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 18: Domestic David

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Saturday, November 24th, 2007

Saturday morning dawned bright, clear, and cold. Hath woke before David and with a light kiss on his temple, went to get dressed. If today was Hath-the-Domestic-Goddess-Day, she had lots to do. There was laundry piling up, shopping lists to make, and a full acre of leaves to take care of. She looked back at David, who was snuggling with her pillow and smiled. He was in for quite a day.

Hath brought a load of laundry down to the basement and got that going. She took stock of the pantry and fridge, and made out her lists. They were going to have to hit a couple of places to get the larder full again. She made some of Stephanie’s coffee and sat by the French doors to watch the morning. There were squirrels and birds looking for seed, and the seed and suet feeders were empty. The birdbath needed to be cleaned and plugged in and filled as well. Sighing, Hath got her coat and work boots on, left a note for David, and headed outside.

Getting the birdbath ready for the winter only took a few minutes, once Hath found the cords in the garage. The garage is the one place she couldn’t seem to keep organized. She went into the cellar to get the buckets of mixed and sunflower seeds, and went out to the back yard – the back 40 as her brother called it. The acre lot extended back to a stone wall in the woods that separated her property from her neighbor’s. It was an expanse of lush-green-now-turning-brown, but you couldn’t tell for all the leaves. The entire backyard was full – inches thick. Smiling gleefully, she thought about getting David up so she could start, but decided to let him wake up on his own.

Filling the feeders took only a couple of minutes. Birds lined the fence and trees, and were waiting patiently for her to be done. Feeders filled, Hath plunked down in the leaves with some seed in her outstretched hand and waited. After several minutes, some of the bolder birds, the Jays and Cardinals, approached the feeder. Hath didn’t move a muscle, and the birds accepted her presence. Several minutes after that, the titmice and wrens came. Finally, the little chickadees started by. They buzzed Hath on their way to the now crowded feeders. One little bird landed on her hand and quickly snatched up a seed and flitted away. Hath smiled. She loved the fall.

David was watching her from the kitchen window. He had woken when he heard the cellar door close, and smiled. Hath was getting a jump on the day. Why didn’t that surprise him? He dressed in yesterday’s jeans, and found a man’s shirt in Hath’s closet he just had to put on. It rivaled anything he had ever worn on stage. It was predominantly purple, and was covered with confetti and zig-zags in an array of bright colors. Chuckling to himself, he followed his nose to the kitchen, where he found the coffee, a mug, and a note.

Hey Sleepyhead! If you’re reading this, I’m outside doing stuff. Come find me, and I’ll put you to work. There are hats and gloves in the mudroom closet if you want them. It’s a bit cold out here, so dress warmly! There are muffins in the breadbox, and coffee in the pot. Fuel up and get that sweet ass shakin, bacon!

-- H
David laughed and poured some coffee. He took his cup to the window and watched as Hath filled the feeders and sat on the ground. He admired her patience in waiting for the birds to accept her, and chuckled when her face lit up after a little black and white bird landed on her hand. He could see her breath on the air, and went back upstairs to grab one of Hath’s heavy sweatshirts – he hadn’t brought any of his own with him. He looked in the mudroom closet for a hat and gloves, like she suggested. He found her stash, and selected what he thought was an appropriate hat – a blue and red Patriots Joker hat. It had the three long cones that hung down around his shoulders, each with a pom-pom on the end. Laughing to himself, he donned it and checked out his reflection in the door. He looked ridiculous, but it would make Hath laugh, so he left it on.

Hath knew the minute David rounded the corner of the house. The birds all swooped off at once, making a wind she could feel. “Hey you,” she said, and got up from the ground. Her ass was cold, and she rubbed some warmth back into it.

“I’ll get that for you,” he said.

“I’ve got it thank—” she broke off when she turned to see the hat David was wearing, and burst out laughing. “Nice hat,” she said.

“And what’s wrong with this hat?” he asked.

Hath ran over to him for a kiss. “Not a damned thing, baby; it’s perfect on you. Sleep well?”

“Like a log,” he said. “You and your bed are very comfortable.”

“Mmm-hmm,” Hath answered, wrapping her arms around David’s waist. “Are you ready to get to work?”

David nodded. “Yep, I guess so,” he said. “What’s first?”

“Leaves. There’s a shitload of them.”

David looked around and laughed. “Maybe even two shitloads,” he said.

“Then it’s a good thing I have two leaf blowers,” Hath countered. “You want the hand-held or the walk-behind?”

They went to the shed, and Hath rolled out a professional-grade leaf blower. The thing was massive, and looked like it would blow over a house. She went back into the shed and took a large hand-held from its hooks. Checking to make sure they had gas, she said, “Well?”

David considered the two. “I’ll take the hand-held, I guess,” he said.

“Then you get the front yard,” she said. “Just blow the leaves into the woods on either side of the yard. We’ll come back with rakes and push them further into the woods afterwards.” She lifted the strap of the blower over David’s shoulder, showed him how to start it, and wheeled the other blower out back.

“If the guys could see me now, I’d never hear the end of it,” David muttered. Shaking his head, David went out front. He couldn’t believe how many leaves there were. He worked methodically, clearing one section at a time. Soon, there was a four foot high pile at the edge of the woods. No wonder they were going to need rakes! As he cleared a second section of yard, a car pulled up at the end of the driveway and the driver tooted his horn. David looked around, shrugged, and jogged over after turning off the blower. “Help you?” he said.

“Yeah, I’m trying to find the pahk,” the driver said, clearly a born-and-bread Bostonian. “Is this the right street?”

“I have no idea,” David said. “Hang on.”

He jogged around back, and waved frantically to get Hath’s attention. Smiling, she turned off the blower and yelled, “What’s up?”

“Whey-ah’s the pahk?” David shouted back.

Hath laughed, and pointed behind her property. “Right there!” she said.

“Smart ass, how do ya drive they-ah from hee-ah?” He gestured over his shoulder.

“Drive up the road for a mile, turn right where it says PARK. There is an ‘R’ in there you know,” Hath shook her head and went back to work.

David jogged back to the car. “Sorry, I’m new around here. It’s up the street, about a mile or so on the right. There’ll be a sign.”

“Say, thanks, man,” the guy said. “Hey, anyone evah tell ya that ya look like that dude from Jovi?”

David laughed. “I get that all the time.”

By the time David was done with the front yard, he was sweating. Stripping off the sweatshirt, he went out back to see if he could help Hath finish up. He saw that she was nearly done, and noticed that there was a camera hanging off the bird feeder. He helped with the last little bit, and groaned appreciatively when the roar of the engine subsided.

“Damn, that’s loud,” he said. “What are you taking pictures of?”

“You,” Hath said, then burst out laughing when she turned to face him. “What the hell are you wearing?”

David hugged her. “I found this in your closet, and couldn’t resist. I don’t want to hear you making fun of my stage clothes ever again,” he said.

Hath broke from David and snagged her camera. “I’ve gotta get a shot of this,” she said. David mugged for the camera, and the moment was captured for posterity.

They grabbed rakes and went out front to manhandle the leaves into the woods. Hath let out whoop when she saw the huge pile of leaves, dropped her rake and ran full out toward it.

“Don’t you dare!” David yelled after her, but it was too late. She leapt into the air and landed on her ass smack in the middle of the pile of leaves. She sunk down so far that David couldn’t see her, but he could hear her giggling, and could see the pile moving. “Where the hell are you?” he asked.

“Come in and find me,” she taunted.

David laughed and waded into the pile, but couldn’t find her. Suddenly, he felt her grab his ankles and pull. He went down with a curse, and Hath laughed outright. “You bitch!” he yelled, trying to find her in the pile of leaves. He finally caught hold of her arm, and dragged her under him. Breathless from laughing, Hath pressed a gentle hand to David’s chest. He tenderly pushed a lock of hair off her cheek. Hath looped her arms around his neck, and David leaned in for a kiss that seemed to go on for days. When he broke the kiss and looked into Hath’s eyes, he was a goner. He saw the lust in her eyes turn to mirth, and as he shifted on top of her, pinning her, she started to giggle.

“What is so damned funny?” David asked.

“Nothing,” she said, unable to stop the laughter. “You don’t want to know.”

“Spill,” he said, and started tickling her.

“OK! OK!” she screamed, and struggled to sit up. Getting her giggles under control, she said, “I just had a song flash through my head, that’s all.” She cleared her throat dramatically, and crooned, “I want to lay you down in a bed of dead leaves…” She flopped back and started laughing again, tears streaming down her cheeks, and David groaned.

“You didn’t just do what I think you did, did you? Did you just quote us to me?”

“Told ya you didn’t want to know,” she said.

David attacked her again, tickling her until she thought she was going to pee her pants. “Take it back,” he shouted.

“Never!” Hath yelled, and flipped them so she now had David pinned to the ground. They were both weak from laughter, and David let down his guard long enough for Hath to stuff a handful of leaves up his shirt. She tried to make her escape, but David grabbed her leg and dragged her back into the pile with him. They wrestled a bit more, and finally Hath gave up. “Uncle!” she called out.

They lay side by side, gazing up at the light clouds puff across sky, and listening to birdsong. Hath sighed.

“What?” David said, turning his head to gaze lovingly at her.

Hath turned her own head to lock eyes with him. “I am just so insanely happy that you’ve come into my life.”

* * * * *

After the pair wrestled the leaves far enough into the woods that they wouldn’t blow back into the yard, Hath took them shopping. She had a couple of places to hit, the first of which being an Italian Delicatessen where she bought her meats and cheeses.

“Buon pomeriggio Silvio!” she called out as she entered the shop. The man in question, old enough to be Hath’s father, came out from behind the counter.

“Bella Jenna! Buon pomeriggio!” He kissed her cheeks. “Has it been two weeks already, my dear?”

“It has, my friend,” she said, smiling. “Silvio, I’d like you to meet someone. This is David. David, this is Silvio.” The two men shook hands. “I’ve been coming to this shop since I was a child,” she said to David, “and Silvio has always been here.”

“It is a pleasure to meet you,” David said.

“Likewise,” Silvio said with a smile. “I feel like bella Jenna is my own daughter, I have known her so long. I am glad to see she has found someone.”

“Why do you call her Jenna?” David asked.

Silvio looked at him. “Because she does not like ‘Jenilee’ and I do not like ‘Hathor’. Call it an old man’s prerogative.” He winked, and David laughed. “Now,” Silvio said, looking at Hath. “What can I get for you today?”

“Hmmm, I’ll take two of the rosemary and cheese rolled steaks, a pound each of sausage meat and ground chuck, a wedge of parmesan, a block of mozzarella…” and she was off, filling a basket with meats, cheeses, and breads, oils and spices, and delicate pastries.

While Hath was paying for her purchases, Silvio pulled David aside. “You are her husband, yes?”

“N-no,” David stammered. “I am her, I guess, boyfriend is the right word.”

Silvio nodded. “You know the right way to treat a woman?”

“Of course!” David was indignant.

“Good, then I do not have to kill you,” Silvio winked. “You take care of my bella Jenna.”

“Silvio,” Hath called out, “leave David alone. We’re fine, and he makes me happy.”

“Ok, ok,” the older man said, going back to work.

When they got outside, David laughed. “Should I brace myself for the next shop?”

Hath laughed. “No, Silvio is like family, he feels he has the right to put his nose in. For the rest, we’re just going to the regular grocery store.” She kissed him. “Don’t worry, though, I’ll protect you.”

“Thanks,” David said, laughing.

“Besides,” Hath continued, smiling. “You fuck me over, and I’ll kill you myself.”

David couldn’t tell if she was kidding.

That night, Hath checked in on the boards, and sent a couple of the pictures from this afternoon to the girls. She thought they’d get a kick out of the shirt and hat, and seeing David doing regular things. They made fun of the hat, though they liked it better than the shirt he dug out of her closet. They chatted with the rest of the Harem under Hath’s ID; David elbowing her out of the way when he wanted to say something. They played online for a while, then retired to the bedroom, for some decidedly private games.

Chapter 17: Playing Tourist

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Friday, November 23rd, 2007

Friday, Hathor and David played tourist, setting out for a day of culture. First, though, Hath needed gas in the truck. She stopped at the station she always went to, and opened her door.

“What’re you doing?” David asked.

“Um, getting gas?” Hath was confused. What the hell did it look like she was doing?

“You pump your own gas?” David was surprised.

“David, I’m a single woman with a car that occasionally needs fuel,” Hath said, “I learned. It isn’t that difficult.”

David growled. “You aren’t single anymore,” he said, stopping Hath’s heart for a minute. They just stared at each other – Hathor surprised by his vehemence, David a little shocked by his own reaction. They only looked away when they saw a line of people queuing up behind them at the pump.

Hath laughed nervously. “Well, it doesn’t get in the tank all by itself, you know.” She looked at him. “You’re from Jersey! They don't believe in pump-yourself.” She giggled at her innuendo. “Don’t tell me that you’ve never been anywhere that you had to pump your own…” She trailed off and shook her head. “Look who I’m talking to. Let me rephrase that.” She smiled wickedly. “Don’t tell me that you’ve never been anywhere that your driver had to pump his own gas?”

“You are such a smart-ass,” he said, getting out of the car, and circling around to the pump. “I’ll have you know that yeah, I’ve pumped gas before.” He smiled at her as he filled the tank. They let the other comment, the ‘single’ comment, go for now.

Hath took him into town on the subway (the T as it was called in Boston) and they hit the museums. They started at the Children’s Museum, which was near Hath’s work, and they had a high time playing with everything. Once the museum became crowded with families with children, they headed out across town to the Museum of Fine Arts.

“I just love the MFA,” Hath said. “I can spend hours just staring at one painting. In fact,” she said, “I have on more than one occasion.”

“If you like art, you should see Tico’s work,” David said, then stopped when he saw that she was looking away and blushing furiously. “You already have, haven’t you?” he asked.

“Yeah, I have,” she said sheepishly. David just laughed and hugged her close.

“I’ve gotta ask,” he said, “is there anything about us that you don’t know?”

Hath just looked at him. “Of course there is! I don’t know any of the important stuff. I just know the superficial stuff you guys talk about on stage or in interviews.” She stopped and thought for a moment. “I mean, I know about your kids and families and divorces and that kind of thing,” she said, “because it’s in the papers and all over the boards. But the real stuff, the personal stuff, no, I don’t know.” She kissed David gently. “I’m starting to, though,” she said, “with you, and that’s all that matters to me.”

Their next stop on the museum tour was the Museum of Science, where they took in the planetarium show, holding hands in the back and necking like teenagers.

“What about the Aquarium?” David asked when they left the MOS.

Hath just shook her head. “We can go if you want, but the one in Mystic is better,” she said, naming a city in Connecticut. “Next time you’re feeling touristy, we’ll go down there,” she said.

David nodded. “Let’s go anyway, so I have a basis for comparison.” And so they did, watching the sea lion show, which was fun, and spending a long time watching the fish swim in the giant tank; circling around and around. The penguins were always a big crowd-pleaser, but David and Hath were content to just stand with their arms around each other, watching the tank.

“What’s next, boss?” They were getting back onto the subway, and David’s arms were laden with bags from all the museums; Hath having felt the need to scour the gift shops for little trinkets and souvenirs.

Hath looked at her watch. “Well, it’s past dinnertime. We can go out, or head home and I’ll fix us something. If you don’t want leftover turkey, we need to stop at the store on the way. I haven’t gone food shopping yet.”

“When are you going to do that?” he asked.

“Oh, I’ll scrounge around until after you go,” she answered. “Why?”

“I don’t want you to feel that you have to entertain me,” he said, taking her hand. “I don’t want you to think of me as a guest. If you have things to do, I want to do them with you.”

Hath looked surprised. “Really?” she asked.

“Really,” David answered.

“You asked for it,” Hath said. “I have yard work to do too. You sure about this?”

“Absolutely. But tonight, let’s have leftovers.”

Hath laughed. “You’ve got yourself a deal.”

When they got back to the house, Hath set about getting dinner ready. “Why don’t you open a bottle of wine?” she asked. “This’ll be set in a minute.” She put some gravy into a skillet, and set it to simmer. Next, she sliced up some of the leftover turkey breast, and laid it in the pan. While that warmed up, she started the oven and scooped leftover stuffing into muffin tins. The leftover rolls went into a foil pouch and joined the stuffin’-muffins in the oven. She accepted a glass of merlot from David and joined him at the dining room table. “Dinner in twenty,” she said, and took a deep breath.

“So,” she said, “about this morning…” David just looked at her. “I didn’t mean anything by the ‘single’ comment other than I’m not married.”

“Oh,” he said, ducking his head.

“Yeah, ‘oh’,” Hath answered. “Have I done something to make you think you aren’t the only one in my life right now? Or that this relationship is a casual fling?”

“No, not at all, no,” David hastened to answer. “It’s just,” he sighed, “I don’t know really. It just hit me wrong I guess. I’m sorry.”

Hath got up from her chair and knelt in front of David. “Don’t apologize for your feelings. Ever.” She took his hands. “Let me lay this out for you once and for all. In the last ten years, my parents have met exactly one of the men I’ve dated. You. Not that there have been legions of them, mind you, but there have been a few. That you’re the one they’ve met may not mean anything in your world, but in mine, that makes this serious.”

David started to talk, and Hath put up a hand to stop him. “Wait a sec,” she said. “Let me finish. I want to put this into clear language.” She looked in his eyes. “There is no other man in my life right now but you. I don’t want any other man in my life right now but you. I won’t lie to you and tell you this didn’t take me by surprise. When you showed up at my hotel room, I thought you were just looking for a diversion. It was days before I believed you really wanted more than just a one-night stand.”

“Did I really make you feel that way?” David asked.

“No, you made me feel cherished and wanted and loved. It was me. I was the one who refused to believe it,” she answered. “I thought you were just telling me things that I wanted to hear.”

“But why?” David was genuinely confused. “I told you that wasn’t what I was doing…”

Hath sighed. “Look at me.” David complied, and she stood and turned under his scrutiny. “I’m not exactly rock-star-girlfriend material. I’m not tall and thin and blonde and photogenic. I get wowed easily and gawk unrepentantly when I meet famous people. I am so out of your league, I’m still amazed that you’re here.” She knelt back at his feet and took a deep, shaky breath before continuing. “When I wake up in the morning, I have this split second of ‘Damn, it was just a dream’ before I turn and see you.” She shook her head. “I don’t question you, I question ‘why me’?”

“Are you through?” David asked. When Hath nodded, and looked down at the floor, David said, “Good. Now, you look at me.” He waited until she did. “I argued with myself for well over an hour before I weaseled your room number from Richie. I felt a connection to you and wanted, no needed, to see if you felt it too. I just didn’t know if my attention would be appreciated.” He sighed hard, and his voice got quiet. “I saw the way you swooned when Richie kissed you. I read the board; I know you had a thing for him.” Hath paled, and he knew he was right.

After a minute, Hath answered, her voice quiet. “Hey, every Jovi fan has her favorite, and you’re right, Richie was mine. I swooned partly because I could hardly believe that I was backstage meeting all of you and,” she smiled wryly, “partly because he is a helluva kisser. But,” she added quickly when it looked like David was going to interrupt, “a couple of things. First, I don’t poach, and he’s taken. Second, there was no chemistry at all behind that kiss – there was no sizzle there; no click. So, yeah he was my favorite. Was. Past tense.”

David nodded. “I did notice that once you and I got into it, you didn’t give him a second glance. Not for the rest of the night. That’s when I decided I’d regret forever if I didn’t find out if the flirting and stuff had anything behind it or was just part of the GSA thing, so I turned up at your door. When you didn’t answer, I was really disappointed. When I ran into you in the hallway, I was elated. I felt the connection to you again instantly, and not just because you were prancing around in hardly any clothes, and trying to kill me.”

Hath chuckled at that. “First of all, I was not prancing, I was stalking. Second, it’s your own damned fault I tried to kill you, you know,” she said. “You shouldn’t have grabbed me like that.”

“Hell, darlin’, I wanted to do more than grab you in that hallway,” he said. “When you crashed into me, and I felt you up against me, I wanted to press you against the wall and kiss the shit out of you.” Hath just stared at him. “Yeah, I did,” he said, answering her unasked question. “When you turned away from me, I thought that was it, but when I followed you to return your key, and saw the look in your eyes, well, you were there, you know what happened.”

Hath just blushed, remembering. “Yes, I know; I remember everything,” she said.

“As do I, sweetheart, “he said. “Every word, every sigh, every moan, and every scream is indelibly etched in my memory.” He smiled at her fidgeting; she was just so damned easy to fluster; he loved that about her. “I already told you once ‘why you’, but I’ll tell you again. You give as good as you get, and I enjoy being with you. The other things you said? None of that matters – it’s all superficial crap. You’re plenty tall enough for me; you can wear those sexy heels of yours and not tower over me. I like real women, not stick figures, and you are definitely real. I love your curves. I don’t care that you’re not blonde. I think you’re beautiful, and I have just enough ego to be glad you get star struck around me and my friends.”

Hath was smiling a little, but having a hard time meeting David’s gaze. He was saying all the right things, and she knew he meant them which meant that this was as serious as she thought it was. She was overwhelmed. David put a finger under Hath’s chin and lifted her face to meet his gaze. “I just want you to think of yourself as part of an ‘us’. In my mind, I’m not single anymore; I’m with you. I just want you to – hope you – feel the same way,” he said softly.

“I do, David,” Hath said with tears in her eyes. She knelt up to kiss him, and the timer went off in the kitchen. They laughed. “Dinner’s ready,” she said.

David nodded. “Are we good?” he asked.

Hath got that GSA gleam in her eye. “Baby, I don’t know where you’ve been, but from my perspective, we’re fantastic. Let’s eat.”

They brought their plates up to the loft and turned on the television. “Oh,” Hath said happily. “This is one of my new favorite shows.” Wayne Brady was hosting a show called “Don’t Forget The Lyrics” where contestants have to sing in the missing lyrics. The more songs they know, the more money they can earn.

After a few rounds, David was in hysterics. She didn’t sing that well, but Hath knew all the songs, made up for her lack of perfect pitch with enthusiasm, and yelled at the other contestants when they got the words wrong. “Hey,” she said, “Why are none of you guys’ songs on here? I’d think that you’d have your own category like Aerosmith or the Stones or, hell, Barry Manilow for cripe’s sake.”

David laughed. “I’ll ask Jon. I don’t know if we’ve been asked.”

“Crying shame, that,” she said. Hath saw David just staring at her. “What?” she asked.

David shook his head. “Nothing, I was just thinking you should go on this show. You’d do great.”

“Yeah, right,” she said, laughing. “I could just see that now. TVs all over the country would shatter at the first note I tried.”

“It’s not that bad,” David said.

“Yeah, it is. But you’re sweet for saying so.” She kissed him, and smiled. “Hey, I’ll consider it if you will come on as my backup.” The two of them burst into hysterics. “Could you just imagine?”

“They probably wouldn’t let me on,” David said seriously.

“Don’t worry about it, I’m not even considering it,” Hath said.

They snuggled in together for the evening, flipping through the channels and arguing over what to watch. Finally, they gave up and went to bed.

Chapter 16: Thanksgiving

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thursday, November 22nd, 2007

At 5:00 Thanksgiving morning, the alarm went off. “What the fuck is that?” David complained.

“The alarm,” Hath said, yawning. “I’ve gotta get the turkey in the oven. It’s a big one. I’ll be back in two minutes. Don’t get up.”

“OK,” David murmured, already on his way back to sleep. Hath hurried downstairs, got the bird in the oven, and ran back upstairs. She reset the alarm for 10:30 just in case, and crawled back into bed. David rolled toward her and snuggled against her, and she fell asleep smiling.

“Yoo-Hoo!” Hath’s mother, Pauline, called from the front door.

David sat straight up in bed and nudged Hath. “Hey, someone’s here,” he said.

“Huh? What?” she said, then heard her mother yoo-hoo again. “Shit!” she exclaimed, then looked at the clock. 10:25. “They’re early,” she said. “Yeah, Mom, just a minute!” she called out.

“Mom? Oh shit,” David said. It never made a good first impression to have your girl’s mother find you in bed with her.

“Yeah,” Hath said, laughing. “Oh shit indeed.” She got out of bed and threw on jeans and a sweatshirt. “Go jump in the shower, I’ll run interference.” Nobody had to tell David twice. With a hard kiss on Hathor’s mouth, he jumped from the bed and streaked, literally, into the bathroom. Chuckling to herself, Hath went downstairs.

“Mom! Dad! You’re early!” she said.

Hath’s father, a John like her brother, answered, “Yes, well your mother was ready to come over here at eight. I got her to wait.”

“Thanks, Daddy,” Hath said, kissing his cheek.

“So,” Pauline said, “Where is this David?”

“Mom,” Hathor whined, “he’s in the shower. Be nice, I really like him.”

“Well, I should hope so, since he’s staying here in your house, and I assume in your bed?”

“MOM!” Hath said, mortified. There were some things a girl just didn’t talk about in front of her father, and who she was bedding was one of them.

“Don’t MOM me, Jenilee,” her mother said sternly.

Hath groaned. “Mom, please, with the name, huh? You know I go by my middle name. At least call me ‘Jen’.”

“Don’t tell me he doesn’t even know your real name,” she said.

“Of course he does, Mom,” Hath said, exasperated.

“Hey Hath?” David called as he came down the stairs. “I can’t find your hair dryer.”

“Thank God,” Hath muttered under her breath. “It’s in the bathroom down here,” she said. She watched as David, dressed nicely in snug but not too tight black denim and an untucked grey pin-striped shirt came downstairs. His feet were still bare, and Hath thought that was wonderfully intimate.

“Hi,” David said, extending his hand to her father. “I’m David Rashbaum. Nice to meet you.”

“I’m John, and this is Pauline,” her father answered, shaking the younger man’s hand.

David shook hands with Hath’s mother. “So,” Pauline said, and Hath groaned. “You call her ‘Hath’?”

David slid a look at the ‘her’ in question, and smiled. “I tried calling her Jenilee once, and she nearly took my head off,” he laughed. “I like my head right where it is, so I do whatever she tells me to.”

“Smart man,” John said in a low voice.

“I heard that,” Pauline said.

The four sat and chatted. Hath had warned David about her mother, so he was ready for the interrogation. He answered everything they thought to ask, and smiled the whole time. He could see where Hath got her personality from: she got the quiet strength from her father and the smart-ass from her mother. He was genuinely enjoying himself, and he could tell that her parents liked him. They were just being protective of their little girl.

A little while later, the front door opened again. “Hello?” a deep baritone called out.

“Auntie Jen?” a little voice squeaked.

“Up here, Joanna-bean,” Hath said. A beautiful little girl with long, brown hair and wide brown eyes came running up the stairs and into the living room, launching herself at Hath. Hath scooped her up and showered her face with kisses. “And how is my little Joanna-bean?”

“I not little, I four!” she answered, making the grownups laugh. She looked at David. “I know you,” she said, and my sister-in-law turned eight shades of red. “You play piano for bon-joe-bee,” she said.

“Yes I do, little miss,” David answered laughing. He held out his hand. “It’s very nice to meet you,” he said to her.

She took David’s hand and jumped from Hath’s lap onto his. “My mommy plays piano, and daddy plays guitar. Are you my Uncle David?” she asked innocently, hugging him.

David laughed and slid a glance at Hath, who had herself turned eight shades of red. “No, but you can call me that if it’s OK with your Mom and Dad.” David got up and handed the girl to her mother then introduced himself to her and Hath’s brother. “It’s nice to meet you,” David said. “You’ve got a beautiful little girl there.”

“Yeah, we do,” John said. “It’s nice to meet you too.”

“Come on in, everyone, and sit down.” Hath thought this was going about as good as it was going to. She was just so glad that David didn’t seem to mind the peppering of questions from her family. She groaned. It’d be her turn soon enough, she supposed. And David had kids. Good Lord. She gave herself a little shake and went to the kitchen to baste the bird. Sue, her sister-in-law, followed her in.

“I still can’t believe you’re dating David Bryan!” she said, hugging Hath.

“I know, I can hardly believe it myself sometimes,” Hath answered. They took care of the turkey and went back into the living room.

Joanna had gotten the basket of toys that Hath kept in the guest room and was showing David all her treasures. To his credit, David was on the floor playing with her, and oohing and aahing over all her things. Sue elbowed Hath and nodded toward her mother. Pauline was watching the interaction with a smile on her face.

John-the-father (that’s what Pauline called them: John-the-father and John-the-son) looked at his watch. “It’s nearly noon, who needs a beer?”

Hath smiled. “I’ll get them. David, you want?”

“Nah, I’m OK for now,” he said smiling at her and winking.

“They out in the bah?” John-the-son asked. His Claven was full on all the time. Hath nodded. John said, “I’ll go. Dad, wanna shoot some stick?”

“Yeah, sure,” his father answered. “David, you shoot?”

“Well enough I guess,” he said, rising from the floor. “Thank you for playing with me, little miss,” he said to Joanna, tugging on her ponytail.

“You’re welcome,” she said by rote, not having even looked up from her toys.

The men went to shoot pool. As David passed Hath, he gave her hip a squeeze, and kissed her cheek. “Later baby,” he said. Smiling, Hath went into the kitchen to start the potatoes and vegetables. “What can I do?” her mother asked, coming into the kitchen behind her.

“I think it’s all done except for the salad,” she said.

Pauline opened the fridge to get the salad stuff and gasped. “What happened to your pie?” Hath looked in and laughed at the sad little chocolate mousse pie. Yesterday, when she left for work, Hath had left David with the fixings for stuffing, and had come home to a god-awful mess. She told her mother and sister-in-law about the genesis of the pie, and they laughed at the story, and her mother looked hard at Hath’s face.

“You really like this guy, don’t you?” she asked.

“Yeah, Mom,” she said, giving the older woman a hug. “I really do.”

Once dinner was ready, Sue sent Joanna in to fetch the men from the game room. David came into the kitchen and kissed Hath’s cheek. “You didn’t tell me your brother and father were sharks!” he accused.

“You think that’s bad, try playing Scrabble or Cribbage with them,” Hath laughed.

“You guys play Cribbage?” David asked, and Hath just nodded, a big grin splitting her face.

Everyone settled down to a wonderful dinner, Joanna making sure that bon-joe-bee-uncle-david sat next to her. The conversation turned to football, and when Hath and her father got into an argument about the Patriots’ chances of going 16-0 this season, David laughed. He saw now where she got her temper from. He expected it from the Italian side not the Portuguese. They declared the argument a draw, and Hath got up and started clearing the table.

“I’ll help,” David said, rising with his own plate.

“I help too, bon-joe-bee-uncle-david,” Joanna echoed. David handed his plate to Joanna and she proudly brought it into the kitchen. “Here, Auntie Jen!”

“Thanks, bean!” Joanna smiled and went to get more stuff.

David came up behind Hath and kissed her neck. “I like your family,” he said. “They’re really nice.”

“They like you too,” Hath said. “And I like you too.” She finished with a kiss that deepened for a minute but broke abruptly when a little voice said, “Bon-joe-bee-uncle-david is kissing Auntie Jen! Can we have pie now?”

Eventually, everyone had left with their goodie bags and Hath had the dishwasher humming happily. She and David were curled up on the over-stuffed couch, watching “It’s A Wonderful Life” on TV and kissing tenderly. Their kisses became more passionate and Hath was soon humming happily as David’s clever fingers snaked under her sweatshirt to pluck at her nipples. “Let’s go to bed,” David said between kisses.

“Yes, let’s,” Hath answered. And so they did.

Chapter 15: David Comes to Boston

Tuesday and Wednesday , November 20th- 21st, 2007

David called Hath from the air just to hear her voice. “I’m on the way,” he said.

“Jesus,” Hath said groggily, looking at the clock. “What time is it?”

“It’s nearly two. I’m in the air, and should be there before you leave for work,” he said. “Are you sure you can’t play hooky today?”

Hathor groaned. “Baby, there’s nothing I’d love more, but I can’t. Not today. I’ve got half my team out this week, and meetings out the ass today.”

David sighed. “I guess I’ll just have to content myself with hanging around your house.”

Hath laughed. “Poor you. It’s not that bad. Big screen TV, pool table, big, comfy bed; I’m sure you’ll be fine.”

“I’ll be fine when you’re in that big, comfy bed with me. I should only be,” he paused as he looked at his watch. “Another three hours, give or take a little.”

“I have a 6:30 train, so have to leave here by quarter til 6,” Hath said. “If you get delayed, there’s a key to the front door in the barbecue pit out back.

David was quiet.

“What’s the matter, baby?” Silence. “Hello?”

“You have a barbecue pit?” he asked.

“Um, yeah,” she said, blushing. “My dad, brother and I built it when I moved in here. Mom supervised, and my sister-in-law was in charge of documenting the whole process. I’ve got a great scrapbook showing the construction. Remind me to show you later. It was pretty funny.”

“How big a pit?” God, men and toys.

“It’s big enough to roast a good-sized pig in. In fact, we do that every spring,” Hath said. “Me and my friends.” One of Hath’s friends owns a barbecue restaurant, and gets excellent meats. He springs for the pig and takes over the pit. She springs for the beer, and hosts the thing. It’s a blast, and the neighborhood smells heavenly.

“I may just love you, Hath,” he said.

She just laughed at him. “Would you love me if I didn’t have a barbecue pit?” Hath paused a beat. “Don’t answer that. I don’t wanna know.”

David chuckled. “All right, whatever you say. I’ll let you go back to sleep; I just wanted to let you know I’m on the way.”

“Thanks, sweetie,” Hath said yawning. “I’ll see you soon.”

“You sure will. Bye,” David said.


Hath hung up and reflected on the conversation they just had. It wasn’t that unusual for him to call at all hours, but he was on the way here; she thought it was cute that he wanted to hear her voice. With a smile on her lips, Hath drifted off to sleep.

David hung up and leaned back in his seat, trying to catch a short nap. He’d gotten used to taking short cat naps whenever he could, but he was seriously looking forward to having several days off in a row. The tour had just started, and already he couldn’t wait for it to be over. Maybe he could convince Hath to go to some of the shows – at least the domestic ones this winter. Maybe she could make some of the UK ones in the early summer. He’d have to talk to her about that.

* * * * *

Three hours later, the blaring of the alarm clock woke me from a sound sleep. I flailed around on the nightstand trying to silence the damned thing, and succeeded in knocking it to the floor, where I couldn’t reach it. Swearing, I rolled out of bed and hit the clock until it shut up. I dragged ass to the shower, and turned the water as hot as I could stand it. As I stepped under the spray, I thought I heard the doorbell ring. I considered dragging my butt downstairs, but if it was David, he’d let himself in, and maybe join me. We’d see.

I rushed through my morning routine, getting cleaned, shaved, and plucked in record time. I wound my hair into its usual go-to-work twist, and applied my makeup. I heard crashing around in the bedroom. “That you, baby?”

“Yeah,” David said sleepily. “You about done in there? I’m wiped, and wanna see you before I pass out.”

“Well,” I said, coming out of the bathroom, “nobody told you to get on a red-eye flight.” I walked over to him and kissed him gently. “I’m glad you’ve made it here.”

“Me too,” he said, eyeing me. “Say, can I borrow your towel?”

I laughed and danced out of his grasp. “Baby, I am so sorry, but I have to go to work.” I kissed him. “YOU have to get rested for later.” I kissed him again (I just couldn’t help it) and went into the closet to grab my clothes. When I came out, David had stripped down to his boxers and was getting into bed. What a great sight that was. It made me all happy inside. I really am glad he’s here.

I put on my lingerie and started the arduous task of getting my stockings on and clipped into the garter belt without sticking my nails through them. David was just watching me, and it was almost unbearably erotic. I usually wear pantyhose, but was doing this for his benefit.

“What’re you doing?” I asked him, blushing under his scrutiny.

“Watching you, baby,” he said softly.

“Is that a seductive voice or an I’m-falling-asleep voice?” I teased.

“Maybe a little of both,” he said chuckling.

I put on a pale pink silk blouse, and left the top few buttons unbuttoned. David’s eyes narrowed at that. “What’s the matter?” I asked him.

“You show that much cleavage at work?” he complained.

I just laughed at him. “I’m not done getting dressed yet. Gimme a break, baby, this isn’t the first time I’ve dressed for work!” I slipped into my burgundy suit skirt and reached for a scarf in shades of pink and burgundy and tied it into a cravat at my throat. I donned my jacket and grabbed my sneakers. Sitting on the edge of the bed, I asked, “Better?”

“Much,” he answered, kissing me.

“Mmmm,” I said. “Hold that thought. I really have to get going.” I put on my sneakers, grabbed my heels from the shoe rack in the closet, and took one last look at him. He was nearly asleep already. I sighed, and left for work.

* * * * *

David woke several hours later feeling refreshed. He looked around Hath’s bedroom, and smiled. He was really here. He grabbed a shower and set out exploring. Hath’s house is what they call a “lofted split-level ranch” which means it’s a standard split-level ranch with an upper level. The upper level held the master bedroom and bath, a small room that was set up like an office, and a loft that took half the depth of the house, and had a railing that looked over the living room.

The loft was furnished with big, down-filled sofas and chairs that you could sink into and made you never want to leave. A plasma TV hung on the wall, and the DVD player, satellite tuner, and other gadgets were in one of the cabinets underneath. He opened the other cabinet and found hundreds of DVDs, including most of the band’s live concert DVDs. Jon’s movies were in there, too, and the couple that Richie had had cameos in. He smiled, having forgotten that Hath was a fan.

The middle level of the house had a living room and dining room on one side, the kitchen and bathroom in the middle, and three bedrooms on the other side. The back bedroom was a big, empty room with a door in the back. Intrigued, he went through to find a hallway leading to a huge room. The room had a bar, pool table, dart boards, air hockey and a corner devoted to workout equipment. He whistled and smiled, and started to play.

After a while, David fixed something for lunch, and went down to the lower level. One side was an unfinished room; used as a dry pantry and storage. There was yet another bathroom in the middle that doubled as the laundry room, and a finished room on the other side that had an elaborate stereo system hooked up to a computer, floor-to-ceiling cabinets along one wall, and of all things, an old upright piano.

Hath was just full of surprises. He ran his hands over the piano’s keys and winced. This obviously hadn’t been played for a long while. Pulling out his cell phone, he made a few calls. He had a surprise of his own for Hath.

With that done, he scrutinized the stereo system. In addition to the turntable, cassette deck, and CD tower, there was an old 8-track player. David laughed. His first car had an 8-track deck in it, and at the time, he thought he was just the shit. He started opening cabinets, and was rewarded with an eclectic collection of CDs. All their stuff was there, which he expected, alongside operas, the soundtracks for Broadway shows, movies, and TV shows, and popular music ranging from a-ha to ZZ top. A second cabinet yielded what he was looking for – a modest collection of 8-track cartridges, mostly Elvis. He smiled, and chose one at random, and to his surprise, the machine not only still worked, but sounded great. He shook his head and sang along with the King as he looked in the other cabinets.

A collection of vinyl that had to have been her parents’ at one point filled one of the cabinets. There were records from the 30’s and 40’s along with some old 78’s that she didn’t seem to have a working gramophone for. Thumbing through them, he shook his head in wonder. If he had to guess, she was transferring her catalog onto computer. It was an arduous task, and he wondered how far she had gotten.

* * * * *

Hathor was distracted all day thinking about David in her house. She wanted to get home much earlier, but the day conspired against her. She was able to leave at four, and caught an early train home. As she opened the front door, she heard piano music coming from the basement. She slowly descended the stairs, and saw David. He was playing something from one of his albums, and Hathor just stood there, transfixed.

“Hey,” she said softly when he had finished.

“Hey yourself,” he replied. “Hope you don’t mind, I cleaned her up a bit.”

“Had her tuned, too, I hear.”

David laughed. “I had to, it sounded awful. What’s her story?”

Hath told him about how the piano belonged to her Mom’s church, and they were getting a new one, so they were going to get rid of this one. She couldn’t let them destroy this 100-year old upright, so she took it, but never got around to learning to play it. “Maybe you could teach me?” she said shyly. David nodded, and came to greet her properly.

“How was your day, dear?” he asked with a twinkle in his eye.

“Way too long,” Hath answered, before he kissed her deeply.

David threaded his fingers into Hath’s updo and pulled the pins out of it, groaning when damp tresses fell around her shoulders. They were soft and silky, and they smelled great. David leaned back to look in Hathor’s face. “Welcome home, baby,” he said, and kissed her again.

* * * * *

They had a quiet dinner home, feasting on pizza and beer. Hathor didn’t feel like cooking, and neither felt like going out. “I just want to check in on the board for a sec,” Hath said to David. She logged in and started typing, and David was nibbling the back of her neck. He pulled her away from the computer, typed a brief message on whatever post she was making, and carried her off to the bedroom.

He stood her by the bed and slipped her suit from her. He untied the scarf that was knotted at her throat and slowly undid the buttons on her blouse. When she stood there in her thigh-highs and lingerie, his throat dried up. “You are beautiful,” he said, kissing her gently.

“You make me feel beautiful,” she answered, and set about undoing his clothes. She had his t-shirt up and over his head in a flash, and his jeans undone and around his ankles in seconds. She stroked him gently through his boxers, and David growled. Hathor giggled when he unhooked her bra and sent it flying behind him. She gasped when he tore the flimsy fabric of her panties from her, leaving her in her stockings. David shucked his boxers and pulled Hath to him.

“Put your work shoes on?” David asked, as he nibbled on her neck. Blushing, Hath complied with David’s request, stepping into four-inch black patent-leather heels, bringing her almost to eye-level with him. She felt ridiculous, but the look on David’s face said he was thinking something else. Smiling now, Hath took David’s hand and led him back to the office. She pushed him down into the ladder-back chair that went with the desk, and straddled him, taking him inside her quickly. With her heels on, her bent legs were even with David’s waist. David put his hands to her waist, and urged her up and down on him, fast and hard. The whisper of silk against his thighs was such a turn-on that he could barely contain himself. Hath buried her mouth in David’s neck, and screamed as the waves of her orgasm shook her. The tightening vice around David’s cock sent him over the edge, and he let out her name in a long, low moan.

* * * * *

Hath had to work Wednesday, and she left David with the ingredients for stuffing. “If you have time today,” she teased, “maybe you can make the stuffing?”

“Sure,” he had said, laughing. By the time Hath came home from work, a little late because she had to stop and pick up the turkey from the turkey farm, David had made a mess in her kitchen.

“What the hell happened in here? It’s stuffing, for cripe’s sake!” Nearly every mixing bowl, cup, and spoon was in the sink, and there were graham cracker crumbs everywhere.

David smiled sheepishly. “I found your list, and thought I’d try to help. I think I have the mousse pie done.” Hath checked in the fridge, and her heart melted at the sorry looking pie David had made.

“It’s perfect,” she said, and kissed him hello. They got the turkey stuffed, the table set for the next day, and the mess cleaned up, then went out for dinner. Hath took him to the barbecue joint where she and her friends always met on Wednesdays. She didn’t tell them she was binging David with her, and she surprised the hell out of her friends. Kristin was the first to notice them arrive.

“Hey Hath!” she called out. “I thought you were having compa…holy SHIT!” At that, the other women at the table turned around to see what Kristin was all worked up about. When they saw who Hath had brought with her, a hush fell over the table.

Hath looked at David, and said, “David, these are my friends.” She went around the table, naming each woman in turn. She then looked around the table. “Friends, this is my David.” Their laughter broke the silence and the two joined the table of women. Paul, the owner and a rather short man, came out from the kitchen to greet Hath.

“Hey, stranger, how are you?” he asked, coming over for a kiss. “Holy shit,” he said, when he saw who she was with.

“That seems to be the prevailing opinion here tonight,” David quipped. He stood and introduced himself to Paul, towering over him, and shook the man’s hand.

“Cheating on me already, Jenilee?” Paul teased Hath.

“Don’t make me stuff you in the smoker, Rib Man,” she retorted, fire flashing in her eyes.

He just laughed. “You and who’s army, smart ass?”

“I don’t need an army, Squirt,” she said. “I can bench press what you weigh.”

“Yeah, but I’d fight ya,” he said back, crossing his arms over his chest smugly.

“Is that a dare?” she said, standing and rolling up her sleeves.

David stood behind her and put a hand on her shoulder. “Sweetie, is this where I step in to help you? Or stop you?” he said, making them all laugh.

Hath turned and gave David a smacking kiss on the mouth before sitting down. “Alright, Paul, you get a bye this time,” she told Paul. “But watch it. I have reinforcements now,” she said, leaning back against David’s chest, his arms wrapping possessively around her.

“Yeah, but he’s gonna be on the road soon,” Paul quipped, then stopped when he saw something flash across Hath’s eyes. “Alright,” he said. “What’s everyone eating?”

Over drinks and the best smoked chicken and cornbread north of the Mason-Dixon Line, David got to know Hath’s friends. They were a nice bunch of women, and they accepted him into their circle without hesitation, sharing jokes and stories with him that had Hath turning red. He had a great time, and by the time they got home, it was very late.

“You have a nice bunch of friends,” David commented, as they were brushing their teeth side-by-side in the bathroom.

“Yeah, I love them, though Paul pushes my buttons something fierce,” Hath said. “He’s harmless enough, though,” she added, when she saw David’s eyes narrowing in the mirror. “His wife keeps him in line.”

David laughed at that and asked, “Am I that transparent?”

“No, but I don’t want you thinking that I was interested in anyone but you,” she said, leaning to spit into the sink. They finished up and went into the bedroom. The pair crawled into bed, made love tenderly, and fell asleep in each others’ arms.

Chapter 14: Hath Goes Home

Saturday through Monday, November 17th – 19th, 2007

Well, I made it home OK. It was hard leaving the girls, it felt like leaving family. What a great week for sisterhood, and we’re just so damned glad Sam is OK. It was an uneventful trip to the airport thank goodness, and the flight was smooth. It even got in fifteen minute early. David called me when he knew I’d be in the air, and we talked for at least half the trip. I had to excuse myself a couple of times to go to the rest room when the conversation took a decidedly personal turn.

When I got home, I sorted through the mail and took care of some bills. After unpacking and throwing a load of laundry in, I changed into workout clothes, and headed out to the garage to try to work off some of Stephanie’s cooking. I swear, I gained 10 pounds this week, and I did not need any more extra padding, thank-you-very-much – especially not with Thanksgiving coming.
After a good sweat and cleanup, I sought out my blackberry to call the girls and let them know I got home safely. The damned thing was now dead. How the hell did I not notice the battery was almost exhausted? Frowning, I went through my carry-on, PC bag, and purse, but couldn’t find my charger. Shit! I don’t have a land-line, so this was my only real way to keep in touch with the people. I looked at the clock; the shops were closed, or would be by the time I got out there. Damn. It was just one more thing piling onto an already emotional week. I was ready to burst into tears.

Instead, I opened a bottle of wine and just tried to relax. I was so drained from the ups and downs of the last week; I felt as if I could go to bed and not wake up for days. I needed to just chill, but I also knew I needed to check in with the girls. I got onto the board and let them know I was OK, and asked Sam to find my charger for me – it was probably still under Sam’s bed. I stayed on for a little while but just had to crawl into bed.

The next morning, closer to afternoon, really, I woke well rested and in good spirits. I went out right away and got a new charger, and set the berry to juicing. I gave the house a quick clean, then checked my e-mails and saw there was activity on the board. I’ve gotta tell you, when football season is over I’m gonna miss the board.

Anyway, I saw that David had checked in, and he discovered just why he couldn’t get in touch with me. He made me laugh; told me to get a new charger and to send him the bill. He’s so sweet. I’ve gotta say, I’ve been spoiled by his calling me nearly every night; I’m going to miss that when he can’t do it anymore.

I played on the board for a little while, exchanging PMs with David. Apparently, Richie gave him the link to the story I sent him back what seems a zillion years ago. I can’t believe he did that. Actually, when I think about it, I kinda can believe it. They’re grown men, but I swear, there’s a little teenager in each of them. Makes me shake my head. I teased David with a journal I was keeping, saying I’d post it for him if he was feeling jealous. I certainly am not going to write stories about him and some other woman. Sheesh. Although, maybe I will. He and I will know by the details that it’s from my private stash of memories. Hmmm.

David mentioned that he’s looking forward to meeting my family. It was just supposed to be my brother and sister-in-law, but they squealed to Mom and Dad about David, and now they’re coming too. To David’s credit, he didn’t seem to mind. I, on the other hand, am extremely apprehensive about David meeting my family. It’s been a long time since I’ve brought anyone to meet them, that I’m afraid my mother’s going to start planning the wedding *cue the eye roll*. Dad will just want to know if David plays cards and watches football. I love my dad. That’s his way of saying “am I gonna be able to talk to this guy?” I’m sure it’ll be fine, but, well, sue me, I’m nervous.

So, today being Sunday, my Dad and brother are coming over to watch the game. Mom is off to do some holiday shopping, which I really have to start as well. My brother, John, called to tell me he was coming a little early because he wanted to talk to me about David. I sighed and told him fine. He may be younger, but he has the protective thing down pat. When he showed, he launched right into it.

“So, what the hell? Sue said you’re actually with David Bryan? Is she putting me on?” He doesn’t pull any punches.

“Nope,” I said, and showed him the pictures from the night of the concert.

John whistled. “Holy shit,” he said.

“No kidding,” I replied.

“Well, I don’t care who he is. If he hurts you, I’m gonna kill him.”

I hugged my baby brother, needing to stand on tip-toe to do it. “Thanks, bro, that means a lot, but I don’t think there’s anything to worry about there.” My brother, actually he and his friends, were the ones to help me come back to the land of the living after my engagement went south several years ago – God, nearly a decade ago now. David had laughed at the stories of how they tried to keep me busy that whole summer and his eyes flashed with indignation that this other guy didn’t want me anymore. “Although,” David had said at the time, “I’d never have met you if you’d married that tool.” Too true!

So, my brother appeased, we waited for my Dad to arrive, then settled in to watch the Patriots trounce the Bills. My beloved Patriots are now 10-0. woo-HOO!

Monday was a regular shitty Monday, with one bright spot. David snuck away to send me a quick e-mail, he’s coming in on a really-late-extremely-early flight tomorrow, and should hit my place around 5 or so. In the morning. He wants to stay through the weekend, then he’s flying out to see his kids, then wants to stop back here on his way back up to Canada. I was getting a little overwhelmed at how fast this seems to be going, and whined to my GFs on the board, who, to their credit, talked me down quickly. They said just to roll with it; there was going to be plenty of time where I won’t be able to see him, and should take what I could now.

That comment rankled. I’m a techno-Goddess, I don’t know why distance should keep us from seeing each other! I did a little research, made a couple of small purchases, and PRESTO! We will now be able to keep in touch visually, in real time. I signed up for Skype. Basically, that's internet telecom where if you have a computer and a camera, you can video conference. I know the guys have computers, and aren’t completely illiterate, so we'll be able to "see" each other once in a while when they're on tour. I've got a camera for David to take with him, and I sent one to each of the girls too, complete with instructions on how to get them set up.

Nobody’s gonna tell Triple-G that she can’t see her man. Jesus, he is, isn’t he?

Mine, that is.

Chapter 13: One Last Goodbye

Wednesday through Friday, November 14th - 16th, 2007

I woke up early this morning; David and the guys are taking off in a few hours, and I don’t want to miss a second. They're off to Canada for the next bunch of shows. I’m trying to figure out just when it was that he became such an important part of my life. I mean, it’s been two weeks – this is ridiculous. I just laid there, next to him, watching him sleep, my eyes tearing up. I need to think about something else.

So, we’re not sure when Sam is coming home, but I think it’s soon. We girls are planning to stay out here through the weekend. I’m sure Sam will tell us what she wants us to do, and once she's home, Cori and Nathan can stay with her if she needs someone here. I’m sure she’ll be fine, though; aside from being tired, she seems to have made a full recovery. Thank God.

As for Thanksgiving, Jon will be here for the holiday (I overheard the guys talking, and Sam isn’t well enough to travel yet). Sounds like Richie is joining Lucy for Turkey day, which leaves David.

David is coming to Boston for Thanksgiving. We talked about it last night and he wants to meet my brother and sister-in-law. GULP. This is getting serious. I know they will like him, but my brother is a tad over protective of me, and I’m a little worried he’ll send David screaming from an inquisition. Heaven help him if my mother gets wind of this. I’m not saying I don’t want him to meet her, but I think I want to wait a bit on that. My brother has a big mouth, though, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

I got out of bed and started pacing the room. It’s too early to venture out into the kitchen, and besides, I don’t want to yet. Not until he wakes up. I checked in on the board, just leaving a little note, and I guess the typing woke up David.

“What’re you doing, sweetheart?” he asked.

“Just checking in and leaving a message for the girls on the board,” I said.

David frowned. “Why can’t you just go talk to them?”

“I don’t want to get all emotional with them,” I said. “I’ve had enough of that this week already.”
He laughed softly, understanding completely. “Are you just about done over there?” David asked. “Because I miss you, and I’m lonely over here.”

I smiled and signed off the board, and returned to David. He held back the covers so I could crawl in next to him. He gathered me close and kissed my temple. When I closed my eyes and a tear leaked out, David silently licked at it and smiled at me. He slowly unbuttoned my nightshirt and opened the sides. He started kissing my neck and worked his way down my body. His mouth grazed my hip tat and he continued down my leg, making me squirm. He trailed those wonderful fingers after his mouth, making me shiver.

Kissing his way back up my inner thigh, I let out a sigh. “Shhhh,” he cautioned, making me giggle. He settled in between my legs with a tender kiss. I arched off the bed and bit back a moan. He licked at me with long strokes, setting my blood on fire. When he spread my delicate lips, exposing the little nub there, he blew on it, and I had to bury my head in a pillow to keep from screaming out.

“So damned responsive,” he murmured.

With little licks and nips, David teased my clit. I was just so awash in sensation that my head was spinning. When he slid a finger into me, then a second, I thought I was going to come apart in his arms. He slithered up my body to capture my mouth in a kiss while he slowly pumped his fingers in and out of me. When he slid a third in, I screamed in his mouth. He just chuckled and began driving his hand harder and faster into me. The telltale tingling started in the soles of my feet, and I knew I was getting close. I reached down to still David’s hand.

“What’s the matter baby?” he crooned in my ear.

“You,” I said, reaching for him. “I want to feel you.”

“Anything you say, darlin’,” he answered, and withdrew his fingers with an aching slowness that made my eyes roll back in my head. He gave my clit one final gentle stroke and slid himself into me, stretching me more than his fingers had. I wrapped my arms around David’s neck, and brought him down so he was laying flat on top of me, and kissed him for all I was worth. He rolled us so I was on top, and urged me up. I started rolling my hips against him, and my head dropped back. He grabbed onto my hands, and held them tightly, as I moved above him. I looked down into his face to see him just staring at me, a wide smile on his beautiful face.

The smile turned to something else, as he got closer to oblivion. “Hath?” he said; his voice a strangled whisper. “I’m not going to be able to hold out much longer.”

“Then don’t,” I said. “Let it go.”

He didn’t though. He held on and flipped us over again, and drove into me hard and fast, pushing me up and over the edge. I bit his shoulder to keep from crying out, and before the shocks could subside, he went over, taking me with him.

By mid-morning, the guys were gone. I swear, Lucy and I looked like a couple of lunatics, standing in the doorway and waving as David and Richie left. They didn’t want us to go to the airport with them; they wanted our private good-byes this morning to be our last good-byes for this trip. I had to actually shove David out the door. Richie was already on the porch, and David wouldn’t go, which was entirely too sweet, but he had to. Jon would kill him, and us for that matter, if these two missed their flight.

“I’ll see you soon,” I said to him. “Now, go to work like a good boy.”

He laughed. “You’re too much, you know?” he said.

“No, baby,” I said, “I’m just enough.”

“You got that right,” he said, and crushed his mouth to mine again. One final little shove, and he was out the door. Lucy and I had death grips on the door jambs to keep from flinging ourselves after them.

Giving ourselves mental shakes, we went back inside to get showered and dressed, and we three went off to see Sam. I didn’t tell the girls, but I got a care package from Ang. It’s full of things for us to pamper ourselves with: chocolates and toffees, scented candles, facial masks, scented bubble bath and bath oils, and four little pots of body chocolate. I love Ang. She’s a gutter girl at heart, and a helluva nice one at that. I hid the package in my suitcase; Ang wants us to save it for when Sam comes home. I hope it’s soon.

We stayed with Sam until she was ready to go to sleep, then we came back here to Sam’s place. We’ve been hanging out and talking and have gotten quite close over this last week. I’ve gotta say, I love these girls like sisters, and would do anything for them.

The next day, Thursday, we got the word from Sam that she was coming home! We did a little happy dance, and got her room all cleaned up. Lucy and I would share the air-mattress on the floor in the guest room. We told Diva what was going on, and I swear to God, she jumped on each of us like she was giving us hugs. “Oh Diva,” I said, dancing around with her. “Sam’s coming home today!”

When Sam came home, we girls went into the kitchen to give her some time to just be in her space. After a while, though, we went looking for her, and found her sitting in the living room, staring sightlessly at the TV.

“What’s up, Sam?” Lucy asked.

“Nothing, Luce. Girls, sit down.” We did; Lucy on one side, Steph on the other, and me on the floor next to Lucy. “I just want to tell you how much I appreciate ya’ll dropping everything to come and be here.” When Lucy started to speak, Sam held up a hand. “I’m not done. I never expected this friendship to be so strong after knowing ya’ll for so short a time. What I’m trying to say is, thank you. From the bottom of my heart.” She smiled at us. “And, when the hell are ya’ll leaving?” We all laughed. She’s back!

We had a good time indulging in some of the things that Ang sent. We really just wound up making some popcorn and watching TV. We had on a show called “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” where contestants need to answer 10 questions ranging in difficulty from first grade to fifth grade. You can get help from a “class” of five fifth-graders, and if you answer everything correctly, you win a million dollars. Tonight was “celebrity” night, and Kelly Pickler was on. You remember her? The cute ditz from American Idol? Remember thinking she can’t be that stupid? Well, she is. Whew, she's got a great voice and a sweet smile, but she's got that 1000 yard stare that just screams "lights are on but nobody's home". Poor thing. Good thing she has a helluva voice. Are there ducks in the desert? No? You're smarter than a Pickler, too.

We girls (except Sam) have been into the JD candy Ang sent, and are getting quite silly. In our defense, she sent boxes of it. Of course, we didn’t have to eat it all. Ha ha ha. Before we got good and liquored up, we did facials, though Sam looked ready to send us to the hospital ourselves when we came at her with the mud mask! We tired out Sam, and she went to bed long before the 11:00 news. We tried to keep the noise to a dull roar, but Lucy, bless her soul, brought some of her what we call oot-bay eg-lays with her, and we were watching the guys’ Crush Tour DVD.

Friday was another layabout day, especially since we were feeling the effects of the chocolates. We were on and off the boards all day and it felt like a regular day except I wasn’t in the office. Steph and I packed ourselves up in the afternoon, and I think we have everything; and we lazed around for the rest of the day. We were going back home to our ‘regular’ lives in the morning.

Chapter 12: Diva Goes Visiting

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

Tuesday morning David and I slept in. I think that now that Sam’s out of the woods, everyone felt better and able to relax. When I woke up, I had a log across my chest in the form of David’s arm, and I looked over and smiled at him. His hair was all messy and he had a contented little smile on his face. I kissed him gently and he opened his eyes.

“Mornin’ sweetheart,” he said, his voice thick and husky with sleep.

“Mornin’ yourself, lover,” I said back. He grinned and rolled me under him and we had a right and proper good morning. After another shared shower, we got dressed and went out into the kitchen. I checked in on the board, and we started helping Stephanie. She was making and freezing dinners so Sam wouldn’t have to worry about that when she gets home.

Today is take-Diva-to-see-Sam day. We called the hospital this morning to say ‘hi’ to Sam, and to see how she was feeling, and it was all I could do to not spill the secret. I am LOUSY at keeping good surprises to myself. I did go and talk to Diva about it this morning. I swear David is going to think I’m a mental case, talking to dogs. But, Diva is Sam’s people, so I talk to her like people.

“Hey, sweetie,” I cooed to her, sitting on the floor by her bed. “We’re going to go see Sam today.” Diva lifted her big head to look at me. I smiled at her and scratched under her chin. Bending down to look her in the eyes, I said it again. “We’re going to go see Sam today. Right after lunch.” Diva gave a soft woof and got up from her bed. She padded into the kitchen and intrigued, I followed. She made a bee line for her food box. She crunched away for a few minutes, then went to sit by the door. I smiled at her with tears in my eyes. “Soon, sweet girl,” I said, “We need to have lunch first.” Diva just looked at me, and she woofed again.

Stephanie wiped a tear from her eye. “We can eat at the hospital. Let’s go.”

David said, “C’mon Deeve, out the front; let’s go for a ride,” and opened the front door. The driver jumped a mile when he saw the dog coming out.

“Holy shit, that’s a big dog!” he exclaimed, making us laugh.

“She’s a big baby, George,” Stephanie said.

Diva was sitting next to the passenger door. Apparently, that was her seat. With great trepidation, George opened the door for her, and she gingery climbed in and sat on the seat. Waiting expectantly, Diva watched the driver circle around to his seat, and when he got in the car, he cast a wary eye at Diva. David reached forward from the back seat and clapped a hand on his shoulder. “She won’t eat you,” he said. “She just had lunch.”

When we got to the hospital, I snapped a leash onto Diva’s collar. It was entirely just for show – there’s no way that I was going to be able to control this canine once she saw her Sam. We checked in with the nurse and she said there were patients waiting in the waiting room already, and they were so excited that Diva was coming. There were some kids there from the pediatric wing, and they were practically bouncing off the walls in anticipation. I scrunched down to talk to Diva. “Now look, you have a little work to do before you can see Sam. You’re going to visit with some sick kids first.” Her tail wagged a little, and she looked around.

The nurse laughed. “She knows what you’re saying, doesn’t she?”

David answered before I could. “Yeah, they understand each other perfectly.” He winked at me. “They’re two of a kind.” He laughed at my expression. I’m pretty sure he either just obliquely called me a bitch, or a sensitive female. For his sake I hope it’s the latter.

We brought Diva into the waiting room, and Stephanie laughed as the eager faces in there changed into incredulous ones. One little girl said, “Is that a pony?”

Steph went over to her and crouched by her wheelchair. “No sweetie, she’s just a big dog. Do you want to say hi?” The little girl nodded shyly, and I took the leash off Diva and Stephanie called her over. Diva padded to the little girl and put her big head in the girl’s lap.

The child giggled and patted Diva, and Deeve licked the little girl’s hand, making her squeal. “She kissed me!” she said, making everyone laugh. Diva was a good girl, walking around to everyone who held out a hand to her. Soon, though, she was looking at the doorway, waiting for Sam. The nurses brought everyone else back their rooms, and went to go get Sam.

Jon had barely gotten Sam into the room, and Diva let out a big WOOF! and galloped toward her. She was bouncing around and knocking over tables, after clearing them off with her tail while doing her little happy dance. Sam sharply said, "Diva!" and snapped her fingers and pointed at the floor next to her wheelchair, and damned if Diva didn’t sit down obediently, right where Sam had pointed. Then she lovingly laid her head in Sam's lap. All of us, the Harem and the men, just stood staring. One word. That's all it had taken. The tail was still wagging, but it was now rendered harmless as it just swished across the floor. We had a great visit, and I think it was something that both Sam and Diva really needed.

Soon, though, Sam started looking tired from the excitement and Jon suggested maybe it was time for us to take Diva home. I snapped on the leash, and said “C’mon, Diva,” and gave a tug, but she wouldn’t budge. I looked at David, and even with all the strength he had, he couldn't drag the dog from Sam's side. He bent and tried to pick her up. "Damn, how much does she weigh?"

"About 120 pounds," Sam answered, "but she's using every muscle to keep you from taking her."

Sam scratched the dog's ears. "I'll be home soon, Deeve," she told the dog. "Now, go," she ordered in a stern voice and pointed towards the door. The dog ducked her head and obediently let David lead her from the room, not pulling against the leash this time. Diva stopped at the door to look one last time at Sam, but Sam just smiled at her and pointed at the door again and the dog started moving once more.

It was Lucy who spoke first. "I gotta tell ya, Sam, she hasn't minded like that for all of us. We've had to beg, plead and pretty much let her do what she wanted."

Sam laughed. "She's taking advantage, and seeing just how far she can push ya'll. Don't let her get away with it. She's smart, but she's a stubborn bitch. We're so much alike."

We all laughed at that, and exchanged hugs with Sam. With tears in her eyes, she said to me, “You did this, didn’t you?” I just nodded. “Thank you.” I had tears in my eyes, and all I could do was hug her again and kiss her cheek by way of saying “You’re welcome.”

We were subdued when we got back. The guys were leaving again tomorrow. I swear, it’s only been a couple of weeks, but this leaving thing is hard. David and I went for a walk when we got back to Sam’s. We circled the block a couple times talking about everything and nothing. We speculated about what Jon and Sam were talking about that had them looking so serious, and David laughed at me for calling Jon and Sam cute. That had earned me a glare from the man.

“You do know,” David said, when laughing about the look Jon gave me, “that he was finally getting over all the shit you’ve been giving him.”

I just grinned. “Now where’s the fun in letting him get over?”

David laughed and looped an arm around my shoulders and pulled me close. “You are a nut, you know that?”

“I do believe you’ve called me that before sweetie,” I said, covering his hand with mine, and looping my arm around his waist. I tucked my fingers into his back pocket and he squeezed my shoulder.

Chapter 11: Awakening

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Monday, November 12th, 2007

David and I were sound asleep when the shrill ring of the phone startled me awake. “What?” I answered. Nice, huh? It was Lucy.

“She’s awake!” she shouted.

I gave a big whoop that startled David, and I jumped out of bed. “We’ll all be right there. Have you called Nathan?”

"That's my next call," Lucy answered. "Don't let on that I called you first."

“No sweat sister,” I hung up and jumped on David, kissing him soundly. “Sam is awake! Get up! We’ve gotta get to the hospital.”

I was coming out of the room and nearly crashed into Stephanie.

“What the hell is going on in there?” she asked.

“Sam’s awake!” I shouted and Stephanie and I hugged and were jumping up and down. “I’ve gotta call the driver, you go get dressed!”

“You too, Goddess,” she called over her shoulder. I looked down to see I was just wearing a T-shirt. As I dialed the phone, I went to Diva, and knelt by her head. “Mommy’s awake, sweetie,” I crooned to her. She looked at me like she didn’t believe me. “I promise. She’s coming home soon.” Diva’s great pink tongue swept the side of my face and I laughed and hugged her neck. I didn’t see David standing in the doorway behind me.

Finally, the phone on the other end was ringing. “Hello?” a groggy voice said.

“I’m so sorry to wake you, but we need the car, and you have the keys. Our friend is awake!” I was babbling, but I didn’t care.

“OK, that’s great news! I’ll be there as soon as I can,” he said, before disconnecting.

Stephanie had coffee going, and David and I were gathering thermoses and travel mugs. We got two pots done and packaged by the time the car arrived. Presenting the driver with one of the travel mugs, we thanked him profusely, and got into the car.

Soon we were all in the waiting room at the hospital, listening to Richie tell the story about walking into her room and seeing her awake. Steph, Lucy, and I were holding hands, and crying tears of joy. David was ribbing Jon about being asleep when his woman woke up, and he took it well. I wasn’t going to say anything – I’d already aggravated him enough over the past several days, and he was just now starting to not look at me with anger in his eyes.

Sam’s doctor came into the waiting room, and told us that she was being moved to a private room. Thank god. Now we could all visit her at the same time. We gathered our stuff and went upstairs to wait in the new wing. Once Sam was settled, we all trooped in there, and gathered around her chattering and touching her and generally being pains in the ass. When we looked at the clock, and saw it was coming up on 10am, I remembered we hadn’t told the board that sam was awake! I yawned and said, "Ah, hell. I almost forgot. Someone needs to get on the forum and share the good news!"

David came with me out to the waiting room to send an update to the girls. He’s been really funny, never quite letting me out of his sight. I think this is far more serious than either of us realize. Nothing like a traumatic experience, even one experienced second-hand, to put things into perspective, ya know? We were sitting on yet another uncomfortable sofa, and he had his arm around my shoulder. I tilted my head back and he sipped from my lips, and traced my cheekbone with his hand.

“God, I’m just so glad this is over,” I said. David knew what I meant and he agreed.

“This isn’t the way I wanted to spend our days together,” he said, “but I’ve gotta say, I think I know you better now than I would have if I had just been able to come to Boston for a visit.” He kissed me again. “You are amazing.”

I blushed at his words. “No, just a fiercely loyal friend.”

“Who doesn’t take any shit from anyone,” David said, chuckling.

“And why should I?” I retorted.

David laughed now. “Hang on there, baby, don’t get your temper up at me.” He dropped another kiss on my lips. “I think that’s fantastic that you don’t let people walk all over you.” He smiled at me. “I heard you with Diva this morning,” he said.

“You did?” I asked, playing dumb.

“Yeah; that was really sweet,” he said.

I shrugged. “She’s more Sam’s family than we are, and I thought she had the right to know. Speaking of Diva…” I trailed off, and the look on my face had David chuckling.

“Uh-oh. What are you plotting?” he asked.

“Do you suppose they let dogs-who-are-family come and visit? I know some hospitals do a dog-as-love-therapy thing. D’ya think they’d do that here?”

“You are too much,” he said. “Know what? If they don’t, I’ll bet you can get them to change their minds.”

“Let’s find out,” I said.

We went in search of the nurse on Sam’s floor. She looked to be in her early 50’s and looked a lot like my Mom. I hoped that meant that she’d have the same sympathetic nature.

“Excuse me,” I said to her, with David right behind me.

“Can I help you?” the nurse, Rosemarie, asked.

“I hope so,” I started. I explained what David and I wanted to do, and the nurse smiled.

“That’s a wonderful idea,” Rosemarie said. “We do have quite a few patients who would enjoy that.”

David warned her, “This dog is enormous.”

“But a big baby,” I hastened to add, and elbowed him roughly in the ribs. I turned to glare at him, and he stuck his tongue out at me. “She is extremely well behaved, and is missing her mom something awful. She’s gonna be pretty excited, but Sam can keep her in line.”

“Bring her by after lunch,” Rosemarie said, laughing at us. “I’m sure it’ll be fine.”

That evening, we were in fine spirits. Stephanie made this out of this world triple layer chocolate cake that I swear just looking at it, I’ve gained three pounds. We celebrated Sam’s recovery, the baby, the tour, hell, anything we could think of. We were all getting a bit silly, and it didn’t help that we’d gotten up at 2am and had gone non-stop. Finally, I decided I need to get cleaned up and get some sleep if I hoped to be a normal person the next day. David winked at the others, and followed me into the bedroom.

Stephanie called out, “Try to keep it down in there!” and I flipped her off over my head. She was right, though, I think we really felt like celebrating. By tacit agreement, we didn’t even hint at being intimate this week; it just didn’t seem right with Sam unconscious like that. But, now that everything was OK, the ban was lifted so to speak. At least, that’s where my thoughts were running. I wasn’t alone.

I went into Sam’s bathroom, and started the shower. David started stripping off his clothes. By the time the room had filled with steam, we were under the hot spray, arms locked around each other. He had me pressed up against the cool tile, and was kissing me with a hunger I hadn’t experienced before. He pressed into me, and I looped a leg around his waist, anchoring him to me. He grabbed my breast roughly and kneaded, and I moaned into his mouth. I reached down to grab him, and he broke the kiss, gasping.

“You’ve gotta not do that, darlin’,” he rasped, pressing his forehead to mine. “I’m trying to keep a little control, here.”

I chuckled. “Don’t do that on my account,” I said, drawing him to me.

David growled and checked to make sure I was ready for him, and moaned when he found me wet and waiting. With a hard thrust, he pushed into me and stilled, savoring the feel of me around him. He kissed me again, matching the thrust of his tongue with that of his hips, and I was soon panting and holding on to him for dear life. The leg I was standing on started to shake as I felt the orgasm building. I could feel David’s arms tightening around me as he pounded into me. I started falling over the edge, and David swallowed my cry. He sped his motions, riding the waves until he too was drowning.

With little kisses and nips, David helped me come back down to Earth, though I was quite happy floating around in the atmosphere. He washed my hair and I did the same for him. We washed each other, our hands slippery with soap, then stepped out of the shower and wrapped each other in big, fluffy towels. As we combed out our hair in the mirror, and brushed our teeth side by side, we shared a smile. This was nice. Really nice. A gal could get used to this.

When we were dry, we dressed again in our nightclothes, and climbed into bed, exhausted from the day. Nestled like spoons, his hand across my chest, lightly cupping my breast, we fell asleep.

Chapter 10: Surviving the Weekend

Saturday & Sunday, November 10th-11th, 2007

Saturday morning, we went through Sam’s things to find her Hogs shirt. We went out to a local store and geared up ourselves. We felt quite silly trooping into the hospital in Hogs Red, but looked around to see we weren’t the only ones. Folks around here take their football VERY seriously.

We trooped up to Sam’s room, and got the radio tuned in. We told the nurses we wanted to put Sam’s Hogs shirt on her, and the nurses took care of it for us. We called Ang and had a high time listening to the game together, even though she was 6 hours ahead of us. We closed Sam’s door so we wouldn’t disturb anyone else on the floor, and we cheered and booed, and called the hogs like pros. Even some of the nurses got into it.

By the end of the game, we were all swearing and cursing out Fucking Casey Dick and bemoaning D-Mac’s lousy showing. Nothing we said though elicited any response from her. Pumped from the excitement of the game, but a little deflated at the lack of progress, we settled down and just chatted.

Lucy had said that she talked to Richie about Sam’s hand-squeeze thing, and he said we should definitely tell Jon. Lucy was elected, and she made the call. We could only hear her end of the conversation, but we could tell that Jon wasn’t as elated by this news as we were.

Nathan came by later in the afternoon with Cori, and we had a nice visit. The nurses were being very lax with the rules, letting us all stay in the room with Sam. To their credit, they made sure we weren’t crowding her, or being too loud, but they pretty much left us alone. When it got good and dark, Stephanie suggested that it was maybe time to go feed Diva and let her out. Cori volunteered to go with Steph, leaving Lucy and I to wait with Nathan for the guys. Several hours after Cori and Steph left, Nathan was asleep in the recliner, and Lucy and I were snoozing in the waiting room.

* * * * *

Around 3am, Richie and David had arrived in the waiting room. Somehow, they knew their ladies would be there. Jon had gone up to Sam’s room to spell Nathan and send the other man home for a while. David looked at Hath, and his heart melted. She was holding Lucy’s hand in hers, covering it protectively, even in sleep. The two women were sitting together on one of the couches, leaning on each other; Lucy’s head on Hath’s shoulder, and Hath’s head resting on Lucy’s.

Richie laughed, framing the women with his hands. “If I was Tico, I would paint this and call it ‘Sisters Sleeping’.”

“Yeah. They’ve been really great,” David answered. “For a group who hasn’t known each other very long, they sure bonded quickly,” he added.

Lucy heard Richie’s voice and had started to stir. answered sleepily, “That’s mostly your doing, guys.” She elbowed her friend. “Wake up, sister, our men are here.” Hath was still dead to the world. The third elbow to the ribs did the trick.

Hath yawned and stretched and lazily opened her eyes. When she saw David, she smiled. “Hey, baby,” she said.

“What’re you talking about, Lucia?” Richie asked.

“We bonded a long time ago, long before we ever met,” she said. Even having just woken up, Hath understood exactly what Lucy was talking about, but the guys were a little thick.

“Huh?” David asked.

Lucy looked at her friend, and the two women chuckled. She answered, blushing. “We’re all fans, guys. That was our bond.” She sighed, clearly uncomfortable with this topic.

Hath tried to come to her rescue, but was blushing just as hard as Lucy was. “Look, you guys attract a couple of different types of women. You get the whacko lunatics, and you get genuine fans. We non-whackos recognize that in each other, and it’s an instant bond. A Sisterhood of the Brotherhood, if you will.”

David laughed. “’Sisterhood of the Brotherhood’, huh? That sounds like a good T-shirt slogan.”

“Just remember who came up with it, Joker,” Lucy said, laughing. “We want credit for that.”

* * * * *

Richie and David checked in with Jon and came back to the waiting room. By that time, Lucy and I had roused somewhat, and had wiped the sleep from our eyes. Lucy found a roll of breath mints in her purse, and we were chewing them furiously. Richie and Luce went for a walk and David came to sit by me. I leaned into him for a kiss. “I missed you,” I said to him, blushing.

“I missed you too, baby,” he said, hugging me close. We sat like that for a long time, just being together, and must have fallen asleep because next thing I knew it was morning. After finding the bathroom, Lucy called the house to let them know that nothing had changed, but the guys had made it in the middle of the night.

Stephanie told her she’s be by with breakfast soon, and NOT to drink the hospital coffee under any circumstances. When Lucy told us, we laughed and waited for Steph to arrive. After breakfast, Jon and Nathan left to go to the impound lot to get Sam’s stuff out of the car. Lucy and I stayed with Sam and Steph went back to the house and Diva. Richie and David are sprawled out in the waiting room, snoozing. When Jon and Nathan get back, we’re going to switch shifts.

When Jon and Nathan came back from the impound lot, Nathan left to pick up Cori, and Jon came alone back into Sam's room. He asked us if there was anything to report, and we had to tell him that no, there was no change. He was in a worse mood than I've ever seen him; I don't know what happened with the car, but it couldn't have been good. He was pacing around and muttering, I stopped him on one of the passes past me with a gentle hand on his forearm. He shook me off and skewered me with an icy look. Yikes. I apologized for mouthing off to him again last week. He tried to wave it off, but I could see the apology was appreciated.

I left the room to talk to find of the nurses, and luckily ran into Patti.

“Hi Hath,” she said, “I’ve got to say, this constant contact and stimulation can do nothing but good for Sam. We’re so glad to see that she has so many people showering her with love.”

“We do love her, some more than others,” I said with a wink, and Patty smiled. “Listen,” I said to her. “Would it be possible to get a second bed in there for Jon?”

“Is the recliner not working for him?”

“No, that isn’t it.” I paced a little. “Look, this is stressful for everyone in this waiting situation, but I don’t think I’m telling secrets when I say Jon isn’t handling it well at all.” I looked at her, and saw that this wasn’t news to her.

“Yes, I know,” she said.

“I’m not saying that it’ll help, but if he could be near her, I think it would do worlds of good for both of them.” I took a deep breath and continued. “Can we push the two together so he can be close to her?”

Patty looked skeptical. “I don’t know if that’s a good idea. She’s wired up to those machines, and her IV…” she trailed off when she saw the look on my face.

“I’m not trying to be difficult,” I lied, “But Jon is this close,” I put my thumb and forefinger about an inch apart, “to climbing into that bed with her. That’ll be more of a problem, don’t you think?”
Patti recruited two orderlies to bring in a second bed. Jon just looked at me. “You’re welcome,” I said. Once they got it pushed up against Sam's bed, I crossed the room, took Jon’s hand, and dragged him over. I pushed him down gently and said, “Talk to her,” then I left the room. I looked in the window, and Jon was laying there next to her, gently stroking her abdomen and whispering to her. My heart was breaking for him. He looked up and saw me through the window, and mouthed “thank you.” I nodded and left.

David and I headed back to the house. Lucy and Richie were staying for the evening shift in case Jon, Cori, or Nathan need someone tonight. Stephanie, David, and I took Diva to the park. For a big dog, she’s extremely fast and agile. We brought along a Frisbee, and the damned thing nearly disappeared in her mouth. But she brought it back to us nearly every time we tossed it. There were some times when we had to chase her to get it back, and I think she was doing it on purpose. We got her good and tired, and when we got back, she passed out on Sam's bed. I don't know if that's allowed or not, but we're letting it go. We helped Stephanie get dinner together, and she brought it up to the hospital, and when she got back, she reported that Jon was still keeping his place beside her, and he told her to tell me thanks again. Guess he’s thawing a little toward me.

I got onto the board and spilled about the day rather than just signing on with an “ok, no change” message. As I was typing, David called over from the couch, “What the hell are you doing?”

“I’m posting an update,” I said distractedly.

“You sure are typing an awful lot. What are you writing about?”

“Just what we did today,” I answered. I’m sick of having nothing more to write than ‘no change’.”

He laughed at me. “Well hell, darlin’, you’re being so prolific, why not just tell them how many times I took a leak today.” He cackled like a witch.

I gave him a look worthy of Jon. “Nice, Joker.” He made me laugh, though, so I did.

Chapter 9: Getting the Guys Back to Work

Friday, November 9th, 2007

The next morning, when we got up, we staggered into the kitchen in search of coffee. Stephanie had a wonderful smelling brew going, and it tasted like heaven. “Mmmmm,” I said, taking a deep sip. “This is fantastic.”

Stephanie smiled. “Honestly, it’s just coffee. Here,” she said, plunking down plates in front of me and David. “Eat something.” We happily obliged, tucking into a delicious breakfast. I could feel my hips thickening with each morsel. When we were done, David excused himself to go shower, and I watched him leave, making Lucy laugh softly. “You want to go with him, don’t you?” I blushed and hurriedly raised my cup to my lips so I wouldn’t have to answer. I was saved by Nathan and Jon coming into the kitchen. Jon looked a little better for having had a few hours sleep. He caught my eye and nodded at me; which I guess is Bongiovi for “yeah, no hard feelings, OK?”

Stephanie handed them plates, and told them to sit and eat. Jon started to hand his plate back, but glanced at me, and I glared at him. He raised half his mouth in a grim grin, and said thanks to Stephanie and sat to eat. Nathan had already eaten, but had taken his plate without argument.

After breakfast, we girls were chatting and cleaning the kitchen companionably. We noticed the guys had all migrated to the living room, and Lucy volunteered to be our spy. When she heard what the conversation was about, she motioned us all to the doorway.

Richie asked Jon, "What about the show tonight?"

"I'm going to call Paul, and we're going to cancel," Jon replied. We gasped from the doorway, but none of them noticed.

David and Richie exchanged meaningful looks. Jon had never willingly canceled a show before. "But, Kidd," David began.

"But nothing," Jon interrupted him, "I'm not leaving here until she wakes up."

Nathan shook his head. "If you cancel and she wakes up, she'll be pissed," he interjected into the conversation.

All three men looked at him in astonishment. Nathan continued, "My sister has never shucked work. She missed days here and there, but never when she was on a case. Sam'd be extremely pissed if you shucked work because of her."

Lucy had heard enough, and stepped from the doorway into the living room. "Jon, you know damn good and well that Sam would be pissed off if she woke up, knowing you had a show and were sitting there with her."

"I'm not leaving her like this," Jon said emphatically.

"All right," I said angrily. Jesus, would this man ever learn? "Nobody asked me, but I'm putting my two-cents worth in here. I'm tired of all this hopeless conversation.” I put on my very best Triple-G glare, and it wasn’t any effort to do so, believe me. “You men are acting like she's dying, damn it! And, I won't have it.” I got in Jon’s face again, my fingertip close enough to his face for him to bite. “She is going to wake up, and as far as I'm concerned canceling those shows is like admitting defeat. Like admitting you've lost hope!” I took a step back, not breaking eye contact. My voice got deadly calm. “You will not cancel those shows and give up faith that she's going to wake up!"

Everyone looked at me in astonishment. I swear, they must all have a bunch of yes-men around them all the time. I can’t believe people haven’t talked to them like this before. I felt a little guilty for mouthing off, however, and in the name of keeping the peace, I tried to temper my outburst. "Besides," I said softly, "Nathan and Lucy are right; Sam would be pissed."

Stephanie decided to put in her two-cents worth then, "Me and the other girls will stay here, and call you if there's any change. We'll take care of everything. Then you can all come back after the show tomorrow night."

"I'll get us another flight out today," Richie told Jon. "Then we can come right back after the show tomorrow night."

Jon gave in. "You're all right. She would be pissed." Then he leveled his gaze on me, his blue eyes burning a hole into my forehead. Thank God, there was something in those eyes besides defeat. If nothing else, I got his blood pumping again. "And let's get one thing straight. I'm not giving up hope. There's no ‘hope’ to it. She will wake up, and that's all there is to it.” He nodded, the discussion clearly closed. “Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go get ready to go back up to the hospital. Rich, you and Davey can pick me up there and we can all go to the airport." He gave me another glare for good measure and stalked from the room.

Aaah, he still doesn’t scare me. David gave me a quick kiss on the cheek, and left to go pack his own things. I went to help.

“I can’t believe you talked to him like that,” David said.

Oooh, now David was starting to piss me off. “Why? Because he’s Jon fucking Bon Jovi? Listen sweetheart,” the endearment sounding more like an epithet. “I don’t give a shit who he is. He’s just a man acting like a fool, and I don’t suffer fools. He needed a kick in the ass, and you all are too close to him to do it. I’m new. I don’t care if he likes me or not.”

David just looked at me, with a strange smile on his face. “Darlin’, I think he respects the hell out of you for standing up to him. You’re right, we’re too close. He listens to us, but sometimes doesn’t hear us.”

I chuckled. “Sorry; sometimes my temper gets the better of me. But I swear to God, he was pissing me off. Like I said before, I don’t care if he gets mad at me, as long as he starts feeling something. What are you smiling at?”

“I like Triple-G better than GSA. Triple-G is hot,” he said.

I burst out laughing and crossed the room to kiss him. “I’m gonna miss you, Joker,” I said.

“I’m gonna miss you too, Triple-G,” he said back.

Richie pounded on the door. “C’mon, you guys, Dave and I have to go.” Arms wrapped around each other, we left the room.

We girls waved to David and Richie when they left, then set about to clean up from last night. We got the air bed put away, and towels and sheets washed and dried. With nothing left to do, Lucy went to the hospital to be with Cori, and Stephanie and I stayed behind to cook. We’re working quite well together in the kitchen. I’m an excellent sous-chef, and Steph is a true master at the stove. We were making dinner to take to the hospital, and were making sure we had extra for the nurses who've been so kind. We're also taking a radio up to her room; there's a Hogs game broadcasting this weekend.

* * * * *

Stephanie and I were taking our turn in the hospital Friday night. Lucy came back to sit with Diva, and we loaded up the car and headed out. I swear, when I get home, I’m going to send a huge thank-you check to these two drivers. They’ve been absolute saints, being basically at our beck and call. After we got everyone fed, I checked in with David. I snuck him a text message from Sam’s room, telling him that it was our watch, and to call us any time.

We have the radio on and are listening to one of my all time favorite country songs, “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off”. It makes me laugh every time Joe Nichols sings “Them pantyhose ain't gonna last to long, if the DJ puts Bon Jovi on…” Our chattering and laughing had no effect on Sam, though it did make us feel better.

We told Sam that we were going to all come and call the hogs with her tomorrow. Diva will be OK for a few hours by herself, and maybe the team will play well enough or lousy enough to get a reaction. We’re trying everything we can think of. I even threatened her with one of those god-awful Hogs-head hats if she didn’t wake up soon.

Nathan keeps popping in and out, and Paul keeps calling on behalf of Jon to see what, if anything has changed. We keep telling Paul that nothing is different, and have finally told Nathan to go home for a few hours and get some rest. We promised to call him if anything happens.

Stephanie was talking to Sam about the baby, and recalling stories from when she was pregnant with her little guy. We were holding her hands, and she was telling about the first time she felt the little flutter inside and how her son liked to use her bladder as a trampoline, and we were having a good laugh. She told Sam that she was going to have to take lots of pictures so that Jon wouldn’t miss any of the pregnancy, and would have to send the ultrasound pictures and videos to him too.

All of a sudden, Stephanie shouted for a nurse, and scared the crap out of me. “What the hell?” I asked her.

“She just squeezed my hand!” Stephanie gushed.

Nurses and her doctor came rushing in and unceremoniously shoved us from the room. We were watching through the window, waiting for a smile or a high sign, and thankfully we didn’t dial Jon’s phone, because the doctor came out and told us that it was just her nervous system’s reaction to stimulus. I don’t think there’s any “just” about it. She heard us, and she responded. That’s good news to me. We called Lucy, Cori and Nathan and let them know, but are going to wait and let Lucy talk to Richie about this first, and decide when to tell Jon.