“You’re nuts. You know that right?” Lori stared at her friend in disbelief. “Absolutely certifiable.”
“Why? Because I won’t just fall in with his plans?” Veronica took a sip of her drink. The girls had gathered for dinner at their favourite restaurant and were getting caught up on the latest in the Jon/Ronnie saga.
“No, because you’ve got what so few people get....a second chance with the love of your life...and you’re throwing it away.”
“He’s not the love of my life.” Veronica argued.
“Riiight.” Tricia snorted. “That’s why you’ve had sooo many boyfriends, trying to find Mr. Right.”
Veronica shrugged. “I just haven’t found him yet.”
“You haven’t been trying....because you know that you already found him...twenty years ago. You just ran into some horrible circumstances that tore you apart.” Naomi spoke up. “But now you have a second chance!”
“Yes you are, otherwise these little stunts he’s pulling wouldn’t bother you so much. You’d just tell him off and ignore him.” Lori disagreed. At Veronica’s mulish expression, she sighed. “What is it exactly that you have against him – aside from the past - that’s preventing you from giving him another chance?”
“Isn’t that enough?”
“Are you the same person that you were twenty years ago?” Tricia jumped in. Veronica grimaced. “Exactly. You’ve grown up and matured. So why do you think that he’s the same man – or rather boy – that he was then? That he hasn’t grown up too?”
“He’s still stubborn...”
“And you’re not?” Naomi interrupted.
“...and arrogant and bad tempered.”
“Uh huh...but that’s nothing new for you, you deal with it every day. And I’ve seen you in action, you can hold your own against his temper.” Lori tilted her head slightly. “What does he do when you call him on it?” There was no question that she would.
“He apologizes.” Veronica was forced to admit.
“There you go. He just needs someone....you....to keep him grounded.”
“Why are you all suddenly on his side? I thought you were my friends and you cared about me.” Veronica was feeling cornered.
“Oh honey, we do care about you. We love you! And we don’t want to see you miss out on the chance to be happy and loved. Why won’t you give him a chance?” Naomi urged.
“Have you forgotten that his mother hates me?”
Tricia waved that away. “Oh I have no doubts that you can hold your own with her. Besides, I’m sure Jon will deal with her.”
“And the kids? How am I supposed agree to be a part of his life when being around his kids knots me up so much I want to puke?”
“Okay, that’s one’s a tough one, I’ll grant you that, but....you’ve only been around them, what, two or three days? That’s not enough time to decide anything. You said yourself that you got along well with the oldest two, it’s just the youngest one that really bothers you.” It was Lori’s turn again. “I think that you need to spend more time with them, and see how you feel.” She paused, then continued in a quieter tone. “You know, if you keep pushing him away he’s going to quit coming back and you’ll lose him for good. Do you really want to do that?”
Veronica was silent for a long minute. “I just don’t know if I can take the risk. He hurt me so badly....I don’t think I could survive that again.”
“So you’d rather take the safe, coward’s way out and be alone for the rest of your life? That’s not the Veronica I know. The Veronica I know would have the guts to open up her heart and mind to him again if there was even a chance of finding the kind of happiness most of us can only dream about, or read about in romance novels. The Veronica I know wouldn’t let fear and something that happened twenty years ago dictate her future.” Naomi pushed.
“All of my memories of him are wrapped up in pain.”
“So make new ones.” Tricia suggested. When Veronica just frowned, she sighed. “Look, we just want you to be happy, and from what you’ve told us, he made you very happy once and wants the opportunity to try again. All we’re saying is think about it and don’t dismiss him out of hand.”
They sat in silence for a few minutes. Lori finally broke it. “Mom asked me to check that you’re bringing dessert for Easter dinner tomorrow.”
Veronica smiled. “Yeah. I made cherry pie, some squares and a bunny cake.”
Three days later, Lori had gone to Veronica’s for dinner and stayed to watch a movie. It was almost over when her phone rang.
“Hi Veronica, it’s Brent. Sorry for calling so late.”
“No problem Brent. What’s new in L.A.? Does Vince want something else?”
“No, that’s not why I’m calling. I just heard something, and I thought you should know. Richie Sambora just got arrested for DUI in Laguna.”
“Oh shit! What happened?”
“Not sure. All I’ve been able to find out is that he was with some girlfriend, his daughter and another young girl.”
“Did he blow over?”
“He refused the breathalyser, insisted on a blood test instead.”
Veronica raised a hand to rub her temple while her mind spun with possibilities. “Okay. I’ll get out there as fast as I can.”
“Let me know when your plane will land and I’ll meet you with whatever scuttlebutt’s floating around.”
“Okay thanks. I’ll see you soon. And thanks for calling.” Hanging up, she closed her eyes for a moment, then picked up the phone again. “Jon, it’s me. Sorry for calling so late.”
“Hey sugar, no problem, I was catching up on my mail.” And wishing you were here. “What’s up?”
“I just got a call from a colleague in the L.A. office. Richie’s been arrested for DUI.”
“Awwww FUCK!” He raked a hand threw his hair. “What happened?”
She filled him in as much as she knew. “I’m heading out there now to check on him and do what I can for damage control.”
“Okay. Call me when you get there.”
Veronica hung up and turned to see Lori bent over her computer. “What are you doing?”
“Finding you the soonest flight to L.A. Go pack. I’ll drive you to the airport.”
“Yeah, thanks. I guess I might as well pack for the next leg since we start out there anyway.”
Veronica packed in record time and they were quickly on the road. On the way to the airport she explained to Lori what was going on.
“I thought he’d quit drinking.”
“So did I. We are coming up to the anniversary of his father’s death though, so that may have had something to do with it.”
“Poor Richie, I take it they were really close.” Lori looked at her.
Veronica nodded. “Yes. Adam was a wonderful man, and they were very close. He must be hurting pretty bad to have taken such a chance with Ava in the car.”
“So who’s this ‘girlfriend’ that was in the car?”
“I don’t know. As far as I know he hasn’t been seeing anyone....at least not steady.”
Pulling up in front of the doors, Lori got out to help with Veronica’s suitcases. “When will we see you again?”
“Um three weeks or so. We play Nashville on the twenty-fourth.”
“Okay. If there’s anything that we can help you with, let us know.”
“I will. Thanks for the ride.” Veronica hurried into the airport and spent the flight thinking about what to say to Richie.