Dragon's Den





Her heart lodged in her throat as the car rolled up outside the Trump Towers. It was kind of funny as she’d been living in New York for a few years now and yet she had not even tapped the tip of the lifestyle within the city. But now this was just so different, fun and terrifying all in the same sentence.

He squeezed her hand. “Are you ready?”

Her hand smoothed down over her belly. “I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready for this but I guess as ever as I could be. Any tips?”

“Yeah just smile and don’t answer any questions.”

“Ok, that won’t seem rude?” It was a silly question but she had no idea what to expect with this. Every move she was about to make was going to be captured in photographs, it was a little daunting.

He kissed the tip of her nose. “Not at all, it’s how I roll. They don’t expect you to answer and if you do it’s a bonus.” His megawatt smiled flashed with ease the way he’d been doing it all his life. He was a pro at this compared to her.

When she stepped out of the car there was a frenzy of flashes and catcalls. Scenes like these were usually confined to the E-channel so never in a million years did she expect to be living one. Sure, Princesses, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt… but her? A simple girl from a far away land causing this much interest was quite extraordinary not to mention terrifying. In some ways she may have well be naked under the glorious sheen of the regal black she wore.

Jon linked his fingers in hers and led her along the red carpet which was dotted with cameras, stars, and starlets all being led into the Trump Hotel.

“This is quite the event huh?” She whispered as she stepped carefully in her strappy shoes. Never had she been more aware of not to trip as she walked gracefully beside him.

“Elton always throws good parties.” Jon grinned and nodded as the photographers bent before then and snapped away.

“Um...Elton?” She smiled wide and stood quietly next to Jon.

“Oh yeah did I not tell you that?” He grinned cheekily and waved briefly to the crowd.

Of course it was Elton. She didn’t know why she wasn’t surprised at all. She smiled and talked through her teeth. “No you might have forgotten to mention that little tiny detail.”

“Jon!” A voice called as they made their way to the entrance way. Elton was standing in a deep red suit with matching glasses. He grabbed Jon’s arms and gave him a kiss on the cheek. “Thank you so much for coming and who is this ravishing beauty? Where on earth have you been hiding her?” He held his hand out and smiled warmly. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

“This is Devon.”

“Gosh, it’s a pleasure to meet you Sir Elton.” She didn’t know if she was meant to courtesy or what the custom was for a Knight. She was being ridiculous as Elton in the five seconds they’d met seemed more like a lovely big red glitzy Teddy-bear than anything else.

“New Zealand’s where you’ve been hiding her. How delightful.” She eased as he winked and rubbed her arm gently. Don’t worry about all this riff-raff--they’ll soon move on to the next best thing that walks down the carpet.”

Jon wiggled his eyebrows. “We’ll meet you in there?”

“Yes - go in and get yourself a drink as there is plenty and don’t forget to donate.”

Jon tapped his suit jacket. “Cheque book is all ready.”

“Good man. You take care of him now, you hear Devon?”

Devon grinned. “Of course.”

She walked into the Atrium where gold and marble spun out everywhere. “He is a lovely man.”

“He’s certainly one of the better ones in my industry, that’s for sure. I’ve known him for years on various charity projects. Smile, this is the last stretch.”

Inside they had a deliberate red carpet that faced what was a stream of paparazzi against a backdrop. Her heart hammered in her chest, how could this not be over-whelming to anyone else? There were so many of them, it was ridiculous.

“Elton doesn’t let them inside so once we’re through -- we’re home. Just relax.” His kiss to the side of her temple would have been sweet if the flashes of light didn’t feel so intrusive.

They against the backdrop on the red carpet. She felt glamorous but also oddly exposed.

“Jon-over here!”

*click*

“Who’s the lovely lady? Smile here Jon!”

*pop*

“OK that’s enough. My face hurts.” Jon whispered as he led Devon away.

“Devon! Devon Scott!” A voice called and her feet froze.

She looked into the face of camera pointed in her direction and tried to keep the smile on her face. How in the world did they know her name?

“C’mon love.” Jon tugged her hand.

The man dropped the camera and grinned. “My wife loves your salon.”

Relief swept over her and she smiled quietly. “Thank you.”

“You OK? You look like you’ve just seen a ghost.”

“I’m fine- really, I just didn’t expect anyone to know my name.”

“Trust me-they’ll know, Google. People will know who you are but you haven’t got anything to hide so don’t worry about it. They’ll move onto the sideshows that are bound to come in here soon and distract them.”

She stopped. “They’ll google me?” Shit. Get it together. “I mean why? I’m so uninteresting.”

He tipped his head back and laughed. “You’re dating me love. That’s enough.”

Jonathan warned her about this and maybe she should have thought this through a little more than she had.

“Relax-it’s just what they do. They try and find out information and they don’t know jack about me because I don’t do anything stupid and I don’t throw them a bone. Unlike some of the media whores around here.”

Jon led them into the function centre through the safety of the black and gold double doors. Inside the atmosphere was lovely, chandeliers hung from the ceiling that dripped with crystals. Ceiling high velvet curtains framed the windows, pinned back with gold knots of rope. Lavish simply wasn’t the word, this place was out of this world.

Each table was set with fine silverware and stemware. People drifted by and smiled, nodded more-so at Jon. It still niggled at her how exposed she was but there was no way anyone here would even be interested in her unless they were looking for dirt. Jon had been pretty clean-cut as well, what if they wanted to find something? That’s what they did right?

God. She clutched her purse tightly. The room may have been huge but right now it could have been matchbox size and the velvet curtains were choking her. Her belly churned, she needed to get out of here for a minute.

“I need to go to the ladies.” She pulled away but he tugged at her hand.

“Are you sure you’re OK?” His brow creased and his eyes were deep and warm.

“I’m fine – I’m hot and need to freshen up but I’ll be right back.” She didn’t look for his reply and instead made her way into the ladies and safely into a stall. She sank down on the closed lid and covered her eyes. How long could she go on like this? She was fine until she had to go and fall in love with Jon.

He was the worst person that she could have fallen for. For someone that had had done well to fly under the radar and build herself back up from nothing she had done well. It didn’t bother her before hiding something as it just didn’t matter and naively she though that it wouldn’t with Jon but it did.

She wanted to be honest with him but it was too late, she couldn’t ever imagine he’d understand what she did and the choices she’d made. It was a harsh judgement but telling him could be the difference from losing nothing to losing it all.

God. What have I done?

She’d just about died when the photographer recognized her even though they would have never recognized her as Devon Scott if they had truly known her so she didn’t know why she panicked in the moment.

Because you’re guilty.

Maybe he would understand? Maybe there was a way that he could and that she could be completely honest with him. It was dangerous as he’d have the power to destroy her and that was going against the one thing that she’d always vowed never to do again. She’d already foolishly let a man destroy her before. Even though she knew deep down that Jon wouldn’t, she thought Jared couldn’t either once upon a time.

This was crazy. She waited till the stalls had cleared out and looked at herself in the long mirrors in the powder rooms. Through all the beauty and glitter she could see an impostor. She wanted to be here but she wanted to deserve to be here and right now she felt far from that reality.

She fumbled through her purse for compact and decided she needed to pull herself together as this wasn’t exactly the place to fall apart.

“I’d stay in here all night too if they let me.”

She jumped and grabbed her purse before she lost it but she eased when she looked up into familiar green eyes. Patti.

“Hey-honey. What are you doing hiding in here?”

“Hiding. Jon’s probably noticed by now.”

“I don’t think men really notice how long we spend in the ladies.” She winked and popped open her lipstick and applied it next to Devon in the mirror. Her lush red hair was swept up in a fancy knot with over-flow down the back and she was wearing a long deep green and gold shimmery dress with a bo-ho style flowing skirt.

“I just-god.” She closed her eyes. “How do you deal with all this? I thought I’d be OK but I’m clearly not.”

Patti chuckled. “I don’t think anyone really is prepared for this side of life. Bruce and I barely attend these functions for one of those reasons. We’re not interested in the whole sensationalized side of life.”

“It as just – well, scary.”

“Is that all?”

“Yeah it is. I’m just being stupid. It’s a bit overwhelming.”

“Mmm.”

Patti had a way that was so easy to open up to her, infact both her and Bruce did.

“You don’t look convinced honey. What’s bothering you? Is it Jon?”

“God, no. It’s not him. This whole thing with him has been like a perfect storm, maybe the wind is clearing and I’m just nervous.”

“Devon honey, what’s really going on?”

She sighed. “I feel like I know so much about him which isn’t hard when he’s who he is, but even his personal life he’s opened up so much to me so quick. Something tells me that he doesn’t do that easily.”

Patti straightened a few long fire red flecks of hair. “You’d be right there.”

“He doesn’t know that much about me, I mean he does but I’ve only told him half of it. God.”

Patti brushed a loose wisp back from Devon’s face. “You want my advice. Be honest with him.”

The idea of it made her want to heave into one of the toilets but Patti was right. “I want to be but I just don’t know how, it could change everything.” And that was just it. She’d never thought she would find someone again and feel the way she did about him.

“If he loves you, it won’t.”

She rolled her bottom lip under her teeth. She was pretty sure even love would be exempt from this. “I know it’s the right thing to do.”

“Just think about it. And for now, just enjoy yourself. C’mon. We don’t dress up in these glad rags to stand in the powder rooms all night, There are men out there with our names on, so let’s get out there.”

She smiled and straightened herself up. “Thank you.”

“No problem honey and if you ever need to talk, you know where I am.”

The problem was it wasn’t just Jon that she risked - it was the life he’d breathed back into her.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Chapter Thirty-Five: Diamond in the Rough


The next morning work had been hell by eleven am. She stood covered in  in bright copper hair colour because a rogue bottle of colour had exploded on her. She blew her hair out of her face and cranked the tap on.

“Bad morning?” Jonathan joined her at the big basins out the back as she scrubbed her arms. They quite often likened the scrub basin to a scrub room in a hospital as each stylist or beauty therapist always scrubbed up before they started work and in between clients. She was strict about sanitary measures in her place and they’d never had one single complaint and she was keeping it that way.

She pumped some scrub into her hands and then slathered her arms. “A grenade of copper exploded on me in the middle of stock-take.”

She blew the loose strand out of her face and used a loofah on her arms.

“Take an early lunch. I didn’t see you had any appointments till 1.30pm.”

She sighed. “I need to find something to wear. I have this gala thing with Jon tonight and I promised I’d go and I have no idea what I’m going to wear.”

Jonathan slid his glasses down his nose. “That’s tonight? And you didn’t tell me! You were meant to tell me so I could block some time to glam you up. Kelly!”

“I’ll make do Jonathan you don’t have to go to any trouble.”

“Oh, I don’t think so.”

“What’s up?” Kelly poked her head around the corner, her hair pinned up in a pile of red curls on her head.

“Block my calendar out after Mia Jamieson, she’s at 2.30. I’ll be busy with Devon.”

“Jonathan really I don’t need-”

“Hush. Have you thought about what you’re going to wear? If you say no, I’ll die.”

She chuckled. “I’ll have a dress. I was going to look through my clothes after work.”

“You’ll do no such thing. My lunch is from 12.30-1pm. We’ll take a cab uptown to the best little boutique dress shop. Avery, one of my clients owns it. The dresses are to die for as well as the suits. So we’ll get you a dress.”

She didn’t want to go to all this trouble. It was just a night out for Jon - a normal engagement and he probably attended dozens of them a year. On the other hand, she hadn’t had an excuse like this ever to dress up and she did like to dress up.

“How much will that set me back?” She didn’t splurge on herself normally and was pretty tight with her money preferring that it went back into the business or into her stash.

“It’s my treat. If I make you go to the ball dressed like Cinderella then I’ll foot the bill, it’s the least I can do.”

She frowned. “You don’t have to pay for them.” She knew Avery’s clothes weren’t cheap. Nothing Jonathan liked was ever cheap.

“We’ll be able to get shoes from the store next door if we need to as well. You are a naughty girl Miss Scott for not telling me this earlier!” He sighed and squirted some hand-cream on his hands before spraying some cologne neatly at his neck. “I’ll see you twelve-thirty sharp.”

She dried off her hands and applied a blob of Shea body butter up her arms and on her elbows. Not a fan of massive crowds she had kind of hoped tonight she could just hang on Jon’s arm and blend in easily. They’d be more interested in him, surely. Then her stomach flip-flopped. Then of course they would also be interested in Jon Bon Jovi’s new woman. He’d taken other women on his arms to these things so they might assume she was another one of his one-nighters. That would kind of piss her off though as she knew she wasn't. She couldn’t win.

God. Stop it.

She pinned back the sides of her hair and disappeared into her office to take a moment for herself. She’d need money for her shopping expedition with Jonathan even if he said he’d pay she wouldn’t let him. She smiled. Jonathan always looked after her even if he loved doing it.

She lifted the locked box out of the draw, glanced over her shoulder and twirled the combination. She tucked a few bills into her purse and smoothed the rest of the money in the box down.

“So this is your hidey whole?”

Her heart leapt into her throat and her off her chair. She slammed the lid down.

Fuck.

“Hey baby it’s only me.” Jon’s soothing voice was on her neck as she froze.

Pull yourself together.

“Hey-sorry. I just got a fright-” she stammered but it wasn’t convincing.

He rubbed her shoulders. “A big one by the looks of things. Everything ok?”

She closed her eyes as his fingers rested on her shoulders and he gave them a gentle squeeze. She clicked closed the lock on the box.

“I was just getting some petty cash.” Her fingers were still curled around the edges of the box and her knuckles had turned white.

“Are you sure you’re ok?”

She shut off the paranoia and plastered a grin across her face as she twisted her seat around. “Of course, I just got a hell of a fright.” She lifted the box and slid it into the draw shut. “What are you even doing here?”
Her heart banged in her chest.

He paused and his eyes shifted to the draw and then back to her. “Uh-well. I just thought I’d drop in on my gorgeous girlfriend and let her know that the car will pick her up at six tonight.”

She clasped her hands together to stop herself from trembling. It was an uncanny feeling to have the man you loved and the secret you hid from him so close to each other in the same room.

He eased a smile and rubbed her arm. “Is that ok?”

“Oh, god-yes. Of course! Sorry, I am all out of sync. It’s been one of those mornings. I had colour explode all over me and I’m a mess.”

He snaked his arm around her waist and dragged her in. “Well we’ll have to change that now won’t we, starting now.”

She didn’t have time to even breathe as he lifted her from the chair and crushed his mouth down on hers. The nerves rolled out of her as she melted into his kiss. He had a way about him that made her forget about the world for a while. Their teeth clicked as she tip-toed up into the kiss and her fingers twisted in the soft tuffs of hair at the base of his neck. Every reason to be with him sang true to her through his kiss. He broke apart but left their lips barely touching.

“Better?”

She grinned and nodded. “Better.” He made everything better that was just it.

“I could make things so much better.” He untwisted her apron strings and the tips of his fingers grazed against her skin under her top. But she stepped back.

Hell no. Not in here.

“Not here babe.” That wasn’t even the problem. Taking her on her desk rated right up there in her top ten sexual bucket list but not here, not now. She didn’t mean to snap but he stepped away as he got the message loud and clear.

“I’m having a bad day.” She was a coward and she knew it. She didn’t want to have sex on her desk with him when she had a two-hundred and fifty thousand dollar secret locked in the draw below them. It just wasn’t right.

“It’s ok. I’ve caught you in the middle of it all. I understand this is your business. I get it, I’m good.” The pad of his thumb brushed her jaw and across her bottom. “I’ll see you at six, k?”

She nodded and closed her eyes as he pressed a kiss onto her forehead. “Absolutely.”

When he closed the door behind himself she slumped into the chair and let the lone tear spill down her cheek. This sucked.

~

By the time she was in the chair and Jonathan was working his magic on her hair she was feeling better. Avery’s had been overwhelming but they’d found a dress. She thought it might have been too much but Jonathan soon reminded her of the types of people she was about to rub shoulders with. They weren’t strangers to the glitz and glamour that she found so foreign.

Jonathan had assured her she was going to look fabulous, seven-hundred and eighty dollars of fabulous that was. You had to live once and the more that she tried to slide into Jon’s lifestyle the easier it was to deny the fact she didn’t belong there.

“Now just a colour and touch up, we want your roots to be golden.”

He flicked up the comb as he applied a generous blob of hair colour with his brush. Her feet were soaking in a rose-petal foot-spa at her feet and her hands were drying with a new French manicure Jonathan had completed. The face-mask was bright green and one of their popular seaweed concoctions and her hair was scattered with foils. She looked a picture alright.

“I feel ridiculous; it’s just one charity dinner.”

Jonathan snorted. “Like it or not. What’s on your arm is A+-grade arm candy princess.”

“Well I’m happy for him to be the pretty one.” He can take the attention.

“Oh stop. You’re gorgeous and when I’m done you’re going to blow his socks off and everyone else there whether that is George Clooney or Brad Pitt.”

“You’re just hoping its George Clooney or Brad Pitt aren’t you?”

“Well more like Catherine Zeta-Jones or Oh! Sarah Jessica Parker. Now that I could get on board with.”

“I’m not sure Jon really knows them.”

“He was with Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex in the City for a cameo. I’m sure they’d do a “hi” from across the room.”

“Jesus Jonathan, maybe Jon should be taking you.”

“Maybe next time. You’re not getting out of it that easy.”

The little flip flops in her belly were not easing the closer that this event was drawing. “Maybe I should have some tea.”

Jonathan snapped his fingers. “Kels, can you get some Lemon and Ginger tea for Miss Scott.”

“Sheesh you’re bossy when you want to be.”

“Love you too darling now hush - I need to work we’re running out of time.”

She leaned back and closed her eyes while Jonathan did his magic. True to form he had her rinsed, dried and styled on time. Her skin was polished and he applied the last of the makeup. He swept the shadow along her brow and then touched her lips with gloss. She slid into the dress and he adjusted the straps of her shoes.

“Ok.” He clapped his hands together. “You can now turn around.”

She took a small breath, hell is was all she could in this dress as it was tight but the silky material felt amazing under her palms. She turned and the image of the girl in the mirror was breath-taking. Her hair was twisted neatly up away from her face with a side fringe was swept around one side of her face making the angle of her jaw softer.

The dress itself was a black sleek halter neck that flowed to the floor regally. A thin silver strap twisted high up around the A-line and through the halter. A keyhole of skin was left below between the breasts added an element of sexy but it was classy. Silver strappy shoes with a crystal white toe nails peeked out the bottom.
She looked freaking incredible. The girl from New Zealand that had come here unplanned five years ago had certainly done well to get to here. She had to remind herself of that once and awhile and take steed that she’d worked bloody hard to get here and that it hadn't all been for the wrong reasons.

The mirror image of the amazing Devon was startling though. She really wanted to be that girl, that girl that could do anything she wanted and have anything she wanted and she was on the cusp of that all with Jon.
“Well?” Jonathan crossed his arms and grinned.

She stood side on and noticed the dress held her tiny belly in perfectly. “Not too shabby.” She grinned and her slick pink lips widened. “I look amazing Jonathan, I really can’t believe it. I feel like Cinderella.”

“Indeed you do and here is your Prince Charming.”

She turned and Jon stood in the entrance-way to the salon part of the shop in a black and white neat suit.

“You’re early!”

He didn’t say a word but his eyes drifted down the length of her and then back up to her. “I didn't really want to go tonight in all honesty. But now, this wow- you...I can’t wait to show you off.”

Her cheeks flushed. “It’s not too much?”

“Hell. You’re breath-taking Dev.”

The little endearment on her name made her heart jump. “Well I don’t know about that but some people might say stunning.” She fluttered her eyelashes.

Jonathan had slipped out to the back room as Jon came closer. “It is missing something though.”

She fingered her ears. “Oh I know I was about to-”

He lifted a box from his jacket pocket and placed it in her palm. “Here.”

Her heart beat steadily as she looked down to the small blue box with a white box. “Jon - what have you done?”

He chuckled. “Open it and find out silly.”

She lifted the box open delicately afraid it would break. Her chest grew tight as nestled in the box were two diamond droplet earrings which were elegant and understated. They were real – no cubic zirconia here thank you very much. Her belly bottomed out and honest to god she was speechless. “They’re beautiful but you didn't-”

“Nonsense.” He took the box from her and lifted one of the earrings up to her ear and clipped it in.
She wasn't going to cry. Nope. But it was sweet. Damn him. No one had ever given her diamonds dammit.

“There perfectly...” His thumb-pad swept away her tear gently. “Perfect.”

Her heart was positively melting. “They’re gorgeous, thank you.”

“I’d kiss you but your lips look too pretty.”

“I don’t care.” She cupped the back of his neck and she pressed her lips against his. Her fingers teased the hair at the nape of his neck and then smoothed down the front of his suit. “You look very dapper Mr Bongiovi.” His suit was trim, dark and fit perfectly around his shoulders accentuating at the waist with a crisp white shirt and deep blue tie.

He laughed. “Dapper huh? Very British.”

She shrugged. “What can I say? We steal sayings from everywhere us Kiwi’s.”

Jonathan came back into the area armed with his camera. “A picture before you go kids.”

“Really?” She asked him raising her brow. “It’s not my prom night here you know.”

Jon snaked his arm around her waist. “Relax its fine. Good practice as you’ll be sick of smiling at the end of the night, I guarantee it.”

She smiled for Jonathan and he handed her the clutch purse. “You go. I’ll lock up.”

“Are you sure?”

“Of course go, have fun. Live a little. I’m so damn jealous.”

She leaned in and kissed him on the cheek. “Thank you Jonathan, I don’t know how to thank you for all this.”

“God just go. Have fun, seriously.” He fingered her earrings and his eyes widened. “Holy cow batman.” He whispered just out of Jon’s earshot.

They both waved at Jonathan and laughed as he took one last picture of them out the door.

*Click*

It would be a moment she’d always remember but now it was time to face the Dragon’s Den.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Chapter Thirty-Four: Splish-Splash



"It smells, well girly." Jon said as he dipped his toe into the bath that overflowed with bubbles.

"It's supposed to." She chuckled as she unbuttoned his shirt. She kicked off her shoes and stood on her tip toes to kiss him softly. She was glad dinner was over and in all honesty it wasn't as bad as she had pictured it previously in her head. His father was lovely and hilarious. Carol, well was Carol but they seemed to be on mutual ground which she figured was always the best way to be with your boyfriends mother.

A bubble bath was just what she needed. She needed to decompress even if it was with the whirlwind that was Jon. She was lying if some of this wasn't overwhelming, the family, tomorrow the public event and she’d been in his life only a couple of weeks.

“Where’s the pizza?” He asked as she undid the side zip in her dress.

“I thought we were eating it after the bath? It’s the in kitchen.”

“Noooo. Get in the bath, I’ll be right back.”

She shrugged and didn’t have to be asked twice. She sank back and let the hot water and clouds of bubbles engulf her. The suds sizzled around her and the heat soothed her aching body. Being bent over a staircase wasn’t exactly easy on the joints.

Jon strode in with his shirt open and the top of his pants undone balancing two glasses of wine on top of the pizza box.

“You’re not serious, pizza in the bath?” She chuckled as the scene reminded her of some corny porn movie she’d watched in college with a pizza boy and a woman in a bath.

He rested it down on the bath-side table and dumped his clothes onto the floor. “You haven’t lived until you’ve done this. I used to do it back in the eighties ... with a beer.”

“Does this look like the eighties?” She laughed as he gingerly slid into the bath and sat at the opposite end of her, sliding his legs up on either side of hers. He reached over, leaned forward and handed her a glass of wine grinned as she took a sip.

“Cosy.”

She snorted. “Well it’s not like the swimming pool of a tub in your bathroom or on your deck even. But it’ll do.” She leaned back, tipped her head and groaned as she stretched under the water. “I could so get used to this.”

“Well get used to it but next time can we use some more manly scents?”

She laughed and met his gaze which in the low light of the bathroom the blue was deeper, darker. “What exactly qualifies as a man scent? Pizza? Beer? Yeah, that sounds like a bath I really want to take.”

She flinched as he splashed her.

“Hey!”

He smiled smugly and leaned back reaching for a slice of pizza. “So you still love me after meeting my family?”

“Only just.” She rolled her eyes as his foot slid up her leg and he wiggled his eyebrows. “Do you ever think about anything else?”

“Woman. You’re in a tub naked with suds where I can see to the tops of your nipples when you move. How can you expect me to think of anything else here? I’m not a saint.”

“Look at that, something we agree on then.”

He snorted, licked his pizza fingers as he laid back and polished off his glass. The simplicity of the intimacy was something she’d missed, hell she wasn’t even sure if she’d ever had it in previous relationships. She was a lot younger and na├»ve back then. Now she had responsibilities such as her own business and her own life to look after. Who was she really kidding? Her business had been her life until this moment. Jon had given her something of a life back in only an instant in being in hers.

Was she cut out for the type of life he lived? Jon’s life was like an average Joe’s life but on speed. Who knows if she was ready for that but she was willingly to take a risk and that was something she never thought she’d do again.

She yawned as the day caught up with her and Jon laughed.

“God, I’m obviously riveting company.”

She giggled and shook her head. “No, I’m just tired. I feel like a loser when I am sure you do a million things all day and every day like this.”

“You work hard too, I’m lucky as well. Most of my projects and things now can easily get off the ground due to the celebrity status thing. I admire you for having a business purely on your talent and hard work.”

She lifted her toe and rubbed the underside of his arm gently with it. “That’s how you got to that celebrity status, with hard work. But I’ll take the compliment anyway, thanks. “

“I’m very blessed though and I don’t mind admitting that. I’d be an ass not to.”

“Do you ever wish you were just John Bongiovi? Truly?” She had to admit she loved the stripped down Jon. And when he was, he wasn’t much different from what she was.

He shrugged. “Sure some days I wish I didn’t have to deal with it all and could go to work from nine to five and come home to my family. But I can still have that. I wouldn’t be able to do half of the useful things for the world that I’ve done if it wasn’t for Bon Jovi though so I can’t say I’d trade it in.”

She loved the honesty. He was proud of who he was and where he’d come from. Sure, he had a little arrogance in him but you had to in the industry, even she got that.

“I’m not that exciting though. I’m not your next Lindsay Lohan scandal or Britney Spears so the celebrity thing is more about the exposure I get and can use. I’m just a boring old man really.”

She groaned as he cupped her leg and ran his hands down her calves. Legs that lived in heels thanked the lord as her muscles eased under his touch.

“You missed your calling.”

His thumbs dug into her skin releasing the pressure in her body melted away like butter. She lifted her glass to her lips. “And you’re not boring. Far from it.”

He half-smiled but it was genuine.

“Was the divorce messy in the press?”

He changed his hands to her other leg and she felt like Cleopatra sitting in her tub of suds with her slave rubbing her calves, ok maybe he wasn’t her slave and he’d probably be horrified to hear that.

“Not as much as it could have. The usual conspiracies one of us was cheating came out but we quickly closed that down. It was important for the kids we did.”

“Of course. How did they react to the divorce? That had to be hard.”

“Steph and Jesse the oldest ones took the news ok, they didn’t agree with it but they understood it. It was Romeo and Jakey that were more upset.” He stopped and a flicker of sadness flashed in his eyes before he continued. “They didn’t understand why we didn’t love each other anymore.”

“That had to be hard. They obviously like Bruce though, right?”

Would they like her? The idea of four children that now would understand what she was to their Daddy scared the living crap out of her. Kids were always on her radar but not in the last few years and despite what Jared had always told her about living happily ever after with him she had known once they had fallen into the bad ways of the world that was never ever going to happen.

Their whole plan had been to escape New Zealand and travel around Indonesia, maybe settle down in Bali and live an island paradise life with a tribe of kids. Looking back it had sounded romantic, running off into the sunset with your one and only and leaving everything you loved and worked for behind. It wasn’t. And ironically she ended up doing that anyway, for a completely other reason.

“Oh yeah they love the guy. I know I’m bitter about it but I’m only jealous. I should be thankful Dorothea married a good guy and not a brat. She deserves it.”

“As I said, it’s only natural to feel jealous but you’re their Dad and nothing’s going to change that.”

He tugged on her legs. “C’mere.”

Her eyes narrowed and her lips pursed as she knew that look. She placed her wineglass on the side of the tub and floated herself forward. He wrapped her legs around his waist and dragged her into his lap. The buoyancy of the water kept her just above him.

He nuzzled against her shoulder pressed his lips against her skin. She lifted his head up to meet her gaze. “What? No games today?”

His arms circled her waist under the water and he dragged her mouth down to his. “No games.”

She closed her eyes, breathed in and let the heat of the kiss sizzle through her body. The head of his cock bumped against her entrance but he angled the kiss deeper. Tangled up in skin and content to enjoy the tender moment she brushed her fingertips along his jaw. Her fingers threaded into his hair as he nipped at her chin and she tipped her head back. He devoured her throat and sipped from the dip in her shoulder.

Sensation rolled down her like hot wax dripping down a candle. She was hungry for him. Would she ever not feel so much for him? When he stroked her mouth, he laved her tongue and they both moaned. Slow and subtle kept the quiet moment as often it ran away from them into white hot passion. Her hands slid over his biceps, hard muscle flexed under her palms as she rose above him waiting for him to enter her. But he waited. She sighed into his mouth as her hands slid up his shoulders and snaked around his neck. She pressed her breasts into his chest and he cupped one, slowly running his thumb over the tip.

“I’m glad I found your shop.” He murmured into her shoulder still slick with water.

She took his mouth back, long and hot. He was quick to take a nipple in his mouth and she groaned appreciatively as he rolled his teeth over the tip. Every nerve twisted and tingled as he sucked hard.

She buried her nose into his temple and cupped the side of his head. “I love you Jon.” It came quick and true. “I’ve never met anyone like you.”

He growled in response and found her mouth, fusing it with his. His hands moved her hips and slid her easily onto his cock in the water. His breaths were short and kiss desperate but strong. She contracted around him and the water made it easy for her to move above him. He bit on her lip and she cried out as he hit the angle inside of her.

She arched back, steadied by his hand at the base of her back and drove deeper onto him pumping him for more. His mouth snagged her nipple and she cried out his name. He kissed her tenderly while keeping the rhythm quick and stretching the complete length of his cock inside her.

Her orgasm bled out slowly. And her voice was husky as she moaned unashamedly. “God.”

He didn’t stop and the power of his ejaculation rocked inside her and she took control and squeezed it out of him, feeling her power.

His breath was hot against her neck as he crashed against her and grunted through his orgasm. There were a few moments of short -fast breaths before they steadied and he tucked his head under her chin against her chest. She kissed the side of his head and enjoyed the rare moment of him against her before they slid apart.

In bed moments later once they’d dried off and in the dark, she closed her eyes and could feel his heart against her cheek beating strong. Her fingers sifted into the soft hair on his chest as they fell easy into slumber. She may have never met anyone like him but she knew one thing at this point.

She was scared to lose him.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Chapter Thirty-Three: Derailed





Dinner had gone without a hitch. He hadn't wanted to kill his parents and Devon hadn't screamed running from the building so he counted that as one big success. His mother's paranoia that his latest girlfriends were only here to rip off the Bongiovi dynasty had been absent and he knew they would be. Devon had slotted in easily and although she was nervous he could already tell she was a hit. Over the rim of his glass he watched as across the room Devon was introduced to his mother's friends and she slid into the charmer that she was.

The corners of his mouth twitched as he drank her all in from foot to tip. She was all poise and class when she needed to be but he loved the cheeky sweet ballsy girl he had when they were alone.

"You're going to make me sick." His Dad commented as he went to sign the check for the waitress.

Jon put his hand over his Dad's. "Don't you dare. Here." Jon reached for his wallet and handed her his gold card. "How often do my parents come and visit me?" He tucked his wallet back in his pocket. He joked, "Mom would kill me if I didn't."

"Thanks son. We'll be out of your hair tomorrow so you can have the place to yourself with Devon." John Snr wiggled his eyebrows.

"It's not a problem Dad, you know I love having you guys to stay."

John cupped his shoulder. "I know but you’re in the new can’t keep your hands off each-other stage.”

Jon shrugged but then grinned with ease. "I suppose we are." He rubbed his belly as he leaned back against the back of his chair.

"She's good in bed too isn't she?"

Jon raised his eyebrows then covered his eyes. "Dad, c'mon."

"What? We used to talk about this all the time."

"Yeah, when I was twenty." He picked up his wine and Devon's musical laughter danced through the air. He took a sip and couldn't stop the grin on his lips as he watched her bedazzle his mother's friends. "Amazing might be a word I’d use."

"Attaboy." His Dad gave him an elbow nudge.

Jon had to admit it still bugged him that she was secretive but he had started to unravel her past so he had to be content with that. The control freak inside of him wanted to know everything now but maybe in this case the unexpected with her was good. Time would only tell.

"You know it's not my place to but in."

Jon folded his arm across his middle and sipped his wine again. "But you're going to anyway aren't you?"

"Just be careful with her."

Jon snapped his head around. "Why? What makes you say that?" Had his father noticed the way that she’d side-swiped the questions about her own family through dinner? It was hard to notice she did it at first but he noticed. She had a brilliant way of turning the question back on you.

"Relax son, I meant that someone like Devon isn't going to be used to the way you're life is so, well public. You're going to have to look out for her as it can be overwhelming.

"Oh, right. I know Pop. I'll take care of that, don't worry."

"What did you think I meant?"

Jon paused and then shook his head. "Nothing."

John Snr didn't have a chance to respond as Devon came back with his mother and slid in her seat opposite him. They stole a smile with each other before his mother announced they were leaving. He smirked and subtlety slid his foot up her leg giving her a hint of what he had planned for her once they were alone. His knees hit the table as she swiftly kicked his shin.

"Sorry, cramp." He muttered as his mother stared across the table with her eyebrow arched. Devon was looking down in her purse pretending to find something and John Snr snorted and patted him on the shoulder.

"That'll teach you son. Cramp my ass."

Jon chuckled as they stood up and said their goodbyes. "I'll be home in the morning before you go." Jon patted his Dad's back and then his brother before hugging his mother. "Bye Mom, thanks for the evening."

Carol stood back in her son's embrace and smiled. "Thank you Angel."

Jon glanced at Devon who was talking to his brother. "Thank you for not tearing her apart Mom."

Carol half-smiled. "Why would I? She's delightful."

Jon knew that was as good as it would ever get but he didn't really care. His mother always had an opinion on his affairs whether it was business or matters of the heart so he was taking it as a good sign as she soon would have told him otherwise.

He breathed a sigh of relief as they left leaving him and one gorgeous red-heeled lady in his sights. He curled his arms around her waist and kissed her forehead. "Congratulations, you survived my family." She laid her cheek against his shoulder as they snuck in a cuddle.

"They're lovely Jon. Really lovely." She sighed and he closed his eyes. The weight of her against him was comforting.

He paused as he sensed she was thinking about her own family but then thought twice about bringing it up. He wanted the rest of the evening to be about them. "Let's go home."

They made their way to the car and sat in the backseat with her tucked under his arm as they drove home. His fingertips dragged lazily down her arm, her skin was like velvet.

"Did my mother behave when she introduced you to her friends?"

"Behave? More like showed me off - well my business." She paused.

"What?” He prompted her.

"When we were in the powder room she indicated I would be good for you."

Jon snorted softly. "Did she now?" Yup she’d definitely got the Carol Bongiovi approval. "And how so?"

He felt the smile against his chest where her head was resting. "She suggested you could be a brat, and I'd be good for you as you've dated some entitled women and she doesn't like entitled women."

Jon laughed, loud. "She doesn't like them huh?"

"I did think that was ironic but she'd just given me her blessing, I wasn't going to argue with you."

"You know you don't need her blessing though, right?" He asked he squeezed her shoulder.

"Of course I do. But I know how much your family means to you, so it is important to me."

He dropped a kiss on her forehead again and grinned. "I love you."

"I know." She said matter of factly.

He snickered and tipped her chin to meet his gaze. Her slicked pink lips beckoned him so he didn't deny himself and covered her mouth with his. Her heat flooded his mouth and her fingers reached up and grazed along the bottom of his jaw. He buried his nose in her neck and tasted her sweet skin. "I need you."

Her eyelashes fluttered as he moved his mouth up to the sweet spot under her ear. Her moan against his ear sent a pulse to his cock. He wanted to make her moan for dressing in the demure black dress accentuated with those killer red shoes. Oh yeah, he wanted to make her moan good.

His mouth covered the shell of her ear. "Do you need me Devon?"

"God." She whispered. They still were very much in the backseat of the town car.

"That's not an answer." His hand slip up her bare calf and up inside her thigh where barely inches from his fingertips her wet center beckoned him.

She rolled her lip under her teeth and bit down on it and her nipples turned to bullets through the cotton on her dress as his hand brushed over them.

He grinned victoriously. "You know you want me." His tongue traced the outline of her ear. "Give in to the power that is me."

"You suck." She whispered hoarsely as the car rolled into the familiar cobblestone streets of Soho.

He was hard. He could have easily taken her right here on the seat. The scent of candy-canes and musk swirled around him as he bit gently down on her lobe. "If I recall, you suck. And suck fucking well." She unleashed his dark-side the side that made the clean-cut Rock-Star pack his bags and the master manipulator shine.

His finger found the edge of her panties and the tip rubbed against the silky skin of her pussy. They came to a stop so he withdrew his hand and quickly tipped the driver and stepped out of the car. People littered the sidewalk but took no notice of him as he pressed himself up against her as she fumbled with her keys at her door.

"Feel that?" He lunged forward and his groin pressed into her lower back. "That's how much I want you."

She snapped the lock open and they tumbled inside the door kicking it shut behind him. He pressed her up against the wall at the base of the stairs that led to her apartment above and her purse thunked to the ground. He cupped her neck and she took a quick intake of breath as her pulse racing under his fingers. He'd envisioned they'd wait till at least they got into her place but his cock had other ideas. Their lips hovered merely a breath from each other as his hand hiked up her skirt.

The rush of power was heady and addictive as he had her right where he wanted her before he planned to bring both of them to a screaming orgasm. "The things I'm going to do to you Miss Scott."

Her eyes narrowed and the tip of her tongue flicked out to her lips. "Do them then." Her eyes fired with challenge and he smirked as she skimmed the edge of what was bubbling between them

He unclasped the thin belt around her middle and pulled it slowly free. "Well, well what do we have here?" He dangled it in front of her and let out a whistle. "I do believe this is called revenge."

Her eyes widened as he wound the belt around her wrists and she gasped as he pushed her gently towards the railing. He looped a knot through the railing so she was strapped to it and bent over it.

"Jon! Untie me now, we can't in here."

"We can and I am." He knelt down behind her on a stair and ran his knuckle up in inner seam of her leg. "Such sexy legs."

She twisted above him and growled as the belt stretched but held its ground.

"Jon! I'm serious."

He nosed the back of her knee and kissed the back of her thigh. "No one is going to come in here. It's your place and it's nearly midnight."

"That's not the point-untie me and take me up the stai-oh god."

She groaned as he hooked his fingers into the side of her panties and slid them down off her legs.

"I hate you."

He swivelled himself around and tipped his head back between her legs so he could taste her. With his hand he reached up and let his thumb circle her clit causing her to lean forward on an angle that would be perfect for taking her from behind when he was done with her.

He started with gentle licks up and down her clit and his fingers stroked her entrance. Not yet penetrating, just prepping. She was already on the cusp of an orgasm by the way her short gasped moans. He'd learned that in the short time they'd been together. Long throaty moans meant he was hitting her centre and drawing her pleasure out where these ones meant he was close.

Warm wetness slicked over her clit as he teased and tasted her. He lapped up every drop. He imagined her face in the dimly lit stairwell light etched with pleasure so close to release. God he wanted to fuck her so badly. And they would more than once tonight. He wanted to her on top of him slamming into him, her perfect tits bouncing as she screamed his name. Her under him, his mouth latched onto her nipple as he pumped her again and again.

"Oh shit!" Her wrists slammed into the railing and her legs convulsed around him as his mouth filled with juices from her.

"Oh god yes! Yes!" His name was like a voodoo chant on her lips as she came above him. She slumped over against the railing and let out a sob.

He twisted himself out, stood up behind her and bent over her, so his mouth was on her ear. He cupped one of her breasts and made sure his blunt nail scraped over the tip causing her to shudder.

"Please untie me."

"Not done." He unzipped his pants and took his cock in his hands. It was so hard it fucking ached.

"Don't you want my mouth on that?"

He snickered. "Nice try." As fucking wonderful as that would be he needed to fuck her right now. His cock slid easily into her and he groaned as she braced for him.

"So tight and wet."

Rivers of sensation shot up his shaft as he moved inside of her. His muscles clenched as she took him deeper. He cupped one hand on her hip to keep them steady and the other one remained firmly on her breast. Tears of sweat trickled down her temples as his mouth hovered over the side of her face. It wasn't pretty, the sweat, the raw fucking but it was hot and his belly burned with the desire that he had.

He rolled his hips into her, each one stronger than the first. She threw her head back and her wisps of her sunny blond hair slathered to her face. She screamed as the tightness almost became unbearable for him as well. He needed to cum and he needed to hear her cum again. He quickened the pace, the slap of skin chimed in with the cries of pleasure.

He grabbed her ass and dug his nails as he slammed into her. This was going to be over fast but they had all night and for the first time in how many years he wanted to go all night.

She clenched up around him and then let herself go, he followed behind with the realization he really was in love with her. He'd just pictured in twenty seconds of hot passion where she fitted in his life. He wanted her there more and he couldn't think of it without her at this point.

"Aw Fuck." He poured into her and then melted over her like butter as they stood slumped over the railing. His chest was heavy, gasping for breath.

He chuckled as he buried his face into her sweaty neck. "We're even."

He untangled the belt and set her free turning her slowly. Her hair was dishevelled, her lips were swollen, and her blue eyes were soft. She looked fucking beautiful.

He tapped her nose before kissing her on the lips. "So what's the lesson here?"

A smile curled on her lips. "Don't wear a belt around you?"

He dragged her in and their noses bumped. "You're cheeky and that's half your problem."

She tugged gently on his tie but he clasped her wrist.

"What? I was just loosening it for you." Her innocent play wasn't convincing so he scooped her up in his arms.

"I need a shower and some food before the next round."

"We just had dinner silly." She draped her arms around his neck.

"Dinner isn't what I'd call that. Those portion sizes were for caterpillars, I think we need to order pizza after a long hot bubble bath." He grinned wickedly imagining her naked in suds wrapped around him.

"I'm in for that. These shoes maybe sexy but they're feet assassins."

He laughed as he climbed each stair with her sneaking in a kiss or two. It had been a good night.








Monday, October 24, 2011

Chapter Thirty-Two: Meet the Parents






Flustered.

This was not how you wanted to meet your boyfriend’s family and make a good or lasting impression. She loved that she could be herself around Jon and the see-saw of sexual tension between them kept things fun against their busy lives. She hadn't felt this way in over anything in years, he excited her and scared her all at the same time. She straightened her dress and her heels clicked on the cobblstones as she followed Jon to the entrance of the restaurant. Wearing the red shoes had been an evil idea of hers since he always teased her mercilessly but it had backfired once again, she was more wound up than a spinning top.


They were uptown and now standing in front of a simple but elegant black door. "This is it?"


Jon chuckled and took her hand. "Doesn't look like much does it? But it’s all part of the exclusiveness and the mystery of what's behind the door."


"Why? What is behind the door?" Was it Willy Wonka's chocolate factory? The building had no windows facing the street, just cold grey stone walls. 


"Understated luxury. It shouldn't be a surprise to you that this is my mother's favourite place in New York."


The door was held open by a man that was dressed in a neatly pressed black suit and bow-tie. "Good evening." 


They climbed some polished wooden steps up to a landing where another suited man met them and held open a French door. The view was breath-taking. Polished gold gleamed and crystal-drop chandeliers twinkled above her as she stepped into the restaurant. "Welcome to Charlies." Jon whispered as he took her coat handed them off to the attendant. 


"Charlie's? Really? It's called something that simple when it's this breath-taking."  Each table was set with a pristine white table cloth, fine silverware and immaculate glassware. White pillar candles with a subtle sprig of rosemary were the centrepieces on each table. 


"I feel like Cinderella." She hadn't meant to say that out loud but she eased when he smiled.


"You have the shoes." Jon winked and squeezed her hand as they made their way across the room. 


"There's my boy!" 


"Dad, hey!" They hugged and she stood back as an older man with silver hair that looked like Jon, but shorter and a little more stout. He smiled broadly and that she knew was Jon's father immediately as his charismatic smile flashed at her over Jon's shoulder.


"And you must be Devon. Wow. You are a cutie." He smiled warmly as he took her hand and popped a kiss on her cheek.


"Devon this is my one and only father John, Dad this is Devon." 


"It's lovely to meet you John."


"Likewise, my son was lying when he said you were gorgeous. You're a wee stunner."

She blushed and smiled. "That's very kind."


"Where's Mom?" 


"Over there talking with some of the ladies, you know how she is."


Jon laughed. "That I do, and my loveable brothers?"


"Matt's on his way but he's coming alone and Tony can't make it, he's doing some filming that's got a deadline for tonight. C'mon lets get a drink."


She already loved the way Jon was around his father, they were like two old souls so easy around each other just like family should be. She rubbed the pang in her chest and ignored the sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach as she followed them to the bar. They embraced just the way her father used to embrace her and they smiled at each other like old friends. 

She'd done it again, she wasn't aware she'd slipped into Devon-land as John Snr was grinning at her like a Cheshire cat. "Gosh, sorry where are my manners?"


He scooped his arm around her shoulders and led her up to the bar. "I said, now what can I get the lady to drink? You really are a sweet thing."


God. How hard was it not to warm to him instantly? She wasn't used to that as she'd played with her shields for so long so she didn't trust the easy feeling but on the other-hand it was like the feeling when she was with Jon, so clearly it ran in the family. "Just a white wine will be lovely."

He chuckled and winked at Jon. "How can you not love that accent?"

Jon ordered the three of them wine and then waved as another man--she guessed was his brother walked in. He was taller, broader and had dark hair. He had the same walk and million dollar smile as Jon did, okay maybe half a million.


"Matty." Jon and Matt slapped a handshake and embraced in a pat-down hug. 

"They get on now, but you should have seen them when they were kids. Matty used to lock Jon in the basement until he cried."

Devon snorted as she took a sip of wine. "You're joking?" She could never imagine Jon being bullied even if it was his siblings. 

"Nope. Cry-baby. And he was the oldest." John Snr whispered as he wiggled his eyebrows and took a sip of his beer.

"Devon, this is my brother Matt." Jon hooked an arm around his neck. "Matt, meet Devon."

"Hi Devon, so how much is he paying you?"

Jon jabbed his elbow into his side. "Hey."

Devon took Matt's hand and shook it and grinned. "Enough so I don't lock him in any basements." 

Jon's eyes went wide and he pointed accusingly at his father. "You've known her two minutes c'mon Pop, two minutes!"

Matt clapped his hands together and laughed. "I like you already Devon."

Whew. Her shoulders eased as she took another sip of wine, so far so good. If she was this terrified about his family, what the hell was tommorow going to be like with the media? Matt greeted his father the way Jon had and she felt oddly at home.


"So how's the writing coming baby brother? Do I need to clear my schedule for a tour in the next year?" Matt asked Jon as he took the beer from his father.

Jon shrugged. "Hard to tell." He looked away and Devon knew instantly his mind had gone to the problems he'd mentioned with David. "But that is the plan, all going well."


Matt pointed to Jon. "Workaholic."

Jon laughed. "You're telling the wrong person. Devon is a very successful businesswoman and devotes a lot of her time to her clinic." God? Is that how he saw her? Someone married to her work? Hell, she was getting sensitive about something that was half-true and meant as a compliment. She needed to settle down so she tipped the wine glass back.

"Yes, guilty as charged."


"My wife says it’s quite the place." John Snr chimed in.


"And my wife wants to come and visit you." Matt added.

She half-smiled. "Well thank you, that's very kind. I do my best and I have incredible staff."

The waiter walked over and announced their table was ready so John Snr and Matt started to drift to the main dining area. Jon wrapped his arm around her waist and pressed his lips to the side of her head. "Relax, they're just my family."


He tugged her in, out of view and lifted her chin and met her gaze. "You're doing great." She closed her eyes as his lips buzzed over hers and his warmth centred her again. 


She rested her cheek on his shoulder as his hand drifted down to the small of her back. "They're great Jon."

"You're only saying that because you can gang up with them against me."


She giggled and closed her eyes for a second. She used to do that with her Dad all the time.

"You ok?"


She shoved her memories away and stood back and forced the smile. "Perfect."


His gaze drifted down her and his smile grew wider as it reached her shoes. "Damn you for wearing those here woman."

The butterflies in her stomach eased as she trailed her fingertip down the middle of his tie. "And you think I'm easy."

He lifted her hand to his lips and grinned. "I don't think it, I know it." He kissed it and then led her into the dining area where his family were seated. 

The men all stood as she came to table as Jon slid out her chair. "Mom, you remember Devon."

Carol was dressed in a turquoise dress with a white shrug, jewels glittered around her neck and diamond drops hung from her ears. "Of course I do. I was just telling Joan and Stefania how we were going to book into her salon for the spa day she's organizing, that is still coming along right dear?" 


She flattened the linen napkin in her lap and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. "Yes, most definitely. I'm already to launch them and have just approved the final copy that marketing produced but I wanted to ask you something first." 

Carol raised one of her manicured eyebrows. "Oh?" She motioned for the waiter to pour the wine.


"I was wondering if you'd do me the honour of being the first and if you enjoy it with the ladies also, you write a testimonial I can use for future copy."

"Like an endorsement honey?"


"Well, I guess yes but as an informal one."


Carol lifted the glass to her lips to taste the wine, mulled over it for a few seconds and then nodded to the waiter giving him approval to continue. She was seated opposite Devon so she clasped her hands together neatly on the edge of the table and pursed her lips. "I will, of course if I'm satisfied." 

Devon picked up her wine and grinned confidently. "You will be." 

The smile twitched at the corners of Carol's lips and she picked up the menu. 

Jon winked at her and mouthed. 'Nice one.'


The small confidence boost settled her and she managed to listen as the family caught up with each other until the appetizers came. Carol had ordered for the table and she suspected that was how it went when Carol was in town, she didn't mind as woman had exceptional and grandiose taste. The best thing was mostly the dinner wasn't a probing of her and her intentions with their son, and in fact it was far from it. The questions John Snr asked about her home country and her life in New York were very genuine. 

"So I hear you're going along with Jon tomorrow night." John Snr commented the waiter cleared away the first course and Jon and Matt talked amongst themselves.

"Yes, I am. I have to admit that I am new to all of that kind of scene." She didn't want to let her guard down but she found John's father was so easy to talk to and she found herself wanting to more. It had been something she'd missed, simple family interaction. She'd heard all her staff talk about their families and especially around the holidays it was always harder to hear what people had planned and of course then when they got back to work she always got the play by play of the events. She did love hearing about it all and it filled the void, mostly. 

"So I was thinking, Devon and I could go into business." John Snr teased as he took her hand and his thumb brushed over the top of her hand. 

"I'm a brilliant hairdresser."

"Seriously?"

"How do you think Jon had fabulous hair back in the eighties.”?


"Nooooo. Really? I'd never have known!"

Jon leaned back in his chair and shook his head as his dad spun her stories of how he used to take care of his son's most famous locks. 

"I had no idea, that's brilliant.


Her purse buzzed so she discreetly checked her phone while the drinks were topped up.


I can't stop thinking about those shoes. I want to do bad things to you.


Her eyes lowered and she shifted in her seat. Out of the corner of her eye she could feel a set of eyes on her. Her tongue rolled into her cheek and she tapped quickly a response.


You'll have to wait, we're at dinner. 


Before she could slide her phone back into her purse it buzzed again. He must have had it under the table out of sight.


Dessert? I know a nice deserted courtyard.


She didn't look up and instead she replied trying to hide the smile.


I'd prefer the Tiramisu.


*buzz*


Is that code for something?


She stifled a laugh and then realized John Snr was sitting back in his chair grinning at her. Crap.


Carol stood up and picked up her purse. "We're going to the ladies to powder our noses. If you'll excuse us." She nodded to Devon.

Uh, we? She grabbed her purse, stood and Jon grinned at her.  Busted.

"Uh, yes excuse me." Because apparently she was going too. She followed Carol along the back of the restaurant and her phone buzzed her hand again. 


You're in trouble ;)


She was going to kill him later, she swore to god. How mature did she look now? Holy crap.


They walked into the powder room which was bigger than her living room and Carol lifted her lipstick out of her bag. Her eyes dropped to Devon's shoes and then she looked back at the mirror. 

Christ could she read the texts? She reached for her compact and touched up her cheeks in the warmly lit mirror. 

Carol snapped her lipstick closed and spritzed on some perfume. "I like you Devon. You seem genuinely nervous."


"Well, um this is all new to me." She really didn't know what to say or take from that, her boyfriends mother liked her though-that had to be good enough.

"I didn't say it was a bad thing." She clipped close her clutch. "Jon's dated some really entitled women. I don't happen to like entitled women."


If she'd been drinking she probably would have choked on it but instead she smiled because Carol Bongiovi wasn't at all entitled, noooo. And then again she was relieved she wasn't going to mention the texting incident as that would have been embarrassing. "Well I certainly don't take anything for granted if that's what you mean - god not that I am saying Jon does because he doesn't." She stumbled, breathed and quickly composed herself.

"He can be a brat. But I think you're good for him." Then something happened she didn't expect at all. Carol smiled. "But don't tell anyone I told you that." And then she dabbed a tissue on her neck and then walked out.

Devon stood there and closed her mouth. Carol Bongiovi may have been a shrewd woman but she was knew her people. It was comforting on one level to know she'd read Devon as genuine but unsettling on the other as she had a feeling given an inch, Carol would figure out she was hiding something, something big.

Will you share her secret?