The engine of the Chevelle growled in protest as Jon turned the key in the ignition and shut it down. He scanned the street quickly with wary eyes before getting out and briskly walking the hundred or so yards to Frankie's building. A plump middle aged gaudy woman emerged from the shadows just as he approached the door.
"I'm a huge fan Jon.... I'd do anything for an autograph?" she purred, leaning into him.
Jon fought to hide the scowl that itched to erupt on his face, with a tight lipped smile. "Sure honey...where do you want it?" He asked.
She pulled one side of the neckline of her top down low to reveal a mound of creamy white flesh and the hint of a dark pink nipple. "Right here Jonny," she ran her fingers suggestively across the flesh and presented him with a Sharpie. "I'm gonna immortalize you in ink and get it tattooed on."
Jon tried not to shudder at the thought. "That's sweet. Thanks." He quickly scrawled his name where she had indicated. "Look, sorry but I really have to go...I'm meeting someone."
"Sure baby," she purred, "...thanks for taking the time to…do me," she winked a bright blue eyelid at him.
"Uh huh...no problem" he grinned another tight smile and hightailed it into the building.
Jon hit the button for the elevator and impatiently tapped his foot as he waited for it to arrive. He risked a furtive glance in the direction of the door, only to find the fan pressed hard up against the glass with a camera trying to get another memento of her encounter. He loved his fans…he really did…but hell, some of them just didn't know when to quit. If she kept that up the paparazzi would be on Frankie's doorstep in no time. With everything that had happened in the last twenty-four hours he was sure they were keeping an eye on the place, if not staked out somewhere nearby.
The elevator doors slid open and a good looking young man stood, resting casually, against the rail at the back. When he saw Jon he immediately straightened. "Hello Sir." He nodded. The polite greeting was a little unexpected given the guys appearance. He was tall…he had a good five or six inches on Jon at about 6'4", and the kid was built…not body builder buff, but there was some serious muscle hidden beneath the threads.
Regardless, Jon couldn't help but chuckle to himself at the 'Sir'. In another part of the country it was simply a sign of respect. Here in New York it just told him he was getting old.
"I love your work." The young man said, his green eyes twinkling with excitement as he stepped out of the elevator, holding an arm across the door so it wouldn't slide closed. His broad muscular form dominated the space. He was a little younger, and the wrong gender for Jon's usual audience, at somewhere in his early twenties, Jon figured. He looked relaxed, from his sun-streaked blonde hair to the toes of his Nike Air's, and there was a hint of cockiness about him. With a light stubble smattering his jaw, it looked as if he'd just rolled out of bed. A huge grin seemed permanently plastered on his face, revealing bright white, even teeth. In Jon's world, the kids unkempt appearance and relaxed demeanor usually only added up to one thing…the dude had just gotten laid. And good luck to him too.
"Thanks man." Jon stepped past the young man, into the gleaming steel and Beech wood cube and hit the number for Frankie's floor.
"You're welcome Mr. B. Have a great night. I'm sure we'll see each other again real soon." The kid said as the doors slid closed, leaving Jon to ponder his curious sentiment as the elevator moved effortlessly to its destination. Strange, Jon thought, the familiarity in the kid's manner almost made it seem as if he knew him. But he didn't…did he?
A digital female voice announced the elevators arrival and the doors slid open quietly. Jon stepped across the small foyer and lifted his hand to knock just as the door swung open.
"Heard the elevator," Frankie offered in explanation upon seeing Jon's startled expression. He nodded. "Come on in," she said, ushering him inside and closing the door behind him before heading for the stairs, "as you can see I'm running a little late." Damp waves of dark blonde hair bounced around her shoulders as she moved, contrasting with the too short black silk kimono that was wrapped around her lithe physique.
"How are you honey? Your Mom said you were leaving work early. Did you get held up?" Jon called after her, trying very hard to ignore the niggling feeling in his gut.
"I'm good and nope…I did manage to come home earlier than usual to get ready," Frankie yelled from upstairs, "but I got a little…distracted by a friend."
"Oh?" Jon's gut clenched. He moved to the base of the stairs so he could hear her better.
Frankie appeared at the top of the stairs in a pair of jeans and a white tank. She glanced down at herself, shook her head and turned back in the direction from which she came. "Yeah, actually," she projected down, "I'd be amazed if you didn't see him on your way up. He left like sixty seconds before you got here."
Shit, shit, SHIT. "Ahh, buff dude in a black T and jeans?"
Frankie appeared at the top of the stairs again, the white tank was gone, replaced by a black lace halterneck. "Yep, that would be Jai," she smiled.
That explained the familiarity Jon thought. The kid is God damn fucking my daughter. "As in your boyfriend Jai…the one your Mom said picked you up this morning." Jon fished, frowning. It was an involuntary reaction he just couldn't suppress, so he turned away from the stairs to glance around the neat-as-a-pin apartment.
"Yes, Jai picked me up this morning. And yes, he is a boy and my friend….sooo…. I guess you could say that," Frankie stifled a giggle. This was so much fun.
"He's a..ah…he's a little old for you isn't he?" Jon asked as Frankie retreated back into what Jon presumed was her bedroom.
"Not really," she called back, "he's been a year above me in school since like…well forever, really."
"Oh…you've known him that long?" Jon picked up a picture frame that graced a nearby hall table and studied it for a moment before carefully returning it to its place.
He couldn't help but smile at the image of a very young innocent Frankie that graced the frame. She was laughing and carefree…on a see-saw in some unfamiliar park.
"Yeah. He's Soph's brother. You remember Sophie…my assistant at the gallery?" Frankie asked. "We were practically in diapers together."
He did know. It was her with Frankie in the photo he had just been looking at.
"Sure…nice kid. He's her brother, huh?" He said still scowling, glad that she couldn't see him as he busied himself at her music collection.
"Yep…at least that's what their parents tell them." Frankie replied, appearing directly behind him. "Ready." She announced.
Jon turned to look at her and all thoughts of Jai and what she had been up to with him disappeared from his mind. "What happened to the jeans?" he asked, as he took in the expanse of bare skin that extended from the hem of a very short black leather micro mini to the tips of her Jimmy Choo's.
"Nothing…I just feel more comfortable in this."
"I am not stepping foot out of this apartment while you are wearing that Frances." Jon said in his sternest Dad voice, one that it seemed he was having more and more need of lately, with Stephanie now firmly entrenched in her teens…not to mention Jesse.
"Well I guess I'm going alone then. There's cable and the remote's on the coffee table." Frankie said, indicating in the direction of the widescreen. She retrieved a small purse off the kitchen counter and went to stand by the door. "You sure you wouldn't rather come and play body guard?"
Jon took one look at his daughter and the flash of silver at her navel and scowled. "Do you at least have a jacket?"
"Yep," she held up a filmy garment that would have been more in place in the bedroom than in a concert arena.
"So where is it?" He asked looking pointedly at the diaphanous fabric.
"You're looking at it."
"Come on Frankie…seriously…you aren't gonna make me take you out looking like that are you? You're barely covered." He observed, exasperated.
"Well you didn't seem to mind too much when it was Moms bare skin you were ogling." Frankie retorted, her hands on her hips in a stance so similar to her younger sister that he had to suppress a grin. Instead he tried to rearrange his features to look wounded.
"Yeah well, your Mom's not my eighteen year old daughter. So…" he drew out the word with measured patience, "I suggest, if you would like to do this tonight you go find yourself another jacket…personally, I'd be quite happy to stay here and get in some quality time alone where we can actually talk to each other."
"You're right. I shouldn't have mentioned mom. I'm sorry. That was disrespectful." Frankie acquiesced smiling sweetly and hoping to divert his attention from the clothing issue. "Can we just go now...please?"
"Frances…the jacket," Jon reminded her undeterred. "Don't you have a like a…I don't know…a jean jacket or something?"
"It's at the cleaners." She replied flippantly.
"Seriously Frankie I won't take you out with you looking like this. Get another jacket or it's a night on the couch with a bowl of popcorn." He said sternly.
"I have the tickets." She reminded him.
"Granted…but I have the Backstage Passes and the face to use them. Of course if you'd rather not meet Chad and the boys…." He let the sentence trail off.
"Fine!" Frankie stomped a black platform clad foot in an action so reminiscent of a five year old he had to chuckle. Upon seeing his amusement Frankie turned on her heel and headed for the stairs. When she appeared a minute later the jacket she held out for inspection was not much better than the last. The only thing that could be said for it was that the fabric was at least opaque.
"Frankie?" Jon arched his brow and pursed his lips.
"Look that's it...I'm not changing it again." As Jon opened his mouth to argue she added, lying, "Daddy bought me this jacket...if it was good enough for him… its good enough for you."
Jon ran his hand roughly through his hair. "Ahh yeah…ok then… you're right. I'm not trying to replace your dad here."
Frankie hid a small satisfied smile by turning towards the door. "Good….can we go now?"
Jon pulled the Chevelle to a stop at a security checkpoint at the back of the Arena. He handed a pass and some I.D. to the guard at the gate and waited as the guard checked the credentials. When all seemed to be in order, the guard handed the documents back with a fast smile and an excited salutation, and rushed to open the gate.
Behind a nearby barrier, a hoard of screaming fans anxiously awaited the arrival of the band. They ranged in age from screaming teenagers to a few older more 'seasoned' fans. As Jon got out of the car, a couple of the older women screamed for his attention. He turned and gave them a cursory wave and smile before joining Frankie on the other side of the car. As he put his hand on the small of her back to lead her inside one of the fans yelled, "Finally traded Dotty in for a younger model Jonny?"
Frankie felt Jon cringe, but he said nothing. He ushered her promptly to the door where they were both escorted inside and led down a long corridor. As they walked along, following behind a uniformed staff member, the ambient noise from the arena increased until finally individual screams and shouts could be picked out of the dull roar. They paused briefly while the burly man leading them gave instructions to some other members of the crew.
Frankie glanced around her. Ahead, where the corridor opened up to a cavernous space, the backstage area was a hive of kinetic energy. People were moving in all directions, each with determination and purpose. Large packing crates were distributed seemingly haphazardly around the area and encroached on the end of the corridor they were standing in. She could see what appeared to be the back of the stage and a set of stairs that led upwards, the top of which could not be seen. She took a few more steps towards the end of the corridor, suddenly freezing in place when she spotted him. Off to the right, almost completely obscured by shadow was Chad. He was talking animatedly with a younger guy whose long hair was pulled back into a low pony tail.
Frankie had taken no more than two steps in his direction, when she felt a hand grasp the top of her arm. She spun on her father, "What the hell?"
"Not now." He hissed.
"What do you mean 'not now'? Do you know who that is?"
"Yes, I do. But believe me when I tell you, he will appreciate your adoration much more after the show than he will now while he is trying to take care of business." Jon explained.
"And you know that how exactly?"
"Frankie, honey…" Jon said on a deep exhale, "Have you forgotten how I make my living?"
She crossed her arms over her chest. Reluctantly she had to admit he had a point.
"'Scuse me, comin' through," a deep voice said, as a hand pushed gently on her shoulder to move her aside.
Frankie flattened herself against the wall and then stood staring in awe as the rest of the band passed by, the drummer winking as he did so.
"Time to go," the man who had led her and her father in said. "House lights are just going down now, so we can get you out there safely before the show starts."
They were led in Chad's general direction. The butterflies in Frankie's stomach increased with each passing step. When they were adjacent to him, Chad nodded in her father's direction, "Hey Jon, good to see you here."
"Wouldn't miss it, man." Her father said. And then, though she couldn't be sure in the dim light, she thought Chad winked at her.
They were led away into the arena, through a barricade and to two seats front and center. No sooner had they taken their seats, than a deafening blast reverberated around them and the show started. Frankie immediately jumped to her feet. And when Chad appeared directly before her moments later she let out a scream that would have put a Banshee to shame. Jon chuckled. It was amusing seeing this from the other side of the microphone. All around him women were going wild…and the comments…well some of those could have made a sailor blush. It was something he wasn't generally privy to.
From the second Chad appeared on the stage, Frankie was in heaven. The song was 'Animal' and the sexy growl of Chad's singing was primal. Frankie felt it to her very core. She couldn't believe it when he paused in front of her, crouched and gave a slight nod in her direction as he sang...
You're beside me on the seat
Got your hand between my knees
And you control how fast we go by just how hard you wanna squeeze
It's hard to steer when you're breathing in my ear
But I got both hands on the wheel while you got both hands on my gears
A camera appeared before her and then her image was splayed across the large screen behind the stage. As Chad rose to his feet he reached out, grabbed her fingertips and this time there was no doubt in her mind…he most definitely winked at her.
Frankie tore her eyes away from the stage to share her excitement with her father, only to see him frowning at Chad with disapproval. This sooo wasn't like going to a concert with Soph. By now she would be clutching her friends arm for dear life and making obscenely suggestive comments about just how much of an "Animal" she'd like Chad to be with her, and Soph would be replying in kind, squealing in excitement right along with her.
As Chad moved away and focused his attention on the crowd to the left side of the stage, Jon's features smoothed and he seemed to be enjoying the show a little more, but every time Chad showed even the slightest bit of attention to Frankie, the frown would return. When, about halfway through the night, Chad turned and pointed to the screen, showing Frankie who was dancing suggestively to the beat, and said, "Now there's a hottie who looks like she's ready for some fun", Jon started to see red. He fixed Chad with a stone cold glare but he singer only grinned at him. From that moment though, it seemed he did seem to focus his attention elsewhere. Frankie wasn't pleased.
The rest of the show passed in a blur of sound and motion. Around Frankie the crowd jumped and surged in time with the music, while her father stood sedately by her side. When the band left the stage before their encore, a guard came to collect the pair and ushered them backstage. Frankie was directed to the side of the stage so she could watch the rest of the show, while Jon was led to another area somewhere in the rear. Frankie figured it was because Chad didn't want him up that close after his appalling behavior up front.
Three stools were placed before the mics at the front of the stage. In the dim light, Frankie watched as three shadowy figures took their places on them. A fourth mounted the drum riser and took his position there. A guitar tech walked past her and onto the stage, handing Chad a black acoustic guitar. The lights came up and after a short intro they began to play "Rockstar".
During the second chorus, Frankie was surprised to see a larger than life image of her father flash by in a montage of famous rock stars on the main screen behind the stage. She was even more surprised when, after the song, Chad called for a "well respected and brilliant artist" to join him onstage and her father strutted out to the spot light. They rocked an impromptu version of Elton's "Saturday Night" and engaged in a manly embrace before Jon sauntered off stage towards her.
"Did you ask to go up there?" Frankie accused the second he was in ear shot.
Jon shook his head, "Honey...I know this is a little hard for you to believe, but it was only a couple of months ago that these guys were our support act."
"That doesn't answer my question Jon. Was that some kind of lame effort on your part to impress me? Because I can tell you now it didn't work." It actually had. Frankie had never paid attention to her father's talent before…but on that stage it was undeniable. He was charismatic and commanding and thoroughly entertaining. And while she hated to admit it, he had even managed to draw her attention away from the band.
"No, I didn't ask Frankie. In fact I tried my level best not to go out there. But it seems these days what Chad wants Chad gets." He said, frowning a little as he did.
"Let's hope so!" Frankie replied grinning, her attention clearly focused over her father's shoulder at the singer taking his final bows on stage.
The gentleman who had escorted them earlier once again appeared at their sides. From the pass around his neck Frankie observed his name was Doug. "Let's get you two back there to the party. The boys will be in as soon as they freshen up."
They were led down the same corridor they had entered through, and off to the right into a largish room that was bare apart from a long buffet table that spanned the west wall. It was piled high with everything from pizza to sushi and all manner of other international cuisine. Jon headed straight for the sushi, surprising Frankie for the second time that night.
Several more people had entered the room immediately after her and her father. A group of young girls about her own age were off to one side chatting animatedly and occasionally looking toward Frankie. She naturally gravitated straight to them – after all...her father was busy with the buffet -and struck up a conversation. They recognized her from her appearance on the screen…they also recognized her father…much to Frankie's dismay.
When the girl next to her grasped her arm so tightly that her manicured nails bit into Frankie's skin, she knew the band had arrived. She had her back to the door but it didn't take a genius to figure out what was going on. The girls were competition winners, and were very enamored of their star encounter.
Frankie turned and looked over her shoulder, only to see Ryan, the sexy guitarist, enter and make a b-line straight for her father who looked genuinely happy to see him. She changed position slightly so she had a better view of what was going on across the room, and winced when her father pointed to her and waved. She raised her hand reluctantly and Ryan raised his beer to her in salute. The girls around her went wild. She shook her head and focused on her drink as she fought the blush rising to her cheeks. When she risked a glance in their direction again, both her father and Ryan were busy looking intently at Ryan's wallet. Her brow furrowed momentarily in confusion until her father pulled out his own wallet and presented it to Ryan...pictures of their kids she assumed. So much for the bad boy rockstar image, it was so completely normal it was unnerving.
After excusing herself from the small group of girls she was with, Frankie made her way to the bathroom. Her father was still deep in conversation with Ryan as she exited the greenroom. When she reentered a few minutes later, the girls had moved across the room closer to the impromptu bar that had formed. One of the roadies stood behind one end of the large buffet table, a plethora of alcohol spread before him.
She was almost back to the girls when she was grabbed around the waist and spun in the opposite direction eliciting a squeal of surprise.
"I've been looking for you little lady," a warm voice rumbled in her ear.
Frankie turned inside the tight circle of arms that refused to relinquish their hold on her, to find herself pressed hard up against Chad.
"Well here I am," she replied coyly, "now the question is… what are you gonna do with me now that you've found me?"
Chad raised a surprised eyebrow and a slow grin revealed even white teeth. He released her, stepped back, and grabbed hold of her hand. She instantly missed the warmth of his body, but the feeling was short lived. He led her to a secluded corner in a small alcove off the main room, where he backed her up against the wall and then stepped in so close to her, she could feel the heat radiate off him and smell the whisky on his breath.
He leaned in and whispered in her ear, "I know exactly what I am gonna do with you honey. Where would you like me to start? Here," he gently, briefly, pressed his lips to hers, "or lower?" he trailed one finger down her cheek and along the lines of her neck, between the hollow in her breasts and down to her belly button.
A second of trepidation trembled through Frankie, but instead of moving away she just smiled up at him. This was sooo cool!
Jon re-entered the room after taking a quick tour of the stage with the band's Drummer, they had done some interesting things with the drum riser and he had wanted to see how it had been done. He was alarmed to see that Frankie was no longer where she had been when he'd left the room only minutes before. Not only was Frankie gone, but the entire group of girls she had been talking with had also disappeared. Damn it!
He searched the crowd and spotted Ryan on the other side of the room. He nudged his way through the sea of people who were now crammed into the relatively small space, to the younger mans side. "Excuse me," Jon smiled indulgently at the woman who was gushing over Ryan, turned to him and asked, "Did you see where Frankie went?"
"Frankie…my daughter?" Jon replied, impatience clear in his tone.
"Nah man, sorry. She can't have gone too far though." Ryan replied. "Maybe she's with Chad. It seems he took a liking to her on stage and I haven't seen him for a while either."
"Lucky girl," the woman exclaimed.
Jon frowned at her, but addressed Ryan. "That's what worries me." His eyes scanned the room, searching intently for his missing child. He had been here before…of course he was usually the one in a dark corner or a private room with the girl, and on the run from the irate father. He had never been that father himself…and it disturbed him on more than one level. Karma was a bitch!
"He wouldn't hurt her. He's just having a bit of fun." Ryan reasoned. "We've both been there."
Jon raised an eyebrow at that. "Ry, man…would you leave your daughter in Chad's hands?"
Ryan's face took on a perplexed expression. "Point taken. I'll help you look for them." Ryan excused himself and headed off in one direction while Jon headed off in the other.
Jon spotted the group of girls Frankie had been standing with on the opposite side of the room. She clearly wasn't with them…but he headed over to them in hopes they'd know where she'd gone. As he approached he passed a nearby cluster of groupies all looking off in the same direction…a dark secluded corner at the back of the room. It started alarm bells ringing in his mind. He diverted his course bringing himself within earshot of their conversation. It didn't take long for them to unwittingly confirm what he'd feared.
"…lucky bitch. I bet he has her squealing within ten." A tall tattooed blonde exclaimed.
"Good…the quicker he puts another notch on that belt of his, the quicker he'll be back for us…then the party can really start." Another said.
"Yeah but why her?" A third whined, "I mean she wasn't even that hot! How did she manage to pull Jon Bon Jovi and Chad."
Oh hell No!! Jon rushed forward to the darkened area ahead and hoped he wasn't too late.
It had taken Frankie exactly sixty seconds to realize she was in over her head. The problem was she didn't know what to do about it. Chad had his tongue in her ear, and the hand not holding a very large glass of scotch, on her ass pulling her hard against his none too subtle arousal.
"Chad…please stop. I don't want this."
"Of course you do honey…this…" Chad leaned in harder against her and ground his straining length against her thigh "….is why you're here."
Frankie's mind was reeling... She had no idea to get herself out of this. Suddenly all of her father's dirty looks and subtle warnings were making sense. "Please not like this…I don't want it like this. Can't we go somewhere a little more…" And then over Chad's shoulder she saw him. She simultaneously relaxed in relief and cringed with embarrassment.
"How's it going man?"
" Jon..buddy...good to fuckin' see ya!. That was some show huh?" Chad turned towards Jon, but kept a firm hold on Frankie, merely spinning her with him.
"Yeah man, you rocked." Jon replied smiling, hoping to do this without a scene.
"Listen dude...do you think I can catch up with you in a few? I have a little business to take care of here." Chad ran the knuckles of the hand clutching the scotch glass down the side of Frankie's face. His other hand was still grasping her ass possessively.
"Sorry Chad, not with her you don't." Jon replied smoothly.
"Jon...man...Look I know she came with you…but you're getting on now and you've had your fair share of ass...it's time to pass the mantle."
Chad licked a line up Frankie's throat and claimed her mouth in a kiss. It took her breath away…but not for any of the right reasons. And then he was gone, dragged away from her body by her father. When she looked up she saw Chad glaring murderously at him, the two men barely a foot apart. She squeezed between them, putting a hand on each of their chests.
Jon fairly vibrated with barely suppressed anger. And yet when he spoke his voice was smooth and controlled. "That may be the case Chad, and under some circumstances I might even agree…but I ain't gonna pass you my daughter, that's for sure."
"Awe come on man…you just want her for yourself. Your daughter is what…fifteen? And this little hottie ain't no kid." Chad leaned into Frankie but Jon grabbed her by the arm and pulled her back.
"This is no joke Chad…don't test me on this." Jon growled.
Later, when things had calmed and she was at home alone, Frankie would wonder how it was possible that her father's usually cool blue eyes could seemingly spark with fire. But for now she would be content with getting them both out of there.
"Jon…" she said softly, his gaze on Chad didn't falter, with a sense of urgency she called again, "Dad…" This time his eyes were immediately on her, she seized the opportunity, "…can we go...please?"
"Sure baby…let's get you home." He agreed.
Frankie turned to Chad, "It was a pleasure to… meet you," she said for lack of a better word and offered a small smile. "And he was telling the truth…he is my father." She didn't know why she wanted him to know that.
"Oh honey…the pleasure was all mine…though not nearly pleasure enough. Maybe we can try this again sometime when your guard dog's on a leash." He replied provocatively and got just the reaction he was trying to incite. Jon surged in his direction, but by now Frankie had a firm hold on her father's hand and she wasn't letting go.
"Thanks again." She said and pulled her father across the room and out into the night.