The next morning, Veronica walked through the front door of the studio, having had not much more sleep than the previous night despite several glasses of wine. Now, she had a lovely, pounding headache to add to the tiredness dragging at her, and the tension and edginess that came with being around Jon and the memories he evoked.
“Morning Veronica.” Naomi greeted her from the reception desk. “Whoa, are you feeling okay? You look like crap.”
“Gee thanks Na. Nice to know my mirror’s working.” She sighed. “Yeah, I’m okay. Nothing that a couple of aspirin and a few solid hours of sleep won’t cure. Are the guys here yet?”
“No. John and the techs are in there checking everything over right now.” Naomi answered, pulling a bottle of Tylenol out of her desk drawer and handing it over. “By the way, John and Kenny will be here next Monday morning.”
“Thanks for the warning.” Veronica shook two tablets into her palm. “When’s Dan coming in?”
Naomi consulted her schedule. “Friday morning.”
Veronica nodded and yawned. “Okay. Well, I guess I’d better....”
The sound of the door opening behind her cut her off. She turned to see the guys trooping in.
“Morning Ronnie. Ready for another fun filled day in the studio?” David slung an arm over her shoulders.
“Fun filled? So you guys are taking the day off then?” She retorted. “Ow! Hey!” She rubbed her abused posterior where Richie had pinched it.
“Careful there little girl. People might think you don’t like us.”
“Hmpf! What makes you so sure that I do Jughead?” She turned and wrinkled her nose at him.
Both Jon and Richie frowned when they got a look at her face. “Are you okay?” Jon’s voice was harsh with concern.
“You don’t look fine.”
“Well, I am. Just a headache.”
“Are you sure nina?” Tico lifted her face with a hand under chin to take a better look. He didn’t like what he saw. Her eyes were shadowed and slightly bloodshot with dark circles under them.
“Si Papa, muy bien.”
He tapped her nose with a finger. “Smartass. And you’re lying. Did you sleep last night?”
“Yes, I slept.” For a couple hours anyway. “Honestly guys, I’m fine. I just have a headache. I’ve taken a couple aspirin, so I’m sure it’ll go away in a few minutes. Let’s get to work.”
None of them were convinced, but they followed her into the studio.
By the time they finished for the day her head was pounding even worse than it had that morning. The songs were really getting to her, bringing back memories that she’d blocked out for many years. Long drives, sunny days at the beach, picnics, dancing to the radio, falling in love in the moonlight. The way Jon kept looking at her didn’t help either. She had a feeling that he knew exactly was she was thinking about. That he meant for her to. He was watching for a reaction from her and it took everything she had to keep a neutral, professional expression on her face. She refused to let him see her break. She couldn’t allow him to play with her emotions. Not again. But the effort it took to suppress those emotions gave her an unbelievable headache. Thank God it’s Tuesday.
“Ronnie, come with us to dinner.” Jon tried again.
She shook her head and continued down the hallway towards the front door. “Sorry. Already got plans.”
“Come on. It’s just dinner.” She didn’t look well and he wanted to make sure she ate.
Before she could respond, Lori and Naomi came around the corner, bags in their hands. “You ready Veronica?” Lori glanced between her friend and Jon.
“Yep. Let’s go.”
“Where are you girls off to tonight?” Jon flashed the smile that never failed to get him whatever he was after.
“Maybe we could join you?” David added. Richie nodded his agreement.
The girls looked at each other. “What do you think Veronica? Should we?” Lori bit her lower lip, trying to hold back a smile.
“You never know, they might like it.” Naomi added, her lips twitching. “It certainly would make the evening....interesting.”
Veronica pretended to consider it, but an image formed in her head and she couldn’t help but burst into laughter. “Only if we take a camera. Can’t you just imagine it?” Lori and Naomi joined her, adding their laughter to hers.
“Why do I get the feeling that this is some females only thing?” Richie shook his head at the girls who were now bent over in their mirth.
Naomi was the first to be able to speak. “No, but you don’t see many men there.” She chuckled again before she could finally explain. “Yoga class.”
“It would give ‘down dog’ new meaning don’t ya think?” Veronica managed to get out. The girls were off again, their laughter echoing around the lobby.
David and Richie wrinkled their noses and quickly declined. Jon looked over Veronica’s toned body with new appreciation. “Maybe I should join you. If it’s in any way responsible for you looking so incredible, maybe it could help me.” Although the way his pants tightened just looking at her, maybe seeing her in some of those poses wouldn’t be a good idea – not in public anyway.
Veronica couldn’t prevent the blush from heating her face at what she saw in his eyes as their gazes locked, any more that she could stop the warmth that infused her body at his obvious approval. She had to force herself to look away. Don’t go there Veronica! That road leads to nothing but pain. Don’t let those blue eyes suck you in again.
“Help you what? I don’t see any room for improvement.” Naomi let her gaze roam Jon from head to toe and back again. Jon smiled and winked at her. The rest just stared at her. She raised her brows. “What?”
“You said that out loud honey.” Lori murmured.
“Oh shit!” Naomi turned bright red and prayed for the floor to open up and swallow her whole. “Sorry.” She tugged on Veronica’s sleeve. “Let’s go.”
Jon watched them file out the door, then turned to his bandmates. “Let’s go eat.”
Richie’s brows rose at his cheerful tone. “What are you so happy about? She still won’t give you the time of day outside of the studio.”
“But she’s not as immune to me as she tries to pretend.” He’d noticed her reaction to his inspection of her body. “There’s still some feelings there.”
“I’m sure there is. Just don’t get your hopes up that they’re the kind you want them to be.”
“I know that they’re not all happy feelings, but the fact that she’s got any at all where I’m concerned gives me hope. I just need some time and the opportunity to talk to her alone.”
“Well, that may be difficult considering that she won’t even go to dinner with all of us, let alone be alone with you.” Richie frowned. “Does she know that you’re divorced?”
Jon shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why she won’t spend time with me. Maybe I should tell her.”
Tico had listened to the conversation in silence, but now pinned Jon with a sharp glare. “Be careful Kidd. You’ve already put her through hell once. I won’t stand by and watch you do it again.”
“Relax Teek. The last thing I want to do is hurt her anymore than I already have. I promise.” Jon clapped his drummer on the back. Tico merely grunted.