Veronica woke the next morning to find Jon a warm wall at her back, his arm a heavy weight over her waist. She lay still for long minutes replaying the events of the previous night. She had to admit that she actually felt better having told him the whole story. Emotionally drained, but better. Of course the.....soothing...he’d given her after she’d told him everything might have had something to do with it. She shivered at the memories, smiling when Jon’s arm tightened reflexively.
The smile slowly faded as her thoughts shifted from the past to the present...and the future. He’d gotten the information that he’d wanted from her and she’d gotten to finally confront the past and get the comfort that she’d needed from him. Now they could both move on with their lives and focus on the job at hand.
She slipped quietly from the bed, careful not to wake Jon. She wanted some time before she had to face him again. Besides, he needed his rest. He had a fairly full afternoon and a show that night. Veronica noticed the open door connecting their rooms and debated about showering in his, then spotted the little bottles neatly lined up on the table and figured the slight noise of running water wouldn’t disturb him.
A thought struck as she was walking through the lobby and she veered to the front desk. The clerk frowned slightly, and opened her mouth to say something when Veronica ordered a wake up call for her own room, then remembered herself and just smiled. Veronica met her gaze and smiled back.
The ringing of the phone beside the bed woke Jon. One arm flung out to grab it just to stop the annoying noise, then resisted the urge to pitch the whole thing across the room when he heard the cheerful automated voice telling him it was time to get up. Lifting his head, he glanced around the empty room, groaned and fell back onto the bed. A few minutes later, he cracked an eye open, looked at the clock, sighed, and forced himself to get up. Even a shower didn’t make him feel any better and a glimpse of his reflection in the mirror told him it was going to be a rockstar prerogative day. He sighed, reached for his sunglasses and headed for the door.
Richie, David, Tico and Hugh were already in the van waiting for Jon. The fact that he was the last to be ready was unusual, but considering the events of the previous night, not totally unexpected.
“I hope Ronnie’s okay.” David commented. “That was pretty intense last night.”
“She will be. She’s strong. She’s coped with it for a long time.” Richie assured him. “It’s Jon I’m concerned about. You know he doesn’t deal with guilt well, and he got a truckload of it dumped on him last night.”
“Yeah, well, he deserves to share the pain. He let her go through hell alone.” Tico growled.
Two minutes later they watched their pale, unsmiling frontman walk out of the hotel and climb into the van.
“Hey man. You okay? You look like shit.” Richie greeted him.
Jon snorted. “Imagine that. I just found out that I abandoned a woman who was going through hell without so much as a goodbye and that the baby we lost was my firstborn son, and to top it all off, my best friends knew all about it and never said a word to me. Not one word in almost nineteen years. Is it really any wonder that I didn’t sleep very well?”
“Don’t blame us. It wasn’t up to us to tell you. You should have been there!” Tico dared him to deny it.
He couldn’t. “I know.” He sighed and stared out the window for several minutes before turning back to his friends. “How did you know anyway?”
They exchanged glances. “We went to see her in the hospital.” Richie admitted. At Jon’s look he explained. “Doc had you busy with interviews and promo spots, but we had some free time and we wanted to see how she was doing.” He paused. “You didn’t seem interested and hooked up with Dorothea again right after, so we didn’t say anything.”
Jon raked a hand through his hair. “Doc kept telling me to stay away, that she didn’t want to see me. And he and Mom kept blocking her calls.” A muscle twitched in his jaw. “Mom told her that Dorothea and I were back together and she should stop calling. When I tried to find her, she’d disappeared.”
The others exchanged another look and hoped they weren’t around the next time Jon talked to his mother.
“So how is she?” David spoke up.
Jon shrugged. “She was gone when I woke up.” He still hadn’t decided how he felt about that. Part of him was disappointed when he woke up alone. Part of him was relieved. He needed a little time before he faced her again.
The van pulled to a stop in front of the back door to the arena and they all piled out. Jon took a deep breath and headed inside. After a brief stop in the control room and their dressing rooms they found Veronica in the interview room.
Jon walked up behind her where she was surveying the refreshment table and wrapped his arms around her. “Are you okay?”
She nodded and patted one of the arms encircling her waist. “I’m fine.”
“Thanks for the wake up call by the way.” He kissed her neck, relieved that she hadn’t pulled away. “Although it would have been better to have you beside me. Why’d you leave so early?”
“I had things to get ready here and you needed your sleep.” Turning slightly, she lifted the sunglasses enough to see his eyes and had her suspicions confirmed. He looked exhausted. “Are you going to be able to make it through the show?”
A brow crooked. “What do you think?”
Her lips twisted. “I think you’d be out on that stage if you had to crawl on your knees. I hope the makeup crew is up to the challenge.”
“Gee, thanks Sweetheart.” He retorted dryly.
She just grinned and stepped to the side to pour him a cup of coffee. “You guys want anything?”
The guys relaxed at the sight of her smile and the signs that the tension between her and Jon seemed to have eased considerably. They joined them at the table.
“Are you really okay nina?” Tico murmured as he took the coffee cup from her.
She smiled and hugged him. “I’m fine Teek.” She glanced around to see them all looking at her, sceptical expressions on their faces. “Seriously guys, I’m fine. Actually, I feel better than I have in a long time.”
“Then why are you so pale? You’re almost as white as Lema.” Richie commented.
David flipped him off. “Just because you want to play Russian Roulette with skin cancer doesn’t mean the rest of us do.”
Veronica winked at David. “I’m pale because yesterday was very....emotional...for me and I didn’t get a lot of sleep.” She shot a glance at Jon. He met her gaze and smiled gently. “Nothing a good night’s sleep won’t cure.”
“You’re sure?” David pressed.
She nodded. “Yes. But thanks for caring.”
“Always.” Richie assured her.
She rose up on her toes to kiss his cheek, then clapped her hands. “Ok, boys, let’s go to work.”