Her friends’ words were still echoing in her head two days later as she was sitting in the interview room listening to the guys answer questions. Listening with one ear, her gaze never strayed far from Jon. Were they right? Was she subconsciously punishing him for what happened all those years ago? Was she being a coward? Even though she felt she was justified in wanting to wait until after Dubai to focus on the obstacles blocking their future, maybe she could give him a little bit more than she had so far.
As she sat there, watching him charm the reporter – one of her contacts – her eyes ate up the sight of him. The sparkle in the blue eyes, the line of his jaw, the way his Adam’s apple bobbed when he swallowed, the silvered chest hair visible at the open neck of his shirt. Looking at his hands, she remember how soft they were despite the calluses and how they felt on her skin. His tongue came out to lick his lips and she could taste him. Shivering involuntarily, she realized that even though it had only been two days, she’d missed him. She’d become so used to him always being nearby, it had felt like something was lacking when he wasn’t. Is it lust? Just physical? Or something else, something more....serious? She was afraid that she knew the answer, and she wasn’t ready to face that yet. Despite the years apart and the pain of the past, they’d reconnected very quickly, all the old feelings resurfacing without thought or effort. She had to continually guard against blindly falling into past routines. She couldn’t give in to him that easily. She had to keep a little distance between them....at least until she was sure of his sincerity....and whether she could trust him with her heart again. It hadn’t worked out so well the last time.
In between interviews, Veronica was surveying the refreshment table when Jon came up behind her and slid his arms around her waist. By the time the guys had arrived at the venue, there hadn’t been time for more than a quick kiss hello. He nuzzled under her ear. “How’s my cowgirl? Damn, sugar! Do you know what you in denim and leather does to me? Not to mention the boots?” She was wearing jeans, a black leather vest that zipped up the front, and black cowboy boots.
A throaty chuckle had his body hardening. Veronica turned her head, raised a hand to cup his cheek and pressed her lips to his in a lingering kiss. “Why do you think I wore them?”
He grinned gave her a squeeze. “Tease.”
“Is it working?”
He pressed his hips harder against her. “What do you think?”
“I think you have another couple hours of interviews before you can play.”
A growl rumbled deep in his throat. “Spoilsport.”
“Have patience. Anticipation will only make it better.”
“Right, and Sambora’s a virgin.” He retorted dryly.
Veronica snickered and leaned back even more against him and changed the subject. “How were the kids?”
Jon stilled, surprised that she brought up the subject. “Fine. Jake gave me his birthday wish list.”
“How long is it?”
“Three pages....double sided.”
“At least he’s giving you lots of choice.”
Across the room, the rest of the guys exchanged a look. Veronica hadn’t let Jon hold her like that in public since they’d found her again - even just in front of them. Hopefully things were getting better on that front.
A few minutes later, she kissed Jon again and left to bring in the next reporter. Richie raised a brow at Jon, who understood the unspoken question and shrugged. “I don’t know and I’m not sure I care. I’m not about to look a gift horse in the mouth.”
The others nodded.
“Sugar, how about you come help me pick out some clothes for tonight?” Jon caught Veronica’s eye. They were sitting with the guys in a nearby restaurant Veronica recommended, just finishing their dinner.
Veronica smiled, recognizing the look in his eye and what he really meant. “Jughead doesn’t like it when I visit your dressing room before a show.”
“That’s because by the time you’re finished, our fearless leader is a boneless puddle of goo, and we don’t have five hours for him to sleep and recuperate.” Richie explained. “Besides, we’re having guests tonight, remember?” Big and Rich and Gretchen were coming to the show.
“Yeah, wait until after the show, then it won’t matter if he’s a quivering, stuttering fool.” David added.
Veronica stared at them, trying to determine whether they were serious or merely yanking Jon’s chain – and hers.
Tico noticed. “Don’t get us wrong, we’re really happy for both of you, but people have paid a lot of money to see Jon run around the stage and shake his ass.....not stumble around in a post coital fog.”
Veronica felt her face flame and stole a glance at Jon, who had remained silent, a smirk twisting his lips. “Is that true? Do I do that to you?”
The smile widened into a grin and he winked at her. “You won’t hear me complaining sugar. You can wreck me anytime.” He could have added that she was the only one who could do that to him, but she didn’t need any more power over him than she already had. “Don’t listen to them honey, they’re just jealous.
Veronica glanced around the restaurant, then set her hand on Jon’s thigh under the table and squeezed gently. He covered her hand with his and squeezed back, the message in his eyes when they met hers very clear, and very personal.
Back at the arena, they were quickly surrounded by staff and friends. Veronica braced herself when Big and Rich arrived and was surprised when Big Kenny merely gave her a big hug and a brief kiss on the cheek before moving on to greet the guys. She didn’t notice him watching her interactions with Jon very carefully. Just before Gretchen arrived her phone started ringing with questions about the after party, so all she could do was wave.
A few minutes before the guys were to take the stage, Veronica took Big and Rich and Gretchen to where they could watch the show without being bothered too much, then rushed backstage to let Jon know. She found him in the hallway behind the stage.
“John, Kenny, and Gretchen are on the side where I usually stand. Are you bringing John and Kenny up with you for We Got it?”
“Yeah, that’s the plan. I’ll signal you the song before.” Without warning Jon pushed her up against the wall and pinned her there with his body. His lips captured hers in a fierce, sense stealing kiss. When he lifted his head, he rubbed her bottom lip with a thumb. “Be here when I come off stage.” At her raised brow he quickly added. “Please.”
She pretended to consider him. “We’ll see. It’ll depend on the mood I’m in. I might be bored and tired and just want to have a drink and hang out with Kenny.”
He snorted and narrowed his eyes. “I guess I’ll just have to make sure you’re not bored then won’t I?”
“Mmmmm.” She agreed and sauntered off to join her friends. Just before she disappeared she threw him a provocative look over her shoulder.
Jon watched her go and grinned. Something had brought about a warming of the atmosphere between them. He didn’t have a clue what it was, but he would do whatever he could to encourage it.