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 113: Goddess On Tour

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sam was okay. She was upset that her only brother, her only remaining family, went and did something this momentous without telling her, but Nathan talked to her, and she was okay. She also thought it was hysterical that everyone was babying Hath, checking up on her, and being all big-brotherly on her. She knew that it would only be a matter of time before Hath went full-blown Triple-G on their collective ass, and wished to hell that she could be there when it happened.


Howdy Sam!

I'm getting ready for the next round of meetings, so I only have a couple minutes… You know how that goes. Jon’s got me hopping, but he's really quite easy to work for. He has pretty much one rule: do your job. Since that was my expectation of my Minions when I had them, it's pretty easy to follow. He said I keep this up, and I'll have new minions of my very own.

I cannot WAIT until football season. Spring training has started already for my Beloved Patriots; they're already talking about replacements for when Brady retires! The kid isn't old enough to retire yet! I’m a little sad that I’m missing out on my Christmas present from Jon, but with the babies on deck, I probably wouldn’t really get to work out with the team anyway. Oh well.

David takes great care of me but all the others are in full-on big-brother mode. Great. Like I need more brothers! The LJs are doing fine, still fighting in there, but it's really cool. They don’t like it when I swear. They kick and punch when I do. Hanging around the crew and the guys, well, let’s just say the babies are kicking up a storm all the time lol and I think that there’s a worn spot on my belly from everyone wanting a feel.

Crap, getting the hairy eyeball from Boss. (yeah, I'm still calling him that). At least he isn’t looking all protective at me. He looks a little put out. Gotta go earn my paycheck, sweetie.


Boa tarde a partir de Portugal!

Just when I get used to German, it's off to Portugal! We got here earlier this morning -- it's like 3pm now. Then Barcelona (can't wait, I'm fluent in Spanish), back to Germany, then Austria, then a break. Shit, I don't know how they do it.

Steph, Matt says 'hi'. I don't know what he's telling you, but he's fantastic. Jon is quite happy with him, and he's doing a wonderful job here on the security detail.

Did you know that once "they" -- the fans in Germany -- knew I was David's wife and was carrying his twins, if they saw me, they wanted to rub the Budda belly? It was kinda funny the first day, but got old quick.

They do this thing here (well there, I forget, we're not in Germany anymore, Toto), where fans can get tours backstage. Well, backstage is my domain, so they I’m always around. The crew has taken to calling me Mrs. Keys (lol, they make me laugh) and still do it when the fans are around, and well.... they all wanna get a rub. Matt'd been working with the backstage security to make sure that the fans don't get outta control, and he was kinda forced to be my watchdog/body protector. I don’t think he minded too much, but I think he was surprised by just how little I sit and rest!

Don’t start. I have enough mothering from the testosterone brigade, thank-you-very-much.

Here in Portugal, though, things are much calmer. Everyone is so nice! I'm taking a break from getting the quick-change rooms set up. Richie's was easy, he's pretty low maintenance. He’s stealthy as a frigging cat, though, and has scared the shit out of me more than once, until Jon yelled at him. Jon seems to think the LJs can be scared out. In any case, I attached little jingle bells to the curtains at Richie’s door, and he can’t sneak up on me anymore. The only thing keeping him from taking them down is that I threatened to sew them into all his clothes if he did. I think he thinks I’m serious.

Jon on the other hand is high maintenance as ever (I told him that, and he laughed at me, the bahstid, and threatened to make me watch him jog again). But, I've been able to keep surprising him, having his brand of water or favorite wine or whatever available for him. I even left Caramello bars in his dressing room one show, and I had to hide behind Matt when he came roaring out of his room.

Teek's a dream, doesn't want anything backstage except a towel. Love him. He’s also the calmest around me and the LJs, and I don’t mind so much when he rubs them, for some reason. He always asks first, and is incredibly gentle and hasn’t once asked if I’m okay in that condescending, ‘oh isn’t she so fragile’ way that the others have mastered. He does always seem to have orange or apple juice, though, lol, but he’s just so non-intrusive about it...

And David? Well, he’s been wonderful, once I got him to back off. He’s back to treating me like GSA (which is exactly what I want him to do). He even tried to convince me that 3 minutes was enough for a quickie before the encore. Turns out, it is, but just barely! We got yelled at for that though because the guys had to wait for him, so it was just the once, and it was a week before I could look at any of the guys without blushing. Thank GOD the crew didn’t know about it, or I’d NEVER hear the end of it. They tease me as mercilessly as they do the guys. I can’t decide whether I’m happy about that or not.

Alright, I just wanted to check in. After Ireland we're flying home for a few days. Southampton is the 11th. They're thinking of flying home after Austria, but they'd only have a day or so before having to get back on the plane -- Jon says it's worth it, they haven't decided yet.

David and I are going to Greece for those couple of days between Austria and Ireland. I've never been, and it's close! Crap, everything here is just a couple hours away. It's really cool.

Alright, Boss is giving me the hairy eyeball for being on the computer with you guys, though he did say *what? I'm not saying that* Hang on.....

Sam, honey, I miss you. I can't wait until I cum home to you. Even if it's for a day, I need you, honey. Love to you and Lyndsay. Give her a rub from her daddy.... Take a rub yourself, know where.... I'll be calling you later…

Alright, now he's tapping his foot impatiently at me. Hmmmm, wonder if I can get Matt to protect me from him? lol

ALRIGHT, Boss.... sheesh

Bye, Girls!

Love, Hath

Hola de Barcelona, Stephanie! lol

I've taken tons of pictures. I think my laptop is full of 'em. I sent you a couple of everyone around the cookie care package you sent. The four of them demolished the whole thing that same night, before the show!!! Jon said they get enough of a workout on stage that it wouldn’t be a problem to burn off all the calories, and they needed the energy.

Jesus, I've never seen stuff disappear so quickly! Hugh was able to get his hand on a cookie, just barely, but Bobby and Renz were left out. I felt badly, so shared with them from my private stock (thanks, btw, I've hidden the box from David but I think he’s part bloodhound or something when it comes to your cookies) and they're over the moon. The double-chocolate macadamia nut biscotti were their favorite (yeah, they wanted me to send a hint lol)

Jon said to talk to him when you guys are here about using those photos I took for advertisement in your pastry shop. He was pretty sure his "people" had some conditions, but he said he's got a blown-up version of that shot and they've all signed it, and you can put it up behind the counter or something when you open shop. He said 'when' not 'if'. As long as you don't use it in print ads, or use their name in ads either, his "people" don't have issue with the photos. You should see this thing; it's poster-sized!

Did I tell you how proud I am of you for starting this business? Well I am. You’re gonna be a huge success, I just know it!

Give Michael a big hug from his Auntie Hath! I miss him too!

I'll pass chaste kisses around as requested, though with David, I'm sure your kiss'll be met with tongue.

Uh, be prepared for David. He's still [apparently] smarting over the whole Jon-kiss thing from before the wedding, and he's got his sights on you to even the score. He said he knows you've always been a Jonny-girl (no, I didn't tell him, I don't know how he knows, I think he can just tell) but he’s hopeful that it's just the hair color. Matt told him David'd better not make him kill him.

Little spritz of Binaca before getting off the plane, sweetie. D's gonna be on you. Gotta scoot.

Hasta la vista, baby!

Ang, Sam, I’ve gotta ask, how is your appetite? I haven't STOPPED eating, though German food wasn't my favorite. And, if it’s possible, my damned boobs keep getting bigger. I’ve had to snag some of the XL t-shirts from the marketing guys to keep myself in check.

One little mishap with a popped button backstage, and the guys are all poppa bear on me. They’d put me in a potato sack if they thought I wouldn’t kill them for trying. Of course, it was Richie that walked in on David and me making out in one of the little closet areas, hence the popped button, and he finked on us. Now he’s hyper aware of my clothes – mostly so he can give us shit if it’s in any sort of disarray. I think I liked it better when he was being all solicitous.

I’m having fun with him, though. Now when I know Richie’s around, I've taken to smearing my lipstick ever so slightly when I see him coming. And, in one of my "GSA" moments, when he was smirking at me, I asked him if he could check to see if all my bra hooks were done up properly.

His answer? "Darlin', I only know how to UNDO them."

So, I started to unbuttoned my blouse (I had a front-close that day) and told him to prove it, and he blushed then paled, and now HE'S calling me a crazy bitch, just like Jon does.

I really am having the best time. This is SO not like working. The only thing is, I've missed the first round of training camp. Remember how Jon had gotten me passes to go to Patriots training camp for Christmas? Well it started already. I'll have to wait until the summer. Hopefully I'm not too big to enjoy it! lmao.

I can't wait to see you all again! It feels like forever!!!

I'll be home the start of July. The doc here thinks I should cut out the traveling because I'm tired all the time. Christ on a crutch, I have twins on board for crying out loud! Of COURSE I'm tired. SO, I'll be around for a little bit and working out of the NY/NJ office until the Boston shows. Sam, I can't wait to see you! You'll be just 'bout ready to pop! Don't you dare fuck up my concert experience lmao.

Alright, it's dinner time where I am, and damned if I'm not HUNGRY. Again!

Hath was having a great time. The crew was solicitous, but not overly so, the guys were in a good mood because things were going smoothly, and she was seeing more of the world than she ever thought possible. She missed home a little, and the babies were keeping her hopping and hungry. She enjoyed the hell out of the shows every night, and going home with David and making love after the shows became a the norm. Things were going perfectly.

She should have known the euphoria wouldn’t last...

Chapter 112: The New Job

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Flying with the band to Germany, Hath was nervous. Jon had told her that he wanted her to take over for the “idiot he fired”. That meant she had to do everything, from dealing with the caterers to the media scheduling, and the pressure was really on to do it right. This wasn’t going to be like when they were in Chicago. Sure, she and Jon got along, and she was able to anticipate and fill some of his needs, but this was different. She was going to be involved in his business, taking care of the thousands of tiny details he couldn’t attend to himself on the tour—stuff that really mattered.

Somewhere over the Atlantic, Jon switched seats with David. “You doing alright, Jeeves?” he asked. He noticed she was really quiet and spending most of the time looking out the window.

Hath rolled her eyes at him. “Just fine, Boss,” she answered. “What’s up?”

“You look deep in thought. Everything okay?” He flicked his glance down to her ever-expanding abdomen.

Hath was touched by his concern. “Jon, I’m alright. Just gearing up my head for the job, ya know? I don’t want to disappoint you.”

Jon smiled. “I’m sure you’ll do just fine.”

“No Jon, I’m serious,” Hath said. “This is a big responsibility, and I’m flattered you have confidence I can handle it. I’m confident too, but I still am worried about fucking OOH! it up.” She put her hands to her belly. “Guess Laura and John don’t like it when mommy swears.” She laughed. “That’s gonna be a big friggin-OOOH! problem.”

Jon laughed and put his hand lightly over the baby he claimed was his namesake. “Say something else – something dirty.”

“Go fuck yourself. AH!”

Jon laughed harder. “That is so cool.” He looked wistful for a minute, and Hath had to look away. He was missing Sam and Lyndsay something awful.

“So,” Jon said, clearing his throat, “I have your first assignment.”

“Oh goody,” Hath said sarcastically, and Jon just stared. “Kidding, boss. Whaddaya got?”

Jon stood and pulled a brand new laptop, Blackberry and some other device from a bag in the overhead bin. “The Dell has all sorts of scheduling and other software on it, and a wireless network card. If there’s anything else you find you need, don’t bother asking, just get it – I trust your judgment. You still have my AmEx number; use it for whatever you need. Here is a phone for you. It has all our numbers programmed into it, and full internet, email, paging and texting capabilities. I think it makes coffee, too.” He smiled. “This,” he handed her the other pocket-sized device, “is your new best friend.”

Hath took the device and turned it on. “A translator?”

Jon nodded. “You got it. I don’t remember what you said you spoke fluently and what you didn’t, so this will help you. It’ll spell out phonetically just about anything you need to say. It’s set for Germany now, and the thing so damned easy to use, even Sambora figured it out. I’m sure you can figure it out.”

“Fuck you, man,” Richie called from behind Hath.

“No thanks,” Jon said automatically.

Jon had David hand him a stuffed folder. “This is our itinerary; hotel, travel, and venue information for the rest of the tour. I need you to have that in your system by the time we’re wheels down. I have indicated where we have media or other events we have to attend, but other than that, I need you to get us out of the hotels where possible, and out having fun. Basically planning events for us: dinners, cultural immersion, whatever.”

Hath had the laptop open, and was taking notes, typing a zillion words a minute. “Got it, boss, what else?”

“I do have one other thing but it isn’t quite what we talked about.”

“Lay it on me,” Hath said. “I’m pretty flexible.”

“I remember,” Jon said wryly, raising an eyebrow. He motioned for David to hand him a thick binder. “I need you to ride herd over the backstage crew.” He held up a hand when Hath went to protest. “They all know their jobs, I just need someone to keep them on track, handle any disputes or issues that come up. Tony will help you, but I need someone to keep order.”

“Will they listen to me?” Hath asked, thumbing through the binder. “I mean, if I learn all this shit, and know what the hell I’m talking about, will they do what I say?”

“Well, that depends on how good you are at your job. Time to put your money where your mouth is, Triple-G,” Jon said, winking.

“Do you have my back if I need you?”

Jon nodded. “If Tony can’t get it sorted out, you can come to me. I don’t expect to have to deal with this shit, though; that’s what you’re here for.”

“Got it. What else?”

“That’s it for now. We hit the ground in a few hours, and will want something for dinner. Get something quiet arranged for us.”

“On it, boss.”

Hath tuned out and spent the next hour on the phone and on her translator. After asking "Sprechen Sie bitte Englisch" what seemed like a thousand times (and always hearing “nein”) she had dinner and drivers arranged for the group. She sighed and stretched and set to work getting the travel itinerary and other arrangements into the computer, and synched it up with her blackberry.

“Boss, gimme your berry,” she said, holding out her hand. Jon handed it over and she typed a few things on it, and handed it back. “You’re synched up with me now. I make a change in the computer or on my berry, and it beams to yours.”

“Cool,” Jon said. “What if I need to make changes?”

“Hang on,” Hath said, and took the berry back. After a few minutes, and lots of swearing (ending in giggles when the babies kicked), she handed the device back over. “All set. The changes will queue up and ping me. I need to make sure that whatever you change doesn’t interfere with anything else you planned, but if it doesn’t, it’ll get updated. If it does, I’ll let you know.”

“Great,” Jon said. He typed something and Hath’s laptop and blackberry pinged. She laughed. Jon had scheduled Hath to stick by him all day the next day.

“It worked boss,” Hath said, and added the item to the schedule. Jon’s device beeped and he smiled and nodded, satisfied that this was going to work out. It’d work out just fine.

Over the next several days, Hath got to know the backstage crew, and learned what they were supposed to do. She asked a million questions, but did in such a way that the guys didn’t realize she was trying to learn their jobs. She never asked the same question twice, and gradually, grudgingly, she started to gain their respect.

She caught on quickly to the languages of the various countries they were visiting, and soon the other administrative staff were coming to her to help with interview scheduling, and more than once she filled in when the interpreter was unavailable. She arranged for catered dinners at the end of the stint in each country, always different from the last. The crew began to look forward to wrapping the packing at the end of a run, and had shaved an hour off their time.

Jon noticed all of this, and smiled smugly to himself; pleased to have brought her aboard.

Hath was working hard, and the guys noticed. They noticed to the point that they started getting worried about her. She was working just as many hours as they did, and that was most of them. She was eating and resting, but otherwise, she was a whirling force to be reckoned with. They guys, even Hugh, took to stopping in to see Hath, or stopping her in the hall or what-have-you to ask how she was doing. When she made herself unavailable, they took to calling her. First it was just David, then Richie started, and soon Hath had had enough.

The next time Richie called, she groaned. “What do you want now?”

“Hey darlin’, I just want to make sure you’re alright and not working too hard.”

“Richie, I appreciate it, but really I’m fine.”

“Are you sure?”

Hath’s little devil came out and sat on her shoulder. She cleared her throat and lowered her voice into a sexy growl. “Baby, if you want to know just how fine I am, ask David. Or Jon. Or you can come find out for yourself.”

Richie sputtered and hung up, and seriously cut back on the phone calls.

Hath barely had time to herself, let alone to visit with the girls on the board, but she didn’t miss the day that Ang told them she and Nathan had gotten hitched! She had to re-read the PM several times to make sure she was seeing what she thought she was seeing.

While in Vegas, Nate hijacked me into marrying him.... pauses for the swearing... Told me he'd planned a surprise…No SHIT Sherlock!

I know I could have said NO, I did many times, including at the altar but he swore up one side and down the other he'd quit his job and head to London with me if I didn't, and I know he loves that damn job.

Sam I'm sorry, truly I am. If you hate me well I'll live with it. I've told him you'll want to strangle both of us

But he said with all the babies coming, other weddings coming up, and me heading out just didn't seem any RIGHT time to get married. No wonder he wanted to go to Vegas.

So there you have it, my bomb, sorry OUR bomb: I'm married!

Let the anger commence!

After reading it for the fifth time, she called Sam to make sure she was okay with this. She knew that Nathan meant the world to her, and she had to be hurt that he’d elope and not tell her. She was, but she was okay. Or would be.

Chapter 111: The Honeymooners

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

At the airport, a private jet awaited them. They handed their passports and the single suitcase to the pilot, and went aboard. David took her on a tour of the small plane, ending with a bedroom. Their suitcase sat on the chest at the foot of the bed.

“What’s this?”

David laughed and kissed Hath’s neck. “You are a married lady. No more bathrooms for you. When we exercise our membership in the mile-high club, we do it in style now. The room is soundproofed, and we can lock the door.” David leaned in to kiss Hath’s neck again, and nipped at her skin.

Hath laughed and turned to hug her husband. “I love you,” she said.

“I love you more,” David answered, and kissed his wife again.

When the plane took off, Hath was excited. She now knew where they were going – Brazil. David didn’t want her to know, but she overheard the pilots talking. When the captain announced they could leave their seats, David stood and put his hand out for Hath to take. She did, and he led her to the back of the plane, to the bedroom.

Shutting and locking the door, David drew Hath to the bed. He found the zipper to her gown and unzipped it slowly, the sound impossibly loud in the small, quiet room. He let the dress fall from her body, and gasped at the sight of Hath, belly swollen with their children, standing there in her snowy-white lingerie. He reached out a trembling hand to gently cup his children, then slid his hand up to cup Hath’s breast. His other hand joined the silent worship, and he kneaded and pulled gently on her, kissing Hath slowly and tenderly, until she was panting.

“Oh, David,” she said, breathlessly. “You’re driving me insane.” She reached down to cup David’s erection through his tux pants and rubbed firmly, making him growl.

Hath unbuttoned David’s jacket and slipped it from his shoulders. The cummerbund and bow tie were next, followed closely by his shirt and pants. Holding hands, they crawled up into bed together. Hath lay on her back and David levered up on an elbow alongside her, sipping from her lips and trailing gentle fingertips over her breasts and belly. He reached beneath Hath’s back and unhooked her bra, discarding it over his shoulder behind him.

He leaned in to take a pebbled nipple into his mouth, and the gently pulling motion of his mouth made Hath’s clit throb. She moaned and wiggled on the bed, and David smiled around her flesh. Without breaking the sweet contact his mouth had with her skin, he urged Hath to raise her hips so he could slide the panties off her. He could feel their dampness and that made him harder.

He grazed her leg from knee to thigh over and over until Hath thought she would scream. Then he dipped a fingertip into her wet core, and she did. Impossibly turned on by her responsiveness, David hurriedly pushed down his boxers and kicked out of them, then rolled between Hath’s thighs. He pressed into her slowly, agonizingly so, until he was seated deep within her. He held himself there, pressed as deep into Hath as he could go, then he flicked her clit with his finger.

Hath’s eyes rolled back and her back arched as the waves of pleasure overtook her. She gripped the sheets next to her hips, and raised herself so David would press deeper. She started a rocking motion that David quickly matched thrust for thrust, and soon she was peaking again, this time taking David with her. He groaned her name as he spilled deep inside her, and Hath had to shove the side of the pillow into her mouth to muffle the screams.

When their pulsing and quivering stopped, David gently rolled to Hath’s side and pulled her close, kissing her for long minutes. “I will never get tired of kissing you, Mrs. Rashbaum,” David said.

“God, I hope not, Mr. Rashbaum,” Hath answered. The twins were now kicking up a storm, and Hath put David’s hand on her abdomen so he could feel them spinning and dancing in there. With a contented smile and a happy sigh, they drifted off in each other’s arms.

A subtle banking woke David. He checked his watch. Soon, the pilot would be expecting them to strap themselves into their seats. He shook Hath gently, and she smiled up at him. “Hello my husband,” she said, laying a hand on his cheek.

“Hello there, my wife,” David answered, turning his face to kiss her palm. “The pilots will be looking for us to be in our seats soon. We should get cleaned up.” They reluctantly got out of bed and padded hand-in-hand to the bathroom, where they took quick showers. Returning to the bedroom, Hath looked at her wedding dress, crumpled on the floor. She turned to the suitcase and opened it, laughing. Inside, she saw their bathing suits, a couple of t-shirts and sarongs, flip flops, basic toiletries, and that was it. Shaking her head, she pulled out one of the swimsuits and pulled it on. She tied a flowery sarong around her hips and slid her flip-flops on. David pulled on snug blue trunks and a t-shirt and his own sandals. They packed their wedding clothes into the suitcase and returned to their seats.

A few minutes later, the pilot announced that they were preparing to make their final approach at the airport, and the passengers should please “return to the upright position” and buckle their seatbelts. David laughed at the faux pas, sure that Richie was behind it, and Hath blushed.

When the plane taxied to a stop and the pilot opened the door, Hath and David stepped out into a tropical paradise. Everything was lush and green, and the sunshine and warm caress of the sun made Hath groan appreciatively. They were whisked away to a hotel for the day, and David said they had a private cabin arranged for tomorrow.

When they got to the hotel, they had the bellman take their bag up to their room, and they headed for the beach. They walked for miles up and down the expanse of white sand, collecting a few seashells on the way. They didn’t talk much, just wound their arms around each other’s waists and enjoyed being together. They would stop to kiss or to venture into the water and cool off but otherwise were content to just walk together. When they returned to the hotel, they had a light dinner out under the stars, and retired to their room, where they celebrated, again, their marriage to each other.

The next morning, the newlyweds showered and dressed in their bathing suits, and went down to the lobby. The concierge arranged for a car to take them to the docks. Hath was puzzled.

“I thought we had a private cabin arranged? Where are we going?”

David smiled. “We do have a private cabin. On a private island. We need to get to the docks so we can get to our boat.”

Hath’s eyes went wide, but she didn’t say anything else. When they arrived at the docks of Sao Sebastiao, they were greeted warmly. Apparently, David put a lot of thought and preparation into this honeymoon. They were shown to their boat, which was already stocked with coolers of food. The boatman told them that he would return each evening with fresh ice for the coolers, and if there was anything else they needed, all they had to do was leave a note with the cooler, and he would take care if it.

They climbed aboard and settled onto the narrow bench at the bow, and looked out over the gloriously flat water. The boatman took them to island he called Toque Toque Grande. It had a very small beach, about 300m long, and it was mostly uninhabited so it was perfect. They had a little shack on the beach, furnished with a large, soft bed, a pair of comfortable chairs, and a small breakfast nook. There was no electricity, and the water was pumped to the shack by hand. There was a propane stove if they felt the need to cook anything, but were content to sup on cold meats and cheeses, and fresh fruits and vegetables. There was a little boat made available to them to use to go back to the mainland, but they didn’t bother. Everything they needed was already there.

“Oh David,” Hath said, “I'd live there forever if I could.” It was truly heaven on earth. Between the white sands, clear green water, deep blue skies, and uninterrupted time with her husband, Hath had never in her entire life been so content.

They spent the next two days in total isolation, venturing for the coolers only after they were sure that the boatman was gone. They sunned on the beach and swam nude in the ocean, and were both quickly tanned brown all over. Hath’s hair lightened in the sun, and they shared a laugh over how David had to dig a little gully in the sand for the LJs to settle into when Hath sunned her back. It was a perfect respite. The days passed quickly however – far too quickly.

They returned home to piles of mail in the foyer and stacks of slips from the post office in the box: gifts from friends and family who couldn’t make it to the wedding. Exhausted from the sun and travel, they collapsed into bed, not bothering to shower the travel off them. The next morning was a whirlwind of activity. The tour was starting back up in a couple of days, and Hath was starting her new job. She was insanely nervous, though she knew she could handle whatever Jon threw at her. She was also itching to get back online and tell the girls all about their honeymoon.

She and David sent a note to the girls, then started the arduous task of packing for the long overseas flight, and the longer series of dates that they’d be away from home.

Hath had a feeling that before the tour was over, she’d hate flying. She might even hate Jon.

Chapter 110: Wedding Traditions

Friday, October 10, 2008

After another round of photos with the entire wedding party, then some with all the guys and their girls, they left the chapel to a shower of birdseed. Giggling and with hands firmly clasped together, they walked out into the sunny quad and David pulled up short.

“What on Earth?” He saw a chupah set up in the expansive lawn, and his mother’s Rabbi standing at the ready.

“You gave me my tradition, I want to give you yours,” Hath said, reaching up to kiss her husband. “We’re married in the eyes of my God, I want to be married in the eyes of yours, too.”

“You are wonderful,” David said. “Thank you.”

They led the crowd over to the canopy. Hath had done her research, and waited for David, his mother, Tico, and Sue to join the Rabbi under the chupah, the symbol of the new home and new life they would build together. She solemnly walked around David seven times before standing by his side.

The Rabbi recited a blessing over a glass of wine, then spoke the Birkat Erusin (prenuptial blessing), after which, David and Hath both drank from the glass. Hath turned to her new mother-in-law, who took a small silk purse from her pocket. Another slender gold band was tucked inside. Hath handed it to the Rabbi, who then handed it to David.

The Rabbi had David repeat the words "Haray at mekudeshet li betaba'at zu kedat Moshe v'Yisrael" ("Behold, you are consecrated to me with this ring according to the laws of Moses and Israel"). David slid the ring on Hath’s index finger.

Smiling, Hath turned to her brother, who drew a scroll from his inside pocket and handed it to her.

“What’s this?” David asked, already knowing what it was.

“It’s our ketubah,” Hath answered. “I had a friend illustrate it and write it out for us.” The ketubah was a traditional wedding contract. It basically spelled out the bride-price and extracted a promise from the groom to provide food and shelter for his bride. In modern times, and with an interfaith couple, the language was more relaxed. David read the scroll. He recognized the words from their vows written in Hebrew.

“This is amazing,” he muttered, and handed it to the Rabbi to read.

The Rabbi read the words of promise aloud, then rolled the scroll and handed it to Hath, who clutched it softly in her hand. It would be framed and hung in their house when they got home.

The Rabbi placed a small velvet bag on the ground – the traditional glass. David took Hath’s hand, and stomped hard on the glass, breaking it with a loud POP! Everyone cheered, and David swept Hath up into another kiss.

After Ang took photos of Hath’s and David’s families with the Rabbi, they headed the rest of the way across campus to the stone mansion on top of the hill. The house was used now as a function hall, and as they made their way to it, the students that were out and about stopped to applaud. David and Hath shared a kiss and a wave, and kept up their trek. The other guys were somewhere in the middle of the pack, and went unnoticed across campus.

At the hall, Ang took more photos, the couple with each of the tables of people. She would take more shots during the first dance, the toast, the cake cutting, and the inevitable garter toss.

The Rashbaums danced their first dance to “All I Ask Of You” from Phantom, the haunting voices of Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman underscoring the emotion of the words. They sang the words to each other softly, eyes locked on each other as they waltzed around the dance floor. As the final bars of the music faded out, David dipped her low and kissed her tenderly. They stayed joined that way for several minutes until they realized the room was completely silent.

Blushing, they separated, David saying, “Can you blame me?” and making everyone laugh.

They sat down to a catered luncheon of simple foods, as that’s what David and Hath preferred. They started with a fresh fruit bowl, with grapes, berries, and melons all deliciously chilled. The spinach salad was crisp and light and the smoked turkey tender and delicious. An assortment of desserts was laid out on a table next to the cake. Stephanie had been working feverishly to provide the treats, and Hath had put her business card at everyone’s place setting, so they would know who was responsible for the delectable creations.

The cake itself was a four-layer cake, alternating chocolate and yellow. It was covered in white frosting, and decorated simply with fresh roses around the base. The topper was a traditional man and woman standing under a canopy of flowers. It was simple and elegant, like everything else that day.

After lunch, Ang took shots of the couple slicing into the cake together. They carefully fed bites of the light confection to one another, and shared a kiss after each one. There was a moment when David considered mashing the cake into Richie’s face – he was standing right next to them and grinning like an idiot, but decided a food fight at the wedding reception would definitely irritate his new bride.

When Hath sat for the garter removal, the unmistakable strains of the traditional Hora dance flowed from the speakers. Jon, John, and Richie hoisted Hath’s chair up over their heads, making her scream. “Don’t you dare drop me! You mush my babies, and I will kill you!” She screamed again when they started to spin her chair around. She looked frantically around for David, and saw him hoisted up by Tico, Nathan, and Ed, her brother’s best friend. The two groups brought the chairs close enough together so Hath and David could grasp the edges of a linen napkin and they were spun and twirled until Hath thought she would never un-dizzy.

“OK!” Hath said, breathless with laughter. “Please, put me down now.” The men complied and high-fived each other as they went back to their women.

“Can I please dive under my bride’s dress now?” David complained, and his new mother-in-law cuffed him on the back of his head.

“There are children present, you ass,” she hissed at him.

“Oops, sorry Mom,” David said sheepishly.

A stripper’s anthem played while David knelt in front of Hath. Slowly, he raised the hem of her dress until nearly her whole leg was showing. The men whistled and clapped, and Hath giggled gleefully. David traced his fingers up her silk-covered length, and slowly pulled the garter down over her thigh. When he reached her knee, he leaned forward and grasped it in his teeth, pulling it the rest of the way off. Smirking like a fool, he straightened and kissed his wife.
“Who wants it?” David called. He flipped it in the general direction of his friends, and laughed with Michael, Stephanie’s son, caught it. He didn’t know what to do with it, so he shoved it in his pocket. Hath took the throw-away bouquet and tossed it behind her at the gathering of unmarried girls and women. Ava caught it, and everyone thought it was cute that they sat together for the rest of the afternoon.

Hath and David made the rounds after a while, stopping to talk, kiss, hug, or otherwise thank each person for coming, then they made their exit. David had a single suitcase packed and waiting in the limo.

“Where are we going?” Hath asked.

“Somewhere where all you need is your passport, your bathing suit, and a smile,” David answered.

“But WHERE are we going?”

“Do you trust me?”

“Always,” Hath answered, leaning in for another kiss.

“Then trust me, you’re going to love it.”

They climbed into the car, and looked back, seeing their friends and family gathered on the porch of the hall, waving frantically. They settled into the seat, arms wrapped around each other. “Thank you,” David said. “Thank you for marrying me.”

Hath laughed.

“What?” David answered.

“That’s not the right line. The right line is ‘thank you for loving me’.”

David groaned and laughed. “How long are you going to quote us to me?”

“HOW long are we going to be together?”

“Forever,” David said, smiling.

“Then forever,” Hath said.

The couple joined hands and lips, and stayed that way until they reached the airport.

The Goddess wishes to thank Jovi's Willow for her help with this chapter....

Chapter 109: Wedding Day

David had woken before dawn, reaching for Hath before remembering she was at her mother’s. A pounding at the door had him sprinting across the room. He tore it open, heedless of the fact he had on only boxer shorts, and blinked rapidly when a flash went off in his face. “What the hell?” he asked. When his vision cleared, he saw it was Ang, or rather the rapidly retreating back of Ang. She had better hurry to get to Hath’s mother’s house.

David was showered and dressed by seven. His classic black Armani tux was custom-fitted for him. The notched satin lapels were brushed clean of lint, and the double-breasted jacket broadened his already broad shoulders, and made his waist look trimmer than it was. The cummerbund and bow-tie were Taz print, as were all the men’s accessories, and muted the pure white shirt with French cuffs that he wore beneath the suit. David’s mother had given him his father’s cufflinks and as David fastened them through the cuffs, he wished his father was alive to see him this happy.

Shaking off the melancholy, for it really had no place on such a happy day; David brushed his wingtips until they shone. Satisfied he looked like he was supposed to, and tired of waiting a moment longer, he was knocking on Tico’s door by eight.

“I can’t stand waiting anymore,” he said, shouldering his way into the room. “Distract me.” And now he was pacing the floor in Tico’s suite and checking his watch every few minutes.

Tico tried to keep up with David, but finally settled for sitting on the couch and watching one of his best friends wear a groove in the carpet and mutter about time taking way too long to pass. He tried to distract David, the two men talking shop for a while.

Tico’s wife came to join them, dressed for the ceremony. They gushed appropriately at her elegance and when Hector came out of his room, unable to fasten his bow tie, David smiled. He had such a serious little face on. David crouched before his honorary nephew and handed Hector a small white box. “These are the wedding rings,” he said. “Your job is to keep them safe, okay?” Hector nodded solemnly and said, “Si, Tio,” and put the box deep in his pocket.

Finally, it was time to head to the chapel. The blazing sun hit David squarely in the eyes when he ventured out o fthe lobby, and he couldn’t think of a better omen. The drive to the chapel took a little less than half an hour, and he was pressing the imaginary gas pedal on the passenger side of the car the whole time.

Once they got to the campus, David was glad to see their arrival went mostly unnoticed. Saturday morning on a college campus was usually a quiet time. David, Tico, and Hector went into the priest’s offices and waited. Jon and Richie and their assorted women and children arrived shortly after nine, with April and the other kids right behind them. The kids all got to their stations and started their jobs.

At 9:15, guests started to arrive and David started fidgeting with his tie.

By 9:45, the chapel was mostly full of their relatives and friends and Tico threatened to toss David to the floor and sit on him if he wouldn’t stop the damned pacing.

Five minutes after that, the back door opened, and Ang came in.

“Where is she?” David demanded, bolting for the door.

Ang stopped him, a hand on his chest. “Easy there, tiger. She’s out there. She isn’t coming in until she knows you and Teek are at the altar waiting for her.” She straightened David’s bow tie. “You clean up good, David.”

David relaxed. “Thanks Ang, darlin’. Alright, I’ll go.” He looked at his watch. “But if she doesn’t start walking down that aisle at 10 sharp, I’m coming after her.” He kissed Ang’s cheek and left.

Tico kissed Ang’s other cheek. “Querida, he means it. One second after ten, and he’s running after her. I’ve never seen him this fidgety.” He followed his groom to the altar.

When she was sure they were gone, Ang motioned to Hath and her parents to come in. At five before ten, Hath’s mom went to be seated in the congregation, Jon doing the honors. He thanked her again for taking care of his girls when he was away, and she brushed him off.

When the priest came down the aisle, the congregation quieted. From the side of the altar, two large, dark men started playing guitar. When Hath heard the music start, her eyes teared up. They were playing “In Love With A Goddess”, the first song David had written for her. She wasn’t expecting to hear that today, and that David had her brother and Richie learn it made her love him all the more. It sounded beautiful, and even to her trained fan ear, she couldn’t tell which octaves were Richie and which were John. They sounded perfect together.

As the bridal party stepped out of the offices and into the church, the rustle of a hundred people turning as one made her smile. Joanna went first, getting an “awww” from the congregation. She began sprinkling white rose petals on the carpet as she made her way down the aisle. She looked like a fairy princess in a white taffeta dress with pink flowers around the hem. Susan went next, walking slowly and regally down the aisle in her woman’s tux.

When Hath took her father’s arm, she smiled.

“Are you ready, baby girl?” Hath’s father asked her, squeezing her hand.

“More than ready, Daddy,” she said. This was it.

When David saw Pauline come down the aisle on Jon’s arm, his pulse kicked up. It was really happening! He was really FINALLY going to marry Hath. When the priest started down the aisle, David’s palms started sweating. He hoped he could keep Hath as happy as she was making him. He wished the damned priest would walk faster.

Finally, he heard Hath’s brother John and his own brother Richie start playing, and his heart raced. It was time. He was never so glad of anything in his life.

He watched as Hath’s niece came down, a frown of concentration on her little face. She was evenly distributing the petals on the floor, making the crowd chuckle. When the basket was empty, she went to sit with her grandmother. David saw Sue coming, and thought she looked cute in her Taz tux. He wished she’d walk faster though, so he could see. . .

His breath caught in his lungs when he saw her. Hath was gliding down the aisle in a cloud of chiffon, her hair flowing around her shoulders, a serene smile on her face. As she approached, he could see his own love reflected back in her eyes. He smiled at her and her smile widened and she mouthed “I love you” to him.

Hath was nervous walking down the aisle. She thought for sure she was going to stumble in her high-heeled shoes. She worried about stepping on the front of her dress, worried about how it looked, an obviously pregnant woman walking down the aisle, then she stopped. She saw David waiting for her at the altar. Tico was by his side, and Hector next to his father, and he gave a little wave. Hath smiled and gave a little wave back. She locked eyes with her David and basked in the glow of his love for her, and happily continued the long, slow walk to her future, smiling into his open, loving face.

When Hath and her father reached the altar, John and Richie ended the song. They stood and took their seats in the congregation. The priest came to Hath’s dad and asked, “Who gives this woman unto this man?”

John-the-father looked at the priest and said, “She gives herself, but her mother and I approve and support her choice.”

With that, John kissed his daughter’s cheek, shook David’s hand, and handed over his most precious daughter to her new life. As he took his seat next to his own wife of close to 40 years, he wiped furtively at his cheeks.

“Friends,” the priest started, and the wedding was underway. Various aunts read the readings, and Sue sang the psalm, bringing tears to Hath’s eyes. After the gospel reading and the brief sermon, they were ready to take their vows. “The bride and groom have written their own personal messages of love and promise to each other,” he said, and stepped back.

David took Hath’s hand and looked into her eyes. “Jenilee Hathor Gengras, I love you. I take you to be my wife, my partner in life and my own true love. I will cherish our union and love you more each day than I did the day before. I will trust you and respect you, laugh with you and cry with you, love you faithfully through good times and bad, regardless of the obstacles we may face together. I give you my hand, my heart, and my love, from this day forward for as long as we both shall live.” His eyes shone with unshed tears of joy.

Hath covered David’s hand with her own. “David Bryan Rashbaum, I love you. I take you to be my friend, my lover, the father of my children and my husband. I will be yours in times of plenty and in times of want, in times of sickness and in times of health, in times of joy and in times of sorrow, in times of failure and in times of triumph. I promise to cherish and respect you, to care for you, to comfort and encourage you, and stay with you, for all eternity.” Hath’s eyes were damp as well, and she blinked rapidly to keep the tears from falling.

The priest cleared his throat. “Do we have the rings?”

David blindly put out a hand, not wanting to tear his gaze away from Hath, and Hector put the box in it. David opened the box and gave the rings to the priest, then handed the box back to Hector. The little boy beamed at his father, who had tears in his own eyes, and puffed out his chest proudly when his father ruffled his hair.

The priest had Hath and David each repeat: “I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and fidelity,” then clasped their joined hands and addressed the congregation. “Jenilee and David have proclaimed their love for each other, and have vowed to be true to one another, loving no other, until death parts them. If there is any member here today who does not believe these vows are true, or has any other reason why these two should not be joined, let him speak now, or forever hold his piece.”

There was a loudly whispered “Ow!” from the front row. Hath turned toward the sound to see Richie rub at his arm. Lucy smiled at Hath, and winked. The priest continued. “Then by the powers vested in me by God and the state of Massachusetts, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.”

David swooped Hath into his arms, and crushed her to him, kissing her thoroughly, to wild applause and catcalls from the congregation. When they parted, she sought out her parent’s faces, and saw tears tracking down their cheeks. She blew them a kiss and stood next to David as the priest announced, “And now, for the first time, let me introduce to you, The Rashbaum Family; David, Jenilee, Laura and John. Congratulations.”

The couple made their way down the aisle, smiling and looking into each other’s eyes. They stopped at the back of the room to collect their congratulations. Hath handed Sue her bouquet a moment before Hector came tearing over, arms spread wide for a hug. “I did it, Tia Hath,” he said proudly. Hath knelt to gather the boy to her. “You were wonderful,” she answered, and kissed him.

“I’m supposed to get the second kiss,” Tico complained loudly.

“Oh no you aren’t,” Richie said, and hip-checked him out of the way to take Hath in his arms for a hug.

“Behave yourself,” she said quietly. She turned her face up for a kiss, and he obliged with a chaste brush of lips on hers, then he hugged her close. She did the same with Tico, Jon, Matt, Nathan, her girlfriends, her brother, and a hundred other people. By the time they were done, she felt as if she’d hugged every single person she’d ever known, but nothing could detract from her happiness.

She looked down at her left hand. There, under her engagement ring, was a slender gold band. That’s all she had wanted: plain gold bands for the two of them – simple, unmistakable tokens of their devotion to one another.

Chapter 108: The Main Event

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Saturday dawned dreary and gray. Not a good omen, Hath thought. But, she shrugged off the negative thoughts and was downstairs a little before six.

“Morning, honey,” her mother said as she came into the kitchen. “How are you feeling this morning?”

“Good,” Hath answered. “Happy.” Her stomach growled. “And hungry,” she laughed.

The doorbell rang and Hath opened it to find Ang and Nate on the doorstep. Ang raised the camera and snapped a picture, and Hath slapped her. “What the hell are you doing here so early?” she asked indignantly.

“I am taking your picture, silly girl,” Ang answered, breezing past. “Do I smell bacon?”

Nathan rolled his eyes and followed Ang in. He was carrying two garment bags, and a small case. “Guess you guys are getting ready here?” Hath said, leaning in to kiss Nathan’s cheek.

“Looks like,” he answered. “How’re you doing?” He yawned widely.

“I’m great. Let’s go eat, and get you some coffee.”

They all tucked into a hearty breakfast, then Hath disappeared to take a shower. When she came out, scrubbed pink and wrapped in a towel, there was a knock on the door. “You decent?” Ang asked.

“Yeah, but if you take my picture I’m gonna kill you.”

Ang laughed from the other side of the door. “Never mind then,” she said and walked away.

Shaking her head, Hath got her makeup on, slipped into a dressing gown, and combed out her hair. In her room, the room that she grew up in, Hath sat at her vanity and stared at her reflection. Her mother appeared behind her and put a hand on her shoulder. “You alright, sweetheart?” her mother asked.

“Mom, I don’t think I’ve ever been this nervous in my entire life,” she answered. “I mean, there are so many things that could go wrong.”

“Do you love him?”

Hath nodded and sighed. “With my whole heart and soul.”

“Does he love you?”

Hath nodded again. “More than life, so he says.”

“Then there is nothing you can’t overcome,” Pauline said. “Nothing the two of you can’t conquer. Now,” she said, picking up the blow dryer. “Let me do your hair.” Hath closed her eyes as the warmth of the blow dryer paired with the gentle tugging of the brush through her hair soothed her. When she opened her eyes, she saw the sun peeking though the clouds. A good omen if ever there was one.

Hath saw a flash behind her eyes, and opened them to find Ang standing there, dressed in a gorgeous blue gown, holding her camera. “You look beautiful,” Hath told her. “Just amazing.”

Ang dropped a sassy curtsy. “Well thank you, ma’am,” she said and snapped another pic.

“You up there?” Hath’s sister-in-law called up the stairs.

“Sure am, Sue, come on up!” Sue was in a woman’s tux, the floor-length skirt slit up one side to mid-thigh, and the low-necked blouse tucked neatly into the Taz cummerbund that she and David had picked out. It added just the right touch of whimsy to the day. The fitted jacket emphasized her tiny waist. “Oh, you look great!” Hath said, and she got up to embrace her sister-in-law. Ang snapped another picture.

“You ready for this?” Sue asked.

“As ready as I can be,” Hath answered.

Pauline set Hath’s hair with fat hot rollers, and went to the closet to take out her gown. “You ready for this now?” she asked. Hath nodded. She dropped the dressing gown, revealing a strapless white bra, white panties and hose, and a white garter belt. A power blue garter rested high on her thigh.

Hath shot a warning look at Ang. “Don’t you dare,” she said and stuck her tongue out. Ang laughed and put the camera down to help get the gown over Hath’s head.

The white chiffon draped her body beautifully, held up by thin straps. The chiffon crisscrossed at her breasts, and looped around to the back, where a loose tie was formed. The rest of the fabric fell from under her breasts to the floor in a gentle cascade, and a small train at the back would flow behind her when she walked. Sitting, she strapped on the gold sandals she had worn for David’s birthday, and put on her jewelry. Elegant pearls graced her throat, and dainty pearl-drop earrings fell from each of the piercings in her ears.

Pauline had Hath sit again at the vanity, and removed the rollers, causing fat, glossy curls to cascade down around her shoulders. She tugged on a few to lengthen them, but otherwise left them alone. Sue came up behind her, and put a headdress on Hath’s head. “Here is your something borrowed,” she said. This was the headpiece she had worn at her own wedding, and it was a gorgeous tiara with a gather of chiffon on the back that stretched to the floor.

Hath stood and turned around, showing the finished bride to the room. “I’m ready,” she said.

Her mother had tears in her eyes. “You look so beautiful,” she said, touching Hath’s abdomen, shoulder, then cheek. “I am so proud of you,” she said. “I love you.”

“I love you too, Mom,” Hath answered, and the two women embraced, and Ang captured the moment forever.

The women trooped downstairs, Ang going first, so she could capture the look on Hath’s dad’s face when he saw his daughter. When Hath rounded the corner, her dad sucked in a breath. “Oh, Hath, you look beautiful,” he said, tears shining in his eyes. He embraced his daughter, his little girl, and leaned back to look at her. “If he ever hurts you, I will kill him,” he said quietly.

“I know, Daddy,” Hath answered. “Thanks.”

They went outside to take pictures, and to wait for the limo. They didn’t have to wait long, and took several more posed shots with the car in the background. Sue leaned into the car and pulled out the bouquets and handed the big one to Hath. It was a cascade of white roses, a full two feet long, and was incredibly heavy. Several more pictures taken, they all climbed into the car, Mom and Dad, Ang and Nathan, Sue and Hath, and set off for Hillstone College.

Chapter 107: Wedding Week

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The beginning of the week had been a flurry of activity. Hath and David drove all over creation, paying the florist, caterer, and DJ. He ferried her and her mother to the seamstress’ place several times, to make sure the gown fit just right. As she was growing more every day, the dressmaker added a bit more fabric in the deep pleats, and Hath was just ecstatic at the way the gown draped her body. She made David stay in the car for these appointments, because she didn’t want him seeing the gown before the wedding.

Starting Thursday, Hath and David’s friends started arriving in Boston. Tico and his family arrived just after breakfast. Hath, David, and Ang met them at the airport, and when Alejandra saw Hath, she smiled. “Amiga look at you!” she said, giving Hath a warm hug. “You look radiant!”

Hath laughed. “You mean I look like I swallowed a watermelon.” She returned Ali’s hug and kissed her cheeks. “You on the other hand, look positively gorgeous.”

Tico kissed Hath’s cheek and checked with her before put his hands on her abdomen. He was rewarded with tiny kicks, and a wide smile split his face. “Mijo,” he said to his son. “Venga aquí. Hay bebes!” Hector approached and tentatively put his little hand on Hath’s distended abdomen. He felt a little push and giggled, looking up at Hath.

She smiled at Tico’s son. “Esta bebe es Laura,” she said, putting her hand over Hector’s. “Y el otro se llama Juan.”

Hector’s eyes went wide. “Dos?” Hath nodded. “Whoa,” he said, making the adults all laugh. Ang snapped pictures of the whole exchange after getting her own hugs and kisses.

“Congratulations, Angel,” Tico said to her, kissing her cheeks. “Pregnancy suits you. You look wonderful.”

“Aw, you say the sweetest things,” Ang said, batting her eyelashes at him. David drove everyone back to the hotel and he and Hath got the Torreses settled in their suite while Ang went to go sort through her pictures. The group got some curious looks in the lobby, but nobody approached them.

While David and Tico chatted, Hath squatted down with some great effort, and talked softly to Tico’s son. Soon, he launched himself into Hath’s arms, and they toppled over. “Hath!” David exclaimed. “Are you okay?”

She was laughing, and getting her cheek kissed over and over. “Yeah, we’re fine. I just asked this gorgeous little man if he wanted to stand up with you and Teek at the wedding tomorrow. I think he likes the idea.”

David smiled. He and Hath wanted to involve all the kids in the ceremony in some small way, to make it special for them. Colton and Jesse were going to be ushers with Hath’s brother’s frat brothers (and she already warned them NOT to teach the boys any new words). Ava, Gabrielle and Stephanie were going to pin the boutonnieres on the men and hand out little bags of birdseed to the women as they arrived. Lil and Jacob were going to hand out the programs that the chapel made up for the occasion. Joanna, Hath’s niece, was the flower girl, and Romeo was just going to look cute.

Hath, Sam, Lucy, Alejandra, April, Heather, and Dot had one of the most uncomfortable, surreal conference calls when they were talking about the kids taking part in the wedding. Hath told the ex-wives that the children were important to David and he wanted to include them all in the wedding. She said that they hadn’t said anything to the kids because they wanted to make sure all the mothers and almost step-mothers were going to be okay with that.

“This is the only time I’m getting married,” Hath had said, “and I want it to be perfect. If any of you are gonna fuck it up, let me know now.” The other women laughed and assured her they could act like civilized people for one day.

By lunchtime on Thursday, Stephanie, Matt, and Michael were ensconced in their suite in the hotel. Michael had them in the pool a half hour after that. Hath, David, and the Torreses joined them in the water, and they had a fun time watching the kids play. Ang was taking her job as photographer seriously, and was clicking away. David splashed at her legs and told her to put the camera down and to come and have some fun. Ang obliged, sinking into the water with the rest of them.

Michael was really good with Hector, the older boy keeping a watchful eye on the younger, though both could swim like fish. The adults had a nice conversation, and they stayed in the water until they all got pruney and the pool started to get crowded. People were starting to stare at the group, and it didn’t help matters that David and Tico were waving at the gawkers.

Ang and the three families went to Hath’s mom’s for dinner. Pauline was ecstatic. She loved cooking for large groups and rarely got to do it. She had a pasta feast laid out. Everyone ate until they were stuffed, and there were still leftovers. Stephanie had brought some of her special cookies with her, and a pound of her coffee, and Hath’s dad was over the moon. The conversation was lively and spirited, and Pauline spoiled Hector and Michael shamelessly. By the time they left, the boys were completely comfortable in her home, and called her “abuela” which brought a tear to her eye.

Lucy, Richie and Ava arrived on Friday at the same time as Jon and Sam. David and Ang went to get them in the van while Hath stayed behind at the hotel. She didn’t want to make another trip in the van, and besides, she was content to be relaxing in the pool, letting the water soothe her. She hung on the side of the pool with her eyes closed and let her legs float up. She was getting lots of looks and stares because she wasn’t hiding her pregnancy. She had on a very modest tankini, but her belly was pushing out from under the fabric of the bathing suit. She didn’t care. She was happy and healthy and getting married the next day to the most wonderful man on the planet, after her father, of course.

The only warning Hath got was a childish giggle that had to have come from Ava, but could just as easily come from Lucy. Hath shrieked as got drenched; Richie and Jon doing cannonballs on either side of her. She sputtered and cursed, and scraped the wet shanks of hair off her face. When the men came up for air on either side of her, grinning like idiots, she laughed. “You two are worse than a couple of kids,” she said. “Come here and kiss the bride.”

“You sure about that, Jeeves?” Jon asked, a little leery.

Hath tapped her cheeks. “C’mon, you sissies. If I can handle it, you can handle it.” The two men leaned in to kiss her cheeks, and she saw a flash go off. Annoyed, she turned to yell at someone, but it was just Ang. She had a big-ass grin on her face and winked at Hath before setting her camera down. The girls all joined the fun in the pool, splashing around and just being goofy.

When a young woman with three small children came into the room, she stopped dead and stared. “Sorry,” she said, and started to steer the kids away, under loud protest

David laughed and called over, “Don’t leave on our account,” he said. “Please, come on in. We’ll behave.”

“Are you sure?” she asked. It didn’t escape her notice who they were.

“We’re sure,” David confirmed. Come on.”

The woman and her kids stayed in the shallower water, while the others were playing where it was deeper. Hath begged mercy and swam awkwardly to the stairs and sat, leaning back on her elbows. “How far along are you?” the other woman asked.

“Not far enough,” Hath said. “I’m only 4 and a half months pregnant, but there are twins in there.” She laughed when she felt the babies moving around vigorously. “And apparently they are part fish because they are annoyed that I stopped swimming.” The two women chatted amiably about everything and nothing, as women have a knack to do, and only stopped when David swam over.

“Hey, mama, everything okay?” He kissed her cheek and sat next to her, wrapping an arm around her shoulders.

“We’re fine, baby,” she said. “I’m just resting. David, this is Elizabeth. Liz, my fiancé, David.”

“Nice to meet you, Liz,” David said, extending a hand.

The two shook, Liz a little shocked. “Likewise,” she said. “These monsters are Alex, Greg, and Jamie,” she said, tapping each boy’s head in turn.

David made a scared face. “You-you’re MONSTERS?” he said, quaking his voice, and making the boys smile. “Hath, darlin’ save me!” He started to climb up into Hath’s lap, and she laughed and shoved him off, sending him splashing into the water, and making the boys giggle. He stood spitting water. “You are going to pay for that, woman,” he said.

“ANG!” Hath called. “HELP ME!” Ang shot over, Ava in tow.

“You distract him, Lady A,” Ang said, “And I’ll drown him.”

“If you’re drowning David,” Richie called over, “I wanna help.” Liz stared as Richie swam the length of the pool underwater, and upended David. He stood, towering over Liz, and extended his hand. “Hey,” he said. “I’m Rich.”

Liz just stared, and Richie winked at her and joined the battle again.

Ava got the boys to help “distract” David when he finally was able to stand up, and Ang and Hath pushed him underwater again. The kids had a good time, and soon were dunking Richie, too. “Hey!” he called indignantly. “Isn’t anyone gonna be on my side?”

Jon looked over and laughed. “Against Jeeves, Ang, and Ava? And their reinforcements?” He shook his head. “Sorry, bro, you’re on your own.”

After a little while, Richie and David cried ‘uncle’ and they all made their good byes, going up to their rooms to get dressed for the wedding rehearsal.

Hath and David met Ang in the lobby once they had changed. Hath was dressed elegantly, in a sleeveless sheath of deep burgundy. She wore low-heeled sling-back pumps and her Christmas jewelry. She and David met her family and the priest at the chapel at her college, and they walked around the nave. The priest explained the ceremony to David, and they all sat in the front row of seats.

“I just want to stress,” Father Dan said to David, “that this is a religious ceremony. I know you and your friends are celebrities, and that brings with it some level of publicity, but…” he trailed off when David smiled.

“We have been very careful to not talk about the wedding except in general terms,” David said. “I don’t think it’ll be a problem. We do have a photographer coming, but she’s one of our close friends. That should be it.”

Father Dan nodded. “That’s fine, I just wanted to remind you that this is not a media event, but a sacred ceremony, and proper reverence must be shown.”

“Knock, knock,” Richie said, as he led a big group into the chapel. Richie, Jon, Tico, and Matt arrived with their women, and Ava and Hector. As they got settled, the door opened again, and a gaggle of children came in, with April and Dot trailing behind. There were genial hellos and David and Hath went to greet the children.

Once they got through the rehearsal, Hath and David led a caravan of cars and vans to the rehearsal dinner. They were going for barbecue; Paul had closed the restaurant for them. Hath’s girlfriends were already there with their husbands, as were the ushers and their women, and when the group arrived, conversation in the restaurant stopped. Every woman in the room widened her eyes, and every man rolled his. Then Hath stepped forward, and announced, “Yes, yes, Bon Jovi has arrived. You have fifteen seconds to gush then you’ve gotta cut the crap. Your time starts. . . .NOW!”

“Jesus, Hath,” David said, rolling his eyes at her. Everyone laughed and was properly introduced, then the food came out.

Paul brought a platter of ribs over to Hath, Ang and Sam. “You pregnant ladies just give a holler when your tray gets empty,” he said with a wink. “I’ll take care of you.”

The time went by quickly, amongst much chatter and laughter. A little after eight, the door opened, and Hath smiled. “James!” she called, and went over to give the man a hug. “I didn’t know Paul roped you in to playing tonight.”

James Montgomery was a local blues legend, and Hath had met him several years ago at a festival Paul was hosting. The two clicked, and had remained friends. “I wouldn’t miss it, Jenilee,” he said with a soft drawl that made her name not sound so bad.

“Come and have something to eat,” Hath said, as David came up behind her. “Baby, this is --”

“Jim?” Richie said from across the room, before Hath could finish. “You old sonofabitch, what are you doing here?” The two men shook hands.

“I’m here for Jenilee,” James said. “What about you? Who invited your sorry ass here?”

“Same,” he said laughing. “Man I haven’t seen you in a dog’s age.” The two men went off chatting, and Hath called after them.

“Don’t keep him too long, Rich, he has to sing for his supper.” The men laughed and waved back over their heads. Inevitably, James took the stage, and Richie was right up there behind him with his guitar. They stayed late, far later than they should have, but they were having too much fun to leave. Finally, as the younger kids were drifting off and curled up on the benches, the party broke up.

Hath and David shared a kiss in the parking lot. “Until tomorrow, my love,” Hath said.

“Why aren’t you coming back with me again?” he whine.

Hath laughed. “We’ve been through this, baby, it’s bad luck to see the bride before the wedding on her wedding day. Now, you go take a cold shower and go to bed,” she said, sneaking a pat to the part that needed the cold shower, “and I will see you at the church tomorrow.”

“Eleven thirty, right?” David asked, a twinkle in his eye.

“Ten, you ass,” Hath answered back, laughing. “I love you, Sweet Papa.”

“I love you more, Sexy Mama.”

Chapter 106: Naming the LJs

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Monday, Hath was still feeling out of sorts, and got on the boards to talk to her friends. She knew she should talk to David, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. How did she tell the man she loved that she enjoyed it when his best friend and boss kissed the shit out of her, and she was reluctant to crawl into bed with another friend for a joke because she was afraid not of him but of what she would do? She couldn’t talk to her mother or her other friends about this, because they wouldn’t understand. The jokes that were played were harmless ones, but you had to really know the guys and their dynamics to know that.

Otherwise, it looked like they were a bunch of moral-less heathens.

She felt awful, guilt-ridden that she had these visceral, sexual reactions to Jon and Richie, and talked to Lucy and Stephanie about it. They told her that it was a normal reaction to those particular two guys; Richie because of Hath’s 20-year crush on the man, and Jon because well, he was Jon, and damned near irresistible. They were quite convincing, and Hath felt much better for having talked to them. Stephanie and Lucy asked if they were going to find out about the genders of the babies, and Hath smiled. It was that moment that David started into the office.

His heart swelled when he saw his love looking and acting more like herself. She was talking to the computer as she typed, and he chuckled softly, knowing she was on the board. David went down to the studio and got on the board himself. He thanked Lucy and Stephanie for whatever it was that they were saying that made Hath smile. Lucy told him that she just needed reassurance, and the smile fell from his face.

“Reassurance?” he typed. “She isn't having second thoughts about the wedding is she? Is THAT why she's been so sad this week? Dammit!!! Why the hell wouldn't she tell ME about this?” His heart was pounding and he felt sick. Lucy backpedaled fast, saying no, nothing like that, but it was a girlfriend thing, and she didn’t feel comfortable telling him about it. David was frantic. He wanted to believe her, but it must be bad if Lucy wouldn’t say anything about it.

Then Stephanie responded, saying Hath just needed some cheering up, and he spilled to her that he was freaked out because of what Lucy said. Stephanie thought about it for a couple minutes, then reluctantly told him what was going on.

I swear to god you tell her you heard this from me I'll stop sending you treats!

She's upset about what went down with Jon and Richie and your seeming lack of reaction to what she did to Jon in your hallway. She was mortified by her reaction to both guys as she loves you and figures she shouldn't be having those kinds of reactions to anyone but you.

We told her it was normal and I reassured her that it was mostly the raging hormones going on that brought all this about. She doesn't feel she can talk to you about any of this though as they are your brothers.

We calmed her down and she seemed better. She loves you and can't wait to become Mrs. Jennilee Hathor Rashbaum. Don't doubt that.

David sat back, amazed. He had no idea that this was bothering her so much. Hell, he knew it didn’t mean anything, that it was just the kind of messing around with each other that the guys do. They’d been doing stuff like this for the last quarter-century, and Hath had seemed okay at the time. He shook his head, and replied to Stephanie.


Is THAT what this is all about? Jesus.

Did she not notice that I couldn't stand to watch her getting hot and heavy with one of my best friends? I know it was just a, hell I don't know what it was, but I know it didn't mean anything. That doesn't mean I didn't want to put my fist through Jon's face though. I had to leave the room before I did something stupid. And I didn't think the thing with Richie was any big deal. Hell, I was closer to Lucy in bed than Richie was to Hath.

And hell, it's just biology. I saw Jon when he was leaving. Let me tell you, he isn't attracted to Hath "that way" but you'd never tell from looking at him. Hell, when Lucy and I were cuddled up in bed, I had to keep from stroking her arm, like I would Hath. Just natural reaction to the situation.

And I got to reap the full benefit of Hath’s reactions, thank-you-very-much.

Sigh. I wish she could talk to me about what's bothering her, but I won't let on that I heard anything from you. If she's feeling better, I won't bring it up. Thanks for telling me, though.

I can't wait until she's my wife, either.

Thanks, Stephanie.

~ D

He heard the doorbell and signed off the board, and went to the door. Hath met him in the hallway, and he hugged her fiercely and kissed her deeply before they opened the door together.

“Ang!” Hath shouted, and put her arms out to embrace her friend. “How are you and the bump?” She peered around Ang’s shoulder. “Where’s your baby’s daddy?”

Ang rolled her eyes. “Forgetful git, he’s meeting us in Boston on FRIDAY!” she shouted. “I only told you that a hundred times, sweetie.” She looked at David. “Hello,” she said coyly.

“Come here,” he said, and swept her into his arms. He spun her around and kissed her soundly on the lips before letting her go. He looked at Hath, and saw she was smiling. See? She knew it didn’t mean anything.

Ang followed Hath upstairs. “You stay here,” she said to David. “We girls need to catch up properly.”

“Well, don’t believe anything she says,” David said to Ang. “She’s hormonal. I’ve been nothing but absolutely perfect all the time.”

Whooping laughter floated down the stairs as the girls went to get settled.

“So,” Ang said when they got to her room. “You look awful. What’s the matter?”

“Gee, thanks, Ang,” Hath said sardonically. She sighed and spilled everything; everything about the encounter with Jon, and her rampant, evil thoughts when she was in bed with Richie, and her guilt over those feelings. Ang hugged her friend closely while she sobbed.

“You done, honey?” Ang asked. When Hath nodded, Ang flicked her forehead. “Listen you silly girl,” she went to the door and peeked out, making sure David wasn’t standing there. “I’m only going to tell you this once because it’s embarrassing as hell.” She sighed and came to sit next to Hath on the bed. “Just now? When David kissed me and picked me up and twirled me around?” Hath nodded. “Well, I got a little hot and bothered.” Hath’s expression must have been shock because Ang laughed loudly. “What, you’re the only one who lusts after someone who’s not your intended?” She was blushing furiously. “Look, you got to do what million of women have wanted to do for years. In the span of twenty four hours, you made out with Jon Bon Jovi not once, but twice, had steaming sex with David Bryan, and crawled into bed with Richie Sambora.” She shook her head. “Damn, girl, I want your life.”

Hath burst out laughing. “But I feel so guilty…”

“Don’t make me flick you again,” Ang said. “Did it mean anything?” Hath shook her head ‘no’. “Then forget about it. File it away, and relive it sometime when David’s not around. And call me when you do,” she said. “I want to live vicariously through you.”

Hath hugged her friend. “Have I told you today that I love you?”

“No,” she pouted. “But you can make it up to me, and name your daughter after me.”

“Will you name yours after me?” Hath asked, twinkle in her eye.

”Fuck no,” Ang said. “You have a weird name.”

After lunch David and Hath left for their appointment. Hath wanted Ang to come with them, but Ang refused. “This is your time,” she said. “Go, find out about the babies, then come home and tell Auntie Ang all about it.” So they did.

Hath fidgeted nervously in the waiting room with David. “It’ll be fine,” he said to her.

“I know, they’re moving around so much I know they’re ok,” Hath said. “I just hope they’re being cooperative.”

David laughed. “Even if they aren’t it’s no big deal. We can do another scan when we come back stateside in July.”

“I know,” Hath said, looking into David’s eyes. “But I wanted to do this for you.”

“And I appreciate that,” David said, “but if they’re not cooperating… well let’s face it, these are OUR kids here, they may be troublesome just for the hell of it.”

Hath smiled, and rested her head on David’s shoulder. When her name was called, they smiled and followed the nurse back to the examining area. She weighed and measured Hath, then took her blood pressure, frowning at the reading. “Your BP is a little elevated,” the nurse said. “Have you been under any undue stress lately?”

Hath slid a look at David. “Some, but it’s okay now. It shouldn’t be a problem anymore.”

The nurse nodded. “Still, I want you to come back next week to get it rechecked.”

“Uh, I can’t do that,” Hath said. “We’re getting married Saturday and are leaving for…” she trailed off and looked at David.

“Nice try, babe. ‘Somewhere tropical’ is the best you’re getting.” He looked at the nurse.

“Well, the stress of planning a wedding could be doing it.” She noted something in Hath’s chart. “When are you back?”

Hath rolled her eyes. “We’re back for a day around the 22nd, then are off to Germany.”

“You’re traveling?” The nurse was surprised. “You really think that is a good idea?”

Hath looked at David, concern in her face. David covered her hands with his. “We are traveling with a doctor and nurse,” David said. “I’m sure they can handle anything that comes up. And if they can’t, we’ll fly home right away.”

The nurse was still unconvinced, but knew all she could do was make a recommendation. “Fine. Leave the doctor’s information with Sherry at the front desk, and I’ll make sure Hath’s doctor calls him. Her. Whatever. Now,” she said, closing Hath’s chart, “let’s get you in to see the doctor.”

Hath and David followed the nurse across the hall to the examining room. Her doctor greeted them with a warm smile. “How are my babies today?” she asked.

David smiled. “They’re fine.” He put his hand protectively on Hath’s abdomen. “They’re doing great. Moving around a lot and Hath is getting so BIG!”

Hath elbowed him hard in the ribs. “Thanks a lot, babe,” she said sarcastically. “Help me heave my massive bulk up on the table, if you don’t mind.”

David chuckled and helped Hath get situated. The doctor took more measurements, squirted gel on the babies, and went to work. She looked at the babies’ growth and head size; looked at the fluid levels and generally making sure everything was as it should be. “Looking good,” she said. “Now, the million dollar question. Do you want to know?”

David and Hath looked at each other. “We do,” Hath said, taking David’s hand and squeezing.

The doctor nodded and moved the want around and squinted and peered at the baby on the left. “It looks like this one is a girl,” she said, pointing out how she could tell.

Hath looked at David. “TOLD you there was a girl in there. And if Lucy and Richie have kids and one is a boy, our daughter is NOT going to have anything to do with him.”

David laughed and kissed Hath’s forehead. “Yes, dear,” he said, and they turned back to the screen.

“And this one…” the doctor said, looking closely. “Yep, he’s a ‘he’.”

As they watched the screen, they saw their daughter punch her brother, making them laugh.

“Already with the fighting,” David said.

“What do you expect?” Hath said. “He’s hogging all the room! Just like his father.”

“Do you have names picked out yet?” the doctor asked, smiling at their bickering.

“We do,” David said, “but out mothers would slaughter us if we told anyone before we told them. I’m sure you understand.”

When they got home, they went up to the nursery and hugged for a long while. Hath looked at the two little bassinets, the two little dressers, two little everything. “Should we call our moms?”

“Whose first?” David asked.

Hath laughed. “You’re kidding, right? We have to conference them together. We would never hear the end of it if we didn’t tell them at the same time.” They got both moms on the line.

“Are you ready?” Hath asked.

“YES!” both grandmas-to-be shouted.

Hath laughed and looked at David. “There are one of each,” Hath said, and she could hear the two older women sobbing with joy.

“And their names?” Flo asked.

“Our son, we are naming ‘John Edward’ for our dads,” David said quietly, and they could hear Flo’s sniffle.

“Our daughter,” Hath said, “we are calling Laura Jean.”

They talked for a few minutes more, then went on the boards to let everyone there know the good news.

Chapter 105: Home At Last

Hath was glad to be home. She loved Lucy and Richie, but it’d been a tough few days. Whenever Richie came into the room, if Hath was by herself, she’d make some excuse to leave. She didn’t feel comfortable being alone in the room with him. She felt sure that he could tell he had some effect on her, because he wasn’t razzing her about it , and she didn’t want to deal with that. He was being so polite and kind and accommodating, and it made her sick to her stomach. She felt like such a fraud. She wasn’t overtly rude, but she knew that Lucy noticed something was wrong. Hath was grateful her friend chalked it up to pregnancy hormones.

The whole plane ride home, she was subdued, and actually slept most of the flight. David looked over at her several times, all curled up against the wall of the plane. When he tried to gather her into his arms, she stiffened, so he let her go. She feigned sleep in the car on the way home, so she wouldn’t have to talk about what was bothering her. “This is what depression feels like,” she thought.

When they got home Saturday afternoon, Hath wanted nothing to do with anything. Not even David. No amount of coaxing, joking, or cajoling could get a smile from her. David was distraught. He didn’t know what was wrong, and she wouldn’t tell him. She told him she was tired, and he wanted to believe her, but there was no light in her eyes.

That night, she curled up and went to sleep before David even came into the room. He sat on the side of the bed and stroked her hair back from her face. He loved her so much, and it was killing him that she wouldn’t talk to him about what was bothering her.

He got on the boards for a little while and talked to the girls. Stephanie asked if he had plans for Mother’s Day for Hath. David smiled, thinking about the jewelry he had purchased.

I've actually got a plan for her. Breakfast in bed (yeah, I can do eggs, and she likes eggs so....) I got her beautiful diamond pave earrings. They're white gold hearts, four of them cascading in a line. They're really pretty. She's having a leisurely day if it kills her.

That sounds like you planned the perfect day for her and the earrings sound lovely. I'm sure she'll love it!

Christ I hope so. She hasn't been herself for a couple days. I think the
stuff with Jon and Richie overwhelmed her a little. Did she tell you about that?

Oh she told me. I thought the prank was hysterical. I just didn't figure it would get to her like it did. Was she okay for the rest of your visit?

Lucy and I thought so, too, and Hath came around, but she wouldn't look at Richie the whole day after the prank. She avoided him like the plague. Like, if he came in the room, she "wasn't feeling well" and had to go lie down.

She was never so happy to get on a plane as she was today.

Must come from her being a long-time Richie girl and now she's with you and her dear friend is engaged to him. That's the only reason I can think why it would have bothered her so much. She'll be okay. Just give her some time.

David’s heart stopped. Is this what it was all about? She was a RichieGirl (the thought turned his stomach; his beautiful Hath with his friend) and she maybe thought she was “settling”? He never thought about that before. Shit, he wanted to cry.

Do you think she regrets that? That it's me and not him she's with??

Not at all and I didn't mean to insinuate that. I'm sorry. Hath loves you fiercely, don't ever doubt that.

Do you remember when we met backstage last November and Richie kissed her? She said it was more "oh my god Richie Sambora kissed me" feeling but then there was nothing after that. With you, something just "clicked". She feels that "oh my god" thing, all the time.

He felt a little better, hearing, well seeing, Stephanie say that. He smiled, remembering back to that night in November.

Yeah, I remember that night. Rich doesn't let me forget he got to kiss her first. It was an "oh my god" thing for me, too. Do you know I badgered Rich for like an hour to get Hath's room number? I just kept calling him until he told me just to shut me up. Lucy was ready to slaughter me. *sigh*

OK, I choose to believe you, because the alternative is just too scary to think about. I just hope you're right...

I know I'm right. She loves you David, don't ever doubt that. You can see it every time she looks at you.

An hour, really? I didn't know that. I'm surprised Richie didn't kill you himself.

Ha ha ha, yeah, he was NOT happy with me, but I wasn't leaving him alone until he told me. Best thing I ever did.

Stephanie, as usual, was very helpful and wonderful, and David wanted to do something really nice for her. She listened to all his shit, even back before he and Hath were engaged. She listened to him whine and complain and gave great advice, and never once made him feel like an idiot. She was a very special woman, and wanted to figure out a way to repay her generosity of spirit. He’d have to think on that one.

A little after midnight, David crept into their bedroom. Hath was sleeping, huddled on the edge of the bed. Whatever was bothering her, was even plaguing her in her sleep. She was a cuddler, and usually, if she fell asleep before he came to bed, she’d be curled up with his pillow. Not tonight. Sighing, David shucked his clothes and climbed into bed next to his almost-bride.

He stroked her hair, smoothing it down her back and murmured to her, “Hath, my love, I wish you’d talk to me.” He wrapped an arm around her expanding waist, cradling his children, and sighed. Unseen by him, tears leaked from Hath’s eyes. A few minutes later, Hath felt David gently shake her. “Sweetheart,” he whispered in her ear.

“Mmmm?” Hath said, glad her tears had dried.

“Happy Mother’s Day, my love,” he said, and nuzzled her neck.

Hath turned, fresh tears shining in her eyes. “Thank you, baby,” she said, and kissed him tenderly. The electricity from his kiss went through her body, and she sighed. David slowly and gently made love to this mom-to-be, and when his name slipped from her lips on a breath as she came, he kissed her lovingly as he exploded inside her.

“I love you so much,” David said to her, brushing the hair back from her face.

“I love you more,” Hath said with a sad smile.

“Are you okay?” David asked.

Hath nodded. “I’m fine, baby.” She laid a hand on David’s cheek. “I love you.”

David smiled, then ruined it by yawning. Hath giggled, and David’s heart lightened. He knew his girl was in there somewhere, he just had to draw her out again.

Hours later, Hath woke to the smell of coffee and eggs. She opened her eyes and saw David standing there in the doorway with a tray laden with breakfast things. Hath hadn’t been hungry much lately, but seeing David standing there with that goofy grin, and the lone rose in a bud vase tucked in between the eggs and fruit, she found herself suddenly ravenous.

“What is all this?” Hath asked.

“This, my dear, is breakfast,” he answered. He cocked his head. “Why, what does it look like?”

Hath smiled. “It looks wonderful. Come here, you.”

David came into the room and set the tray down on the night stand. He sat next to Hath on the bed and gathered her into his arms. She went willingly, and he cradled her head against his heart. “Hear that?” he asked her. When he felt her nod against him, he said, “That’s for you. My heart. It beats only for you. I love you.”

Hath’s arms tightened around his waist, and she turned her head to kiss his heart. “I love you too. More than anything in this world.” At that moment, the babies kicked, making them laugh. “Well, maybe not more than the LJs.”

David rubbed Hath’s abdomen, saying good morning to his children. He took a small box out of his pocket and handed to Hath.

“Oh, you didn’t have to do that,” she said.

“I wanted to. Open it.”

Hath opened the box. Inside were diamond earrings, nestled in a bed of white satin. The earrings were four hearts strung together with delicate links. The top and bottom heart were covered in pave diamonds. “They’re gorgeous!” she exclaimed and immediately put them on.

“They’re for us,” David said. “The two big hearts, the one on the top and bottom, that’s us. The little ones in the middle are the LJs.”

Hath’s eyes teared up, and she wrapped her arms around David’s neck. “How on Earth do I deserve you?” she said, sobbing.

“Hey now, no crying,” David said, rubbing small circles on Hath’s back. “You are a wonderful person. I have no idea what I did right to deserve you, but I thank the stars every day that you’re here.”

They kissed tenderly, then David laid Hath’s breakfast tray across her lap. She suddenly wasn’t hungry anymore.

Chapter 104: Belated April Fool's

Sunday, August 17, 2008

After that little sex-capade, the flight time flew by. Hath spent the whole time obsessing about the trick they were going to play on Richie. David told her to just relax, but while she was confident that he would handle her come-ons with aplomb, she wasn’t so sure he would appreciate David being all over Lucy. She was also wincing at the ribbing he was sure to give her for the "spit swap" with Jon last night.

“For heaven’s sake, just don’t call her ‘Lucia’,” Hath said to him, as they got their bags from the carousel. "And do NOT talk about what happened last night."

David laughed. “But baby, that’s gonna take away all my fun!”

Hath rolled her eyes, and they went outside. She groaned. Richie came with Lucy to collect them. She thought she’d have more time in the cab to prepare before seeing Richie. She should have known better. Lucy lowered her sunglasses and smiled. “Jesus, Hath, you’re HUGE!” she said sarcastically.

“Thanks a lot,” Hath answered, sticking her tongue out at her friend. “C’mere and give me a hug. See if you can’t touch your hands together behind my back.”

Lucy laughed and started toward Hath, but David intercepted her and swung her in a big circle before planting a slightly lingering kiss on her lips. Richie’s eyes narrowed, but he didn’t say anything. Chuckling at Richie’s reaction, David released Lucy and she went to hug Hath. “He’s starting already,” Lucy whispered.

Hath just smiled. When she and Lucy parted, Hath went to Richie. “Can I come get me a candy bar, darlin’?” Richie asked puckering up, and Hath colored.

“Jesus, do you have a death wish for me?” she answered, then lowered her voice. “Clinching with the three of you in twenty-four hours would most surely kill me.” Richie barked with laughter.

Hath smiled at him and took his hands. “You look real good, my friend. I’m glad everything worked out,” she said simply, then opened her arms.

Richie wrapped her in a big hug and said, “Thanks for everything. The little cards and notes you sent were very thoughtful and made me smile.” He looked down into Hath’s smiling face. “It’s good to see you, darlin’. You look absolutely radiant.” He bent to kiss Hath lightly, and she traced his lips with her tongue. It was brief, and Richie was a little stunned, sure that couldn’t have just happened. Not after what had happened with Jon, and what she had just said to him. He snapped out of it and laughed when he felt a poke in his stomach. “What was that? Was that…?” Hath smiled and nodded at Richie. He splayed his big hand over Hath’s abdomen, and Lucy rolled her eyes. “Don’t start, Rich,” she said.

“Lucia,” Richie said, “You’ve got to feel this.” Reluctantly, Lucy went over and put her hands on Hath’s bulging abdomen. Her eyes widened with wonder when she felt a tiny little foot press into her hand. Richie and Hath shared a smile over Lucy’s head.

“Well, the LJs and I are hungry,” Hath said, giving Richie’s ass a pat. She went to David and looped an arm around his waist. “Told you we have a daughter in there,” Hath crowed. David just rolled his eyes.

“What do you mean?” Lucy asked. “I thought the ultrasound was next week?”

“It is, but this is the second time LeftBaby reacted to one of the Dynamic Duo. She kicked like mad when she heard Jon’s voice, and just now, she poked at Richie.” Hath laughed. “I’ve GOT to have a girl in there…”

The foursome went for lunch. All through the meal, David kept making eyes at Lucy, and Hath kept sliding Richie looks, and Richie suddenly remembered the wife-swapping chatter from the board. He smiled. They wanted to play, huh? He was onto them.

They had been back at the house for a short time when the doorbell rang. David and Hath went to go answer it, knowing it would be Ava. “Uncle David!” the little girl shouted when she saw him. She launched herself into his arms, and he swung her around; the two of them laughing and chattering like fools.

“Hey, Heather,” he said to the woman who had brought her. “Thanks for letting Ava come and visit for a few days.”

“I’m not a monster,” Heather replied quietly. “No matter what some people might say.” She was referring to Jon, who had been distant and cold since she and Richie had split. “And you must be Jenilee,” she said to Hath, smirking.

“Only to people who don’t know me,” Hath replied with a warm smile. “My friends call me ‘Hath’.” Hath put out a hand to shake with Heather, and the other woman took it hesitantly. “I like to make up my own mind about people,” Hath told her, and Heather relaxed.

David introduced Ava to Hath then sent her to go find her father and Lucy. “You wanna come in?” David asked, but Heather shook her head.

“No, but thanks.” She handed David a suitcase. “Tell Lucy and Rich I asked after them.”

They all had a fun evening playing games with Ava, but all too soon, her little eyelids were drooping. Richie and Lucy took her up to bed, and Hath and David snuggled up on the couch.

After Richie and Lucy had tucked Ava into bed, each of them giving her a hug and kiss goodnight, they started back downstairs to join Hath and David again.

Stopping for a second in the hallway, Lucy turned to Richie.

"Did Ava kick Heather like that when you were near her?" Lucy asked.

"Yeah, she did...pretty cool wasn't it?"

"Yeah it was...but don't start getting any ideas there Rich...I'm still not ready."

"I know...but you really don't know what your missing out on. Heather used to say there wasn't a better, greater thing then the feel of a life growing inside you."

Purposely ignoring what Richie had just said, Lucy started back down the hall.

"We'd better get back downstairs; if we leave Hath too long she may start in trying to eat the plastic fruit."

Laughing, Richie laid his arm around Lucy’s shoulder giving her a kiss on her temple. His plan was working, she hadn't completely come around, but he could see curiosity starting to show.

“Are you SURE you’re OK with this?” Hath asked David when Richie and Lucy went upstairs.

He just smiled. “Baby, I’m not worried. It’ll be fine.” He leaned in to kiss Hath, and that’s how Richie and Lucy found them, some minutes later.

“Jesus you two, you DO have a room,” Richie lamented, rolling his eyes.

“Fuck you,” David answered, good naturedly.

“Not my type, asshole,” Richie answered.

“How ‘bout me?” Hath asked, looking at Lucy with an evil twinkle in her eye.

Richie smiled. She was starting in on him again. Two could play that game. “You, my dear,” he said, waggling his eyebrows, “could definitely be my type.”

“I was talking to Lucy,” Hath answered, and Richie’s eyes bugged out.

Lucy laughed and went over to sit between Hath and David, hip-checking him so he’d move over. She laid a hand on Hath’s abdomen and pouted. “They aren’t moving,” she said.

“They’re sleeping. Hang on, Luce. Richie, darlin’, c’mere,” Hath said, crooking a finger. David snickered when Richie obeyed. “Come talk to my daughter,” she said. He knelt on the floor in front of Lucy, and leaned over to murmur against Hath’s belly. After a minute, Lucy felt a kick.

“Does it hurt when she kicks?” Lucy asked.

Hath smiled. “Nope, it feels just like you feel it. A little gentle nudge. The first time I felt them moving it was like I had a butterfly fluttering around.” Hath smiled at David. “I cried, I was so happy.” David blew her a kiss.

“Aren’t you worried about the birth?” Lucy asked. She still hadn’t taken her hand off of Hath’s babies, and gasped when one pushed hard against her hand. Hath quickly lifted the hem of her blouse, and Lucy saw a little foot-shaped lump receding. “Whoa,” she said, covering the little bump with her hand.

Hath laughed. “I’m scared as shit. Once they’re birthed, I have to take care of them!” David and Richie laughed. “And I don’t know about you, but my, erm, you know, is about this big,” Hath made a loose fist with her hand and peeked through it, “and a baby’s head is about this big,” she said, spanning her hands to about cantaloupe size. “I’m sure it will be fine. Everyone I’ve talked to say it’s never as bad as people say.”

“Are you really nervous about taking care of them?” she asked. Richie reached for Lucy’s hand and squeezed.

“A little,” Hath admitted, “but I’m just so excited to meet them. I think being nervous is normal. At least my mother said it is. I spent a lot of time with my niece when she was first born, helping my sister-in-law when my brother had to go back to work.” Hath smiled, remembering. “The first time Sue had me give Joanna a bath, she nearly pissed herself laughing. I was barely swiping the washcloth over her little teeny body, and Sue said, ‘you’ll never get the stink off her that way’. Babies are tough little critters.”

The babies had settled down, and Lucy pushed Richie’s head closer to Hath’s belly. “Make her kick again,” she said, and Richie murmured against Hath’s skin, making her flinch a little. Her daughter had no qualms about getting closer to him though, and punched him in the mouth.

“Your skin is so soft,” Richie said.

“Yeah, well, David spends a lot of time rubbing lotion into my belly, to help with the stretch marks.” David moved to sit on Hath’s other side, and kissed her tenderly. “Though I don’t think anything is gonna keep them away. I mean, there IS a watermelon in there.”

“Oh, it isn’t that bad,” Richie said, and Leftie kicked him again.

“Yep, there’s definitely a girl in there. No woman could resist you, baby,” Lucy said to her man.

David picked up on the not-so-subtle change of subject. “Either that, or she is on to his bullshit; I saw how she slugged him. Anyway, my daughter will have more sense than to succumb to his evil charms. After all, Hath resisted,” he said.

“Hah!” Richie laughed. “Just barely,” he teased, “and that’s just because I didn’t try.” Richie laughed at Hath’s blushing. “After all, I have Lucia. How could I want another woman, even one as lovely as Goddess?” He slid a glance at David and put his hand on Hath’s thigh.

“What’s that smell?” Hath asked. “Is that bullshit?” She lowered her shirt, and was trying to cover for her increased heart rate. She’d told Lucy that she would have a problem with Richie touching her, mostly because he had been her fantasy long before she met David, and the last half hour had been almost too much for her to handle.

Lucy sensed her friend’s discomfort and flicked Richie. “Hey! Take your hands off my Hath,” she said.

Richie pouted. “Oh, but putting my mouth on her was okay? Anyway, I thought this was swap week?” he said, eyes shining with mirth.

“I thought you didn’t want to share Lucia?” David asked, purposefully using her full name.

The banter continued, getting more outrageous as the evening went on. Finally, Hath stood. “I don’t care who it is,” she said, locking eyes with each in turn, “but one of you better be following me to bed.” She lowered her voice to a purr. “And I mean NOW.” She winked at Lucy and licked her lips then turned to flounce from the room.

“Hath!” Richie called, and she stopped and turned. “Lucia is taking Ava to school in the morning,” he said with a lascivious wink. “You wanna know what a real man looks and feels like, you come to Richie when she’s gone.”

Hath narrowed her eyes. “Dammit, you’re making me wait?” she asked on a regretful sigh, and left the room.

Lucy looked at Richie. “Now’s your chance if you’re going to take it,” she said, and Richie gaped.

David chuckled. “C’mon, Rich, you know she’s lusted after you for years,” he said, then burst into full belly laughter at his friend’s expression. “Man, if you showed up at her door, she’d probably pass out from shock. She knows this was just a game.”

The next morning, Lucy rose to get Ava off to school. Other than an unconscious grab for his woman, Richie was unaware of her leaving. She met David and Hath in the kitchen. Like she told Lucy last week in PMs, Hath was wearing a mostly modest peach slip nightie. She had biker shorts on under it. Lucy raised an eyebrow at her friend.

“I’m not taking any chances,” Hath said, making David laugh. He crossed the room to take Lucy in his arms.

“So, you’ll come crawl in bed with me when you get back?” David said softly, nuzzling her neck.

She laughed loudly and pushed at his chest. “Crawl, yes; cum, no,” she said, intentionally misunderstanding him.

“Wouldn’t be for lack of trying,” David said with a wink.

When Lucy got back from dropping Ava at school, the three of them went upstairs. Lucy changed into her beach cover-up which was strapless, so it would like she didn’t have anything on when she was in bed with David. She and Hath went down the hall to Lucy’s room. Peeking inside, they confirmed that Richie was still asleep, and Lucy made sure he hadn’t shucked his pants. They set up the camera on a tripod, and ran the trigger to under Lucy’s pillow.

Hath whispered, “You sure about this?”

“Suck it up, and get into bed with Richie Sambora!” she hissed back, making Hath laugh. Never in a zillion years would she think she’d be apprehensive about climbing into bed with this man. Lucy kissed Hath’s cheek, and left to go crawl into bed with David.

Hath raised the covers and slid into bed. Richie was laying on his back, the covers bunched at his waist. She caught herself staring at Richie’s broad chest, and nearly reached out to touch it, but quickly rolled onto her back. She figured she had about ten minutes of laying like this before the LJs squeezed all the air out of her lungs. She didn’t have to wait that long.

“Hey baby,” Richie rumbled, rolling toward Hath. “You came back to bed.” Hath held her breath and grabbed the camera trigger, waiting for Richie to open his eyes. When he didn’t, and he didn’t make any move to grab her, she relaxed. “Why’re you so far away, darlin’?” he growled. “C’mere and give me a little sugar.”

Hath made her voice a low murmur. “As tempting as you make that, gorgeous, I’d prefer you were all the way awake before I have my way with you.” Open your eyes, she said to herself. Open your eyes, dammit.

He didn’t. Instead, he inched closer and Hath had to back away when the obvious desired recipient of Lucy’s “sugar” poked her leg. “Oh shit,” Hath said softly, and Richie chuckled.

He grabbed for his woman’s breast, and Hath kicked him in the shin. Hard. “Ow!” he complained, and opened his eyes. >click< Hath caught an expression of shock, incredulity, embarrassment, and a little bit of “oh-my-God”.

“I told you I want you wide awake before this gets started,” Hath said softly and blew him a kiss.

“What the hell? When did you…? Where is …” his eyes went wide. “LUCIA!” he bellowed, and pointed at Hath. “Hath, darlin’, I’m sorry,” he said. “Jesus, we were just kidding. I didn’t mean. . .” He leapt from the bed, totally didn’t see the camera, and stopped in the doorway, looking at Hath in his bed. “Jesus,” he said again, and ran down the hall. He burst into David and Hath’s room, and found Lucy cuddled up to David, feigning sleep.

Richie saw David’s half smile, and saw Lucy’s bare shoulder covered by David’s hand. “Lucia!” he yelled, making the two of them jump.

“Hey, baby,” Lucy said sleepily. “Hey, Hath,” she said, spotting her friend over Richie’s shoulder. “Well?” she said, raising her eyebrows.

“It wasn’t exactly what I had it built up as in my mind.” Hath said seriously. “I mean being in bed with Richie Sambora? I expected a little more bang for my buck, if you get my drift.”

Richie turned around and saw Hath standing there, with her nightie and shorts under it. “What the hell?” and Hath started laughing. He turned to David and Lucy, and they were laughing, too. He watched them climb out of bed, the two of them fully dressed.

“Baby, you were in no shape to take an April Fool’s Day joke when it counted,” Lucy said, smiling. “Gotcha!”

Son of a bitch!” Richie swore, then burst into laughter. “Jesus, I was trying to figure out a way to let Hath down easy without getting in trouble.” His eyes went wide. “You kicked me!” he shouted at her.

“You poked me with your, well, THAT,” she said, pointing at Richie’s pants, “and you were going to grab Thelma!” Hath yelled back, tears streaming down her face.

“You called me ‘gorgeous’!” Richie said, doubled over.

Hath snickered. “Yeah, well, you are,” she said, then started laughing again. “You should have seen your face,” Hath said.

“Did you get it?” Lucy asked.

“You bet,” Hath answered, and the girls ran down the hall. The men followed, and saw their women huddled around a camera laughing. They showed Richie the picture of his face. You could see enough of Hath in the frame that you knew it was her. The dragonfly tattoo was a dead giveaway.

“Jesus,” Richie said. “You took my picture.?”

“Well,” Hath said. “My friends will never believe I was in bed with you otherwise.”

“Neither will Jon,” David said, and grabbed the camera.

“Get back here, asshole!” Richie shouted, and chased after him.