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

Lunch with Cheryl

Monday, March 15, 2010
Thanks, Willow, for writing most of this one

Late Thursday morning, Richie pulled the Aston Martin into the parking garage at The Grove, a trendy LA shopping and dining area. He had suggested that Cheryl meet him here because he wanted her to see one of the hidden jewels of LA while she was here. It wasn’t the mid to high end shops that he felt were so special, but the old-fashioned flea-market type area with about a dozen food stands that were practically hidden within this trendy LA-chic place.

He had told her to meet him outside in the courtyard, hoping that due to the fact that it was Thursday and an earlier hour, the crowds would be sparse and the exposure minimal. Not wanting to take any chances of a repeat performance of his lunch with Stephanie, he pulled on a ball cap, tucking his long hair back and underneath it as he adjusted his glasses and stepped from the car.

Having only met her once before, Richie hoped he would remember what she looked like. As he walked up toward the fountain in the plaza, he recognized her reddish-blonde hair even though her back was to him and he chuckled when he realized that she had indeed worn her hair up like they had teased about on the board a lifetime ago.

Not being the type to turn down the opportunity to cause a woman to swoon, Richie walked up behind Cheryl and, placing his hands on her shoulders, leaned in to kiss the side of her neck just below her ear. This closeness made Cheryl spin around, a shocked look on her face that melted as soon as she saw the shit-eating grin on his face.

“Hey darlin’,” he said, removing his glasses and then taking her into a deep embrace. “It’s good to see you again. How are ya likin’ LA so far?”

“Hey Richie. It’s good to see you too. ” She hugged him back as he picked her up off the ground given that she was nearly a foot shorter than he. “I haven’t been here long enough yet to decide, but this place is really gorgeous. It’s a little public though, dontcha think?”

“What’s wrong? No desire to end up on TMZ with me?” he quipped, making them both laugh as they thought back to the ridiculous story from a few weeks ago.

“Hell no, I could care less who sees us. Jennifer knows we’re having lunch and I even got her blessing to wear my hair up like this, so to hell with the stupid media. I’m just glad to see ya again.” She stepped back to take a long look at him. He looked fantastic in tight black jeans, well-worn leather boots and a deep purple shirt unbuttoned so far down he shouldn’t have bothered. Looking into his face, she saw the smile lines and little eye crinkles, but his smile didn’t quite light his eyes; she could see a hint of worry there.

“Let me show you around, although I see you’ve already found at least a couple of stores,” he said, eying the two small shopping bags that were sitting on the edge of the fountain next to her pocketbook.

“Yea, I got here a little early so I did a little shopping. I’m a sucker for all things bling-y, so I picked up a few things. I’ll show you later if you are interested. I even saw some things I bet Jen would love,” she winked at him knowingly, but cringed inwardly when he saw a flash of sadness cross Richie’s face.

As they walked along, Cheryl said, “You know, I’m really glad I didn’t have to come out here and serve you up your balls for lunch.” She turned and looked him straight in the eye. “I haven’t seen someone that messed up in a really long time. Jennifer loves you so much that it’s making her crazy. I don’t know what happened between you two Rich, and I don’t really want to know unless you want to tell me, but I’m glad you two are working it out”. She leaned up on tippy-toes to place a kiss on his cheek.

“I’m trying, but I don’t know that she can really forgive me,” he admitted softly. “I was such a bastard to her. She said she forgave me, and was willing to forget, but I’m not so sure. I’m worried that it’s gonna be awkward with her this weekend.” He put his sunglasses back on to hide the emotion in his eyes.

Cheryl put her hand on his arm. “I’m sure it’ll be okay. In the months I’ve known Jen, she hasn’t said anything she hadn’t meant; at least with important stuff. Can I give you some advice?” Richie nodded. Cheryl said, “Just tell her you love her, pull her into your arms, and hold on. I’ll bet you anything she’ll cry a little, but she’ll hug you back. Then she’ll be ready to move on.”

Richie nodded. “Thanks,” he said. “I’ll do that.”

He led her around what looked like the back of a couple of the shops, almost as if he were leading her into a back alley. She trusted him, of course, and didn’t ask where they were going as he continued to walk, her hand placed tightly in his. When they ducked their heads low under a natural awning in the narrow walkway, they walked into what seemed like a whole different world. Cheryl gasped! It was the most quaint place she had ever seen. Everywhere she looked there were vendors and tables and shops… no, booths really, all selling a variety of foods from prepared items to cold cuts and meats to breads and candies. The smells all mingled into one another and it was just wonderful.

“Come on, I have the perfect place for us to eat,” he said with just a hint of teasing in his voice which Cheryl might have missed had she not be keen to his sense of humor from talking to him on the board. She wondered what the hell he was going to do. Walking about halfway through the market they came up to a counter and Richie grabbed two menus, handing one to Cheryl before opening his own. “We order here at the counter and then sit down and they will bring out the food.”

Cheryl opened the menu, although she already knew what type of food was here and she smiled. “How did you know that I love French food?” she inquired.

He just looked at her over the top of his sunglasses, and raised his eyebrows, smiling mischievously.

“Oh no you didn’t?! Richie! Please tell me you haven’t been reading my Paris story.” He could see a slight bit of color rise in her face.

“Guilty as charged,” he said, grinning widely. “Jennifer shares everything with me, darlin’.”

A shadow of dread came over her just then. “Oh no, please tell me that Da….”

He stopped her then with a finger to her lips. “No, I didn’t tell him about it. He does know, thanks to one soon-to-be-dead Cubano, that Jennifer has an alter ego in ‘Hath’, though he hasn’t found her site, but that’s not to say he won’t, especially now that his show is off the ground, and he’s got some time to breathe.” Richie winked at her. “And if THAT ever happens, I will never hear the end of it, because of that stupid Joker story. He’d comment for sure on your story, and there’d be a new male member on the board, because he wouldn’t let that shit go.” Richie didn’t mention that the other male member, “Billy the Kid”, was actually Jon because he wasn’t sure if Cheryl knew that or not. “So nope, he doesn’t know. Yet.”

She exhaled audibly. She was new to the fan fiction writing world, “We’ll Always Have Paris” being the only story she had ever written in earnest, and she was still really unsure of it, let alone of the idea that he, or any member of the band for that matter, would actually read the thing.

Richie could see the look of uncertainty lingering on her face, and laughed. “It’s a good story and you shouldn’t worry about it so much,” he said reassuringly. “I promise you, we see the all the things you girls write as flattery.” He thought for a minute, pursing his lips and tapping them with a thoughtful finger. “Well, all except the gay shit,” Richie said, shivering and making Cheryl laugh.

They ordered their lunches and settled at a table in the courtyard to eat and talk. “Let me see what you bought. I’m a bling guy myself, as if you didn’t already know that. Plus, I love getting ideas from you girls about things I can do and get for Jennifer. Besides,” he finished softly. “I owe her something special.”

Cheryl pulled out the bags, one from Breiton and the other from Lucky Brand. She opened the second one first. Prefacing by saying that this item was strictly for the fan in her, she pulled out a necklace that was so a crazy homage to Richie that even he was taken aback by it. It was a silver chain with a couple of dangling stars on one end, but what made it unique was the black and white fender guitar that was attached to one part of the chain and the guitar pick that said “Lucky” on the other side of the chain.

“You know, you need to replace that pick with the real thing, right?” he said, grinning.

“Well, of course, but I don’t have the real thing. I guess I was never good at getting your attention at a show,” she smirked at him.

Richie reached in his pocket, pulling out a couple of picks. He always carried them with him just as he always had a guitar close by, because he never knew what situations would present themselves. He held out his hand to her and she grinned.

“Pick one,” he said.

She looked at him quizzically. He nodded. She chose an older pearlized pick that she recognized from several tours back. It had his signature on one side and the inscription “Wielding the Axe of Love” on the other. She pointed to it and, in true Richie Sambora fashion, he took the pick and flicked it at her lightly, landing it squarely inside her dress, right between her breasts.

“I never miss,” he said, full on smirk wide on his face.

The rest of the afternoon went quickly, too quickly for her liking. They talked about Cheryl’s husband and children, and about Jennifer and Ava, and Richie told her that he never ever thought he would love someone as much as he did Jen. He told her that he wanted nothing more than for Jennifer to come out to LA with him forever. Cheryl almost chuckled at the wistful tone of his voice until she saw he had the face to match. He was serious. She didn’t ask him if he was going to propose but she could see the wheels turning behind those eyes. She told him that if there was ever anything she could do, to please just call.

When Richie dropped Cheryl off at the hotel, she called her friend.

“Jen, I just had the best lunch with your man,” she said.

“Oh really?” Jen laughed. “Did you get the full swoon-worthy treatment?”

“I sure did,” Cheryl answered. She told her friend all about her lunch date, and the two women were laughing. “Jen, seriously, are you two okay? He was looking pretty ragged under the smile.”

“We’re okay,” Jen said. “Or at least getting there. He’s coming out this weekend to see me, and I’m going to see if I can really put the last week behind me. I’m sorry, I don’t really want to talk about it because it hurts too much, but just know that if I couldn’t have handled it myself, I would have come to you.”

“I do know that, sweetie, but you shouldn’t have had to handle whatever it is alone. I would have been there for you, no matter what.”

“I know, Cher, and I love you for that. This was just something I had to handle myself. I promise,” she laughed, “I’ll have other things to whine to you about. You know me.”

“That I do. Well look, I gotta go, but I just wanted to touch base, and tell you I’m glad you worked stuff out with Rich, and hope you have a good weekend.”

“Thanks, babe. It’ll be okay. And if it isn’t I’ll call you.”

“That’s a deal. Bye, sweetie. Love ya.”

“Love ya too, Cher. Bye.”


Peg said...

I just love this story. I love how you've shown just how good of friends Jovi fans can become after meeting online somewhere. I know I found my best friend that way. We share all things Jovi & now we share life's everyday bull shit.

I'm glad that Rich & Jen have talked & are working thru their issues. They have a great love together & it's worth the fight. I sure hope this weekend goes well for these two. They need to put this behind them & move forward. Or in Jen's case, move period, lol, I hope.

Thanks Hathor!! You've heard it before but I'll say it again, it's an awesome story!! So looking forward to the next installment.

Cindy aka Miss Moose said...

I am with you Peg. I have met the best friends I have ever had thru this band. Friends I don't ever want to lose and we also now share more than just Jovi. I am so glad to have met so many that I can lean on or that I can lend a shoulder to.

I love this story and hope all works out well with them. I would rather it be me. LOL. I do love me some Sambora.

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