Jon dashed back to his house and juggled his buzzing phone out of his pocket as he pushed open the door, “Hello,” he said distractedly. The security system started beeping at him and he fumbled the phone, dropping it to the floor. “Shit! Just a second,” he called and finally managed to punch in his code.
“For fuck’s sake,” he muttered and picked up his phone that skittered across to the staircase. “Hello?”
“Jon? Everything okay over there?”
A jitter of misplaced guilt boiled in his gut. He'd been thinking about Tessa non-stop for nearly two days. “Hey, Dot, sorry just got me coming in the door.”
“Are you busy?"
He bit back a sigh. "Never too busy for you, you know that." He meant it. No matter how many troubles they had with each other, there's nothing he wouldn't do for the mother of his children.
"I hate to ask, but could you pick up the kids today from school? I have a competition for the Junior League and I’ll never make it to the school on time.”
He shuffled his day in his head; he’d have to get a move on the errands and do his phone calls on the road. “Sure, not a problem.”
“Oh you’re a life saver. Jen took the week off to go visit her family. I should be able to meet you at the house about four o’clock…is that okay?”
“Yeah, that’s fine." He paused a moment, "It works out great actually so I can see the kids for a bit before I leave.”
“Off to Nashville again?” she asked conversationally.
“Yeah, Richie and I have some more work to do. Hey if you have a minute can we talk about Christmas?”
“What about it,” she asked cautiously.
“Would you mind if I took the kids for Christmas Eve? I’ll bring them to the house bright and early on Christmas day, but I kinda want to show them that it’s just as important at my house as it is at yours.”
The other end of the line was silent for a moment. “I don’t know, Jon, we’ve always done the Christmas Eve thing together. Do you think it would confuse Romeo and Jakey?”
He forced himself to take a breath, they’d fought about the kids in the beginning and it just wasn’t worth the mess to start it up again. Taking the kids away from their mother just wouldn’t be something he’d ever do. She was the most stable between the two of them when it came to time and staying in one spot.
He knew she was what was best for their kids, but he wasn’t going to be that Dad that saw them on alternating weekends and one week in the summer. He just couldn’t be that kind of father. “We’re going to be starting some new traditions now, and Christmas is a good place to start.”
“I thought we’d made those decisions before, Jon. We wanted to keep things as simple as possible for them.”
Talking with Tessa had gotten him thinking. He wanted to make things special for the kids here in their home...In his home. “I’ve been thinking a lot about this, and I really want Christmas to be important in both of our houses.”
“Let me think about it and we’ll talk about it when I get back home, I have to go. I’ll talk to you later about this, I promise.”
Jon snapped his phone shut and gripped it until he heard the squeak of plastic grinding. They were his kids too, dammit. He took his stairs three at a time and dropped his clothes as he stepped into the shower.
It was lowering to think that a near stranger had him rethinking something as basic as how to deal with his kids on a holiday. He was far too dependent on Dorothea to keep things normal for their children. This would be good for them and for him. He still had time to enjoy his kids and he couldn't lose sight of that because it would be easier to do things her way. He'd never done things the easy way, so why start now?
He soaped up his body, then his hair and ducked under the spray, the scent of his shampoo, which normally didn’t register in his morning routine, brought a swift vision of smooth flesh and bright hair to mind.
And just like that, Tessa crowded his thoughts. Flashes of her in his shower and wrapped around him, had his groin tightening in memory of her touch, her laugh and that silky fall of hair he couldn’t resist.
He wasn’t used to getting wrapped up in thoughts of a woman, especially if he’d been with her in almost every conceivable way through out an evening. What was it about her that stuck with him? And just what was he going to do with himself in Nashville without her for at least three days.
With a roar of disgust he turned the taps on cold and willed his dick to behave. He had so much work to do and so little time to do it. He stumbled out of the shower ten minutes later, completely sure he’d never be warm again in his life.