So, here it is. My David Story.

A little background...

I participated in an interactive fan fiction on a friend's site, and my character ended up with David. I spent so much time immersing myself in his music and stories about him (which are hard to find, by the way) that he took over my thoughts for quite some time. I couldn't get him out of my head. He's still in there, rattling doors and opening drawers and such, but he's behaving himself. Mostly.

This story came out as an outlet for me to try to get through my little obsession. I told some of the girls from the other fan fic exercise, and they thought it was hysterical that I got so wrapped up, that I couldn't think of anything but him.

They convinced me to "go public" with the story, so here it is.

I hope you enjoy it. It starts here.

~ Hath

Chapter 30: Christmas Morning

Monday, December 31, 2007

Christmas morning, Hath woke early. Even though they hadn’t gotten home from Midnight Mass until close to two, by seven, she was awake. She stayed in bed, wrapped in David’s arms, and smiled. He was such a good sport about attending Mass with her and her family. He watched the Christmas pageant, stood when the congregation did, and even joined in on a couple of the lesser hymns. He stayed for the coffee and cookies afterwards, and by the time they got home, they were exhausted. They collapsed into bed and fell asleep right away.

Now it was morning. Even though the shades kept the room nice and dark, Hath knew it was morning. She smiled at David, his face relaxed and completely at peace. Sighing, she kissed him gently, and tried to extricate herself from his grasp without waking him. It didn’t work.

“Where are you going?” he asked groggily.

“Just going to start some coffee,” she answered.

“Mmmm. Queenie’s coffee? Is there any of that left?”

Hath laughed and kissed his forehead. “Yes, Queenie’s coffee,” she said.

“Hurry back,” David said, and was asleep again before Hath could get all the way out of bed.

Chuckling, she wrapped herself in her Minnie Mouse robe, and went downstairs and got the coffee started. Listening for the sounds of the bed creaking, she snuck into her office and got David’s present from her desk. Creeping into the living room, she stopped. There were presents under the tree for her family, who would be coming over later, but there were a couple she knew she hadn’t put there. She read the tags and smiled. One was from Jon, a few from David and one from ‘David and Tico’. He must have snuck down in the middle of the night. Hath placed her gift on the stack, and went to get her coffee.

David smelled the heavenly aroma coming from the kitchen, rolled over, and groaned. He could use more sleep, but was anxious to give Hath his gifts. He scratched his chest lazily and rolled off the edge of the bed. After stretching deeply, he ran a hand through his hair and went into the bathroom. Hath had propped a card against the mirror, and David smiled. He finished his business, took the card, and started downstairs.

David stopped halfway down the stairs, captivated by the sight of Hath. She was curled up on the couch, her chin propped on her hand, and she was looking out the window at the snow. Christmas Carols were playing softly in the background, the tree lights were twinkling, and a steaming cup of coffee rested on the table at her side. He knew the moment when she registered his presence, because she smiled and turned to him.

“Morning, sweetheart,” she said.

“I thought you were coming back to bed,” David groused, but his smile belied his words.

“Sorry,” she said, and gestured to the tree. “It looks like Santa was here.”

“Really?” David said, and came down to sit behind Hath. He took a sip of her coffee, then pulled her back against him and wrapped his arms around her. They sat together, lost in thought, staring at the tree for some time. “Do you want your presents?” David asked.

“You first,” Hath said, and pulled a small package from the top of the pile.

David opened it, and smiled. “This is wonderful! Where did you find it?”

“Oh, a Goddess has her ways,” Hath answered. She had found a pendant of The Goddess Hathor. It had a one-carat orange sapphire depicting the sun, and was strung on a leather cord.

David turned it over. On the back, she had it engraved in a delicate script. “To David, I am forever your Goddess, Hathor”

He handed it to Hath, who fastened it around his neck. Kissing him deeply, she said, “Now you can take me with you wherever you go.”

“I just love it. Now it’s your turn. Whose gift do you want first?”

“You decide,” Hath answered.

David got up and retrieved a flat package from under the tree. It was the one from him and Tico. Hath opened it and gasped. Tico had done a pencil drawing from the picture of their first kiss after the concert in Newark, and framed it. He captured the lust in their eyes perfectly, and Hath couldn’t stop staring at it. She saw a flash, and jerked her head up. “What the hell was that for?” she asked.

“Teek wanted to see your face when you opened it,” he said, smiling, and turning off the camera.

“Oh, this is just beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. I love it,” she kissed David. “Thank you so much.” She couldn’t put it down. "Tell him to consider himself bear-hugged."

David smiled, and handed her the box from Jon, and waited for her to open it. When she saw the football inside, she jumped from the couch. “Holy shit!” she yelled. “Oh my God, this is frickin fantastic!” She turned the ball over and over in her hands, reading everyone’s signature. “The entire team signed this.”

“I know,” David said wryly. “There’s more.”

Hath’s eyes went wide. “More?” She looked and saw an envelope at the bottom of the box, and opened it, not quite believing what she was seeing. She looked at David. “Do you know what this is?” He just smiled. “I get to go to training camp! An open pass to go to training camp! I just can’t believe it.” There was a note stuck to the pass, from Jon.

“Thanks for the camera, Goddess. Hope you have fun, and tell David ‘ha ha’. Jon.”

Hath showed the note to David, and he laughed. “What does ‘ha ha’ mean?”

David said, “He knew this gift was going to excite you, and he’s just rubbing it in that he was right.” He dropped a kiss on Hath’s nose. “You ready for the rest?”

Hath nodded, and watched David retrieve two packages from under the tree, one large, one small. “Open the small one first,” he said. She did, and frowned at the contents of the little box.

“What are these keys for?” she asked.

“Read the note,” was all David said.

The ‘note’ was a transfer of ownership for the Roadrunner from David to Hath. She looked up at David, shock etched in her face. “You’re giving me your car?”

David took her hand. “I’m giving you your father’s favorite car. It means more to you than it does to me; I wanted you to have it.”

Hath launched herself into David’s arms and held him tightly while the tears flowed. “This is just so wonderful. Thank you so much.” She pulled back to look into David’s face. “I love you,” she said, and he kissed her.

“Can you handle another one?” he asked.

“You are far too good to me,” she said, but nodded. David handed her a heavy box, and she sat on the couch to unwrap it. Inside was an antique gramophone.

“I noticed you didn’t have anything downstairs to play your 78’s on,” he said. Hath just smiled and kissed him again.

He broke the kiss to look at her. “There’s one more to open,” he said, smiling, and handed it to her.

She shook her head and carefully opened the box, pulled back the tissue paper and breathed, “Oh!” Nestled in there was a gorgeous red gown, silver strappy CFM sandals with a matching silver bag, a platinum and diamond choker with matching bracelet and chandelier earrings, and a cashmere wrap.

“What is all this?” she said, lifting the gown from the box. She stood and held it against her; it would fall to the floor with a long, flowing skirt that was slit on one side nearly to the hip. The halter-style top dipped low in the front, and the straps crisscrossed in the back, and settled low enough that she thought her tat would show. At the small of the back, there were layers of filmy chiffon gathered that flowed into an elegant short train. The gown had delicate beading along the bodice and around to the back, and was just amazing.

“This,” David said, kissing Hath’s cheek, “is so that next time I have to go to some gala or ceremony, you can come with me. I meant what I said before; darlin’, I want you with me when I do these things. I want my best girl by my side.” He kissed her again. “Try it on,” he said, “please.”

Hath smiled and took the gown and shoes into the bathroom. She took a really quick shower, dried off, and slid the gown over her head. She zipped the side, and noticed it fit perfectly. A little snug in the bodice, but it pushed her breasts up and together slightly, and made her eyes pop from her head when she saw her reflection in the mirror. She slid the shoes on her feet, adjusted the straps, took a deep breath, and floated from the bathroom.

David was standing, facing away from her when she entered the room. “Ready,” she said, and David turned, and nearly dropped the coffee mug he was drinking from. He shakily placed it on the table, never once taking his eyes from her.

“You are breathtaking,” he said. Hath blushed and turned to show him the back of the dress, and how his tat showed just above the deep vee of the gown. “I cannot wait to show you off,” he said. “I want the world to know you’re mine,” he said, and kissed her neck. He fingers found the zipper at her side, and pulled.

“What are you doing?” Hath asked.

“Practicing getting this thing off you,” he answered. He managed, and led Hath upstairs for a proper end to her Christmas morning.

Chapter 29: Traveling Back to Massachusetts

David and I were making good time in the RoadRunner. He still wouldn’t let me drive it, and it was driving me crazy. I had to content myself with taking over control of the iPod. We listened to Black Sabbath, Metallica and Iron Maiden at ear-shattering decibels all the way through Jersey and half of Connecticut before he finally pulled over.

“ALRIGHT!” he shouted, and I burst out laughing.

“What’s wrong, my love?” I asked; all innocence and light.

“I can’t take this anymore, that’s what,” he growled at me. Checking the side mirror first, he jetted from the car, and crossed around front of it to my door. I clapped gleefully and slid across the bench seat to the driver’s position. Once David was in and we were buckled up, I eased the baby back onto the highway, and groaned with pleasure.

“Oh, this is SUCH a great ride! I’m so glad you didn’t sell her to Jon,” I said.

“Yeah, well, he made me an open offer, so watch out,” David groused from the passenger seat.

“You wouldn’t dare!” I said, and slid my eyes to look at him. He was grinning, enjoying the hell out of pushing my buttons. “Oooh, you brat,” I said, and tried to throw a punch at his arm, but the car was huge, and I couldn’t reach. “You’ll get it when we get home,” I said, and he laughed.

“You’ve got me scared,” he said, and stuck his tongue out at me. He found some Christmas tunes on the iPod, and we settled in for the rest of the ride home.

* * * * *

Hath pulled into the driveway a little past dinnertime. They had elected to drive straight through, and had stopped for fixings for a simple dinner on the way. When they pulled into the driveway, David commented on how much snow there was. “We do things right here,” Hath answered. “We have snow for Christmas, and guys to take it off the driveway.”

David laughed. “Why did I know you’d have someone to take care of that for you?”

“Because I make things happen,” Hath said with a smile. “I’d’ve done it myself if I were here, but I couldn’t be, so,” she shrugged, “I had someone else do it.”

David chuckled and followed Hath into the house, carrying the bags with him. They went through, turning on lights and getting the heat going. David took their bags up to the bedroom. When he turned on the lights, he noticed a puddle on the floor. “Sweetie,” he called, “you’d better come up here.”

Hath hurried up the stairs. “We’ve only been home five minutes! You can’t wait until –“ she stopped when she came into the bedroom and saw the puddle on the rug. “Shit!” she said.

Hath took the shade off the window and saw there was a puddle where the sashes came together. She grabbed a flashlight from the night table and shined the light on the upper sash. She could see a bead of water coming down from where the window met the wall. “Shit!” she said again,

“Is it the new windows?” David asked.

Hath looked again at where the water was coming in. “I don’t think so,” she said. “C’mon, let’s check the other windows up here.” The windows in the loft and office were dry, but the bathroom was wet. Hath sighed. “Crap.” They went outside and shone flashlights at the roof. Hath sucked in a breath. “Ice dam,” she said.

David looked concerned. “What do we do?”

“Get the phone book,” she said. “I am SO not getting on a ladder with two feet of snow on the deck.” They went back into the house, went up to the office, and called around until they found someone who would be out the next day. “They’re telling me to check in the attic, to see if there is anything coming in there,” she said, covering the mouthpiece of the phone. David pulled down the overhead stairs in the hallway, and the two went up. They looked around the edges of the attic, and saw a little water where they expected. Hath told them there was a little water, and they confirmed her initial guess of an ice dam. They’d send out a couple of guys the next day to take care of it.

“Welcome home,” Hath muttered. “C’mon, let’s get this cleaned up, and get dinner going.”

They wiped up the water from the windows, soaked up as much water from the rugs as they could, and worked together in the kitchen to get their simple roasted chicken and rice supper together. While dinner was cooking, they settled onto the couch in the living room, lit some candles and poured some wine. Hath sighed and put her feet up on the ottoman, and sipped at her glass. Her brow was furrowed, and David reached over to smooth a finger between her eyes and down her nose.

“Sorry, darlin’,” David said.

“Oh, it’s alright,” Hath said. “I’m just annoyed, that’s all. No real damage has been done.” She sighed again, closed her eyes, and dropped her head onto David’s shoulder. The waves of tension wafted off of Hath, and David could feel them.

David said, “Scooch forward, babe.” Hath complied, and David moved to sit behind her, settling her between his legs. He dug his fingers into her neck and shoulders, eliciting a groan of appreciation. He kneaded at the knots and kinks in her muscles until he felt her relax.

“God, that felt fantastic, baby,” Hath said, tipping her head back for a kiss. She leaned back against his chest, and David wrapped his arms around her waist. “Thank you.” They sat cuddled together for a while, and when David started to talk to Hath, he saw she was asleep. He grinned and hugged her close. He’d have to wake her soon so they could eat and she could go to bed – if she slept too long in her contacts, she’d never be able to pry them off her eyeballs later. But for now, he was content to sit there with her in his arms.

David sighed deeply and leaned his head back on the back of the couch. He was so comfortable with her and her family and felt as if he’d known her for years rather than weeks. He had a hard time believing that they had known each other for so short a time. They had spent much of that time together; a week in Arkansas, and time here and at his home, but spent lots of time apart too. The cameras Hath had bought made that time apart easier, and he was touched that she had thought to get his kids set up.

Hath had bought four additional cameras; one each for the kids’ computers, and one for the machine in the family room, and spent an entire afternoon and evening patiently explained to the kids how to use them. She got their screen names all set up, and made some test calls. The kids got a kick out of calling Uncle Tico and talking to him on the computer. She bonded more with the kids, too, and they all gave her hugs when she left. She left them her e-mail address, and gave them her business card, telling them to call her anytime they had questions about the cameras or the computer or anything.

David had talked to April while Hath was with the kids. She genuinely liked Hath, and told him so. She said that Hath was what he needed; a strong woman who wasn’t in awe of him because of who he was. David shook his head. He was glad he and his ex had been able to remain friendly, but it was a little strange having her explicit approval of Hath. He chuckled at the memory of the kids talking to each other on the computers; Hath had shown them how to set up a conference call, and got them all online at the same time. He was so looking forward to being able to keep in visual touch with his kids when he was on the road.

David thought ahead to the upcoming tour. The next six months were already planned out, and were pretty full. He knew they had July off, as that’s when Jon and Sam’s baby was due. He knew too that Hath would want to be around for the birth of that baby, but he was hoping he could spirit her away somewhere during that time. He was thinking Hawaii or Cancun or someplace like that. Some tropical hideaway where he could watch his girl turn brown in the sun, and where he could frolic with her in the surf. He’d have to book something for the whole month, just to be sure they could get away, and something private, so he could make love with her on the beach. Smiling to himself, he leaned forward to kiss Hath on the neck. He bit her lightly, and she stirred.

“Sorry, babe,” she said drowsily. “I didn’t mean to fall asleep; you’re just too damned comfortable.”

“Yeah, but your eyes are gonna be glued shut if I let you sleep too much longer,” David said, as his stomach growled. He laughed. “And I’m getting hungry, and I don’t want dinner to burn.”

“Yeah, you’re right,” Hath said. “Dinner should be ready; let’s eat.”

The couple shared a quiet, candle-lit meal, and chatted about nothing important. They stacked the dishes in the sink, and went up to bed; it had been a long day.

* * * * *

That was the lovely sound I woke up to this morning. I winced and checked the clock: 8:00 on the nose. The guys were right on time. I had meant to be up when they got here, and had actually set an alarm so I’d be up, but apparently David beat me to it. I staggered out of the bedroom in search of Advil, then went downstairs to find David having breakfast and reading the paper. It was such a normal, domestic, couple-y thing to see, that I teared up.

David looked up and saw me standing there at the foot of the stairs with tears in my eyes. He poured me a cup of coffee and brought it to me, kissing me gently before handing me the mug and saying “Mornin’ darlin’.”

“Good Morning yourself,” I said. “You should have gotten me up.”

David shrugged. “I was up, thought you could use the sleep.” He nuzzled my neck, making me shiver. “As I recall, you didn’t get too much rest last night.” He chuckled in my ear, and that was the precise moment one of the guys knocked on the sliding glass door. David laughed and went over to talk to him while I went upstairs to get dressed.

When I came back down, David had his breakfast cleared up and was sitting on the couch, looking at me expectantly. “Well, sweetheart,” he said, “what do you want to do today?”

“I don’t know, what do you feel like doing?”

The pair ended up going to a movie, and sitting in the back, where they necked like teenagers. They had a late lunch, and set out for Boston, where they walked around Quincy Marketplace and had dinner at Dick’s Last Resort. Hath and David spent the rest of the days leading up to Christmas doing those sorts of things, along with domestic errands, laundry and general housekeeping. They worked together seamlessly, and laughed all the time. As they made love tenderly on Christmas Eve, Hath reflected on how this was the most perfect time she’d ever spent with someone. She cuddled into David’s arms, and fell asleep, her head on his chest, listening to his heartbeat.

Chapter 28: Meeting April and the Kids

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

We chatted in the car on the way to his ex’s house. I was so relieved that his mother and I got along; it’d be hard if we didn’t. I hoped meeting his kids would go just as smoothly. I hadn’t brought a gift for April, thinking that was a little much, but I had brought gifts for David’s kids. For the girls I had put together scrapbookking kits. I had asked David their favorite colors, and got Gabrielle a Kelly green book, and a vibrant pink for TygerLily. For Colton, I had gotten him a few of the newer games for his Wii.

When we pulled up to the house, I nearly swallowed my tongue. If I thought the house David was in now was big, then this one was gigantic. I keep forgetting he’s “that guy” you know? As we got out of the car, the front door opened, and three lovely blonde children poured out. Pucker time.

“Daddy!” the youngest, TygerLily, whom he called ‘Lil’ shouted, and launched herself into his arms. David swung her around and kissed her head before settling the 7-year old on his hip.

“Lil, this is my friend, Hath,” he said, introducing me.

I winked at the little girl. “I like your name,” I said. “It’s very pretty.”

Lil blushed and leaned forward to me. “I like when Daddy calls me ‘Lil’ better.”

I laughed and said, “Can I tell you secret?” She nodded, and I leaned in to whisper to her, “Hath is my middle name. I don’t really like my name either. It’s Jenilee.” I made a face, and the little girl laughed.

“You’re funny,” she said, and squirmed down to join her siblings. David grabbed my hand, and led me up to the house, and introduced me to the other kids. Gabrielle was beautiful; a nice mix of both her parents, and Colton was the image of David when he was younger.

“Did you really make fun of Dad’s clothes?” Colton asked.

I nodded. “Yep. I sent him a PM on a chat board online telling him the shirt he wore on SNL was hideous.” I made my eyes wide. “You guys didn’t buy him that shirt, did you?” They shook their heads. “Good. Oh! Gabrielle, he didn’t borrow that from you, did he?”

“Alright, smart ass,” David said, making his kids giggle. “We get the point. Come on.” He hip checked me and we followed the kids into the house, arms around each others’ waists. I left my bag in the entry hall, and prepared to meet –

“Well, hello,” a smooth voice said from somewhere off to my right. I turned to see this delicate blonde creature emerge from what looked to be a library. Flo was right; I couldn’t be more unlike this woman, physically anyway, if I was a man.

“Hi,” I answered, and offered my hand. “I’m Hath. Nice to meet you.”

“No, I think it’s awkward and a little surreal; ‘nice’ will come later,” she said, making me laugh and breaking some of the tension. “Come on in,” she said. “Dinner isn’t for a little while yet. Let’s get acquainted.”

So we three adults went into the library and sat in big, comfy furniture and I again launched into my “Hello, I’m Hathor” speech. I think Michelle was the last person I was going to have to do this with. That’d be tomorrow. By the end of my little spiel, April was smiling. “So, a die-hard Patriots, fan, huh?”

I groaned. “Oh, no, don’t tell me I’m in Jets territory?”

“Didn’t David-the-Giants-fan tell you? That’s really why we split.”

I stared at her for a full thirty seconds before she burst into laughter. “Jesus,” I said, laughing myself. “That was a good one.”

“Yeah, Aip,” David said, laughing and bumping shoulders with me. “I don’t think I’ve really seen her speechless like that.”

“Shut up, Joker,” I said to him, and stuck my tongue out at him.

The kids came into the library, and we played the get acquainted game again, but this time I asked the questions. I found out that Colton was a football fan, not just a Jets fan, and loves going to games, no matter who’s playing. Gabrielle loved to dance, and wanted to study ballet, and Lil just wanted to draw. The kids warmed to me, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

After a delicious dinner, we found ourselves back in the library. I excused myself to go out to the entryway and retrieve the bag I had left there. When I came back, the kids all looked at me, identical quizzical looks on their faces.

“What’s in the bag, Hath?” Lil asked.

“Oh, just some things I brought in case you guys didn’t like me, and I needed a bribe.” I winked. “But, since you all obviously ADORE me, we don’t need these.”

“NOOO!” Lil said, and bolted from her chair.

We adults laughed, and I gave out the little things I had gotten them. Colton was excited at his new games, and asked if he could be excused to go try them out. “Of course,” said April, “but what do you say first?”

Colton came running over to me and gave me a quick hug. “Thanks, Hath,” he said. “You’re alright, for a girl.” He sprinted from the room.

The girls had opened their packages, and were laying everything out, comparing what they had. I had picked patterned and colored papers to match their books, and gave them each a selection of stickers and other embellishments, pens, scissors, and adhesives – basically whatever they needed to complete a simple book. Lil came and thanked me and gave me a tight hug and whispered, “Thanks, Hath,” and giggled, then gathered her things and left.

“Thanks, Hath,” Gabby said quietly. “This will be really fun to do with Lil.”

“I’m glad,” I said. “I have fun scrapping with my brother’s wife. I hope you guys have as much fun as Sue and I do.”

“She’s the one with the little girl who recognized my Dad right?”

I blushed. “Yeah. My sister in law is a huge Bon Jovi fan; has been for years. Joanna would recognize any of them, including Bobby and Renz and the others, if she saw them on the street.”

“What about you?” she asked.

“Am I a fan? Yep. Got my heart-and-dagger t-shirt and everything.” I looked at her. “I’ve been following the band since nearly the beginning. Slippery was my intro to the band, and I was hooked.” I looked at her thoughtfully. “What do you really want to ask me?”

“Gabby,” April said, in a warning tone.

“No, it’s OK,” I said. If she wants to ask me questions, it’s fine.” I looked at Gabby. “She just has to be prepared for the case that the answers may not be what she wants to hear.”

Gabby nodded. “Do you like my dad for what he does? Or for who he is?”

“I won’t lie to you, I admire the hell out of your father’s talent, and if it weren’t for who he is, I probably wouldn’t have met him.” I explained a little more about the forum and how we “met” there and wound up meeting in person at the concert. “And frankly, when I met your father, it wasn’t the rock star I was meeting – it was the smart ass from the forum.” I smiled over my shoulder at David. “He and I got into it pretty good, and I think I won a round or two. I am quite the smart-ass myself, I’ll have you know.”

April rolled her eyes. “Heaven help us,” she said. “Another one.”

“Ha, ha,” I said. “Seriously, though,” I said to Gabby, “it’s David the man that I’m interested in. He’s the one that makes me laugh, and is nice to my family, and indulged me when I wanted to stop over at my Nanna’s on the way here to New Jersey after he’d been flying all morning. The man is the one that makes me happy. The rock star is just his job.”

I smiled wryly. “Frankly, David the rock star is going to be away far too much next year. But, we’re keeping in touch online and – Hey!” I just had a brain storm. “You guys should get set up on Skype. I can pick up a camera and drop by tomorrow and get you set up.” I explained what it was and how we’ve been using it to keep in touch, and it’s so much better than just the phone.

April thought that was a great idea, and Gabby seemed satisfied with my answers. “Thanks for being honest with me,” she said and smiled. “I do have one more question.”

“Shoot,” I said.

“Were you always a David Girl?”

I laughed and slid a look at the guy in question. He was blushing. “Nope,” I said. “I was always, from day one, a Richie Girl.”

“What changed your mind?” Gabby asked.

“When Richie kissed me,” David cringed at that, “there was no chemistry. When your dad did, there was a little spark. That’s all it took.”

Gabby came and gave me a hug. “It was really nice to meet you,” she said. “I’ll see you tomorrow?”

“Sure thing. I’ll come by later in the afternoon, when you guys are home from school, so you can see how to use it. I have my setup with me, so we can try it out.”

A short while later, I was saying goodbye to April and the kids. They were waving from the doorway as David and I pulled away.

“That wasn’t so bad, now was it?” he asked.

“Nope, not at all,” I answered.

“Do me a favor?” he asked.

“Of course, what?” I said.

“Don’t mention anymore that Sambora got to kiss you first, OK?” He pouted prettily, and I laughed.

“Baby, he may have kissed me first, but you get to kiss me last. And,” I said, scooting closer to him and laying my head on his shoulder, “you kiss me best. I love you.”

He dropped a quick kiss on the top of my head. “Love you too, babe.”

Chapter 27: Meeting Mrs. Rashbaum

I was a wreck. From the moment I woke up in David’s arms, my heart was pounding. Some of it was from my proximity to this wonderful man, but most of it was the running-of-the-family-gauntlet. I know, I know, David came out of my family greetings unscathed (and with my Mom’s number on speed-dial, which still kinda freaks me out). But, I don’t know, this is different. He’s a Somebody. I’m sure in the back of everyone’s mind (the grownups at least) is “is she a fame-seeker or fortune-hunter”. All I can hope is that they see the real me.

So, when we finally headed down to breakfast after a really nice good morning and hot shower, I was jumpy as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs (I just love that metaphor). I pushed my eggs around on my plate, making David frown.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

“What if they don’t like me?” I whined.

David came around the table and pulled me into his embrace. “No chance of that, my love. They’ll love you because I love you.”

“Even your kids?”

“Even my kids,” he answered.

“Even your ex?”

“Well, she already likes that you made fun of my stage clothes right away,” David said. “I honestly think it will be fine. April is a reasonable woman. If you’re nice to her kids, to our kids, she’ll be nice to you right back.”

I felt marginally better, but wouldn’t fully relax until tonight after dinner. We were running the gamut today; David’s Mom for lunch, and the ex and their kids for dinner. GULP.

We took the Roadrunner to his mother’s house, making me smile. He was right, the car ran like a dream. We pulled up in front a modest house with a nice deep wrap-around porch; my architectural weakness. “Oh!” I said, “The porch! It’s gorgeous!”

David laughed. “Mom likes it, too. See? You’ve got something in common. Told you there’s nothing to worry about.”

“We have two things in common,” I said. “We both love you, too.”

When we parked in front of the house, I grabbed the gift I’d brought, exhaled sharply, and got out of the car. As we walked up the cobblestone walkway and clomped up the wooden stairs, the front door opened and a tiny, beautiful older woman stepped out.

“Welcome!” she said, arms open. “You must be Hathor. David’s told me so much about you!” She embraced me, and just like that, I relaxed.

“Tzohora’im tovim, Mrs. Rashbaum” I said in greeting. Good Afternoon

“Tzohora’im tovim,” David’s mother replied, smiling. “Mah schlomech?” Good Afternoon. How are things?

“Mamash tov; mah nishma?” Really good, how are you? By now, David was looking at me like he had never heard Hebrew before.

I winked at him, and handed the package I was carrying to David’s mother. “Mrs. Rashbaum, I brought you something to thank you for your hospitality.”

She smiled at me. “Dear child, call me Flo or Mom. Please. And you didn’t have to do this, but thank you.” We sat on the Adirondack chairs on the porch, and she unwrapped the bundle. “Hathor, dear, this is beautiful. Thank you.” I had brought her an afghan that I found at a craft fair. It was woven from soft wool, and done in mauve and pink tones. I thought it was very pretty and feminine.

David’s mother looked critically at me and shook her head. “You are quite a surprise,” she said. “Not just the Hebrew, though that is appreciated. But you are just so different from April.”

Her bluntness triggered a little GSA in me, and God help me, I let her out. “I should hope so! After all, he divorced her. Me, I want him to keep, thank you.”

David and his mother burst out laughing. She turned to her son. “This one, I like,” she said. She took my arm and led me into the house. I looked over my shoulder at David, who blew me a kiss. David’s mother took me on a tour of the house, showing me photos of David and his sister Michelle that were prominently placed around the various rooms. The wall of the staircase leading up to the second floor was one big brag wall for her children. I loved seeing the pictures of David growing up, and looked forward to the photo albums that I know she had in reserve somewhere.

We had a lovely lunch, and a wonderful chat. We talked about what I do for a living, how I met David, my passion for football, and my family. Flo told me stories about David and Michelle growing up, and about David and the guys when they were young kids breaking onto the scene.

“How I would have loved to have known them back then,” I mused. “ But, alas, I was but a mere high schooler in the 80’s and it would have hardly been appropriate for me to hang out with them.” After lunch, Flo brought out the photo albums, and I was treated to the life and times of David Bryan. I sat sandwiched between Flo and David, and as we flipped through the books, David held my hand or kissed my cheek or otherwise was touching me all the time. It was a fantastic afternoon, and by the time it was time to go, I was a little sad. I really liked this woman.

“It was so wonderful meeting you,” I said to her, as we embraced. “I’m so glad David brought me home to meet you.”

“I, too, am glad to have met you.” She kissed my cheek as David descended to the car. “You are doing wonders for him,” she said softly to me. “Please don’t break his heart.”

I looked into soft blue eyes and promised.

Chapter 26: David Comes Home

On the 17th, Hath drove David’s Navigator to Logan to pick him up. She had packed a good sized suitcase and loaded it and the gifts into the back, and set out. As she was leaving, the UPS truck stopped at the end of her driveway. The package was a cowboy hat from Sam. Hath laughed and donned the tan Stetson, looking at her reflection in the car window. Nodding to herself, she got back into the Nav and headed for the airport. The weekend’s storm had dumped close to a foot of snow on her part of Massachusetts, but the roads were clear, and she made it into the airport in plenty of time to see that David’s flight was delayed. She grimaced, but saw it was only delayed a half an hour. She smiled to herself as she went to the arrivals gate. She settled in with her sign that read “Joker” and waited.

When the pilot came on to announce a slight delay, David groaned. He knew he should have flown out with the others last night – he would have been with her already. He just didn’t want Hath to come get him in the middle of the night. He knew he could have taken a car service to her place, but he also knew Hath would have insisted on driving out to get him. Finally after what seemed like forever, they were on the ground. When David grabbed his carryon from the overhead compartment, he couldn’t help the smile that was plastered to his face. He just couldn’t wait to see Hath in person and tell her he loved her. He waited impatiently for the people in front of him to deplane, and all but ran down the jet way. He came through the door and laughed. There she was; standing there with a sign for him, wearing an incredibly sexy cowboy hat, and grinning like a fool.

David dropped his bag and scooped Hath up in his arms. As he spun her, she held onto the borrowed hat with one hand and David’s shoulder with the other. He set her down and kissed her thoroughly. “God, I missed you,” he said between kisses.

“I missed you more,” Hath said, and pulled back to look him in the eyes. “I love you, David,” she said.

“I love you, too,” he answered and kissed her again, tenderly this time.

A discreet cough behind them let them know that David was still partially blocking the jet way.

“Sorry about that,” David said to the people behind him. “I just missed my girl here something awful.” He walked with Hath a few steps away from the door, kicking his bag along with them, and kissed her again. “I did, you know.”

“Really?” Hath said sarcastically. “I hadn’t noticed.”

David laughed and tweaked her nose. “Brat. Alright, should we get this show on the road?”

Hath nodded. “Let’s go get your other bags,” she said. Arm in arm, they went to baggage claim to get David’s suitcases.

* * * * *
As they were driving through Connecticut, Hath asked David where he wanted to stop for lunch. It was close to two, and they were both hungry. David remembered Hath mentioning that her grandmother lived around here somewhere. “How about Italian? Is there someplace around here we could stop?” David asked.

Hath thought a minute. “I’m sure there is, but my grandmother’s is about a half hour away; we could go there and…” Hath trailed off when she slid a look at David and saw a little self-satisfied smile. Hath chuckled and punched his arm. “Ooh! You sneak! Italian, indeed,” Hath laughed. “Take this exit,” she said, “Nanna will feed us.” She rolled her eyes at David. “You’re unbelievable.”

Hath took out her phone, and called her grandmother. “Nanna? It’s Jenilee; pick up,” she looked at David, daring him to say something. “Nanna? You there?”

“Hi, sweetheart, what’s wrong?”

Hath laughed. “Nothing’s wrong, Nanna. I’m in the area with a friend, and wanted to know if we could stop by for a late lunch.”

“Of course!” she said, as if there could be any other answer. “Who is this friend? Is this that David your mother told me about?”

“Yes, Nanna, it’s David. We’re on our way to New Jersey for the week, and are just outside New Haven.”

“Is there anything he doesn’t eat?”

Hath covered the phone. “Anything you don’t eat? Besides pork, I mean.” David shook his head. Hath said, “No, Nanna,”

“Good. We’ll see you in what, half an hour?”

“Yep. Thanks, Nanna. Love you.”

“You too, sweetie. Bye.” The older woman hung up.

David smiled at Hath. “You used your given name with your grandmother.”

“Yeah, well, that doesn’t mean I like it.” She stuck her tongue out at David. “My aunts and uncles use it too, but my cousins use ‘Hath’. You up for a big crowd?”

“How big?” David asked.

“Oh, no more than twenty,” Hath said, and David choked back a laugh.

“You’re kidding! What’s the occasion?”

“No occasion; they’re just finishing up lunch,” Hath answered. “If it was something special, it would be more like fifty. Twenty is just family that’s in the area.”

David whistled. “Wow,” he said.

“Yeah,” Hath beamed.

As they pulled up in front of a two-family house, the side door opened, and a small woman came out, wrapped in a long coat. “Nanna!” Hath called, and waved through the window. David parked the car in the driveway, and Hath flew out her door, rounding the car and wrapping her grandmother in a hug. “Nanna, it’s so good to see you!” David came around to join them. “Nanna,” she said, wrapping an arm around David’s waist, “this is David. David, this is my grandmother, Mary Fabrizzi.”

David took Mary’s hand and leaned in to kiss the older woman on the cheek. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Fabrizzi.”

Mary flapped a hand at him. “Eh, you will call me Nanna. Otherwise you make me feel like an old lady.”

“Well, we wouldn’t want that,” David said, smiling.

Mary led them into the house, and the smells had David’s mouth watering. “What is that heavenly smell?” he asked.

Mary laughed. “Such a charming boy. That is lunch.”

As they passed into the dining room, David stopped short, and Hath crashed into him. “What’s wrong?” she asked, then saw. There were easily a dozen people around the dining room table, with stacks of dirty plates and two dozen half-empty serving platters strewn about. They were all talking and laughing loudly, but abruptly quieted when they saw the newcomer. Everyone was staring at David.

“Come on, now,” Hath said. “Certainly you’ve seen a tall blonde man before?” She made the trip around the table, greeting her aunts, uncles, and cousins with hugs and kisses.

“Not a famous one,” one of Hath’s cousins quipped.

“Well,” Mary said, “famous or not, I know you were raised better than to stare.” She went over to the table and pushed at a couple of aunts. “Make a space.” They complied. “I need two more chairs.” One of the uncles went into the cellar to get them without question. “Get the plates out of the oven,” she said, and a cousin jumped up to take care of it.

David just smiled, and looked to Hath. “This is where you get it from,” he said.

“Get what from?” Mary asked.

As they got settled at the table, David took Hath’s hand and told the story about how she had taken over when Sam was hurt, getting the girls organized, and making things happen. Hath blushed, and squeezed David’s hand.

“It’s no big deal,” she said self-consciously. “Any one of them would have done the same if I had given them half a chance.”

David kissed her cheek and changed the subject. “This is just delicious,” he said, tucking into a bowl of gnocchi and chewing with gusto. He looked around the table at all the platters and plates and then glanced into the kitchen, which was tiny. “Nanna, how do you make so much food in that little kitchen?”

Mary laughed. “My kitchen is downstairs,” she said. “Up here is just the staging area. Jenilee will show you the other kitchen later.”

Once Hath’s family got past the fact that he was who he was, they settled back in to a rowdy talkative bunch. Hath kept up with half a dozen conversations at once, switching between Italian and English easily. He laughed at their stories, shared some of his own and actually felt badly when lunch was over. The women started taking plates into the kitchen, and the men folded up the chairs and cleared out of the way, taking David with him.

“Oh no,” Hath said. “I’ve got to show him Nanna’s kitchen, and we have to get going. We have a few more hours’ drive until we get to his house.”

Hath led them down a narrow staircase, and warned David, “you’re tall, you’ve gotta duck down here.” They wound to the back of the cellar and David whistled. “Wow,” he said. “Now this is a kitchen.” He took in the gleaming stainless steel appliances, the three freezers, and wide expanses of butcher block countertops. “What’s through there?” he asked, indicating a low door in the back of the room.

“Aaah, that is – was – my grandfather’s press room,” she said, and led him to the door. He had to bend over to get through, but was able to stand mostly straight up once inside.

“What am I looking at?” he asked.

“This is the wine press, and through there,” she indicated another low door, “is the wine cellar. There isn’t much left of his own wine, so we only bring it out on holidays and special occasions.” She went through and picked up a bottle of unlabeled wine and handed it to David. Holding it up to the light, David saw it was remarkably clear, and a gorgeous burgundy color. “I have a bottle at home that I was saving; next time you’re over, we’ll crack it open.”

David set the bottle reverently on the counter, and took her into his arms. “Your family is wonderful. You are wonderful. I love you.”

“I love you too, babe. Now,” Hath pushed off and looked at her watch and sighed sadly. “We really should get going. Let’s make sure they don’t need any more help up there, then we can head out.”

“We can visit for a while; my house isn’t going anywhere,” David said, kissing her gently.

“Are you sure?” Hath asked.

David was anxious to get her home alone, but could tell that she really wanted to visit with her family. “Absolutely,” he said.

* * * * *
They finally hit Edison around 8:30 that night. They had stayed at Nanna’s for hours, and David couldn’t remember when he had last laughed so much. When they pulled through the gates, Hath’s eyes went wide. “Whoa,” she said under her breath. The driveway seemed to go on forever, and was lined with oak trees. It ended at a wide, low fountain, now dormant, and looped around to the back of the house. David pulled around back and into a huge two-story garage, and parked the Nav between a vintage Harley and a beautifully restored 1972 Plymouth Roadrunner. When Hath got out of the car, she approached the Plymouth and circled it, running a hand lightly over the deep purple paint.

“This is beautiful,” she said. “My father had a car just like this, right down to the color, when I was a kid. It was his most favorite car of any he’d ever owned, and the only brand-new car he’d ever purchased.” She laughed. “I learned to roller-skate with this car – it was my braking mechanism when I couldn’t quite work the stoppers.” She continued circling the car, and crouched in front of it, inspecting the Roadrunner grille ornament, tracing it with her fingertips. “It broke my father’s heart when he had to get rid of his car,” she said. “It needed so much work; it was going to be cheaper to buy a different car, so that’s what he ended up doing.

David smiled. “I bought this a good fifteen years ago from a guy whose father bought it for him when he was sixteen.” He narrowed his eyes. “This kid had to rebuild the transmission, replace the brakes, rebuild the carburetor and alternator, and reupholster the inside, if I remember correctly – and I usually do.”

Hath laughed. “Did he have to re-do the roof fabric because it was all hanging down?” she asked.

David was surprised. “Yes, as a matter of fact, he did.”

Hath looked at David. “Did he buy it in 1978?”

David went to a filing cabinet at the back of the garage. He riffed through the folders, and came out with one. He pulled a piece of paper from it and handed it to Hath. There, in black and white was the original transfer of ownership papers. “Holy shit,” she said, and showed David her father’s signature. “I can’t believe this! I can’t believe it’s in such good shape, and, well, HERE!” She gripped David’s arm. “Did you or this guy replace anything on the dash?”

“No,” David said. “In fact, the guy said he specifically left it alone because –“

“Because he liked the roadrunner and coyote magnets that were glued to it?” Hath interrupted.


“My brother and I did that when we were little. Got our butts smacked for that one, but good,” she had tears in her eyes. “Does she still run well?”

“Purrs like a tiger, and runs like she was new,” David said, shaking his head. “This is too much. Do you know, Jon tried to buy this car from me about a zillion times over the years, and there was always something in the back of my head saying ‘don’t sell; don’t sell’. Now I know why.”

“We’ve got to go back to Massachusetts in this car,” she said. They were planning to celebrate Christmas with Hath’s family, then go away for New Year’s. She turned to David, pleading. “I know we were going to fly back, but please, we’ve got to drive back and let my Dad see his car.”

David pulled Hath into his arms. “Anything you want, baby, you’ve got it.”

* * * * *
David had wanted to give me a tour of the house, but I leveled him with my very favorite Triple-G stare. “You are kidding me, right? What did you say earlier? The house will still be here?” He nodded at me. “Then all I want to see right now is where you sleep.”

“Thank God,” David said, and grabbed my hand, leading me up the stairs and into an enormous bedroom. He hauled me up against him and held me tight; one hand splayed across my back, the other on my ass. I was pressed against his full length, and grumbled that I needed to feel his skin on mine. With frenzied hands, we stripped each other of our clothes, and fell to the bed together. In one swift motion, David slid home, and my eyes rolled back. He stroked gently in and out of me, trying to prolong our release, but I was having none of that. I missed him too much. The next one could be slow but this one, well, this one had to be NOW.

I flipped us over and braced my hands on either side of David’s head. I rode him like the devil himself was chasing me, and when he tried to slow my motions grabbing for my hips, I slapped him away. “Do not try to stop me, sweetheart,” I panted. “I need this.”

David growled and flipped us again, and we came close to rolling off the bed. I started laughing, but my laughter dried up when David reared up and started just slamming into me. I screamed as I went over the edge, “Oh God, David, I love you!” and fisted my hands into the Egyptian cotton sheets, nearly tearing them from the bed. David pumped once more then emptied into me, groaning my name as his head dropped back. He lowered himself onto me, and rolled us sideways. “I love you, too,” he said, and we fell asleep in each others arms.

Chapter 25: Love...Exciting and New

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Saturday through Monday, December 8th – 10th, 2007

I was laden with bags when my cell went off. I couldn’t drop everything, so I ignored it until I got everything stowed in the car. I checked the call log, and saw that David had called. Again. I smiled. I also saw that he had sent another e-mail. I’m so glad he’s not as technologically challenged as they would have you believe. I’d never survive if I couldn’t keep in touch with him except by phone.

As I read this latest message, my heart raced. This was the second time he had signed his e-mail “Love David”. I think in my inebriated state last night, I said something to the girls, about the first e-mail, and I distinctly remember Stephanie talking to me about new love and how what I’m feeling is very similar to what she feels for her WKG. Gulp. As always, she gave me good advice, and told me to talk to him about it, but I feel stupid. It’s probably just a meaningless endearment or something.

Still, though, that night, when I was online with the girls on the laptop, and Skyping with David on the PC, it was eating at me. I wanted to say something, but had no idea what, and he could tell there was something on my mind. We talked for hours, never seeming to run out of things to say. Finally, he gave a great big yawn and stretch. “Well, my love,” he said, and my heart stopped. “I think I’ve got to go to bed.” He saw the look on my face. “What?” he said.

“Did you just say ‘my love’?”

Davie blushed. “Yeah, I guess I did. It just kinda slipped out.”

At this point, I abandoned the Harem and gave my full attention to David. The girls would understand.

David smiled and continued. “Listen, I want to tell you about a couple of things that happened last week.” He told me about the conversations he had with his mother and Jon last week, and I was stunned. David said he’d been thinking about what they had said ever since. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what I wanted to say. I had to say something though. “So, what did you decide?”

“That’s the hell of it,” he said. “I don’t know. I’m not trying to be mean or thick or anything, but I just don’t know.” He looked down at something. “I just know that I go crazy when I can’t talk to you and,” he chuckled, “I find myself turning to you a hundred times a day to tell you something, only you’re not there. I miss you like crazy all the time.”

I smiled widely, and a tear leaked down my face. “Sweetheart,” I said to him, “I had a similar conversation with Stephanie,” and proceeded to tell him all about it.

He was quiet. “Wow,” he said.

“Yeah,” I answered.

“So now what?” he asked, and my heart was pounding.

“Well, we could try it on for size, and see how it feels, or we could not, and just see what happens.” I was such a coward, leaving the ball in his court.

David sighed. “I wish I was there with you.” He was quiet for a moment, and I thought that was how we were going to play it. “Jenilee Hathor Gengras, I love you,” he said, and tears sprang to my eyes.

“Oh,” I sighed, trying to compose myself. “David Bryan Rashbaum, I love you, too.”

It fit, and it felt wonderful.

* * * * *

I went to the Patriots/Steelers game with my brother and two of his frat brothers on Sunday; guys I’d known for more than a dozen years; guys who, while they are younger than I am, look at me as a little sister that need defending. So, when we got to the parking lot, and set up for tailgating, they shot looks my regular tailgating friends who stopped by.

“Guys,” I said, “You can relax. Nothing’s going to happen in this parking lot.”

Ed, my brother’s best friend, laughed. “You’re right, Hath, that’s because we won’t let it.” I love these guys, but sometimes their misplaced overprotective streak drives me crazy.

We kept warm and made lunch, played poker and cribbage, then finally headed up to the stands. A couple of guys up there, the regulars, asked where David was. Actually, they asked if my Jersey boyfriend got scared off. I tried to keep from rolling my eyes at them when I told them that he actually worked for a living and was getting ready to go onstage in a couple hours. The light bulbs went on, and they laughed. One smart ass asked me if he was coming back for the Jets game. People around us started grumbling. I laughed at them and told them David was a Giants fan, and they relaxed.

The four of us settled in for one of the best games I’d ever seen. The crowd was electrified, and we were yelling and booing and cheering, depending on the play. The Patriots were making more good plays than bad, so we four were high-fiving, and the guys were hugging me all the time. It was really fun.

After the sweetest play I’ve seen in a long time; the Brady-lateral-to-Moss-lateral-to-Brady-touchdown-pass-to-Gaffney, we were all celebrating with hugs and kisses, and this guy behind us grabbed me and kissed me. UGH!! Square on the mouth, and he smelled of stale $7 beers. Gross. Without thinking, I slugged him one, and his girlfriend got outraged and sucker punched me in the eye (if you ask me, she should have punched the asshole who grabbed me). My brother and his friends wanted to get into it, but I got them to not; they’re all big guys, and they probably would have gotten arrested. I had a dozen witnesses to the attack, so I wasn’t worried. We got led from the stands and "spoken to" by Foxboro's finest in one of the little rooms off the concourse. Since I was defending myself, I didn't get in trouble, and I elected not to press charges (though why I would want to is beyond me; I handled it with a punch).

After that, the game was tainted for me, and my eye hurt like a sonofabitch. When I got home, I was so bone tired I could hardly stand. The adrenaline had worn off hours ago, and the last bit of reserve I had was depleted. I called my Mom to let her know I got home OK (old habits die hard), and went to call David, but he was still on stage, and I didn’t want to leave him a message. I checked in on the board, thinking the girls would cheer me up, but nobody was about. I left a quick note, tuned off my cell and crawled into bed. I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.

I felt guilty when I woke the next morning and saw David had called a couple times, and left messages. As I listened to the messages, I was getting annoyed. He seemed to be getting angry that he couldn’t reach me. If this was what loving him was going to be like, it was going to suck. I finally called him back, all ready to lay into him, and he was just so sweet. He was worried I didn't get home from the game safely last night because of the sleet and freezing rain we were getting. He told me he finally wound up calling my mother to find out if I was OK or not. I tried to stay annoyed at him, and I just couldn’t.

I told him about what happened, and he wanted me to get on the cam right away so he could see for himself that I was really OK. I told him no way.

"I knew I had reason to be worried last night!" he said,

“I’m fine,” I assured him.

He wanted me to get on the cam, but no way. He was outraged that someone would hit me, and asked why my mountain of a brother didn’t intervene. I told him the whole story, and I could hear an evil little smile in his voice.

“So, Popeye,” he said laughing, “do you think that will fade before I bring you home to meet my family?”

I burst out laughing. “You’d better hope so, or I’m telling your mother you did this to me.”

David blanched. “Don’t even joke about that; she’d kill me.”

We chatted for a couple minutes, and I had to leave for work. What a waste of energy that turned out to be, I got all the way to the train (late of course because the roads were slick) and after waiting an HOUR for the train that never showed, I went home, and worked from the comfort of my home office. The good news about that is I could blast the stereo as loud as I wanted (and I wanted) and changed into ratty sweats and my favorite toasty slippers.

I was kinda glad I didn’t make it in to the office today. It would give my eye one more day to heal before I have to go through the "what the hell happened to you" routine. I wasn’t looking forward to that. On the plus side there, I guess, since I work with mostly guys, after I tell them the story, I'll either have them cowering in fear or, well, cowering would be good.

Chapter 24: Greetings From The Great White North

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Date: Wed Dec 5, 2007 10:12pm
Subject: Cameras

Hey Hath:

I left you a voicemail – sorry I missed you. Did you have fun with your girlfriends? I just wanted to send you a quick note. The guys all say thanks for the cameras, and even bigger thanks for sending the instructions (ha ha). None of them want their assistants’ help in getting them set up – they don’t want to admit they’re techno-losers, unlike yours truly, who already has it set up. Tico express mailed the extra one home to his wife, and he said to give you a big hug from him, so consider yourself hugged.

I’ll have my account set up soon, and we can chat. I miss you already.

Consider yourself hugged and kissed from me too.


* * * * * * * * * *

Date: Thu Dec 6, 2007 7:32am
Subject: Re: Cameras

Hey, yourself, David:

I did get your voicemail, but not until I got up this morning. I figure you needed your beauty sleep (ha ha) so didn’t call ya back. Tell the guys you’re welcome, and their girls are nearly set up – they’ll just have to convince them to use the cameras! Queenie and Ang have them too, though Ang doesn’t know who you guys “really” are – we just want to talk with her IRL too. I will stroke your ego though. Remember that discussion we had about how every Jovi fan has her fave? Well guess who’s hers? Yeah, yeah, you. Quit gloating (LOL).

Tell Tico thanks for the hug – I didn’t want him feeling left out just because he isn’t banging one of my friends. Have a good time, well, not too good a time, and I look forward to seeing you real soon. I miss you too.

Big kiss to you, baby.

* * * * * * * * * *

Date: Fri Dec 7, 2007 1:09am
Subject: Sorry

Hey Baby:

OK, so like I said on the phone, yesterday before Jon so rudely interrupted for that stupid sound check thing, I’m set up on Skype. Sorry you have to get up so early again tomorrow (I guess I mean today); I wouldn’t have called you if I knew you had to be to work so damned early. When is that going to lighten up? Anyhow, here’s the proper spelling of the “handle” I’m using: HathorsJoker. I’ve already added JokersGoddess to my address book. I added the guys, too, and you can bet I’ll be prank-calling them later, ha ha. They may just hate you before the tour is over!

Just kidding. Not about the pranks, just about them hating you ;)

So anyway, have a good day, and I’ll “see” you soon!

So, Ang, huh? She’s UKFootyDunce, right? The one that sent the body chocolate? Hmmm…
Miss you,

* * * * * * * * * *

Date: Dec 7, 2007 8:45am
Subject: Re: Sorry

Sweetie, I told you to call me anytime, and I meant it. My hours will only get worse as I get my Bangalore office online, but it’s OK. I will sort it out. I make up for lost time on the weekends… But honestly, I’d rather talk to you than sleep any night of the week.

And I’m not worried, the guys won’t hate me. Their happiness at seeing their girls will outweigh the – wait a sec – you CAN be pretty annoying (and I say that with nothing but love, baby teehee); I’ll tell the girls to tell them not to shoot the gift-giver. It’s not my fault you’re a pain in the ass. :P

Do I have to give you the “if you can’t play nice, I’m going to have to take the toys away” speech? Sheesh! lol

And yeah, Ang. And, I got another care package from her this week. I’m waiting for you before I open it.

Miss you too, baby,

PS, Can’t wait to “see” you too…

PS2, I have someone looking over my shoulder, and he wants to know why I’m called Goddess. Sigh. Looks like I’ve got some ‘splaining to do! MWAH

* * * * * * * * * *

Date: Dec 7, 2007 11:45am
Subject: Re: Sorry

Annoying, huh? OK, sweetheart. THAT is a dare. Another care package? Interesting. Gotta fly; Skype you tomorrow.

Boy are you in for it.

* * * * * * * * * *

Date: Dec 7, 2007 4:12pm
Subject: Re: Sorry

This is me, shaking in my boots. See it? NO? There ya go. THAT’S how worried I am. (ha ha)

Going out with some girlfriends tonight for ribs-n-‘ritas. There are a bunch of us that had crappy couple of days (I’ve been in the same GD conference room since noon, and my ass is falling asleep), and we need to let our hair down. I won’t be out too late, though. Have a good show, darlin’!

Smoochies, Hath

* * * * * * * * * *

Date: Dec 7, 2007 6:12pm
Subject: Re: Sorry

You should be shaking.
And wear the boots tomorrow. PLEEEASE!!

Smoochies, huh? Sorry, that’s too girly for me. Take a great big kiss from me. The guys say hi. Oh wait, that wasn’t a wave. Dammit. Gotta go. Bye sweetie.

Love, David

* * * * * * * * * *

Date: Dec 8, 2007 8:15am
Subject: Hey There

Morning, Sleeping Beauty!!

Nice of you to drag ass out of bed, lazy bum.

I know you’re off today, and I’ll be back later, I promise, but if I don’t get my Christmas shopping finished, and the cards in the mail, I won’t be able to just relax and enjoy the rest of the season! I’ve put together little gifts for your kids, and I have a nominal thing for your mother (don’t start on me, I’m a girl, this is what we do). I have to finish for my family, and get some things for the gift box at work (they do a charity thing each year), and do the cards, and that’s it.

So, I’ll be back sometime late this afternoon, and I’ll be all yours for the rest of the night (as long as you don’t mind sharing me with the Harem; I’ve got a party online to attend, ha ha)

Alright, if I don’t get off, I won’t get going.

Have some coffee, grab a shower, and have a good day! (Notice, I didn’t say “Have A Nice Day”. You’re welcome.)

Bye, baby, until later. I’ve got the crackberry, but it doesn’t always work in stores.


* * * * * * * * * *

Date: Dec 8, 2007 11:42am
Subject: Re: Hey There

Morning, yourself (or, almost, Good Afternoon). I tried calling you but it went to voicemail. Are you shopping in an underground bunker or something? Ha ha ha. And I’ll have you know that I’m not lazy, I’m tired. Jon works us to death, and I’ve had to go to the gym every day because of your cooking. And your grandmother’s.

Yeah, I’m off today, but Jon is calling some sort of meeting this afternoon, and we’re grabbing dinner. I’ll be pinging you afterwards, so you’d better be ready.

And, yeah, I noticed you didn’t quote us back to me. Thanks. Just wanted to tell you, though, that you were in my thoughts this morning, and I like waking up with you on my mind. So there :P

Alright, I’m gonna try your cell again, and if I don’t connect, I’ll see you tonight. Can’t wait!

Big kiss,
Love, David

Chapter 23: Trim-a-Tree

Tuesday & Wednesday, December 4th & 5th, 2007

Hath and David opened boxes of ornaments, and David whistled. “There must be hundreds of ornaments here!” It was true. There were two boxes of boxed Hallmark ornaments and another three of the traditional glass balls in every color imaginable; some frosted, some with glitter, some that looked so fragile that they’d break if you looked at them cross-eyed.

“Yep, and they all fit on the tree,” Hath responded, as she took the first ornament out of its box. It was a white frosted globe with the Twin Towers superimposed over an American flag. She had tears in her eye when she hung that one in a place of honor in the center of the tree, and paused a moment after hanging it. David took her hand and they stood there for a moment. With a squeeze, Hath released his hand and they opened more little boxes.

One by one, they hung the ornaments on the tree, Hath telling David their stories. She had ornaments from friends and relatives all over the country, and some from abroad. She had ones her niece had made, and some she had made as a child. When everything was in place, Hath stepped back into the circle of David’s arms, and they gazed at the tree.

“It’s just beautiful,” David said. “Not just the ornaments and the lights, but the love in each bauble and trinket,” he kissed the top of Hath’s head, and turned her to look at him. “Just beautiful.”

Hath threaded her hands into David’s hair, and brought his head down for a kiss. “Thank you,” she said. “For everything. For dinner, and decorating, and helping me trim my tree.” She paused to trail a hand down the side of David’s face. “Thank you,” she said again, a moment before David’s mouth reclaimed hers, their tongues twining in an intimate twist.

“It was my absolute pleasure, darlin’,” he answered a full minute later. The two were breathing hard, and Hath’s pulse was racing. She just couldn’t believe he’d gone through all this trouble for her. Hell, she still couldn’t quite believe he wanted her, and they’d been together for a month.

Locking eyes with David, Hath led him upstairs to what she thought of (now) as their room. Aiming the remote at the stereo, she clicked on the CD – it was Joss Stone; the young singer’s sexy, soulful voice filling the room. David took Hath into his arms, and they swayed slowly to the music, kissing tenderly.

I've been running around
And I gotta slow down and spend time with my man
From city to city
Pleasing the world but neglecting him
Living on the road is so damn tough
Talking on the phone is never enough
I gotta get back to the place that I'm used to

Hath looked deep into David’s blue-green, and was lost. It would be so easy to fall in love with someone who looked at her like that. Shaking any remaining traces of self-doubt from her mind, she smiled and closed her eyes on a sigh, and melted against him, head tucked under David’s chin, moving with him like they were one.

And I, I felt like I need to be in the arms of my baby
And I, I gotta find my way back home to my baby now

I've been lacking affection
Craving for the touch of his gentle hands
So much love and devotion
No matter what I go through he understand

David’s hands were caressing Hath’s back and moved to her shoulders to slip her suit jacket from her. Instead of dropping it on the floor however, he stepped back and hung it on a hanger, and put it in her closet, because he knew that’s what she would have done. He smiled at her and pulled her back into his arms.

He sends me flowers but they don't compare
To how he runs his fingers through my hair

David chuckled and pushed his hands into Hath’s hair, undoing the twist she always wore. He groaned when the silky locks, still damp from that morning’s shower, fell around his hands and wrists.

“I love how your hair is still damp,” he said, burying his face in it.

“It’s thick, it takes forever to dry,” Hath answered softly, “and doesn’t when it’s all wrapped up.”

“It smells delicious,” David said, moving to nuzzle her neck. “You smell delicious,” he said.

David’s breath on Hath’s neck made her shiver, and her nipples pebble. While Joss sang on, Hath pulled at David’s sweater until it came up and over his head. Smiling, she folded it neatly and placed it on the blanket chest at the foot of the bed. Boldly staring at him, one by one Hath slid the buttons free on her silk shirt, and watched, fascinated, as David mirrored her actions. She slid the shirt from her shoulders, catching it at her elbows. She slowly unbuttoned her shirt’s cuffs, and her pulse kicked up when David did the same with his. The shirt dropped to the floor behind her, leaving her in a peach demi-bra and black skirt. David sucked in a breath, and dropped his shirt to the floor.

Hath slowly approached David, their eyes glued to each other. With a smile, Hath lightly traced the Joker tat on David’s chest, remembering the first time she touched it. The same little electric sizzle was there, tickling her fingertips. She leaned in to swirl her tongue around David’s nipple and he groaned. Emboldened, Hath nipped at him, making him hiss and wrap his arms around her. David gently pulled Hath up to and against him, and walked her backwards until she was pressed up against the wall. He leaned into her, pressing is erection into her, and kissed her soundly.

Hath tried to loop a leg around David’s waist, but her skirt was too tight; she couldn’t. David chuckled and pushed the offending garment up around her waist and grabbed and lifted Hath’s thigh; anchoring himself to her. He rubbed against her until his pants were damp with her juices. Hath ripped her mouth from David’s and cried out his name as the orgasm overtook her.

“Jesus, David, I need you inside me, NOW,” she hissed.

“Yes, ma’am,” he said, after which Hath flicked him. “Ow! Okay, okay, ‘miss’!” he laughed. He swung Hath up into his arms and strode toward the bed. He dumped her unceremoniously in the middle of the bed, making her squeak. David shucked his pants and was on her in a flash, tearing her panties away, leaving her in a bunched-up skirt and bra. He thrust roughly into her, his frenzy driving her up and over the edge again; making her scream.

“God, I love it when you scream,” David said, panting, as he strove for his own release.

“Baby, I love it when you make me scream,” Hath said on a whisper as her eyes rolled back into her head. “Do it again,” she begged. So he did. He screamed too, and collapsed on top of her. He worked her skirt off her, gently stripped off her bra, pulled the covers up over them, and held her until they both fell asleep.

Late the next morning, David left for the airport. Hath wanted to go with him, but he told her he wanted to take the image of her all rumpled and creased in bed with him. He kissed her, told her he missed her already, and was gone. When he left, Hath noticed that he left a t-shirt for her in the bathroom. She smiled and slipped it on, as a tear slid down her cheek.

Chapter 22: Christmas Decorating

Friday, December 7, 2007

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

After Hath left for work early on Tuesday, David got up and dressed, and went about exploring her town. He figured if he was going to spend any amount of time there, he should familiarize himself with the area. He drove through the “downtown” area, which was small and cute, and found the college Hath had attended. He roamed around campus for quite a while, stopping off at the campus store to buy a sweatshirt. He grabbed lunch to go from her friend’s barbecue place, and headed back to her house.

David stood in the living room, looking around at the boxes of decorations, and a plan started to form in his head. Heading for Hath’s office, he looked in her desk for her address book. He drummed his fingers on the desk as he dialed.

“Hello?” a voice said on the other side.

“Hi, Mrs. Gengras? It’s David. Hath’s – Jen’s friend?” he said.

Hath’s mother laughed. “It’s OK, you call her whatever she tells you to, and call me Mom. What can I do for you?”

“Well, er, Mom, Hath has all her decorations out, and I want to surprise her. Do you have any pictures of where all this stuff goes?”

Pauline smiled. “As a matter of fact, I do.” She paused for a minute. “Do you want some help?”

David thought a minute. “You know what, that would be great.”

Hath’s mother took 20 minutes to get to the house, armed with a photo album. Several in fact. They found photos with the decorations in them, and set to work. They got all the different village scenes set up on various shelves and tables, and set the table with Christmas dishes. The only thing they didn’t do was the tree decorations; the branches hadn’t completely fallen yet, and David wanted to do that with Hath. David did twine the lights around the roping he found on the back deck, and got it strung on the loft railing.

When they were done, Pauline went through the “bragging mom” phase and pored through every embarrassing moment in her daughter’s life. David was in heaven. David liked Hath’s mother. She was really a very nice lady who only wanted the best for her daughter. As she was gathering her things to leave, David gave her a hug. “Thank you for helping me,” he said.

Pauline gave him a kiss on the cheek and smiled. “Thank you for making my daughter happy.”

“She makes me happy too,” David said. He told Hath’s mother what he had planned for the rest of the evening, and when she heard what he was planning, she smiled.

“I saw the pie,” she said. “Do you need more help?”

David laughed, and the two schemed. Once they were in agreement, Pauline left and David moved on to the next part of his plan.

* * * * *

When I got home, I was in a major snit. The train was late, a car short, and crowded. On the drive home, I was stuck behind someone who thought it would be nice to let every blessed person in creation in front of him in line, and I hit every red light. I called David as he had asked, ten minutes before I expected to be home, and that was fifteen minutes ago. By the time I pulled into my driveway, I was ready to hit something. In deference to the cold, I pulled into the garage and shut the door. I smiled seeing David’s Nav in the bay next to mine, and started to feel better.

I went upstairs, and through the game room to the house. When I opened the door, I heard soft music playing, and found a note on the floor.

Hey Baby, close your eyes and call my name. I’ve got a surprise for you.

I smiled. God, this was wonderful. I put my bags down and hung my coat in the closet, closed my eyes and said, “David, baby, I’m home.”

I heard soft footsteps approach, and felt David take my hand and press a glass into it. I sipped at a lovely margarita, smiling at the memory of last time he handed me one. “Can I open my eyes now?” I asked.

“Nope,” David said. “Come with me, m’lady.” He put his arm around my waist, and led me out of the room. We turned toward the living room, and after a minute, he sat me down on the couch. He untied and removed my sneakers and socks, put my feet up on the ottoman, and sat next to them, his hand possessively on my calves. I took another sip of my drink and sank back into the soft cushions. “Now,” he said. “Open your eyes.”

I did and gasped. All my decorations, save for the ones for the tree, were up and pretty much where I always put them. The roping with its white twinkling lights ringed the balcony railing, and the matching lights were strung on the tree. The boxes of tree ornaments were stacked in one corner, but everything else was done. The table was set for two with my Spode Christmas dishes, and the candles in their silver holders were flickering delicately. I turned to look at David who looked wonderful, in black dress pants, and a white Oxford shirt with a conservative green pullover sweater over it.

“David, this is wonderful!” I put my drink down on the table, and leaned forward to kiss him. “How’d you know just where to put everything?”

“I called your Mom.”

I just gaped at him. “Voluntarily called my mother?” He just nodded. “Wow.”

“She came over with pictures that just about covered everything, and she helped me get everything set up.” David smiled. “And she invited me to call her ‘Mom’.”

“What a wonderful surpri – pictures? Calling her ‘Mom’? What?”

David nodded. “Yep, books and books of pictures, and you heard right.” He laughed at me because I pretty much looked like I’d swallowed a bug. “You should grow your hair long again,” he said. “Though the butch spiky ‘do from the 90’s was hot.” He was confusing the hell out of me. I was still hung up on the calling her ‘Mom’ thing.

I groaned and buried my head in my hands. “How far memory lane did she take you?” I asked, shaking the cobwebs from my head.

“All the way back to a little pinafore and black patent-leather shoes, up through dancing school and junior cheerleading, high school and college – I’m pretty much caught up.” He wagged his eyebrows at me. “Do you still have that cheerleader outfit?”

I laughed at him, and sat forward to kiss him again. “No, and even if I did, it would be insanely tight,” my breath hitched at the look on his face, and I finished, “but I do still have the pompoms somewhere…”

David took my drink from me and got up to put it on the table. He came back to sit next to me. “Do you want to do the tree first or have dinner first?”

“Dinner?” I was shocked. I remembered the pie, and winced at what the kitchen must look like. I did notice now, though a wonderful aroma coming from the kitchen.

“Yeah, dinner. We’re having lasagna, garlic bread, and a salad.” David smiled smugly at me.

“You made a lasagna?” I burst out laughing. I couldn’t help it. Not that it was hard to put one together, but the thought of him doing it was funny and sweet and did something twisty to my insides – but mostly it was funny.

David let me off the hook, and told me that my mom had brought it, and he did the salad and bread. “I just can’t believe you spent the afternoon with my mother,” I said, shaking my head.

“Believe it baby. She likes me; she even gave me a hug before she left.”

“Hmph. Well, let’s have dinner first,” I said. “Then we can finish decorating.”

David led me to the table and pulled out a chair for me. He took the plates into the kitchen and came back with them heaped with homemade lasagna, my all time favorite comfort food. I took an appreciative sniff. “Oh, she gave you a good one; this is one from my Grandmother’s house.”

“How can you tell?” David asked.

“Every Italian’s sauce smells unique,” I counseled him. “No matter how hard I try, I cannot duplicate the same smell or taste as Nanna’s sauce. I can even make it in her kitchen with her ingredients and cookery, and still it comes out different.” I took a small taste off the end of my fork. “Yep, this is Nanna’s. Mmmmm.”

David laughed and went back for the salad and bread, and we tucked into a great meal. We chatted about our days, and how we wanted to tackle the tree, and about his travel plans. He told me that when he drove out on Monday he had cancelled his flight for Canada so he could take his car home. He was planning to leave early to drive back home then fly out to Toronto.

I told him he was being ridiculous; to just leave his car at my place, and book his round-trip to Canada from here. I would pick him up at the airport in the Nav, and we could drive to New Jersey together for the start of our holiday break.

“Sounds good,” he said, his mouth full of pasta. “This is fantastic. My mother noticed I was putting on a few pounds, you know. Guess I need to start hitting the gym more often. So,” he said, “there’s no good way to ease into this; I talked to my mom and the kids and my ex about you and they’re all anxious to meet you.”

I had pretty much dropped my fork at “no good way to ease into this”; Jesus, didn’t that man have a clue? You don’t talk to your girlfriend like that unless you’re breaking up with her! “I’m anxious about meeting them; is that the same thing?” I laughed nervously.

David smiled. “There’s not anything to be anxious about. But, there’s something I need to tell you; the kids have been asking pretty pointed questions about whether we’re getting married.”

I was completely flabbergasted. “Wow. Even my mother doesn’t have us married yet. Do they have siblings’ names picked out yet?” I was falling back on GSA here; I didn’t know what else to do.

David narrowed his eyes at me. “Don’t do that,” he said. “I told them that it was too early to be talking about that, but I wanted you to be ready for the questions.”

“Thanks for the heads up.” I finished my margarita, and stood, completely ignoring the matter. “Shall we get cracking on the tree?” David nodded.

So we stacked our dishes in the sink for later (I don’t put the Spode through the Kenmore, thank-you-very-much) and we went into the living room.

My mind was spinning. I was going to have to ping the girls about this.


Chapter 21: David's Back!

Monday December 3rd, 2007

Usually I hate Mondays with the white-hot intensity of the heat of a thousand suns. Today should have been no different: I had to be downtown by 7 am for a division-wide meeting, the sleet made the roads and sidewalks treacherous, and I slipped more than once walking to the World Trade Center from the train. Despite all this, I was still smiling. David was supposed to come in today. I say “supposed to” because we’re in the midst of a wonderful early-winter freezing rain and sleet extravaganza. There’s about an inch of yucky stuff on the ground, and they closed Logan early this morning. God, I hope they re-open the airport, and that David can get in safely.

I made it to the WTC by 6:45, grabbed my breakfast, and settled in for the 5-hour series of seminars and panel discussions, to be capped off by a catered luncheon. I was distracted the whole time, and couldn’t really concentrate on what was being said. I made it a point to sit in the front row to make it more difficult to zone out. It also lessened the temptation to sneak out at the break. Plus, my boss was sitting next to me, and he was chatting to me whenever we had downtime.

Everyone in the seminar was asked to turn off their pagers and phones, which to me meant set them to vibrate. I’m hopelessly addicted to my blackberry, and freak out when it doesn’t talk to me for half a day – I’d think there’s something wrong with it, and frankly, I was distracted enough already.

I’m glad I followed my instinct. David sent me a text around 9 am letting me know that Logan airport was open, but experiencing significant delays and he didn’t want to spend the day waiting in the airport so he was driving out. I sent him a message back that I was at WTC until 1, just about when he should be hitting my house, and would be heading back to the office for a couple hours of meetings. I told him I’d call when I got back to the office, and would be able to sneak away on the 3:00 train.

Finally, at 1:00, the meetings and luncheon were over. I got my coat out of hock and made my way out to the front of the WTC with my boss and some of my peers. I was refereeing a debate about some policies that were recently put in place (by yours truly), and was laughing at some of their arguments and their vehemence. We were looking for the shuttle to take us back across town to our building, and Matt nudged me. “Isn’t that your name on that card?” he asked. I looked in the direction he was pointing, and sure enough, there was someone holding a card with my name on it. He was standing in front of a beautiful black Lincoln Navigator, wearing an overcoat with the collar turned up, sunglasses, and a chauffeur’s cap. I frowned as I approached him, with Matt and the others not too far behind.

“Excuse me,” I said. “You have my name on your card; are you really here for me?”

The man took off his sunglasses and hat, and smiled broadly. It was David. “Hey, darlin’,” he said.

“David!” I squeaked, “What are you doing here?” I dropped my laptop and backpack to the ground, and launched myself into his arms. His arms locked around me, and he spun me around before giving me a long kiss on the lips. Too late, I remembered that I was NOT alone, that I had come out of the building with a group of people. I broke the kiss and stepped back, blushing. My colleagues were all staring at me. I have a reputation as being a hard-ass, and rarely let my guard down at work. I work with mostly men, so it doesn’t pay to be to girly. I was not going to live this down for a long while.

“Guys, this is David,” I said.

“Really?” Alex said. “I never would have guessed that.”

I blushed and introduced David to my coworkers. To their credit, other than a couple of them saying that their wives or daughters (or both) were fans, they didn’t make a big deal about who he was. David picked up my bags and stowed them in the back seat.

“You coming back to work, Hath?” Matt asked with an evil gleam in his eye.

“Yeah, I am, smart-ass,” I replied. “I have a couple of meetings I can’t get out of.” God, they were going to tease me mercilessly for weeks. I grinned. “I am leaving early though,” I said, and David laughed and took my hand.

He opened the passenger side door. “Your carriage awaits, m’lady,” he said.

“You bozos are on your own,” I said to them as David closed my door. He dialed in my work address to his GPS, and we were off. “What a wonderful surprise!” I said to him as we tooled up the driveway.

“I missed you,” he said simply. “I wanted to see you as soon as I could.” I just smiled a silly, stupid smile.

It was a relatively short ride to my building, and we shared a passionate kiss before I got out of the Nav. “That’ll have to hold you until I get home,” I said to him, leaning in through the driver’s side window.

David pulled me back in for another. “Mmmm. Now I just might make it,” he said with a wink.

“Can you get they-ah from hee-ah?” I asked, pulling out my Claven for his benefit.

“Yeah, the GPS will tell me where to go,” David said.

I laughed. “Well, when it tells you to take the road through the park, don’t. That isn’t a vehicle road; it’s a bike path,” I said. “Take St. Pierre instead. Comes out in the same place.”

David snapped off a sharp solute. “Yes, ma’am” he said. I just narrowed my eyes and scowled at him. “I mean yes, miss,” he said laughing.

“Watch out for the boxes in the living room. I took you at your word, and haven’t started decorating yet; I just got everything down from the attic.” I winked at him. “See you when I get home,” I said.

“Not if I see you first.”

* * * * *

Hath got home by four, and they had a passionate reunion after which they showered and got ready for dinner. She and David went out to dinner to a local steak house, where the steaks were butter soft and the rub was so flavorful, Hath asked the waiter what was in it. He, of course, wouldn’t tell her, but she had to try. When they got back, it was a half hour before kickoff. Hath got changed into comfy sweats and a battered Pats jersey, and the two settled into watch the game. Monday Night Football. She chuckled at the Hank intro; they were still playing the one with Richie in it.

After the first quarter, David was looking at his girl in a new light. He saw her at the game last week of course, and knew she was a, well, vocal fan. But she was yelling and cursing at the TV, ranting and pacing in front of it. She was questioning their manhood, berating their mothers, and at one point, flipped off the coach. She had left her laptop at work, so she wheeled the computer desk out of the office and into the loft so she could ‘watch’ the game with the harem. At one point, David was able to sneak on for a second and tell the girls that Hath was insane, and when she came back and saw that, she flicked him in the forehead.

“Ow!” David rubbed at the spot. “What was that for?”

“I am crazy, not insane,” Hath answered. “There’s a difference.”

David laughed. “Yeah, OK, you psycho.” Hath made to flick him again, and David grabbed her hands and held them behind her back and kissed her stupid.

At one point, David had to leave the room to collect himself; he was afraid if he snickered at her one more time, she was going to hit him.

Hath made it up to him during halftime, though she told David he had exactly eighteen minutes. He laughed so hard that by the time he got himself under control, there were only fifteen left, and she held him to that. They made the most of their time, though, and were back in front of the TV snuggled in to watch the third quarter with a few seconds to spare. Almost with the opening drive, Hath had leaped up to pace, and was getting agitated again. David tried to distract her, but it wouldn’t work. To add to her tension, Hath’s brother kept calling every time there was a good or awful play, which was pretty much every other play. Finally, she told him to stop calling; he was just making it worse. She kept the Harem informed about what was going on, her fingers flying across the keys faster than he’d ever seen someone type. She never looked away from the game except to click “post” on her updates. When he commented about it, she said distractedly, “105 words 20 years”, her eyes glued to the television.

“Huh?” David asked.

“105 words 20 years – I type 105 words a minute, and have been typing for more than 20 years.” She spared a look at him, her mouth in a smirk. “When you do something for that long, you kinda get good at it, don’tcha? Now shhhh.”

In the last seconds of the game, the last 8 seconds, to be exact, Hath looked ready to kill. The quarterback for the Ravens let a pass go, a Hail Mary, a jump ball that the Raven’s landed on the two. When the ball was in the air, Hath was screaming “NO!” When the Raven’s receiver came down with the ball, it was “FUCK!” and when he fell shy of the goal line with no time left on the clock, she jumped into the air punching at the ceiling and cheering. She did a little ass-shaking happy dance, updated the Harem once more, flicked off the TV, and turned to David. “I’m all yours now, if you want me, baby,” she said, a wicked gleam in her eyes. David didn’t have to be asked twice.

He wrapped Hath in his arms and carried her to bed where they had their own private celebration.

If Hath’s Pats win the Superbowl, it may just kill him.

Chapter 20: David's Kids

Week of Monday, November 26th, 2007

David slept on the plane. He was lucky in that he could sleep anywhere. It was a skill that he developed over the last 25 years, and one that helped keep him sane. As the plane was descending, he woke, and checked his watch; he was really looking forward to seeing his kids. He was excited to tell them about Hath. He had wanted to bring her home to Edison for Chanukah, but Hath couldn’t get away this week. She was going to come home with him for a couple days after the Canada shows wrapped. David wanted to make sure his kids were prepared for the meet. He wanted Hath to meet his mother, too, and had to prepare her for the fact that Hath wasn’t Jewish. He didn’t think that would matter much, but he didn’t want to surprise his mother, either.

After getting his bags from baggage claim, he grabbed a cab and headed home. He left Hath a quick voicemail to let her know he made it okay, and set out for his ex-wife’s place.

When David arrived at April’s place, his old home, he sighed. No matter how much he loved coming to see his kids, he hated the thought that he had to visit them, rather than just see them. He rang the bell, and waited for her to answer. “Hi,” she said, as she opened the door. “The kids aren’t home yet.”

Kissing his cheek, she stood aside to let him pass. They had split amicably enough, and the children never saw them argue or fight now, but coming here was always hard. David did notice that it wasn’t quite that hard this time.

“I know,” David said. “I wanted to talk to you first.”

April looked critically at David. “You’re looking happy,” she said with a smile. “Who is she?” She knew her ex-husband too well. His eyes looked to have that twinkling light back in them. She hadn’t seen that since they were first together, close to fifteen years ago. She led him into the living room, and they sat companionably together on the couch.

David chuckled. “You always did know how to read me,” he said. He proceeded to tell his ex-wife about the new woman in his life, which was a little surreal. He told April about the online forum and Richie’s bet (at which April rolled her eyes) and meeting Hath under a pseudonym. He talked about Richie “outing” him on the board, and Hath coming right back with a slam on his SNL gear. “That was awful,” April said. “It looked like something Gabby would wear.” He told her about meeting Hath face-to-face after one of the shows in Newark, and the instant chemistry, and how she once again gave him grief for his choice in stage garb, reminding him that the eighties were over.

“She’s not afraid of you or your celebrity. I like her already,” April said, laughing. David continued on about their time together when they were all taking care of things for Jon’s girlfriend, and about spending Thanksgiving with her and her family. He left out the intimate details, but April could read between the lines. April nodded. “So, when are you bringing her to meet our kids?”

David sighed. “She’s agreed to come home with me after we finish in Canada; I’ll have her meet everyone then. I don’t know what we’re doing for Christmas or New Year’s yet.”

“I don’t have a problem with that,” April said. “If she’s as nice as you say, I’m sure it’ll be fine. Have you told your mother yet?”

“Nope,” David said. “I wanted to tell you and the kids first.”

On cue, the kids all burst through the door. “Is that Daddy’s car?” TygerLily, the youngest, said; bounding in through the door.

“Lil!” David called, and opened his arms for his younger daughter. “How’s my princess?” She was in second grade, and the apple of her daddy’s eye.

“Good. Tommy Westcott was mean to me, and I have homework.” She wiggled out of David’s grasp, and shot to the kitchen for her after-school snack. Gabrielle came in for a hug, but her twin, Colton, wanted a hand-shake. He thought he was too old for hugs from his father.

“How are you guys?” David asked. “How was Thanksgiving?”

“It was fine,” Gabby said, “but we missed you. Where were you?”

David sighed and slid a look to his ex-wife. “I wanted to talk to you about that,” he said. “I met someone, a woman, and spent the holiday meeting her family. She has a brother and he and his wife have a four-year-old daughter. I met them and her parents, and she took me to the Patriots game yesterday, and we tailgated in the parking lot all afternoon.”

Colton’s eyes went wide at that. He’d been to lots of Giants games, but they’d always lost. They also always did the ‘catered soiree’ that Hath had teased him about. “You cooked in the parking lot? That’s cool. Where were your seats? Weren’t you cold?”

David laughed. “Yeah, we did; we had a fryer and a grill, and cooked a lot of food. Our seats were about ten rows from the sky, and t was cold as hell, but really fun.” He noticed his daughter hadn’t said anything. “Gab? You okay?”

She nodded. “Are we going to meet her?”

“I would like you to,” David said, “but I’m not going to force you to. She’s coming home with me for a few days next week, and will be staying with me.”

Gabby looked to her mother. “Did you know about this?”

April just shook her head. “Not until your father told me before you guys came home.” She smiled. “This woman, the first time she met your father, made fun of his stage clothes.”

The twins burst out laughing. Colton said, “Man, that’s awesome.” Gabrielle agreed, “Your clothes do suck.”

“That’s kinda the point,” David said wryly. “So, are you guys okay with meeting her?” The kids nodded.

“Are you going to marry her?” Gabrielle asked. David blanched, but only April caught it.

“Marry who?” TygerLily said, coming back into the room.

“Dad’s got a new girlfriend,” her brother said.

“Her name’s Hath,” David said, “and we’ve only met a month ago; we’re still getting to know each other, so it’s a little early to be talking about getting married.”

David’s youngest put on a pout. “You aren’t going to marry Mommy again?”

April answered. “Lil, you know how we talked about that your daddy and I are just friends now, right?” Her little one nodded her head. “Well, that means that we don’t have the feelings for each other that you need to have to get married.”

The little girl looked at her father. “Do you have those feelings for the new lady?”

David smiled, surprised at his youngest’s question. “I don’t know, Lil; we’re still figuring things out.”

He stayed for dinner and then went home to unpack. He poured a glass of wine, and thought about his kids’ questions. Did he want to marry Hath? David hadn’t really thought about it before. He just knew he was happy when he was with her, and missed her something awful when he wasn’t. He had meant it when he told his friends that it felt like he’s known her forever. Does he have ‘those’ feelings for her? Maybe, but she deserved more than a maybe. He did know that he wanted to be with her all the time. He wanted to protect her and shield her, though he knew she could take care of herself. He chuckled to himself remembering how she put him in his place at the football game. He knew she was fine, and he had been acting like a jealous ass, but seeing those men with their hands on his woman made him crazy.

Not being able to stand just thinking about her anymore, David called Hath. He told her about telling his ex and the kids about her. He kept to himself the probing questions his children had asked. He’d wait and talk to her in person about that next week. They chatted for a while, and he could hear the yawn in her voice. Knowing she had an early day Tuesday, he said goodnight, and headed off to take a cold shower.

Tuesday morning, David went to go see his mother. He pressed a kiss to her powdered cheek and took her arm, leading her to the parlor.

“David, sweetie, it is so good to see you,” Flo said as they sipped tea. “You look wonderful. There’s a little more meat on you, and your eyes don’t look quite so tired.”

“Mom,” David said, “I’ve met someone.”

Flo’s eyebrows rose. “Really? That’s wonderful! Anybody I know? Who are her people?”

David winced. He told her everything; about meeting Hath online, about her being a fan, about clicking with her immediately, and about her being Catholic. “Mom, she’s wonderful. You’re going to love her.”

“Whether I do or not doesn’t matter,” Flo said, smiling at her son’s exuberance. “She sounds like a nice girl, Catholic or not. The important question here is: do you? Love her, that is.”

David was taken aback. He answered truthfully. “I don’t know, Mom. Some days I feel like I’ll die unless I can see her, and some days, well,” he laughed at himself. “Some days I feel like I’ll die if I don’t talk to her.” He shook his head. “I don’t know if that’s love or infatuation at this point. I just know she makes me happy, and I’m so glad she is a part of my life.”

Flo hugged her son. “You’ll know,” she said. “You’ll know if she’s the one for you.”

David obsessed about his mother’s remarks the rest of the week. Every time he called Hath or she called him, his heart gave a little leap. He would find himself engrossed in some project or other for the band, or with his kids, and suddenly she would pop into his head, and he’d smile. More than once, someone called him on it, and he’d just shake his head ruefully.

Jon called his cell on Friday night, to see what his plans were for travel the next week.

“I’ll be there by Wednesday,” David said, and Jon laughed.

“Are you even home?” he asked.

“Yeah, DAD,” David said, laughing himself. “I came home for a few days to talk to April and the kids and my mom.”

“How’s your mom doing?” Jon asked.

“The holidays are rough for her, but she’s doing alright. Shelly’s around, and Aip and the kids. She’ll have plenty of company for the holidays.” David’s sister, Michelle, and her family lived not too far from their mother, and his kids just loved spending time with their grandmother.

“How’re you doing?” Jon asked.

David chuckled, knowing exactly what Jon meant. “Missing her something fierce,” he said. “She’s really gotten under my skin – in a good way,” he hastened to add. “How’s Sam?”

“She’s doing really well. Of course, she’s cursing me out all the time, but she’s healthy, and we’ve started shopping for baby things.” David could hear the joy in his friend’s voice. “When are you going back to Boston, D?”

“Monday, I think,” David answered. “They’re reporting snow or sleet in the area, and Hath said that Logan is famous for canceling or delaying flights.” He sighed. “I’m gonna do my damnedest to get out there, though.”

Jon laughed. “Jesus, man, it ain’t that far, drive your sorry ass out there if you’re worried.”

“I just may,” David said. “I just may.”

“You do that,” Jon said. “And be sure to be in Toronto on time,” he said, only half-joking.

“Have I never not been?” David said. As the words left his mouth, he remembered a time he just made it in time for sound check; just after he met April, and he blushed.

“Yeah, the last time you fell in love with a girl,” Jon said, and hung up.