Jon flipped his cell shut and pulled the pillow over his face. He’d had phone sex before, well he’d go as far as calling it phone foreplay but he’d never had to handle things himself before. He’d freely admit that he got off on making a good girl like Tessa show a little of that bad girl side he knew was lurking inside. To know that she’d been that turned on by him had him hard again.
With disgust he rolled of the bed and shucked his jeans, tossing them into his flight bag. He padded through the plush bedroom naked. He and Richie stayed here often and had taken to renting the hospitality suite whenever they came into town. They each had their own room, so it was just easier. The room had decent acoustics when they ended up in the middle of an all nighter as well.
Hell, they probably should have gotten an apartment they were down there so much. In fact, Richie had mentioned doing just that when they’d checked in yet again to the Renaissance in the heart of Nashville. Jon stepped into the corner shower and arrowed the two separate jets and baked in the steam and the heat of the water. Ducking his head under the spray he hoped like hell he wouldn’t need the cold taps before he got out of the shower.
Ten minutes later he had on a pair of warm-ups and one of his Soul t-shirts on. He wandered into the shared suite and stretched out on the plush couch and flipped on the TV. Thanking the satellite gods he found a sports channel and settled in to watch a football game.
Around three Richie rolled in and tried unsuccessfully to be quiet. “I’m up, man, no need to pretend you’re not a drunk elephant.” Jon reached out of the dark and switched on the lamp behind him. He was tired of trying to sleep anyway. He’d been sitting in the dark for awhile, unable to face the big bed in his room.
Richie dropped the Stetson he’d taken to wearing on the ladder back chair at the breakfast bar. “Fuck you, I’m not drunk.”
Jon rolled onto his side and propped his head up with his hand. Richie did look pretty wiped, but his brown eyes were clear. “So what band did you shanghai then?”
A wide smile split his face. “I found this great little blues band at that tiny bar we found last time we were here.”
“Did you hide in the back with the brass section?”
“You know it my brother, I just wanted to play. No one knew who I was. It was great!”
Jon knew exactly how he felt. He envied Richie’s love for the music side and the way he could blend into the woodwork when he felt like it. He wouldn’t trade his life, but it was nice to sing for the pure joy of it. It’d been awhile since he’d been able to do that.
Richie dropped into the oversized chair next to him. “So what’s got you sitting here like a moody bitch?”
Jon snuffed out a soft laugh and dropped onto his back again. “You won’t believe me if I tell you.”
Richie leaned forward, his interest piqued. “Now I gotta know.” He steepled his fingers together unconsciously stretching his fingers after playing all night.
Jon dropped his hand palm up over his eyes.
“Oh hell, Jonny, it’s a chick isn’t it?”
Jon’s head popped up and he angled to look at Richie. “How the hell did you know that?”
“C’mon it had to happen sooner or later. You got shit timing though, bro.”
“No kidding.” Jon swung his feet off the couch and got up; pushing his hair out of his face he moved to the window and pushed the curtain aside. “She’s great though.”
Richie fell back against the cushioned backing of the chair and took a good look at him. He knew Jon better than anyone and while at first he would have said moody bitch, now he wanted to change it to lonely. “You pining there, son?”
Jon whirled around and shot a searing glance his way. “I do not pine.”
Richie chuckled. “Oh yeah you are. C’mon give it up, what’s her name?”
Jon let the curtain fall back into place and sighed. It sucked that Richie knew him so well. If any one else had said it he’d probably taken a swing. What pissed him off more was that was exactly what he’d been doing. “Tessa,” he said and blew out a disgusted breath.
“Well that’s classier than you usually end up with.”
“Fuck you, dude…what’s your latest chickie’s name? TIffani with an I?”
“Tonya,” Richie corrected. “But she’s history. She got sick of waiting around for me. Said I was never home enough. She can’t handle a few weeks of me being away? She can’t handle nothin’.”
They sat in companionable silence for a minute before Richie stood and went to the bar. “Glass of wine?” he asked over his shoulder
Jon nodded. Maybe that was just what he needed to finally get to sleep. Maybe then he’d be able to get the taste of her out of his mouth. “What have we got on the table tomorrow?”
Richie’s long stride had him across the room with a glass before he could take a step. “Oh no, buddy. You don’t drop a bomb like that stop there.”
Jon took the wineglass gratefully. “There’s not much to tell really. She owns a bookstore in town, right across from the park.”
“So is she smokin’?”
Jon’s lip kicked up in the corner. “Yeah she is. Tiny little thing, too. I don’t think I’ve been with a woman like her before. First time I really met her she was dressed up like a pirate.”
The laugh nearly came with a nostril of wine. “A what?”
“Yeah, she does this whole children’s reading time on Sundays at her shop. She got all into it and nearly knocked me over when she swung low to get the kids attention with a face to face. All big green eyes and dark lips.”
Richie waggled his eyebrows. “So’d she wear the pirate outfit to bed with you?”
Jon knocked back the last of his wine. “Fuckin’ pig,” was his only answer. He crossed to the bar and refilled his glass and leaned back on the counter.
Richie bobbed his head. “True, dat.”
It felt good to tell someone about her. His stomach jittered a bit but it evened out. “I actually asked her to come with me,” Jon blurted out before he could think about it.
Richie sat up straight. Nashville had been their little sanctuary lately. It was really the only place on the earth that no gave a rat’s asshole who they were. The country singers and songwriters were more than generous with their time, but they also didn’t look at them as anything other than musicians here. This was their turf and he and Jon were just regular guys. In fact they took great pains to keep out of the limelight.
Maybe that’s why he wanted to bring her down there. At home there’d be a camera at every turn. Here, Jon was barely noticed. Hell, he was the one that everyone wanted to sit in with the band, not Jon. He couldn’t deny that it felt good to be recognized for his playing by near strangers.
“So why isn’t she here?” Richie asked finally.
“Hmmm?” Jon mumbled distractedly.
“Where is she?”
“Rich, it’s almost Christmas. She’s a shop owner, where do you think she is?”
“Doesn’t she have employees for that kind of thing?”
Jon’s head fell back in a rueful laugh. “She’s got a tiny little place. Really cool though, the kids loved it there, but she’s lucky if she has ten employees. I’d probably go with five to be truthful.”
Richie shrugged his shoulders. “That’s cool.”
“Yeah, she’s really cool actually. Funny. Damn if she isn’t funny,” he said with a laugh.
Richie drained his glass and put it on the end table. He stroked his neck, his fingers rasping over the day’s growth he found there. Jon had been pretty closed mouth about the women he’d dated since the divorce but he wasn’t built to be alone. Jon needed the stability of a good woman to keep him in line and out of his own way. “I think I gotta meet this, Tessa.”
“Are you bringing Ava to Jersey to see your folks for Christmas?”
“Yeah, Heather’s going to let me take her to my Pop’s since he’s finally feeling better. We’re going to stay in town until New Year’s then I’ll bring her back to L.A.”
“Cool, why don’t you stop in at my house on Christmas Eve. The kids would love to see Ava.”
“Excellent. That sounds like a plan.”
“And if you’re lucky maybe you’ll meet Tessa while you’re in town.”
“Now that is a definite. I gotta know who’s got you all girlie.”
“Fuck you, Richie.”
Richie yawned through a laugh. “Hey, I’m going to hit the sheets. First time I’ll sleep before the birds start singin’ in a week.”
Jon smiled at his friend. “Set your alarm. We gotta be in the studio by ten.”
Richie frowned. “Ten? Fuuuuuck.”
“I want to finish up in the studio here then we can take it back home and finalize things.”
Richie waggled his eyebrows. “Tessa’s waiting, huh?”
“Shut up.” But he was smiling when he went back into his room. The two glasses of wine had mellowed him enough that he figured he’d actually get some sleep tonight. He stripped and slid into the crisp cotton sheets, dragging the pillow under his head and body and wishing it was Tessa.