After the fireworks finished, the guests started to leave, until finally it was just the family left. While the men were outside putting away tables and chairs, the women were in the house dealing with the dishes and left over food.
Carol watched Veronica move efficiently and with familiarity around Jon’s kitchen and frowned. “That doesn’t go there!”
Veronica rolled her eyes at Desiree, but continued to load the dishwasher – as she saw fit!
“Ronnie, I think we have a soldier down.” Matt spoke from the doorway, a half asleep Romeo in his arms.
Wiping her hands on a towel, she walked towards him, her arms held out. “Here, I’ll take him upstairs to bed.” Hand off complete, she murmured in Romeo’s ear. “Say goodnight.”
“’Nite.” Romeo laid his head on her shoulder and waved at his relatives.
Matt watched them disappear, then turned to his mother. “Get off her back Mom. What’s she ever done to you? If anyone has the right to be pissed off it’s Ronnie.”
“What are you talking about?” Carol huffed. “You don’t know what happened.”
“I know enough to know that this family hasn’t treated her very well. In fact, I’m surprised she even speaks to either you or Jon!”
“Matt...” Desiree’s voice held a warning note.
“I know, I know. She’s forgiven Jon even to the point of giving him a second chance. Just goes to show you what a wonderful, strong woman she is.” He shook his head. “I’m not sure I could be that forgiving in her position.” Looking back at his mother, he gave her his version of the stink eye. “My point is, she’s done nothing to earn your rudeness and disrespect, so get off her back and be nice to her!”
John Sr., a sleeping Jake in his arms, arrived in time to hear his youngest’s last comments. He gave his wife a dark look. “I’m taking Jake up to bed, and then I think it’s time we went home.”
Veronica was coming out of Romeo’s room when John appeared at the top of the stairs. “Another one down?”
“Yeah. I guess the chocolate chips finally wore off.”
They got Jake settled, and left the room, John closing the door behind them.
“Oh, can you leave that open a bit? If the cat can’t get in there to sleep with him she comes scratching at....Jon’s door and he has to pretend he’s annoyed.” Veronica smirked.
John gave her a knowing look. “Does he get up and let her in or does he make you do it?”
She hesitated, then gave in. They were both consenting adults after all. “I did. He slept through it – or so he said.”
John laughed. “You’re not buying the tough guy routine?”
She snorted. “I know him better than that.”
“Yes, you do.” He paused. “Ronnie, I’m sorry about Carol.”
“You can’t control her thoughts and attitude John. I just hate that all of this is causing conflict within your family.”
“Honey, she’s the one causing the conflict, and whether you’re ready to admit it or not, you are a part of this family. You have been for twenty years. Regardless of what happens between you and Jon – and I hope you can make it work – you are my grandson’s mother, and as such, will always have a place in this family....and my heart.”
Tears blurred her vision and she had to blink. “Thank you.” It was all she could manage to say.
He hugged her. “Ronnie, don’t let Carol affect any decisions you make regarding Jon and your future. You do whatever you have to do to ensure your own happiness. And if my son is as smart as I think he is, he’ll do whatever he has to do to ensure it as well. He recognizes his part in the bad treatment you received from the people who should have been helping you when we lost Drew. He won’t let you be hurt like that again.” He searched her eyes. “Trust him, Ronnie, he loves you. You focus on yourself, Jon and the kids....I’ll work on Carol.” He kissed her cheek. “Be happy Ronnie, you deserve it.” Straightening, he urged her towards the stairs. “Thanks for a great party honey.”
“Thanks for coming John and for all your help, and for.....well...just...thanks.”
“Anytime. You need anything, you call me.”
As they pulled down the driveway, John glanced at his wife. “You’ve got to stop this crap with Ronnie Carol.”
“I don’t want that woman anywhere near my family!”
“Whether you like it or not, she’s a part of this family! If you don’t find a way to let the past go and get along with her, you’re going to be the one on the outside of the family looking in! You’re alienating our boys, which means you’ll lose our grandchildren too. I’m not asking you to admit to Ronnie that you were wrong in your treatment of her twenty years ago, because I know you will never do that. All I’m asking is that you stop sniping at her and criticizing her. You don’t have to be best friends with her, just be polite.”
Carol just snorted and stared out the window.
“Okay, I think that’s it. We’re going to head out Sis, unless there’s something else you need us to do?” Matt looked around the clean kitchen.
“No, I think we’re about done. Thanks for all your help.” Veronica’s gaze included Desiree. She walked them outside where Jon was finishing cleaning up the bar area. “Jon, Matt and Desiree are leaving.”
The two brothers said their goodbye’s – a little cooler than usual, but it was obvious that their earlier argument, while not forgotten, wasn’t going to cause any lasting damage to their relationship.
Veronica waved them off and took a last tour through the house to make sure they hadn’t missed anything. Climbing the stairs to check on the kids, she found them all sound asleep, even Stephanie and Jesse. It had been a long, busy day for all of them. Peeking into Jake’s room, she was startled for a second until she recognized the glowing green eyes looking at her from his bed. Boots had been hiding most of the day with all the strange people around, but obviously she’d felt it was safe to come out.
Stepping back outside, she accepted the glass of wine that Jon handed her and wandered over by the pool. The atmosphere was decidedly romantic if she took the time to notice. The grounds were lit with the glow of the dozen lights that were scattered around. Jon had turned on the stereo and soft, lilting melodies floated on air scented by the flowers planted along the house. Even the pool was lit from within. But her mind was elsewhere, reliving the events of the day, Carol’s biting words....and John’s comforting ones. The air had cooled only slightly with the disappearance of the sun, and the water looked deliciously cool and inviting.
Jon watched her, sensing her distraction. When she set down her wineglass at the edge of the pool and stepped out of her shorts, his mouth went dry at the sight of her, the bikini bottom held in place by just two bows on her hips. His fingers twitched with the urge to unravel them and explore the secrets hidden underneath the scraps of white material.
With a graceful arch of her body, Veronica dove into the clear water, surfacing to find Jon sitting beside her glass, feet dangling in the water. Swimming over, she rested her arms on the side and picked up her glass. They were in the shallow end and she could stand easily, but remained crouched down in the water.
He watched her sip wine, his gaze following a bead of water running over her collar bone and down between her breasts. “You did a great job today.” The narrowing of her eyes had him replaying his words in his head and raising a hand to stop her before she lit into him. “Not that I had any doubts that you would! I just meant the party was a great success, and thank you.”
Veronica took another sip, set down her glass and moved to stand in front of him, nudging his knees apart so that she could stand close, running her hands over his knees and up under the edge of his board shorts to stroke his thighs. “I thought it went well. Tell me about your friends.”
While Jon filled her in about the people she’d met that afternoon, his hands running lightly up and down her arms, shoulders and back, Veronica alternated between sipping wine and stroking his body, first his thighs, then his chest. The way she played with his chest hair and kneaded his pecs reminded him of Boots preparing her nest before lying down. Even her wordless sounds of encouragement when he paused in his storytelling sounded like purrs.
When his voice trailed off she looked up and crooked a brow at him. “What?”
“I was just thinking how much you remind me of a cat.” He went on to explain.
“Mmmm.” She purred. “Just don’t forget that cats have claws.” Curling her fingers, her nails bit lightly into his chest.
“Mmm. Scratch me kitten.”
Leaning forward, she set her teeth to the thick muscle. “What about if I bite?”
“Whatever turns you on Sweetheart.”
“And what turns you on?” The words were murmured against his skin as she licked and nibbled, tasting the mixture of sweat, chlorinated water, and that musky male flavour that was uniquely him.
“Everything about you.”
She leaned up and kissed him, nuzzling his lips and sucking lightly. “Nice. Sucking up for something?”
“Nope, just being honest.” His mouth brushed hers. “Will it get me anything?”
“Mmmm. Depends.” Her mouth moved down his throat and over his collarbone to tease at the nailheads of his nipples.
“On what?” His voice had deepened and a shiver ran down his spine.
“On what you have for me besides smooth words.”
Jon looked down at his lap. “See for yourself.”
One delicate hand settled on his rapidly swelling erection and squeezed. “Mmm...is all of this for me?”
His breath hissed through his teeth. “All yours sugar.”
“Maybe I should take a closer look at it.” Pulling loose the drawstring waistband, she tugged until she was able to reveal him. He lifted his hips to help. One hand trailed up and down his length, over and over while the other reached underneath to cup and fondle his sac. For long minutes, she played, and watched his face - flushed and sweating, blue eyes dark and glittering. “Hmmm....what should I do with it?”
Jon was beyond speaking. It was taking every ounce of control he had not to explode in her hand. But he wanted more. His answer was to cup his hands on either side of her head and pulled down.
Smiling inwardly, Veronica complied, opening her mouth wide to take him inside.
Jon watched his aching flesh disappear between her lips. His hands eased their grip to let her move. Unable to look away, he watched as her head lifted and lowered, releasing him, then swallowing him again. He groaned at the slither of her tongue over his sensitive flesh. When she started to suck he thought he was going to lose it. He knew he couldn’t hold on much longer, but he wanted to make it last as long as he could.
Just as his peak was approaching, Veronica started to lift her head. With a low growl, his hands tightened and pushed her back down. She would have grinned if she could, but her mouth was otherwise occupied. Instead, she decided to bring things to a ‘head’ and increased the pressure of her caressing hands and the strength of her suction.
“Ooooh...FUCK!” He bit out, the last shred of control ripping away.
Veronica gulped and swallowed the deluge that flooded her mouth and throat.
When he was empty, she eased back, kissed his still throbbing head and reached for her wine glass. “So tell me about the Octopus.”
If he had the breath he would have laughed. Audrey Vanelli might be grabby, but no one in his experience could out do Veronica when it came to suction power. He’d bet serious money that she could suck a golf ball through a garden hose! His toes actually curled and he was still seeing spots! He cleared his throat – twice. “She’s a divorcee who likes to flirt. She’s harmless really.”
Pushing off the edge, he slid into the pool and pulled her into his arms. “Let me put it this way. She’s no threat to you. You’re the only one I want.” He bent to capture her mouth in a gentle but very thorough kiss. Raising his head, he grasped her hips and lifted her onto the side. “You’ve been driving me nuts all day with this.” Calloused fingers trailed over the tops of her breasts. “Made me want to move the cloth out of the way and taste the goodies underneath.” His head dipped to do exactly that, teeth biting cloth to move it aside, tongue circling hard nipples, lips suckling.
“Mmm....Johnny.” Her sigh signaled her appreciation.
“Good thing I didn’t know what you had on under those shorts. I would have had to steal you away from the party for awhile.” His fingers slowly unraveled the bows at her hips.
“And you think I would have let you?”
“I would have made it worth your while.” He assured her as he stripped away her last covering. Hooking his hands under her knees, he lifted them and spread them wide, opening her completely to his gaze. He stroked the inside of her thighs while he debated his next move. Then he bent and ran his tongue up her damp slit.
Veronica groaned and closed her eyes briefly against the jolt of pleasure. Opening them again she looked down to see him watching her, a brow lifting in question. Her own eyes glittering, it was her turn to lace her fingers into his hair and pull him closer.
All too happy to oblige, he settled in to feast. He explored her secrets with lips and tongue, driving her passion higher and higher with teasing licks and nibbles. Judging her state by the tension in the supple thighs under his hands and the gasps and moans she couldn’t suppress, when she was near the edge he pushed her over, penetrating her with his tongue.
Veronica cried out, her hands fisting in his hair in response to the waves of pleasure swamping her. When they subsided and he lifted his head, she felt the loss immediately. She wanted more. Using her grip on his hair, she pulled him back down.
A low chuckle was his only verbal reply. Even though pleasuring her had renewed his own arousal, he was willing to give her what she obviously wanted. This time he focused on her clit, flicking it with his tongue and laving it until she was once more on the brink. Closing his teeth on the pulsing nub, he sucked. Hard.
Veronica screamed and held on as her nervous system exploded. Her eyes closed and her body shuddered. But it still wasn’t enough. Opening her eyes, she looked down at him, noting the hot flame in the cobalt depths of his eyes.
Jon read the message in the amethyst gaze locked to his. “More?”
The husky murmur sparked her senses again. “Only if I get you this time.” Bracing her hands on the edge of the pool, she slipped in.
And he slipped into her. Hands gripping her hips, he moved her on him, stroking slowly and deeply.
Veronica wrapped herself around him and held on. Her mouth reached for his, their lips melding, tongues twining. When her peak neared, she tightened her grip.
Jon stopped and waited for her to calm, then started moving again. Once again, he stopped just when she was on the edge. Her hands raked down his back in frustration and encouragement.
The third time he stopped, she fisted both hands in his hair and tugged. “Stop teasing! Next time I’m coming – with or without you!”
He grinned and flexed his hips. “You want this?”
Veronica moaned. “Mmmm. Yes....faster Johnny! Harder!”
Bracing his legs, he tightened his grip on her hips and increased his pace. Each time he pulled her onto him, he thrust his hips, intensifying each movement.
It only took minutes for Veronica to scale the heights of pleasure again. This time he let her go over the top. Her teeth sank into his shoulder as her world shattered.
With a flurry of thrusts, Jon joined her.
It took a few minutes before either one of them could move, let alone talk. Jon finally managed to maneuver them to the steps in the corner of the pool where he sat with her still wrapped around him. “Why....would I want.....an octopus.....when I have....a mermaid?”
Veronica laughed breathlessly and hugged him tighter.