“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.
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.