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

Friends and Lovers

Friday, July 17, 2009
The next afternoon, when Richie was headed back to Jon’s place for “whatever the hell it is he has us doing today”, Jennifer hit the GPS’ button for home, and pointed her Tahoe north. Five and a half hours and six stops later, she pulled into her driveway. As she approached the gates, she saw a car she didn’t recognize waiting. She frowned and pulled alongside.

“Help you?” she asked.

The dark-tinted glass shushed down and Jen’s frown turned into a big grin. “GAIL!” She scrambled out of the car as Gail bolted from hers.

“Don’t move to fast, girl,” Gail said. “Don’t want you being all clumsy again.”

“Hey, it wasn’t my fault, you bitch,” Jen said, embracing her friend. “What are you doing here?”

“Cheryl called me on Friday and told me what happened. I couldn’t leave you to fend for yourself in this big old house, now could I?” She peered up the driveway. “Where the hell is your house?”

Jen laughed. “It’s up there, trust me. Hang on, and I’ll dial us in.”

The women went back to their respective cars, and Jen dialed in the code. The gate closed noiselessly behind them as they wound up the drive. After parking in front of the house, Gail got out and whistled. “Damn, you do alright, don’t you?”

“I manage,” Jen agreed. She started pulling bags from the back of the truck.

“Stop that right now!” Gail scolded. “You should be resting that leg, not toting luggage all over the damned place. Put it down.” Jen complied and Gail scooped up the bags. “Now, get your ass inside, carefully, mind you, and sit down. I’ll find the kitchen and get you some ice.”

Gail helped Jennifer into the house and whistled again. “Damn,” she said. “Now, where’s the kitchen?”

Later that night, the women were settled in upstairs. Jennifer had called in to work, telling them that she’d be working out of her home office for a few days. She made arrangements to have some work couriered home, and Gail had waited at the gate to collect the packages. The papers were spread all over the bed as Jennifer sat with her leg up on pillows. The swelling had gone down some, but it was still painful. Close to midnight, Gail went down the hall to her own room, leaving Jen in bed, working.

For the next couple of days, Gail helped Jen around in the house. She brought her gear down to the patio in the morning, and back inside in the afternoon. Jen talked to Richie several times a day, and he had taken to calling Gail as well, to make sure that Jen wasn’t overdoing it. Jen was grateful for the help and that they cared so much, but she was tired of being treated like an invalid, and extremely sick of being cooped up in the house.

“I’ve got to get out of here,” she said on Tuesday. “What do you want to do?”

Gail thought a moment. “I’ve been thinking of getting a new tattoo,” she said. “We could go do that.”

Jennifer laughed. “So not what I expected you to say, but sure, sounds good. Let me call my guy, make sure he’s got time for us today.” She made the call, and Bart did have room for them in the afternoon. After lunch, Gail and Jen headed to “Needles and Pins”, Jen’s favorite tattoo place. A huge hulking beast of a man greeted them in the waiting area.

“Jen! Glad to see ya,” he boomed, enveloping her in a hug. “Who’d you bring me?” He looked at Gail, his startling green eyes locking onto hers.

“Name’s Gail,” she said, sticking her hand out. “Aren’t you a big one, then,” she cracked.

Bart laughed and winked. “In every way possible, baby,” he said. “C’mon, let’s get you back in my chairs. What are you having done today?”

The girls told him, and he was disappointed that it was something so simple. “Aw, girls, that’s easy stuff. How about something more detailed?”

“You mean like a starburst on my breast?” Gail asked, winging an eyebrow.

“You ‘ve seen that? Some of my best work. The double-neck too.” He reached familiarly for Jen’s shirt, and raised it a little. “That one was a bitch to do; she wanted every detail perfect. Do you know how hard it is to ink tiny little studs like that?”

“Poor baby,” Jen said, rolling her eyes and yanking her shirt back down. “As I recall you got paid handsomely for that.”

“Yeah,” Bart beamed. “I did. OK, let’s get you ladies inked up.”

Several hours later, the girls were admiring their new ink back at Jen’s house. They had gotten the initials “SOTB” in flowing script inked just above their left ankles. Bart had rolled his eyes when they told him it meant “Sisterhood of the Brotherhood” and referred to the boys of Bon Jovi, but did a gorgeous job of it. They stayed outside, talking and laughing until it was far too dark to see, and the bugs had come out. Gail helped Jennifer back into the house and they settled into their respective beds.

Around 10:00 that night, Jennifer’s cell rang. It was Cheryl.

“JEN!” she shouted from 12th row at Madison Square Garden. “HERE’S YOUR RICHIE!”

Jennifer smiled and listened to Richie sing “I’ll Be There For You”. Again. Four shows in a row now. She shook her head, but still closed her eyes and pictured him singing. She saw the way his eyes shut and his head tilted when he sang “didn’t mean to miss your birthday, baby” and the beauty of his voice and the joy she heard in it made her eyes well up. When the song was done, Cheryl was back on the phone, talking a mile a minute.

“I can’t hear you but he looks amazing, and keeps looking over here at us to see if you’re here even though he knows you’re not; I think he misses you. Oh, gotta go, will call you later, love you, bye!”

Jennifer hung up the phone and sat back. Four shows in a row, he did that song. She knew that was one of his favorites; hell, Jon tells the crowd that every night, but she’d known that for years. Still, using that as his solo for four shows in a row was a bit much. She hoped for the sake of the fans at MSG, that he did something different for the last show. Thoughtfully, she pulled out her blackberry, and sent Richie a text.

Baby, you sounded great tonight, but pick another song for tomorrow if you don’t want a riot. I miss you fiercely. ~ J xx

On stage, Richie’s pants buzzed. He smiled; glad for once for all the weight he lost in Europe. The stage clothes he preferred were a little loose on him now which didn’t please the fans too much, but made it easier to keep his cell on him. He had a feeling it was Jennifer, and wanted nothing more than to duck down the stairs for a minute to see what she said. He knew he couldn’t though, but he had a sly smile on his face the rest of the show.

Between songs, when he went to the base of David’s dais to get a drink of water, David looked at his friend. “What’s with the grin?” he asked Richie.

“Jen texted,” Richie said.

“Man, you’ve got it bad,” David laughed, blowing Richie a kiss.

“I know, and fuck you,” he responded, his smile a mile wide. He went over to Jon and leaned in to talk directly into his ear. “Dry County,” he said. Jon just looked at him, and Richie nodded. Jon shrugged. Jon had wanted to put it in, but Richie had pushed back, saying his heart wasn’t in the right place to do the grueling solos the song contained. Now, with Jennifer’s words pressed into his thigh, he knew he could do it. He just hoped her friend called her for that song.

Jennifer was just drifting off to sleep again when the cell rang, startling her. “What?” she grumbled into the phone. Then she heard the licks. Her second most favorite solo of everything he’d ever done. Her very favorite was the solo in “Any Other Day” at the O2 in London – when Richie had started the long, slow climb out of the pit he had dug himself into. That would always be her favorite. But this? This was simply the best guitar work she’d ever heard. She put the phone on speaker and listened as Richie played the hell out of the solo.

After the bows, Richie waved to Cheryl and her friend, mouthing “thank you” because he knew they had called Jennifer throughout the show. They waved back and blew a kiss which he returned. Then the four men were clasping hands, and basking in the roar of the appreciative crowd. That sound, that feeling never got old.

As they made their way down the stairs and through the tunnel to the dressing area, Richie took out his phone. He saw Jen’s text and smiled. She didn’t know. Or she didn’t guess. That made his smile widen. He hit the speed dial button for Jen’s house phone. He didn’t want her cell service cutting out when he had something important to tell her.

The ringing phone woke Gail first. She answered the phone without thinking. “Right, then, what do you want in the bloody middle of the bloody night?”

Richie laughed. “Sorry, Gail, darlin’, it’s Rich. Is Jen up?”

“If she is, I’m going to beat her ass. She needs to stay off that leg.” Richie chuckled at the protectiveness of Jennifer’s friend. “I’ll go see if she’s awake; hang on.” She climbed out of bed, and padded down the hall. Pushing open the door of Jen’s bedroom, she saw her friend struggling to stand. “Sit your ass back down, missy,” Gail chided. “I’ve brought you the phone.”

“Thanks,” Jennifer answered, taking the handset from her friend. The house phone in her bedroom was across the room on the desk, and she had no idea how she was going to drag her butt over there to get it when her knee was all locked up.

“Hey, baby, that you?” Jennifer settled back into the pillows, and Gail snorted at the goofy look on her friend’s face. Jennifer flipped her off, a signal that Gail returned, then the other woman went back to bed.

“Sure is, darlin’. I miss you, and wish you would have let me bring you here.”

Jennifer sighed. “I miss you too, Rich, and you know why I couldn’t come tonight. But listen, you were absolutely amazing. Cheryl called for your song and Dry County. I can’t believe you guys played that! It was fantastic,” she said, then hesitated. “Did you get my text?”

Richie laughed. “Sure did, darlin’. So you think I should sing something different tomorrow?”

“Well, most of the people who are at MSG were at CP on Saturday, and many of those were in Boston. Not that it isn’t a gorgeous song when you do it, but I think they’d love to hear something different for the last solo of the tour, don’t you?”

“But baby,” Richie said. “I’m singing that song to you. For you.”

Jennifer’s heart stopped. “You are?” That thought hadn’t even crossed her mind. She just figured he sang it because it was one of his favorites, and told him so.

“It’s true that it’s one of my favorites,” Richie said, “but I’m singing it for you. I want to be your everything, Jennifer. I know it’s soon, but you’re the first thought I have in the morning, and the last thought before I go to sleep at night. I dream of you, and turn to you a thousand times during the day to tell you something, only you’re not there.”

Richie had moved away from the others, but Jon approached when he saw the emotions playing on Richie’s face. He was going to be pissed if Jennifer was saying something to hurt him. He came up beside Richie and put a hand on his wingman’s shoulder. When Richie raised his head, Jon was taken aback by the sheen of tears in his friend’s eyes. There was no sadness on his face whatsoever, though; just pure, breathtaking joy. Jon’s heart squeezed for his friend, and he backed away. Richie’d be alright.

“I want to be that for you,” Richie continued into the phone. “Dammit I wish I was there with you right now. Jennifer, I want you in my life, all the way in. I want you to meet my mother and my daughter. I want you to meet my friends and family. I want to meet your family. I want you to…. aw, hell, I just want you.”

Jennifer was sitting with tears streaming from her eyes. “Oh, Rich,” she said. “You wonderful, beautiful man. You are in my thoughts all the time and in my heart. I want nothing more than to be with you, to be in your life.”

Richie’s smile caught David’s attention, and he said, loud enough for Jennifer to hear, “Oh for Christ’s sake, man, just tell her you love her and come ON already! We have shit to do.” David cackled wildly.

Richie smiled. “He’s right, you know,” he said to Jennifer. “I do. Love you.”

"Oh, Rich," Jennifer said, tears in her eyes. "I love you too."

"I have some stuff to get through after the show tomorrow," Richie said, "then I'm coming to see you. Where will you be at around six?"

Jennifer laughed. "Home. Even for me, that’s a bit early to be at work. Actually, I’m having trouble walking, and don’t want to risk it on the train, so I’m working at home for a few days." Her heart was soaring. He was coming to her.

“You should go to the doctor, you know,” Richie said, concerned.

“If my knee doesn’t feel better in a couple days, I will,” Jennifer promised.

"You’d better. I love you," he said again.

"I love you too."


Joviswoman said...

Awwwwwwwww damn he's going to see her awwwwwwwwwwww.

Love it H.

Rike said...

so we have to hear "IBTFY" again and again? ;)

Oh, I love when Richie sings the song, but sometimes a little change would be nice. I guess there are more songs which could express his feelings.

ohooo, and he's going to her place the next day? Can't wait

JBJBounce said...

AWWWWW, that was so beautiful.

Judith said...

awwwwww he finally told her!

I love this story!! More soon please! :)

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