Saturday, August 21, 2010

Chapter 101

Jon sighed as the jet touched down and taxied to a stop. Lord, he was tired! He’d tried to sleep on the flight, but didn’t have much luck. That was unusual for him. But then again, he hadn’t slept well for the last few days. You know what the problem is asshole! He raked a hand through his hair and started to gather his gear.

Sitting in the car on the way to the hotel, the cityscape outside his window went largely ignored as he tried to figure a way out of the hole he’d dug himself with Veronica. It was amazing how quiet a house full of kids could be when the other adult in it wasn’t speaking to you. In fact, it seemed that the only female in the house that really wanted to be near him was the kitten. She followed him around the house waiting for him to stop moving so that she could climb on, like he was her personal piece of furniture! And he didn’t particularly even like cats!

He knew he’d fucked up. If he hadn’t clued in with her ‘now I know your priorities’ comment, he did about an hour into the meeting – they were getting nowhere and it was a complete waste of his time. It hit him that he was missing out on exploring Abu Dhabi with Veronica – exactly the type of thing he promised her he wouldn’t do. He made a mistake. He admitted it. Now he just had to convince her that he was sorry and would work harder on not letting it happen again.

Jon looked at the phone in his hand and debated calling Veronica. But he didn’t know if she was still pissed at him – or rather how pissed she still was – and it was late. She was probably asleep and waking her wouldn’t help his cause.

Jet lag pressing down on him, he barely noticed the hotel lobby and the hallways the bell boy led him down. He gave the room only a fleeting glance, just enough to know where the bed and bathroom were...and that there wasn’t a connecting door. Stripping off his clothes he crawled between the sheets to stare at the ceiling and try to find a solution to his problem. He fell asleep before he found one.

The next day Jon awoke to bright sunlight streaming through the windows and filling the room. Sighing and stretching, he took a closer look around the room and was a little surprised at what he saw. It was a nice enough room, but not quite what he’d been led to believe he should expect in the way of luxury.

Spying his phone, he picked it up and checked for messages. Nothing from Veronica, just a note on his schedule advising him what time his driver would pick him up to take him to the stadium. He debated calling her, even going so far as to find her number in his list, but, thumb hovering over it, he realized that he really needed to talk to her face to face. Tossing the phone down, he rubbed his hand over his face and headed for the shower.

He almost got lost finding the lobby and the main door where what looked like an over sized golf cart was waiting for him, along with Makal, the driver, and Sayed, his guide and translator.

“Greetings Mr. Bon Jovi.” Sayed bowed. “If you would take a seat, we’ll take you to the stadium. The rest of your party is already there.”

“Thanks.” Jon climbed in and, with a slight jerk, the vehicle moved down the driveway.

At the stadium he was escorted to the stage where he found the rest of the guys preparing for sound check. Looking out into the stands he saw Veronica and a group of what he assumed were reporters or DJs or something sitting in the floor section talking. As he watched, she glanced up, met his gaze, then turned back to the group without so much as a nod or a smile.

Yup, still pissed. He sighed and glanced around at the guys. “Hey.”

“Hey.” They responded. They all looked towards him, but none of them even cracked a smile of welcome.

“Everything go okay yesterday?”

“Yep.” Richie didn’t elaborate.

“The hotel’s not bad. Not as luxurious as I was expecting though.” Jon tried again to make conversation.

They all stared at him like he’d lost his mind. “You’re joking right?” David finally spoke up. “That place is like a palace! My room is almost as big as the entire main floor of my house! And that marble in the bathroom is gorgeous!”

Jon frowned. “My room isn’t like that.” He glanced at Sayed who turned to Makal.

After a brief discussion in Arabic, Sayed turned back to Jon. “I’m so sorry Mr. Bon Jovi, there seems to have been a mix up. You were given a room in the servants quarters by mistake.”

There was silence for about thirty seconds, then it started. First choked off snickers from the roadies that were working on the stage, then chuckles which quickly turned into outright laughter from his bandmates.

“A mistake, huh?” He looked out into the stadium again. “I’m not so sure.”

“You don’t really think she did it, do you?” Hugh had followed his gaze. “She wouldn’t do that....would she?”

“She would.” Jon assured him and stepped up to the mic. “Veronica! Could I speak to you for a minute please?”

That just set the rest of them off again.

Veronica excused herself from the group she was talking to and climbed up onto the stage. She knew he wasn’t happy. He never used her full name. Well too bad, she wasn’t exactly thrilled with him either. As she approached, Richie, David and Tico all raised their arms and bowed to her, chanting “We’re not worthy”.

She raised her brows at them, but spoke to Jon. “Thanks for making time in your busy schedule for us.”

The guys winced. Jon didn’t so much as blink, although his lips pressed into a thin line. “Did you have anything to do with my room assignment?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I deal with promotions, not accommodations. If your room isn’t up to your standards, I suggest you take it up with them. Although, with the amount of time you’ll be spending in it, I don’t see what it matters.”

“Hey Ronnie, can we go dune bashing again?” David asked. “I want another shot at beating the Cubano.”

“Sorry, we don’t have time.”

“Are you sure? You can ride with me this time.” Tico coaxed. “Gotta prove to Lema it was superior skill and not luck that left him in my dust.”

“Bite me asshole!” David flipped him off. “My clutch kept sticking.”

“Uh stick to that story curly man.”

“Hey little girl, did you get the recipe for those grilled vegetables...and what did they spice that meat with?” Richie asked.

Veronica nodded. “Yes. I’ll e-mail it to you. You’ll probably have better luck finding the spices in L.A. than I will in Nashville.”

“I’ll send you some.”

“Oh nina...can you send me the pictures you took of the sunset last night?”

“Sure papa. Feeling a painting coming on?”

“Yeah, plus Alejandra doesn’t believe me about the colours.”

“Alright, alright, I get it.” Jon interrupted. He didn’t want to hear anymore about what he’d missed. “Can we get some work done please?”

Veronica looked him in the eye. “Do you Jon? Do you really?”

“Yes, sugar, I do, and I’m sorry.”

“Wish I could believe that....or that it would make a difference.”

Jon watched her walk away. “Fuck!”

“What do you expect man? You’ve got to stop making promises you can’t – or won’t – keep.” Richie commented. “She believes you, gets her hopes up and then gets hurts when you revert to form and let her down.”

Jon swore again. “I’m fucked aren’t I?”

“Yep, and not in the good way.”

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