Jon bunched the tinfoil covering into a ball. Lotti had prepared a feast as always. A mixture of Italian and
littered the dining room table. Salads, hamburgers, ziti, sausage and peppers all steamed out of tin trays. Americana
He’d worried about overwhelming her with the houseful, but she was in her element, humming as she set out silverware, plates and cups. Bottles of wine and beer stocked the fridge and the bar was open.
David leaned against the doorway. “I smell goodies.” He moved inside and swept Lottie into a hug. “And you, the beautiful woman at the center of it!”
“Mr. David!” She hugged him back. “I know you and Mr. Richie always appreciate my cooking. You just make sure Mr. Hugh comes back along with that little bird you’ve been working with.”
Dave arched a brow. “Renz will be back, don’t you worry. She may look like a bird, but the girl eats!”
He reached out a hand. “How you doin’ Jon?”
Jon tugged him in for a hug. “When’d you get in?”
“Just now,” he grinned. “The new girlfriend wasn’t too happy about it, but I’m free for a bit.”
He slapped him on the shoulder. “You should’ve brought her.”
“I’m not ready to set her free around you monkeys,” he said and walked over to the display of food. “Man, look at all this grub,” he rubbed his hands together then one over his belly. “I’m gonna need to do situps for a week.”
Jon pinched his side. “More than a week, tubbo.”
“I’m wounded,” he said and stuck out his nearly non existent stomach, rubbing. “I’ll have you know Lexi finds my Buddha belly very sexy. Too bad she’s such a good cook. I’m resigned to my fate of blissful fatness.”
Jon shook his head. Within three weeks of touring Davey always slimmed out, but every year he bitched about the weight. All of them were the same when it came to off-tour. Working out just didn’t hold a lot of appeal when you were on a break.
Jon slouched, letting his belt curve under a play belly. “Wine gut.”
David nodded. “Beer gut.”
“Both of you get your guts out of my kitchen until I call for you!” Lotti shooed.
Dave snagged a carrot from the veggie platter and at Jon’s laugh. “What? Now you got me feelin’ guilty. Like I’m a friggin’ pig, man.” He said in an exaggerated NJ accent. He chomped down, “So, do we get to meet this Tessa chick I’ve been seeing in all the papers? She’s smokin’ my friend.”
“She and her friends will be here in a few minutes actually.”
“You’re gonna let her play with the big boys?” He popped the rest of the carrot in his mouth and chewed. “This I gotta see.”
“Shut up, Dave. Don’t scare her when she gets here.”
“I am highly offended,” His bushy eyebrows disappeared into his platinum curls. “Just what kind of monster do you think I am?”
He pushed him into the living room. “The annoying kind.”
“Hey you hear this? I’m annoying!” he said to the room at large.
Various murmurs of agreement came back.
“You’re just jealous of my comedic superiority!” Dave said and dropped onto one of the leather couches. “Hiya, Teek.”
Tico clamped him into a rough hug. “Hola mi amigo. How’s life treatin’ you kid?”
“Eh, you know how it is. Always fun with two households for the kids.” They chatted about babies and family as the house started to fill.
Jon flicked a glance at his watch. “Hey Rich, what time did you tell Tessa to come?”
“Didn’t give a time, bro.” His eyebrow quirked, “Worried?”
“No,” he looked down again,ten after eight. “Was she closing up?”
“Call her, asshole. I’m not her keeper.”
Jon flipped him off and dug for his phone. Swearing he noticed that he hadn’t turned his phone back on. “Shit,” he muttered and went into the next room. As the phone powered up, he winced when he saw the eleven text messages and three voicemails.
“Hey you, all hell broke loose at the office. Nic, Adam and I will be there around eight. You know,” her voice said conversationally. “I’m not sure why, but there’s always some meltdown when I have plans. See you soon, love ya.”
Another round of people arrived, this time Hugh and his wife, Kellie. “Hey there,” Jon smiled warmly and hugged Kel first then his bassist. “What have you crazy newlyweds been doing?”
The door still was still open as they laughed over Hugh’s newest tale of car trauma. He got into more accidents than an eighty year old woman with cataracts. As he was closing the door, he felt resistance.
“What we get an invite and now you won’t let us in?” Nic peeked her head around the door. She smiled, “Hiya, Jon.”
Opening the door wide, he grinned and pulled her in for a hug. “Hi Nic,” Looking over her smooth swing of dark hair, he reached out a hand to her husband. “Nice to see you again. Adam, right?”
Adam nodded, a smile firmly in place. “Nice to see you again too, Jon.”
He could see the reserved politeness in his eyes. Looks like Tessa’s friends were protective to the end. “Welcome to my home, make yourselves comfortable. There’s food and drink in the kitchen through there,” he pointed through the vestibule into the main part of the house. “I’d be happy to show you guys around later.”
Nic slid her hand through her husband’s stiff arm and smiled. “That’d be amazing, thanks.” Tugging, she got Adam moving. “C’mon, sweetheart, let’s see just how supersized his kitchen is.”
Adam looked back to Tessa who was standing in the doorway then down at Nic. “Alright, sure.”
Jon smiled, his eyes twinkling when he got to Tessa. Her usually smooth hair was fussed into curls that haloed around her head, teasing her jawline. Her green eyes were heavily lashed and that wide mouth painted a burgundy red to match her sweater. Slim fitting jeans hugged her hips ending in wicked heeled boots. He slid his palm around the back of her jeans, cupping her ass. “You look amazing.”
She skipped forward at his quick grab and gasped as his lips captured hers. He poured all the day’s frustrations into her, his body easing, his mind clearing as her tongue touched his. When he heard the soft purr in her throat he smiled against her mouth and pushed her a step back until her she was against the door. His thumb brushed along the underside of her chin and down to the scooped line of her sweater as the kiss intensified.
When her fingers gripped the loops of his jeans as she kissed him back, stroke for stroke he crowded in on her, lifting his head reluctantly. “Hi.”
Her eyes were closed and her lips flattened together as if she was trying to hold onto the kiss. Leaning in again, he watched as her eyes fluttered open, the green was clear and bright just before she angled up to taste him again. Her arms wound around his neck as they both went under again. Kissing Tessa brought him to center. It could wreck him and heal him all in one taste.
He heard the click of heels and stepped away, to see Nic backing away from the hall back into the kitchen.
Tessa’s fingers slid along his shoulders and over his chest. “Is there a reason you kissed me into the next stratosphere?”
He nipped her lower lip. “Mistletoe,” he said and pointed up.
Her eyes danced, “Damn, and here I thought it was just because it was me. How’d you greet Richie?”
Laughing he hooked his arm around her hips and walked her inside. “He didn’t get tongue.”
“Well, I’m just the lucky one,” she said and drilled a finger into his side.
“Absolutely,” laughing he led her into the parlor. “Hey guys, I’d like you to meet Tessa Donovan.”
The entire room turned at Jon’s voice. He felt her go still and rubbed his hand along her hip. “We’ll start with Hugh and Kellie,” he pointed and when they waved he moved on. “Tico is here without Alejandra, his wife. She’s home with baby Hector.”
Tico moved forward and shook her hand. “Nice to finally meet the woman that has our Jonny in a twist.”
Tessa laughed, “Feeling’s mutually twisty.”
Tico grinned, popping a cigarette into his mouth.
Jon went from person to person, introducing Lorenza, Bobby and few other friends that crashed the party. Finally he turned to his keyboardist. “And here we have the annoying part of our introductions. This is David,” Jon said with a suffering sigh.
Dave stood, “He calls me annoying? He just doesn’t like to admit that I’m the personality of the group, he’s just the name.” He leaned down and brushed her cheek with a quick kiss, then palmed Jon’s face and pushed him away. Drawing her into a quick step, he pushed her into the kitchen. “Don’t listen to anything he says, you come with me for refreshment.”
Richie yelled from the living room. “Hey! I didn’t get a kiss!”
“Back off Sambora! You’ve already met her.”