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

Photo Shoot

Monday, December 28, 2009
Richie was good to his word, and the next morning, the buzz at the front gate was Vincent, the driver Richie had hired for the week. Jennifer had to laugh at the monstrous stretch Humvee coming up the driveway. She certainly was going to make a statement arriving at work in THAT. Vincent was an older gentleman, very kind, and was there bright and early with a Diet Coke on ice for her. Jennifer laughed. Richie thought of everything.

Wednesday night, Jennifer couldn’t believe her eyes when Vincent handed her a large, flat box as she got to the car. When she carefully untied the wide, red ribbon and lifted the lid, Vincent had to keep her from sagging to the ground. Inside the box was a gorgeous silver gown. With shaking hands, she took it out of the box and held it up. It was a Goddess gown with an empire waist drape detail in crepe satin and chiffon. It had thin clear straps and a modest neckline, and it was absolutely gorgeous.

Under the gown was a note written in Richie’s strong, masculine scrawl.
Hi, baby...

I hope you’ll take a picture in THIS and let me see it...

I would love you to wear this on our “date” on Friday. In fact, Vincent will have a special surprise for you in the Hummer so you can see me and I can see you – I’d love to actually see you in the dress. Any chance you would be willing to change at work before leaving for the day?

I miss you and love you, and can’t wait to hold you in my arms again.

~ Rich

When she got home, she read the note for the umpteenth time. She’d absolutely change into the gown for him, but she wouldn’t be all made up and coiffed like she would if they were going out. Smiling, she took out her cell phone and hit a button on her speed-dial.

“What are you doing tonight?” she asked her best friend, Krissy.

Krissy just laughed. “And good evening to you too, Jen.”

“Ha ha ha, very funny. Good evening, Ms. Krissy. Do you have plans for the evening?”

“Yeah,” her friend chuckled, “and so do you. We were going to the restaurant, remember?”

“About that...wanna help me with a project instead?” Jennifer was a little nervous, but she and Krissy had shared everything about each other over the dozen or so years they’d been friends, and she knew her friend wouldn’t judge her.

“Ooh, what kind of project?”

Jennifer told her about the dress Richie had sent her, and the picture request, and what she wanted to do. Krissy was enthusiastic about helping, and promised to be over within the hour. Jennifer took a shower and partially dried her hair, and had applied her foundation when Krissy let herself into the house.

“HELLO!” she called from the foyer.

“UPSTAIRS!” Jennifer yelled back.

Krissy came into the room and gave Jennifer a big hug. “You ready to get beautiful?” she asked, smiling.


After pouring two glasses of white wine, Krissy worked on Jennifer’s hair, setting it in wide rollers while Jennifer applied her eye makeup. She had thickened her lashes with mascara, and tinted the lids with a vibrant coppery hue. She inserted clear lenses so her gray eyes would pick up the sheen from the gown, then lined her lower lid with Kohl. A coppery lipstick and pale peach blusher completed her makeup. The look was very dramatic and Jennifer smiled.

Amid much chatter and laughing, Krissy finished setting the rollers, then took out a small case from her bag. She had a set of tiny tweezers and a little tube of glue, and an acrylic box of sparkly body art. She laid out a pattern around Jennifer’s eyes with an eyeliner pencil, then carefully glued the dazzling jewels into place. A half hour later, Jennifer stared at her reflection in the mirror. Fat, glossy curls hung around her shoulders and were teased a little to give her hair body. Her makeup was flawless, and she was ready to get dressed.

She dropped the robe to reveal a flesh colored lace thong and fuzzy bedroom slippers. Krissy laughed at her. “Nice ensemble, Jen.”

Jennifer chuckled. “Shut up and help me with my dress,” she said. “And here,” she tossed the bra at Krissy. “Take this with you... for the next picture,” she said.

Careful not to muss the artistry the two women had created, they eased the gown over Jennifer’s head and settled it around her body. It fit her beautifully, the chiffon floating around her, and the crepe fabric drape making her look taller. What made Jennifer happiest was that it completely hid her brace, and you couldn’t tell from looking at her that she was wearing bedroom slippers. She looked longingly at her closet, where she knew she had the most perfect Ferragamo stiletto sandals, but she knew she couldn’t. Well shouldn’t at any rate. Soon though, she vowed.

“Where do you want to take the picture?” Krissy asked, distracting Jennifer from lusting after her shoes.

The women decided to go down to the pond on the back forty, and position Jennifer so you couldn’t see any of the buildings on the property. The sun was low in the sky, and there was a light breeze that teased her hair, blowing it gently toward the camera. Krissy fired of a barrage of photos, having Jennifer carefully turn this way or that. The best shot was one of Jennifer looking over the water, her arm raised to shield her eyes; the diamonds of her bracelet and the jewels around her eyes catching the sun. “That’s the one,” Krissy breathed, when they scrolled through the photos together.

“He will die,” Jennifer said, smiling. “And I can send it to the girls after, too.”

“Where do you want to do the other one?”

Jennifer blushed. “For sure, inside. I’m not that adventurous, even with no close neighbors.”

“I’ve read your stuff, Jen, and uh, yeah, you are.”

“No,” Jennifer corrected, “Hath is. I’m just her conduit.”

“Yeah well, channel her now, ‘cause outside on that chaise,” she indicated a wrought-iron chaise in the garden, “would be perfect, and if he died seeing this picture of you in the gown, the other will most certainly revive him and kill him again.”

The women walked toward the bench, and Krissy helped Jennifer get the gown up over her head. A cool breeze was blowing, and Jennifer instinctively covered her breasts with her hands. Krissy smiled and snapped a photo.

“What are you doing?”

“Killing Richie Sambora,” she said, shaking her head. “You have to send that one to him.”

“Gimme my bra,” Jennifer answered. When Krissy complied, Jennifer tucked herself into it then sat on the bench. With four rasps of Velcro, the brace was unfastened, and tossed aside. Jennifer arranged her legs so her left was straight, and the other bent at the knee. Her arms were arranged on top of her head, and she looked away from the camera, smiling.

“Nice, Jen,” Krissy said. “Now look like you’re heartbroken that Richie isn’t here.”

“That won’t be hard,” Jennifer said wryly, and relaxed her features. She remembered back to the airport on Friday, and Krissy nearly wept at the look on her friend’s face. Jen had certainly fallen hard, and the love and longing in her expression showed it.

“Now,” Krissy said softly, “don’t move.” She circled around to take a full-frame picture of her face. The edge of the bracelet hung over her forehead and some of her curls were blowing up around her cheeks. “Damn, Jen,” she said.

Back in the house, the girls loaded the pictures to Jennifer’s computer and went through them. They selected several to send to Richie, including the full-frame face. Her unmasked eyes very clearly showed Richie that she missed him and loved him and longed for him.

“I hope he likes them,” Jennifer said with an out-of-place tremor in her voice.

“Honey, if he doesn’t, then it’s because he’s been struck blind. Hell, I’m halfway turned on.”

Jennifer burst out laughing. “I so do NOT swing for pink, sweetie,” she said, “though I will give you a kiss.” Krissy touched her lips to Jen’s briefly in the way that girlfriends do.

“Hungry?” Krissy asked.


The girls shared a pizza, laughing and talking until close to eleven. “Shit, look at the time,” Krissy said. “I have to go. This was fun,” she added.

“Thanks for helping me,” Jennifer said.

“Send the pictures,” Krissy admonished.

When her friend left, Jennifer went back up stairs to her computer. She composed an email to Richie and attached several of the pictures including the bare-breasted one and the close-up of her face.
FROM: TheGoddessHathor@gmail.com
TO: UndiscoveredStranger@gmail.com
Subject: Hey, Baby...

Hey Rich, baby, thanks so much for the gown. And yeah, you can have a picture (see attached). What the hell do you and Vincent have planned so you can see me? But yes, I can dress for you for Friday. I won’t look as good as I do in these photos, though. Trust me.

Hope you’re having fun at home, and tell Ava I miss her!

Love you,
~ Jen

PS, I really miss you too. That’s why I sent the OTHER attachments.... Love you
When Richie’s email pinged, he was ecstatic to see it was Jen. When he opened the email and read it, he smiled. Excellent. She’d be dressed up. He couldn’t wait. Then he saw all the attachments. There were four of them. The first one he opened made him suck in a breath. It was Jennifer in the gown, all made up standing by the water, shading her eyes. It looked like she was looking for someone, and her eyes held a touch of sadness. Richie touched the screen before he gave himself a shake.

The second photo he opened was the close-up of Jennifer’s face. He let out a long whistle and just stared. Quickly, he forwarded that photo to Jon with a simple note – “I’m one lucky sonofabitch.”

Heart pounding, he opened the next picture, and nearly fell out of his chair. There she was, reclining on a chaise, looking distracted and radiant. He couldn’t tear his eyes away from her arms, raised over her head, down her neck to the barely-there bra that showed almost all of her starburst tattoo, across her toned abdomen and “his” tattoo, down across her hips and over the miles of leg. He frowned a little when he saw both her legs were naked, but got distracted by the last unopened photo.

Hands shaking, he double-clicked the little icon, and this time, leaned so close to the screen that the chair rolled out from under him, and he hit his chin on the desk. There she was, his Jennifer, standing in front of a garden with nothing on but her thong and a smile. Her hands were covering her up, but he could see the gooseflesh raised on her arms, and her hair was blowing all around her, so he knew it was windy, and she must have been chilly.

He stared at the picture for a good long while. Then he signed out of his email and picked up the phone. “Oh my GOD,” he said to her when she answered.

“So you got my pictures, then?” Jennifer answered, yawning widely.

“I sure did, and nearly bit my tongue off with that last one.” He was going to skip the question but had to ask. “Who took the pictures? They came out really good.”

Yeah, sure, Jennifer thought. THAT’S why you’re asking. “My best friend took them. She helped me with my hair and the glittery things around my eyes, too.”

“Well, you’ll have to thank her for me,” Richie said, not missing the bigger yawn that Jennifer made. “Baby, are you sleeping?”

“Not well,” Jennifer admitted. “I got used to sleeping with you I guess,” she said, trying for a light tone. “Also, I had some early days this week, and another early one tomorrow, so I’m wiped.”

“OK,” Richie said, disappointed. “Well, I guess I can let you go. Though I don’t want to.”

“So don’t,” Jennifer said. “I’ll put you on speaker, and you can talk to me until I fall asleep. I miss your voice,” she said, tears starting to clog her throat.

“I miss you too. I’ll be able to see you on Friday, though, and I’m not telling what Vincent and I have planned. That’d ruin it. Just suffice it to say, we figured out a way that you’ll be able to see me, and I’ll be able to see you.”

“I’m gonna be all dressed up,” Jennifer said, “are you?”

“Absolutely,” Richie said. He heard her moving around as she got ready for bed. The sound of running water, the setting of the alarm clock, flipping of light switches, and the rustle of bedclothes. “Are you in bed now?”

“Yep,” Jennifer said sleepily. “Before I forget, have fun with Stephanie tomorrow.” Steph was flying out to LA to visit with some of the California girls from the board, and Richie insisted she let him take her for lunch, and that she should wear her hair up. He had also lowered his voice seductively, and asked her to wear bubblegum lip gloss. It took all of 10 seconds for him to convince her to have lunch, and she and Jennifer had laughed over Richie’s other demands.

“Just do it,” Jennifer had said. “I bet you’d shock the hell out of him.” Steph agreed.

“I will have fun, baby, but I’ll miss you,” Richie promised.

He started talking to her about his day, and what he and Ava had been doing, and about T and Jon’s upcoming wedding, and before long he heard her steady breathing and knew she was asleep.

“Jennifer, darlin’, I want nothing more than to have you here with me right now,” he said. “I miss you so much my soul aches. I love you sweetheart, and will talk to you tomorrow.”

Didn't Mean To Miss Your Birthday

Monday, December 21, 2009
By the end of the month, Jennifer still didn’t feel any better, and hadn’t come to any decisions about what to do with her future. Richie had been able to jet out for a few days in the middle of September, but they didn’t talk about “where do we go next”. In fact, they didn’t talk too much about anything, they just enjoyed being with each other. He’d been home for more than a week, and she still felt bereft.

Jennifer thought that the busyness of work would keep her mind off Richie, but it didn’t. She was mooning and pouting and finally so disgusted with herself, she sought out one of her friends to give her a reality check. She logged onto the board and chatted which helped, and she was able to get some of her backlog of work done. Jen spent a good deal of time whining to Stephanie about Richie, but once she got all the “poor me” out of her system, she felt loads better. Smiling, she said her goodbyes and logged off the board.

Minutes later, her email pinged. Stephanie wrote her, offering to come out and help her out of her funk. A funk, Jen thought, that she should be able to get herself out of alone. A funk she just had to shut up and get over. There was absolutely no reason for her to be so upset and distracted. Jen wrote back that it wasn’t necessary, but if she didn’t feel better by the weekend, she would take her friend up on the offer.

Smiling, she closed that message, and stared, slack-jawed at the one that had just arrived. It was from her ex-husband. She was tempted to read it, to see what he wanted, but if it was anything she needed to deal with (though she had no earthly idea what that could possibly be) he could get in touch with her through her lawyer. It felt good to click the little ‘x’ to delete the message without reading it, and tried to put him out of her mind, but Jen couldn’t help the direction her thoughts took.

In the beginning, things with her ex-husband were really good. The couple would go to dinner, to the theater, out with friends, or just hang out together. Their sex life was good, great actually, and they were always willing to try new things; always in synch with each other. Then, about two years before they split, things changed.

He started working late, and “forgetting” to call. She knew he was working on a new account, so cut she him some slack. Then came the business trips that came with his promotion. A few days here and there, then all of a sudden there was a week-long conference in Arizona. He didn’t call all week, claiming to be too busy. They traded emails and IMs, but they were impersonal and cold. When he was finally home, her ex was also impersonal and cold. They grudgingly went out with friends, and put on a good show for them, but behind closed doors, things were hard. They were roommates inhabiting the same house, but each of them had their own lives. The time apart became easier and easier to bear, and Jennifer actually started looking forward to when he would go away.

She tried to tell herself that it was her ex’s shortcomings, not hers that were the problem. She knew though, that she gave him the power to hurt her when she got too wrapped up in him, and she must share some of the blame, after all, she was in that marriage, too.

When Jennifer found out he was cheating on her, she wasn’t really surprised. Hurt, sure, but not really surprised. What did surprise her was his feeling of entitlement. He felt entitled to the affair…and her money. He felt that it was her fault he had to go elsewhere for the tenderness and love he craved, and she should be so grateful to be rid of someone she obviously didn’t love, that she should gladly pay him off.

Not fucking likely.

She used a healthy portion of a year’s salary to pay for the winningest divorce lawyer in Massachusetts. Claudia Despres made sure that her ex got nothing but his clothes and fishing trophies. What was Jennifer’s stayed Jennifer’s. The court battle was long and harsh, and Jen couldn’t believe some of the things this man, someone who promised to love her forever, spewed hatefully through his own lawyer. Jen was so devastated by his betrayal, that she decided there in the courtroom, as her husband’s attorney told the court how she was a neglectful, hateful woman, that she was never going to let a man get that far under her skin, that far into her life, that his actions would dictate her emotions.

Then she met Rich.

Then she fell in love with him, and all her good intentions flew out the window. She didn’t tie her happiness to him, but she fell hard all the same, and was so wrapped up in him, that she found herself overly emotional at the little things he did or didn’t do, and it was driving her nuts.

Richie never gave her any reason to believe he was anything other than devoted to her. In word and in deed, he was utterly, completely smitten and in love with her. She knew that. It was the only thing that kept her from running screaming in fear from their relationship. She knew by the little gifts he sent, and the flowers and cards that showed up every couple of days, that he was still thinking of her, and going the extra mile for her.

Then her birthday came.

That was the week that Richie had come to visit her in Boston and Jen was over the moon. Before she could ask him what he had planned for her birthday, he told her that he had to leave the night before her birthday to do something for Heather. He didn’t even mention Jen’s birthday. The fact that Jennifer and his ex shared a birthday was something they joked about in Southampton, when David accused Richie of using Jennifer as a substitute for his ex. She had brought it up, remarking that it was something she and his ex had in common, and she joked that he had celebrated Heather’s birthday for a dozen years, he should be sure to remember hers.

It looked like she was wrong.

That was really what started her on her spiral. She didn’t say anything to Richie because she didn’t want to whine about something stupid. The absolute last thing Jennifer wanted to do was come off as a whiny, clingy dipshit.

She was startled out of her reverie by Dionne and friends. Keep shining, keep smiling / Knowing you can always count on me / For sure / That’s what friends are for

Jennifer laughed. “Hey Cheryl,” she said by way of answer. “Thanks for calling, you caught in the middle of a pity party, and I did NOT want to stay.”

“I just wanted to check in on you, sweetie. I read your posts on the board today, and you had a really BAD day.” Cheryl had spent some time on the board with Richie as well, and knew that Jen was going to need a sympathetic ear.
“So, spill, what did you get Jennifer for her birthday?” Cheryl PM’d to Richie on the board. “She isn’t offering anything. I asked her about your birthday visit, but she won’t spill any details.”

“Her birthday?” Richie sent back. When the hell was her birthday?

“Yes, silly, don’t play coy with me, I know she told you her birthday was the same as Heather’s, and it was last week. So...what did you get?”

Cheryl waited for long minutes with no response from Richie. “Oh shit,” she said out loud. Surely Richie didn’t forget? Maybe he did.

“Richie, did you forget Jen’s birthday?” she typed.

“Uh, yeah. Shit. Cheryl, I’m gonna call you.” Richie felt like dog shit. He was so concerned with making sure Ava got to do what she wanted with Heather that he completely forgot about Jen. Oh, this was not good.

“Why didn’t’ she say anything to me?” Richie demanded.

“You’re kidding, right?” Cheryl answered. “Have you met her? She’s not going to try to make you feel badly.”

Richie groaned. That made it worse. At least if she called him on it, he could be contrite and try to make it up to her. But now? She’s not even going to mention it? “God,” he said, “what can I do?”

“What’s your schedule like? All she really wants is just to see you.”

“That can be arranged.”

“Yeah, my day pretty much sucked, but I’m okay. Well not okay, but getting there. Steph offered to come out to drink with me, and let me cry on her,” Jennifer laughed, “but I’m not in that bad a way yet. You know, you guys are just wonderful, checking up on me like this.”

“Sweetie, we’re friends, that’s what we do – we help each other.” Cheryl smiled, thinking of the ‘help’ she gave Richie today.

“Well thank you,” Jennifer said, feeling better.

“Don’t even mention it,” Cheryl answered. “I just wanted to check in, make sure you were okay.”

“Like I said, I’m getting there,” Jennifer said. “I’m going to try to get my work done so I don’t have to work all night, then go home and try to relax.”

“Sounds good. You know you can call me anytime, right?” Cheryl asked.

“I know. Thanks. I love ya, girlfriend.”

“Right back atcha.”

That night, just about when Jennifer was ready for bed, her cell rang. Karen Carpenter’s beautiful voice singing through the room: I fell in love with you before the second show / Your guitar, it sounds so sweet and clear / But you're not really here it's just the radio…

Sniffling back a sob at the bittersweet words she chose for his ring tone, she cleared her throat and answered the phone.

“Hey, baby,” Jennifer said.

“Jennifer, darlin’, how are you?”

With a growl, Jennifer let go of almost all the bile that built up over past several days – she was still determined not going to whine about her birthday. Ava and her plans came first, she knew that. Jen told him every other little thing that pissed her off, from the horrendous trip into town, to losing her train pass, to the phantom deleted message from her ex, to the people who were acting like idiots at work. She was in desperate need of cheering up.

“Apparently, I’m such a basket case, that Stephanie was ready to come out this weekend to try to help me cheer up.”

“I wish it was me coming out there to cheer you up,” Richie said softly.

Jennifer agreed. “I just wish I’d snap out of the funk. I just miss you,” she said, then winced. She sounded whiny to her ears. “I’m sorry, baby,” she said.

“For missing me? Don’t be sorry, sweetheart.” He chuckled. “I’d be sorry if you didn’t miss me.”

“You know what I mean. I’m being silly. So tell me, how’s Ava?”

Richie shook his head. She still wasn’t going to say anything. Well, he’d fix the oversight soon enough. He chattered about his daughter for a few minutes, then took a deep breath. “Will you let me do something for you?” he asked.

Jennifer was surprised at the abrupt change of subject. Was he trying to get off the phone? “Uh, sure, I guess so, Rich. What is it?”

“Given your shit commute, and that you lost your train pass, will you let me hire you a car – just for the rest of the week. You need to be able to relax and not worry about the train or running late or driving home – I just want to pamper you a little.”

Jennifer was silent on the other end of the line. “That’s all it is? You just want me to relax?” she finally asked.

“Of course. That, and there MAY be a little surprise in the back seat for you tomorrow.”

Jennifer laughed. “What kind of surprise?”

“Well,” Richie said, “I was thinking we could have a sort of date on Friday night and I can send you a little something to bring to the date.”

“Oh yeah? Like what?” Jennifer asked.

“You’ll just have to wait and see,” Richie said. “What are you up to tonight?”

“I had some work to do, but I decided to bag it. I have yet another early morning India call and need to go get some sleep. You know,” Jennifer joked, “it would be easier if I just went to India for a month.”

“You aren’t going to do that, are you?” The thought of his Jen flying halfway around the world made his heart stop. He realized that was what she must feel like when he goes away. He didn’t like it at all.

“Not likely – not yet anyway. Probably not until February, if at all. We’ll see. Let me tell you, I’m going to need copious amounts of Valium and Xanax to get through a 17 hour flight.”

“Can you even find a doctor to prescribe that much? You’re better off getting up early.”

“Okay, if you say so. So, are you going to tell me about this surprise, or no?”

“Nope,” Richie said. “You are just going to have to wait and see.

“The car will be here for 5:30 tomorrow?”

“Yep,” Richie said. “Just tell the driver when you need him, and he’ll be there. He’s at your disposal every morning and afternoon all week.”

“You are the best, do you know that?” Jennifer was smiling the first real smile she made since he left.

“So I’ve been told,” Richie joked. “Alright, I’ll let you get some sleep, and I’ll talk to you tomorrow?”

“You sure will talk to me tomorrow,” Jennifer answered.

“Sounds like a good deal. Alright, baby,” Richie said, “I’ll talk to you later. I love you, you know.”

“I know, and I love you too.”

“Bye, darlin’.”

“Bye, Rich.”

Missing Richie

Tuesday, December 8, 2009
All too soon, it was time for Richie and his family to go home. A last-minute crisis at work meant that Jennifer had to go in instead of taking the day off as she had planned. The day was a royal bitch, and by four, the bulk of the problem was resolved, but there were a few pesky details still outstanding. Her boss, knowing that her boyfriend and family were leaving the next day, saw her check her watch for the three thousandth time and told her, “Just go. See you Monday.”

With a wave and a heartfelt ‘thanks’, Jennifer stumped her way to the elevator, white knuckled herself down the five stories to the lobby, and without thinking, hit the revolving door instead of the automatic door. She had a moment of panic when she realized what she’d done, but made it out without killing herself and berated herself for not paying closer attention.

She fidgeted the whole way home, anxious to get on with her evening. She rescued her car from the parking garage and pointed it home. Half an hour later, she was walking through the door. “Hello? I’m home!” she called, and was rewarded with the sound of running feet. Ava came into view and skidded to a stop in front of her.

“Hi Jen!” she said, taking Jennifer’s laptop from her and throwing her arms around the woman. “I’m so glad you’re home!”

“Me too,” Richie said, crossing to kiss his girl. “How was your day?”

“Long but over,” Jennifer said. “Let me go get changed, and we can get going.”

Richie scooped her up and carried her upstairs. “Who’s going to do this when you go home?” Jennifer lamented.

Richie laughed. “I guess you’ll have to sleep downstairs on the sofa,” he joked.

The four piled into the Tahoe and left for Ma’s house. They had a wonderful dinner, and when they were getting ready to head back, Richie was confused when Ava and his mother weren’t getting their stuff together. “C’mon,” he said. “We have packing to do.”

Joan smiled. “Ava and I are already packed, and we’re staying here tonight,” she said softly. “Go home and say your goodbyes.”

Richie smiled widely and kissed his mother’s cheek. “You’re the best,” he said.

When Richie and Jennifer got back to the house, the car was barely turned off before Richie was coming around the car to hoist Jennifer into his arms and stride into the house. He carried her upstairs, and deposited her on the bed. He started stripping off his clothes.

“What, no finesse?” Jennifer joked, as she pulled at her own clothing.

“Nope,” Richie said. “Not this first time.”

He waited about a half a second after Jennifer was naked before climbing onto the bed, crawling between her legs, and pushing himself into her to the hilt. He waited a minute until she accepted his presence in her body, then started to stroke her. Jennifer grabbed his shoulders and pulled so he was laying on her, relishing the feel of him on her. Richie groaned at the hard little pebbles of her nipples pressing into his chest, and kissed her hard, twining his tongue with hers. He heard and felt her breathing become more labored, shallower, and he sped up his motions. His heart was racing, and his pulse throbbing in his ears.

Jennifer wrapped her good leg around Richie’s waist, and pulled him in deep raising her hips to match his thrusts. She begged him to pound her harder and faster, and he obliged, sending her into a dizzying spiral of sensation that she never wanted to recover from. The clenching and rippling of her muscles sent Richie over the edge and he joined her on the fall. When he was spent, he gently rolled off her and pulled her close in next to him. He spent the next half an hour kissing her, devouring her mouth, and he was ready to go again.

This time, he finessed Jennifer, bringing her to orgasm several times before burying himself in her. They snoozed together, tangled in a sweaty heap on the bed, their breathing matched and even. When Richie woke to see Jennifer across the room with her laptop, he smiled. “Tell the girls goodnight and come here,” he said. “I think you need a little more loving.”

She obliged.

The next morning, Richie and Jennifer packed the car with suitcases that Joan and Ava had left by the door, and added Richie’s things. Jennifer thought she never saw a sadder sight than the cargo area of her Tahoe that morning. But she pasted on a bright smile, and they left to pick up the other travelers.

At Ma’s, there were hugs and tears, and promises to keep in touch. Joan was glad to find a kindred spirit in Jennifer’s mother, and Ava had taken to calling her Gramma Ma which sounded like she was putting on 19th century British airs, but which both ladies thought was precious. Jennifer waited until everyone was strapped in, and headed off to the airport.

The ride was quiet, and all too soon, they arrived at Logan. Jennifer dropped her passengers off with their luggage and left her car in short term parking. Making her way back to the terminal, she caught up with the others, and Richie put an arm around her waist, pulling her in close. Once the three had their tickets and were all checked in, Jennifer walked with them to the security checkpoint. A brief glance at the clock showed her that they had about half an hour until their flight was called.

“Richard, dear, I’ll take Ava on through,” Joan said. She took Jennifer’s hands. “It was wonderful to meet you, Jennifer. You and your family are wonderful, opening your lives and hearts to us. I hope to see you again soon.”

“Joan the pleasure was all mine,” Jennifer said. “Though I do wish Rich had told me you were coming.” The two women shared a laugh and a hug.

“Well Sundrop,” Jennifer said, turning to Ava, “I guess I’ll see you later. Have fun in school.”

“Oh, I can’t wait to start school, but I’m going to miss you.” Ava hugged Jennifer tightly, and tears sprang to Jen’s eyes. “Thank you for my room,” Ava said. “It’s the most beautiful room I’ve ever had.”

“Well it’s yours for whenever you come to visit,” Jennifer said. “And I’ll miss you too. Who’s going to take my laptop from me when I get home in the evenings, and give me a big, giant hug?”

“And who’s going to sneak me lip gloss when Daddy won’t let me wear it?” she whispered, making Jennifer laugh.

“Check your bag,” Jennifer whispered back.

Jennifer watched Ava and Joan go through the security checkpoint, Ava chattering away like a little monkey. She turned to Richie, who was looking at her with a softness in his eyes that took her breath away. She silently went to him, wrapping her arms around his waist, and resting her head on his chest. Richie’s hands sifted through Jen’s hair and he bent to inhale her fragrance.

“Damn Jennifer, I’m going to miss you like crazy,” Richie said. He tilted her face up towards his and kissed her gently. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” Jennifer answered. “And I miss you already.” She was horrified to find tears stinging her eyes again. “I’m sorry,” Jen said, dashing the tears away.

“Don’t be sorry,” Richie said. “If it weren’t for the fact that I’m a big, tough man, I’d be bawling like a baby.” Jennifer laughed loudly at that, and planed a kiss on his chest, over his heart. “Darlin’,” he said, “I’ll be back before you know it.”

“I know you will. I’m just being a silly female,” Jennifer answered. “Your daughter is waiting on you,” Jennifer said, nodding toward Ava, who was watching them intently, with a big smile on her face.

“I know,” Richie said. “I should probably go, but my feet don’t seem to want to move.”

“Mine either,” Jennifer admitted.

Richie laughed. “You mean foot and cane, right?”

Jennifer smacked Richie’s ass. “That was uncalled for, monkey-boy,” she chided, a smile creeping across her lips.

“Made you smile,” Richie said. Then he pulled her in for a long, slow kiss that had other travelers applauding and whistling at them. When they broke the kiss, Jennifer stepped back and used her thumb to wipe the lipstick from Richie’s face.

“You always make me smile,” she said. “Go. Travel safe, remember I love you, and call me when you get settled, okay?”

“I will, I love you too, and you’d better believe I’m calling you as soon as I can.” Richie kissed her again, hard and fast. “I’m sorry, baby, I gotta go.”

“I know. Go.” Jennifer gently touched the side of Richie’s face, and he turned his head to kiss her palm.

“Bye honey,” he said, and backed away toward the security gate.

Jennifer watched them until she couldn’t see them anymore, then with a heavy heart, left the airport. When she got home, she tried to pretend nothing was wrong. She stripped the beds in Joan’s and Ava’s rooms, and brought the laundry to the washing machine. While that was going, she went into her bedroom – their bedroom as she’d come to think of it, and gasped when she saw the box on the bed. Richie must have left it when he went back upstairs to grab his guitar before they left for the airport.

The stiff white paper and purple satin ribbon called to her. She sat on Richie’s side of the bed, pulled his pillow into her lap, and picked up the box. It was about 10 inches long, and slender and light. She carefully untied the ribbon, and set it aside. She flipped the box over and used a fingernail to slit the tape. Jennifer removed the paper and folded it, and set it next to the ribbon. She opened the box and said, “Oh!”

Nestled in a bed of royal purple satin was a gorgeous diamond bracelet. Jennifer traced its length with a fingertip, and cried. The stones were set in platinum and were arranged in bunches shaped like flowers. Each five-diamond, forget-me-not-shaped cluster was separated by a full quarter-carat round cut diamond. Jennifer didn’t know much about jewelry, but these white diamonds glittered and sparkled like they were lit from within. She managed to secure it around her wrist, and picked up the box. She lifted the edge of the satin and saw a note. Unfolding it, she smiled at his bold handwriting.

Dearest Jennifer,

Wrinkle up the wrapping paper. I know you; you carefully cut the tape and folded the paper neatly didn’t you? I love that about you; your neatness and penchant for making souvenirs out of anything and everything. There are so many things I love about you, that it would take a lifetime to list, and since I’ve already lived half my life, I fear I will never get to tell you everything.

I want to try, though. I want to tell you about the thousands of things I love about you. I want to show you how much you mean to me. I want to share with you everything I have and everything I am.

Wear this and remember that I love you, and if I’m not with you, that I miss you terribly, and am picturing you naked. Hell, even if I’m with you, I’m picturing you naked.

Made you smile!

All my love,

PS: Stop crying and answer the phone. The captain is just about to turn off the seatbelt sign…

Jennifer laughed when her phone rang. “How the hell do you do that?” she asked.

“I told you, baby,” Richie said, “I’ve traveled more than half my life. I have this DOWN.”

“This is gorgeous, Rich. You didn’t have to do this.” She sniffled. “And I am NOT wrinkling up the paper. I did muss the ribbon though, if that makes you feel better.”

“Loads better,” Richie said. “And I know I didn’t have to. I wanted to. I love you. Just wanted to check in.”

“How’d you know I’d be up in our room?”

Richie smiled at her turn of phrase. “Darlin’, I know you. I’ll bet you have a load of sheets in the wash now, and went up to our room to debate over changing the linens there or not.”

Jennifer shook her head. “That’s eerie, babe.”

Richie grinned. “I call it perceptive.”

Jennifer laughed. They chatted for a while, then Richie had to go – they were making their approach to Jersey, and he needed to get off the phone. He promised to call when he got back to his house, and they signed off. Several hours later, he called again. Jennifer was on the road when he called. She couldn’t stand being alone in her house anymore. Everywhere she looked, there was something that reminded her of Richie, and she was wandering from room to room sobbing. She had finally called her grandmother and asked if she could use the Hamptons house for the weekend. She had to get away.

Richie let her know they had gotten back safely, and lamented that he didn’t feel like he was home. “It doesn’t feel like home without you here with me. I wish you were able to come to California with me.” They talked for a long time, then Jennifer had to go; she needed to concentrate on driving.

When she got to the house in East Hampton, she dropped her bag in the entry hall and went around the house, throwing open the windows to capture the ocean breeze that was blowing. Jennifer called her mom to let her know she arrived safely, then hung up the phone and went outside to sit on the deck and watch the waves.

This was too hard. The saying-goodbye-and-staying-apart thing. Where she grew up, when you loved each other, you stayed together. Sure there were times when you had to travel for your job or when you wanted a day to yourself, but at the end of the day, you shared a house along with your life.

She ran a finger around her bracelet and thought about what Rich had said about wishing she could go out to California. Could she change her life that dramatically? Leave her friends, family, and job, and move clear across the country?

Did he really want her to? Did she really want to?

She sat there for a long time, thinking on this. When her knee started throbbing from the cool September night air, she went back inside, and went to bed.

(c) 2008 by TheGoddessHathor

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