Monday, June 16, 2008

Chapter. 5

“You did see them outside didn’t you? They’ve been here all afternoon.”

“So I’ve heard.” Cindy said. She began to look at her friend with a cautious glance.

“They’re nice guys Cindy. “ Randi re-assured her.

Cindy took a deep breath. She began to smooth back some of the stray red hairs that Randi’s comb missed.

“I’m sure they are. Wes told me they struck up a little friendship with you.”

“Yeah. From one writer to another. That type of thing, that’s what we’re going to talk about. ” Randi said. She packed up the rest of her stuff and threw her purse into her athletic bag. She walked back over to the locker and slammed it shut.

“Do you want to go down that road again sweetie? It’s not those two I’m worried about.” Cindy now looked very concerned.

Randi sighed.

“You know Cindy, to be honest, I’m not sure. But I also know I can’t continue to wait on table for the rest of my life.” Randi told her friend.

“There’s nothing wrong with waiting on tables Randi. It’s a good living.” Cindy told her.
”No there isn’t Cindy, not at all. It’s just not for me. Can Jon or Richie help? I don’t know. Would they want to considering how they here specifically to be bothered. I don’t know either. But being who they are, I can’t help but to be very excited and learn from whatever they have to say. Right or wrong. Good or bad. I don’t know. I can’t give up Cindy. I just can’t. “ Randi said with tears welling up in her eyes.

Cindy walked closer to her and gave her a hug.

“Be careful. Please. You got hurt the last time and I’d hate for it to happen again.” Cindy said.

“It won’t Cind. Being very cautious. “ Randi smiled through tears.

Cindy kissed her on the cheek and walked out of the locker area.

Randi took her bag and walked out the door and back out into the diner where Jon and Richie were waiting for her.

Randi smiled warmly at them both.

“Okay guys. Ready?” she asked.

“Where to?” Jon asked her

“Rooker’s Quarry.”

Randi said. “Follow me and I’ll show you. Everyone have a good night!” Randi yelled.

“Night Randi!” Wes said.

Cindy looked concerned as she watched Randi get into the car. She watched anxiously as Jon and Richie followed Randi’s car to the quarry. .

Dusk was arriving in Madison as the sun dressed the canyon in several shades of purples and blues. Jon couldn’t help but to stop and step off his bike for a moment to take some photos to show the children.

Randi stopped and got of the car.

“It’s beautiful isn’t it?” she asked him.

“This is what you call God’s country. This is beautiful. You must get so lost in your thoughts here.”

“Sorry. I don’t.” she said.

“No?” he asked.

“I don’t get to see this type thing of that often. The back of a limo? Yes. Canyons with a gorgeous view? Nope.”

Randi smiled.

“Never thought about it that way.” Randi said.

“Don’t get me wrong. I have a good life and wouldn’t change any of it. But this? This proves that life and how we live and deal with things are so small when compared to this.” Jon told her as he walked back to the bike and put the back into its bag.

He got back on his bike, winked at Richie. The two waited for Randi to get back into the car and they followed her the rest of the way to Rooker’s Quarry.

The Quarry was gorgeous. Large walls of beige stone surrounded a silver lake.

Jon and Richie were stunned at its beauty.

“This is gorgeous. “ Richie said.

“It is.” Randi said.

‘This is where I get lost.” She whispered to Jon. The two men followed her down to the shore with guitars and notepads in hand.

The three of them talked well into the night. They spoke about kids, life, work and death.

“Did I tell you Jon that Ava likes a boy?” Richie said.

“Huh?…Mmm. No?” Jon said.

“That’s what I said. “ said Richie. “ Isn’t she like eight?” Jon said.
”Yep. And she’ll grow up to be the prettiest girl in that convent.” Richie said.

Jon laughed.

“A boy.” Richie said sarcastically. “Well Rich, it could be worse. “ Jon quipped. Randi laughed.

“Honestly, I’m not ready. She’s too young. I’m telling ya both. It’s payback. I can see it now.” Richie said. Jon laughed.

“Then I’m getting it tenfold because Steph doesn’t tell me anything. Not about boys, her friends, school…Nothing. “

“No?” Randi said.

“Nope. She hates me.”

“No! Jonny C’mon.” Richie said.

“Richie you saw her before we left. She does. I betcha she’s so happy that I’m gone.” Jon said.

“No. I doubt that she’s happy you being gone. All of this is why you and I are here is good. Steph does not hate you. She misses her mother and is looking for something to blame what’s happened. It’s not your fault either. So stop blaming yourself for that. .” Richie told him.

“Ava mad at you leaving? “ Jon asked.

“I don’t think so. I thought she would be but I think that because of dad being gone that she wants to be with her grandmother. According to my mom, I was the last thing on her mind.” Richie said.

“But her new boyfriend was.” Jon quipped.

“Richie smiled. “She can see him when she’s 80. “ Richie snickered. Jon and Randi laughed.

“So Randi. Do you have kids?” Richie asked.

“I do. I have a son.” She said.

“Do you ?” Jon said.

“I do. He’s four. And his name is Everett and he has blue eyes like me and he’s got read hair like me. Here, let me show you.” She said as she opened up her bag and took out a photograph of her son and passed it to Jon. He smiled. “Man, you couldn’t give him away. He’s adorable. Randi, he looks just like you.” Randi smiled proudly.

“I’d never give him up. That’s why I left his dad.” She said weakly. “He wanted it to be just the two of us. Good guy. But when it came to being a dad…He wasn’t having it. Everett meant more to me than a writing career and most of all him.

Jon looked at her and put his arm around her. “Sorry Rand.” He said.

“For what? I’m more sorry for him not realizing what a great son he has.” Randi said. She took a deep breath and smiled Jon gave her back he picture. She put it in her purse. “Okay enough about me. “ she said. “I have to know what are two rock superstars riding around with no security doing here in Madison, Arizona?”

“Catching a breath.” Richie said.

Just then Jon began to take off his shirt. Randi looked over at him stunned. As if there weren’t a care in the world. He took of his pants. “Mmm. Me? About to go swimming. Care to join me?” he said. Getting a running start and then jumping into the lake.

Randi was frozen.

Chapter 4.

“OH MY GOD!” she yelled. Richie looked up and wondering who this woman was yelling at Jon.

“OH MY GOD! IT’S YOU! “ Jon looked at the woman rather calmly. He continued to look at the napkin, hoping that she’d go away.

“Jon freakin Bon Jovi! Get out!” she yelled.

Jon sighed. He looked up at her and smiled. “I’m not Jon.” He mumbled to her.

Jon decides to look up from the napkin and began to notice the small crowd that had surrounded his and Richie’s motorcycles. Stunned, he looked over at Richie. Richie looked at him blankly.

“Oh Bullshit!” the woman said. “I’m from Sayreville, who are you trying to kid?” she laughed.

“Yeah?” Jon said weakly.

“Born and raised. Oh…hey Richie!” she said to Richie. Richie waved to her with a strange look on his face. Richie looked up at the window and noticed that Randi Wes and several patrons had also been watching them through the window. Meanwhile, the middle-aged woman began to sing a couple of Bon Jovi songs while dancing around the two of them. Jon began to laugh and put his hands over his face. Richie watched Randi through the window. She appeared to be stunned and surprised at what she was seeing.

A couple of hours and some hit songs later, Jon and Richie came back into the diner. Randi was speechless. At one end, how cool was it to have two rock stars seemingly to not only take an interest in her but to also play for people when they obviously wanted to hide. She definitely had someone questions but since she didn’t know them, part of her thought, “Respect their privacy, Randi. It’s one of your business.”

But her heart was wondering about them…Especially Richie. She couldn’t help but watch them sit back in the booth smiling at the fans and signing autographs. The woman, who had exposed them, was literally standing next to them telling the patrons of the diner tales of folklore and legendary tales of the band. Jon and Richie looked annoyed over how they were exposed.

“And Jon…Let me tell you people about this one.” The woman pointed.

“And what did I do? “ he asked her. The woman looked stunned. “Seriously? What did I do? Obviously, you know more about me, than me. And I’m like everyone else. I’m kind of curious to know what I did. “ He said again winking at her.

The woman cleared her throat. “I was going to say Jon’s a great person. Jon and his late wife helped out those people.”

“Jon gave her a stern look.” Thank you.” He told her. “Can’t wait to see you at home.” She said. Jon glared at her. Richie flashed a fake smiled. Randi took over their slices of pie. “Remember these,” she asked putting down each plate.

The pie looked great. It was piping hot with whipped cream streaming down the sides of it. Richie smiled. “There she is.” He said. “Mmmmm…. This looks good.” Jon said.

“Well enjoy. Wes’ pie is the best around Jon.” She said smiling weakly.

“Sorry about earlier out there. “ he told her.

:”Oh it’s okay.” She said.

“We didn’t want this.” Richie added.

“It’s okay Richie, “ she said.

Richie glanced at his watch.

“What time do you get off again? “ he asked

“In a little while.” She said. Richie smiled warmly. “Good.” Randi was hesitant but smiled back. “Okay. Let me finish checking my stations and change.” She said.

Randi walked away. She began to pick up the plates that surrounded the table along with the tips.

She walked over to Wes and he took the empties from her.

“How about that?” Wes said looking over at Jon and Richie devouring the pie. He was smiling in approval.

“I think they like your pie.” She said. Wes laughed. “So they do.” Say Rand, what do you think they eat at home?” he asked.

“I don’t know Wes. Maybe food.” She joked.

“Oh come on Randi, you know what I’m talking about. The way they ate the food. You would think they’re chef’s would be feed them home cooking every once in awhile.”

“How do you know they have chefs?” she asked.

“Rand, the guys are rock stars with kids. Jon runs a freakin empire. The man owns an arena football team for crying out loud. You really think he goes home, does laundry and cook dinner every night?” Wes said.

Randi took a deep breath. “I don’t know. Maybe?” she said. “Please. You know Sambora doesn’t. With the starlets he has on his arm.” Randi glanced at Richie again. He looked genuinely sweet and seemed so warm. Part of her did wonder why they took such great pains to be lost.

“I’m going to get changed. Cindy here to take over?” Randi asked.

“Yeah. She showed up about 30 minutes ago. “ Wes said.

“Okay.” Randi said walking in the back and into the break room/locker area where the ladies changed. She shut the door, took off her shirk and shirt and threw them into her bag. She opened up the locker and pulled out her blue jeans and purple pullover. The jeans fit her snugly against her perfect frame. She pulled the purple shirt over her head as she was taking the mass of red hair from underneath her shirt. A tiny lady with blonde hair, blue eyes and glasses came up behind her.

“Ahem.” The lady said clearing her throat.

Randi continued to look nervous as she pulled a mirror from her purse and began to smooth her back with her fingers. Wondering where her comb was, she began to look for her feverishly, all over the locker room area. The middle-aged woman followed, watching her as she noticed that the comb was in Randi’s back pocket. As Randi rested and looked around the room for the comb, the woman had taken it out of Randi’s pocket. “Ahem.” The woman said again, clearing her throat. “Randi? “ she said. “You-whoo…” She said laughing.

Randi was still oblivious to the woman. She could not find her comb. The lady began to laugh out loud. She now taps Randi lightly with the comb.

“Randi…Randi? Looking for this? “ Randi turned around and began to laugh. “Yes! Oh my god…. Thanks Cindy.” Randi said.

“So.” Cindy glanced at Randi.

“So?” Randi asked her.

“Who is it that you’re meeting?” Cindy asked.

Randi began to comb out her hair.

“Mmmm. Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora? “ Randi said.

“Uh-huh…” Cindy said.

Chapter 3.

The two of them got off the plane, hopped on their bikes and rode to their first stop, Madison AZ. Population, 15,000 people. The town was very hot, had to be close to 95 degrees, the guys dressed both in tanks tops and jeans, pulled into a small diner for something to eat.

They walked in, praying that for this part of their journey, they wouldn’t be noticed. Thankfully to their chagrin, they weren’t. They sat at the booth looking at the people in the diner, soaking everything in. From people eating and laughing to watching the waitresses joke and flirt with customers.

One waitress in particular caught their eye. Her name was Randi. She was petite with long red hair and large blue eyes. Her eyes danced when talking to the customers and they in turn returned her good service to them in kind, with tips and with their loyalty. Her station was full. And they apparently were among the lucky ones that were sitting at one of her tables that day.

Wearing a maroon waitress shirt and skirt, Randi’s slim legs practically waltzed over to the guys.

“Hello. Welcome to Wes’ Diner, I’m Randi your waitress for today. What can I get ya?” she asked.

Richie was captivated by her hair and spirit. She nearly took his breath away.

“What’s good here darling?” he asked her.
”Everything.” She said.

“I’ve never seen Wes make a bad meal.” She touted.

Jon looks at the menu.

“Hmm. I’ll have the meatloaf and mashed potatoes.” He said as he continued to look at the men. “Oh I’ll take some iced tea to drink also.” He told her flashing a smile.

Randi walked over to Jon and whispered to him. “That’s the best dish in here. You won’t be disappointed.”

“I doubt you’d disappoint anyone.” He said. Randi smiled and walked over to Richie.

“Okay. You’re turn. Pick a dish any dish.” She quipped.

“Are you on the menu?” he asked her.

“Sorry. I just take the orders. Not a part of them.” She joked winking at him.

“I’ll take the fried chicken and mac and cheese. I’ll also have some iced tea.” He said grabbing both Jon’s and his menus for her.

Randi wrote down the order, she smiled slyly at both.

“Good choice.” She said. “Very good choice. I’ll be right back with your iced teas. “ She said.
”You do that.” Richie said.

They both watched her walk away from the table and over to Wes, the cook and owner of the diner. Her legs were tanned and taut. Every muscle was firm and contoured to perfection. Jon and Richie couldn’t help but to picture themselves tracing her legs with their fingers and slowly following the trail to her thighs. They couldn’t help but wonder, what it could be and what was it like? Just for one night.

“Damn, she’s gorgeous! “ Richie said.
”She certainly is.” Jon said. “A little strong with her weren’t ya?” Jon quipped.

Richie laughed. “I have a feeling she can handle it.” He told him.

“I’m sure she can. Obviously she’s had practice. See most of the men in here watching her? Her station’s full.” Jon said.
Randi walked over to the guys with two tall glasses of iced tea and a wedge of lemon on each side.

“Here are your iced teas gentlemen.” She said putting each one down in front of each man. “You’re food will be up in a little bit.” She informed them.

“Thanks.” Jon said. Richie smiled.

“So, where are you guys from?” Randi asked.

“He’s from New Jersey. I live in California.” Richie said.

“Aah. California.” She said. “California Dreaming’ Dreams of hot lights…Movie stars.” She said

“Been there?” Richie asked her. “Just once. When my California Dreams didn’t quite work out. “ She said.

“Really? Were you a model?” Jon asked.
”Nope. I was an actress and a writer.” She told him.

“You write?” Richie said.
”What kinds of things do you like to write?” he asked her.

“Oh stories, plays, poems. Anything that needs a voice to tell another story.” She smiled. “I write more for me now. Satisfies my soul.” She told him.

“Randi, we need you over at table five. “ Wes said.

“Oh my God. I forgot about how long I’ve been over here talking with your both. I’m sorry.” She told them. Her face suddenly felt feverish and flushed from embarrassment.

“Oh darlin’ don’t be. We both write too.” Richie reassured her.
”Good to meet a fellow scribe.” Jon said.
”Really? What do you write.” She asked. “Randi, don’t forget table five.” Wes reminded her.

“What time is your shift over?” Richie said.

“In a couple of hours. “ she told him. “We’ll stick around for a bit.” Richie said. Jon glanced at his friend. After all these years. He was still amazed by his boldness.

Randi smiled. “Okay. Back with your food in a bit.” She said.

She walked away from the table. She went to table five and took their order. She then went to another table and picked up the dishes. Underneath the napkin, was a $20 bill. Randi smiled as she took the tip. Jon and Richie were stunned.

A few moments later Randi came over again with their meals. They were not disappointed. The meatloaf was moist and delicious, the mashed potatoes full of butter and cream was just what Jon’s taste buds needed. The friend chicken that Richie had ordered was just as good as his mother made. And the macaroni and cheese was literally the best mac and cheese he had ever tasted.

Randi came over to check on them mid-point in their meal.

“Hey guys. How’s everything?” she asked.

“This Mac and Cheese is he best I’ve ever had.” Richie said.

“The food is delicious Randi.” Jon said.

“Good. Told you wouldn’t be disappointed,” she said.

“Indeed you did.” Said Richie.

“Would you like dessert? Today’s specials are apple pie, peach pie, and cheesecake.” She said.

“What do you recommend?” Richie asked her.

Randi looks at the menu.

“Hmmm. Well, the apple pie is sweet. Fruit is juicy this time of year. Especially when you top it off with ice cream or whipped cream. I don’t know.” She shrugged.

“We’ll take the apple pie.” They both said at once.

Randi laughed. “It’s great. Let me tell Wes and get these dishes.” She said grabbing the empty dishes.

“Okay, that pie needs to get here.” Richie said.

“What’s your hurry?” Jon asked.

“You hear that description? I haven’t had pie since-“ Richie said. “

“You mean pie like that. “ Jon quipped, “Rich, ever hear that patience is a virtue?” he smirked.

“You dig her too. C’mon?” Richie said.

“Sure I do. But so does half of this diner.” Jon told him. She got a $20 tip from that table.”

“So? We’ll give her a hundred.” Richie said. “What?” Jon said.

“Jon, she’s struggling. She’s a writer.” Jon let out a huge laugh.

“Richie!” Jon said.
”What? Jonny, we have struggled too.” Richie told him.

“You’ve got it bad.” Jon told him. “ Richie nodded. “You should sympathize with her. Look how you struggled. You were a freakin janitor for how long?”

“Long enough. And we’ll wait…It’ll be good to watch your squirm.” He told his friend.

“You too.” Richie said.

Jon took out the note written by Kate. He started at it for several minutes.

“Wondering who Kate is?” Richie said.

“Aren’t you curious?” Jon asked. Richie nodded his head.

“Nope. Flying by the seat of my pants on this one. Just going to go with the flow and see where things take me.”

“Since when?” Jon asked.

“Maybe you and I should have done this long time ago. A little spontaneity every so often believe it or not is quite healthy.” Richie said.

Jon smiled and looked at the note one last time. He put it in his pocket.

“Don’t you wonder what she looks like?” Jon asked him. “What she smells like?”

Richie who was now scribbling something on a napkin looked up. “No! I don’t. Why wonder when we have a beautiful woman here. Jon looked at Randi bounce from table to table. She walked passed them and smiled. Both flashed a smile back.

“See?” Richie said.

“She’s beautiful.” Jon said.

“Yep.” Richie said. He looks at his napkin, takes out his pen once again and begins to write feverishly. Jon leans across the table. “New song?”

“I think…if I had my guitar in here I’d run it by ya.” He said.

“We I have mine outside. “ Jon told him. Richie glances at the napkin.

“Let’s go. Min is outside too.” He said. Randi glances over at the table and walks over to them. Richie and Jon stood up getting ready to exit.

“Leaving? You didn’t have your pie.” She said sadly.

“Oh no. We’ll be outside. Want to run something by him.” Richie told her.

“Oh okay. “ she smiled.

The two of them walked out the door and over to their motorcycles. Randi watched them through the window of the booth where the guys sat. Transfixed, she couldn’t help but watch Richie give Jon the napkin. Jon stared at his intently and smiled. “This is good.” He told Richie.

“Yeah? Still gotta work some stuff out.” He told him. “Like what?” Jon asked

“It’s missing something.” Richie said. “Well let’s see if we can find it” Jon said. Giving him the napkin back.

Both of them go to the back of their bikes and pull out their guitars. Randi looked stunned. She continued to look thru the window.

“Randi? Randi?” Wes said. Looking over her shoulder.

He was a tall man, looked about 50 with silver hair and gray eyes. He was wearing his traditional black apron and black t-shirt.

“Oh, Wes…I’m sorry. Did you need me?” she asked.

Wes looked outside at Jon and Richie leaning against the sides of their bikes tuning up their guitars. Passers by began to cautiously and curiously gather around the two of them. Jon and Richie were oblivious to them.

“Table eight needed more water. But I got it. Things are slowing down a bit. “ Wes said as he continued to watch the onlookers and Jon and Richie with their guitars. “We getting a show?” he asked

“I don’t know.” She said. Richie began to play and also sing the first part of the chorus.

“In a world.

Time forgot…

She stood there…

Never a doubt.”

Jon joined in with his guitar. Richie continued to sing.

“She stood there…never a doubt…” Jon stopped and looked down at the napkin.

“Hmmmm.” He said.

Suddenly out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a middle-aged woman running up to him.

Chapter 2.

The next day Jon awoke to his cell phone vibrating next to the bed stand. He still had on his tuxedo shirt and pants from the night before.

He pushed the empty wine bottle out of his way and picked up his cell.

“Good morning sweetheart. Your baby is ready and in good shape.” Said the voice on the other end.

“Obie?” Jon said laughing.

“Who else would be calling you at 7 in the morning again doing some strange ass thing for you that is not within my job requirements.” He quipped.

“She’s running good man?” Jon asked,
”Jonny, she’s purring like a kitten. I even took her out for a few miles. I tweaked some parts here and there on her, but she’s perfect.”
”Thanks Obie, I appreciate it.” Jon said.

“I’ll keep it on the continuing running tally of things you owe me. Jonny, seriously be well. That’s all we all want. Come back when you’re ready and fuck everyone else. “

“All right man. Thanks and take care.” Jon said. Hanging up the phone.

“He rubbed his eyes and looked at his watch.

“Shit, seven o’clock is still way too early sometimes.” He said to himself.

He got up. Took off his tuxedo shirt and went into the bathroom. He turned on the shower and decided to let the water run a bit before he got in.

Quickly he called the concierge to have a car waiting for him and have room service bring up some coffee and eggs.

He put his things into his leather shoulder bag and put his laptop in it’s own leather bag. He took out a pair of jeans and a black t-shirt and laid them on the bed.

Jon walked into the bathroom. He took off his pants, shoes and shocks and jumped right in.

The warm water ran over his body slowly. He felt as if it were washing away one part of his life. Jon took some body wash from the shower caddy and slowly began to wash himself from head to toe. The body wash smelled of sandalwood and jojoba.

The soapsuds were making a trail from his back down towards the curve of his firm torso. He rinsed off and proceeded with the wash to make a new trail from his tight ass down his thighs and calves.

He rinsed off once more and felt the water rush down his back and ass. The more he thought about things, the more he knew he was making the right decision.

With the rock star persona temporarily washed away. Jon dried himself off and put on his jeans and t-shirt. He noticed that room service had brought up his coffee and eggs. Next to it was a note addressed to him.

Figuring it was a check, he quickly opened it.

“Dear Jon, you may not know me yet. But I needed you to know that I support and love you. Be there for your children and find peace. All of us need you to come back strong and share you gift with us. My bar in Beaumont is called the Lone Star. We’ll be having a party on 4th of June. RSVP me if you can make it. All the best to you, Love Kate.”

Jon looked around quickly wondering how the letter got past security. He looked at it again and laughed.

When he arrived at his home in New Jersey. In the driveway stood Richie with bags in hand smiling. “Well it’s about time.” Richie said.

“Who is Kate?” Jon asked him.

Richie looked dumbfounded. “I don’t know. Why? “ he asked.

“She’s not one of your friends?” Jon asked.

‘Nope.” Richie shook his head.

“This is lady left this note on my tray earlier. I just assumed you knew her.”

He gave the note to Richie.

Richie skimmed the letter and looked just as surprised as Jon.

“No Bro. Don’t know her. I take it she’s a fan?”

“I don’t know. She’s knows we’re going.” Jon said.

That’s why I thought it was one of your friends. The announcement hasn’t been made yet.”
”Hmm. “ Richie said. “I wouldn’t worry about it. If she’s got a place in Texas, we should check it out.”

“Huh?” Jon said.

“Get out of your comfort zone. Let’s have some fun.” Richie told him.

“We don’t know her Rich.”

“So? Let’s get out there and meet her and anyone else that we want to.”

“You’re not worried about some chick we don’t know wanting us to hang with her.”

“No?” said Richie.

Jon looked blankly at him.

“Come on. I have a feeling she’s harmless. “ Richie reassured him.

Jon sighed and glanced cautiously at his friend.

“Oh Jon quit acting like a dad for a few weeks and get back to being a roving rock star.” Obie said walking behind him with the bike.

“There she is.” Jon smiled. As he glanced at the red and white custom Harley Davidson he had taken on many a trip.

“Have fun.” Obie told him. “I’ll be dong something for you while you’re gone that as usual is not in my job description.” Richie laughed. “Ain’t that the truth.”

“Sad part isn’t it. The things I do for our boy Jonny.” Obie winked. Jon smiled.

Obie patted him on the back and drove off.

“Daddy! Daddy!” Jake and Romeo said running over to their father.

He swept them both up his arms and swung them around. Jon was so happy to see them. Jesse with Stephanie followed the younger two with caution.

“How’s my boys?” Jon said giving the two younger boys a kiss on the cheek.

“Good.” Jake said. “Guess what? I made the baseball team!” Jake told him.

“You did? Jakey! That’s great.”

Jesse got to him and hugged him.

“I got a homer. Did Nana tell you?” he asked.

“No, I didn’t get to call her back last night.” Jon told him.

“Hey Dad. Uncle Mookie?” Stephanie said as she greeted both her father and Richie. “Nice speech last night.” She continued.

“Nice article Steph.” Jon said giving her hug. She broke free from him. Looking surprised.

“You mean you’re not pissed?” she asked.

“No. Why would I be pissed? It was very good.” He told her.

“Doesn’t it go under the Jovi oath? No secrets? No airing of Dirty Laundry?” she asked.

Jon smiled

“No. You were just expressing how you felt. I understand that Steph. This year has been hard on everyone. Especially you.”

“Do these guys know yet?”

“Know what?” Jesse asked.

“Dad’s only home for tonight. He postponed his tour so that he could take a vacation. Isn’t that right Dad? Uncle Mookie?” Stephanie glared at Richie.

“Steph, that’s not true. Your father is not going on vacation.” Richie explained.

“Oh Uncle Mookie. Spare me. You think with all that time off that he’ll actually stay home? With us? Give us a break.”

“Stephanie Rose Bongiovi!” Jon yelled.

“John Francis!” she yelled back.
”Don’t talk to Richie like that.” Jon retorted.

“And don’t treat me like Jakey, Romeo and Jesse. I’m not a child. Just go Dad. Go and play rock star, feel better about yourself and then come home. I’m out of here. I’m staying with Nana and Papa. By the way, if you care they’re back home in Jersey. “ She said sarcastically.

“Fine.” Said Jon. “Go.”

“Make sure you send me a freakin postcard.” She said walking into the house.

“Hey Steph watch your mouth!” Richie told her.” “Says who? My mother? She’s not here and him? What does he care?” she said marching past both of them and slamming the side door behind her.

Jon put up his hand and shook his head. “So you’re really leaving us to go on vacation?” Jesse asked him.

“Can we go Daddy?” Jake asked.

“Yay! We go!” Romeo squealed. Jon kneeled down to meet Romeo and Jake. “I’m not going on vacation guys. Daddy just needs time to sort things out. Is it about Mom?” asked Jesse. Tears welled up in Jon’s eyes.

“Yes. I’m not being far to all of you and I need to figure out how to make things better. “

“Daddy, do that here so that you can go to my baseball games.” Jess asked.

“You will all the time. He gets sick of seeing you win all the time. He wants to see me. Right daddy?” Jon snickered. “I love all of you so much. I promise when I get home I’ll go to every game I can. Even if Jesse’s team wins all the time.”

Jesse sighed. “Well if this stops you from being so sad all the time. Go Dad.” Jesse said.

“You sure. You’re okay with this buddy?” Jon asked him.

“I’m not but this isn’t about us. You said. Right?”

“No it’s me.” Jon said.

“Well I’m mad because all you do and come and go! “ Jake said. “That’s all you do! Not right Daddy.” Jake continued.

“Jakey, you know that when I leave I’m going to work.”

:”Not this time. I think Jake’s getting like Steph and I. I’m going to pack” Jesse told him sharply.

“Jess?” Jon said.

“Me too!” Jake said running after Jesse.

“Daddy are you going in the helicopter? I like when you leave in the helicopter.” Romeo said.

Jon shook his head.” No Romeo. I’m not.”

“Oh man. Hey guys, wait up!” Romeo said running after his brothers.

Richie walked over to Jon.

“Steph hates me.” Jon said sadly.

“No Jonny. She doesn’t. “ Richie said.

“No Rich. She really does. See how made she got. I knew she was going to react like that.”

“Jon, that’s grief talking. She loves you. You’re being too hard on yourself.”

“Am I?” he said.

“Yes. Let’s go in the house have a great meal. Hug your kids and ride out of here in the morning. “

Jon nodded.

“A little space won’t hurt anyone right now.” Richie said.

That night at Jon’s Shoe Inn Pub that was on his property, he and Richie feasted on Chicken w/Angel Hair Pasta, salad and red wine. The two laughed and reminiscenced about all the different things that have happened to them on past tours and past motorcycle tours.

The two of them planned out their trip complete with stops in New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, and off to Nashville. They would take the private jet to New Mexico and ride the rest of the way and back home.

Jon brought along his camera, his journal and his guitar. He knew that with Richie around, he somehow or another would wind up either writing or playing somewhere.

Chapter 1.

The Awards Ceremony over, Jon Bon Jovi arrived in is hotel room, looking both grateful and tired that the night was over.

After all these years, tonight he and the band had finally done it. They had won a Grammy. Twenty-five plus years and finally the critics were showing them some respect.

Their latest CD was a huge hit. He and the band were deep in the middle of one of their most successful tours ever.

“But why do I feel so empty?” he thought to himself as he took of his tuxedo jacket threw it on the bed.

He had everything now. A successful career, four healthy and happy children, good friends and a charitable organization that he founded that helps so many people with everything from building homes to funding medical centers.

Jon walked into the bathroom. He took off his tie and glanced in the mirror for a moment. He was tired. Tired of touring, tired of giving interviews, tired of having all of this attention.

He signed and looked down at the gold cufflinks given to him by his late wife Dorothea.

He smiled solemnly. “I did it babe. Can you believe it?” he thought as he took off the cufflink and carefully put them in the medicine cabinet.

She had been gone for almost a year now. Her struggle with her illness not only strengthened him, but also changed his view on life, but on the way he was living his own.

He no longer took anything for granted. Especially his time with his children and bandmates. There was a knock at the door. Jon walked over to it and there stood his good friend and songwriting partner, Richie Sambora.

With a smile on his face, Richie knew only too well what his best friend was going through. Since his recent divorce, he knew what a balancing act it was to be a single-father with a successful career.

He also was wearing a tux, but in true Sambora fashion he had no tie. Just a black silk Gucci shirt unbuttoned down to his chest with his tux jacket on. In his hands were his Grammy and Jon’s.

“Hey man, you forgot this at the after party.” Richie said giving him the award. Jon snickered.

“Thanks.” Jon said taking the award and putting it on the dresser.

Richie looked around at the hotel room. “You doing okay with all of this?” he asked his friend. Jon smiled weakly and sighed.

“I suppose,” he said.

“What’s wrong?” Richie asked.

“Rich, don’t you think the award a little too late?” Don’t get me wrong. I’m thrilled and grateful that we got one but-“

Richie interjected. “Yep. But- you know Jonny, this one’s special. I don’t know if we would have gotten this a while ago that things or the feelings that we have making this CD would have been the same. I'm really proud of this CD. I love our other ones, but the places in our lives that we were in when you and I were writing this, I wouldn’t trade it.” Richie told him.

“True. It’s never been about the critics.” Jon said.

“Damn straight. How many times have you preached it to the choir? Richie asked him. “Our writing became that much better because we didn’t or ever had that pressure to top this song or see if we can win another award for the label to put up in the lobby. We were all able to perform from our hearts and souls freely.”

“I miss my kids.” Jon said bluntly. ‘Jesse had a baseball game today. “ He continued.

“You’ll see him in a day or two Jon.” Richie said in an attempt to reassure him.

“Did you know my mother had to e-mail me an article that Stephanie wrote for internship at Interview?” he said. “Step wrote that article about up with a famous parent months ago. “ he told Richie.

“How was it?” Richie asked.

“It’s very good.” Jon said. “It was written in journal form. She didn’t hold back. She talked about the time I spent away from home. But she also talked about Dot and me and how she loved our relationship. She wrote more about Dot and how she was dealing her illness. But there’s a bit of anger with me in her. Especially at the end. In one part she wrote. Mom’s having a bad day today while dad’s out promoting the new CD. Welcome to my life folks. “

“It’s not your fault Jon. Dot wanted you to keep things as normal as possible.” Richie said.

“Maybe it was wrong do that. Like I said, she wrote that article months ago. And she NEVER told me that it was getting published. Mom told me earlier this afternoon.” Jon told him.

“Oh man, I don’t think that was on purpose. Maybe she didn’t want to tell you until she was sure it would be published. “ Richie told him.

“I can’t do this anymore. Not right now anyways. “ Jon said.

Richie looked at his friend in shock. “Jonny, we can’t quit in the middle of a tour.”

“I need a break. My kids need me. Richie, I sing these songs night after night and for the very first time. I don’t know why and really don’t feel like singing them. Did you know that Jakey things that me going in a helicopter and limos is a normal thing to do and Romeo? He looks at me as if I’m a total stranger. I swear I think he thinks that I’m the cool guy that loves to make sand castles with him on the beach.”

Tears welled up in Jon’s eyes.

“Jonny, trust me, you know I understand. Give this time. This is your 1st time you’ve been gone this long since Dot’s been gone. This is a big transition for everyone. When Heather and I got divorced, you know all I wanted to do was to be with Ava. But bless that little one. She said. “Daddy, it’s okay. I love both you and mommy. Everything will be okay.”

“I need a break that’s all. I don’t want to give our fans that have worked hard to see us a half-assed show. I want to sing and mean it. I can’t do that do them.”

Richie sighed.

“When are you going to tell Paul and everyone else?” Richie asked
”I spoke w/Paul and the guys at Vector and AEG earlier this afternoon.”

“How did they take it?” Richie asked.

“They were fine with it. Paul said it was the best thing that I’ve done in a long time. They’ll be an announcement officially tomorrow afternoon. I’m just postponing the remaining dates for 3 months. If people want to refund their tickets they can, but they also have the option of going to those others shows if they wish.”
Richie was still in shock.

“What’s wrong?” Jon said.

“We’ve never done this before. I’m just in shock. That’s all. “

“Maybe you and Dave would still have marriages if we had done this sooner.” Jon shrugged.

“I doubt it.” Richie smiled.

“That bad huh?” Jon asked.
”You don’t even want to know.” Richie snickered. “Things are so much better now than they’ve ever been. She and I are at a good place. And if you need to do this to get yourself back to that healthy place then do it. We’ll be here when you get back.” Richie told him getting up from the bed.

“Thank you.” Jon said.

Richie walked to the door.

“What’s your plan?” he asked him.

“I think I’ll get my bike out of storage and take a trip, then come home set things right between me and my kids and get my head on straight.” Jon told him.
”Whoa, you’re taking the Harley out.”
Jon nodded.
”Obie was checking it out when I called him earlier.

“Oh hell I’m going with you. “ Richie told him.

Jon smiled. “I thought you’d want to spend time with Ava.’
”Oh I do, but the kids can join us later. And Ava loves spending time with her grandmother. To be honest, right now, my mother needs Ava more than Ava needs to be spending time with me.”

“Um, okay.” Jon said looking surprised.

“Where do you want to go?” Richie asked.

“I’m thinking Southwest and then to Nashville.” Richie nodded.
”Sweet deal. Let me know when you want to go. “ Richie said opening up the door.

“I will. Rich, thanks.” Jon smiled.

“We’re brothers. Never forget that. “ Richie told him as he left.

Jon got up off the bed. He felt relieved that everyone understood how he felt. Earlier, he had spoken to Dave, Tico and Hugh. They were behind him also. Now, it was just his children.

He had this sinking feeling that Steph would be angry this time out. To her, it would be appear that he was taking off and not want to deal with anyone and let someone else deal with things as usual. He hoped that she would eventually understand that sometimes you have to leave in order for you to come back. The boys he thought would be find and would love it and grandma and grandpa’s home in Florida.