Welcome to Love's Legacy: Frankie & Jonny

The start of the story can be found
here and it can be navigated by using the menu to the right or by selecting newer post or older post at the bottom of each chapter. It may not be updated with quite the frequency of Edge of a Broken Heart but I will do my best to post at least once a fortnight.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Chapter 23

Beth started awake, disoriented and horny. She felt across the bed only to find it empty…The wetness between her legs was the only evidence of a very pleasant dream. She thought of the man sleeping peacefully across the hall and blushed as she slipped her fingers into the soft flesh at the apex of her thighs, efficiently dulling the frustration before sliding out of bed and heading for a cold shower.

All was quiet in the house a short time later as she ventured out of her room and padded down the stairs for coffee. She didn't know much about Jon's morning routine, but she did know he was a fairly early riser. It would be nice to repay his hospitality with a hot breakfast. She immediately set to work.

Not long after she heard the hesitant footfalls of Frankie making her way to the kitchen. She had obviously heard the noise, but Beth surmised she wasn't sure who was making it, hence the wariness, as she poked her head around the corner before entering the room.

"Oh, it's just you," Frankie proclaimed as she walked over to her mother at the stove. "You making breakfast now too?"

"Morning Sweetheart, I thought it was the least I could do to repay Jon's hospitality." Beth explained.

"Well don't make anything for me…my ride will be here in a few." Frankie told her mother as she leaned against the counter and picked at a piece of bacon she had procured fresh from the pan. "Ouch, this is hot." She shook her fingers a sucked her forefinger into her mouth.

"What? What ride?" Beth turned to look at her daughter surprised.

"Jai is coming." Frankie said around a mouth full of flesh, as she soothed her burned finger with her tongue. "I called him last night before I went to bed. I have some work to sort through at the gallery this morning and with Sophie in L.A. and Jon not being forthcoming with the transportation…well, I called Jai," she shrugged. "He should be here any minute actually. I might go out front and wait for him. Do you know what the deal is with the gate?" She asked.

"No honey, I don't. But I did notice a grounds man out there a few minutes ago. I'm sure he can help you out. But sweetie are you sure you can't stay? I'm sure Jon would love to meet Jai…and he'll be upset that he didn't get to say goodbye." Beth pointed out.

"Mom, really, for once this isn't about avoiding Jon. I really do just have to get back for work. Tell him goodbye for me and I will see him tomorrow night. It should be fun." She offered her mother a tight smile. "I'm trying Mom, I really am…but please…be careful around him. Don't fall for his charms."

Beth smiled, and laid a hand on her daughter's cheek. "You have nothing to worry about, baby," she said, "and I know you're trying. But please…don't hold whatever this is between Jon and me against him. It's not his fault."

"So you admit there is something there?" Frankie asked, surprised at her mother's admission.

"No…not necessarily. I still don't see how he would be interested in me…but….I like him, Frankie. He's been a good friend to me. I need that right now. A lot of our old friends stopped coming by after your father died. I think they found it too hard to cope with the pain. And even those that do…well they just remind me of him. Jon is someone new…someone separate from that life. Being around him has been a new lease on life for me. Do you understand?" Beth so badly wanted the answer to be yes. For once she wasn't disappointed.

"When you put it like that…you know, I think I do. If he's that important to you Mom, I'll try a little harder." Frankie paused when she heard a distant horn sound. "Oh shoot, that must be Jai. He can't get in the gates. I have to go, Mom." She laid a kiss on her mother's cheek and headed for the door without a backwards glance. "Love you," she said as she disappeared into the hall.

"Love you too," Beth called after her daughter a few seconds too late.

Beth got back to work preparing breakfast. She hoped Jon would wake soon - it was almost done – and she wondered whether it would be appropriate to take a tray upstairs for him… If he wasn't downstairs by the time the pancakes were done, she decided, that's exactly what she would do.

Jon was fast asleep, enjoying a very pleasant dream when a light tap on his door roused him. He glanced at the clock and cursed himself for oversleeping. "Yeah," he rasped, his voice choked with sleep.

The door cracked open. "Is it ok if I come in?" Beth asked hesitating in the doorway. "I brought you up some breakfast." She held up the tray in confirmation.

He nodded. "Shit! What time is it?"Jon said rubbing his hands across his face, and looking towards the clock on the bedside table. "Damn it," he cursed, "why didn't you wake me, Beth? You didn't have to do all of this. What kind of host am I? Letting the guests do all the cooking? "

"It's nothing…really." Beth told him smiling. "It was my pleasure…a way to say thank you for your hospitality." She said as she walked to his bedside, looking every bit as good as the food she was carrying.

She was wearing the old Soul jersey he had given her the night before. It danced tantalizingly across her thighs with every graceful stride she made towards him. Jon scooted up on the bed, propping himself up on pillows against the headboard and she laid the tray across his lap, crossing her arms self consciously across her body the second they were empty. It was only then Jon realized he had been staring at her. He turned his attention to the tray on his lap.

"And what a thank you it is." Jon looked at the cooked breakfast before him. Scrambled eggs, bacon, pancakes with banana and maple syrup were piled high on the plate, and a mug of steaming aromatic black coffee sat off to the side. The morning newspaper was also there along with a glass of orange juice. "I hope you're planning to help me eat this?"

Beth shook her head, "Nope…it's all yours. I had toast and coffee while I cooked. That's more than enough for me. Besides, I have to head back down and clean up." She told him, watching as he began devouring the meal.

"Oh no you don't," Jon reached out and grabbed her hand, "stay….please….talk with me while I eat. I will be the one to do the cleaning up. You've done far too much already."

Beth glanced around the room for somewhere to sit before coming up empty and finally perching tentatively on the edge of the bed. He watched her covertly, even while he appeared to be focused on his food, and was happy to see that he had her full attention. He was used to women looking at him – it came with the job – but when Beth looked at him in that same way, it gave him a certain kind of pleasure that he usually didn't experience. Beneath the downy duvet he was naked, rock hard and straining - a fact that could only be partially attributed to his usual early morning wood - and was grateful for the soft plump folds of fabric and the breakfast tray that hid the evidence of exactly what that certain kind of pleasure was.

"Really Jon…it's nothing," she paused for a moment and he looked up at her. He could see she was choosing her words carefully. "I'm sorry about last night….you know… Frankie and all," she finally settled on.

He smiled at her softly, "Bethie, honey, you have nothing to be sorry for. And I'm not sorry at all. Seeing you looking like that made it all worthwhile." He chuckled to lighten the gravity of his words.

Beth blushed, "Oh, stop you." She slapped his leg beneath the covers. "You weren't supposed to see that."

"Oh, but baby…I'm so glad I did," he said wiggling his eyebrows.

"Jon!" she exclaimed in shock.

"What? Is it wrong to enjoy looking at a beautiful woman?" he asked her.

"Stop it," she blushed.

Jon sobered then, "Bethie…can I ask you something a little personal?" He didn't wait for a response. "I ah…well…" he stammered, "I think it's pretty obvious that I'm attracted to you…and believe me…this isn't something I planned," her pretty blush and small smile gave him the courage to continue, "And I realize this is the worst timing in the world, for both of us. But Bethie, what I'm feeling for you, it's more than just physical, and I guess what I'm wondering is…well, I'm wondering if you feel the same about me?"

"Oh Jon," she sighed, "I can't deny that I've had those feelings too." A huge grin broke across his face. "But we have to look at this realistically. It's just because both of us are hurting, me because I miss Branson and you because you miss what you once had with Dot….then throw this whole mess with Frankie and Gina in there…well you can see what I'm saying can't you?"

But Jon hadn't heard a single word past her admission that she felt the same as him. A warm glow had spread throughout his body, he was having trouble concentrating, and a goofy grin had affixed itself to his face. He lifted the tray from his lap, leaned over and set it on the floor beside the bed.

"You have a little syrup…," Beth pointed to his chin, where he dutifully wiped.

"No, that's not it." She reached forward and swiped at the offending drop with her thumb.

That slight touch sent his pulse racing. He gazed deep into her eyes, captured her hand and drew her syrup covered thumb into his mouth. It was definitely a taste he wanted more of.

"Oh Jesus Beth…" he whispered huskily, and reached up behind her neck, tangling his fingers in her curls and pulling her forward until their lips met in a fiery kiss.

He was encouraged as her body relaxed and melded into his. He deepened the kiss, tasting her slowly…fully. His hands roamed up and down her back in luxurious circles, the right running over her firm behind and forward onto the silky skin of her thigh.

Never losing contact with her lips, Jon moved over on the bed and dragged her down beside him until she was laying full length along his body, her body fitting his perfectly even though she laid on top of the covers. He let his hand drift down to her knee and hooked it over his hip before tracing a path up the back of her thigh and under the loose fabric of the jersey. He sighed contentedly when his fingers found the edge of the risqué panties he had seen the evening before. He grasped the bottom edge of the jersey and looked to her for permission. A slight nod was the only prompting he needed. Beth raised her torso slightly off the bed and he dragged the jersey over her head in one movement.

"Frankie?" he asked, as his attention narrowed to the exposed puckered peaks of her breasts.

"Gone." She said simply.

Jon looked down the length of her body and chucked lightly. Beth raised a questioning eyebrow in his direction.

"These," he said as he run a finger under the elastic in her panties, "very nearly got me in a lot of trouble last night."

"That's only fair," Beth replied breathily as his finger sank a little lower into the lace, "it would seem they are going to get me into a lot of trouble now."

"Oh honey," he growled, "You have no idea." He captured her mouth in another mind-numbing kiss, before dragging the covers out from between them which earned a sharp intake of breath from Beth when she realized he was naked..

"You like what you see baby?" he asked her.

"Oh honey," she said, throwing his words back at him, "you have no idea."

But he thought he did. She practically devoured him with her eyes. He dragged her back to him, loving the feel of her pressed against him, skin to skin, her nipples pressing insistently into his firm chest. His hands roamed over her body as he continued to seduce her with his mouth, until she captured one hand and placed it over her breast. He moaned…she moaned in response to him.

He moved his hand from her breast and she arched up in protest, so he replaced it with his mouth, freeing his hand to travel down to the warmth between her thighs. He slipped under the lace of her panties once again, and into the soft curls that modestly covered her sex. She instantly bucked against his hand. He slipped a finger between her folds and gently worked her sensitive little nub.

Beth purred with pleasure, "Oh…Jon…I need…" her voice trailed off, but she guided his hand deeper into her flesh, showing him exactly what it was that he needed. Her body squirmed under his ministrations.

She was warm and welcoming and so very wet. As he slid a finger further into her silky depths, he marveled at the tightness he found. The fact that she had never borne children, had in this respect served her well. A groan rumbled deep in his chest.

"I want you inside me Jon…now…I can't wait…"

"I want you to come for me Bethie…"

"And I want you to feel me coming….from the inside…" she growled in his ear.

"Oh fuck Beth…" What this woman could do to him with a few well chosen words. He was ready to come all over her.

"Please…" she begged, as she wrapped her hand around his straining cock, pumping slowly up and down its full length.

Jon rose up on his haunches and immediately missed her warmth. In one swift swipe her panties were off her and on the floor on the other side of the room. Her legs parted inviting him in, showing him exactly what was waiting for him. He stalked up her body and hovered just above her, suspended on his knees and elbows. Beth reached between them and took his rigid pulsing length in her hand and guided it to her core, rubbing the tip up and down the length of her folds and over her sensitized clit a few times before placing him at her entrance and arching off the bed to embed him there. As soon as she had him where she wanted him, she pulled his weight down on top of her, and sighed contentedly.

Jon slipped easily into her welcoming heat. "Oh Christ, Bethie," he exclaimed, "you're so wet…so tight." She pulsed around him as she flexed all the right muscles, to show him just how tight she could be. "Fuck!" he growled. He lay still inside her for a long moment, just enjoying the fit of their complimentary bodies. It felt as if they were made for each other…two halves of a whole. Her body welcomed him like a warm silky glove.

He began to move within her slowly, with long steady sure stokes.

"Oh Jon…," she murmured in his ear between sweet kisses, "I've dreamed of this…so many times…" she added on a sigh.

"Me too baby..." he said. "I've also dreamed of this," he said as he swiped a thumb over her nipple, eliciting a purr from her. "And this…" he added, when he took that same nipple in his mouth and sucked, gently nipping and licking at the puckered flesh. Beth's hand threaded into his hair holding him to her breast and her body arched off the bed in pleasure.

Jon was thrumming with sensation. His cock caressed by her silky depths, his mouth around her sweet flesh and her tantalizing fingers trailing all over body. He reveled in them all, together and separately. He breathed deeply of their mingling scents, the heady aroma of their sex. He moved his lips back to hers to taste her fully, and felt her soft contented moans reverberate in his mouth. He opened his eyes to gaze into hers, completing his sensory banquet, they were alight with passion and tenderness.

Beth threaded one hand into his hair and together with the gentle pressure of her hand on his back, drew his full weight down on her, tilting her head to show exactly where she wanted his mouth next. He was happy to oblige, trailing his tongue up the length of her slender neck before latching onto her earlobe and sucking gently.

"So beautiful…." he whispered, his breath a welcome caress to her overheated flesh.

Jon changed the motion of his pelvis to slow circular grinds. Beth groaned and grabbed at his ass, her nails biting into the firm flesh…it only urged him on more, propelling him to higher levels of arousal than he thought possible. Her ankles hooked around his calves, her thighs opening to him even wider. Her hips began to undulate up off the bed, meeting each of his strokes with one of her own. Her breathing became nothing more than shallow pants, every little sound that escaped her was music to his ears…the most erotic symphony.

Before he knew what was happening, Jon was flat on his back and Beth was straddling his hips. Her warm hands were woven into the hair on his chest, her neatly manicured nails flicking at already pert nipples.

"Ohhh Jon," she sighed as her eyes fluttered closed and she lost her self to the sensation.

Her hips undulated above him as she rocked back and forth, leaning forward just enough so that her clit was stimulated with each movement. With her eyes still closed as they were he was free to study her. Her ample breasts, nipples tight and puckered, heaved with breathless gasps, her head was thrown back with abandon causing her silky hair to tickle and caress his thighs, one side of her plump bottom lip, now flushed with color from their kisses, was clasped firmly between her teeth. Her eyelashes fluttered, as if she felt him watching her. She looked at him briefly and offered him a shy smile before averting her eyes. Her head rolled over her shoulder and back, her face looking up to the ceiling once again, as a moan escaped her.

Beth removed one hand from his chest and bought it to her own, caressing her flesh and worrying a nipple, pinching it between her thumb and forefinger. The sight was too much for Jon. He grasped her ass, one hand on each cheek, holding her firmly on him as he lurched up to a sitting position and sucked her free breast into his mouth.

Beth's legs curled around behind him and his splayed out in a lotus position, his feet tucking up to the back of her ass, prompting her closer. Her hands moved to caress his back. Her gentle fingers fluttering over his flesh, soothing his worries, teasing and tantalizing, pulling him ever closer to her.

The couple remained like this for several minutes, reveling in each other's bodies, sharing long languid kisses, never relinquishing their sensual embrace. Jon moved both hands to her breasts, massaging them for a while before slipping one down between them and thumbing her clit. Beth arched and rocked against it, her pace becoming increasingly fevered. He latched onto a nipple with his mouth, flicking mercilessly as he sucked the rippled peak into his mouth. And then she was groaning and crying out his name in ecstasy.

Jon held Beth close until her breathing had steadied, and then rolled her back down onto the mattress, careful not to lose the intimate connection of their bodies. Every now and then he would feel he pussy grip his cock in the aftershocks of her orgasm. It was the most exquisite torture.

He propped himself on his elbows and cradled her face in his hands. "Let me see you baby," he whispered to her softly, brushing her hair back from her face as he started to rock gently back and forth above her. He pressed a chaste kiss to her lips and then proceeded to lavish them all over her face. Soft, gentle, tender kisses intended to show her that this was more than a sex, more than a fling… she was cherished, now and forever.

Her breath hitched and he felt her body begin to convulse around him once again, and to his surprise – his very pleasant surprise – she did not turn away from him as he had expected, but had captured his gaze and held it as she screamed his name in her release. Beth's orgasm triggered his own. His back arched as her silken depths clutched at his steely aching length, milking every last drop of cum from his body.

Jon awoke with a start. His hand was pumping furiously at his cock and cum was splattered all over his stomach and chest. "God Damn it," he grumbled, "I'm way too old for this shit. Wet dreams for Christ sakes...what the fuck…." He complained to the empty room.

He reached for a tissue from the box on the side table, cleaned himself as best he could and then headed for the bathroom, more than a little annoyed with himself. Shit what was he? A fucking teenager? Damn her and her fucking lingerie, he thought.

He emerged from the bathroom twenty minutes later, cleaner but no less annoyed than when he'd entered. He opened his bedroom door and the smell of breakfast immediately assaulted his senses. He checked the length of the hallway. Both doors to the guest rooms were open. He peered into Beth's as he passed. The bed had been made and her things were sitting on the end of it, but she was nowhere in sight.

He stomped down the stairs, grabbed the newspaper off the table in the entry – it was always placed there by the care taker when he was in residence – and marched into the kitchen.

Beth turned from the cooktop when she heard him enter. "Good Morning," she said cheerfully, a slight blush creeping into her cheeks. She couldn't help it.

"What's good about it?" he grumbled.

"Like that is it?" She didn't wait for an answer. "You want some breakfast?"

Jon ignored her question, "Where's Frankie?"

"Gone. She left about an hour ago…" Beth said.

"Damn it," he cursed.

Beth ignored him and continued, "She asked me to say thank you and that she was looking forward to tonight."

"Yeah, I just bet she is." He muttered caustically.

"OK…that's enough!" Beth said, throwing the spatula into the pan and rounding on him. "I don't know what happened to you since I saw you last, and frankly I don't give a damn. Maybe you're this much of an ass every morning…and if that's the case I'm surprised Dot didn't divorce your ass years ago. Regardless…I don't have to put up with it. I have obviously out stayed my welcome here so if you will just call me that car… I will be out of your hair before you know it."

Jon didn't think he had ever seen her look so beautiful as she did in that moment, all full of passion and fire. Granted the passion was misdirected, but that could be fixed. She was wearing the pants she had worn to the press conference, and the shirt he had loaned her the night before. Her nipples protruded proudly beneath the soft fabric. Oh Christ…no bra, he thought, his eyes fixated there.

"I'm sorry Beth," he mumbled without raising his eyes.

"You know it would be polite to look me in the eyes as you apologize… instead of staring at my tits" she said coldly.

"Huh..wha..?" Jon finally lifted his eyes. "Oh shit Beth…I'm sorry. I didn't have a great night, that's all. I didn't mean to take it out on you. You could never outstay your welcome here. My home is your home."

"Hardly," she said dryly and turned back to the cooktop. "Do you want any of this before I toss it all?"

"I'd love some. Thanks. And…sorry…again."

"I'm not one to put up with shit Jon." Beth said sternly, "You'd do best to remember that. I'm not one of your minions."

"I never thought…" he stopped mid sentence and tried for a change of subject, "So where did Frankie go…and how?"

Beth scowled but answered none the less. "She had to get some things sorted at the gallery. I assume she'll be wanting to leave early this afternoon to get ready for the big night out. And as for the how…she had a boyfriend pick her up."

"She had a what…?" Jon exclaimed, bringing his hand up to a suddenly throbbing temple.

Beth took a deep breath and sighed. "Relax Jon. It's nothing serious…though...not through lack of Jai's wanting." She indicated to the table. "Sit…your foods almost ready," she said as she retrieved a plate from the counter and started filling it with food.

Jon dropped into the nearest chair, placed his elbows on the counter and rested his head in his hands. His head was pounding out a steady rhythm, and it was taking all of his energy not to ogle Beth. Within seconds there was a plate placed before him, soon followed by a steaming cup of black coffee and two small white pills. He glanced at Beth questioningly.

"Tylenol," she said simply, placing a glass of water in his hand.

Jon retrieved the tablets and threw them into his mouth, then took a large gulp of the water.

"Thank you," he said and turned his attention to the plate before him.

Beth sat down at the opposite side of the counter and slid a knife and fork in his direction. Jon reached for the cutlery and their fingers met. A jolt of electricity zapped up both of their arms, their eyes locked and their breath quickened. They moved towards each other involuntarily, inching closer and closer across the counter until they could each feel the other's breath on their face….and then the toaster popped and the spell was broken.

Beth jumped backwards and spun towards the offending appliance at an alarming rate, busying herself with the golden bread to avoid looking at Jon. He once again studied his plate…this time a little more carefully and gave a wry chuckle. The plate before him could have been pulled directly from his dream.

"What's so funny?" Beth asked despite herself, placing the plate of toast on the counter.

"Never mind…it was nothing."

"Jon?" she cocked an eyebrow.

"Fine," he said exasperated, she asked for it. "I dreamed this…you making breakfast…you making this breakfast. Only in my dream…."

"What?" she pushed.

"In my dream you delivered it to my bed."

The following silence was deafening. Beth's thoughts immediately returned to her dream – cooking had provided her with somewhat of a distraction until that moment. As for Jon…well his thoughts had never really left his…a fact that was somewhat evident by the uncomfortable fit of his pants.

Beth stole a look at him. He was pushing his food around his plate, a small – and annoyingly cute - grin turning up the corner of his mouth. He looked up at her furtively to see she was blushing profusely, her attention focused very intently on her manicured nails. He immediately looked back down at his food, he didn't know why his statement had her so rattled, but he wasn't going to risk raising her ire a second time within the hour by asking her.

Jon finally broke the silence a few minutes later. "Do I need to apologize again?"

"What for?" Beth asked as she stacked the dishwasher.

"I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable, Bethie," he explained, "I was just teasing."

"Oh, I know that Jon," she brushed him off, "don't even mention it…it was nothing."

Jon rose and took Beth gently by the arm, pulling her upright so that she was looking into his face. "Are you sure?"

"Of course," she squeaked, her flippant reply belied by her traitorous voice. Her heart was pounding with his proximity. Her flesh was alight under his touch and her stomach clutched and released and clutched and released. "I better go get dressed," she said abruptly, putting as much space between them as she could before she did something to embarrass herself – like ohh…pushing him against the counter and taking him where he stood. "I need to get home…could you please call me that car?" she asked from the doorway.

"Don't be silly Beth…I'm driving you in. Get yourself sorted. I'll finish up here…I'm ready to go when you are." He told her and smiled kindly.

"Thank you…I'll be ready in five." She said and rushed from the room, hoping that she would be able to contain her scattered emotions until she was locked behind the safety of her own door.

Jon shook his head as he watched her leave – bolt from, really– the room. Could it be possible her behavior was the result of the attraction Dot had told him she saw? Did he dare to hope that it was? The only thing he knew for sure was that every second he spent with her, he was further enthralled by her charms and there was less chance that he would ever escape them.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Chapter 22

Twenty minutes later Jon was freshly showered and pulling on a pair of low slung pale grey sweats. They had been the bane of Dot's existence, hanging around since the New Jersey tour back in '89 but they were his favorite pair. Now threadbare to the point of holes and super soft from years of laundering, he knew that they were well past their use by date but could not bear to part with them. Dot had tried on several occasions to entice him with new ones of the exact same brand and type but it was never the same...they weren't his…they weren't this pair.

As he was sliding into them he realized that the girls probably didn't have anything they could wear to bed. He crossed the hall to the bedroom he had shared with Dot – the one where his clothes remained - and pulled two of his T-shirts from the top drawer and slung them over his arm.

He rubbed the towel that had been draped around his neck through his dripping hair once more before discarding it and heading for Beth's room. He knocked at the door and waited for her reply. When none came he called her name softly, not really wanting to draw Frankie's attention to the fact that he was there. When there was still no response he tried the knob. It was open. He turned it so slowly that the mechanism of the lock barely made a sound. As the door swung inward it revealed a sight that took Jon's breath away.

Beth was emerging from the bathroom, her hands busy at her back with the clasp of her bra…an unbelievably sexy pink and black sheer lace creation - La Perla if he had to guess – that came with equally sinful barely there panties. HOLY SHIT! In all of Jon's wildest fantasies he could never have imagined the moment to be this good…never have imagined that she would look so…ooohhhh! Who would have thought that his practical little Bethie would sport under garments that were quite so racy? And while it was what drew his attention initially, it certainly wasn't what he was focusing on now. He took in the rounded curve of her breast, the tapered line of her waist, the long toned length of her legs, and skin so soft it practically begged him to touch it. He suddenly felt the blood rush to his groin and a low strangled moan escaped him as his eyes travelled over her delicious body.

Beth turned her attention to the door, her eyes widening as she realized she had an audience, at the exact same time that the last hook securing her bra snapped open. She inhaled sharply, her arms crossing protectively over her breasts as the straps of her bra slipped of her shoulders. Blushing profusely, she couldn't keep her gaze from traveling over his muscular…tanned...perfect body…the broad expanse of his firm chest, the proud nipples that jutted out from their nest of brown and silver fur, those defined washboard abs and the protruding hip bones that formed a distinct V pointing the way to where her eyes finally came to rest - on the prominent twitch in his low-riding sweats. Oh. My. God. What she could do with that twitch.

"Jon! What are you doing in here?" she gasped.

"I um...ah…oh fuck me!" he stuttered.

"Um …yeah… I think…NOT!" was Frankie's response from right behind him. She stepped around him to stand protectively before her mother. "Would you mind looking away there Jon"

Jon's eyes closed as he realized his daughter had witnessed his moment of weakness. "Fuck," he uttered under his breath.

"Mother…get some clothes on, would you?" she hissed, pointing to the bathroom.

Jon threw one of the T shirts he was carrying across the room to Beth, who let it fall at her feet. No way was she moving her arms from her breasts. "I was just bringing you these," he said lightly, flinging another at Frankie, trying to distract himself from the vision of loveliness before him.

Frankie caught the shirt he'd flung at her and handed it to her mother saying "Mom please…put it on." She pleaded, before bending down to retrieve the other shirt.

At her daughters urging Beth fled into the bathroom.

Frankie turned on Jon, "What in the hell do you think you're doing?" She hissed through clenched teeth.

"I ah...I was just bringing you both something to sleep in. I didn't want you to be uncomfortable," he said, looking rather uncomfortable himself in that moment.

"Yeah right," she muttered dismissively, as she took in his half naked form and her gaze paused on the telltale sign of his arousal. "Jon, we talked about this…you assured me you wouldn't be acting on these feelings. I can't believe this. Christ you didn't even last the night out."

"I swear Frankie…it wasn't like that. I meant what I said tonight…I'm not ready for any of this…"

"Looks like you're ready."

"You are old enough to know that there is a world of difference between being physically and emotionally ready." He replied.

"Well would you mind doing something about that," she said looking pointedly at his poorly disguised erection.

Jon shifted uncomfortably and adjusted the front of his pants, then stopped and wondered what the hell he was doing. He had done nothing wrong and he was sick to death of defending himself to this insolent child. "Hell Frankie… I'm so done having these conversations…I don't have to explain myself to you."

"Whatever Jon, but seeing the physical manifestation of your attraction for my mother is not something I enjoy." She said coolly.

"Get the fuck over it Frankie," he snapped. "You are in my house now and I expect more respect than you are presently showing. We're all adults here…at least I thought we were, but the way you're behaving now reminds me of Stephy at about thirteen."

Frankie scowled at him but her focus turned to the bathroom as the door opened. Beth emerged from the room, she was dressed in her own clothes once more, but there was now a relaxed grace in which she wore them. Her silken sapphire blouse hung loose over her black wool knit pants. His eyes were drawn to the expanse of creamy white skin at her collar. As his gaze drifted a little further afield it was evident to him that she no longer wore the lingerie that was so clearly emblazoned on his brain.

Beth saw the mutinous expression on her daughters face and the aggravated expression on Jon's and knew that there was another situation she would likely have to diffuse. "What's going on here?"

"Nothing…" they said in unison. Beth looked between them suspiciously but said nothing. For the next few moments the silence in the room was deafening before Jon broke it.

"Look, I've done what I came to," he said. "I'm gonna head to bed…it's been a long day…" He knew there was no way Frankie would be leaving Beth alone in his presence, and it really had been a long day…they all needed a good night's sleep.

He crossed the room and placed a hand on Beth's upper arm, leant in and kissed her gently on the cheek. "Good night, honey." He whispered softly and smiled as she let out a barely audible sigh.

He just hadn't been able to resist the opportunity to get close to her…if only for those few brief seconds. As it was the warmth of her body begged him to stay…but he tore himself away. As he passed Frankie he bent to lay a soft kiss on her forehead… "Goodnight sweetheart… sleep well." He said and looking at her pointedly.

When the door finally clicked closed behind him Beth turned immediately to her daughter, "What just happened here Frances?"

"Isn't that what I should be asking you? What were you thinking? Parading around before him in your underwear? Honestly Mom, are you trying to seduce him?" Frankie asked.

"As usual you have misinterpreted what you have seen, but regardless Frances, what I was thinking is certainly none of your concern. If I choose to seduce him that would be well within my rights" Beth admonished.

The look of shock on her daughters face almost…almost bought a smile to Beth's.

"The hell it isn't my concern." Frankie said

"Watch your mouth with me young lady. I seems I have had to remind you way too often lately about minding your manners."

"Well hell Mom if you insist on bedding a Rock Star…" Frankie let the sentence trail off.

"Just because I'm attracted to him, that doesn't mean I'm going to act on it. Your father hasn't even been gone a year and besides, what's to say Jon feels the same?"

"Oh please mother, don't be so naïve. His attraction to you was pretty evident."

"Come on Frankie…if that's the case it's only a physical reaction because he hasn't been getting any at home lately," Beth said. "Things haven't been good between them for a long time now. Did he tell you they are divorcing?"

"He may have mentioned something in passing…but one thing has nothing to do with the other," she would not be deterred from this line of conversation.

"Come on honey, you're a smart girl…given everything that has gone down, do you honestly think that his first foray back into the dating scene would be with me? There are just far too many complications…especially given the press conference and all the denials that were just made…how would that look? Can you imagine how damaging that would be to him?" Beth reasoned.

"You know what Mom…I really don't think he gives a shit. When that man wants something he takes it and worries about the consequences later. I mean hell…just look at what he did to Gina."

Outside Beth's door, Jon frowned. He had stuck around to see if Frankie would give his feelings up to her mother, and while he was pleased that she hadn't done so, he couldn't help feeling that her comment about Gina was a betrayal. It seemed for every two steps forward, they were taking one back. And while he knew Beth's opinion about why a relationship between the two of them would be a mistake was logical, he also knew that he couldn't stop thinking about her…that he wanted to be close to her. Even the most common place moments like the simple act of kissing her cheek and saying goodnight seemed comfortable, natural…the way it had been with Dot, many, many years before.

Jon heard footsteps heading for the door and quickly ducked back into his bedroom before he could be discovered. Even after all he had heard, his cock apparently had a mind of its own - still semi erect in his pants…with a sigh he headed back to the bathroom for his second shower of the night. This one would be decidedly cooler.

Finally alone in her room Beth headed to the bathroom for her much anticipated shower. She turned on the faucets, then stood before the full length mirror and tried to see herself as Jon had seen her….for, while she had rejected Frankie's observations, she had seen the way Jon had looked at her and the evidence of his favorable assessment.

She stepped into the steaming hot stream of water and ran her hands over her svelte body. She had to admit she was in good shape for her age. Her body was trim and toned, her hair still thick and lustrous, and while her face now had more lines than it did - even into her thirties - they somehow added to her beauty rather than detracted from it. She was aging gracefully. But Jon Freakin' Bon Jovi! Hell he could have any woman he wanted. She had watched them all fawn over him at the Gala. Women half her age tripping over themselves and each other to get close to him…women much less complicated than her. And while the idea that he was attracted to her pleased her, she couldn't help but think she would only be a passing fancy…and that was something she would never allow herself to be.

It was a good half an hour later that Beth slipped naked, as she always did, between the sinfully indulgent fine linen of Jon's guest bed. The silky softness of the 1000 thread count Egyptian cotton felt like a whisper against her skin, already soothing away the day's stresses. She snuggled in beneath the light fluffy down duvet, placed her head on the soft down pillow and allowed her mind to drift…

Despite her best effort her thoughts kept bringing her back to the same image…of Jon…in her doorway, staring at her with passion firing in his eyes, his hard body tense with desire and ready. Ready for her. There was a knock at the door and Beth started. She rubbed her eyes absently and tried to focus on the figure standing in the backlit doorframe.

"Jon?" she asked disoriented from slumber.

The figure made no sound but slipped into the room shutting the door behind him. She was not afraid…it could only have been him. He was the only man in the house.

Only the light of the full moon drifting through the open drapes afforded her some visibility. He moved quietly around the room and came to rest at her bedside, standing over her…staring intently. It took her a few moments to realize that in sleep the duvet had drifted down and exposed her breasts. She reached to pull it up, but his raspy voice gave her pause.

"Leave it," he said hoarsely, "I want to look at you." And her hand froze.

His eyes were alight with passion, his breathing uneven. She could see the tense line of his shoulders as he struggled to retain control.

"I want to touch you," he groaned, but he made no effort to move.

Beth raised herself on one elbow and reached her hand out towards him. He allowed her to take his hand and draw him forward until his thighs were pressed against the side of the mattress, and then he moaned as she guided that same hand to her breast.

His touch was a blaze on her skin, as he gently kneaded the soft mound of sensitive flesh. Slowly Beth lowered herself back down to the mattress, and he followed. She reached up with her right hand and cupped the back of his neck and pulled his lips down to meet hers. The first touch was timid…uncertain…he sipped from her and waited for her reaction. When her tongue darted out to caress his lips, he deepened the exchange, taking all that she was offering and more. His tongue darted into her, giving her the first real taste of him…and it was better than she'd ever imagined. He was skilful and gentle, and he could do things with his mouth she had not known were possible. She ached to have it elsewhere on her body.

Again she reached up to him, reveling in the feel of soft skin over hard flesh as she traced the line of his ribs up over his back to pull him down to her. He braced himself with a hand beside her head and a knee on the bed and paused.

"Why are you stopping?" she asked him.

"Is this what you want Bethie? Am I want you want?" he asked, eyes dark blue with passion.

Beth paused and for a moment so did time. She tried to remember why this was a bad idea, tried to remember why it was wrong, tried to remember Branson…but all she could see was Jon, all she could feel was Jon…all that she wanted… was Jon.

She pulled his mouth to hers once more, "Don't stop," she whispered against his mouth.

He groaned, "God Beth, are you sure? …'cause once we start this, I don't think I can stop."

"I don't want you to. I want to feel your weight on me. I want to feel your skin against mine. I want to feel you inside me. Take me Jon…I need you to…" he cut her words off with a kiss. He had apparently heard all he needed to.

"Take them off," she uttered feverishly against his lips.

He didn't need to be told twice. Jon pushed himself off the bed. Beth watched as he slid his sweats down over his straining erection and let them pool at his feet before stepping out of them. He stood there for a long moment and allowed her to admire him. And admire him she did.

He was backlit from the soft yellow glow of light that flowed in from the cracked bathroom door. His skin still held a hint of golden summer tan. She watched the play of his muscles as he absently ran a hand through his short brown hair. His nipples were tight hard peaks, his abs tight and rippled. A line of dark fur drew her eyes downward. His erection was magnificent. It stood proud from his midsection, purple and straining and reaching for the sky. She immediately began to imagine what her mouth could do with it…what he would taste like. She bit down on her lip in anticipation.

Beth forced her eyes back to his…they were calm, smiling. In a bold move she threw back the duvet displaying herself to him and smiled with satisfaction as his expression changed, becoming dark and stormy. Gooseflesh rose over her body as his eyes surveyed their prize.

"Ohh fuck," he breathed, "you are so beautiful Bethie."

Beth looked up at him through hooded eyes. She held a hand out to him fingers splayed, and he entwined his in hers. She moved over slightly on the bed and pulled him down on top of her. She sighed under his weight.

"Am I hurting you baby?" he asked as he began to shift his weight from her.

"No…please," there was an edge of desperation in her tone, "stay there...you just…oohh Jon…you feel so good." She ran her hands up and down his back, drawing him closer to her. She could feel his hard length pressed into her thigh and tried to move against it but he had her pinned. His right leg parted her thighs and his torso covered hers as she dragged him in for their first full contact kiss.

His lips on hers were soft and warm but reserved, almost like he was unsure how to proceed. She wanted more. She caught his lower lip between hers and sucked gently and was rewarded with a "Mmmmm." She tried for another kiss but when she couldn't get the depth she desired she shifted her weight and rolled him so she was on top. It had been so long…too long. She needed this so bad, for while she had been able to orchestrate her own physical release, it had not given her the emotional attachment she craved…that she was starved for.

"Hey up there," he said grinning up at her, pleasantly surprised by her forcefulness.

"Hey yourself."

Straddled across Jon's hips and looking down at him, she could see herself reflected in his eyes and marveled at the wonton woman she saw there. Unable to draw her eyes away, she closed the distance between them, and covered his mouth with hers. This time he parted his lips and welcomed her in with his tongue. The kiss was slow, sensual and full of heat. For a long time they stayed like this and explored each other…tongues exploring mouths, hands exploring bodies.

The soft fine hair on his chest rubbed across her nipples with every movement. The hard rigid length of him prodded at her core, and she squirmed at the sensation, purring with satisfaction…soon it would be inside her…it would fill her and complete her….but not yet. She wanted this to last. And she wanted to taste him first.

Beth started at his neck with feather light kisses and gentle nips at his flesh. She dipped her tongue into the hollow at the base of his neck beneath his Adams apple and tasted the salty tang of him…he smelled good - of earthy spices …he tasted even better. She sat up so she could bring her hands to his chest and took them straight to his nipples…they were hard and straining and she felt them tighten further under her fingertips, then their mountainous little peaks under her palms as she spread her fingers through the fur. It tickled her lips as she bent to kiss them, and draw them into her mouth one by one. She was rewarded with a guttural groan.

Running her hands over the gentle undulations of his ribs and following them with her lips, Beth worked her way lower. She caressed his taut defined abs with both her hand and her mouth. When she reached his hips, she paused there to marvel at the sensual lines they created…a perfect treasure map to her final destination…but not yet. There was so much more of him to explore. She reached up, arching her back slightly, running her fingers through her hair to tame it somewhat and heard his sharp exhale when it fluttered over his manhood as she knew it would. She grinned as she pressed her lips to his pelvis and felt his fingers thread through her luxurious auburn waves, gently massaging her scalp with only the slightest pressure which still allowed her full movement. She licked the underside of one of those delicious curves, but stopped short of where he wanted her most...of where she wanted to be most. There was plenty of time for that.

Beth reached up and grabbed two pillows from the head of the bed and laid them, stacked, in line with his pelvis.

"Roll over," she instructed throatily.

Jon didn't hesitate, and rolled immediately. She settled onto her knees beside him. With his legs parted, his straining cock was on perfect display for her, thanks to the pillows upon which it now rested, its glistening tip pointing down to the bed. They served more than one purpose, not only preventing his glorious manhood from being hidden under his body, but also prominently displaying that perfectly toned and rounded ass. Oh. My. God! She just wanted to eat it. She bent down and nipped at the firm flesh. Not hard enough to actually hurt, but she got a "ouch" just the same.

"Shhhh," She soothed and lathed over it with her tongue, "I'm nowhere near done with you yet."

"Fuck me, Beth…" he exclaimed…it wasn't a request.

"Yes...we'll get to that," she assured him, "but right now I'm a little hungry."

She dipped her head between his legs and gave one long stroke with of her tongue up the length of his cock and over his balls and felt him shudder as he struggled to retain control. Pre-cum welled at the tip of his cock.

Beth slid up his body and whispered breathily in his ear, "Not yet baby. I'm not ready for you to cum just yet." She swirled her tongue around his ear and sucked on the lobe, giving him a taste of what he could expect. Her breasts pressed into his back and that perfectly manicured triangle between her legs rubbed across his ass.

"Christ Beth…I can't hold it much longer," his voice was shaky with need, "I need to be in you. I want to fuck you senseless. First that deliciously dirty mouth and then this." His hand reached back and went straight to the wet overheated flesh between her thighs and it was her turn to moan.

Though every fiber of her body wanted to lean into his touch, Beth pulled back from his hand. "Uh uh uh…not yet…" she chided, "you'll get your turn to play."

This wasn't about her yet. That time would come. And she knew that when it did, it would be all the better for waiting. She kissed down the length of his spine, all the while smoothing her hands over the muscles in his back that rippled beneath his olive skin. There was an amazing amount of strength in his compact frame. She knew that if he wanted to he could overpower her in seconds. And yet he stayed where he was. She ran her hands down the backs of his thighs and moved to settle herself between his legs.

"Are you ticklish Jon?" she asked mischievously.


"Are you sure?" laughter tinkled in her voice.

Jon nodded.

"Well no laughing then."

She leaned forward and let her hair fall over the sensitive skin behind his knees. She swished it back and forth a couple of times and felt him squirm beneath her hands, obviously affected, but not so much as a giggle escaped him.

"Very good," she said then trailed her hair up the back of his thighs, spreading them wider with her palms. It was time to get serious, her own need now acute.

Beth bent down and lavished attention on the juncture of his buttocks and thighs, licking and nibbling along the lines that led to the prize between his legs. He whimpered, and his body shook.

"Do you like that Jon?" she asked. "Do you want me to go lower?"

His hips arching up off the bed was her only response. She pressed a feather light kiss to the exposed underside of his sack and then flicked her tongue across it and inhaled deeply the musky scent of his arousal.

She took another lick up the length of his cock and asked, "You ready for me baby?"

"Fuck yeah," he growled.

"Then roll over so I can get to work."

He moved so rapidly she almost toppled of the bed. "Anxious are we there Rock Star?" She smiled down at him. Jon reached for her but she avoided his grasp. "No honey…lay down like a good boy."

He let out a frustrated groan, but did as she demanded. Laying back he entwined his fingers behind his head so he wouldn't be tempted to grab at her. Damn but he was a beautiful man, she thought, all tight coiled power in a perfect package.

Settled between his legs once more, her eyes travelled the length of his body hungrily, from the mirrored hunger in his eyes and down to the object of hers – his straining, purple, pulsing cock. Pre-cum oozed freely from the tip now and it was too hard to resist, she leant in for her first real taste, flicking her tongue out and lapping it up, licking her lips afterward.

"Jesus Bethie…please…" he begged, his voice cracking, "no more…please…please do me now."

"No more?" She smiled teasingly.

"No. More. Teasing." he said carefully pronouncing each word. "I need to be inside you…now."

Beth didn't hesitate any longer. She took his entire length in one stroke and moaned when she felt him hit the back of her throat. Peripherally, she saw his hands shoot out from behind his head to fist in the sheets beside his hips as they arched up of the bed, driving him further down her throat. She took it in her stride and drew back off him running her tongue up the underside of his dick as she went.

"Just a little longer baby," she murmured against his swollen tip, "you only have to hold on a little longer."

Beth took the top of his cock into her mouth, sucking lightly as she rolled her tongue around it, paying special attention to the sensitive area under the bottom of the head. She kissed down his length and one by one sucked his balls into her mouth, rolling them around gently before releasing them and licking her way back up, taking his length down her throat once more.

"Beth...Oh God …Beth…I'm gonna…"

Beths tone was stern, "No Jon, you're not, …not until I say you can."

"Beth please…" his tone was pure desperation, his stomach was rigid with his effort for control, his teeth clenching, his hands fisting and she was loving every second of the control she had over him.

Beth slid her mouth down his cock one last time. When she felt him at the back of her throat she growled, and the tenuous hold he had on his control snapped and he came with several jerks and a bone deep shudder.

The wetness between Beth's legs increased with every swallow. When he was done and she had licked him clean, she rolled back to lie on the bed beside him while he took a few moments to recover. He lay still, and panting, his eyes closed and shielded with one arm. He looked like he was out for the count but she was ready and she needed her own release…now. She had become so used to taking care of her own needs over the past year that her hand instinctively moved the junction of her thighs. Christ she was wet. Her fingers slipped easily between her folds and then she felt his hand on her wrist.

"What do you think you're doing Miss?" He was propped on his elbow, his eyes boring into hers, passion firing. He slipped his finger into her folds on top of hers. "I believe this is my job…though I'd hardly call this work." He dropped down and kissed her full on the lips, their tastes mingled. He kissed down the line of her neck and beyond until his lips enclosed around one exquisite nipple.

"It's your turn to lay still, baby. And not a sound, you hear?" he murmured against her flesh.

She moaned in protest.

"Ok, I think we can forgo that last bit," he whispered hoarsely, looking into her hooded eyes "you sound so fucking sexy when you moan. And I'm gonna make you scream. But Bethie…if you move…I'll stop."

He kissed slowly down the center of her torso, until she could feel his hot breath over her core. Her legs opened wider for him instinctively.

"Is this where you want me baby?"

"Yes…oh yes," she sighed.

"Let me see…are you ready for me?" He asked as he slid a finger deep inside her. It did nothing to satisfy her craving for his long hard length.

"So fucking wet…is that all for me?" His eyes burned with passion as he looked up the length of her body.

Her hips involuntarily lifted of the bed when he bought his mouth down to her and ran his tongue up the length of her slit, "Mmmm so sweet," he licked his lips savoring her taste, "but remember…no moving baby. You don't want me to stop do you?" He smiled when she shook her head.

"Ok, but I think this," he swiped his thumb over her clit, "…this will have to wait 'til you've calmed down some." He chuckled when she whimpered.

He positioned himself between her legs, on his knees and ran his hands down the backs of her thighs, and then moved to the end of the bed as he followed the length of her legs, over shapely calves down to delicate feet and dainty toes. He kissed the manicured digits one by one, taking some into his mouth and sucking on them gently, caressing them with his tongue all the while massaging her feet gently with skilled hands. Beth's legs shook with the effort it took not to flinch away from his touch. Her feet were insanely ticklish, and the attention he was lavishing on them would normally have earned him a kick in the nose. Just when Beth thought she could control her impulses no longer, he took mercy on her and started his journey back up her body.

It was a slow and sensuous trip, heavily punctuated with licks, nips and kisses. When he reached the apex of her thighs, just when she could once again feel his warm breath tickle her soft curls, he got up and stretched out beside her, and she felt that warm breath at her ear.

"You ready for me baby?" his voice was deeper than she'd ever heard it…rough.

"Please…" she whimpered.

"Please what Beth? Tell me what you want."

"I want you." She moaned.

"You have me….I'm right here."

"Not close enough," she muttered and reached for him.

"Now now Beth…what were those rules? Looks like someone needs to be punished…roll over baby." He told her, a mischievous glint in his eye.

Beth did as instructed and promptly felt the sting of his hand on her ass. His lips and his tongue were the salve that eased the pain. She moved on purpose, then flinched and moaned in ecstasy when he did it all again. He stilled her then made a point of laying feather light kisses on each of her vertebrae as he worked his way up her spine.

When Jon's hot kisses reached her neck, gooseflesh rose all over her. And when he finally ran a hand down the seam of her ass and dipped between her thighs body shuddered involuntarily with the promise of pleasure that was to come. Even as she lay on her stomach, he slid his finger through her soaking wet slit and applied the lightest pressure on her clit. In her over sensitized state, it was all it took to send her body into convulsions of ecstasy. A hoarse moan tore from her throat and she buried her face in the pillows to stifle it.

As her body stilled Jon rolled her over gently. Her thighs fell open ready to accept him into her and she reached for him.

"Oh…I'm not done yet," he said, as he leaned in for a long, hard, demanding, breathtaking kiss. "No where near done," he promised.

He kissed his way down her body a second time. There was a little more urgency this time around. His cock was once again purple and straining, but he was determined to have her scream before he satisfied himself.

He kissed her inner thighs and this time, when his mouth touched on her pussy, it did not move away, but lingered. He started with gentle kisses all over, up and down her slit and all over her mound. She heard the intake of breath as he breathed in her musky scent, and couldn't remember ever hearing anything sexier. He was relishing her, reveling in her body, in her sex. She felt wanted and for the first time in too long, she felt cherished. And then his tongue dipped into her slit and flicked over her clit and her world exploded in a myriad of sensation.

Her release was hard and fast but he didn't let up. He parted her lips gently with the fingers of one hand and dipped his tongue deep inside her, tasting her fully, feeling the remnants of the convulsions of her orgasm. It wasn't enough…she wasn't screaming…yet.

Jon licked up the length of her slit and latched into her clit with his lips just as he slid two fingers deep into her hot wet flesh. He found that special place inside her and began to exert gentle pressure there as his tongue flicked lightly over her erect little nub. Within seconds, Beth was squirming and writhing beneath his mouth. Her hands fisted in his hair, pushing him down, trying to pull him away. It was the most exquisite form of torture. She felt, rather than saw him smile against her flesh. She had never known a man that enjoyed pleasuring a woman so much…and he did, very obviously, enjoy this.

When he felt the flesh around his fingers begin to quiver with the onset of release, Jon took one last hard suck on Beth's clit and drove her over the edge. Her vision momentarily blacked out, and there was a strange ringing in her ears. It took her a few seconds to realize that it was her own screams of pleasure.

Jon rode her hard until the last wave. Just when she thought she was going to have a moment to recover he positioned himself over her and asked, "So you ready to do that again?" He didn't wait for her response; his own need now was too great. With a single thrust he was balls deep into her, and GOD but he felt good.

"Ohhh God Jon…" His mouth covered hers and silenced her as he began to move, long slow strokes that left her empty then filled her completely. She could taste herself on his tongue and found that it was an incredible aphrodisiac, as she remembered the pleasure he had taken in pleasing her. As his thrusts became more urgent, she wrapped her legs around his waist and moved with him, angling her pelvis, drawing him deeper into her. The weight of his upper body was suspended on his elbows. Her nails dug into his back and she bit down hard on her lip to keep from screaming in his ear. He drew her lip from between her teeth and sucked it into his mouth.

"Oh yeah….oh baby…" he murmured against her collarbone as he nuzzled into her neck.

She turned her face towards him and licked at a bead of sweat that was running down his temple, she laid kisses across his face until she once again possessed his mouth with hers. She felt rather than heard the deep rumbling groan that indicated his imminent release. It vibrated through her and sparked her own.

He broke his mouth away from hers in time to moan, "Fuck Beth I'm gonna...I shit….aghhhh…"

He came hard as her pussy clenched around him. Her nails bit into the hard flesh of his ass, holding him inside her, as his cock pulsed over and over again in release. She knew he was finally spent when he collapsed on top of her, his weight a comforting presence.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Chapter 21

After dinner Frankie returned to her movie in the family room and Jon and Beth retired to his office to wait for the car.

"Will you share a bottle of wine with me while we wait?" he asked. "I promise no more hard stuff."

"Maybe just one glass. Thank you. It's kinda been a tough day all round." Beth rubbed her hands over her face and moved to take a seat on the sumptuous leather sofa that sat opposite his desk.

Jon popped the cork on a bottle of red, poured two generous glasses and handed one to her. She watched as he sniffed the bouquet and nodded - apparently satisfied - and took a sip. Lounging casually on the front edge of his desk, his feet crossed at the ankles, swirling the ruby liquid around his glass, he was a picture of self-assuredness. Not to mention stunningly beautiful, so much so, he made her mouth water. She took a large gulp from her wine glass.

It was good, rich and satisfying, just as she imagined him to be. Christ, she was thinking like that after only five minutes alone with the man, how was she going to get through the next hour. Apparently it had been far too long since she had had any physical contact with a man and it appeared her hormones were writing checks her brain just wasn't ready to cash. She was damn sure her body was though…it was reacting in ways she didn't even remember.

"You can say that again." He said, watching the stress play across her face. But there was something else there as well. He studied her a little more closely, noticed the shallowness of her breathing and the nervous way she was toying with her wine glass, running her fingers constantly up and down the stem. It was out of place for the woman who was usually so calm and collected. He bit back a curse as his groin tightened involuntarily. He adjusted his stance accordingly.

Unaware of his discomfort Beth blurted out the question she had been worried about for hours. "Jon, can I ask you something?" Beth asked cautiously, still a little upset over his demeanor earlier.

"I guess…" he wasn't sure if he was in the mood for twenty questions…not even from her.

"Have I caused problems between you and Dot? I feel just awful about what happened outside this afternoon."

Jon sighed heavily…he had so hoped not to go into this tonight. All he wanted was to forget…forget the divorce…forget it all, but he certainly couldn't have Beth feeling that she, or particularly Frankie, were responsible for what was about to go down. It would be better if he could discuss it with her here and now rather than her hearing it second hand later.

He closed the distance between them in two strides and perched on the coffee table before her, leaning forward so that his elbows rested on his knees, his hands clutching the wine glass between them. The posture had his face so close to hers she could clearly see the minute imperfections the camera usually missed… the small freckle just to the left of his nose, the fine lines at the corners of his eyes that were now a permanent feature even when he wasn't smiling, it made him seem so much more real to her… not the celebrity, not the rock star… just Jon.

Jon noticed that she seemed to squirm uncomfortably in her seat and wondered if it was his nearness that caused it. He was unsure how much of what Frankie had told him he should take at face value. Nevertheless, Beth certainly seemed to have a heightened awareness of his proximity…hmmmm….

"I'm not going to tell you everything is ok, Beth. I can't lie to you, but what is happening between Dorothea and myself has been a long time in the making. This thing with Frankie is just the latest in a very long line of problems that we have been dealing with," he explained. He paused for a long moment, lost in thought, intently focused on some small imperfection in the flooring, then he blurted, "She asked for a divorce today Beth." Shit, he hadn't meant to say that.

"Oh…I'm sorry Jon…" Beth lowered her eyes to the ground, the hurt in his was just too real…too raw. "Is there any way you can work it out?"

"No," he shook his head, "There's no going back from this. Things have been bad for so long now that I barely remember them being right. But fuck Beth…that's why I expected this to be easy and it's…it's so….it's just not."

Beth leaned forward and hesitantly placed her palm on his face, and stroked her thumb across his cheekbone, "Oh sweetie, I'm so sorry."

He wanted to melt into that touch…wanted to do so much more but recognized that this was not the time to be doing that. God but he wanted to though…he wanted the comfort she offered and he wanted that offer to extend to more than her hand. He wanted to be wrapped around her…wrapped up in her. But of course that wasn't right, so instead he dropped his eyes to focus again on the spot on the carpet and simply said, "Don't be."

"So what does this mean for you now? What about the kids?" she asked, as he refilled their glasses.

Again he shook his head. This time it was a little slower, "I don't know Beth…I just don't know. Dot and I will have to talk it all through. I know this is the right thing to do…at least my head knows it, but damn it I wish my fucking heart would catch up."

As Beth sat there before him her heart bled for his pain. She had only ever known love from Branson. Sure there had been arguments but just like in a sitcom they had usually been solved before nightfall. In fact it was their resolution to never fall asleep angry. It had worked for them for over twenty years. She was grateful that she had never known the pain that Jon was suffering now, but it left her at a loss as to how to console him.

"I wish I could do something for you," she whispered.

"Just being here is enough." He sighed deeply shook his head and wondered aloud, "where is that god damned car?"

Just as the words left his mouth the shrill ring of the phone on the desk had both him and Beth startled in their seats. "God damn it," he uttered as he rose to stop the offending noise. "Yeah?" he said brusquely into the receiver. "You have got to be fucking kidding me. Just send another one…hell send a limousine or one of those God damned Hummers…just get me something here within the hour…do you understand me?" There was a pause as the person on the other end of the phone explained something to Jon. He turned his back on her and cursed into the phone, "Give me a minute…" He turned back to Beth, "The car they had sent has broken down. He's saying he can't get another here until sometime in the early hours…they're all booked. I can't drive you 'cause I've had a little too much to drink, but he says he can organize a cab or of course…" he trailed off.

"Of course what?" She asked.

This is what he had been trying to avoid. Presently, in his vulnerable state Jon was having more than a little control issue, in fact even now he was picturing her upstairs and naked in his bed. And that was most definitely not the way to treat a woman like Elizabeth McKenzie. Well not under these circumstances anyway…he was sure under others she could be quite pleased with the results…after all his song did guarantee satisfaction.

He suppressed a grin at his wit and kept his eyes focused on the floor, "Well…you could both stay here," he suggested.

"Oh no," she said adamantly, "I don't think that would be a good idea."

Jon was surprised at the disappointment he felt, "And why the hell not?" He asked. "Look at the size of the house Beth…. We could have a room each and never see each other…besides it's only for the night."

"I just don't think it would be appropriate. Especially with all that has gone on today. I mean… what would Dorothea think of it? I am sure she wouldn't approve of our little sleep over. No," she reiterated firmly, "just get them to send the cab…its best if we go home."

Jon did not respond to her but instead spoke into the receiver, "I'll get back to you in a few." And then he hung up the phone.

"Now that didn't sound like you ordering a cab," Beth observed eying him shrewdly as she rose to her feet.

"Hear me out here…ok?" Jon said as he moved to stand before her.

He was close again…too close. Beth was rapidly learning that when this man got this close…trouble soon followed.

"I'm listening," she said reluctantly.

"It just doesn't make sense to have a cab come all the way out here. I have to be back in the city in the morning anyway to see the kids, I can drop you both home then."

"I don't know Jon," Beth murmured, the strength of her conviction waning. She took a couple of steps towards the French Doors and peered out into the night, putting some much need distance between them. There seemed to be a distinct correlation between her ability to think coherently and his proximity.

"Bethie, you're not worried I'm going to take advantage of you… are you?" He joked playfully, "I mean …we do have Frankie as a chaperone."

He was propped against the desk again. He had loosened the top few buttons of the white button down he had changed into for the press conference, and a sprinkling of silver fur could be seen in the deep V. Oh. My. God. Look at his eyes, only his eyes. Beth drew her gaze back up to his face. Yeah right like that helped… he was wearing that stupid cocky smirk of his, the one that enhanced the little lines at the corners of his eyes, and made those cornflower blue irises sparkle with mischief.

"That is sooo not funny Jon." Beth said exasperated, trying to quell the tinge of excitement she had felt at the thought. "Christ, after what we have gone through today…please don't be tempting fate like that."

Hmmm, I'd rather be tempting something else, he thought. Damn, where had that come from? You dumb fuck you're supposed to be mourning the death of your marriage.

"I'm sorry Beth. I was just trying to lighten the mood a little…I know I need it," he said, "but seriously though…I don't see anything untoward about my daughter spending the night here."

Beth sighed deeply, and took a long draw from her glass. "I know you're probably right Jon. I guess I'm just being a little oversensitive after everything that's happened."

"That's understandable," he agreed.

"And Frankie is so worn out right now," Beth continued, thinking aloud, "She hates to show any weakness but I can see that the day has taken a huge toll on her."

"Yeah, I agree, she hasn't been her usual sassy self with me at all today." Now that the transportation and accommodation details had been sorted, or so he thought, Jon took it upon himself to refill Beth's wine glass.

"Thank you," she said bringing the glass to her lips as she looked up to the starry night sky. "Wow the stars are so pretty out here. Not at all like home, everything there is washed out by the city lights."

"Would you like to go for a walk? I can grab your coat." He offered.

"Hmmm…maybe some other time. I had better get in there and tell Frankie she'll be sleeping in someone else's bed tonight." Beth smiled gently, "She won't be happy. Even as a baby the only place she would truly settle was in her own crib."

"Funny Stephy was a bit like that too," he reminisced, "with me touring she didn't always have that option though. That was one of the things that keep Dot from touring so much. We decided it was better to give them a stable home than a full time father. I often wonder if we made the right choice. I mean don't get me wrong….all of my kids are turning out great…but…I don't know… sometimes I feel like Steph and Jes just missed out on a little too much of my time."

Beth turned to look at him and saw the shadows that plagued the depths of his eyes; the same ones that only moments before had been full of laughter and fun. He was a rollercoaster of emotion tonight. "Don't beat yourself up Jon. You were doing what you thought was right at the time," she said. "Even Branson was an absentee father a lot of the time, what with the gallery and all of his charities…"

The faraway look on Beth's face in conjunction with the small smile that played at the corner of her mouth told Jon that she was remembering both the good and the bad times with Branson. "This past year has been really rough on you huh?"

Beth just shrugged. Rough just didn't seem to cut it…the last year had been hell. The anniversary of Branson's death was in a couple of weeks and it seemed to be speeding for her like a speed train. She knew that it would dredge up all those emotions she was trying so hard to put behind her.

"I'm sorry I've added to that Beth…I really am. Perhaps it would have been better if I'd never pursued this whole thing with Frankie…better for you at least." He said as he topped up both of their wine glasses once again. Damn but the woman could drink….she was keeping up with him just fine.

"Don't even think that way Jon. Everything happens for a reason. Frankie needs a man in her life…a father, and while I don't think for one second you will ever be able to take Branson's place, I do believe that you are beginning to notch out your own," Beth offered him a winsome smile. "I mean look at this whole concert thing… a couple of weeks ago do you think she would have even accepted the tickets, let alone asked you to go with her?"

Jon smiled and her heart skipped a beat. She loved to see that smile…loved to see him happy. "Yeah…that was somethin' huh? I can't believe she wants her old man there with her. I know she doesn't think of me that way…but she knows I do."

"And believe me when I say she is coming around to that way of thinking too." Beth said.

"What am I coming around to?" Frankie asked as she appeared in the doorway. "And where is this damned car?"

Beth turned to her daughter's voice, "Oh, I was just coming out too see you. The car isn't coming Frankie. It broke down, so Jon very kindly offered us the use of his guest rooms. We'll be staying here tonight."

"And you actually believe that load of bullshit?" Frankie retorted. She stepped further into the room and observed the two empty wine bottles and raised an eyebrow, "So that's how he did it huh…plied you with wine so you'd agree to stay. We know how much you love your Pinot Noir…Mom." She said, heavily accenting the last word disrespectfully.

Beth rose from the sofa her fame quivering with anger. Jon watched with his breath stuck in his throat as she stalked across the room and came to a stop just inches before her daughter, her nostrils flaring and her cheeks tinting a deeper shade of pink preparing to give Frankie the set down she richly deserved. Oh man, he thought, this will not be pretty.

"Young lady, I am going to tell you this once and only once, if you ever speak to me in that disrespectful manner again I will beat your bottom like I did when you were five…and don't think for one second that I won't." she fumed.

Jon watched in amused silence from the sidelines, waiting for Frankie to find her voice. He'd never known to be at a loss for words. When she looked in his direction, clearly seeking assistance, he merely shrugged…no way was he getting in the middle of this. He'd had far too much experience with Stephy and Dot…and after years of trying to referee a cat fight he knew better than to stick his nose where it wasn't welcome.

After a long moment of silence, where Frankie and Beth continued to stare each other down, Jon thought better of it and finally spoke up, "Ladies…I think this is all just a misunderstanding."

In unison the women replied, "Fuck off Jon."

"Oh kay then" he drew out the words "I think I'll just go wait in the kitchen…should I have the first aid kit ready?" The cold stares that he received had him retreat from the room…his office…his domain…without another word.

Beth turned her attention back to her daughter, "Young lady, I did not raise you to behave this way. How many times do we have to have this conversation? It is not acceptable for you to speak to me or anyone else in this disrespectful manner."

Frankie glared at her Mom. If only you knew what I know, she thought. But looking into her mother's eyes, and seeing the pain she'd inflicted…the pain that was compounded by all they had been through together over the last year, she couldn't bear to stay angry at her over something so trivial. "Sorry Mom."

"Enough is enough Frankie…do you understand? No more!"

"Yes Mam," Frankie said obediently.

"Good. Now let's go find Jon…I'm ready for bed."

As Beth and Frankie stepped from the office they found Jon loitering in the foyer as close to the office as he could discretely be. "You ladies ready for bed?"

As Beth walked on ahead Frankie muttered softly for his ears only, "Bet you've said that a few hundred times."

He looked at her and wiggled his eyebrows…a mischievous smile playing on his lips. Frankie simply rolled her eyes in return.

"What was that?" Beth asked.

"Nothing," came Jon's reply in his daughter's defense as he suppressed an amused chuckle.

Jon showed the ladies to the two guest rooms upstairs that were made up. He showed Frankie into the first room at the top of the stairs. It was all pink and frills and so far removed from what she was accustomed to, she wondered how she would ever be able to settle.

The room he showed Beth to was the polar opposite in all respects. It was at the far end of the upstairs hallway, and the décor was sleek, masculine and modern. A king size bed adorned with an expensive looking red duvet she seemed to recall was a limited edition Frette creation – she had admired it when shopping for her own new linen after Branson had passed - dominated the room, which was decorated in hues of slate grey, steel blue and cream. Her eyes flickered to an old acoustic guitar that sat propped in the corner of the room.

"I'm not stealing your bed am I?" Beth asked softly, feeling like an intruder. The room was so inherently his…she didn't need the fact to be confirmed. Damn it…it even smelled like him.

"No ...it's just one of the guest rooms." He replied. "Dot's and my bedroom is next door," he added without thinking.

Beth looked away, uncomfortable, "Um… well…thank you. Is it ok if I use the shower? I hate going to bed without one."

"Sure…bathroom's through that door. There should be fresh towels on the rack and toiletries in the vanity. If you need anything else I'm across the hall…in there." He pointed to a doorway that faced hers.

"Didn't you say your bedroom was next door?" she asked.

"Yeah…it was," he said quietly and left, shutting the door gently behind him.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Chapter 20

Beth stood at the French doors of Jon's office, hidden to the world outside by the curtains that hung there, nervously fidgeting with her fingers. She studied with some measure of apprehension the hoard of press that was gathering in Jon's driveway and seemed to be multiplying exponentially with each passing minute. A cool female voice interrupted her thoughts.

"You'll be fine you know. It will be over before you know it." Dorothea said.

"I uh…I've never done anything like this before. How do you deal with this," Beth indicated to the doors and the press beyond, "they're like vultures out there."

"Comes with the territory; this is what it means to be part of his life. You sure you don't want to reconsider?" Dot studied Beth speculatively.

"Do I have a choice? I mean this has never been about me. Frankie is his daughter. I can't change that…no matter how much I may want to."

That surprised Dot. "Why would you want to?" she asked a little defensively.

"Oh shoot…that came out wrong. Jon is a wonderful man" Dot picked up on the affection in Beth's tone and the glint in her eyes when she spoke of him, "and from what I can see a wonderful father…it's just…well…I guess it's just that perhaps this would have all been easier if he was just your regular run of the mill citizen…you know… not so well known."

"I do understand that Beth…but to me that's exactly what he is. I mean all of this," Dot now indicated towards the waiting press hoard, "this is just his job. It's not who he is. And please, believe me when I say he does his best not to bring work home with him. Once it all settles down there should be very little impact on you and Frankie." As Dot spoke, she contemplated the future and what Beth didn't know – that very soon another statement would be made to the press about her separation from Jon, and that likely that would lead to more speculation about him and Beth. She would keep that quiet for now. It wasn't her place to say anything and she was certainly not yet emotionally stable enough to do so. The very thought of moving on in life without her husband had her stomach roiling, and bile catching in her throat.

"I hope you're right." Beth said softly.

The sound of someone clearing their throat behind them had both Dot and Beth turning around. "Everything ok in here?" Jon asked hesitantly, worry and curiosity evident in the strain of his voice.

"Fine," Dot smiled stiffly.

Beth watched the couple intently and wondered what it was that she was sensing between them. Dots tone had been icy when she had requested, no demanded Jon's presence upstairs, but when they had returned to the group a little while later, holding hands, a cool sense of calm had seemed to descend over them both. Dot had busied herself tidying up in the kitchen, Beth thought more to keep her hands busy than out of necessity – they had staff that could take care of that – and Jon had retreated to the yard once more, his brow furrowed if possible even more so than it had been before.

"Dorothea was just giving me some press pointers," Beth replied. Her lips curled up at the edges in an attempt to smile but it turned out as more of a grimace.

"You'll be fine," Jon assured her, but his manner was now cool and detached, not warm and comforting as it had been outside and he could no longer meet her eyes. "It's time," he added simply.

Everyone was waiting in the foyer when the three of them emerged from the study. Beth watched as Frankie's eyes flittered from her to Jon to Dot. God, what must this all look like to her? Beth wondered. But there was no time to analyze the thought further, for just at that moment, Jon nodded, the front door opened and Paul stepped outside to greet the press.

Paul's amplified words filtered into the house. "Good afternoon. Thank you all for coming. Mr. Bon Jovi has called this conference in response to recent allegations made in the press. He will make his statement, during which photographs and video may be taken. There will be no questions at this time. We request that you leave the premises at the completion of his statement. Thank you." Paul said and stepped aside.

"That's our cue," Jon said. He took Dorothea by the hand and headed for the door. Beth and Frankie followed dutifully behind.

A small podium had been erected to formalize things and keep the press from crowding too close. Jon stepped up to the lectern, Dorothea stood to his right, her hand still clutched in his. Frankie stood to his left, gripping her mother's right hand tightly. Before Jon had even begun to speak, flashbulbs were blinding them. When he began moments later his voice was calm and confident.

"I think all of you already know the woman to my right, my wife of nearly 20 years, Dorothea. I'm here to introduce you to the women on my left, and to respond to recent allegations that have appeared in the press. This is Frances Gina Carol McKenzie, affectionately known as Frankie. Frankie is my biological daughter." An excited murmur erupted in the crowd of press. Jon waited for it to still before continuing. "She has just turned nineteen years of age and she was conceived prior to my marriage to Dorothea. Her birth mother was Gina Belle, a longtime friend and fellow musician, one whom I had great love, respect and admiration for. I was never aware of Frankie's existence because I was on tour and Gina, for her own reasons, did not inform me of her condition during her pregnancy and tragically died in childbirth before she had a chance. Frankie was adopted by Branson and Beth McKenzie. Tragically, Branson was taken from Beth and Frankie in an auto accident just this past year.

"Frankie's mother, Beth" He looked to her, where she stood holding her daughters hand and smiled at her encouragingly, "invited me to play at a benefit she hosted last night in Branson's honor to raise money for a Scholarship in his name. I only recently met Frankie and her mother, but wanted to support their efforts for this worthy cause, as a debt of gratitude for the wonderful job Beth and Branson did raising my daughter.

"Obviously, there were some allegations made in the press regarding both this event and my involvement with Beth. I am here to set the record straight. I have always made every effort to keep my private life private but I will not have rumors and innuendo surrounding these two innocent women. Yes, Frankie is my daughter and I consider her, and in turn her mother Beth, to be part of my family now. Dorothea is here with me today as a gesture of support," he gave her hand a squeeze and she smiled at him kindly, "and my children and the rest of my family and close friends are fully aware of this situation. I urge you to please respect my daughter's privacy and her mother's as well. They certainly are not as accustomed to this lifestyle as my family and I are, and that's why I have decided to respond to these allegations myself, rather than allowing the speculation of gossip columnists and paparazzi to disrupt their lives.

"I hope that in doing this, your employers will realize that there really isn't any news here. I have explained the context of our relationships with each other and I want this to end now. If I learn that paparazzi are hounding Beth or Frankie or in any way endangering their safety, you can rest assured that I will deal with it swiftly and thoroughly by whatever means necessary.

"I appreciate the fact that you have always given my family space and privacy. I am asking you to kindly do the same thing now, because these two women are as much a part of my family as Dorothea and my other children. I thank you for the time you have taken to come here today. No further statements will be issued on this matter."

Jon indicated to Beth and Frankie that they should make their way back indoors. Dorothea followed close behind them, her hand clasped firmly in Jon's, most likely for the very last time in public.

As soon as the press had departed, Paul, and a few members of Jon's staff that had arrived earlier to assist in setting up, swiftly pulled down the equipment and left. Dot announced that she would be heading back into the city to be with the children when the news broke formally. Beth waited for Jon to confirm that he would be following his wife but he made no move to do so. Instead he headed directly for the liquor cabinet. He pulled out a full bottle of Jack Daniels and settled himself into a stool at the counter. He poured the amber liquid into a tall glass and downed it in one swallow.

By the time Dot was ready to leave a short time later, he had repeated the process several times. The bottle was dwindling rapidly and Beth was becoming more and more concerned as she watched him.

"Ok...I'm outta here." Dot announced walking back into the tidy kitchen.

"Bye babe," Jon lifted a hand as if in salute and once again raised his glass to his lips.

Beth pulled Dot aside, "Is he going to be ok?"

"Eventually," Dot replied. She hated that she sounded so matter of fact, but truth be known, at that point in time all she was feeling herself was numb. If it weren't for the four kids at home depending on her she would probably be joining him. At Beth's obvious look of distress she added, "He'll be fine Beth. He just needs a little time to adjust." She spoke in hushed tones but doubted he would be paying attention to her even if she shouted.

"I don't think it's wise to leave him like this," Beth said. This was a side of Jon she hadn't seen and it was one that concerned her greatly.

"Maybe not, but I can't stay. I have to get back to the city and the kids. I can't leave them to deal with the fallout from this alone. He created this mess. I'm afraid he'll just have to deal." She knew she was being cruel but the day's events were catching up.

Beth was momentarily stunned by the callousness Dot was showing, but considered the situation and decided it was her right. "I might see if I can get some coffee into him before I go. We have to wait for the car service anyway."

"Good luck with that." Dot offered. "Well, I wish I could say it's been fun, but frankly I'd rather spend the afternoon in the dentist's chair than relive this day."

Beth stared openly at the other woman and couldn't help but feel like an intruder. "Dorothea, I'm really sorry about all of this. If I hadn't asked Jon to do that benefit, none of this would have happened."

"Don't be silly…of course it would have. A different time, a different place perhaps but it was inevitable. Welcome to our world." She thought briefly about giving Beth a comforting pat on the shoulder but couldn't bring herself to do it. "I have to go. I'll see you soon I'm sure."

Beth opened her mouth to respond but Dot was already walking away from her.

"Jon I'm leaving," Dot said to him. She crossed to stand beside him, "And I think you've had enough of that," she said sliding the bottle out of his reach. "I'll give you tonight, but I think you should come home tomorrow and talk to the kids. Despite what we've already told them, they're gonna need you."

"'Of course," Jon murmured as he tilted another shot back, his forehead creased as he considered the ramifications of the day. As Dot passed, he caught her by the shoulders and pressed a quick kiss to her forehead, mindful of the fact that Beth was watching from the other side of the counter. "Thanks babe."

"Yeah, whatever. You may not be thanking me in a few weeks Jon."

He smiled but there was little humor in his eyes, certain she was referring to the inevitable settlement she would be seeking. "You know I'll always take care of you."

"I know that," she responded. "Gotta go, though. I guess I'll see you in the morning in the city?"

"Yep, I'll call and let you know when," he murmured, heading for the bathroom for some time alone. He instinctively knew he needed to get his head together before dealing with Beth.

Dot crossed the room to stand before Frankie. The young woman had been sitting quietly at the table taking in the whole scene with interest. "I'm heading back now. The kids have been very curious about you. When you're ready, speak to your father and we'll arrange a meeting."

"He's not my father," Frankie replied. Was this something she would forever have to distinguish?

Dorothea chuckled as she caught Frankie's eye roll, familiar with the expression of bored indifference that was a mirror image of her own children. "Listen Frankie, you're a smart girl, probably smarter than everyone around you is giving you credit for," Dot said. "Know this…your father, yes that's right I said your father, is a good and decent man. Sometimes that may not seem so clear. But I've known him for nearly thirty years. You don't respect him now, but one day you will. Try not to make this too hard on yourself." Dot smiled sadly at her husband's daughter and left.

Frankie's eyebrows inched up her forehead in surprise. She sought out her mother to see if she had witnessed the exchange. Beth was on the other side of the room busying herself making coffee, but Frankie was sure she had heard every word. She did not however make any effort to comment.

Frankie was heading for the lounge when Jon re-entered the room a few minutes later to find a steaming cup of strong black coffee where his glass had been. The bottle of Jack had also disappeared.

"Hey…where's my drink?" he asked indignantly.

"In front of you." Beth replied coolly.

"What are you trying to say honey?"

"I'm saying I think you need some black coffee more than you need some Jack honey."

He chuckled. "Looks like the tame little kitten has claws. But lucky for me, you're in my house." He ducked into a pantry and pulled out another bottle of Jack Daniels.

"That's just lovely, Rock Star. But don't expect me to sit here and watch you drink yourself stupid."

"What, you don't wanna join me?" He offered her a cheeky suggestive grin.

"I don't do self pity all that well thanks." Beth remarked pointedly.

"Ouch that hurts honey." Jon clutched a hand over his heart. "But I can almost forget it looking into your eyes." He flashed his million watt smile, waiting for the inevitable look of adoration that usually followed.

"That kind of charm will get you absolutely no where with me. You're drunk, Jon."

"And your problem is?" he asked, cognizant of the fact that he was far from drunk, but interested in seeing how far he could push Beth's buttons.

Beth sighed deeply, "After the day I've had I'm not interested in dealing with your shit. The car should be here soon. I think I'll find Frankie and wait outside."

"No Beth…wait. I'm sorry… I'm acting like an ass."

"Yeah you are."

Jon sighed and chewed on his bottom lip as he considered his next words, "I know this has been hard on you and Frankie, and I'm sorry for that…but… I just…"Fuck this was hard, "this whole thing with Dot has really thrown me for a loop."

"What thing with Dot?"

"I just never imagined me and Dot... well…fuck…it's probably obvious that things between me and Dorothea are just....done. But part of me just can't even bear to think of that."

"What are you saying here Jon?"

"Jesus, Beth, what does it sound like I'm fucking saying?"

Beth felt a sinking in the pit of her stomach as she searched his eyes for an answer. "You're not making any sense."

He stared at her, seeing the confusion and the dawning of pity in her eyes, unwilling to admit to Beth what he didn't even want to admit to himself.

"Jon I think you need to drink this...you're barely coherent."

He grimaced. He was absolutely coherent. A few shots of Jack weren't going to put him under. It was his life that no longer made sense. "Whatever Beth," he murmured, suddenly feeling dejected and wanting nothing more than to drown his sorrows in peace.

"Drink the coffee Jon," Beth said sternly

"Jesus Christ you're stubborn. I'm not fucking drunk."

Beth raised a perfectly manicured eyebrow, "I'll see you in a few days when you're feeling a little better," she said lightly, his cool tone upsetting her even more than his coarse language. She scooped her purse off the counter and was almost at the door when Jon edged in front of her. He was so close she could smell the liquor on his breath.

"Bethie stop!" Jon's voice was raw with frustration and anger with himself for talking that way to her. None of this was her fault and she was only trying to help him. "I'm sorry. I keep fucking this up."

Beth took a step backwards to put some distance between them and asked, "Fucking what up Jon?"

"This…thing with you…hell…everything is so fucked up right now. But I didn't mean to speak to you that way. It's not right…Frankie is my daughter and you're my…" Jon stopped unable to finish the sentence. What was she? Friend just didn't seem to cut it anymore. She was so much more to him than that now…but he had no term of reference for what she meant to him…there had only ever been Dorothea.

"I'm your what Jon? Your pain in the ass? The little inconvenience you need to dispose of? Or is it that I'm an asset to you? …the way to get into Frankie's good graces." Beth finished for him.

"Oh God Beth no…none of those. It's just… I just… I can't define what you are to me anymore. The lines have all blurred. But I do know that I need you here right now. Will you please stay? Just for a while? I can't be alone yet." He pleaded.

Beth stood silent for a moment trying to absorb what Jon was saying. All she could really comprehend was that he wanted her to stay. "I don't know Jon."

"Please Beth…"

"Fine," she said and moved around him to lay her purse back on the counter. "But you need to stop the drinking and start on the coffee."

"Done!" He agreed, and let out a breath he didn't know he had been holding.

"We're gonna need to eat." Beth said. "I'm sure Frankie is famished…she barely picked at her lunch. Do you have something here I can fix for us?"

"You can look but I doubt it. The house isn't too well stocked at the moment because we've been in the city." He explained.

"Well can I borrow a car and I'll head to the store for some supplies?"

"Sure, take the Chevelle" he said as he pulled the keys from his pocket and handed them to her.

The keys were warm from being pressed tight against the heat of his body, and for the briefest of seconds she wondered what it would be like to be pressed against him the same way. She shook her head to clear the thought from her mind.

"You don't want to take it? It's just a car Beth…it won't bite." The corner of his lip lifted in a half smile.

"No, no…it wasn't that," she said, her cheeks gaining color as she scanned his physique.

"Care to let me in on the joke?" he asked quizzically, planting himself firmly between her and the counter where her purse sat, waiting for an answer.

"No joke… I'll ah… I'll be back soon." Beth said as she moved forward and reached around him, causing her hips to involuntarily brush up against his as she grabbed her purse. A small moan escaped her lips, and she jumped away from him and rushed out the door, calling behind her, "I'll be back soon."

"Oh fuck," he muttered on an inaudible sigh as he watched her walk out the door. Had he just imagined that response in her? The very same response he had managed to suppress with great control.

Frankie rushed into the room, "Where's Mom gone?" she asked accusingly, "What did you do to her now?"

"God damn it Frankie, can't you cut me some slack?" Jon turned to glare at his daughter. "Your mother has gone to pick up something for dinner. She thought you might be hungry."

"Why did she leave in such a rush? What did you do to her before she left?"

"Jesus Frankie, what do you think I did to her? Tied her up and spanked her? It's getting late…I guess she just wants to get dinner started," he said exasperated.

Frankie raised a skeptical eyebrow and said, "I guess we know what you've had on your mind Rockstar. I wouldn't have taken you for that type. Do you have the whips somewhere too?"

Jon rolled his eyes. "I am so not having that conversation with you young lady. I can't believe you would even take it there."

"It seems like bluntness is a genetic fault, so if I take after you, it probably comes naturally."

Jon shook his head with an ironic grin. Hell, at least she was referring to a genetic connection between them, and at this point, he would take what he could get. "Whatever, Frances. Oh I almost forgot, I have something for you," Jon moved to his coat that was slug over the back of one of the kitchen chairs and pulled out two concert tickets, holding them up face forward to show her. He watched with amusement as realization dawned on his daughter's face.

The second Frankie realized what was in her father's hands her thoughts began to spin out of control. Oh. My. God. What will I wear? I need a dress. I need shoes. Who will I take?

Just as her hand reached out to grab them, he pulled them back from her grasp. "Uh uh uh young lady, not so fast. There's a catch…these can only be used by me…so if you want 'em, you've gotta go with your old man." His smug smile was almost enough to have her throwing the fruit bowl that sat on the table before her through the fancy French doors. Her face was a twisted mask of fury and frustration.

"You know it's not a gift if there are strings attached Jon," she pointed out through gritted teeth.

"I never said it was a gift Frances," Jon reminded her gently. "Honey you remind me so much of me when I was your age, always take take taking and nothing to give. Lemme tell you something little girl, that will get you nowhere in the long run."

"Fine…you can come with me," Frankie conceded quietly, crossing her arms across her chest in a defensive stance.

Jon continued as if she hadn't spoken, "but if you don't want 'em that's fine. I think Steph might like to go. Of course, she's not a big fan like you are, that's why I offered them to you first. But I'm sure she'd enjoy it. She's been going to shows like this all her life, getting backstage, getting to meet the band, she's pretty used to it but she still enjoys it."

"I said fine," she spat, "I'll go with you."

"Oh how interesting…" he smirked.

"What's interesting?"

"Suddenly you want the tickets…but you haven't told me what you plan to offer in return." He said smugly.

"I'm going with you aren't I...isn't that enough?" she asked.

"No," he shook his head as he rubbed his thumb over the tickets, flaunting them before her, a self satisfied grin on his face, "it's not."

"Well what do you want then?" Frankie asked impatiently.

"I want you to stop putting insane ideas into your mom's head," he began, "she's still very…fragile. I don't want your psychotic bullshit getting in the way of her trusting me."

Frankie shook her head disbelievingly, "You know they aren't insane Jon."

"Honey, please," he pleaded, "don't misunderstand; I think your loyalty to your mom is a wonderful thing. I just think you're very misguided if you think I'm doing anything other than trying to be her friend and trying to learn as much as I can about you so I can be a father figure to you."

"Look, you say what you like…I know what I'm seeing" Frankie said forcefully, "and nothing you say will convince me otherwise but…I won't cause any more trouble…I know it hurts mom too much."

Jon sighed deeply, "you know kid…you have the most insane ability to make me feel guilty when there is nothing for me to feel guilty about. Would you please just trust me…if you can't trust me about anything else, at least trust me on this, I like your mom, I really, really like her in fact, I'd even say that even if you weren't around I'd still like her. But as a friend Frankie. She's a wonderful woman, she's smart and she's funny and she's sweet and caring and I know I'm not telling you anything you don't already know. So why is it that you find it so unbelievable that I just like her and I want to be her friend?

"It's just something I know Jon… and I think if things were different she might even feel the same." Oh shit did I really just say that? But hang on…if I play this right it could work. The look of complete surprise that graced Jon's face at that moment led her to see the possibilities of her faux pas.

"What do you mean?" he asked.

"Are you telling me you don't see it? Or feel it?" Hell…I've already come this far...

"Ummm" Jon shook his head to clear it, certain he hadn't heard right. Was she saying what he hoped she was saying? "No, I'm not sure what you're talking about."

"Ok if that's how you want to play it." Frankie turned and walked back to the family room.

Jon was immediately on her heals. "No, no, no, I want to hear what you have to say… I'm just not sure I ...understand exactly."

Frankie settled into a corner of one of the couches, her feet curled beneath her. "If you play on anything that I am about to tell you, I swear I will never speak to you again."

Jon was pleased to see his daughter looking so comfortable and at home in his space. "Well, no," he flashed her that killer smile of his that usually brought women to their knees "of course, not Frankie. I'm not sure what I would play on any way. I've laid all my cards out on the table with you honestly."

"That's debatable," Frankie uttered, "but despite that I will be honest with you."

"What would I have to gain by lying to you?" he asked her as he settled onto the far end of the same couch, turning his body towards her.

"I haven't figured that out yet. I haven't been able to figure out if you are lying or if you just can't admit the truth to yourself," she said. And much as she hated to admit it, she was beginning to think the latter was the more likely scenario. He almost looked…hopeful when she mentioned her Mom might feel the same way.

Jon drew back from her a little, a look of intense concentration on his face. "I don't know about that Frankie, but let me tell you this one thing…right now…there is nothing that's more important to me than getting to know you better and figuring out how we can fit into each other's lives. Believe me when I say nothing is more important to me than that. I see this blossoming friendship with your mom as just…well, kind of like the cherry on top of the sundae."

"You know in your heart it's more than that Jon...you just have to admit it to yourself."

"No…no," he shook his head adamantly, his denial a little more strenuous than required, "trust me I know myself better than you know me. But back to what we were talking about before…"

"Which was?"

"You said if I played on something you were about to tell me you'd never speak to me again?" he prompted.

"Oh yeah that…never mind..." Frankie evaded and turned her attention to the TV screen that spanned almost the entire width of the room.

"No wait, I need to know what you were thinking," Jon insisted.

"Well, if you're only seeing mom as a friend it really doesn't matter…does it?" Frankie offered him a self-satisfied little smile…she so had him where she wanted him now. At this point in time she was quite confident she could get him to tell her almost anything.

"'But hey…if you think she feels something more…I mean I didn't misunderstand that did I?" he asked. "You did say that if things were different then she might...?"

"Never mind what I said. It's not my place to say anything at all. Besides you evidently don't feel anything more than friendship and you are married so it doesn't matter....right?" That's it reel him in…if I can just get him to admit the truth, I can take it to Mom.

"Well, yes and no," Jon watched his daughter carefully and wondered about the calculation he could see behind those bright eyes of hers. He knew she was up to something…had some kind of grand plan...yet despite that he had to move forward with the conversation…God damn her but she had picked the only bait he would fall for…he was desperate to know if the connection he was beginning to feel for Beth was real or just some surrogate crush. "I mean, if you think your mom...might...feel a certain way about me, then I should know that, right? Because the last thing I'd want is for her to be getting the wrong idea or something."

"Mom's pretty astute Jon, I really don't think that's necessary. Besides if all you intend to be is a friend to her...how could she get the wrong impression from that?"

Fuck…what did that mean? What was Beth already thinking? "Damn it Frankie…would you tell me what you meant and stop being so God damn stubborn. Just for me…just for my edification. Just so that I have a clear picture of what's going on here." Jon was getting beyond frustrated now. His gut was clenching as he waited for his daughters response…he couldn't help himself…he knew there were games afoot yet he needed the answer.

Frankie smiled indulgently, "How about this…you be honest with me...and I'll be honest with you."

"Fine," Jon spat. And here it was…her game revealed and damn him if he wasn't going to play it with her too.

"Fine what?" she asked sweetly. I so have him now. A small smile played on her lips, but internally she was grinning wider than the Cheshire Cat.

"Tell me what you want to know?" he asked dryly.

And this was where the game would end she surmised…no way was he going to answer this one. "How do you feel about my mother?...honestly feel?"

Jon swore a soft curse under his breath, so soft it was barely more than a sigh. "Look, remember you said earlier that if I used something against you you'd never forgive me?"

Holy shit…he's gonna keep his word…fuck. Do I really even want to know? "Yep…I remember."

Jon stared off in the direction of the oversized TV screen, unable to meet her gaze. "Alright Frankie here goes," he took a deep breath, "I'm trusting you here, do you understand that?"

The words were out of her mouth before she knew what she was saying, a knee jerk reaction if you will. "Get on with it Jon." Apparently she really did want to know.

"If things were different…and that's a huge if…but if things were different…and they're not but if they were," he bit of a curse…damn it he was rambling…he hated that. "Look your Mom is…well you know she is a very special lady and you know I've been with the same woman for a really long time, and that that's all I've ever known…well…you know what I mean… and Dot is, well, she's an amazing woman as I'm sure you saw today but…" he let the sentence trail off unable to finish.

"That's a pretty big 'but' there Jon?" When he didn't respond she asked, "Are you in love with my mother, Jon?"

"NO," his tone was forceful, perhaps a little too forceful. "Jesus Christ, Frankie I've known her for what? A few weeks?"

"And your point is?"

"I guess…well look, the thing is Dot and I, we really haven't been doing so well lately. We've been spending most of our time fighting…when we aren't fighting we are doing our best to avoid each other...and well, some of the stuff that's happened lately hasn't helped matters any." He tried to explain awkwardly.

Frankie was quiet for a while before she asked "You mean me?"

"No, not just you honey. I think your mom…well Gina…she was the only woman that Dorothea ever really felt…threatened by, I guess is the best way to put it."

"Was she a threat? Did you love her...or was she just a rock star fling?" Frankie asked, getting off track but unable to stop herself asking for the answer she had so desperately wanted to know. It seemed that her self value had become wrapped up in the answer to this very question. Had her conception been the result of a rockstar's untethered hormones or the product of a loving, if somewhat dysfunctional, relationship?

"Gina is the only woman I would ever have even contemplated leaving Dorothea for. Of course I loved her Frankie…I still love her. The memories of her have haunted me…wondering where she was…what she was doing…who she was with…who was loving her as I should have been, I mean you saw my reaction to her death…that wasn't an act for your benefit Frankie. Those emotions were real…I hate to admit it but I'm just not that good of an actor." He tried to use humor to deflect from the seriousness of the situation, but Frankie didn't even crack a smile.

"Then what happened Jon? Why was she left alone ...left to die alone" A solitary tear escaped Frankie's eye.

"Frankie you've got to believe me…I have gone over it all in my mind a thousand times since you came into my life…I just don't know…I don't know why I didn't know…why she didn't come to me when she found out…hell maybe she didn't feel about me the way she had said she did. Maybe she didn't want the commitment…maybe it was easier for her…less complicated for her to walk away like she did." Jon raked his fingers through his hair, as tears of his own began to fall. When he spoke again his voice cracked, raw with emotion, "You know it kills me to think of her going through that alone. I could have been there. I should have been there. I could have helped her, I could have…I…" he broke off as emotions clearly overtook him…

Frankie reached out as if to touch his shoulder then drew back. She didn't know what had changed, but she believed every word he had said. "You know…I think I actually believe you this time."

Jon stiffened his shoulders and brushed the tears from his cheeks. "Thank you. And that is why I'd be an idiot to betray that trust now. I know you're no fool Frankie, and I know I'd be a fucking idiot to deny my attraction to your mother, I mean hell, is there a straight man on the planet who wouldn't be? And you were right…I have tried to deny it…even to myself but…" he paused as he gathered his thoughts, "How I feel can in no way influence my actions at this point. It wouldn't be fair to any of us. I'm still reeling over Gina's death and while it may seem strange to you… I'm in mourning for her. Dot and I need to sort through so much…a divorce, the kids. And just as important as dealing with the kids is getting to know you. I just don't have room in my life for anything other than a friendship with your Mom right now, or anyone else for that matter." Jon's jaw clenched at the internal struggle, while he knew that what he was saying was right, all he wanted to do at that moment was blow it all off and… His attention was drawn to Frankie who was studying him intently. "Do you believe me Frankie?"

"Time will tell," Frankie said. While she desperately wanted to believe what he was saying, she could plainly see the internal struggle he was suffering through…knew how easy it could be to blow off the hard stuff and take solace in something new and good. "I'd like to believe you. She likes you Jon. She's happy when she's with you. I haven't seen that since…well since you know…since Daddy…" the sentence trailed off and there was a moment's silence as she remembered. She shook the memory off, "but I swear Jon, if you make a move on her…"

"Shit Frankie…define move? Is having dinner with her making a move? Is dancing with her making a move? Is me just being nice to her making a move? Because, at the moment, where your Mom is concerned, I feel like I'm walking on eggshells around you. Can't you see honey that the last thing I would ever want to do is hurt Bethie?"


He shrugged, "Sorry, just a silly nickname I guess…but you know what I mean."

"I don't believe you would hurt her intentionally...but you said it yourself Jon...she's fragile and look at what's already gone down with the press and all." Frankie pointed out

"I think your mom is stronger than you or I give her credit for."

"Probably, but this last year has been hell on her…on both of us. But even with all that, I doubt she saw having to deal with paparazzi as part of her future."

"You're only seeing her as your Mom. Where she is concerned I think you're wearing blinders Frankie, you don't see what I see… that strong, confident, amazing woman that walked out in front of the press holding your hand today with her held high deserves a lot more credit that you afford her."

Frankie considered Jon's words for a long tense moment. She was about to open her mouth in response when she heard the click of the latch in the front door.

Beth bustled into the family room carrying two large brown paper bags of groceries. "Hey guys, I got us the fixings for a great dinner here." The second she paused Beth felt the tension in the room. "Oh for Christ's sake, what's going on between you two now? Frankie are you being sassy to your father again?"

Jon surprised both of the women by speaking in Frankie's defense, "No Bethie…it's all good. We were just getting to know each other."

Beth nodded and began to move towards the kitchen, Jon snagged the bags from her before she could get too far and Frankie followed behind, agreeing with Jon as she walked.

"That's right Mom…Jon and I have a date. He got tickets for that concert I missed out on…we are going together."

"Ummm yeah about that Frankie…" Jon said, "look, I really would love to go with you but I'm sure I could arrange it so that I don't have to be there. You can take a friend along instead if you like." Her immediate excitement was overwhelming and his face dropped just a little…he had hoped that she would still choose to take him.

Frankie watched her father's face fall. Damn it, he was actually disappointed that she didn't want to go with him. She knew she would live to regret the words that were about to flow from her mouth, but she couldn't seem to stem the verbal diarrhea. "Jon…I'd still like it if you would come with me. I just appreciate the fact that you gave me the option to choose you rather than you forcing yourself on me. Thank you."

Jon beamed then, "Geez thanks kid. That means a lot."

"That's sweet of you honey. Thank you." Beth said.

It wasn't until sometime later, when Frankie was helping her mother clear up after a very surreal and very pleasant family dinner that she realized that for the very first time she had referred to Jon, albeit internally, in her own frame of reference as her father. God he was sucking her in too…