Saturday, July 27, 2013

Chapter 44

Stephanie wasn't up yet, Jesse took care of the boys and their dad was doing business this morning.

“Come on guys dad is working we have to keep it down some.” Jesse topped off Romeo's milk.

“Daddy is always working” Romeo pouted.

“How about we find a park and go toss the football around, would you like that Jakey?” Jesse asked his brother.

“Okay, Jesse can we have a picnic too?” Jake asked.

Jake seemed more like his old self, maybe dad talked to him yesterday when they hit the video store, Jesse thought.

“Sounds like a plan, we can go to the grocery store and get some sandwiches at the deli and some chips and soda's.” Jesse ruffled his hair

“And some candy too.” Romeo piped up.

“Yeah, not much but maybe a little bit,” Romeo wanted his hair ruffled too so Jesse laughed an ruffled his too, “I can ask Sally what a good park we could go too.”

Sally had started to say something last night when they were texting but stopped short and that bugged him.

“Go get cleaned up and I'll tell dad where we'll be.” He cleaned up the bowls, glasses and spoons and went on search of his dad.

“I don't know what I'm going to do Lex, I got to get us back to being a family, that's what Jake wants.” he said to the phone, his back to the door he didn't see Jesse standing there. “Sure I can't get you to come up?”

“Hey Dad,” He waited until Jon turning around “I'm taking the boys on a picnic to the park toss the ball around,”

“Okay son, keep an eye on Jake” Jon raised his hip to get the keys out of his pocket. “Steph up yet?”

“Not that I heard .” He caught the keys and Turned to go but stop. “We'll get our Jakey back.”

“I hope so Jess,” he watched Jesse leave and went back to his call. “So Lex can you come up here?”

“Jon, you know the deal, the invitation has to come from Stephanie.” Lexie stood at the counter, her laptop was waiting to be abused, Snowball was waiting on her walk and she had already ignored two calls from her editor just to take Jon's call.

“I know, I know, you can't fault me for trying. I really miss you and being here without you, just isn't the same.” Jon's voice lowered and got really sexy

“Dirty pool Bongiovi dirty pool, make me all hot and wet.” She laughed

“You can't fault me for trying, baby.” Jon chuckled

“On that note and that name I am hanging up before my editor is pounding on my door, he's been trying to get me for the past fifteen minute .” she told him. “Francis I'll talk to you later.” She laughed as she hung up before he could reply,

Stephanie roll over and stretched, house was quiet. That could mean two things either the family was out or the boys were out and daddy was working. Checking her phone, no text from Mark, she grabbed her wrapper and headed downstairs, with a stop by the shared bathroom, God these boys are such slobs. She put the towel back on the rod and wiped off the mirror and hung the cloth to dry.

As she was going downstairs she heard her father on the phone with what sounded like either uncle Matty or Tony. She made her way to the kitchen and fixed her some toast and fruit. She noticed the coffee was getting low. As she finished her breakfast she checked her mail and her pages.

She looked up as her dad came in with his phone tucked under his chin never breaking the conversation. Steph smiled as a memory of sitting at the table with her mom and the conversations they used to say her dad would talk business in his sleep if he could. It hurt to know she wouldn't have those mornings every again, and it was her fault as much as her mom's that they were no longer a family.

Jon noticed that Stephanie was up, nodding to her, he poured the last of the pot into his cup and started to one hand make another pot.

“I got it daddy,” She got up and moved him out of the way and got the fixings out to fix another pot.

“Thanks Princess, boys went to the park for a picnic so it's just you and me for the day.” Jon said as he finished off the call and sat at the table. “Do you have any plans today?”

Stephanie set about making her dad a pot of coffee sludge as she and her mom used to call what her dad drank all day.

“Nope, I guess I'll finish my book and hang out here.” She added the water and turned around. “I haven't heard from the girls at school, other than that, I haven't met anyone up here yet. Girls at the club gave me the cold shoulder, Mark said it's a townie vacationer thing.”

Mark hum, wonder if I should be worried or not? It's so tough having been a part time dad to know where to lower the hammer or stand back a wait to clean up the fall out? Jon thought.

“You met this Mark at the club?” He sipped the now cooling mud he called coffee.

“He was the miracle worker at the Apple store that saved my phone contacts and stuff.” She wanted to shy away from talking about Mark.

“Then if he saved your phone that brings him up there with Bieber fever.” He tried not to laugh.

“Oh Daddy, that was so lame.” She gave him her fake Bon Jovi laugh.

“Oh you got that down pat.” Jon laughed.

“I missed this daddy, us sitting around the table and just talking.” She sat down with him. “What happened with Jakey really hit it home.”

I know it did Stephie and that what scares me.” He paused and sipped his coffee. Should I bring up Lexie or wait and see what she's beating around the bush to bring up. “You know the band will be going into the studio soon and you know that means tour. I don't know what I'm going to do with you four.”

“Well, I had been thinking about that. I know us and tour would mean tutors and taking us out of school.” Then the enormity of what she had done hit her. “Oh my God, what did I do.” Her face fell tears flowed down her cheeks. “I didn't do it on purpose daddy I really didn't. I just wanted you and mommy back together.” She jumped up and started to run out of the room.

Jon stood up and caught her before she could leave the room and folded her into a bear hug.

“Stephie, “ He rocked her in his arms and then walked her into the family room, Sitting on the sofa with her on his lap and let her cry herself out. They sat there until she could calm herself, he held her and rocked her, rubbing her back til she could talk about it.

“Steph, honey that's not ever gonna happen, your mom loves her new man in her life. He can give her what I can't, a steady nine to five guy. One that's there at night and gives her the support I couldn't give her.” he spoke softly. “It wasn't a spur of the minute thing, it's been coming for several years. We just wanted different things in life.”

“But why didn't I see this?” She asked him.

“Honey, your mom was seeing Graham for years before she even told me. I guess I knew it in the back of my mind. We were like strangers sleeping in the same bed.” He admitted to her. “When she was ready to share that part of her affair it wasn't long before everything ended for us.”

“Weren't you mad,” she slipped off his lap and went and sat across from him. “Didn't you want to fight for her?”

Jon thought a few minutes before he spoke.

“Steph, when she told me that she was leaving me, it was the first time I felt like a real failure.” He told her honestly. “I fought, I wasn't gonna roll over and give up without a fight. She told me point blank it was over and done with and if I wanted any contact with you kids I wouldn't fight her. I chose you kids.”

Stephanie listened, taking it all in everything about him, his voice, he facial expressions.

“You might have not heard your mom and I fighting, but Jakey did. He told me yesterday when we went to get video's, he heard us fighting and then what ever happened at Grahams parents place, the change in custody change and them what happened at the mall capped it all off for him. Now I have to find a way to make him feel like we are a family again.” Jon told her waiting to see what she was thinking.

After a few seconds she finally started talking.

“Why did you want to come up here, we could be a family at home in the city, or in the river house.” she shifted and curled her legs under her, “What makes this place so special?”

“The day your mom and Graham got married I was in a bar trying to drink myself under it.” He got up and headed to the kitchen and got a fresh cup of coffee and came back to the sofa. Taking a fortified swallow he started talking again. “Your Uncle Huge found me and helped me dig myself out of this depression I was in. Told me about his uncle in law's cabin, that I should take Romey and head up there to get my head straight.”

“So Uncle Huge set you up with Lexie.” She asked.

“Not really, seems Kelli's uncle is a friend of Lexie's publisher and she was having writers block and he sent her up here, to see if she could clear her head.” He smiled as he remembered the first day he met Lexie. “I thought she was the cook assigned to the cabin.” He shifted on the sofa and chuckled.

“You thought she was the cook?” Stephanie laughed. “When did you find out who she really was?”

“She told me right away she wasn't the cook, I knew I had seen her before, but I couldn't remember.” he smiled.

“When did you find out who she was?” She was filing away all this information.

Actually it was Romey that found it out. Her book was in one of those displays with a picture of the author. It was in the grocery store.” He sipped his coffee and smile again.

“The same store where Sally works?” she laughed.

“The very same one. Small world right?” He laughed.

“Very small.” she noticed a change in her dad. “I'm going to go get dressed, check my mail,” She got up and walked over and kissed her dads cheek.

“Okay Princess, I'm going to be working on some foundation work, so if you need me for anything I'm going to be in the den.”He pointed to the door by the stairs.

“Okay. Hey can I get Lexie's number so I can thank her for the books?” She asked sweetly.

Jon took out his cell and tossed it to Stephanie.

“When you get done bring it to the den.” He called up as she ran up the stairs with his phone.

She flopped down on the bed and pulled up her dads phone contacts, going to recent calls and hit the one that said Lex and waited while it rang. “Voice mail, Hey Lexie, this is Stephanie, Stephanie Bongiovi, I wanted to say I'm sorry for the way I acted.”

Lexie came in with a damp Snowball and was drying her off when her phone rang, Letting the machine get it she fluffed Snowballs fur until she heard the voice on the machine. Reaching the phone on the words I'm sorry she picked up the phone disconnecting the machine. “Stephanie, this is Lexie.”

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Chapter 43

The club was not what they had expected this far from the City. Jesse and Steph bought membership with the help of Sally.

“Many of the vacationers join the club, so when they visit they don't have to have a townie to get in.” She said as they filled out the form and paid the fee.

Mark was waiting on her as she came into the club. The trio parted ways once they got stamped and banded.

“Well blue eyes, you finally got here.” He was sitting at a corner table sipping a beer.

“Had to wait on the car and then we met up with Sally.” She reached across for his beer and was going to take a sip, “This okay with you?” she asked before she did.

“You got on a red band?” He showed her his blue band.

“Yeah, I couldn't tell a lie my birthday is in a few weeks, and my brother was watching me.” she rolled her eyes.

He looked around and called a girl over.

“Hey Hannah, my friend here got the wrong drink band, what can you do for her?” He smiled and winked

The girl came back with a blue band for Stephanie.

“Just make sure you get her the right band from now own Mark.” Hannah told them.

“Thanks Hannah, I'm Stephanie.” She tried to make a friend of the girl in charge of the drink bands.

“I know who you are.” Hannah turned and walked away.

“Wow, I haven't gotten that cold a shoulder in a long time.” Steph faked a shiver.

“Don't let it get to you, Hannah is like that with all the vacationers.” He lifted his hand to the waiter and got Steph a beer. “Some of the Townies that have been here like forever, don't care for those who come in for a few weeks then are gone. Think she's one of those.”

Stephanie gave the girl the once over and sighed. She would love to have a female friend while she was here. Someone to talk fashion and girl stuff with.

While Stephanie and Mark were hitting it off Jesse and Sally were hitting it off really well. They got a table and soon many of Sally's friends came by to join the table.

All too soon it was about time for them to head back. Sally was okay with their need to be home as she had work the next morning,

Jesse went looking for Stephanie and found her and Mark outside on the smoking deck.

“Steph, it's time.” Jesse told her.

Stephanie rolled her eyes.

“You aren't leaving are you?” Mark asked as he ground out his cigarette. They had been sharing his smokes too.

“Yeah, my dad had a cow today and changed our curfew.” Steph took the last drag and followed suit. “He forgets we aren't kids anymore. Since he and my mom split he's like over protective.”

“So your parent aren't together anymore, maybe he needs someone to lighten him up.” Mark said as they headed back in. “Does he date?”

Steph stopped so short he almost mowed her down.

“That's it, oh Mark I could just kiss you.” She reached up and framed his face with her hands and gave him a smacking kiss. “Why didn't I think of this, it's been there all the time.”

Mark liked the fact that she kissed him first. She was what he was missing, short term and lots of fun.

“So you got a plan to take care of your dad?” they headed through the club and out to the parking lot.

“Oh yeah, I got a plan.” They got to Sally's car.

“Good, when you get it into place maybe we can go out a little longer.” Mark pulled her close and lowered his lips to hers.

“Mmmm. Oh I plan on it.” She told him when he broke the kiss.

“Any day now Steph.” Jess called to her as he got in the front seat.

“Mark,” Sally said to him.

“Sally, take care of my girl here.” He smiled and held the car door open for Sally then Steph.

Sally rolled her eyes and got in and started the car, giving them a few more seconds before she honked the horn, “We have to go, before they break their curfew.”

They barely made it, with only seconds to spare. Jesse and Sally made plans to go out again, hopefully without his sister and her new friend.

Jon was just getting ready to lock up the house and head upstairs when the garage door opened and he stopped and looked at the grandfather clock in the hall. They were cutting it but they made it.

Strange that they were quiet, not good. He thought back to last night and the mall fiasco.

“You smell like beer and cigarette smoke.” Jesse whispered as they headed to the door.

“So I had fun.” Stephanie pulled out mouthwash out of her bag and took a swallow. There was nothing she could do about the smoke smell. At home she kept spare clothes in the garage. She would just have to fly by the seat of her pants and hope her dad was already upstairs.

“How did you get a blue drink band, you had a red one when you walked in.” He rounded the car and they headed into the house, which was a blessing that it was dark.

“Mark got it changed.” She came in behind him. She would have to spend some time planning the plan. She would give it a day and then approach her dad with the idea of bringing Lexie up early

They turned to go upstairs and stopped short at the sight of their dad.

“We made it on time.” Stephanie said as she went to go up past him.

Jon was hit with the stench of stale cigarette smoke. He didn't say anything but the heavy smell of mouthwash about choked him as she blew him a kiss. Pulling back some.

“Night princess.” He called up to her, his only answer was the closing of her bedroom door. Well at least she was smiling, “Did you have a good time?” Jon sat down on the step waiting on Jesse to join him. “Still mad I set you up?”

Jesse sat down and knew bed was going to wait and he wanted to text Sally.

“I can't believe I'm saying this but, thanks Dad.” Jesse laughed. “I actually had a good time. Sally is a great girl.”

“Oh, not the great girl moniker, in my day she was not jock date material. You saw them with the multi media club.” Jon laughed.

“Nah dad, she's like the kind of girl to help you pass an exam to stay on the team, you know a friend.” Jesse ducked his head a little.

“Ah a friend but not a girlfriend.” Jon teased his son.

“Well she's a girl and she's a friend. She's a freshman in college and I'm a freshman going to be a junior in high school. So I doubt she'll be a girlfriend,” He got up and patted his dad on the head, “On that note I'm going to bed.” He headed up the stairs pulling out his phone as he went,

“Watch the hair kid.” Jon ducked his head, and listened to him going up the stairs, “Tell Sally I'll talk to her tomorrow when we have chat.”

“Eww Dad.” He shook his head.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Chapter 42

Jon got up early to go on a run, as he was heading down the stairs he heard someone in the kitchen. He knew it wasn't Stephanie, unless it was a school day and he knew the runts wouldn't be up yet, so that could only mean Jesse was going to run this morning.

Dropping his runners by the door, he walked into the kitchen. Drawn by the sent of fresh coffee, he pulled down a mug and filled it up. He leaned on the counter and watched his son as he drank.

“It's a shame what happened last night at the mall.” Jon said as he sipped from his cup.

“It shouldn't have happened.” Jesse said without looking up from what he was reading. “How did you find out, Romey tell you?”

“You tell me,” he walked over and sat at the table with him. Taking a sip of his coffee, he watched the emotions play on his sons face.

“You know dad, there's too much yelling in this family, we aren't even a family really. Oh we got a dad and a mom, brothers and a sister. But lately we're yellin at each other, not listenin to each other.” Jesse looked up at his dad. “Mom now has a new family and we can't even visit, because of yellin and fightin and tearin each other apart. We don't know who we're hurtin the most.”

“Who are we hurting?” Jon asked quietly.

“Jake, we're hurting Jake.” Jesse looked up.

They both watched each other. The things Jesse had said rang true in what he had seen in his middle son. Where had the laughing, yelling, happy little boy gone to.

“He has a point, dad. We need to be a family again.” Jesse got up and put the cereal bowl in the sink. Leaning on the sink he looked out of the yard. “If that means bring Lexie in the family or not, we got of stop being strangers anymore.”

“I got ya Jess. I'll handle it.” Jon got up and walked over to Jesse. “Lets get our run in and we'll talk some more.” He put his cup in the sink

“Okay Dad.” He went to the steps and they both put on there runners and headed out for their run,

Stephanie heard the slap of sneakers on the driveway and the shutting of the door. Stretching she pulled the quit up close and was just about asleep when she got a text. Sitting up she pulled on her glasses and reached for her new phone, Noting the text was from Mark she smiled, just the sight of his name on her message sent warm feeling through her body. Sure she had a boyfriend back at old PT, but what would a little vacation fling hurt.

Mark: Morning blue eyes how is the new phone doing?

Stephanie: Well hello Mark, it's doing fine,

Mark: Good, Still planning on going to Banshee tonight?

Hum what could a little vacation fling hurt, not like Anthony and I aren't engaged or anything.
She looked over at the clock radio om the night stand and winced it was nine in the morning, She was shocked that the rats hadn't started clambering for breakfast.

Stephanie : That's the plan. I'll be with my brother and this girl he met at the grocery store.

Mark : Sally, she's an alright girl.

Somewhere in the back her mind she hated when the boys at Poly Tech called a girl “Alright” seemed to think of her as on the fringes of the popular girls. She's good enough to be a lab partner and friend but not a girl friend.

Stephanie : We're meeting her and going with her tonight. So I guess I'll see you there.

Mark : Plan on it. Got to go to work. See you tonight,

Stephanie : Plan on it.

She had just snuggled back down under the door creaked open and two faces came into the door.

“You up sissy?” Romeo asked. As the door opened more and the two piled in on the bed .
“Jakey and me are hungry for some snap crackle pop.” he snuggled his sister.

Jake just sat on the side of the bed with his game.

Stephanie reached up and pulled Jake into a tickle fest.

When Jon and Jesse came in the boys and Stephanie were around the table eating big bowls of what looked like Romy's favorite breakfast cereal.

“There's fruit in the fridge” Stephanie told them.

Jesse and Jon got bowls and fixed up fruit and cereal. Sitting around the table, Jon looked up, Jesse had been right, they needed to get back to being a family.

“I'm gonna go get a shower, since you two are going out tonight, I'm gonna take the boys to get a movie later.” Jon said to a chorus of movie titles that they want to see. The loudest coming from Romeo.

Once they were done eating, Jesse and Steph were at the sink washing the breakfast dishes, Jon was on his way upstairs after putting on the Disney channel for the boys.

“Dad knows.” Jesse told his sister.

“Knows what?” She handed him a bowl to dry.

“What happened at the mall.” Jesse dried the bowl and put it in the cabinet

“How, I didn't say anything.” She dried off her hands and went to the family room door. “Hey guys we weren't going to tell daddy about what happened last night at the mall.”

“I didn't tell daddy about Jakey running away.” Romeo told her.

Jake just shook his head.

“Then how did he know?” Jesse asked them.

Jake hunched up his shoulders, Romeo hunched his shoulder.

“I just got up a while ago.” Stephanie informed him.

Jon came down the stairs drying his hair with a bath towel.

“Daddy, how did you know Jakey ran away at the mall?” Romeo asked.

Jon stopped on the steps he looked from Jesse to Stephanie with a what the hell look.

“I didn't know.” Jon put the towel on the banister and came over to the kids.

“If you didn't know why did you said it was bad what happened at the mall?” Jesse asked him

“You going to the mall and not finding anything to buy with my black american express card something must have happened, you are the one who told me all about the fighting and yelling that we were hurting Jake, but not that you lost him in a strange mall.” Jon was shocked that he wasn't yelling, he would have, if he hadn't looked at Jake's face. “Jake is safe and nothing bad happened, but don't let it happen again, right Jakey?” Jon was awarded with a smile and a nod.

Jesse could tell this wasn't over and knew his father was ready to blow his top, that vain in his head was about to explode.

“I'm going to finish getting ready, you two get your shoes on and faces washed. Be ready to go in fifteen minutes.” Jon turned and headed back upstairs snatching the towel off the banister as he went up.

Jesse looked at Stephanie with a what the hell look. She hunched her shoulders and started to follow her brother upstairs behind the boys.

Stephanie and Jesse headed into their dads room, shutting the door they waited for the explosion.

“I don't know what to say to you two, you better let me cool off first.” Jon's voice came from the walk in closet.

“We didn't want to upset you.” Stephanie started.

“So you think that not telling me was better?” He came out of the closet tucking his shirt in.

“Dad, we took care of it, he wasn't gone but just a second and this lady saw him and told me where to find him so he was only missing about three minutes.” Jesse explained.

“Jess I just wish you told me what happened when you got home. I noticed something has been up with Jake since we came back.” Jon sat on the end of the bed pulling on his socks and shoes. “I think I might need to talk to someone who can help him and us.”

“It might be the best dad.” Jesse said

Jon looked at his oldest son. Shaking his head he heard the boys downstairs ready to go.

“I'll be back in a while, might see if I can get Jake to talk to me.” Jon said as they headed downstairs to join the boys. “When I get back, the two of us are going to talk about things.”

Stephanie stopped short, Jesse almost bumped into her.

Jon got the boys out to the SUV and they got buckled up.

“Oh yeah, Curfew tonight is ten thirty.” He looked right at Stephanie.

“Dad, you said eleven.”Stephanie huffed.

Jesse put his hand on her arm trying to stop her from making it worse. He really wanted to go tonight and if they had to be in at ten thirty then that would do.

Jon got in the car, backed up even with his older two. Rolling down the window he gave them the famous stink eye that was held for family only.

“You're two steps away from staying home tonight, don't push it princess.” Jon hissed and backed out of the garage.

“Way to go Steph, piss him off more.” Jesse bopped her in the back of the head and pulled out his cell to text Sally.