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.”