Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Chapter 58

Why do you think she'll say no?” Jesse asked before Jon got over being shocked.

Every girl dreams of getting the perfect proposal. She's already nervous having everyone here Sunday, she might freak out and say no.” Stephanie told them. “I just think, you two need a night out, just the two of you. Make it romantic, and don't take her to Umberto's.”

Jon mulled over what she was saying. She might be right, I never thought she would be nervous.

She really nervous about Sunday?” Jon asked Stephanie.

Yep, she won't tell you, but she is really nervous about meeting everyone.” Stephanie explained. “Dad, if you want to ask her this weekend, Jesse and I will watch the terrible two.”

Jon thought about what she said, he did want it to be special. The last time he got married, they rushed to Vegas, hell he had the day off why not use it to get married. He never proposed to Dotty. His mom and dad were upset, hell his mom was totally pissed.

You mean dinner tomorrow night?” Jon asked. It was unusual for the older two volunteering to babysit the terrible two, as they have been dubbed by many of the babysitters he had used.

Dinner or maybe lunch.” Jesse supplied.

Dinner, more romantic.” Stephanie said giving him the Bongiovi stink eye.

Dinner then, Sheesh.” Jesse finally agreed.

How can you still be hungry?” Lexie laughed as she cut across the dining room to get to the kitchen. “Hey, family meeting over?”

Yep,” Jon said as he watched her flit around the kitchen. She got two bowls and put nuts in one and then got an apple, she moved to the huge refrigerator and got out a yogurt and reached in one drawer and then moved to the other. Lex Honey the spoons are,”

She cut him off. “No don't tell me, I have to find my way around here. Only took me five minutes to find my way to the family room.” She ended the last while laughing. Finally getting to the silverware drawer and pulled out a spoon, “Ah ha, found it.”

Stephanie and Jesse laughed and applauded

Lexie took a bow and stuck the spoon in her mouth picked up the double stacked bowls with the peanuts and the apple and started to back out the door. Jon stopped her and took the spoon out of her mouth and gave her a quick kiss.

You and me are going out tomorrow night. Steph and Jess are going to watch Romey and Jakey.” He told her.

Jon, I bought family clothes, I didn't bring fancy clothes.” She shook her head.

We're only going across the river, we'll take the Chevrolet and have dinner.” Jon tried to calm her fears.

Steph you and I will go shopping in the morning.” She looked back at Stephanie and waited till she nodded. “Good now give me my spoon back, I'm winning.” She opened her mouth for him to put the spoon back in her mouth.

Jon gave her another kiss then put the spoon back in her mouth.

He waited till he knew she was not on the other side of the door. Reaching in his pocket he pulled out his wallet and flipped it open. Pulling out one of the many charge cards out of the slots “She is not to pay for anything she buys.” He handed Stephanie his black American express card.

Got it dad,” she put the card in her pocket and them smiled up at Jon “Can I get me an outfit?” She batted her eyes at her father.

Sure. Pick up something for the boys too.” Jon laughed.

She is not picking out my shirts, I'll go with you, give a mans opinion.” He nudged his sister.

You are not going with us shopping. Daddy make him stay home.” Stephanie stomped her foot and put her hands on her hips.

Jon remembered that look back when she was in grade school.

I don't know, he has a point.” Jon tilted his head in thinking mode.

You better set an alarm, we'll be gone after breakfast.” She gave up and flounced out of the room.

I love to get her dust up.” Jesse laughed and followed her out of the room.

Jon just shook his head and followed the kids to the family room.

The girls were walking into the garage and were shocked to see Jesse leaning on the car.

I thought you were still in bed.” Stephanie asked him.

I was, but while you too were banging around getting dressed I dressed and grabbed an apple and waited here.” Jesse finished the last bite of the apple and walked over and tossed the core.

They got into Lexie's car and headed out of the garage and down the drive. “We must have beat the popperatzi this morning.” they headed down River Road and crossed over the bridge. “I know where we're coming after lunch.” They turned past the ice cream stand and headed toward Red Bank.

We could hit the mall in Shrewsberry.” Jesse told Lexie.

I went on line and searched community stores. I want to try there first.” She noticed the stricken look on the face of the kids. “What, I always find hidden treasures at a thrift store.”

Stephanie thought about the charge card in her pocket, thrift stores don't take black American Express cards. “But can we hit the mall too?”

Sure, just let me look at the community store first. I have found designer dresses and handbags.” She told them as she turned and headed downtown, pulling into the city lot she parked her car.

They walked along the sidewalk, with Lexie looking in the windows. She spotted something in the window, grabbing Stephanie arm and pulling her behind her.

Jesse noticed it was a ladies dress store, he found a chair near the dressing room and sat with the other men that were waiting. He guessed that's what his dad would do, if he went shopping with his mom in the early days. His phone buzzed in his pocket, taking it out he noticed the text was from his dad.

POP: Where are you?

PPAS: We're in a little shop down from the parking lot.

POP: Good

PPAS: She wanted to go to the Community Shop

POP: Sounds Like Lex

PPAS: Yeah what do you want to do with the card?

POP: I'll bring you the debit go down to the cafe on the corner.

PPAS: Let me tell the girls.

POP: Give me a second to get there.

Stephanie and Lexie were looking at the dresses. Stephanie the more modern dance club style and Lexie the more modest Sunday go to church dresses. Moving to the dressing rooms Lexie had about 20 dresses in both styles and Stephanie had about five in her club hopping style.

I'm going to go down to the cafe and grab a coke I'll be right back. Take your time.” Jesse told the two women and headed out the door.

Jesse met his dad and by the time he got back Stephanie was trying to talk Lexie into a beautiful dress.

If you don't wear it tonight, you can use it when you go your book tour.” Stephanie adjusted the neckline of the knit dress. It was a pretty basic black dress in knit.

Wow, that looks great on you.” Jesse said without thinking. Then he blushed a little, this was all new to him.

You think so?” Lexie looked at Jesse in the mirror. “I don't know, it's a little expensive.” She looked back at herself in the mirror, I do look really nice, my silver necklace with the diamond and the diamond studs would really add to this. “I have some others to try on.” He takes one last look in the mirror.

Nothing looks anywhere half as good at the black knit. She put it back on the rack. It was hard to walk out the store without the black dress.

Jesse and Stephanie had their heads together as they walked behind her.

I'll go back and get the dress, charge it and put it in the car.” Stephanie told Jesse. “You keep her occupied while I take care of it.”

How are you going to get her keys?” Jesse asked her keeping his voice low.

Watch and learn little brother.” Stephanie whispered.
Hey Lexie, I want to go back and pick up that jacket and skirt, can I have the car keys to put the bag in your trunk?” Stephanie asked as they caught up to her at the corner.

Sure,” she fished the keys out of her purse. “Do you want us to wait for you?” Lexie asked as she handed the keys over to Steph.

No go one I'll catch up, Candy from school was working, I want to say hi.” Stephanie said as she took the keys.

Okay, but be careful.” Lexie said as she and Jesse crossed the street.

Jesse could smell the old clothes in the store, how could she want to wear a dress from here? His dad had come here back when he was little to buy stage clothes. Now that they had years under their belts and designers gave his dad clothes to wear on stage.

I'm going to the boys and see what they have for Jakey and Romey.” Jesse told her when they got into the store good.

Okay, I'll be in the woman's section.” Lexie told him as they parted and went to separate sides of the store.

The sizes weren't marked and she just looked at what caught her eye. She took out a red dress and a denim jumper along with a pretty pink blouse. She also picked up dress slacks and soft ivory blouse, no designer dresses or outfits, but the clothes she picked out to try on were in good shape, but her heart went back to the black knit dress. Going into the dressing room she tried on what she had picked out. Nothing looked as good as the black dress. She ended up putting the dress and the jumper and blouse back. She would take the slacks and the ivory blouse. She was walking out of the dressing room when Stephanie came in with overalls and a checkered blouse.

I'm Going to take these to St Barts.” she laughed and handed Lexie her keys.

Oh those will look cute, you can use them as a cover up too.” Lexie said as they passed in the door to the dressing room. “I'm going to check on Jesse.” Lexie told her.

Lexie spotted Jesse surrounded by three girls. She made a u turn and headed over to the men's area, right off the bat she saw a Patriots shirt, adding it to the slacks and shirt. She looked over where Jesse was, two of the girls had moved off, she moved closer to the boys clothes. She pulled out a few shirts that she thought the two would like. Looking up the one girl was still there, she walked over and handed the shirts to Jesse.

Jess, I'm heading over to the handbags, tell Stephanie that's where she'll find me.” She turned to the girl and said a short hello and moved on.

They met up at the check out. Jesse handed Stephanie the debit card and then wondered how to get Lexie's stuff before she paid for them. He nudged his sister and tipped his head toward Lexie.

Oh shoot, I lost an earring, Lexie will you go back and check for me?” Stephanie cried. “Daddy gave them to me for Christmas and if I lost it, I don't know what I will do.”

Sure sweetie.” Lexie agreed.

I'll hold your stuff Lexie.” Jesse told Lexie.

Lexie handed the shirt, slacks and pocketbook to Jesse and turned to the back of the store.

Smooth move Lil' Bro.” Stephanie patted her brother on the shoulder. “I must be rubbing off on you.”

Taking the stuff to the register and waited by the entrance for Lexie.

Is this it?” Lexie came up with the stud that was on the dressing room floor.

Thanks Lexie, you're a life saver.” She took the stud and put it in her pocket. “I'm about to starve, can we get lunch now? There's a little place around the corner.”

Sure, my treat since you paid for my stuff.” Lexie followed the duo out the door.

Let us treat lunch, you can get the ice cream.” Jesse told her.

Okay, deal.” Stephanie laughed.

Lunch was fun, ice cream was a blast. They got back to the house, they unloaded the groceries and Jon came out to help.

Did you three leave anything in the stores?” Jon stepped up to the back of the car and took out a bag.

Jesse what up and tucked to two cards and receipts in his back pocket.

Good job.” Jon told him.

Yeah, thanks for lunch.” Jesse laughed.

Wait a second Dad.” Steph rushed over and reached into the designer bag and took out a dress wrapped in tissue paper. “I want to give this to her when she gets dressed.” She put the dress in her bag.

They were getting dressed to go to dinner, Jon was in his closet.

I can't find my bag from the thrift store.” Lexie came in wearing her robe and tossing the bags around. She came up with the shirts and pants she bought for the boys. She tossed the Patriots tee shirt to Jon. “Even the shirt that I bought you is here.”

Jon had exited his closet when he was hit in the face with an old moth ball smelly, faded Patriots shirt. Holding out so the smell didn't transfer to his white dress shirt. “Great, I don't think I have this one.” He folded it and put it one the chest.

Stephanie?” She called out.

Stephanie was waiting outside of their bedroom.

Yeah Lex?” She kept the half open bedroom door, holding the dress up by the hanger on the other side of the door.

I gave you my outfit to check out with while I went to look for your earring.” She tossed the clothes out of the bag. “Where is it?”

I guess you'll have to wear this.” She pulled the dress out behind the door.

Lexie's eyes about popped out of her head when she saw the black knit dress, her dress, in Stephanie's hand.

When did you,” Lexie stammered.

You remember when I went back to pick up that shirt and jacket? Well I really went back to get you that dress you loved.” Stephanie explained. “Now get dressed or you two will be late for your reservation.” she pushed Lexie toward the bathroom and handed her the dress. Going to her jewelry box and pulled out the necklace and studs and carried them to the door making sure Lexie had her jewelry. “Daddy hurry and finish getting ready.” She lectured her dad as she went into Lexie's closet and looked at her shoes. Picking out the black heeled sandles and taking them to the bathroom door. “Lexie I have your shoes.” she knocked and went into the bathroom.

How do I look?” Lexie stood there in her stocking feet, look of uncertainty in her eyes.

Stephanie held her breath. Lexie looked beautiful. Her dark auburn hair tumbled over her shoulder. Her makeup was minimal but smart. The dress fit her like it was made just for her.

Wow, you look fantastic.” Stephanie breathed.

Jon knocked on the bathroom door. “Lex, are you ready?”

Let her put her shoes on daddy, go bring the car around.” Stephanie yelled at her dad.

Okay.” Jon chuckled and headed out of the bedroom.

Let me go get my black shawl, just in case you get chilled walking to the restaurant.” Stephanie left the bathroom.

Lexie met Stephanie at the top of the stairs. She fixed the shawl around her shoulders and showed her how to hook it in the bend of her arms.

Jon was leaning on the fender of the car when the front door opened and Lexie came out.

Wow, you look great.” Jon told her as he opened her door for her.

You look pretty good too.” she told him as she slipped into the car seat.

Jon rounded the car and got in.

Ready for our first date?” Jon reached over and gave her a quick kiss.

Why Mr Bongiovi, on the first date?” she laughed in a breathy voice.

Always.” He laughed as he pulled up the drive to the gate. While he waited for it to open, he checked the pocket of his jacket for the ring box. It was there safe for later, when they walked along the walk by the river. He knew just the spot he wanted to pop the question. They pulled out of the drive and took off down the road toward the bridge and their dinner reservation.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Chapter 57

Stephanie pulled Jesse to the side as they we're heading into the kitchen to put their plates in the sink.

Jess, Daddy wants to talk to us after dinner.” Steph leaned on the counter as Jesse rinsed the dishes and loaded the dishwasher. “You remember what happened the last time he,” and she made the quote sign with her fingers, “Talked to us”, he and mom got divorced. I don't want to him to break up with Lexie.”

And I do?” Jesse tossed the rag into the sink, “She's the best thing that came into his life in a long time. He can't be breaking up with her.”

Well he goes, Steph, I need to talk to you and Jesse after dinner. It's the same way he said it before.” She hopped on the counter.

Well, if he wants us to be happy about it, he's in for a fight. Romy will pitch a fit.” He shut the door on the dishwasher a little harder than necessary.

Hey guys, your dad is talking with Romeo. I think he's going to let him off restrictions early.” She noticed the tension in the room, looking between the two teens she got a strange vibe off them. “Okay whats up, meatloaf dry, blame your dad, he had me hold dinner on him.”

Dinner was great, we were just talking about dad, he wants to talk to us.” Jesse told her.

I noticed he was in a talkative mood tonight. This house hold lots of memories for him, he was talking about bringing all of you home from the hospital.” She took her wine glass and poured the rest of the bottle in her glass and rinsed the bottle.

I thought daddy would sale the place, but he uses the place for fundraisers and there's the studio and the inn.” Stephanie told her. “We only come out here now on the weekend, mainly when Grandpop makes a pot of sauce.”

Everyone comes?” She was still nervous meeting the family and the rest of the band.

Yeah, well they want to meet you.” Jesse told her.

Me, they are coming to meet me?” She was still shocked. “I’m not anyone special.”

Daddy has kept you all to himself, the only one that has met you has been uncle Mookie.” Stephanie teased her.

Yeah, he took momma home to meet the folks, way back where they were in High School.” Jesse added to the teasing.

You guys are teasing me,” She laughed

You're so easy?” Jesse laughed.

Jon came into the kitchen and joined in the laughter,

What's so funny?” He came up behind Lexie and put his arms around her waist.

Jesse said I was easy.” Lexie laughed,

Well I wouldn't say that exactly.” Jon gave his son a funny look.

To tease dad, get your mind out of the gutter.” Jesse rolled his eyes.

Ha Ha” Jon faked a laugh. “Hey Lex, the reason I came looking for you, Jake is waiting on you in the family room. You two have a challenge to finish.”

I was kinda hoping he would forget that, I am so bad at that game.” She drained her wine glass and sat it in the drain and gave Jon a kiss on the cheek. “Let me go get beat.” She left them in the kitchen.

The kids just stood and stared at Jon.

I let Romey off restrictions.” He told his oldest two.

That's good.” Stephanie told him as she went to the fridge and got out a bottle of juice.

Yeah, good.” Jesse opened the dishwasher and added Lexie's wineglass.

Jon watched his two oldest, whats up with them. Maybe I should put off telling them about Lexie.

You wanted to talk to us?” Stephanie handed her brother a juice bottle. They both turned to look at Jon.

Yeah, I wanted to talk to you about Lexie.” Jon told them.

Well, we think it's terrible. How can you do this to her?” Stephanie jumped on her father.

What do you think it's gonna do to Romey and Jakey?” Jesse asked him, not bothering to hide his anger.

Whoa, you think it's terrible?” He reached in his pocket and toyed with the box.

Yes we do,” Jesse told him.

Why would it be so terrible?” Jon asked.

Why do you think it isn't?” Stephanie asked her dad.

Dad, the last time we has this talk, you told us that you and mom were going to divorce.” Jesse gave his dad his version of the stink eye.

Whoa, whoa right there, you think I'm breaking up with Lexie?” He asked his oldest.

Why else would you want a family meeting except to get us to smooth it over with the ankle biters?” Stephanie asked him.

I want to ask you two what you think of this?” He reached in his pocket and pulled out the white box.

You bought her a ring?” Jesse asked.

Stephanie took the box from him and opened it.

Pulling out an antique looking ring. Vintage diamond with a filigree band. It looked like something from the twenties, sort of great Gatsby look.

Where did you find it?” She asked handing the ring over to her brother.

I was walking through Soho and I found this little shop, never noticed it before, I walked in and was just looking around.” He told them.

Daddy you didn't buy Lexie a ring at salvation army?” Stephanie asked.

At that price I don't think so. This was a very vintage store, lots of clothes and jewelry.” Jon took the ring back and put it in the box. “Your mom and I just had plain bands, when I saw this ring, it just said Lexie.” Jon closed the ring box and put it back in his pocket.

When are you going to ask her, not with the whole family here.” Stephanie gasped.

Why not?” Both Jesse and Jon asked.

She might say no.” Stephanie told them.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Chapter 56

Lexie took the key off the hook and left Jon a Note:

Took kds  went to HP to get started. Stopped at S&S got food. C U when U get here. 

The kids had clothes out there, they would rotate closets when they got there and donate the ones that didn't fit. She was the only one with a suitcase. Romeo was still on restrictions, she would have to check his room while they were all in homework mode. Pulling off when Steph told her, Lexie looked around so next time she wouldn't need help to get there.

Back in New York, Jon finished his meeting made three stops then headed to the townhouse. He noticed the quiet first, saw the note second. Laughing it took him a while to figure it out, he went into the kitchen, grabbed a bottle of water, set the alarm and headed to the garage.

Lexie pulled into the Stop and Shop parking lot and turned off the engine.

Okay where did I put the list Stephanie?” She rummaged in the sack she called a purse.

I have it Lex, you handed it to me.” Steph pulled the list out of the book she was reading.

Okay,” Looking at her list, the kids got out of the car and started to go in. “Lets do this” Lexie got out and followed them in.

Jesse grabbed the cart and followed behind Lexie. First stop was the produce department.

Lexie got all the salad fixings, Stephanie added apples and grapes, Jake add Banana's and Romeo added a big bag of peanuts in the shell.

Salted in the shell, not raw?” Lexie asked. None of the added item in the cart were on her list, but the kids would eat the fruit and it was good for them.

Salted.” Romeo ran his finger over the word on the bag.

Okay,” She nods her head and they move on in the store. Getting dinner things and the stuff for Sunday dinner, they were heading over the bridge to the house. As she pulled into the drive, one photographer was across the way. “Better let dad know we have one on the gate.” Jesse called from the back seat.

On it” Stephanie already had her cell out. “hey daddy, was gonna leave you a message.”

Got done early, you guys there yet?” Jon jockeyed for a slot on the Garden State.

Yeah just pulled in, we had one on the gate. By the time you get here take the back way in.” She told him as she watched Lexie pull to the front door. “We can go in the garage and it's better Lex.” She motioned for her to follow the drive. Soon she was parked between Stephanie's little bug and an old Chevy. “See ya when you get here daddy.”

Just got on the GSP. Tell Lex to hold dinner for me.” He rang off. With all the divorce and stuff he had added a drive for the Studio and the Inn that they Poppers hadn't found yet.

Daddy said hold dinner for him.” Stephanie.
said as they started unloaded the car. Lexie rolled her case with one hand and two grocery bags in the other.

Okay, groceries up and homework.” She put her bags on the table and tried not to look like a fish gaping for air. This was her dream kitchen.

I'll show you daddy's room and then I'll help with the groceries.” Stephanie took her suitcase and headed through the swinging door out of the kitchen.

Which is Romey's room?” Lexie asked Steph as they went up the back stairs.

Top of the stairs to the right, second door. Going to check for electronics?” Steph crested the top of the stairs.

Should I or wait for your dad to come and do it.” Lexie came to the top of the stairs.

Let daddy, Romey has been doing so good, he has detention for a hour after school. He and Mike now sit across the room from each other.” Stephanie said and she had to agree.

She left her case and went back down to the kitchen to start dinner. The kids were spread out in the kitchen, doing homework.

The meatloaf was finished and the veggies cooked all they had to do was wait on Jon.

Lexie was working with Jake on spelling when Jon came in the garage door.

Jake looked up as Jon walked in.

Daddy's home.” Jake shut the book and looked up at Lexie “Can we eat now?”

Sure, set the table and I'll get the food.” She ruffled Jake's hair.

Getting off the stool she had been sitting on working with Jake on spelling, she went over and gave Jon a little kiss.

Jon loved the homey feel of coming home to Lexie. Granted they lived in the city for the kids to go to Polly Prep, but this house would always be home.

You all settled in?” Jon asked as he watched her pulling the meatloaf out of the oven and turning off the stove. Home cooking as she called it. He had forgotten to call his cook, Ida, to come out this weekend. Patting his pocket of his jacket, the small box sat snug in the depths of his pocket.

Well come on Daddy, Jakey is starved.” Stephanie nudged him and she got out the chilled bottle of wine and the milk.

Hey Steph, I need to talk to you and Jesse after dinner, Okay?” Jon asked his daughter.

Sure Daddy, everything okay?” She asked, the last time he had to “Talk” with her and Jess, he was getting a divorce from their mom.

Depends, but after dinner, okay?” He took the wine out of her hand and headed to the dinning room.

Oh shit” Stephanie followed her dad shaking her head.