After dinner, they all settled into the living room to watch T.V. Veronica had tried to sneak back to the office, but Jon wasn’t having any of it. He’d stayed in the kitchen and helped clean up, then escorted her to the living room. When she tried to walk on to the office he grabbed her by the waist. “Nuhuh. No more work.”
“No Ronnie. You’ve been working crazy hours for days. You’re taking tonight and tomorrow off. No arguments.” He redirected her towards the living room and gave her a light push.
“Give it up Ronnie. I’m laying down the law.” As soon as the words were out of his mouth he knew he was in trouble. The violet eyes that narrowed at him confirmed his fear. “I mean, please Nica. Come and sit and relax with us for a little while.”
“Come on you guys! You’re missing the best part.” Jake appeared in the doorway.
“I’m trying Jakey, but Ronnie wants to go back to work. I’m trying to talk her into watching with us.”
Jake walked over to take her hand and tug. “Come on! It’s a really good show. You’ll like it. It’s the weekend. Daddy tell her that she doesn’t have to work on the weekend.”
“I’ve been trying to Jakey.” Jon lowered his voice to a loud whisper. “She doesn’t like me giving her orders.”
Jake frowned in thought, then whispered back. “Maybe you should ask her nicely.”
Jon chuckled. “Not sure she’ll listen to me. Maybe you should ask her.”
Jake turned his big blue eyes to Veronica. “Will you come and watch T.V. with us Ronnie? Please?”
As much as she wanted to escape the family scene she couldn’t disappoint the boy. She’d never been able to resist a pleading look in that particular shade of blue eyes for long. “Alright. I’ll come watch for a little while.”
“Yay! Let’s go!” Jake tugged her into the room.
Following, Veronica shot a dark look over her shoulder at the smug man behind her. He tried to look innocent, but she wasn’t accepting it. The message she sent him promised payback. He just grinned and followed her.
In an effort to keep some distance between Jon and herself, Veronica avoided the couch and sat in a large, comfortable arm chair. He sat at the end of the couch nearest her. She had to force herself to focus on the television and not on the man sitting so close. Despite her conviction that they would never make it as a couple, she wasn’t immune to his appeal. The scent of his cologne reached easily across the small space between them to tease her and the tight dark wash jeans and cozy grey turtleneck sweater he’d put on after his post game shower made her long to curl up in his lap and cuddle.
Jon watched Veronica out of the corner of his eye, and tried to determine if she really was pissed. He hadn’t meant to word his wishes like an order, he just wanted her to spend the evening with him and his family. He knew that it was his fault that she was working so hard right now. It was only a little over two months until the show in Dubai and the sooner she made the band a household name, the better the album and ticket sales would be. But he hated to see her so tired.
Romeo shifted closer and snuggled into his father’s side. Jon smiled down at him and ruffled his hair. Glancing back at Veronica he sighed. He understood that being around his kids – particularly Romeo – was difficult for her. He didn’t bring her here to hurt her. The hope was that the more she was around them, the easier it would get for her. So far he hadn’t seen any signs that it was working. It has to work! I don’t know what else to do and she’s got to be comfortable with them if there’s to be any hope of keeping her in my life.
Jon shifted, trying to stretch his back and find a more comfortable position. He winced.
“Daddy, what wong?” Romeo looked up at him in concern.
“Oh it’s just my back, buddy. I zinged it a couple times this afternoon and it’s a little stiff.”
“Want me kiss it bettah?”
“Thanks, little man.” Jon chuckled and leaned forward so that Romeo could lift up his sweater and kiss his back.
“That helped a lot. Thanks.”
Veronica searched his face. “Where does it hurt?”
“My lower back, but it’s fine.”
“You should have brought Bob with you.” Richie spoke up. Bob was the chiropractor that toured with them and kept Jon mobile.
“Down into your hips?” Veronica wasn’t going to be put off.
Jon shrugged. “A little I guess. But don’t worry about it. I’m fine.”
“Got any of those Yoga stretches and stuff you do that might help him little girl?” Richie ignored Jon’s ‘I’m fine’.
Veronica considered Jon for several seconds, then nodded. “Yeah. Come here.” She rose from the chair and sat in the middle of the floor.
Jon just shook his head. “There’s no need. I’m fine. Just a little stiff.”
“Uh huh, and that’s what these stretches fix.” Her lips twitched. “What’s the matter Jon? Scared?”
“Yeah Dad, are you chicken?” Jesse challenged him.
“Brock, brock, broooock, brock, brock.” Chicken noises came at him from all directions.
Never one to back down, Jon stood and gingerly settled on the floor beside Veronica, eyeing her warily.
She smiled. “Don’t worry, injuring you would waste all the work I’ve done over the past week. I just hope those jeans are up to it. Okay. First, we’ll do the log cabin stretch. Cross your legs, but instead of doing it Indian style, put one leg on top of the other.” She showed him what she meant and waited until he’d followed suit. “Good. Now bend over until you feel the pull. You should feel it through your hips and down your thighs. Breathe deep and slow.”
Jon nodded and was surprised to feel it exactly where she said he would. As he breathed he found he could bend a little further as the muscles gave.
Veronica watched him and nodded in approval. “Good. Now sit up, switch your legs around and bend over again.” She counted off several breaths. “Okay. Next, lay down on your back.” She waited until he’d complied. “Bend your right leg, cross it over your left leg and hold your knee down with your left hand. Keep your right shoulder on the floor and turn your head to the right.”
“What do you call that one?” Tico asked.
“Some may have a fancy name for it, but my instructor just called it a spinal twist. It stretches through your hip and up into your lower back.”
“It looks like what Bob does, only he moves Jon’s leg for him.”
Veronica nodded. “Yeah, he’s working the hip abductors and the soas.”
“The what?” Jon frowned.
“The deep groin muscles. You’d be surprised at how tension there shows as pain in your lower back.” She clarified. “Okay, now switch legs.”
“Hey bro, maybe you could get Bob to teach Ronnie what he does and she could do it for you instead.”
Jon just grunted and concentrated on feeling the stretch.
“Breathe Jon.” Veronica reminded him.”Okay, put your leg down. Does it feel any better?”
He shifted and twisted a little. “Actually....it does.”
“Still have tight spots?”
“Yeah, but it’s better.”
“Lay down on your stomach. We’ll try the Cobra. But if it hurts, stop.” She got into position beside him. “Put your forearms on the floor, your hands by your head. Now lift your shoulders up – don’t use your arms, use your back and inner thighs.”
He lifted only slightly before he stopped and dropped back down. “Ow.”
“Okay don’t do that anymore.” She straddled his hips and lifted his sweater. “Tell me if I hurt you.” She started gently massaging the muscles along his spine, working her way down to his waist, feeling for knots. He groaned when she leaned a little harder. “Does that hurt?”
“Mmmmmm...hurts so good sugar.” And he was thankful that she wasn’t really sitting on him, crushing his semi-erection into the floor. God her hands feel good! If they had been alone he would have rolled over, pulled her down onto him and rubbed her in return – preferable from the inside!
Gradually he realized that her hands became more...caressing, less...medicinal, which didn’t help his predicament. Jon smiled to himself. Guess she’s not as uninterested as she pretends to be! He rocked his hips slightly from side to side, gratified to hear her swiftly indrawn breath – then sucked in his own as her nails bit teasingly into his skin in reaction. His groan sounded more like a purr.
“Daddy you sound just like Aunt Desiree’s kitty.” Jake told him.
Richie noted Veronica’s flushed face and Jon’s clenched hands and quickly guessed the problem. Catching her eye, he raised his brows and winked.
Veronica was stunned at the lightning bolt of sensation that ran from her thighs straight to her core when Jon rocked his hips. It was then that she realized that for the last few minutes she had been stroking his skin more than massaging sore muscles. Blushing, she rose, ignoring Richie’s wink.
“Anyone want something to drink?”