Chapter 55

Jon ducked backstage, nodding to the bare bones staff that worked in the underbelly of a club. “Shit,” he muttered under his breath as he first heard, then saw his other half lost in a song. Getting Richie to notice anything but his music right now was about as useless fighting the tide.

Pinching the bridge of his nose, he closed his eyes and rested a shoulder along the battered frame support of the stage. He’d brought Tessa in with him to let her see a little of what he’d been experiencing and maybe let her have a taste of Richie in his element.

He kind of avoided the subject of her love for his music, but had to admit it was going to take some getting used to. He’d spent the better part of his life with a woman who let him do his own thing, rarely involving herself in his business unless it involved his children. Tessa was the exact opposite. She was interested, even excited for him.

Glancing across the stage, out to the scattered tables he found her. The smile on her face was soft and interested. The female voice swirled through Richie’s soulful strumming, blending into a soothing ache.

A whispery croon that signaled the end of the song tugged at his gut. Would it feel the same if he let himself perform for her, knowing it was for her? The woman’s voice bled into another song, this time a cover of a lively Joplin tune that suited her smoky voice.

Jon signaled to the guitarist he’d met in the last visit through and nodded toward Richie. With the collaborative effort Richie easily bowed out and made his way back to him.

“Sorry man, I got side tracked.” Richie began, ready for the wrath of Jon on a schedule.

“Hey, no big deal, I’m used to it by now.”

Richie had the good grace to color a bit around the throat. “Yeah well this band is really rockin’. It was hard to tear myself away.”

He nodded, “I can see that…You think they’d mind if I sang?”

Richie’s eyebrows shot into his bangs. “Really?”

Jon nodded to Tessa’s table. “I think I wanna sing to my girl.”

Richie’s brown eyes softened. “Yeah? That’s sweet…who are you, again?”

“Stupid in love, nice to meet you, Asshole.”

Richie gave him a shot in the arm. “I knew it was gonna happen the minute I laid eyes on her.”

“Yeah well, she surprised the fuck outta me.”

“So, what do you want to sing?”

Jon said the name of a song and Richie’s eyebrows returned into his forehead. “Do you even remember the words?”

“It’s been stuck in my head for most of the week, actually. So, do you remember how to play it?”

“I’ll follow your lead; it’ll come back to me.” He headed back out onto the little stage and murmured to the other guitarist. Because they were a finely honed bar band, the request was easily met and a stool was set beside Richie.

The lights went low and Jon met the singer on her way back. “Thanks.”

“Anything for love, sugar.”

Jon gave her a rueful smile and settled on the stool with a guitar. He strummed, immediately finding the heart of the song with Richie at his side. The lights stayed low for a moment then slowly brightened.

His voice was low and gravely…

I thought miracles were make believe

It's hard to hold what you can't see

I find the faith I need

Every morning when you wake up next to me

He found her in the crowd and smiled.

If all the shit we take for granted

Took the train and left us stranded

Let's make a stand and wave goodbye

Each night I see the world through brand new eyes

In my heart I hear the music playing

Can you hear it?

He continued to strum along with Richie, feeling the rightness of the lyrics as her hand rose to her mouth. His very simple, yet so very complex Tessa dashed away a stray tear as she leaned forward.

Take my hand

To the laughter, to the tears

To all those wasted years that disappeared

Hey, they got us here

Take my hand

The lyrics took on new meaning, softening to a new beginning. One that he wanted more than anything he could remember in a long time.

For the good fight and the bad

For the dreams that we still have

Looking back on it all, baby

We're still standing here

Take my hand

We can dance

Her fingers moved from her mouth to wrap around her middle as she rocked, laughing a little as he continued.

Baby, lay down next to me

I want to feel each breath you breathe

In your kiss I taste the truth

I wanna get all tangled up in you

In your heart I hear the music playing

I can hear it

He met her eyes as he finished the verse, needing to make her understand what she meant to him, even with reality coming to bite them in the ass. His own gut ached at the thought of leaving, of sharing her with his schedule and the demands she had herself with a business.

Take my hand

We can dance

With the laughter, with the tears

We can dance

With all those wasted years that disappeared

Hell, they got us here

Take my hand

We can dance

Lyrics that could have been lost in the muddled, too busy brain of his flowed for her. He glanced at Richie and they both smiled as the moment began to fade. Richie’s soulful voice blending with his as the song finished.

With the good fight and the bad

With the dreams that we still have

Looking back on it all, baby

We're still standing here

And when the song is over

We'll still be going on.

In my heart, I hear the music playing

Take my hand…

And as the song played itself out, he went back to watching Tessa with her big, green eyes and willed her to know how he felt. He hoped that his words would be enough for tonight. He stood, giving the crowd a genuine smile as they clapped at the impromptu show he put on with a single woman in mind.

The house band bassist leaned into the mic, “We’re going to take a little break and be right back folks.”

Jon shook hands with the players and thanked them for letting him invade their space. He left Richie to do his own goodbyes and felt a hand at his arm.

“She must be very special, sugar.”

Jon smiled at the singer. “More than I realized even five minutes ago.”

“Well, you come in and sing with me anytime. I like your brand of croon, darlin’.”

“Thanks,” he paused.

“Jo. I’ve been playing in this place for the last year or so.”

“Next time I’m in town, you got it.” He pressed a kiss to her cheek and squeezed her hands before he made his way down the stairs. Catching Tessa’s eye he waved her to him. Now that the bar knew it was him for sure, he and Richie would need to leave the back way.

Watching her snake her way through the tables and people he couldn’t help the grin when she got to him. Before he could say a word she dropped her purse at his feet and was on him. The sweet blend of pears and Tessa surrounded him just as her taste tripped through him.

Her arms came around his shoulders and her fingers dove into his hair as she poured herself into the kiss. His fingers gripped her waist then her back as he dragged her into him. He came up for air, “Rewards like that...I’ll sing every day.”

She laughed and rocked back on her heels. “I couldn’t take it,” she said and sniffled. “I can’t believe you did that.” Pressing her nose into the small slice of chest, she breathed him in trying to steady herself.

Seeing Richie on the stage had left her heart pounding, but watching Jon melt out of the darkness had stolen her breath. The little known B-side took what little sanity she had and left her raw.

He took her hand and scooped up her discarded purse. “Time to get out of here, Tessa,” he said handing it to her.

She saw Richie wave over Jon’s shoulder and she smiled. She laid a hand on his cheek, “Thank you.” Then turned follow Richie’s gesture, needing a minute to get herself back together.

They quickly moved through the narrow alley and came out on Main Street. A soft rain had begun to fall, prompting them to pick up their step. Henry rounded the corner and with the precision of a man used to the getaway he pulled up and they all piled in.

A few fans gathered and Richie waved as they pulled away. Jon and Richie started talking about the band, Jon’s hand settled on her thigh and she linked their fingers before looking out on the slick streets and shiny lights of the night.

The ride to the airport gave her time to put herself back together. Her stomach still jittered from his gravely croon and the look in his eyes as he sang to her. Never in a million years had she expected that from him.

The car stopped and she dragged in a startled breath when the door opened. Henry offered his hand and she took it, hurriedly releasing it when she hit pavement. Jon got out behind her and he dropped his hand to her lower back. The small, private airport had them moving directly from car to plane.

Climbing the stairs she was a little disappointed to see that it was now a professional jet, instead of the Jovi Jet she remembered from videos and articles. But the disappointment was short lived when she saw the plush couches and seats. No cramped seating on this little baby.

Jon followed her to the center of the plane and he sunk into one of the oversized leather chairs. Richie stretched out on the couch across from him and laughed when Jon toppled her into his lap. “I sleep like the dead, but you guys aren’t having sex out here. Even I can’t sleep through that.”

Tessa hustled off of Jon and curled into the matching leather chair beside him. “We’ve had enough sex, thank you very much.”

Richie just looked at Jon. “He’s not doing it right then.”

Jon toed off his boot and flung it at him. Richie just laughed and tossed it back to him. “I only speak the truth, brother.”

“Wouldn’t want to embarrass you with all the noise I make anyway,” Tessa said smartly, shutting them both up.

They both laughed and Richie shut his eyes, “Night kids.”

“I should take you in the bathroom and jump you just because,” she said in a low voice.

Jon turned to her. “I could go for that.”

She snuggled in and shut her eyes. “I just bet you could.” She only smiled when she heard his big sigh.

SONG: We Can Dance


Peg said...

I'm loving it - thank you, thank you. And you know this is my fave B-side so i sincerely thank you for using it within your story.

You rock as always.

mamybest said...

wow tara! that was great! loved every line of it!!!


Anonymous said...

awww. i have a few tears running down my face! and i loved hearing the song as i was reading it though it was a little shocking at first. i woke up to another amazing chapter-i love this way of starting the day. great job!

Anonymous said...

WOW that was amazing, i have been reading here for awhile now and every day its the first thing i check online to see if any new pages are posted but today was a great surprise with the song .... thanks for the surprise and putting a smile on my face listening to the song as i read, it felt like Jon was right here ...
You a great writer!!


Anonymous said...

That was briliant - I absolutely loved this chapter - What a dream come true - and being able to hear the song play while reading just pushed it over the top. Thanks for starting the day and the month out right for us.

Anonymous said...

Not wanting to digress from the story but I do love that song! Such a shame it wasn't on the album! Nice touch adding it to this chapter.

Anonymous said...

What a great surprise! Reading the story with that awesome song (one of my favs) in the background was a beautiful effect! You're rockin' it!!!

edgebag said...

I loved this!!!!! Thank you for the wonderful surprise! Everything about this was great.

Anonymous said...

Just awesome girl. Nothing more to be said than that. And you picked my fave song!!!! Great chatper Tara.

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

Just found your blog and got caught up on this amazing story! Wow, the song playing really set this scene! I have to find this "B" side, how can I get it?

Tara Leigh said...

Those interested in the song, please contact me privately.


Nikki said...

oh that song is a perfect fit on here. I love to hear the music as I read.

Starr said...

I loved that you added the music. It added an additional romantic element to the chapter. I added music too in my last chapter of Born To Be His Baby, and some of my readers seemed to enjoy the chapter even more.

Great job Tara!

SoulGirl said...

OMG this song was CROONY delicious. You know now you need to send it to me lol.

And wow I love song scenes, I really do like this. You wrote this really well breaking the lyrics and the thoughts up. I love that style :)

Now she knows he's serious I hope awwww. :)

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