Well I went and did it again. I got involved in yet another interactive fan fiction story. This time, my character was paired with Richie (much more to my liking). That story wrapped in early November 2008, and I had been asked to assemble the "story posts", that is, the posts that tell Richie and Jen's story, in one place for people to read.

So I'm doing it.

I'm having to add some filler as I go, as there were lengthy pauses between the verbose posts I made, but I'm trying to keep the flow of the story going.

The Richie/Jen story is only half of the fan fic project. The other half was a Jon/T story. That is not explored here at all. In fact, very little mention is made. Just enough so it isn't a surprise when T shows up at various points.

If anything is confusing, please let me know. I've been living this character for the better part of the last eight months, and her memories are mine. I forget, sometimes, that you all can't see into my head.

I hope you enjoy the story. It starts here.

~ Hath

Getting to Southampton

Friday, November 14, 2008
At precisely midnight, on June 10th, Jennifer’s plane soared upwards into the night, barreling her at more than 300 miles an hour toward what amounted to a blind date. One hand had a death grip on the armrest and the other gripped the tattoo on the back of her neck, just below the hairline. “STRENGTH” it read, and she needed strength now. Once the plane leveled off, she breathed a sigh of relief. Flying was one of those necessary evils she’d learn to live with, but it was not her idea of a good time. Like she’d told Samantha, and anyone else who would listen, her travel gear included Xanax, and she’d taken one shortly before boarding.

Finally, the captain turned off the “fasten your seatbelt” sign, and Jennifer reached for her Blackberry. No sooner did she power it on that it started to sing Madonna’s “Beautiful Stranger”: Haven’t we met/You're some kind of beautiful stranger/You could be good for me/I have a taste for danger

She smiled as she answered the phone. “Hello?”

“Jennifer? That you, darlin’?” Richie’s voice came through the speaker, and she sighed happily.

“Hey there. Yeah, it’s me,” she said softly. “What the hell are you doing up? Isn’t it something like six a.m. where you are?”

Richie chuckled. “Something like that,” he said. He’d woken early to call her and make sure she was okay. He’d flown with people who don’t like heights, and knew the ride would be tough for her. “You doing okay? Flight get off on time?”

Surprised, Jennifer answered, “Yeah, I’m okay, and the captain literally JUST turned off the fasten seatbelt sign. How’d you know this was the right time to call?”

“Darlin’, I’ve been flying for more years than I haven’t,” he said. “I can probably tell you the exact minute when the cart will come down the aisle.”

Jennifer laughed. “By that time, the sedative will have really kicked in, and I won’t care. I’ll bypass the hot towels for a nap any day. I’ll wake up just before landing, and pray all the way down.” She groaned. “You probably think I’m overreacting.”

“Not at all, sweetheart,” he said, making Jennifer’s eyes go wide. That actually sounded like he meant it as an endearment, not just something he says. Either way, it sounded damned good to her.

“So,” Jennifer said, shaking her head. “I won’t ask how I’ll recognize you at the airport,” she laughed at herself, “but I imagine you won’t be just hanging out. Where should I go to find you?”

Richie smiled. “Actually, my flight gets in at about the same time as yours.” He’d had Jon’s pilot double- then triple-check to make sure he’d land a least a half an hour before Jennifer’s flight. Jon had given him a bunch of shit over his plans, but Richie couldn’t find a commercial flight that would get in at the same time. “I’ll meet you in baggage claim. We can rescue your stuff together.” His gear would already be stowed in the car at that point.


“Uh-uh. No arguments. Let me worry about finding you, not the other way around. Now, help me out; what are you wearing?”

In Jennifer’s drug-fuzzied head, she went straight to the gutter, which was apparently the funniest thing that’d happened to her all day, and she started giggling.

“What’s so funny?” Richie asked, amused at her reaction.

Jennifer lowered her voice to a seductive growl. “I’m wearing a cowboy hat and a smile, baby,” she said, then dissolved into giggles again.

Richie joined her laughter. “Very funny,” he said. “The meds are kicking in, huh?”

“Yeah, sorry,” she snickered. “It’s true about the hat, though, and the smile, though I also have on blue track pants, a black t-shirt, and white sneakers. Christ, I’m tired,” she said, yawning to punctuate her point.

“Alright, darlin’,” Richie said, smiling at her. “You have a nap, and I’ll see you when you land. Remember, wait for me in baggage.”

Jennifer sighed happily. “Baby, I’d wait for you anywhere….g’night,” she said, disconnecting the call.

Back in Ireland, Richie stared at his phone. When she said that last, his heart tripped in his chest. He swore at his reaction. That had to be the Xanax talking.

Several hours later, Jennifer was gently shaken by the stewardess. “Miss, we’re getting ready to land,” she said softly. Jennifer groaned and sat up, nodding her head. She made the mistake of looking out the window, and panicked as the plane dipped a wing in its final turn. She closed her eyes and sat back against the seat, rubbing furiously at the tattoo on the back of her neck. She chuckled to herself, surprised she hadn’t rubbed the damned thing off by now.

When they rolled to a stop at the gate, Jennifer stood and retrieved her hat and bag from the overhead compartment. She quickly inserted her contact lenses, jade green today, and stowed her glasses before leaving the plane. Winding her hair into a knot as she walked down the jetway, she crammed the beat-up black hat over it. She found the baggage area, and promptly plunked down on the floor, waiting for the buzz that would herald the delivering of their bags. She fired off a quick text message to Sam, letting her know she’d landed safely, and that Richie’d called her on the plane. She was having trouble concentrating, and soon had to put her Blackberry away. As she sat there with her head in her hands, she felt rather than heard someone walk up behind her.

Richie saw the tall woman emerge from the end of the jet way and smiled. She was by far the tallest person coming off the plane. She was slender, stacked and damn cute. He watched her plunk down on the floor sit down, and his heart leapt. It must be her: track pants, t-shirt, cowboy hat. She looked like she had an awful headache though, the way she was holding her head. Smiling, he went over to her.

“Are you alright, miss?” a concerned and familiar voice asked softly.

Jennifer smiled, recognizing his voice right away. She tilted her hat back to look up at Richie. “Hell, I’m more than alright, I’m damn fine, friend-of-Bill,” she said.

Richie’s face opened in a wide smile as her voice and her words registered. There was a whole lot of sass in her East Coast tone. “Well, well, well,” he said, as he offered a hand to help her up off the floor. “It’s nice to finally meet you, Jennifer, darlin’,” he said, hauling her to her feet, and keeping hold of her hand. It was delicate and warm in his, and grasping it made him feel all protective.

“Likewise,” she said with a shy smile. She colored slightly, and leaned in to kiss Richie on the cheek. It was warm and slightly stubbled; his whiskers tickling her lips. “Thank you for coming to get me,” she said. Richie still hadn’t let go of her hand, but she didn’t mind. The strength and gentleness of his grasp were comforting.

Richie pulled her in for a big, full-body hug. He wrapped one arm around her waist, and the other around her shoulders and crushed her against the chest that had a starring role in most of her fantasies. “Thank you for agreeing to meet me so soon,” he said. “How was your flight?” He let her go and nearly reached for her hand again, but stopped.

Jennifer laughed, making her eyes dance. “Blessedly black,” she said, touching his arm briefly, burning him. “I don’t remember a thing after we hung up. It was great.”

They chatted a bit, getting a feel for talking in person rather than on the phone. Jennifer was amazed at how at ease she felt with Richie. She was sure that she’d be a mess, gushing over him and trying hard to appear as if she wasn’t. But, talking with him was easy. He was just as witty and charming in person as he was on the phone.

It didn’t escape Richie’s notice that Jennifer was pretty relaxed. He figured part of it was the sedative, but was relieved there wasn’t any “oh my God” with her. Knowing how big a fan she was, he was half expecting wide-eyed stares regardless. This was much better. Watching her, he was amused at the way she talked with her hands – her whole body actually – and wondered if she did that when she was on the phone as well.

When the baggage buzzer sounded, Jennifer turned instinctively and headed toward it. She shot a look of gleeful anticipation over her shoulder at him that made Richie chuckle. While she walked away, he took a moment to check her out again before following. She wore the hat well, though he wished she’d take it off so he could see her hair. Her long, lean torso tapered to her trim waist then flowed into long legs. She had a confident walk that had people turning to watch her as she passed. Jennifer had no idea her progress was being tracked. Either that, or she didn’t care. Refreshing.

Richie watched as an old couple stopped her to ask her something. The man in the wheelchair had to be at least 80 if he was a day, and his wife wasn’t much younger. Jennifer squatted to hear whatever it was the man was saying, so he wouldn’t have to crane his neck. She consulted her watch, stood to look up at the board, and nodded to them, touching the woman’s hand as she looked around the terminal. Jennifer smiled at the couple, raised a single finger, then took off for the baggage carts. She brought one back over to them, and accepted a brief hug from the woman before heading over to the carousel. He smiled at her; she was a considerate, touchy-feely person. That made Richie feel warm inside. He liked those kinds of people.

Richie came up behind Jennifer and asked, “How many bags?”

“Just one,” she said, startled at his voice in her ear.

Richie moved to stand close to her and grinned at having surprised her. “Really? Just one?”

“Yeah, but it’s REAL big,” Jennifer said, laughing. She looked at the man next to her. He was a little taller than she was, though not more than a couple inches, and his hair was sexily mussed, like he had just woken up. He had a half-smile on his face that set his dimples off, and his eyes were bright and clear. A tight deep blue t-shirt was tucked into tight black jeans, and Jennifer nearly sighed at the sight of his arms. The bottoms of his tattoos were just visible under the sleeves of his shirt, and when he crossed them over his broad chest, they flexed enticingly.

“Everything alright?” he asked.

Blushing, Jennifer answered, “Yeah, fine, sorry. You can’t really blame a girl for checking you out though, can you? Although,” she said, then shook her head, an evil gleam in her eye. “Nahh, never mind.” She took a step toward the conveyor as bags started sliding down.

Richie grabbed her arm. “Although what?” His eyes were sparkling with amusement.

“Although,” Jennifer said, lowering her voice and leaning in to talk into Richie’s ear, “I was sort of hoping for the nearly undone button-up shirt.” She straightened and winked at him before going to the conveyor to fetch her bag.

With a bark of laughter, he hurried to her side again. The combination of boldness and blushing shyness was fascinating. He wondered for a moment if she was like that with everyone, or if he was one of the lucky ones. “Let me get that,” he said, lifting the suitcase from the carousel. “You ready?”

“Just about,” Jennifer answered. A few minutes later, two large, blue, hard-sided suitcases came crashing down the ramp. “We need to grab those,” she said, and Richie put down her bag to pick the other two cases up. Jennifer hefted her own bag.

“Where to?” Richie asked her. “That couple you were talking to? Do you know them?”

Jennifer nodded then shook her head. “Yes, the cases are for them, and no, I don’t know them. I met them in Boston.” They brought the cases over and Richie put them on the couple’s cart. He looked around and signaled for an airport worker to help them through customs.

“You and your wife are such nice kids,” the man said to him. “Thank you for your help.”

“Oh,” Jennifer started, but Richie interrupted.

“No problem, sir,” he said, and steered Jennifer away. Jennifer just stared at Richie. “What?” he said. She just shook her head.

They cleared customs and went outside. Richie signaled to someone, and a long black car slid up to the curve. The trunk popped open, and Richie stowed Jennifer’s bag next to his own gear. The driver came around to open the door, and Jennifer grinned as she climbed into the car. She sank into the luxurious upholstery and sighed. Richie climbed in after her, and settled next to her, stretching his legs out. “You need anything?”

“I’d love some water,” she said, as she took a small packet from her pocket. Richie handed her a bottle which she drank half of in two long swallows. Groaning appreciatively, she opened the packet and tossed back the pills she had in there. She finished off the water, and settled back against the seat. The brim of her hat was bumping against the seatback, so she took it off and Frisbee-d it across to the other seat. She shook out her hair, and scratched her nails into her scalp, sighing appreciatively.

“You okay?” Richie asked. He couldn’t take his eyes off her hair. It was honey blonde, shot through with deep gold highlights and fell in a curtain to the seat. If she wanted to, she could sit on the ends of it. His fingers itched to replace hers in massaging her scalp.

Jennifer nodded. “Yeah, I’ve just got a headache, and I’m wicked parched. It’ll all sort itself out by tomorrow.”

Richie shook his head and handed her a second bottle of water. “Sorry ‘bout the headache, darlin’,” he said, then smiled. “But, wicked parched? Don’t you mean ‘wicked pahhched’?”

Jennifer laughed. “Fuck you, Rich” she said jokingly, then clapped her hands over her mouth. “Sorry, hazard of jet lag. The filter between my brain and mouth sorta disintegrates. Decorum takes too much energy. You get raw, unpolished, in-your-face Jennifer.”

Richie laughed and looped an arm around Jennifer’s shoulders and squeezed, the softness of her hair caressing his arm. She was fun, jet-lagged or not. He noticed, too, that she called him ‘Rich’ instead of ‘Richie’ like she did on the phone. He definitely owed Jon one for getting her number for him. “Don’t worry about it,” he said. “Frankly, I’m glad you’re comfortable enough around me to let your guard down. If my swearing at you will make you feel any better, fuck you back.”

Jennifer laughed hard at that. “God, you’re too much,” she said when she got herself under control. “I’m actually surprised I’m not a blithering idiot,” Jennifer admitted. “I was so sure I’d be gushing all over you and wouldn’t get a coherent word out. Thought for sure I’d be tongue-tied.” She shook her head. “Guess that’s not going to be a problem.”

“Guess not,” he agreed. “I’m glad, too,” Richie said. “I’m just a man, darlin’,” Richie said softly. “The other is just my job.”

“You’re more than ‘just’ anything, Rich” Jennifer answered. She patted Richie’s leg reassuringly, then boldly left her hand on this thigh. “Don’t worry, when I have clarity, I’m sure I’ll gush appropriately at you. But now, I’m just so freaking glad to be off that plane, but so damned tired I can’t see straight. I know, though, if I go to sleep now, I’ll never sleep tonight. Amuse me.” She demanded with a smile.

And he did, telling her stories and anecdotes about his daughter, the places the band had been, and some stories from his childhood. In no time at all, they reached the hotel.


Anonymous said...

“But, wicked parched? Don’t you mean ‘wicked pahhched’?”

I LOVE IT...i get that all the time


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