Chapter 134

Jon gripped the side of the dresser. God, not now. Richie grasped his shoulder with a look that spoke of everything he was thinking without a single word. Nodding to his friend, he slowly unwrapped his hand from the edge of his highboy.

“Hey Lottie, let’s go down and find something to eat for Jonny, huh? He hasn’t eaten right in days.”

As it was intended, the idea of taking care of him did the trick and the indecision in her dark eyes was replaced with a game plan. “Yes, yes. All right, we’ll find something in the cupboard.”

Forcing himself not to sigh, he waved his ex-wife in. “Hey Dot, I was just going to call you.” And he was relieved to know that it wasn’t a lie. He was going to call and see if he could go over there and see his kids.

“I’ve been trying to get a hold of you for days now.”

Her tone was brittle. He wasn’t sure what to expect here, didn’t know how to talk to her anymore. Since she’d asked for a divorce that connection they’d always had seemed to have shriveled up and died. “I know, and I’m sorry. Things have been…hard.”

“Do you have any idea what they are saying about you out there?”

He pressed his lips together. “No, I can honestly say I don’t have a clue what they are saying about me.”

She lifted a finger to him. “Don’t you take that tone with me, Jon. This is effecting more than just you and your…whatever the hell she is.”

He sucked in his bottom lip, nearly cutting the tissue with his teeth. He would hear her out, stay calm. It had to be hard to hear about this from TV and friends. Instead of trying to speak he simply looked at her, waiting for her to go on.

“You’ve always been careful with how you’re seen in public. No matter the infidelities, the problems in our marriage and the problems within your goddamn band, no one knew the real truth.” She flipped her hair over her shoulder and fixed her glasses as they slid down her slim nose. Her was voice low and vicious as she stepped forward. “Three seconds after this Tessa woman is in your life, she’s having your love child. Are you kidding me? Do you have any idea what this looks like to your kids? They don’t even know her. You don’t know this woman, it could all be a deliberate—“

“No!” The bellow startled even him. He didn’t have a comeback for a full minute.

She stood there, her breath ragged as she crossed her arms. “Did it even occur to you that she’d try to trap you into—“

“You’ve never been more wrong about a person in your entire life.” His voice was arctic. “You dare to come in this house and call Tessa a…what?” He stepped forward angrily, uncaring that she’d actually taken a step back. “Are you calling her a whore? An opportunist? Do you have any idea what she’s dealing with right now?” What I’ve lost. What I’m so afraid I’m going to lose.

The anger blinded him as he turned away from her and slammed his hand into the door. The power of the punch zinged through his hand followed by a pain that snapped him back even as it brought a sting of tears to his eyes. He flattened his hand against the door, the throb intense and clarifying. “Get out.”

“I’m sorry that she’s in the hospital, but—“

“Get out!” he raged, unable to look at her.

“Your kids are embarrassed and Stephanie doesn’t want to go to school because of the talk.” His head swiveled at her words, the stiff, formality taking the burn out of his anger. She dropped her hands to her sides.

He closed his eyes, pressing his forehead onto the pulse of pain in his knuckles. God, everything was shit. “I’ll be over in a little while to talk to Stephanie and Jesse.” He spoke to the door, knowing that she was uninformed by her words, but unable to care enough to set her straight. He’d thought the entire world knew by now. Were they under the assumption that Tessa was just in the hospital seeing a gynecologist?

He opened the door, looking away as she stopped in front of him. He was much too afraid that he’d snap if he looked at her. He knew there was friction between Dot and Tessa, but to go this far?

“I hope you can explain it better to your son and daughter than I could.” She strode out of the room, the hollow thud of her boots changing to a quick click as she headed down the stairs.


He sucked in one calming breath after another. “How does she not know?”


Jon’s head turned at Richie’s completely lost tone. “How does she not know?”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

He mashed his teeth together. “Dot has no idea that Tessa lost the baby. She’s in here railing at me that I knocked up my girlfriend and what’s that going to say to our kids. Hell, she practically called Tessa a gold digger!”

“Are you fucking shitting me?” Richie’s mouth was literally hanging open. “I watched the reports, I—“

“Did you actually talk to her? All those times she called…did you actually say hey Jon’s out of commission, Tessa’s hurt?”

“I didn’t know what to say, so I just said she was at the hospital.”

“Son of a bitch!” Jon tried to curl his fingers but the pain was enough to start a frenzy of swear words.

“Jon, I didn’t think it was any of her business. It’s Tessa’s business to tell—“

He shook his head. “No, I get it. I know.” He patted Richie’s shoulder with his good hand. “Crap.”

“What are you going to do?”

“Go see my kids.” He sighed. “After you take me to the hospital.”

“I think you should go see the kids first, I mean no offense…”

Jon laughed, but there was no humor in the sound. He held up his hand. “I think I might have broken my hand.”


An hour and a half later, he walked out of Riverview with a bottle of Tylenol Three in his pocket and a very ugly, very annoying, green cast. He’d broken two of his knuckles and jammed another bone in the flat part of his hand on top. Just freakin’ phenomenal.

“Did you forget how to throw a punch?” Richie asked.

“Shut up.”

“No seriously. I mean I know you’re more the lover than a fighter type but…”

“I hate you.” Jon sat back in Richie car. “Just head to Dot’s.”

“I didn’t see a bruise on her when she left. Pity.”

Jon rolled his eyes and gave him a dry look. “Like you’d know anything about hitting a woman.”

He nodded, his lower lip jutting out. “Eh, you’re right. I did cold cock a shithead that could’ve been a woman. He certainly seemed like he had a vagina with the way he punched.”

He couldn’t stop the laugh. “Jesus, Rich.”

“What?” He smiled, his dimple deep with humor.

He hissed as he dug his finger under the palm, between the small board jammed into the cast. Christ, it itched already. He contemplated taking the T3 for the throb, but figured his lack of sleep would not mix well with codeine. “Only you could make me laugh after I broke my hand.”

“So how close was that to being a byproduct of Dot’s head being split open like a cantaloupe?”

“It was a close call.” Jon sighed. “I don’t think I’ve ever been quite that angry in my life. I’d never have hit her of course, but you know that phrase, ‘see red?’ Yeah, it’s fuckin’ true.” He thumped his head against the headrest. “How the hell did it come to this? I’ve tried to do everything right and still my ex-wife actually sees my girlfriend as a gold digging opportunist? I mean, seriously?”

“I think that’s half your problem, Jonny.”

Honestly surprised, he shook his head. “That I did everything right?”

Richie shrugged, downshifting for a light. He turned his head to look him square in the eyes. “You’re worrying about pleasing everyone instead of the one person that matters.”

“My kids?”

“Nah, man. Your kids love you to pieces already. You don’t have to please them. They just want time with you, end of story. If Tessa’s the be all, end all…If this is it! The chick you seriously want to marry or even just start a new life with, then you’ve got to be all in.”

“I am—“

Richie shifted, merging into traffic. “Hell no, you’re not.”

Jon stared at him. Of course he was. He’d done everything to show Tessa that she meant the world to him.

“She hasn’t met your folks, she hasn’t really met your kids beyond the, ‘Oh holy fuck, Dot dropped by unannounced’ thing. You’re so worried about Dorothea and the kids getting hurt you’ve been doing everything but putting Tessa first.”


“Just shut up, Jon. Sit there and think about it. I’m not one of those assholes you can feed your bullshit to. I know you.”

He knew his mouth was hanging open, but he couldn’t help it. He hadn’t done that, had he? It was all to protect his kids. To—

“It’s not like you did it on purpose, man. If you were protecting anyone it was yourself. Hell, I can tell by the look on your face that you didn’t even know you were doing it. You love her man, now you gotta show it.”

“I tell her all the time.” Dammit, he said it all the time to her. She had to know it.

“You can tell a woman you love her until you’re blue in the face. She’s never going to believe it unless you show it. You hide her like—“

“I don’t though,” he interrupted. “We’ve gone out together a lot.”

Richie’s eyebrow rose. “How do you introduce her?”

“I just…” He thought back to all the functions that he’d gone to, all the people they’d met. They were both careful not to use labels for each other, but who’d really started that?

“Yeah…something to think about, huh?”


rike said...

outch - is the door broken, too?

It is good Richie gave him a reality check. It is absolutely ok to protect the kids, but he forgot Tessa to include in his real life

mamybest said...

thanks for opening Jon's eyes Richie! can't wait to see how Jon shows his love for Tessa.

Thanks for the pm Tara!!


SoulGirl said...

Wow - steady on there Dot. Just what I expected though of her from previous moments. Poor Jon his mind is just all over the place right now. He's trying so hard to protect everyone and do everything..banging into brick walls left right and centre.

And OUCH, he broke his hand? Now why could I really see that happening, I really could. The frustration you showed with him. God.

And well done Richie, thank you for stating the obvious at long last he needed to hear it. I just hope he's not to late to SHOW that to Tessa. I really do.

Wonderful and Emotionally Gut wrenching as usual :)

Anonymous said...

First of all, thank you for posting another chapter that fast!!!

Wow, I didn´t really expect that Dot would be so stupid. The only excuse I give her is for not knowing what really happened. But still it´s not her business anymore and she should know Jon better after all the years together...

And I saw the anger of Jon right in front of my eyes, holy shit! Reminds me what happened to a good friend of mine when his wife asked for divorce....ha had broken the door too...

and I really love it how you write Richie in this story! Awesome! He needs a friend like him to say the thruth straight in his face and not someone who tell him what he wants to hear. And he said everything right! Now think about it Jon...it´s time to make some things clear.

more, more, more!!!!

Anonymous said...

Glad Richie told Jon how he's beening acting around Tessa. Exactly who is he really trying to protect here. Not his kids and definately not Tessa. Can't really even say, he's protecting Dorothea here, then again, how is he even trying to protect her...YOU'RE DIVOURCE JON!! You forget?? The only one I really think he's trying to protect here is himself.

Can't wait for more.

The Goddess Hathor said...

God, Tara, I just got caught up. I actually can believe Dot's tantrum -- but she's gonna feel like shit (rightfully so) when she hears that Tessa lost the baby.

I love that Richie is the voice of reason. He's just what Jon needs to open his eyes.

I have to agree with Beth's last statement: Jon is trying to protect himself. I think subconsciously, he's using Dot and the kids as a screen. He's hiding behind them so he doesn't have to go all in again. He did that once, and look how it turned out!

I certainly hope that he can work through his own personal shit and put Tessa first, where she belongs.

Great job, sweetie, and so fast with the chapters! Yay for us!

~ Hath

Stephanie said...

God Tara, these last couple of chapters were emotionally draining.

I agree with Hath's comments, I think Jon is trying so hard not to end up where he was with Dot that he's not really giving his whole self to this relationship with Tessa and he needs to.

Thank God for Richie!

Now lets see if Jon can make the kids and Dot understand.

Amazing job Tara, just amazing.

jerseygirl said...

Another AMAZING chapter Tara! I loved Jon's emotion through the whole chapter. And everyone should have a best friend like how Richie's been there for Jon. I can't wait to see what Jon tells the kids and how Dot reacts when she finds out the truth. If the next chapter could be up just quickly *sighs*. Don't keep us waiting tooooo long :-)

Anonymous said...

Now that Jon's eyes are open and he wants to show Tessa how he really does love her; I bet she's going to think it's because of what she went through. I hope he can break through her now that he saw the light. One HUGE problem with the chapter though....way too short!!!

TaraLeigh said...

Holy Hanna! Here I thought I'd get 1 or 2 responses because I put it up so fast! LOL

Thanks girls.

Ahhh men, can't live with them, can't shoot them. LOL

No, seriously. Jon's little epiphany may just be too little too late. I can call it an epiphany right? Even if it was Richie that had to clobber him over the head with it?


I'm glad you like Richie's role in the story. It seems only natural that these guys would be there for each other. Ying and Yang that they are sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Don't even say it might be too little too late..

Now, we are going to need more chapters sooner, or we will all be worried !

Thanks for two this week, you are the best :)

Anonymous said...

This is getting really intense. Can't wait to read more!

Anonymous said...

Tara it cant be too late - please, please, please. I know Tessa is hurting but you have to make her see that he is hurting too and together they can heal each other. Yeah I agree Jon has been a jerk hiding her and their relationship but she's got some responsibility there as well for allowing it to happen. People will only treat you how you allow them to treat you. Had she stood up in the begining and demanded more from him he would have had a choice to make back them. At this point they need to put all that behind them, decide what they each want and need going forward and start fresh. They are meant to be together.
Thank god for Richie!!!! And I'm also hoping that when Dot gets the whole story she will not be as much the bitch she has been all along.
I know we got two chapters really quickly and that was awesome and I'm really thankful but the greedy beyotch in me is gonna need more very soon. Thanks Tara, you Rock!!

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