Monday, April 30, 2012

Chapter Fifty-Seven: Superman Tonight




Jon spent the afternoon with the kids and didn't get back into the city until latr that evening. As he drove home he had gone through his head like a sketch pad with all the different ways he could show Devon that he cared about her and that he wanted to help her. He wasn’t completely over the deceit and he knew it would sit in his gut for a while yet but he had to give it a shot. He loved her dammit.

Bruce was right. He hadn’t been this happy with anyone and that included his wife. While the marriage with Dorothea wasn’t awful, at times it was strained and the time apart became more a relief than anything. They had learnt to live apart. Christ he’d been away from Devon barely a few days properly and it had drove him insane. He thanked god that he wasn’t on tour at the moment.
He couldn’t even entertain the thought of not having her around. It was that bad and it had never been that fucking bad. He’d been a jerk if he was being completely honest. Yes she lied to him but he’d left her standing alone, the one place that she had dreaded. Alone. What kind of guy was he? He left her in the moment that she needed him most.

She’d told him she had never expected this to be anything more than a casual relationship. Maybe he hadn’t either. She had been fun and breathed a much needed breath of fresh air into his life. What he didn’t expect was that to turn into something much more. Someone that understood him.

He didn’t know what was ahead for both of them but he had to try. He had connections and if they were careful and pragmatic about this surely something could be worked out. The only issue was the US law was different to the New Zealand law so how much power did he actually have?

Maybe it wasn’t about what he could do for her. He just had to be there for her. Huh, a new concept. It was no secret that he could get wrapped up in his own life but he wanted to prove to Devon who had been alone for so long that she didn’t have to be anymore.

As the sun bled into the evening sky he sat the piano in the penthouse watching it disappear. He could go there now, declare his love for her but he knew it wasn’t enough. He wanted to be the hero but the hero of her heart.

He pulled out the old pad him and Richie had been using and tapped the sharpie against it. Surely he could pen something for her. He paced the living room floor and thought about her sitting alone in her own apartment. Alone and without a hero. Him. She was his hero in so many ways that she probably would never realize so it was time to show her that he would be hers.

Words came in all sorts of ways but once they did...he couldn’t stop. He sat bent over the piano, hand shoved into his hair and let it pour out. When he looked up again the city was blanketed in night and the apartment was so still.

“Damn.” He grinned at the paper and reached for guitar. He had the words and now he had to pen out a melody for a marriage with his words. He hadn’t written this fast in years. With the pencil in his teeth he sat and strummed the notes. Yes, damn. This works.

When he woke up, the sun was streaming across his face and he blinked into the morning. HIs guitar was strewn across his chest and his pad wedged in between his hip and the couch. “Bugger.” He groaned when his back popped as he stretched. He squinted at the clock it was a little after eight. If he wanted to see Devon before her morning rush he’d have to hurry. After a shower and a shave he got ready to head downstairs.

It was ridiculous that his stomach chunrned on his way to the door . He’d done this more times than he could count. He was being open and honest and it was time to lay it on the line. His phone buzzed in his pocket.

“Hey Rich.”

“Hey-you sound better. You still on for today?”

Jon checked his watch. “Absolutely. Can we say around ten?”

“Sure-why... Ohhhh you got company?”

Jon rolled his eyes. “No I haven’t but I have something I need to fix-I mean do.” Dammit.

“Ah-ha. Say no more. I’ll see you after ten.”

“I wrote a new song.”

“Oh yea? You’ll have to play it--we can thicken up the chords and shit.”

“Sure.” That is after I play it for someone else.

“Ok Jonny you sound rushed but you sound good man.”

He smiled. “Yeah-I’ll tell you later huh?”

“Deal.”

He busted out into the Soho morning and tucked his guitar under his arm. He made it to her salon within minutes and hovered outside the window. She was in there alone at the coffee bar. He stopped and stared at her a little longer. The plain black dress showed off her curves and her shapely calves which filled out nicely into two shiny black heels. Her hair was pinned back with a loose wisp or two around her face. She looked beautiful and it reminded her why he was here.

He closed his eyes and sighed. It was now or never.

~

She sipped her latte and looked around the room. It was quiet and Jonathan hadn’t arrived as early as he usually did today. Yesterday had been a complete mare so she didn’t blame him for not being here as early. Her salon was beautiful. The faint smell of citrus lingered in the air from the new diffusers she’d changed over yesterday and complemented by the lilacs she had arranged in the vases placed around the room.

She may have started this business with stolen money but she’d built it from the bottom up and paid back her debt to her box. It wasn’t right but there was no denying that she had done well launching and running the place. It would be sad to give it all up-but the reality was she didn’t know how she wouldn’t in the end if she was going to make things right.

She skimmed her fingers across the polished counter and sighed as the door opened behind her. “You’re late.” She said softly without turning.

“I didn’t know you were expecting me.”

She whipped her head to see Jon standing in the entranceway of her salon. Her eyes followed up scuffed boots, blue jeans and a tight red muscle tee that his biceps and chest stretched out underneath. Her gaze met his and then he smiled and it reached his eyes. His hair was mussed, fresh from the shower and his guitar was tucked under his arm.

“Hey.”

“Busking?” She asked amused as she tried to figure out what the hell he was doing.

“Unless I’m busking for your faith.”

She stood back and frowned. “Say what?”

He lifted the strap over his head and strummed the guitar. “Sometimes I suck at the words but my words don’t suck in a song.”

He was going to sing? Here? Now? She clutched the counter in fear of she might faint.

“Jon you don’t-” But he didn’t listen and started to strum slowly, he looked down and closed his eyes and she waited, not sure what she should do. Did she stand? Did she sit? One thing was sure she wasn’t letting go of the damn counter.

There’s something about you
I want to rescue
I don’t even know you
So what does that mean?


Her heart stopped beating and she was sure she stopped breathing.

“I stayed up all night thinking about us.”

Maybe I’m cynical
I’m painfully logical
You’re tragic and beautiful and that’s good enough for me


She stifled a laugh, he was painfully logical. Oh god was he what. Her hand was already on her mouth as she fought desperately to hold back the tears. He’d written this for her? It just wasn’t possible.

You’re looking for a hero, but it’s just my old tattoo
Tonight I swear I’d sell my soul to be a hero for you


“God,” she whispered as the chords flowed through her shop but she could have been anywhere never knowing the difference. All she could see through the wall of tears was a man standing singing to her, about her. He stood back and strummed forcefully as he bridged into the chorus.

Who’s going to save you
When the stars fall from your sky
And who’s going to pull you
When the tide gets too high
Who’s going to hold you
When you turn out the lights
I won’t lie, I wish that I could be your Superman Tonight


He looked up and their eyes connected across the room, across their differences and through their love. She had wanted to fold into his arms and cry and let him be strong for her but how could she have ever expected that after what she had done? What she had kept from him. How could this even be happening? A man bared his soul for her and was willing to give her his strength.

The words flowed from his mouth and swelled into her heart. Could they really fix this? Could he really fix her? She didn’t know but it was overwhelming that he wanted to try.

If somebody sent you
An angle to save you

What would you tell him to turn him away

That your heart don’t’ break
That your lips don’t kiss
That life is just a life
That heaven don’t exist?


“Jon-” She whispered as she held her hand out for him to stop. Each word smacked her right in the chest like he'd looked into her read her soul.

He did stop and his eyes met hers. Her heart thundered against her chest. “I-don’t deserve this.” She’d been strong and she’d been determined in her own mind she wasn’t giving up on him and now he’d returned the resolve back to her and she wasn’t prepared for the force of it.

He lifted the guitar and rested it against the counter as he took two steps towards her and his fingers slid under her chin and tilted it towards him. He came close and his lips hovered over hers. They brushed and she quivered but the kiss didn’t come. His hot breath tickled over them instead.

Whos going to fix you
The nexttime youbreak down
Stranded alone by the side of the road
It’s your bagagge that’s dragging you down
Don’t look back
Let it go


Her knees buckled but his arm secured around the back of her waist and he dragged her in close, her pulse screaming her in ears. Jon was her hero. He had already saved her and now he wanted to again.

“Devon.” His thumb brushed over her cheek. “I want to hold you when the lights go out. I’m not gonna lie. I want to be your Superman tonight.”

She smashed her lips against his and wrapped her arms tight up around his neck. The tears streamed down her cheeks as he lifted her in his arms and wrapped her legs around his waist as he deepened the kiss. His hands bunched up her dress as he held her and his tongue wrapped around hers.

Her senses screamed into overload as he pushed her hard up against the wall and his mouth slid from her mouth to her throat. Her fingers fisted in his hair and she moaned as they finally breathed life into their connection again. She slid down off him, her feet barley touched the ground before he pressed her hard against the wall. She panted against his mouth as he held them suspended.

“I want to fix this Devon. I want to help you. I want to fight for us. Because fuck, I need you.”

She sobbed once but smiled as her hands slid around his face. “I love you. I need you to know how sorry I truly am but I will do anything to make this right again.”

His tears rolled onto her hands as he nodded. “I know. I can’t bear it without you. I’m sorry I was an asshole to you when you needed me the most.”

She choked on her tears but shook her head. “Don’t apologise. You’re still here aren’t you?”

He closed his eyes and nuzzled his nose with hers. “If you’re here. Then I’m here.”

She squeezed her eyes shut and hugged him tight until she couldn't breathe. “The song was beautiful. “She whispered in into the side of his head and they stood there holding each other. “I will never forget that as long as I live.”

He pulled back and held her at arm’s length. “The Devon I know inspires great things.”

Their hands linked until he stood back and dropped them. “I know you’re opening soon but that couldn’t wait.”

She wiped her tears and laughed. “Are you kidding, you could have sung that to me in the middle of rush hour in here and I wouldn’t have cared. I am however going to need to tidy myself up now. I must look like a mess.”

“Not where I’m standing.” He grinned. She straightened her dress and tucked back the loose strands of hair from her face.

“You’re so getting laid for that song.” She said adjusting her bracelets.

His eyebrow lifted and then his eyes narrowed and for the moment it was the old them back amidst the storm they were about to tackle. “I could write you another one--or five if you want.” He joked as he pulled her in gently.

“I’ve missed you so much.” She stepped into his kiss and his warmth wrapped right around her. She sighed as his hand slid over her shoulder and down her back. The weight of him was back.

“You have no idea how much I have too.” He said as he cupped her chin. “If it wasn’t fucking eight o'clock in the morning I’d be showing you just how much.”

She groaned and kissed him one final time. “Tonight?”

“Tonight.” He confirmed. “Come to mine about seven?” His lips brushed her forehead and her hands slid down his chest.

“If you there, then I’m there.” She grinned as she enforced his words back to him. She had no idea what they would do next but she craved the strength from him, she craved to heal him from any hurt she’d caused him. And they would get that tonight.

“Oh I missed the concert?” The voice behind him broke them apart as Jonathan came onto the floor.

“Whoa-everything alright here?” His face etched with concern.

She smiled as Jon stood behind her and pressed into her. “Everything is ok Jonathan. Just a lover’s tiff.” Part of this whole process meant she was going to have to come clean with Jonathan. He needed to know what was going to happen with the salon if something should happen. He’d been so loyal to her that it was only fair. But first she would figure out what exactly she would do and then she would tell him.

“I was being an ass. I had some apoligizing to do.” Jon said as he kissed the top of her head and then reached for his guitar.

“A song? Swoon factor times ten!”

Devon laughed and Jon shook his head. “See you tonight ok, baby?”

She nodded. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

She watched him leave and couldn’t really believe what had happened. He’d vowed to help her, something she didn’t deserve and never expected but it proved one thing. And that was he was the man she fell in love with. If they could find a way through this she knew they could find a way through anything.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chapter Fifty-Six: For Better For Worse



He slammed the cool down button on the treadmill as he slowed to a gentle jog. Six hard miles had cleared his head but not his torment. As well as a niggle in his hamstring he came off the treadmill with a heavy heart. He scrolled through his messages on his phone and flopped down on the couch in his bedroom. What was he going to do about Devon? He kept a picture on his camera roll in his phone of her. Lying staring at him in a time where they were happy.

Her blue eyes sparkled as much as her smile and the small dimples in her cheek made his toes tingle. All that soft blond hair was curled down and around her neck. His fingers curled at the memory of them tangled through her hair as he kissed her, her sweet lips that tasted like candy and her seductive sweet scent. God, he missed her. He wasn’t prepared for the void and ache that he felt not being able to touch her, smell her and make love to her.

He draped the towel over his head, wiped the sweat away and reached for his water bottle. It killed him that he didn’t know what to do. He always knew what to do. Whether it was Richie and his marriages or drinking he always had an answer or a game plan for his next move.

He needed to talk to his lawyer if he was anything serious about sticking with Devon. It had consequences for those around him that he didn’t know if he was prepared to risk. Richie had called off today’s writing session as he had flown Ava into town to do some daddy/daughter shopping. Normally Jon wouldn’t have allowed for unscheduled breaks into writing but today he welcomed it. He needed to clear his head.

Maybe distance from the city would do him good so he decided to drive himself down to Jersey. He barely drove these days so it’d be nice to take one of the muscle cars out of his basement for a spin down to Redbank. He called his lawyer and left a message and then headed out of the city.

By lunchtime he’d reached Redbank, the familiarity of the quaint small town was welcoming. He was just one of the guys here and he just needed that right now. He rubbed his tummy as he pulled into a park and decided to hit up the Broadway diner for some pancakes and coffee. Screw the no-carb rule. He was beside himself.

The waitress smiled as he slid into a back booth and waited. Redbank was always a nice place to relax. People knew who he was but hardly anyone bothered him. It was why him and Dorothea decided to settle here with the kids. Far enough away to be private but also still only an hour’s drive from New York City.

“Got room for one more in there?”

Jon grinned when he looked up as Bruce slid in opposite him. “Hey Stranger. How’s it going man?” They both slapped a handshake and Jon leaned back sinking into the booth.

“Good Jonny B, I saw you pull in from across the streets. I was at Jacks’ catching up and thought now seems like a good as time as any for some breakfast.”

“I hear ya.” They nodded to the waitress as she poured them both coffee.

“So, what you doing down this way? Got the kids?”

Jon reached for the creamer and sugar. Another sin he was committing but he didn’t give a fuck. “Nope, just thought I needed a drive down here. I might pop round and see them after though.”

“Oh? Just come to mix in with the locals huh?

“Something like that.”

Bruce eyed him and then went back to his menu. “Woman trouble?”

Jon snickered before the waitress came back and they both ordered. “Yup. How did you guess?”

“I could spin you some bullshit how I’m psychic but Patti told me you and Devon were in some kind of trouble.”

Jon looked up. “Patti knows? And trouble--that’s putting it lightly. She didn’t tell you what Devon did?”

Bruce shrugged. “She needed someone. Patti and Devon seem to gel well. And no, she didn’t tell me what she did.”

Jon sighed. “Well that’s very loyal to Devon. But you might as well know. Devon stole a lot of money and fled her own country.”

Bruce clasped his hands around his coffee. “Wow. She--well she’s sweet she just doesn’t seem like that.”

“Tell me about it.” Jon grumbled as he sipped the creamy sweet coffee as he wrangled with the notion once more in his head.

“I take it you haven’t taken it well.” Bruce held his hand up. “Not that I blame you but I’m just asking.”

“It’s a mess. I honestly don’t know what to do. She lied to me.”

Bruce paused and the aged lines in his face relaxed. “Yes, but she didn’t really have a choice to do that. Did she?”

“No, but she had choices earlier.”

“So what’s your gut saying?”

Jon shrugged. Hell, he knew what it was but didn’t know how to even make it happen. “To stand by her and sort it out but, Jesus how? Can you imagine how the press will react to this? For my family? The boyfriend she did this with went to prison so what if he wants to exact revenge on her? God.” Jon closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “Sorry.”

“That’s a lot of information.” Bruce added.

“She’s sorry. She’s devastated and I hate seeing her so upset. I love her - god dammit I love her but how am I supposed to live with this--I mean how do we live with this?” He slapped his hand hard down on the table.

Bruce took a sip of his coffee. “We’ve been in this business a long time now Jonny B. Some of our colleagues have crashed and burned in the limelight and had their personal life splashed across papers. This might be different but it would blow over. And it wouldn’t damage your rep not in the long term. It’s not like you knew about her either.”

Jon raked his hand through his hair. “It still wouldn’t be pretty and I’m gonna be selfish and think about the album coming up.” He didn’t want to be selfish and of course Devon’s livelihood meant more to him than that, there was no question but he had to see the bigger picture here. It’s what he did.

“You haven’t even cut the record, it’ll be blown over by then.” Bruce interjected.

Jon balled his hand into a fist. “Why is this so fucking hard? I love her, I just want things sorted out but how can they be, what if she ends up in jail? I don’t know how I could take that.”

“Take it how? The way it would damage you?” Bruce asked as he folded his arms.

Jon swallowed the anger and sadness in his throat and whispered. “No, what it would do to her. I’m scared it would ruin her and break her. I don’t know if I can watch that. It would break my heart.”

Bruce nodded. “Don’t you think she’d survive any of what she might have to do better if you were there for her?”

“I don’t know if I can be, she’d get jailed in New Zealand? How would that even work?” No matter how he looked at this, it was like a fucking maze, every way out of this he kept slamming into dead ends. There had to be a way out of this that satisfied everyone.

“Or do I take the risk and not have her turn herself in?” He asked honestly. “Then I get what I want and she gets to live normally.”

“What does she want to do?”

“She wants to make it right. It’s been killing her. I always knew she had something in her past that haunted her and weighed on her like a stack of bricks I just never expected it to be this.”

“You love her right? I’ve seen you with her Jonny B. Gotta say you’re a nicer guy with her.”

Jon chuckled. “Gee thanks Boss.” He knew Bruce meant it as a compliment. And it was true Devon seemed to even him out, make him see the lighter more romantic side of life. A side of him that had been dead and buried since the divorce.

“And you want to lose that?” Bruce signalled to the waitress for more coffee.

“No-well of course not.”

“Jonny. Let me ask you one thing. What is it you write about?” Bruce asked simply as their meals arrived.

Jon frowned and picked up his fork as his stack of pancakes arrived. “Life. Love... anything goes really. Why?”

“Right. Maybe it’s time to start believing in what you’re preaching.”

“What?” Jon snapped defensively.

“Well c’mon think about your songs. Do you believe in the words you’re writing? Because it doesn’t look like it, not from where I’m standing.”

Jon dropped his eyes to the table. “Well that’s a bit harsh.”

“But it’s the truth. Now I know you’re a good guy-“

“This is different, she committed a crime Bruce.” He hissed aware their voices were starting to rise in the quiet diner. That’d be the last thing he needed.

“If you love her and stood by her, the media will see that and you’ll fit your image you project now. You give people a second chance and you help them rebuild their lives.”

“Their house-“ Jon corrected.

“House, life. No different Jon. You need to realize it’s who you are. You won’t give up on her, it’s not in your blood and the sooner you realize it and pull your head in. You’ll be better off.”

Jon closed his eyes and covered his face in his hands. Bruce was right. Fuck, he was so right. He was an advocate that people could change and redeem themselves. Hell he talked about it, he helped people build their own homes that deserved a chance to start over. People that had colourful pasts, people that wanted to change. People that no one else would give a second chance. And now it was hitting home.

He wrote songs on hope, songs about change and the having the guts to stand up and make that change. Who was he if he couldn’t even support someone in his life that was trying to do just that? She wasn’t a criminal now, she was a sweet, fun loving confident sassy girl. She was his Devon and he was a fool to think otherwise. The past is what made them. If she’d never done what she did, he’d have never met her. Would he really have wanted that?

The way Bruce held the stare was like the way his father used to. He knew he was right. “Aw fuck. I didn’t even think of it like that.”

Bruce relaxed and then cut into his eggs. “It’s about time you started.”

Jon glugged back his coffee. “I’ve been a complete idiot about this. She still lied to me though.”

Bruce nodded. “She still lied but I bet she wished she hadn’t, right?”

“Yes, she’s devastated. She said she never expected it to get this hard, because she fell in love with me.”

“Damn these are some good eggs.” He cut into them and then pointed his fork at him. “So, what are you gonna do?”

He was damned if he did and damned if he don’t. If he didn’t support her he’d hate himself for the rest of his life and wouldn't be able to stand not knowing how she was and if he did it was likely there would be a world of pain coming. What Jon had to do though and what he hadn’t done was put his love on the line for her. It was after all what love was about right?

“I’ve been an asshole.” He mumbled again as he carved into his pancakes.

“Asshole is probably too harsh, dick-yes. You were in shock and I doubt Devon will blame you for that. But you can fix it so easily. Christ Jon, you’ve got money and you’ve got power. I know you use it for the good of the community but it’s about time you used it for the good of yourself, and the one you love.”

“You’re a wise old man huh?” Jon asked with a smile.

“Who are you callin old? I still play longer shows than you.”

“Oh, ouch!” Jon laughed and relaxed his shoulders. The weight wasn’t as heavy anymore as he knew what he had to do. It wasn’t over by far but it was a step in the right direction. He just had to prove it to her. He had no clue where to start to try and make things right for her and for them so they could live their lives as normal people but he would try something, somehow. He owed it to her to at least try. He loved her for fuck’s sake and you didn’t just walk away from the person you loved. He of all people should have understood that.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Chapter Fifty-Five: Checkmate





Jon stood, refilled his glass and paced around the couch. She had an uneasy feeling about this but she knew it was the right thing to do. “So how in the world did you get talked into robbing a bank?”

Devon shrugged. “I was so past caring about what my life and what I was doing. Jared had me under his spell but I’m not saying that I was innocent as I chose to go there.” He had been dangerous and exciting and they really had found love in a hopeless place.

“And you thought you’d both run free, over here and just live happily ever after?” He asked tipping back the rest of his wine into his mouth. It had to be hard for someone like Jon to understand the rationale behind why did what she did.

She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She’d fallen hopelessly in love with a man that lavished her with attention and time and she’d been foolish enough to think it was real and that it was right. He’d controlled her from day one and she knew it.

When her parents met Jared the impression he’d left them was favourable but as time had gone on, Devon’s time had been monopolised by him and she had ended up seeing less and less of them. Jared had convinced her that her father was trying to control her life when in hindsight it was Jared that was doing the controlling; her father was just trying to help her but she didn’t want to listen.

She’d never been a bad girl through her teens and being a policeman’s daughter made that She had studied diligently and graduated from University like a good girl until he’d come along. Jared was exciting, dangerous and reckless. And as much as a cliche as it was, she had craved it right from when they’d first met. Every girl always loved the idea of a bad boy but the reality of it was something far different and far less sexy.

“We did. We made plans that we would end up in the Bahamas or somewhere like that.” She added. Sipping cocktails on sunloungers and not having a care in the world. Just like on the movies.

He perched himself on the edge of the couch. “What was it even like robbing a bank?”

Her eyebrows lifted. “Terrifying. I knew the minute I walked into the bank with him I’d done the wrong thing. The worst part was that morning my father had called and left me a message as we’d barely spoken in a couple of months.” She lowered her eyes as her heart pounded. “He wanted to make things right, even though he knew it was me in the wrong he was willing to work it out. And of course I didn’t call him back.” She wiped away a lone tear. “I wished I’d have called him back and told him. This probably never would have happened if I hadn’t.”

Jon slid in opposite of her on the couch again but with distance. “You wanted to walk away?”

She nodded. “Of course I did. I wished for it everyday but I’d dug myself in a hole that was so deep. Jared had originally wanted me to steal the money from my parents.”

“Wow-and they had that much to steal?”

“Dad kept a pretty sum in the bank but I couldn’t do it. I knew it would break their hearts-even more than I already did in the end.”

“So you robbed a bank instead?”

“That was the choice Jared gave me. I don’t know if a part of me didn’t believe that he’d go through with it but when he bought home the guns, I knew it was it was serious.”

“Fuck, you had a gun?”

“Yep. We didn’t use them, only to threaten.”

Jon covered his face and she could see the shock had set in. “I can’t imagine you carrying a gun - and were you prepared to use it?”

“I don’t know if I could have. I shook the entire time we were in there. Jared made me point the gun at the teller - he did the rest. I’ll never forget the look in their eyes as long as I live.” The nausea rolled in her stomach just like it did on the day. It was certianly not her proudest moment.

“God. Devon, I just don’t know what to say. What happened after the robbery?”

“Jared was caught, we split up to minimise any searches for a couple on police scanners but he was caught before we met up. I’m pretty sure my father knew exactly who it was and where to find him.”

“Were you concealed?”

“We wore ski masks, yes.”

“How did they not track you-even with a different name surely you’d be tracked through the airport?”

“Jared knew people that my father knew were crims. The passports we got were doctored with regular travellers footprints so it would have taken a bit of time until they had worked out it was us. Being that it was just me in the end, it would have taken longer. I always thought my father could have had access to people over here if he wished. I just assume that he didn’t want to find me. It would be too much of an embarrassment for him.”

Jon rubbed his chin. “I would have thought too much of an embarrassment that he couldn’t find his daughter more.”

She stared at the ground. She always did wonder why her father never found her but could almost guarantee that he wanted nothing to do with her. She wished she could pay all the money back and reverse everything but it was too late and she’d realized that years ago.

Jon chuckled wrly. “Fuck. So you worked down south?”

Devon nodded. “For a wonderful lady that had a farm just outside Louisiana. It was easy to blend in down there as I figured if anyone was looking for me, they’d be looking in main centres to begin with. Her name was Essie and her husband had died the year before so she needed help. She was so kind and she knew I was running but she never asked why or what.”

“Honestly, I don’t know how you weren’t robbed living like that.”

“I know, I always had my wots about me. I did pretty well if that’s what you could call it. It was Essie that made me get back in touch with who I was. I was trained in beauty but with Jared I’d left that dream all behind but while I was working with her I started to use my skills and it just got bigger. I was doing hair and make up for all her friends.”

“So, you rode it out a bit and then decided enough time had passed to try and get into the city?”

“Yes. I was lucky. This space had just come free when I came into the city and I had to do a whole lot of convincing to the landlord for it as well.”

“Not-”

“God-no!” She couldn’t even be angry with him for thinking it with all the revelations he’d heard so far. “I never did that. Ever.”

He reached for the bottle and topped both of their glasses up. “Devon.”

“Yes?”

“What do you want to do now?”

He asked a loaded question. “I don’t know. I know it can’t be the same, what we had and how. Now that you know this.”

He leaned back and tipped his head back. “Ok, even if I wanted it to - how can it? What if the past does catch up with you? What if we’re getting married and you get caught and then I lose you for good. Not to mention the press, I’m not saying that’s more important but in reality it is. I can’t risk that to my brand, my band it’s not fair on the other guys and I can’t risk it to my family. What if Jared comes to find you and you were with my children? I know he can’t get into the country but hell, he’s planned to evade the law before and it worked out fine for you.”

Lose you for good.

So he was worried about that? But he did make valid point as he had a lot more to lose than she did evidently. “I know.” She said softly. “I don’t know how to fix this. I mean, I want to.”

“Is giving yourself up an option?”

She squirmed on the couch and heart beat heavy in her chest. It was always an option but she was scared. She’d lose everything - her clinic and her people would lose their jobs. She’d lose Jon and she’d lose the right to live in America. It took the breath out of her lungs and her head felt light.

“I’ve thought about it so many times over the years. And back then I didn’t have as much as I have to lose now.” That was if she even had Jon at this point. He was listening but he hadn’t given her much response apart from questions and she didn’t blame him for that.

She could call her Dad. She’d doubt he would want to hear from her and he could turn her in instantly. But at least she could ask him what she was up against and what penalties she would likely have to pay. She could give most of the money back but what would the jail time be like? How many years would she lose of her life? All because she made one very stupid mistake. It was a mistake and it didn’t make it ok again now that she acknowledged that.

It was a double edged sword. If she hadn’t of done what she’d done, she wouldn’t have grown like she had and she wouldn’t have met the man that made everything else worth it in the end.

“Oh God. I must be fucking crazy but how about I call a lawyer friend of mine to ask what theoretically you are up against?” He clicked his knuckle. “I can ask him in confidence. I’ve confided in him before.”

Her heart swelled. “You don’t have to do that, I do want to fix this Jon. I do. I just don’t know how to, after all this time. If it is even fixable.”

“The way I see it is you have two options. You turn yourself into the authorities to clear you name-whatever that may take. Or you carry on like you were and hope it all works out.”

She picked at the fabric on the arm of couch. “I can’t carry on-you said it yourself. Nothing would be the same. You don’t trust me.”

He rolled his lips in and paused. “I never said I didn’t trust you. And look I can see you’ve made a mistake and you regret it. I know you’re not that person, deep down I know you’re not.”

“You do? Because I’m definitely not. This is who I am. Just without the being a runaway criminal part.”

He half- smiled and it hit her in the stomach, the slight relief from this intensity between them was enough to give her a flicker of hope. For what though, she didn’t know.

“I know it’s not Devon. I know you’re the women I fell in love with, for real.”

There was one thing on her mind and one thing only at this point and it wasn’t even about the jail term and losing everything. It was about losing him. The problem was this was a checkmate, the next move was going to lose something but she just wasn’t sure what that was and how bad it really would get. But one thing was real. And that was this moment. Could they as a couple actually get past it? The press would find out either way they played it from this point. If she turned herself in, maybe they could restrict it but what right did she truly have of that? It wasn’t like she was innocent.

“So now you know what happened. Do you think we can actually get past this? Honestly?” She didn’t want to know the answer. She had no idea how she’d take his rejection at this point. Yes he loved her but what choice did he have? He had things to think about as well that this impacted greatly.

“I want to Devon. God.” He raked his hand through his hair. She hated how much weight this was having on him. Her heart sank and while it wasn’t a declaration of commitment it was better than a straight out rejection. She couldn’t blame him for his caution and his uncertainty whether he wanted to fight for her. But she couldn’t help but feel a little bit disappointed. She wished that the determined Jon that wouldn’t let her say no for an answer to a date with him, showed up until she gave in was here now.

“Ok. Well I should go-” She rose from the couch and bit back the tears that threatened to spill over. She didn’t want to beg him, he didn’t deserve her to after she’d lied to him.

“Devon-Stay a little longer.” He reached out his hand but didn’t get up.

She shook her head and grabbed her purse. “I think it’s best if I go.” She wanted him to hold her, she wanted him to sooth her and give her the strength to fight through this. It was going to break her in two and she didn’t know what the future would hold for her and she didn’t know what the future held for them either.

“I get it. I know you can’t commit to this and honestly I don’t blame you Jon. I’m grateful you’re even here now, I am.” She stuttered couldn’t look at him she just had to get out of there and fall apart in the safety of her own apartment. Not here. Not with him.

“Devon-wait!”

As she flew out of the lobby into Soho’s bustling streets she started to doubt whether this could be repairable. She may have been determined to fight but what if this couldn’t be fixed? Hell Jon certainly wasn’t convinced. She was so stupid. Not stupid to tell him but stupid enough to not realize this was always going to be messy no matter which way she looked at it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Chapter Fifty-Four: May Your Hope Give Us Hope





“I don’t know about you but I think I need a breather.” Richie stretched out his long legs from the couch and dropped his guitar gently to the floor.

“Yeah yeah-we’re nearly there with this one though.” Jon scrawled the chords through the lyrics on the pad and rubbed his chin. “How about we dip down to the e flat minor here.” Jon saddled himself with the guitar and strummed a few lines.

“I can’t pretend that nothing's changed. - Yes. Perfect.”

“Yo-take a break dude we’ve been working five hours solid. We should order some pizza.” Richie said rubbing his belly as he stood up.

“I’m not hungry.” Jon replied as he wrote the chords through the next lines of lyrics. A solid day of writing hadn’t been enough to take away the dull ache in his chest. Ever since he’d left Devon’s yesterday he was even more fucking confused. Seeing her at least confirmed one thing and that was he still loved her. But what the fuck did he do now? What could he do, realistically?

“You need to eat something Jon. Your kitchen looks like it hasn’t been touched in days except for the two day old pot of coffee that’s sitting there.”

He grunted. If it shut Richie up then he’d eat some fucking pie. “Ok just go easy on the cheese.”

“Got it.” Richie reached for his phone and headed out to the balcony.

He’d tried using writing to get away from Devon but in the end as his writing always did, the page was bursting with her as it was what was in her heart. Her sad smile and eyes ate away at his gut. Did he walk away? Any sane man would have by this point but it wasn’t that simple.

“So the pizza is going to be about fifteen minutes away. You want a drink? I’m going to grab a soda. You look like you could do with a wine.”

Jon shook his head. “Just grab me a soda. I don’t think I’d be able to stop if I started a bottle of wine today.”

Richie folded his arms and stood there.

“What?” Jon asked knowing the Spanish inquisition was coming. There was only so long Richie could wait.

“I’ve sat here for nearly five hours and we’ve written, probably some of the coolest shit we have in a long time and I’ve not said a word.”

“About what?” Jon asked even though he knew exactly where it was going.

“Devon.”

“I don’t want to talk about her, not now Rich.”

Richie paused and then took a step towards the kitchen. “Ok. But you’re gonna have to eventually.”

“Just the soda Richie.” Jon said again as there was a knock on the door. “Fifteen minutes huh? Hope you have a good tip as that was fast.” Jon said as he walked towards the door. He dug for his wallet in his back pocket and opened the door.

“Hey.” Devon was standing there in jeans, a charcoal coloured coat with a pink scarf wrapped around her neck.

“Devon--I, hi.” He said for the lack of anything else he could manage to say. Her golden hair was loose around her shoulders and she looked rested, and hell as breath-taking as ever.

“Jon. I need to talk to you.”

“Ah-well I’m kinda in the middle of something at the moment. Richie and I are writing. Can it wait?”

“No it can’t.”

Jon stood back. “I’m sorry-I’m working.” He wasn't angry- more surprised it was a demand.

“Can I talk to Richie?”

“What? No you can’t. We’re busy Dev-” He cleared his throat. “Devon. Can you come back later, even tomorrow as sometimes we don’t finish till very late?” He pushed the door to close it and whispered. “Richie doesn’t know about this and I don’t want to tell him so can I text you later?” He slowly pushed the door but she jammed her foot in it.

“No. It can’t wait Jon. Send Richie back to his hotel.”

Jon frowned. What the hell was she playing at? “Are you serious? I am writing it's what I do-”

“Heyyyy Devon!” Richie exclaimed behind him and he closed his eyes.

“Hi Rich. Sorry to intrude like this.”

“Hey it’s ok--hell if you can get the old boy in a better mood I’ll be all for it.”

“Richie.” Jon snapped. He was pissy because he had no idea what the fuck was going on here.
“It’s ok. Richie, I’m pretty sure I’m the reason the old boy is in a bad mood.”

Jon coughed. “Which we can talk about later.”

Devon ignored him and put her hands on her hips. “Richie - are you ok leaving Jon and me to talk? There are some things I need to say and I’m not prepared to wait.”

Fuck me. He didn’t know if he should be flabbergasted or impressed.
Richie held his hands up. “Say no more. I’ll head around to a mates place. I can be scarce for a few hours.” He grabbed his coat and wallet. “Text me Jonny boy.” He patted his shoulder and gave Devon a kiss on her head as he left.

“You done?” Jon asked and folded his arms.

“Not even close.” Devon said as she let herself in and unwound her scarf and pulled off her coat.

“Holy shit. I am going to need wine for this.” Jon said as he stormed back into the kitchen. He stood at the bench and closed his eyes. He wanted to tell her to fuck off but he couldn’t. He wanted to know what she wanted and hell he didn’t want her to leave. If Dorothea had ever pulled that shit with him he would have given it right back to her. So why couldn’t he even find it to give to Devon?

“Wanna make that two?”

He turned to see her leaning in his doorway. Her jeans and right black scoop neck top showed off her shapely figure. God dammit don’t think about that right now asshole. He reached up and slid two wine glasses off the rack.

“What are you doing here Devon?” She was so calm. What the fuck was she gonna do? Tell him this was all a joke? Maybe it was one of those reality TV show crap that his kids watched.

“I came to fight for you.”

His pulse quickened and a lump swelled in his throat but he didn’t look at her. Instead he corked the wine and poured it into two glasses. “I’m sorry?”

“I came to fight for you.” Her voice wavered. “I love you Jon and I don’t want to lose you.”

Oh boy. The feelings he still had for her were so raw it was impossible to fucking ignore them. He took a swig of wine and then turned to hand her a glass. “I don’t really know what to say to that.”

“I know you don’t. So that’s why I’m here.”

“Devon-I just don’t know.” He pinched the bridge of his nose and squeezed his eyes shut. “I miss you so much.” He admitted. Dammit.

“I know. Me too. But I also know what I’ve done is unforgivable so I’m here to see if there is anything salvage and if there is... we can go from there. I can’t go on like the way it is. It’s been two days and I feel like shit over this.”

“Did you ever plan on telling me?” Jon asked. One part of him always wanted to know that. If she hadn’t of had the break in, if she hadn’t have been caught with so much money he would have never suspected anything.

Her eyes shifted away from his. “I didn’t think we’d end up so close. I didn’t expect us to last. I was completely wrong there. I admit that and the longer we were together the easier it was to justify not telling you.”

“But we didn’t break up.” Jon pointed out.

“No, we didn’t. It became the exact opposite-everything was so - well perfectly perfect. You pretty much gave me everything I’d been missing in the last ten years of my life in six weeks. I didn’t want to give that up.”

It had all been so fast, Even that was out of character for him but for once in his life he hadn’t questioned it and went with it and look where it had landed him. He trusted his instincts with her and it had been completely wrong to.

“I understand.”

“No you don’t understand Jon. You were everything to me. You have to believe me when I say to you that if I could change this I would. I didn’t want it to end because I loved you, and I still do.”

He blew out his breath and he believed her. The frustration in her voice was real but there will still the matter that even if he could forgive her for the lies how could they get past the fact she was in loose terms, an outlaw. “Let’s go into the living area and sit down.”

She smiled and her eyes glistened with tears. “Thank you.”

He grabbed the bottle. “I can’t promise you anything Devon. I don’t even know where my head is at with this and you know me, that’s not me and it’s fucking scaring me shitless.”

“I know and I’m so sorry I’ve made you feel this way but I don’t want to lose you.” His heart jolted when her hand rested on his arm. He didn’t want to lose her either but he honestly had no idea how the hell any of this could even work anymore.

“Ok.” Was he all could manage. “Let’s talk.” It shouldn’t have but the determination in her tonight had made him want to consider a future for them. He didn’t even know what that looked like and he needed to know more before he could even see it.

They settled themselves in the living room to only be interrupted by the doorbell again.
“That’ll be Richie’s pizza. Hope you hungry.” He pulled a twenty from his wallet and handed it over.

“I could do some food. I haven’t eaten for a while.” She admitted as she sat with her legs crossed Indian style on his couch.

He chuckled. “Neither have I evidently.” He sat down at the opposite end of her and lifted his feet onto the couch biting into a slice of pizza. He slid the box over to her end.

“I want you to know everything. I think you deserve it. I’m not making excuses for anything that I’ve done but I did make some stupid choices that led to even stupider actions. It’d be easy for you to walk away from this and never look back.” She lifted a piece of pizza to her mouth. “I wouldn’t blame you for it either, it’s what I deserve but you have to know I’m different and somehow I want to make this right.”

Something about someone telling you that they’d fight for you was humbling in itself. He’d fought for so many people in his past. His wife, Richie, Alec--his band but he couldn’t ever remember someone that was willing to fight for him.

“I just don’t understand how you’re still here. I mean -- aren’t people looking for you?”

“They probably are. But it’s been five years Jon since I left. I laid low for the first year over here. Jared is out of prison now, the case is probably closed. Even if it’s not right which it’s not - enough time has passed that I highly doubt I’m on any wanted lists.”

“So if Jared is out of prison aren’t you worried he’s going to come after you?”

She shrugged. “I was petrified for the first few months but I know enough that his criminal record wouldn’t let him in here. He’d be stopped at the customs.”

“Unless he was under a false identity like you were.” Jon added. He was struggling to deal with the fact they were talking about this like a bad marriage. It was breaking the law for fuck’s sake. He sighed. Devon didn’t even look like a criminal and the Devon he knew, wasn’t.

“Of course that’s an option but being now an ex-crim he’d have a hard time doing deals with the people that have access to that.”

“You don’t think he was responsible for your break in?”

She shook her head. “No. If Jared was here. He wouldn’t be subtle about it. He’d find me, I have no doubt about that.”
“And what if he finds you?” Hell, he’d probably try and kill her for all he knew about this guy. Could he really risk that for himself and his own family?

“And your parents? They have no idea where you are?”

She sipped her wine. “No, and Dad’s a policeman. I covered my tracks but I am sure he could have found me if he wanted to. Honestly.”

“You think he didn’t want to because he’s ashamed?”

“Wouldn’t you be? Your daughter is a criminal. You’re the commissioner of police. It’s not a good look.”

“God. Devon. I just don’t know how you-well...”

“Lived with myself?” She asked.

“Yeah, I guess that’s what I’m trying to say if I’m honest.”

“It’s ok. I knew you wouldn’t be able to understand that. You’re so tight with your family. And I was as well before I made some really bad decisions. In the end another bad decision seemed easier than trying to make things right.”

He didn’t get it. But that was him he had to realize if he ever had a hope to understand her and to make this work he needed to try. “Ok tell me everything.”

She’d come to him. It would have been too easy for her run and he admired her for at least that. She had made it clear she wanted him-whether that was a real viable option right now he wanted to at least assess the situation. He loved her for Christ’s sake and you didn’t just walk out on love. He realized that now. If he was truly committed to her, He was going to have to try.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Chapter Fifty-Three: Somebody That I Used To Know




She’d avoided the salon for most of the day but she knew she couldn’t avoid it forever. She wanted to make sure things were all in order even though part of her wondered if it was worth it. Would she still be here in a few days? A number of things could potentially happen and none of them she was prepared for.

Jon could change his mind and call the cops-hell or the feds on her and it would be all over. She’d be deported back to New Zealand and god knows what would happen to her there. The reality was she could be headed for jail time. God. The room started to spin and she gripped the edge of the kitchen counter to steady herself.

Of course the other option was to run. She probably should have but the idea of it was exhausting. The year she had spent on the run, in and out of small towns in the south had been awful. She’d been lucky and found people along the way who were kind enough to help her but there will times where she had nowhere to go and didn’t know what the hell she was doing. Especially carrying around that amount of money. She was lucky she wasn’t killed for it.

She sighed. The other option was out of her control. Things could go back to the way they were, Jon would carry on with his life and she with hers. She doubted whether she could actually do it though. How did you go from having absolutely everything to having nothing all over again? Well, it wasn’t anything materially but it was emotionally.

There was still a breath between them. The way he’d come over to her, he’d tried but the hurt had been too raw for him. She understood that but she didn’t know whether to cling to that hope that there was some way out of this, or would he soon see the way out of this for him was the easiest option?

After a long hot shower she dressed in a simple red cotton sleeveless dress, pumps and cinched it with with a thin white belt. She dabbed some makeup on in the mirror and covered up the black lines around her eyes where hours of no sleep looked like days. She pinned her hair back and gathered her things before walking downstairs to face the world.

“Devon!” Jonathan exclaimed as she walked in. “You look amazing, are you feeling any better?”

She nodded and she doubted if she really did look amazing. “I am. Thanks for holding the fort again, you’ve been doing that a few times lately.”

“Well I don’t mind especially when you’re running off with Romeo, how is he anyway?” He asked wiggling his eyebrows.

She half-laughed but her stomach sank when she remembered the sad look in his eyes as he’d left. “We’re both going to be busy so we won’t be seeing each other as much.” She offhandedly replied. Jonathan didn’t buy it but she knew he wouldn’t push her.

“Ok then. Well I have some orders and things I need you to approve and then we can check out your schedule for tomorrow and make sure you’re not taking on too much. I don’t want you overdoing it if you’ve just been sick.”

“Thanks Jonathan.” He always was a life-saver.

“Devon-sorry to interrupt but there is someone here to see you.” Emma and her blond curls popped her head around the corner. “Patti?”

“Oh-right. Sure thing.” Devon smiled. “Can you show her to my consult room and I’ll be there in a moment.” She flattened her palms down her front and took a deep breath. She was going to have to pull herself together and quick.

“Jonathan-I’ll catch up with you soon ok - we’ll talk a little later before you go home ok?”

“Sounds good boss.” He shuffled his papers, patted her shoulder and headed back to the reception desk. Devon slipped into her consult room where Patti was wrapped tight into a woollen coat. Her flame red hair was swept over to one side down her shoulder, she looked gorgeous as ever. She grinned and held her hands out when Devon walked in.

“Devon, honey. I’m so sorry again to just pop in like this.” She took Patti’s hands and Patti gave them a gentle squeeze. The tears swelled to her eyes but she swallowed them quickly.

“Nonsense. You’re welcome here anytime.”

“I was downtown to collect some papers for Bruce. And you were nearby so I wanted to know if you and Jon wanted to come out to Jersey next weekend?”

“Um. Well that’s lovely but I don’t know if we can...” She was caught off guard always ready with excuses as she had in the past but this time she was found wanting.

“No problems if you’re busy-we can always do it another time. We loved having you guys over. Stevie and Maureen are coming as well.”

She lifted her brow. “Well-I.” She tucked her hair back and sighed. “I’m not sure what the future holds for Jon and me if I’m honest.”

“What? Why?” Patti asked as she sank into the chair and Devon sat in the one facing her.

“I told Jon about my past and he didn’t take it too well.” She shrugged. “I’m not sure why I’m so shocked really.”

“Devon, honey. I’m so sorry.”

She shook her head. “Don’t be. You don’t know what I did.”

Patti remained silent and Devon covered her eyes. “I ran away from New Zealand after my boyfriend convinced me to help him rob a bank and then skip the country except he got caught but I still ran, with the money.”

Patti sat back and crossed her legs and didn’t say a word.

“See?” Devon asked. “Its bad.”

“Honey. I knew you’d done something, ok maybe not that big. You did the right thing coming clean with him because I think you came clean with yourself at the same time. How long has it been?”

“Five years. I was such an idiot. I was so blind.”

“Well we’ve all been there darlin’.” She spoke softly.

“I’ve ruined everything and I’ve broken his heart. Honestly at the moment I couldn’t care less if I was thrown in jail for what I’ve done-I just wish I could make what I did to him better. He doesn’t deserve this.” The emotions tugged at her again but this time there was a stronger resolve underneath it all.

“Can you fix it?” Patti asked.

Devon shook her head. “Honestly I don’t think I can. I can do the right thing but I’ll lose him forever. God, I probably have already.”

“Fight for him.”

She lifted her head and wiped away the tear. “I’m sorry?”

“Fight for him. Show him you’re willing to fight for him. Devon. I don’t know why you did what you did--and yes it’s a mess but it isn’t over yet. There are people that can help you here-him being one of them but he’s not going to help you unless you show him why he should.”

It was an option she’d never considered until now.

“I wouldn’t know where to start - and I doubt it would change his opinion.” She admitted but strangely she felt calm. All this time she’d considered running, Jon doing this, Jon doing that... but not what she could do to fix this.

“Tell him. Tell him everything and tell him you’re not willing to let him go without a fight and until every option out of this has been exhausted. You have to understand it might not work but then you will least know you did everything you could.”

“Wow. I don’t know what even to say.” She sat up and her mind cleared. She felt oddly in control again.

“Do you want to fight for him?”

She stared Patti back straight in the eyes. “Of course I do. He’s-god. I love him.”

“Be honest with him. Be completely transparent. You know Jon-I know Jon. That’s what will be killing him here.”

“God. You’re right.” Devon stood up and put her hand on her belly. Could she do this? How much worse could it really get? Honestly. So she had nothing to lose.

“You’ve messed up big time but you’re different now and you have to prove that to Jon.”

“I think he expects me to run. And if I’m honest I’ve thought about it.”

“Well run, if that’s what you want. But Devon I know you. I know the real you, is that what you want?” some tough love is what she’d been missing. It had been easy to climb into the hole of self-pity and contemplate hiding there forever.

“No. I don’t want to run - I can’t run anymore.”

“Then Devon, honey. You know what you need to do here.” Patti smiled warmly and Devon nodded.

“I do.” It had become clear to her. She had to do this. She had to show him she was serious about him even in light of what she’d done. Maybe it wouldn’t work but she’d walk away knowing she gave it her best shot.

“We’ve all done things we’re not proud of. Jon included. I will help you in anyway--I don't want you to feel alone in this.”

Devon’s heart filled as she smiled. “Why? You don’t have to do that for me. You hardly know me.”

“Oh you remind me of someone I used to know. That’s all.” Patti winked. “Someone that had to learn the exact same thing as you are now. To fight for what they wanted.”

“God. I-don’t know what to say.”

“Don’t say anything to me. Say it to him.” She said as she stood and they embraced. Devon squeezed her eyes shut as Patti held her tight and for the first time in years she felt like she had family back in her life.

“Now. You call me. Anytime. You hear?” She held Devon at arm’s length until she nodded and then let her go.

“I will. I promise.” The bundle of nerves inside her flipped and twisted as she thought it through.

“Time to stop feeling sorry for yourself babe. No one else will.”

Damn how right she was. Patti had given her the kick in pants she’d so desperately needed. “Thank you so much.”

“Anytime. It’s time to prove that the old you was just somebody that you used to know Devon. You’re a different girl now. And you and Jon--well you fit.”

She smiled for the first time in what felt like forever. “We do fit.”

“Anybody that believes in love can see that. The night you two were over at our place Bruce said to me Jonny B finally found the one.”

“He said that?” She reached for the tissues. “Dammit, I have no more tears left in me.”

Patti laughed. “Then its time actions and no more tears.”

“I’m petrified.” Devon admitted.

“Fear is good. Fear means you want him and you won’t give up, right?”

In theory it seemed so simple. “I won’t give up.” It would be a lot of work and she didn’t even know how to start. But Patti was right, she had to try as no one else would. It wasn’t about clearing her name. She knew what she’d done. It was about proving to Jon that he was worth the fight. He wanted honesty and loyalty. He was going to get it. Just in a way he wouldn’t expect.

“Good girl. Pull yourself together and go and see him. You’ll know when the time is right.”

The nerves tangled in knots inside her but it was more in anticipation for what she was about to do. It was time to lay it all down on the line. She had to stick a stake in the ground and draw a line in the sand and show him it was worth fixing. The reality was she could walk away losing everything but at least she would know she tried her damn best not to. She owed it to him and she owed it to herself.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Chapter Fifty-Two: Shot Through the Heart




He'd sat on the balcony ledge for hours. Maybe it had been hours, maybe it had only been five minutes. It was all a blur. He lifted the Jack Daniels to his lips and took comfort from the bitterness. It was a fuck load better than the bitterness that wrenched in the bottom of his belly.

He’d replayed it a million times through his head and it got stuck like an old movie reel. Devon was gone and he still was having difficulty dealing with why. When he thought she could have been hiding something he would have never guessed it was something like this. Hell stealing money did cross his mind but he had assumed she had stolen it from her asshole boyfriend. Not a fucking bank and certainly not two hundred and fifty fucking thousand dollars.

He hung his head and blew out his breath. The ache in the side of his head could be cured with more Jack but he’d just feel like ass in the morning.

Why Devon, why?

He wasn’t completely hollow. She was shattered when she told him and he saw it. One part of him wanted to grab her and tell her he still loved her but the other part of him wanted her banished out of his sight. He’d been betrayed only once or twice in his lifetime and he always made sure he never repaeated the same mistake again.

She had been living a lie. She’d lied to him and to herself and he hated liars. He sighed, he needed a cigarette or maybe another shot. But he didn’t hate her. How could he? She was Devon, his Devon. And he struggled with the the reasoning that he still loved her and he couldn’t let this just go.

The tiny voice inside of him wondered if she’d wanted his money, if she’d planned to rip him off but ended up falling in love with him for real. But he decided that wasn’t her, she wasn’t a deliberate crook. Well least he had hoped. He wasn’t thinking straight and he doubted he’d be able to for the rest of the night. He swung his feet up and curled in on the couch, closed his eyes and waited for sleep to claim him.

Jon prided himself always on being in control. Knowing what move to make before he was forced to make it. But this had come from left field and knocked him on his ass. He had never expected Devon to be hiding such a magnitude of a secret.

He wrestled with restlessness. When he had closed his eyes he could see her, when he breathed in he could smell her and when he swallowed he could taste her. Fuck.

He wanted to banish her from his mind, from his memory but that wans’t fucking happening. Instead she lingered on his lips and in his heart. He rubbed his forehead, and sighed. Good god. Had just asked her to move in with him? God, he was an idiot.

This is why you never fall in love fast Bongiovi.

What would his mother say if she knew? His ex-wife? He never made mistakes like this. Ever.

Jon knew he would have asked her to marry him within months. He god damn knew it. He hated that she did this that she went and fucked up his perfect plan. His perfect romance, hell he’d sung about it for years it was about time he actually believed in it. But he’d taken a risk with her, dived in head first and evidently forgot his lifejacket.

“Damn you Devon.”

Damn you because I still fucking love you.

He punched the cushion as he choked on the small lump that formed in his throat and blinked away the two drops that splashed onto his knuckles. He loved her like crazy. She had given him everything and successfully robbed him of it as well. She’d robbed his trust and his faith in her that she was every bit as lovely as she seemed. What a fucking fool he was.

But she was lovely. “Arrgh.” He growled into a pillow as it tormented him.
His hand balled into a fist and he pounded the edge of the couch. For the first time in twenty years he didn’t know what the fuck to do. And that scared him shitless.

~

He cracked an eye open. His head was pounding.


Bang bang bang.


“God.” He groaned as daylight filtered into the room and strips of heat beamed across him.

Bang Bang Bang.

He rubbed his head. This headache was like a fucking jackhammer on speed. He needed a handful of advil and to pound a water. Fast.

“Jon?”

Bang Bang Bang.

Fuck, it’s the door.

“Comin’” Christ, he squinted and reached for his sunglasses before the sunshine crippled him. He padded towards the door and opened it slowly not sure what was going to be on the other side. Hell what the fuck day was it?

“About fucking time.” Richie commented with his arms crossed.

“I was asleep. What time is it?”

“How long did you fuck last night? You look like crap.” Richie said. “It’s two in the afternoon.”

“It’s two!” Jon’s brow shot up and clutched his chest as it rushed through him like a bullet train. He remembered as the night came back to him. He reached through his phone and scrolled through the messages - there was nothing from her. He didn’t know why he expected there to be. He made it perfectly clear that he didn’t want anything to do with her. Even if it was a lie.

“You were meant to be my lunch date. Especially since you blew me off for some ass last night. You didn’t call... you didn't text...” He said dramatically.

Jon shook his head. He wasn’t in the mood for this but Richie was just being his usual self and he didn’t know where to start on his train wreck of a love life.

“Richie-can this wait?” He asked as he rubbed his temple. Christ where was that Advil?

“Hungover are we? So it was that kinda night huh!”

“Richie!” Jon snapped and curled his fingers around the door. “Sorry.”

“Ok what’s going on?” Richie looked over his shoulder. “Where is Devon?”

“At work.” If she hasn’t already left the country. The single knot inside his stomach tightened. He didn’t want her to go anywhere. But then again he didn’t know what the fuck he did want. It was just a clusterfuck.

“At work probably. “ Jon shrugged and wished he was still alone.

“Is something wrong?” Richie asked concerned.

“You could say that but right now I don’t really want to talk about it. Can we reschedule lunch? We’re writing tomorrow right?”

“Yeah, dude what's going on?”

He held his hand up and thanked god Richie couldn’t see his eyes which had to have been bloodhot to hell as they stung like a bitch. “Look Rich. I appreciate it but right now I have a headache bigger than Ben Hur so we’ll talk later, ok?”

Richie paused and Jon knew Richie wouldn’t push him when he was in a mood. “Ok. But you need to call me. Maybe I should stop in and see Devon, warn her that you’re in a mood today.”

He held up his hand. “Don’t. Just don’t do that. It’s complicated.””

“Jesus Jonny. Ok. Call me later.”

He sighed in relief. “Ok, I will. I promise. I just need to deal with this.”

Jon closed the door behind Richie and bowed his head against it. The sky was fucking cracked and the world was torn. He wanted to go back when he didn’t know this shit, back when they were beautiful. He stopped and fumbled through the drawer for a notepad and scrawled down the notes.

Back when we were beautiful.
Back when we were innocent.
Sky is cracked. World is Torn.


Well fuck, he could have something there. He tucked the notepad into the side of the couch and decided he needed a shower to wake him up and hopefully make him think clearer. Maybe throwing himself into writing would help.

He had behaved appallingly and he knew it. As the hot water drizzled down him and his muscles laxed he fought the need that hungrily ate at his gut to see her. He had no game plan - he had no idea what he even wanted to say to her. He just needed to see her.

He quickly redressed, ran a towel through his hair and headed downstairs before the urge left him. The wind was bitter and snapped around his neck as he bunched up his scarf. The seasons were turning and before long winter would be close behind.

He dashed into her salon and shook off the chill as he waited for her to greet him or someone to.

“Jon-hi.” Jonathan grinned as he rounded the counter.

“Hey Jonathan. I’m looking for Devon.”

“Well she’s not in today. She called in this morning and said she had something come up and wouldnt be in for a few days. And to reschedule all her appointments. She left me a message - I just assumed you had whipped her away on another one of your romantic getaways.”

“Oh-Um. I must have forgot, she probably told me. I’ve just had a lot going on with the getting the record off the ground.” He feebly lied. Last thing he needed was another interrogation like Richie’s and he didn’t want to get into this with Jonathan, for Devon’s sake.

“Well I don’t know what she’s got planned but go on up if you want.” Jonathan grinned.

“Ok thanks Jonathan - have a good day.” Jon exited quickly into the back passage to her loft. So she wasn’t at work. He knew now she’d be devastated, either that or she’d have left the city by now with her money. He took a deep breath and knocked on her door. Please don’t be gone. Please don’t be gone.

“Who is there?”

He slumped against the door surprised to hear her voice and relief washed over him. She hadn’t left. He didn’t know what that meant for him but he just knew she hadn’t left.

“It’s Jon.”

There was silence and he wondered if for a second she wasn't going to open the door but the click of locks behind the door made him stand back and be eady for whatever would face him. When the door swung open, he soaked her in. She was in grey sweats with a tight light pink tee. Her hair was pushed back in a band from her face. While it was obvious she was tired... God, she looked just as gorgeous as fucking ever.

“Hi.” She half smiled. Her eyes were sad and her voice lifeless.

“Can I come in?”

She stepped back and let him in before she closed the door. “I’m surprised to see you.” She sat carefully on the edge of her couch but he stayed standing, not really sure where to put himself.

He raked a hand through his hair. “I honestly don’t know why I’m here. I don’t know what to think and I can’t think about anything else. I can’t process this.” He bit on the end of his thumb.

She nodded and folded her arms. “I’m so sorry. If it’s a small consolation I haven’t slept and all I’ve worried about is you.”

She meant it too. Her eyes were dull and as he looked closer, the usual fresh glow from her face was missing. He tucked his hand away as the urge to sweep his fingers over her cheek grew inside him but he held it back. He dug his hands into his pocket and leaned against the doorframe.

“For the first time in my life - I don’t know what to say or do.”

She clasped her hands together and sighed. “I know I’ve ruined everything. I can’t blame you.”

“I’m the only one that knows?” He didn’t even know why that made a difference but at least it would be contained. He hadn’t thought past what this meant, for not only him but his reputation. No one knew now but what if they did? The press would have a field day with this. God. Nobody needed that and nor did Devon.

“Yes. Jon I wanted you to know and I only told you because it was killing me to keep it from you. I loved you and I still do but this was wrong. It felt wrong to keep it from you.” Her words tripped over themselves at the end.

His throat formed a lump as he swallowed. “No matter what happens. I understand that and I appreciate it.” He knew it was the truth. She loved him like he hadn’t been loved before. No one could be that good of an actor.

“Can we keep it between us?”

She rose off the couch and tentatively walked towards him. “Of course. God Jon. If I could take it all back-what I did. I would. I mean it.”

He scuffed his heel on the carpet. “I know.” He sniffed and cleared his throat. “Are you ok?” He half offered her concern even though inside it was tearing him in half watching her like this.

She covered her mouth. “No. I’m not. I broke the heart of the person I care-have ever cared most about.”

The tears that spilled from her cheeks melted his cool exterior. God damn himself that he still loved her even after what she did. “C’mere.” He reached out to her and wrapped his arms around her and held her tight against his chest. She sobbed hard against him. Her scent drifted over him as he closed his eyes and savoured her warmth against him.

He pressed a kiss to the top of her head and sifted his fingers through her hair. Fuck he wanted this to go away, he wanted her back. He wanted the Devon he trusted back but this wasn’t her. It killed him that he couldn’t shake it. Trust was such a huge thing and he wanted to trust her now but how the hell could he?

Try Dammit. You love her.

His arms squeezed tighter but it didn’t dull the pain in his head it didn’t take away the lasting ache in his chest so he pulled away.

“I-I thought I could do this. I did--I. God.” The sadness in her eyes was like the walls tumbling in around him, choking him. “I have to go. I need more time.” He stumbled back, anger melting to sadness.

“Jon-please.” Devon begged her tears. “I’m so scared.”

“Dev-I just can’t. I can’t.” He stepped out her door and closed it behind him. Who was the one running now? He couldn’t handle it. He slumped against the door and held his fists up against it. The faint sounds of her sobs that drifted from the other side would haunt him well into the night.

He was an asshole for leaving her but he couldn’t let himself slide back into her when that was all he desperately craved clouding his emotion. That need again clawed at him deep inside his belly. They weren’t the same anymore and hell right now he couldn't see past whether they ever would be again.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Chapter Fifty-One: Brilliant Disguise




The lights whizzed past the windows as she rested her head against Jon’s shoulder for the ride home. New York was always so pretty at night. The lights and people that spilled out of theatres and popular nightspots into the streets helped it live up to its name as the city that never slept.

The crossroad that she’d been avoiding was here and it was like she was standing in the middle of the road deciding which way to go. She had made that decision when she’d walked into Mojo that she couldn’t go on like this. She loved Jon, so much that it hurt even thinking how this would end.

Honesty was something Jon valued more than money and she she’d lived her lie long enough and was tired of carrying the burden of what she’d done alone. It had been five long years and while she had Jonathan and her girls at the salon and always thought that would be enough keeping them at a safe distance. She was wrong. What she had with Jon was so much more and enriching that she could ever have imagined.

She used to think her girlfriends back home were crazy having their whole lives revolve around a man and she vowed never to me one of those girls but she was silly. It wasn’t actually about having a man to revolve around it was about having someone that you could share everything with. It was about him and how you looked forward to his smile everyday, his kiss and his touch. God, and his laugh.

And she was afraid now that she was going to lose it all. There was a tiny piece of hope she clung to that after Jon knew the truth he’d still want to be with her. And if not, she was resigned to believe that it was better to love and lost than to not have loved at all. Alfred Lord Tennyson was onto something there.

She was pretty sure that would just be a cold comfort in the end though.

They arrived back in Soho and Jon snickered as he checked his phone.

“Something wrong?” She asked amused as he quickly tapped back a text.

“Yeah, I ditched my wing man apparently.” Jon showed her the phone.

You forgot to say goodbye fucker. Enjoy your orgasm on me. R.

She burst out laughing and clutched her belly, the nerves started to swim and thrash. “He’s a good friend. He did come and get a haircut off me when he really didn’t need to.”

Jon tipped the driver as the rounded out in front of the penthouse. “That’s Richie for you. Now you, it’s time to come inside.”

He dragged her up the elevator and the closer she got she started to panic. She had planned to let him have his wicked way with her and then she’d tell him. She was desperate to hold onto the threads of what she had right here and right now just for a little longer before the slipped from her fingers.

Maybe he’d surprise her, maybe he’d understand. She didn’t honestly know. She’d lived with it long enough that even she didn’t know what was wrong or right about it anymore. She had no choice but the guilt ate away every piece of her reasoning.

His hands shot up into her hair as he pressed her hard against the front door of the apartment and shifted himself so they lined up. His lips brushed over hers, his hand cupped her cheek and the flick of his tongue against hers shot straight to her knees.

The kiss was electrifying as it thundered through her heart and warred with her emotions. Desperately she tugged at his belt and his hand hiked up her skirt, his short nails grazing the skin on her thigh. Breathless hot kisses stopped her thinking and starting her wanting. She lifted her leg up around his waist and he tucked himself against her until she felt the line of his cock pressed into her belly. Her neck tipped back and his mouth scraped down her neck, hungry and unapologetic. She was losing her grip of reality and quickly sliding into sweet seduction.

His mouth and his breath all on her, all over her. She wanted it one last time to make her feel amazing and worth the love he’d given her. More than anyone had given her in her entire life.

“More.” She panted as his fingers twined around the thin strap of lace of her g-string and guitar calluses brushed against the delicate skin.

“Devon.” His eyes closed and he groaned as two fingers pushed into her and her head hit the back of the door with a thud.

“Oh god.” She cried locking her leg tighter around his waist. She hooked one hand up around the back of his neck and pulled him in close so their lips touched and their noses bumped as his fingers pumped her.

“So wet.” He whispered against her lips. Their eyes locked as he found her sweet spot and the fire raged inside of her.

He had the power to snap her in half and in the most delicious way. “Oh god!” She shouted into the empty lobby while also thanking god he was the only occupier on this floor. Bulbs burst before her eyes as the orgasm rippled through her until she was limp against the door, standing only because she was nailed to it by him.

Jon fumbled for his keys and pushed them inside. He dumped her purse, her keys and shrugged out of his jacket. His hands slid over her dress and he tugged the zipper down as he kissed her and stepped her back towards the windows.

Her mind was exploding like fireworks as the post-orgasm buzzed on her skin and her blood was molten in her veins. Jon slid open the sliders and backed her out onto the deck, the familiar backdrop of the city the only audience.

“Shoes.” She said between furious kisses as he laid her back onto the oversized couch.

“Oh, they stay on.” He grinned as he wrestled his belt off and tugged down his pants. Her breasts spilled from her strapless bra and his mouth covered her nipple, his tongue curling around the tip. She screamed as the pleasure melted from the sensitive skin.

Her legs parted and he slid inside her, her nails digging into his shoulders and desperate to hold on.

“Oh man,” she panted, her hair already slick with sweat.

“This only gets better.” He breathed as he stretched and filled her slowly and her body trembled with need.

The pang of guilt ate holes in her stomach, it was true they only did get better but it couldn’t stay like this. She kissed him hard on the lips and slammed her eyes shut, desperate that when she opened them her life would be different. She wouldn’t have to tell him. She wouldn’t have to break his heart.

When she did open her eyes his were centered on her, intense but calm. The stare was loving and caring and it melted her to the core. She didn’t deserve him. She cupped his cheek as she bit back the tears that streaked down her cheeks. “I love you.” She whispered as he found their rhythm.

And I don’t want to let go.

“I love you too baby.” He placed a kiss on her forehead as he arched over her, hitting her deep and true as the orgasm rolled through them. She held on for life, she held on for dear eternity as he made love to her. The weight of him was comforting and she needed it always and always was sliding away.

When he came inside her the tears flowed freely and she broke down in tears and her heart was heavy.

“God, Devon-are you ok?” He asked as he lifted himself off her and pulled her up into his arms. She held on and his arms engulfed her tight against his hot skin. She closed her eyes and breathed in his scent one last time.

“Hey? What’s wrong? You’re scaring me a little? Did I hurt you?”

She shook her head. “No, you didn’t. God no.” She stroked his hair back from his face. “I can’t do it anymore. I can’t go on like this.”

His brow beetled and the lines of his face deep. “What? what do you mean, I thought we were fine now?”

“We are - we’re more than fine. You’re a wonderful man Jon but I need to tell you truth.”

“Fuck, Devon you’re really starting to scare me. Come back inside baby and we’ll get some clothes on.”

Her hands were shaking as she pulled back her dress on and wiped her cheeks.

“Here.” Jon came back in his pants, the button open at the top. He handed her a glass with scotch in it. “Your trembling, sit down baby.”

He was being so nice, so nice for what she was about to do to him.

She sucked in her breath and took a couple of moments to clear her throat and steady her voice. She owed it to him to be calm. “I’m not who you think I am.”

Jon stood with his own whiskey but perched himself on the edge of the couch. “Wh-what do you mean?” He asked confused taking a sip.

“I’ve done something really bad but I just ask you one to do one thing, and that’s to try and understand it from my side. It won’t make it any better but it might help you see why.”

“Ok, Devon. What the hell is going on? You’re making no sense at all.”

She closed her eyes and she swore she could smell Jared’s cologne as her mind went back to the day that she changed her life for good. “Jared, I told you about Jared and how I fell into the wrong crowd with him.”

Jon nodded. “Yes, that’s right and that your parents didn’t approve. And you ran away, you told me that.”

“Right. What I didn’t tell you is the circumstance of how I came to run away.” She twisted the glass in her hands and stared at the whiskey as it sloshed around the cup as she desperately tried not to shake.

“Oh?” Jon asked.

“Jared and I always had this grand plan of running away together. I was so so stupid and he’d embedded it into my head that it was the only way that I’d ever be free from my parents. Of course looking back it was all bullshit. So, we needed money...” She took a quick sip of courage.

Jon cracked his knuckles and shifted on the couch. “And?”

She covered her mouth as she remembered, the screams of the innocent people in the bank that had the shit scared out of them that day. “We robbed a bank.”

“Jesus Christ.” He spluttered.

She couldn’t look at him, she couldn’t see the judgement or the disgust that would be in his eyes. “It didn’t go to plan-and Jared got caught but I got away.”

“With the money.” Jon interjected.

She closed her eyes and nodded. “Yes. We had fake passports and everything had been planned. But I left without him. I drove to my parents house the night of the robbery and I sat outside and I just couldn’t go in. I was so scared. So I ran.”

“How much?”

“Two hundred and fifty thousand dollars.”

“Fuck me.” Jon swore and this time she did look at him. Her heart sliced into two with the way he was looking at her. He was hurt and she didn’t deserve anything less. He covered his mouth with his hands and rocked forward.

She was light-headed and while it was a relief to finally tell someone she knew she just bared her soul to him. He could pick up the phone and call the police and her life would be over. “That’s why I have so much money on me. You were right. I do carry too much money on me. I carry it incase I had to run from him again.”

“So why tell me now? In case I figured out you were a bank robber and called the feds on you?” He asked bluntly.

“God no!” She cried. “I told you because I knew I had to. I love you Jon and I couldn’t keep lying to you like this. It was killing me inside.” She whispered.

He stood and paced the room. “Christ Devon--fuck if that’s even your name!”

She nodded. “It is my name. It’s listed as my middle name on my identification in the US but it’s what I go by and it’s my real first name.” She was numb inside. The ball had dropped. There was no coming back from this and she knew it.

“I can’t-god I can’t even believe this.” He stood and stared out at the city so she stood, not sure if she should run out the door or go to him. She followed her instinct to go to him and stood behind him, her hand gently on his shoulder.

“Don’t. Touch me.”

The tears spilled silently down her cheeks as the love inside her shattered. “I wish I could take it all back every day. I lost everything.”

“Your salon? It’s all dirty money?”

She shook her head. “At the start yes. But over the last five years I’ve paid it back, every single penny.”

He snapped. “Paid it back to yourself you mean.”

“I felt too guilty using it for anything. I couldn't..”

“Oh that makes everything better. You deceived everybody Devon.”

“I know - I know this means nothing but I’m a different person now than what I was. I was young and I was stupid and if I could take it all back-”

“Well you can’t and that’s such a fucking cliche Devon. How the hell you haven’t been caught I’ll never know.”

“Jared knew what he was doing. I laid low for the first couple of years here, down south.”

“And he’s still in prison?”

“He’s out now. He served a few years and was out on good behaviour.”

Jon let out a big breath and the silence cut through the room. “I don’t know if I can look at you right now.” His tone wasn’t anger, it was dead stone cold which was worse. She was dying inside. Piece by piece. She grabbed her purse, stood in front of him and reached up her hand to his cheek. Her thumb stroked over the curve of his cheek and her heart smashed as he looked down at her with tears shining behind his eyes. Those sweet blue eyes. “I’m going to go Jon but I just want you to know something.”

She stumbled on the words as her tears spilled down her cheeks. “I love you Jon and I didn’t ever expect this to happen and for what ever short time this was. You saved me. You saved me from myself and I’ll always be grateful for that.”

His hand gripped her wrist and her heart soared as he squeezed it holding her gaze for a second and then moved her hand away from his face. “Just go.”

She nodded and turned away in time to see a lone tear roll down his cheek. “Goodbye Jon.”

She closed the door behind her and left the building knowing she was leaving the best thing that had ever happened to her behind. She had no clue how she got herself home and into the safety of her own apartment but she did. She locked her door behind her and slunk into a pile onto the floor and let the floodgates open.

It was over.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Chapter Fifty: Taking Chances





Devon had locked herself in the office, locked her money and her books away and contemplated locking her heart away with them in the damn drawer. The day had sucked. She had snapped at everyone including Jonathan. Her bad mood couldn't have been less obvious than a purple and yellow striped zebra.

Jon hadn’t called nor had he text and even if she had expected that she’d kind of hoped he would.

“Knock knock.” Jonathan popped his head around the door.

“You got time for one more client? It’s a guy by the name of Lester Biggins. He wants a hair consult with you. He’s coming in about fifteen minutes and it’s the last one of the day. The girls and I are cleaning up now.”

She really couldn’t be bothered but she was going to be professional about this. “Sure, I’ll take him you guys have been great today so you can go once you’re all done.”

He winked. “Got it.” She smiled as he left her. He hadn’t pushed her and he hadn’t asked. Jonathan seemed to know when it was the right time to do any of those things. Thank god for small mercies.

She picked up her phone once Jonathan left and dialled Jon’s number. Butterflies galloped in her stomach but the call clicked straight into voicemail so she disconnected the call. She couldn’t just leave him a message. She needed to talk to him if they were going to have some hope of working this out. God, she was such an idiot sometimes.

She fingered the blue gerberas that sat tall in her vase and smiled to herself. He really was one in a million and it was why she was torn between doing the right thing or continue to live a lie with him.

Devon hung her apron up and freshened herself up before returning out on the floor.

“Bye ladies, thank you so much as usual for your hard work.” She waved at Emma and Kelly as they left.

“Are you sure you’re going to be ok?” Jonathan asked as he plucked his coat off the rack and shrugged into it.

“Yeah. I’ll be fine. I just need to sort some things out.”

“Is the business ok? It’s not to do with the break in is it?” He asked concerned.

Devon shook her head and patted his arm. “No, we’re fine Jonathan. I promise. I just need to sort this one out, myself for once.”

Jonathan nodded. “Ok Devon, but you know where I am right?”

He popped a kiss on her forehead and she struggled to fight the tears that threatened to spill.

“I do. See you tomorrow Jonathan.”

She smiled and closed the door behind him. The salon was empty and the rooms felt huge tonight as she picked up a broom and decided to make use of herself until this last client showed up. She stared out into the street not sure if she was looking for a man in beat up leather jacket and well-fit jeans to be staring back at her but there was no one but the lonely sidewalk.

The door on the bell rattled behind her and she forced a smile as she turned, even though she felt miserable inside but stopped in her tracks.

“Richie?” She couldn’t believe he was standing there in her foyer. Dark jeans that stretched down forever and a long sleeve brown tee-shirt accompanied with chains that dangled around his neck.

“You can call me Lester.” He wiggled his eyebrows and unwound his scarf. “Got time for a quick cut?”

“Lester, really? That’s what you use as an alias? Lester Biggins?” She asked amused as she crossed her arms.

“Hey. It was all I could think of in a hurry. I wondered if you’d see me at all if you knew it was me.”

“Aw, why wouldn’t I?” She asked as she pulled out the chair for him to sit in and reached up to take his coat from his shoulders.

“Because of my dimwit friend.”

She hung his coat and pushed Richie in front of the mirror. “He’s not a dimwit.”

“Ok assface.” Richie added which made her smile.

“See? Told you he was.”

“How is he?”

“Grumpy, miserable and feeling sorry for himself.” Richie folded his arms as she pinned a cape on him. “I want just a trim off the back and up the top.”

“Ok.” She sifted her fingers through his hair to get an idea of the length and then picked up her spray bottle. “I can’t see Jon feeling sorry for himself.” She said plainly as she sprayed the top of his hair.

“Trust me. I’ve known the guy for decades. He can feel sorry for himself and he’d kick my ass if I told you that too.”

She chuckled. “Well it’s not all his fault. I may have overreacted to what was trying to do for me.”

“Oh, he told me. You didn’t and you should have kicked his ass. That’s Jon always trying to fix things he shouldn’t touch.”

Devon sighed. “He was only worried about me and did I over-react.”

“Ok, so what you gonna do about it?”

Devon stared at him in the mirror and then narrowed her eyes. “Was this your plan?”

Richie’s eyes flashed and widened innocently “What plan?”

She combed through his hair and snipped the ends with a small smile. “Nothing.”

“I may or may not know where Jon will be tonight.” He added nonchalantly.

“Oh really? And where might that be Mr Sambora?” She clipped more ends of hair and set to work.

“We’re going to an uptown bar called Mojo. Should I leave your name on the list at the door?”

She sighed. “I don’t know Rich if that’s a good idea.” She swallowed her courage. She didn’t know if she was ready to face him again after such an abrupt fight. She had so many feelings bubbling inside of her what to do next with him that she didn’t trust herself.

“I think it’s a great idea personally. Means he won’t be a sad sack of shit for our writing sessions this week.”

“So it’s really all about you huh?” She teased as she brushed back his side fringe.

“Look. I don’t know what’s going on Devon but one thing is clear. You two bloody love each other so get on with it. Are you really going to let one fight come between what you had? I saw the way he is around you and the way he talks about you...okay I wouldn’t miss him yammering on about but still it makes him happy. If he’s happy then I’m happy.” He said seriously.

She trimmed his edges at the side. “What if I told you it wasn’t that simple?”

“Well make it bloody simple.” His soft brown eyes and beaming grin met her in the mirror.

Her eyes flicked back down to his hair as she worked away and finished his “trim” that he really didn’t actually need. But she knew what he was doing. “There,” she announced as she brushed away the excess hair on his shoulder.

“Looks fabulous little darlin’ how much do I owe you?” He swung around in his chair.

“Please. That was barely a cut. It’s on the house. You already paid in advice.”

“You can buy me a drink at Mojo. We’ll be there within two hours. That’ll give you time to go and get all dolled up so you can knock his socks off.”

She rolled her eyes. “I’ll think about it.”

He leaned in and kissed her on the cheek. “Don’t take too long. Tick tock.” He winked, collected his coat and headed out the door. “Mojo--up by fifth. The cab driver will know it.” He pointed at her before he disappeared out the door.

She had no idea whether to go, her head screamed no but her heart screamed yes.

~

“I don’t know if I can be assed doing this tonight Richie.” Jon commented as he traced his finger around the rim of his wine glass and flashed a fake smile at a couple that walked by. Mojo was pumping for a midweek night as it always did. It was one of the best hot spots in the city and known to be discreet in Uptown Manhattan.

“C’mon. Don’t be grumpy. If you can’t stop thinking about her. Call her.”

“No, I’m not calling her. I need some space from her.”

“And that’s why you asked her to move in with you?” Richie snickered as he topped up Jon’s glass from the wine bottle.

“You trying to get me drunk? I’m the only one drinking that wine you know.” Jon added but he didn’t refuse the wine as he took a long sip.

“You need to relax and you need to realize something...” Richie trailed off as he gazed across the room and then back to Jon and grinned. “Some things have a funny way of working themselves out.”

“Oh yeah, aren’t you fucking philosophical tonight?”

Of course he wondered what she was doing right now. Was she home alone feeling as miserable as he was? Or was she trying to put on a brave front and pretend nothing was wrong like Devon would. He admired her strength but wondered who she had to be strong for her. Stop it dammit.

“What on earth are you staring at?” Jon noticed Richie had become preoccupied with something behind him up by the bar.

“Wondering how you got so fucking lucky. Although she is too short for me, or perfect height depends the way you look at it.” Richie teased with a wink.

Jon’s brow furrowed and he turned in his seat and he sucked in a breath. Standing by the bar in a simple strappy dark blue dress with matching heels was Devon. The dress fell just above her knee so the rest of her lean legs poured into two killer blue pumps. She looked fucking amazing.

He swallowed then turned back to Rich who whistled innocently. “What are the chances Jonny B?”

“You’re about as subtle as a shovel in the face Rich.” Jon rolled his eyes but his first urge was to go to her. He missed her, hell it had only been a day without her in it. God, he sounded pathetic but he was starting to crave the attention that they gave each other.

“Do I have to push you over there too?” Richie asked.

“Jesus Christ. I’m going, I'm going. “

Jon straightened his jacket and walked through the crowd to the bar. Her shapely behind and creamy long legs were taunting him already. He flicked the bartender a note as he slid onto the stool beside where she was standing.

“I’ll pay for that.”

“Thanks.” He turned to her and when she faced him it hit him in the gut. Her hair was swept back from her face showing off the soft lines of her face. She’d smoked her eyes up with some subtle strokes but the rest of her face was her perfectly natural glow with her trademark pink glossy lips.

“Well you look amazing.” He said as let out a deep breath.

“You don’t look bad yourself.” Her eyes flicked up the length of him. “To be honest I didn’t know if this was a good idea but now that I’ve seen you.” She reached for her wine and took a sip.

“Yes?” He asked impatiently, a bundle of nerves in his stomach.

“I know it is.”

He smiled and ran his finger under her chin. “Good. Can we move over there?” He asked signalling in the direction of the corner booths that were a little more private.

“Yes.”

He took her hand and led her over to the far side of the room where couples were having intimate dinner and chats. The lighting was low and the music soft in the background. She slid into the love seat and he followed.

He took her hands and squeezed. “I’m sorry.” They both said at the same time and he laughed.

“Devon. I’m crap at this, I didn’t realize how intrusive I made you feel and I am sorry about that. I only honestly wanted to help you.”

She smiled and it was a real Devon smile which eased his stomach. “I know you did. I reacted badly, and I’m sorry.”

He kissed her hands. “I am worried about you though. And it’s only because I love you that I care to the point you will want to throttle me.”

“It’s ok. I know that. I do. I just-”

He leaned and, kissed her gently on the lips and stayed close to her face. “I know you have things in the past that still haunt you. I see it. You haven’t given me everything yet and I can be a little more patient. But know I’ve given you everything because I trust you and I want you to trust me that way. So badly” He added.

She blinked away from him momentarily and then met his gaze again. “You’ve given me everything Jon. You let me into your family and your life so easily. You gave me back a lot that I left behind and I’ll never ever forget that.”

“I’m the one that is lucky here.” He reaffirmed as his lips hovered across hers. Her sweet sigh was music to his ears as he deepened the kiss. Her hands smoothed up over his chest and up around his neck. Her spicy candy scent engulfed him and his hand slid up her thigh over the silky material of her dress. He teased her lip with the tip of his tongue as he drew back.

“And do you know how much my day sucked without you in it?”

She didn’t say anything but slid across further and pressed her body into him and sighed into his mouth. “Apparently I’m grumpy and a little bossy without you.”

He laughed and leaned back a little, his hands still on hers. “Oh really? You’re bossy? I would have never guessed that.”

“Hey, watch it mister.” She teased as they fell back into them.

“Are we staying for a meal or are we leaving?” He asked hopefully. They needed some time alone to talk but he wasn’t going to push her and his cock needed a light workout first. He couldn’t ignore the hot little dress she was in and the way it curved in all the right places.

“Depends how long you can wait.” She said carefully those cute pink lips curling.

“Cheque Please.” He breathed against her neck and buzzed his lips along her skin. “When I said you looked amazing, it was an understatement. You look utterly fuckable in that dress.” He whispered against her ear. “And every man in this bar knew it by the way they looked at you.”

“I did originally have lace stockings that went with this dress but wondered if they were too much.”

He groaned and tipped his head back as it flashed in his head. Except she wasn’t wearing the dress with them in his mind. She was naked. “You’re killing me.”

“I’ll remember that for next time.” She adjusted the top and his eyes fell to her breasts that were cushioned in nicely.

“Are the girls ok?” He asked amused.

“I feel like I’m about to spill out of this dress. “She twisted the material up a little to cover the edges of her breasts.

His eyebrows rose. “Well let’s leave so you can.”

“Wait.” She grabbed his hands before he slid out of the booth and kissed him again squarely on the lips. Both hands cupped his cheeks and she arched inwards pressing her breasts into his chest. The tips of her nipples pressed into him and he moaned into her mouth and closed his eyes as he lost himself in her kiss.

She finally pulled apart and he opened his eyes, the surge of lust shot straight to the tip of his cock. She quickly reapplied a slick pink coat to her lips and grinned. “Okay let’s go.”

“You’ll be lucky if I last the car.” He muttered as he clutched her hand and led her out the door.

Will you share her secret?