Sunday, August 28, 2011

Chapter Twenty-Five: All Aboard

"We'll be fine and I swear to god Devon Scott if you don't hurry up and walk out the door now - I'll push you myself!" Jonathan wagged a finger at her. "And don't think you'll be calling us to check on us Missy because if you do I'll hang up on you!"

Devon laughed and held her hands up in defeat. God Bless him. "OK, I'm going. But please call if you have any issues or anything."

She bit her lip, it was the first time she'd left her clinic in the hands of her staff for more than a day. Hell, she should do it more often if the truth be told. She picked up her bags and smiled. "Thank you again Jonathan. I appreciate this more than you know."

"Sure, go and have a luxury weekend with a rock-star and be treated like a queen while the rest of us minions will just hang back here."

"I don't even know what we're doing. Probably going to his Jersey house at a guess as we were meant to go there the other night but of course work got in the way so we had dinner in the city in the end." She'd felt bad cutting the date short but two of her stylists had gone home sick and she had been backlogged in paper work that she could normally do in the day-time.

 "Well I for one wouldn't have any problems being locked up in there, it is gorgeous."

She frowned. "How do you know? Did you Google it?"

 Jonathan whistled innocently and shuffled some papers. "Maybe."

"Jonathan!" Of course she couldn't talk but she hadn't done it since she'd started dating him. The temptation was there but she didn't want to get anyone else's version of events except his. "What! I've gotta look out for my girl." He adjusted the collar of his shirt and dusted off his pants.

"Thank you but its fine. I don't think you've got anything to worry about." It's me he has to worry about.

"Well look at you! Two weeks ago you were so unsure about the guy and now he's won you over. It's about time." Jonathan wrapped his arm around her shoulder and gave it a squeeze. "Now go, enjoy, and relax. I meant it, I'll push you out if I have to."

Devon picked up her over-night bag that was heavier for more than a two night stay but she'd over-packed and for any occasion. "I will. Ring me. I mean it, if there is an emergency." She kissed him on the cheek and went to walk out the door.

"Oh hey Dev. I almost forgot the cleaners will need to be paid tonight. Have you left out some money for them?"

"Oh shit, no I haven't! God, I thought I had everything sorted. I'll run back inside." The car horn tooted from across the street and Jon wound down the window of the blue Chevelle.

"Whoa-boyfriend has a nice car! OK now I'm officially jealous now! Just go Dev, what's the safe combination? I can sort it."

 Damn punctual men. "No, I'll get it." "Don't be silly. You know me and I'm a whizz with money." Double damn. Yes he was but that wasn't the point. Jonathan was completely trustworthy and she had no issues leaving him with it but she couldn't let him see exactly how much money was in the safe. She didn't let anyone see that, ever.

"You are Hun but I need to grab some for myself anyway." She quickly made up the excuse and felt terrible for it as it was paper-thin.

"You don't trust me?"

"No, God I'll get it." She snapped unintentionally and Jonathan's eyes fell flat for a second and then he broke out into a broad smile.

"I'm kidding. I'll hold your bag, quick go."

She was a moron. She quickly headed to her office and popped the combination on her safe. Her heart pounded in her chest as she quickly counted out the money for the cleaners. She always paid them on a Friday, shit shit shit. How could she have forgotten? She tucked a couple of hundred dollars into her jeans and stuffed their money in an envelope to give to Jonathan.

"Am I going to have to drag you outta here?"

She jumped and slammed the safe closed and spun around wide-eyed facing Jon.

"Hey, it's just me." He nodded behind her. "Everything OK?"

She clutched her chest and took a deep breath. "It's fine, sorry you gave me a fright. I was rushing, I forgot to leave Jonathan some money to pay my cleaners." He was wearing a snug red-t-shirt and jeans with a ball cap and aviators that hung off his fingers. A small smile twitched on his lips and she breathed a sigh of relief. She was panicking and when she panicked she became careless.

"Well let's go." Thank you Jesus. "Wait." He took two steps forward and cupped her chin pressing his lips against hers. "Better. Now calm down and let's get going." He tugged the hundred dollar bill from the front of her jeans. "If you're thinking you're paying for anything this weekend. You're wrong and besides..." His eyes sparkled and her shoulders instantly dropped as she relaxed. "My hourly rate is much much more than this."

She snorted and ran her hands up his arms. "Sorry. I guess I'm just a little nervous leaving and I thought I was prepared." The warmth of the spring sunshine was still in his clothes as she leaned into him and took in his spicy scent.

"Nothing can prepare you for what we're about to do and I think you'll be wowed."

She lifted her eyebrow. "Oh yeah?" Nearly everything about Jon was wow so she didn't know what more to expect.

"Yeah." He punctuated it with a kiss and then slapped her ass. "Now go and give Jonathan the money, he's making us coffees to go." He pressed his forehead against hers. "I need to talk to you about something as well but I will tonight. If that's OK?" He breathed in her hair. "God I can't wait to be alone with you."

Her blood rushed to her head and she swallowed the thick lump in her throat. "Oh? Sure." She couldn't wait to be alone with him either but now she was nervous. The way he'd said it, it wasn't going to be about the kid’s latest grades from school. God, he wasn't going to push her again was he? Her breath hitched as his hand drifted up the side of her pink spaghetti strap tank-top and he fingered the strap.

"You look amazing."

She felt under-dressed but it was Jon that had suggested casual and specifically that jeans were ideal for wherever they were going. She'd paired them with matching pink flip-flops and a chunky white string of beads that looped around her neck. "Thanks. So do you. You should wear red more."

"Everyone tells me that. You should wear jeans more. You have a great ass." He gave it a squeeze and she laughed and linked his hand in hers.

 "C'mon then you." She blew out her breath as she locked the office door behind her and they walked back through to the reception where Jonathan was popping lids onto their coffees.

"Black for you and your usual for milady."

"Thanks babe. Here's the money and thanks again for looking after the place. Seriously." She handed him the envelope and gave him a quick hug.

"You're welcome now go kids and have fun. Oh! I almost forgot." He handed her a tube of Aloe Vera. "Just in-case."

Jon laughed and her cheeks burned, again. Jesus Christ. She snatched it and narrowed her eyes. "Thank you. You'll keep and so will you." She nudged Jon in the ribs.

"Oh I'm counting on it."


She took the last long sip of her hazelnut latte as they wound around the coastal road in New Jersey. They'd been on the road for an hour and she still had no idea where they were headed. She pushed her sunglasses up and changed the song on to the stereo. Maybe it was appropriate that the next song was by the Beach Boys as sheets of sparkling blue water came into view.

The windows were down and the salty breeze threaded through her hair and the gravel crunched under the tires. "So, are we there yet?"

He snorted. "You're worse than my kids." "I hate surprises and I'm impatient."

She grinned as she reapplied her lip gloss in the small mirror on the sun shade above her.

"And bossy. Don't forget bossy." He smirked as he rounded a corner and applied the gas.

She popped her cap and then her lips. "You like when I'm bossy. Admit it."

"Depends what I'm getting out of it in the end."

She laughed. "Of course it is and you never answered the question." She smacked his knee playfully. "Where are we going?"

 "Where do you think we're going?" "Your home in Redbank since we just passed a sign."

"Wrong. I would have turned off back there."

"Well do I look like, walking GPS? I don't know the street you live on, just the area."

He chuckled and turned off the stereo as they pulled into the marina at the bottom of the road. "We're here now bossy-pants."

Her brow winged. "We're going on a boat? Where?"

"The ocean."

"Oh wow. You mean like sailing?"

"That's generally what you do on the water, yes."

"Stop teasing me. Are we sailing? Do you even know how to?"

"That's why it's called chartered sailing. Just us and one discrete captain who has his own quarters. We'll never see him unless there's a problem."

Her eyes were wide. Jonathan was right, this was the life of the rich and famous. She had no idea how much it cost here but back home only the who's-who of the country did things like this. "Holy shit! Oh my god--Jon this is-" She loved the ocean and it was no secret she missed it like crazy since moving to New York. She just hadn't ventured out enough to find it but now, wow but now here she was.

"So it was a good choice then?" He killed the ignition and leaned in giving her a kiss on the cheek.

"I knew you'd like it."

"Brat but it's just so much I mean-"

"Hey. I told you money wasn't an issue this weekend for you and I meant it. It's not that much really, and besides I need the getaway and something tells me you do too Miss-I've-never-been-away-from-my-shop-in-forever."

It was an incredibly sweet thing for him to do and she loved the ocean and he knew it. "I'm speechless." She slid her sunglasses down her nose and peered over crystal blue waters. Something about the ocean made her feel free. And this weekend she was going to be free, free from any worries or responsibilities and that was overwhelming in itself in the best possible way. Jon was giving her so much and he didn't even realize the magnitude of it.

"That might be a first." He snorted and opened his door. "C'mon then."

Jon locked his car and signed in his keys with the parking lot staff while she stood and took in the view across the water. The wind whipped around her and spray of the ocean was just metres away. She swung her bag over her shoulder and followed Jon down to the wharf where rows of white boats bobbed in the water. Some were tiny fishing boats and some were bigger day cruisers and yachts. Lots and lots of yachts with their masts that stretched high into the heavens. She'd sailed a lot with her Dad when they were younger and since the whole country was surrounded by water so it really wasn't that hard to get to a beach. She took it for granted back then, both the beach and her Dad.

"Devon." Jon called her over to a handsome yacht that looked big enough for a family. It was just big enough for a handful of cabins and had a large deck set on the back at the water’s edge. Complete and utter paradise.

"You like?"

"I like? Holy crap it's gorgeous." It's blue and white neat trim was very traditional and it had a matching main sail that flapped like a giant sheet on the laundry line in the breeze.

"I even had it named." He wiggled his eyebrows and nodded towards the boat.

She lowered her gaze and choked on her laugh, "Bossy Woman." was sprawled in fancy pink font against the boats white bottom. "You are such a shit!"

His laugh rumbled and he clutched his tummy. "I thought you'd get a kick out of that one. This is our captain, Bob." Bob was an older man with round warm face and an amazing tan, clearly spending a lot of time out on yachts.

"Hi Bob, thank you so much for chartering us." He took of his sailors cap and bowed. "My pleasure Miss Devon. You won't even know I'm on board."

"Damn right we won't because Bob's wife Mildred could come for the ride too."

"Hello darlings!" A lady poked her head out of the smaller cabin near the front of the boat.

"Wow, how awesome." Jon slapped his hands together. "Right, I'll give you the tour and then we'll get going in say ten minutes, Bob?"

Bob checked his watch and nodded. "Sure thing Jon. We should be smooth sailing to where we anchor for the night. The weather looks fantastic all the way."

"Where are we anchoring?" Devon asked as Jon held out his hand for her to board the boat.

"That's a surprise. I'll let you know when we're there."

"You just relax Little Devon and leave the rest to me." Bob grinned and tucked his cap back on before returning up front.

"They seem awfully sweet. You know them?"

"Old family friends. But they come highly recommended and Bob is an ex-navy man so he knows how to sail a boat."

"I'd love to sail with him at some point, I haven't done it in so long not since Dad and I used to sail around the bays in the summertime."

 "We'll make that happen. It's not a plane so I've always got the option of diving overboard if you capsize us."

 "Hey! You watch it or there will be no sex."

"Oh please, you've just about had an orgasm over the fact we're going sailing. There's no way you will resist me."

"Arrogant much?" But he was dead right. She would just about give him anything for this and she had a few ideas on just where to start once they were settled.

He wrapped his arms around her as they stood on the deck and brushed his lips across hers. "I wanted this to be something different, something for just us. I've always been pretty shitty at making "we" time for my wife. So if this has any chance of going somewhere, I really want to start this off the way I intend to keep it."

She closed her eyes as she melted into his kiss and her fingers skimmed up along his jawline. She wanted that too, she wanted the dream and everything that came with it. His hand ran down her back and rested at the small of her back reeling her in and when she moaned it came out more like a sigh. The man could kiss.

She wound her arm up around his neck and deepened the kiss as she let her tongue slide into his mouth but her eyes opened as he stood back and broke the kiss. "Let's save this for a little later." He pushed a lock of her hair back from her face and smirked. "See. Told you."

"What?" She asked as she folded her arms and he took two steps backwards onto the boat.

"I throw a yacht at you and now you want to seduce me." He shrugged. "Perfect formula I'd say." His cheeky grin disappeared into the main cabin with his own bags.

She laughed and paused, looked behind her at the Jersey shore behind her where her responsibilities and the life she was escaping for a little were, and then ran inside after him.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Chapter Twenty Four: What He Wants

Devon slid her hair pins in place, smoothed down her apron and armed herself with her pink carry-mug. She'd taken a quick break mid-morning in her office to read over and tweak the business proposal plans for her discussion with Jon later that night. She caught herself smiling even as she thought about him and their plans for the night. The buzz outside her salon was at fever pitch as her girls worked their magic with scissor-clips, splashes of colours and curling irons. Kelly ran a pretty tight ship on a Saturday and they utilized their space and hired it to casual hairdressers which made Saturdays one of the most productive and profitable days of her working week.

Jonathan had even chipped in today taking a few extra jobs from the girls and they shared any walk-ins between them. Although she wasn't really running the show she liked being here hearing the compliments to her stylists on the wonderful styles they were doing and the glowing skin they had when they walked out. 

"Knock Knock." Jonathan stuck his head in the door.

"Hey what's up?" She fluffed her hair and then dusted her hands ready to get back into it. 

"Just got a skin-consult walk and they asked for a guy."

Jonathan wiggled his eyebrows. She usually took the skincare walk-ins and Jonathan took the hair but this case was obviously different. "Sure. Anything exciting?"

"No I don’t think so, just that he'd prefer to see a guy. After this I'm going for a bagel run, want something?"

"Ohh yes please." Soho had the most amazing bagel shops near the salon and of course with the amount of cream cheese Jonathan always got on the bagel she'd have to spend thirty minutes on the treadmill that night but it was too good to refuse. Or maybe she wouldn’t have to, sex was a good workout right? She snickered to herself before she realized Jonathan was still in the room.

"Care to share?" He asked amused "No, I was just-"

"Oh I bet you were honey." He ducked the screwed up piece of paper she threw in his direction.

"Just go would you." She slid back into her chair and chuckled. There was no hope for her now. She read through the week's takings and updated her spread sheets on her laptop. Business really was going better than she could have hoped for and the new idea that Jon had helped her come up with was set to really blow the place apart. She'd be able to pay back the money to her stash and think about those expansions quicker than she realized.

About ten minutes later Jonathan popped his head back in. "Ok, I need some advice."

"Oh yeah? For the guy?" She asked as Jonathan pushed his designer wire-framed glasses back up his nose. Jonathan didn't need glasses but from time to time he wore them as fashion accessories.

"Yeah he's got a reaction on his skin. Like a burn but it's not. I was going to recommend some Aloe-Vera based serum we use for sun-burned problems."

 She frowned. "Is it a real burn? They should be seeing a doctor if it is Jonathan." She didn’t want to get sued if she made the issue only worse, you had to be damn careful about those things in this country. 

"Oh-no, it's not I've seen it before. Very common. I just wanted your opinion."

"Well you know best, you don’t need me.” He was acting awfully strange. “How did they get it, did he say?”

Jonathan paused thoughtfully then cupped his mouth and whispered. "I don't think they want to say... domestic violence case I think, the wife was being rough."

"Oh wow? Really? Right. I get it. Um yeah well, Aloe Vera would be the best thing. Just make sure they don't have any allergies as that product can be pretty strong."

"Gotcha. Ok thanks." Jonathan slammed shut the door and Devon stood and folded her arms. It bugged her that he seemed so weird about something so simple but maybe he was nervous about the domestic violence issue. But Jonathan would know how to deal with all this so why the hell wouldn't he be treating this any different? Jesus.

She stood and straightened her apron and walked back out onto the floor. The hum of hairdryers, splashes of water in the basins were a comforting sound as she peered around, everything was going as she expected. She drifted out the back to the skin-consult rooms and could hear Jonathan's loud laugh from the consult room he was in. What the hell? Maybe he’d softened up the client a little. She breathed a small sigh of relief but frowned when an all too familiar male laugh floated out to her. She gasped when she spied Jon sitting in the chair with his wrists on the table wrapped in an aloe treatment mask.

"Oh my god!" Her face flushed deep crimson. Holy fucking hell, she wanted to die.

Jonathan laughed. "Here she is now, the boyfriend beater." "Jon, what on earth- you're wrists!" She slapped her forehead. “Oh god, I’m so sorry.”

She took one look at the smug looks on both of their faces and stopped. "You both suck. That wasn't nice! You knew I'd come in here. And you could have just called me about this." She pointed at Jon whose grin was wider than a Cheshire cats.

"Now what fun would that have been? I just got my ass handed to me by Richie when he noticed so I thought it was only fair."

She moved Jonathan out of the way and looked at his wrists. "Before I kill you, are they really sore? God I'm so sorry honey."

"A little raw but I figure this can't hurt and help the healing process." She slapped his shoulder. "You're so going down for this."

"Will you be wearing those red shoes when I do?" He asked hopefully with a smirk.

Jonathan held his hands up. "Whoa ok-I'm gone no need for me to hear about this--even though you'll tell me later, right Dev?" He winked as he slipped out the room.

She slid onto Jon's lap while he let his wrists rest on the table. "You are a very bad man and I'm going to kill you for this. Jonathan will tease the holy hell out of me for eternity.”

"What? Don't your staff know that you're a hellcat in the sack?" He bit his lip as he tried not to laugh. "I hate you." "No you don't, you love-well like me."

Devon paused and ran her fingers up his jaw and over his ear threading them into his hair. "I do like you. A lot. You're lucky." His eyes fell to her lips and back to her eyes.

"How lucky?" She leaned in and let her lips lightly brush his.

"Not that lucky, I'm the boss remember?"

"Not today you aren't."

She groaned as his tongue snuck under her upper lip. She bowed her head back as his lips slid down the line of her neck. It would be so easy to let go and let him have her right here in the chair but she wasn't about to risk it here at work and Jonathan would have already told Kelly about Jon's wrist. It was how they rolled. Especially since until now, Devon’s private life had been non-existent so this was like fodder. Fresh vibrant fodder.

"Jon." She pushed herself up off him and then rinsed away the aloe masks on his wrists.

"Yikes, they are pretty red. How didn't I notice this earlier?" "I could tell you how." She rolled her eyes and bathed his wrists cleaning the mask off them.

"God, I'm so sorry." He chuckled. "Stop saying that. It's fine baby, I'm just teasing you. What's a little redness for an explosive blowjob?"

Her cheeks burned as she managed a small smile. "Well I'm glad you feel that way." She squirted some moisturizer into her hands and took his hand and massaged it down his wrists gently. "This will help it heal without-well scarring." She was embarrassed but the level of intimacy came easy with Jon and this was holy-hell knock your socks-off intimate.

He snorted. "Good, I really don't think I fancy making up stories how I got them to the kids." She squeezed her eyes shut. "Oh shit-that would be awful."

He kissed her nose. "Terrible but thankfully I'll see them just once and they'll be away on holiday with-" His eyes fell flat as he paused. She stroked his wrist with her thumb.

"Still not happy about that huh?" He shrugged. "No not really, but I have to be and besides I'm counting on you to distract me for the week."

She grinned. "Oh yea? What did you have in mind?"

Jon paused. "Can you get a couple of days off?"


 "Say next Thursday, Friday and Saturday?"

"Jeeze, I’ve never..." She gnawed at her bottom lip.

"Please don't tell me you've never been away from your work that long, that's sadder than me."

She laughed. "Well it's true. I told you, I don't really get out that much. I've been saving and working hard."

"Right so time to take a break. We're going away for a few days."

"We are? Where? I don't know if I can do that Jon."

"Do you want me to ask Jonathan, as I don't believe as the boss that you can't get a few days off."

She frowned and heart raced in her chest. "No and that's not your place. I can't just up and leave with short notice Jon. I have appointments to keep." She snapped more than she intended to but the nervousness had crept back inside of her. What he was offering was lovely, sweet and generous and god--he was being everything any girl wanted and more.

He took her hands in his. "Devon, that's not what I mean. I just want to spend some time with you."

She sighed. "You want a distraction from knowing your kids are with your wife's boyfriend."

"Well yes I do. I won't lie but I want you. I mean it."

"I know you do and of course I want you. I just - we've only known each other a week it's just-" God she was going to use "too soon" excuse now? She was fumbling and making a right dogs breakfast out of this.

"It's only a vacation. A small one. You, me and some water and privacy. I'm not asking you to move in with me."

The doubt was back too. What did he see in her? Why did he make her second guess everything she'd built in her new life? "I don't know Jon, I'll have to check with the girls if they can take my work and talk to Jonathan, he'll have to take over while I'm away."

"That's what you pay them for babe."

"You're not going to take no for an answer are you?"

"You know me too well already." He teased as he got up from the chair and drew her in. His lips brushed against her forehead and his fingers drifted up her sides. "Just think about it." Her toes tingled and she closed her eyes as his warm breath tickled her ear lobe.

"I'll think about it." He tipped her chin and pressed his mouth against hers. "I want you Devon, all of you. And the sooner you realize that. The easier this will be. I don’t take this lightly and I push because I know I can get it.”

She shuddered as the kiss went deep and his words resounded in her head. Jon was exactly what she had always wanted, what she thought Jared would be but wasn't. In her former life this would be a dream come true and she'd have leaped in with two feet, a bottle of wine in one hand and a glass in the other. If there was a way she really could have this, then she craved it from the bottom of her heart. The reality was she didn't want to risk it all and end up hurting Jon in the end. Loyalty and trust were two things he took very seriously and she’d learned that in the quick space she'd known him. Maybe this was moving on? Letting go and hoping for the best? There was always the chance that this would work out and no one would be any wiser to what she walked away from.

Could she really believe that? Because if she could, this could just be the best thing that had ever happened to her. Her fingers wound around his neck as he moaned as she slid her tongue into his mouth and then broke the kiss. "I want you too."

"Then come with me." Her heart pounded in her chest and she nodded as their gazes locked.

"Ok, I'll make it happen." Their teeth clicked as he smiled into a quick kiss.

"You won't regret it." She sighed as he pulled away and picked up his coat.

"So I'll see you tonight?"

"Yup you're picking me up at seven." "Bye babe." He winked and paused. "Don't forget the shoes."

She chuckled and shook her head. "Get out of here." She smiled as she clicked the door closed behind him and took a few moments to recompose herself.

 He'd rail-roaded her again. Dammit.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Chapter Twenty Three: It's a Guy Thing

"It's Saturday, c’mon stay here all day." He tipped her chin and kissed her cleanly on the lips, the lemon from his shower gel still lingered on her skin from the long shower they'd taken together this morning. He had trapped her at the door as she tried to escape his grasp for the day.

 Her fingers twisted around the lapels of his robe and her eyes fluttered as he kissed along her jaw. "Beauty doesn't stop just because it's Saturday. Kelly manages Saturdays but I still like to be in there just even if it's just floating around in the salon. I want to go over the business proposal before you see it."

He closed his eyes. "Shit. I knew we forgot something. Bring it back tonight and we'll go over it after dinner. Let me take you out somewhere and spoil you."

Her warm breath tickled his neck and her soft curves pressed against his skin. "Jon, you know you don't have to do that I'm perfectly content with eating in here or my place."

"No. We're going out. At least if we're out for dinner we'll actually eat and I won't get distracted by your lips or worse-“ His finger trailed down her neck along her shoulder and around the water-soft curve of her breast.

 She folded her arms in protest and raised her eyebrow. "What about my breasts?"

He grinned and ran his thumb across the nipple. "You know, they just need to be touched." Her eyes narrowed then she smiled. Whatever wonder woman thing she did to her eyes with her natural shadows they always popped with a deep blue.

"Where did you have in mind?"

His first thought was to take her to one of the top restaurants in the city he knew he could ring places and have a reservation in sort after places easier than most people. But that wasn't Devon at all. "How about I take you to a local place in New Jersey? I haven't been there for ages. It's quiet and the food is pretty good as well as the wine."

She reached his lips on her tip toes and smiled into the kiss. "Pick me up at seven."

 He locked his arms around her waist and linked his hands on her lower back. "I could pick you up right now. How about a quickie?" "You wish." "No, I know that I can make it happen. You know I can."

"Jon. I need to go." She attempted a frown but failed as the corners of her mouth twitched. He set her down and picked up her bag. "Don't forget to bring back a fresh overnight bag. I'm not letting you out the door this early tomorrow. Its sacrilege to be up this early on a day off just so you know."

She swung it over her shoulder and spun around winking at him from over her shoulder on her way out. "Harden up rock-star. See you at seven."

He closed the door shut and leaned against it for a second and chuckled. What an interesting night. From how it had started with his foul mood to the insane sex and his willingness to let her take over in the bedroom. It had been a good fucking night.

The way Dorothea had thrown Bruce going on vacation with his kids still pissed him off. It wasn't the fact she was with him it was just the fact that he couldn't control what his kids thought about him. Deep down he knew the guy was nice enough and he knew Dorothea was happy and that was the main thing. He was happy enough too with what he had going with Devon.

It was still early days but he was drawn to her in a way that he hadn't been drawn to a woman in a long time and he was interested enough to keep pursuing things with her. She was easy going and fun when they were alone in their own little world. He liked the idea that she was letting loose and that was a part of Devon he could have all to himself.

Behind the occasional wall she still kept up that is. The more he tried to dig into her past, she diverted him or wanted to run like she did earlier that morning and it was making him more determined to figure her out. There was sex appeal in the mystery and she ticked all the right boxes on the eyes but it was more than that. He was never compelled to share slices of him so easily and quickly but with Devon she had an ease about her that made it feel natural.

He rubbed his face and thought about heading up to his gym for six miles on the treadmill before starting the day. He had a million things he needed to do and all he felt like doing was flopping back down on his bed and going to sleep. The knock on the door stopped him in his train of thought but he grinned.

"I knew it." So she couldn't wait after all.

He swung open the door and grinned. "I knew you couldn't resist me." His face fell when Richie stood there with his shades on and dressed in a denim jacket and jeans.

"In your dreams." He snorted as he walked in without Jon's invitation as Richie always did.

"Expecting the blond angel I just passed in the lobby?" Richie walked into the kitchen and helped himself to the coffee mugs.

"Yes, I thought she'd come back for what I promised her before she left." Richie grinned.

"You guys have been dirty, haven't you?" Jon rolled his eyes and slid onto a bar stool. Richie poured him a cup of coffee and slid it across the breakfast bar to him.

"You know I don't discuss that shit anymore. We’re not in our twenties."

Richie wiggled his eyebrows. "You don't have to. Your wrists speak for themselves." 

Jon looked down at his wrists and his eyes widened. Angry red bands circled his wrists. Fuck.

"I dare you to even try and talk your way out of that one."

Fuck. Jon shrugged. "I must be allergic to something of hers." God that was lame and you know it.

"Allergic to being tied up and taken advantage of? I have to give you credit Kidd. I didn't think you'd ever let a woman do that to you. Liberating isn't it?"

Jon cringed. "Can we not discuss this?" He was a big boy but he knew Richie too well and he wasn't going to let this slide easily. 

Richie picked up a banana from his fruit bowl. "I knew she wouldn't be as innocent as she looks. Got yourself some girl there then?"

Jon sipped his coffee. "Yeah, looks like it."

"You don't sound convinced."

Jon looked up. "Huh? Oh yeah no, Devon's great."

"But..." Richie led in. Jon sighed. "This is going to sound arrogant than it's meant to be. I don't know a lot about her and its frustrating."

 "What do you mean?"

"She's reluctant to talk about herself, well anything about her past. I mean how does a girl travel over to the other side of the world and start a business in Soho? It’s not that easy unless you have a lot of money behind you. I could just be paranoid though.” But he knew he wasn't. She was fully about to walk out of him for the day after he'd pushed hard for information.

"Maybe she's just nervous. She's a little different to what you usually date."

"Oh, please enlighten me." He knew Richie was right but he was still pissed off in a way.

 "Relax dude. What I meant is she might just be taking her time with you. She's not exactly from in your circles is she?"

"Well no. And I get that. I come with baggage, a divorce and children." He rubbed the back of his neck.
"When she arrived last night I'd just finished an argument with Dorothea. She's going on vacation with Bruce and the kids."

"You told Devon all this?"

"Yeah, I couldn't help it. I was so angry. I behaved like an asshole to begin with when she arrived."

"She's got a pretty good insight into you. Maybe she's playing it close to her chest until she gets to know you more. You're a lot to take on Jon. I should know."

Richie as he always did lighten the mood with a playful smirk. Jon shot him a look then couldn't help chuckle at his long-time friend. "Yeah, I realize that. I don't even know why I give a shit about this."

"Because you've been hurt before. You won't admit that but I know you were hurt at the end of the divorce no matter what you say and you care about Devon."

"Jesus Richie. How many Dr Phil books have you been reading lately?"

Richie winked and shrugged. "You know me, I like to keep an open mind. I'm right though aren't I? Even if you don't want to admit it."

"Maybe." Jon mused. He was surprised on one level Richie had that much of an inside to him when he generally did keep this shit close to his chest but then on the other he wasn't really. Richie knew him pretty well and even when he didn't want to admit it, he was right more often than not. They certainly been through a lot over the last twenty five years together and although Jon didn't like to admit it, Richie had been there for him in ways he'd never thought possible.

"So relax, play a little and make her feel comfortable. Then she'll open up to you."

His shoulders relaxed a little. "And if she doesn't?"

"Hire a private detective."

Jon's brow raised but Richie frowned. "I was joking Sherlock. Just relax. Enjoy her and I gotta say she has to be worth it if she's twisting you up in knots bro-or tying up in your case." Richie winked and took a bite out of the banana.

"Ha ha asshole. Can we quit talking about that?" Jon rubbed his wrists and hissed. Clearly he’d been too distracted by Devon to notice that before.

"What, the fact you're into kinky shit? Fuck yeah. My brain doesn't need those visuals man. Just let it go and stop trying to control everything. Who knows you might actually have some fun."

 Jon rubbed the back of his neck. "I was having fun. I like being with her, she's different."

"See. I told you. You've got nothing to worry about Jon. I could tell when I met her she's got nothing to hide. She was just shy.” 

"She was naked under a coat Richie when you met her, of course you'd think that." Richie clutched his chest.

"Ouch man, that hurt." But he laughed and shook his head. "You're really wound up about this aren't you?" 

Jon blew out his breath and pinched the bridge of his nose. "I know and I shouldn't be." "Then relax. She seems like sweet girl with an obvious wild side." He wiggled his eyebrows.

Was he ready to take a chance on love? Jon didn't take chances on anything, he planned them and worked towards them but maybe that's where he'd gone wrong in the past with Dorothea. The dynamic with Devon was new and it was exciting so he had no reason not to just go with it. Who knows, he might just actually have some fucking fun.

"OK, enough about this let's get some writing started." He was keen to get started on writing as much as Richie was.

"Good man. See? I do know make some fucking sense once and awhile." Richie slapped Jon's shoulder as they walked up to the studio.

Jon snorted. "Yeah ya do." He wasn't entirely convinced but he was close. He'd back off a bit and see what he could bring out in her. Who knows, it might just be worth it.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Chapter Twenty-Two: Reality Bites


Devon smiled into warm skin as she woke with strong arms wrapped her around tucking her in tight. She sighed and took in the tender moment while she was tangled around him. Her cheek was pressed against his chest and she could hear the slow beat of his heart as his chest rose and fell in deep sleep. It was the most amazing feeling being a strong man's arms no matter who it was and there was something so safe and secure about the moment.

The rest of the world outside had melted away and she felt invincible. It had been a long time since she could remember this feeling and she wondered if she actually ever really did. She'd made such poor judgement calls in the past and instead of looking for the men that could build her up and make her strong she'd chosen the ones that drew her in and ripped her apart.

Here she was now a half a world away from her mistakes and former life. Could she really and truly move on from it all? She'd done well to keep herself grounded and clean since arriving in New York determined never to make the same mistakes again. Was this enough for her redemption? Who knows but one thing was clear and that was that Jon had given her a glimmer of hope that it really could be.

She closed her eyes and in the dead of night listened to his lifeblood beat around her and smiled. Her fingers curled into chest hair and a tear slid down her cheek as she tried to push her feelings aside. Problems always were amplified in the middle of the night.

"Can't sleep?"

Her eyes fluttered opened and his grip loosened around her shoulders. She became heavy against him as his fingertips drifted down her naked back.

"Mmm, I'm enjoying that."

"It's about as good as I massage and oh Devon?"

"Yeah?" She asked sleepily as she licked her lips.

"What did you to Devon and when did you replace her with this tyrant in the bedroom?"

She giggled and thanked god the lights were out as the heat crept up her neck to her face. She hadn't meant to be so full on with Jon--with tying him up, it had just happened and she'd gone with it. It had paid off and seriously she hadn't felt that adventurous in a long time. "You pushed me to it."

He snorted. "Oh, so it's my fault?"

"Isn't it always?" She asked innocently as she burrowed deeper under the covers.

He kissed the top of her head and twisted them so she was facing him side by side. "You are not as innocent as I thought you were Devon Scott."

She may have not been able to see him but she could feel his gaze run over her even in the darkness. "What's the time?"

"About three-am. I'm kinda hungry." He announced with a yawn and stretched around her.

"We barely touched the pasta."

"Want me to go and get it?"

She snorted as her stomach growled at the thought. "Go on then. I can go freshen up. Got a t-shirt I can snag since you ripped my nightwear into shreds?"

"Oh yeah - I did." He rolled over and she squinted as he flicked on the light. "I'll buy you a new one." Her heart took a dive as he waggled his eyebrows. "Just so I can rip it off you again."

Jon pulled on a pair of jeans, pulled out a drawer and handed her a t-shirt and padded out the door. His long lean torso silhouetted against the light and accentuated out all the curves in all the right places. She pulled on the ribbed grey tee and headed into the ensuite. The face that stared back at her was ridiculous. Her lips were swollen and her cheeks were flushed with colour. And god, her hair looked like she'd stuck her fingers in a power socket. Good grief. She rummaged through her overnight bag for her beauty kit and quickly washed her face ran a brush through her hair. Taking a moment she admired the bathroom, it may have been an ensuite but the granite and marble that extended everywhere around pristine white tiles made it bigger than her own bathroom in her apartment.

I must be crazy to be here.

She applied some night cream and rubbed it into her neck as she wondered back into the bedroom. Scattered along the walls were framed black and white pictures of his kids cheesing for the camera and one pictured the younger boys in a tackled heap onto of Jon. She had no doubt he applied himself to being a father with ease and commitment the way he obviously approached anything else in his life.

He could be a lot to live up to she realized. He wasn’t perfect and he never claimed to be but the thought of him accepting her and all her flaws daunted her. There was another frame which included a pair of very old concert tickets and a record which she recognized to be Slippery when Wet.

“Why this one?” She asked him as he came back into the bedroom balancing two bowls on a tray.

He rested it down and joined her at the wall. "That was the first concert we did as Bon Jovi and other ticket is the first time we sold out a show. The year we made it big. I just like to remind myself of that moment. All the rest are great achievements--but there is always one defining moment in our lives when you just know you've made it. That was mine."

She nodded. "That's really cool. I like that. You always know where you came from."

"Exactly right. What about you? Have you had one of those moments?

Her heart skipped a beat and she nodded. She'd had many but it depended on what kind of moment he meant. Had she had the one moment when her life changed and she couldn't look back? Yup. Was she proud of that moment? Not at all. "Well, I guess moving here is one. I moved countries and I started a business. That's an achievement."
"Hell yes. That took balls which you clearly have. You still haven't really told me why you moved here, did you do this back in New Zealand? Own a shop?"

She fiddled with her fingers and kept herself steady. "No I didn't have a shop there. This was my dream and I decided to do it big, why just open a shop in your hometown when you can in New York City? Right?"

He wrapped his arms around her and his fingers entwined with hers at her belly from behind as they faced the pictures. "I don't dream big. I plan big and I make it happen." He kissed the top of her head. "Don't you miss your home and everyone there? Your family?"

She wavered as the lump swelled in her throat. "Of course I do. But they understand." Dammit. He squeezed her tighter.

"What happened Devon?"

She pried his fingers off hers, broke his grasp and walked away. She was tempted to walk right out of the apartment but she couldn't. It wasn't his fault. None of this was. It was hers.

"We just didn't see eye to eye on a few things." That was an understatement and she knew it. The spacious bedroom had become like a goldfish bowl and her chest grew tight as she struggled to breathe. She'd let Jon get to her emotionally. Little by little he was inching into her world and under her skin and she was letting him. God, she wanted to let him but she was in serious danger of unravelling right in front of him.

He stood back and folded his arms. "You left on bad terms?"

A tear spilled down her cheek. She needed to get the hell out of this apartment and away from him. She snatched her clothes but Jon blocked her in the door way of the ensuite.

"Devon." His voice was soft and full of concern.

"I better go. I just-" She stared at the ground but he tipped her jaw and her gaze met his.

"I'm sorry. I’ll back off. Please stay. I couldn't bear the thought of you leaving like this."

She sighed and dropped her clothes on the chair in his room. "I'm sorry. It's just difficult to talk about it. I barely know you."

He chuckled and shook his head. "What's ironic is I'm usually the one in your shoes not giving things away. I'm just not used to the role reversal." He took her hands in his and his lips hovered over hers. His heady scent swam around her. "I just want to know who you are. I like you. Is that so bad?"

She smiled and her shoulders dropped with relief. "No. Of course not. I'm just not good at this. I've been alone for a long time I'm not used to sharing things with people." She felt good that was actually was the truth and she he had been on her own for a while now. She wasn't good at letting go with people and she’d let her guard down in the bedroom with Jon. There was a hole that burned inside of her for it though; she wasn't built to be alone even though this was the path she’d chosen for herself. She was built to love and care for someone and the reality was that need bubble up inside her when she was around Jon. She wished that it didn't but it did.

"C'mere." She closed her eyes as his arms drew around her shoulders and he pulled her in close. The soft hair on his chest pressed against her cheek and she relished being close with him once again. She'd defused him for now. Deep in her heart she knew she should walk away after this night but now that she was so close to having something she'd so dearly missed it was going to be hard to give that up again easily.

They broke apart and he tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear and his mouth found hers. The kiss was slow, inviting and warm. She circled her arms around his neck and rose onto her tip toes as he deepened the kiss. His tongue ran down hers and she groaned as his hands drifted up her sides and over her breasts. Their teeth clicked and she squealed as he swept her up in his arms and carried her to the bed. Her fingers traced down the lines in his neck as he hovered above her.

"I really like you too. Just so you know."

He grinned. "Good. Because you know I get what I want and I want you so I don't like your chances of trying to leave me now. I want to see where this goes Devon."

She bit her lip and both excitement and dread raced through her. How could she give herself wholly to him knowing she would always keep a part of her at a distance from him? It wasn't fair to him. It was too bad that he was damn convincing and delicious and he filled something inside of her she'd missed way more than she cared to admit. Maybe like the saying went it was better to love and lose than to never love at all. She just hoped Jon thought that way too.

Will you share her secret?