“Where’s Ronnie?” Jake, the first through the door, asked, looking around the foyer.
They’d been back from Greece for two weeks and the kids were coming to spend a few days in Jersey.
“She’s in Nashville.” Jon replied. At the silence that followed his comment he glanced around to find all four kids staring at him. “Don’t look at me like that, she’s coming back. I had a bunch of stuff to do for the Foundation, but I’m going down to get her this weekend.”
Jake and Romeo took off into the house in search of the cat and to say hello to Molly, but Jesse and Stephanie stayed where they were, their expressions a combination of concern, disgust and exasperation.
“Did you and Ronnie have a fight?” Stephanie asked the obvious question.
“No, why would you ask that?”
“Why is she in Nashville?” Jesse interrupted. His tone made it clear that he thought his dad had fucked up and pissed Veronica off.
“Because she has an apartment there....her best friends are there that she hasn’t seen for awhile....most of her clothes are there.....she has things to do there.”
“Why do you have to go get her? Won’t she come back on her own?”
Jon glared at his oldest son and had to bite back angry words. “Because I miss her! Not that it’s any of your business. I miss her and I want to see her, so I’m going down to where she is. Does that answer your question?”
“Is she going to move in here?” Stephanie stepped in.
“I hope so Steph. I’m working on that.”
She nodded and picked up her bag to take it upstairs. “Let me know when you have some time to go shopping.”
Jon watched his two oldest climb the stairs and shook his head. “Damn pushy kids!”
Down in Nashville, Veronica was feeling the same way about her closest friends. She’d been home a little over a week, and ever since she’d updated the girls on her life, a day hadn’t gone by without one or more of them trying to push her further into Jon’s life. “Will you guys back off! Jeez, I wish I’d never told you.”
“Well, what do you expect?” Naomi asked, exasperation clear in her tone. “You’ve got the most gorgeous man in Rock and Roll telling you he loves you and wanting you to move in with him....and you say you’re not sure what to do? That you have to think about it? What the hell is that? He loves you, you love him...what is there to think about?”
“I have to look at the big picture! It’s not just about whether we love each other, it’s about whether we can live together. It’s about my life. I don’t have a job, don’t forget, so I have a lot to figure out.”
“I still can’t believe you quit.” Tricia shook her head. “I thought you loved that job.”
“I did, I just got fed up with Vince’s shit.”
“I’m surprised you put up with him as long as you did, the way he treated you. You did all the work and he took all the credit.” Lori sneered.
Veronica shrugged. “I liked what I was doing. I knew I was doing a good job and so did the artists I was working with. I didn’t need Vince’s approval.”
Lori studied her friend. “And maybe somewhere deep down you thought you didn’t deserve it? From anyone?”
There was a long silence while Veronica considered her words. “Maybe.”
“But what does not having a job have to do with deciding whether to move in with Mr. Gorgeous?” Naomi shifted the conversation back to the original point. “He’s close to New York right? You can work as easily from there as you can here. Hell, just work for him. He’s asked you to, right?”
“And what happens if our relationship falls apart? Where does that leave me?”
The girls finally understood what her problem was. She was afraid of becoming dependent on him for her livelihood and the roof over her head in case they broke up. She was protecting herself.
“What do his kids think of you being with their father?” Tricia decided to try to go at it a different way.
“They’re fine with it.” Veronica hesitated, then admitted, “When we were in Greece the boys asked me if I was going to marry Jon.”
“And what did you tell them?”
“That I had no plans to. They asked me why not and I said for starters he hasn’t asked me.”
Tricia watched her face closely. “Do you want him to? Would you feel more comfortable moving to New Jersey if your relationship was more....committed?”
Veronica sipped her wine and considered the idea for a long moment before giving an honest answer. “I don’t know....maybe.” Just then her phone pinged with a text message. Glancing down at the display, she smiled. “Speak of the devil.”
8:15: Whatcha doing? J
She took another sip before tapping out a reply.
8:17: Hanging with the girls, having a few drinks.
8:18: Usual spot?
8:19: Yes, why?
8:19: Just picturing scene. Say hi from me.
“Jon says hi.” She dutifully complied.
8:20: Girls say hi. What are you doing?
8:20: Missing you
A soft smile curved her lips and her heart lurched.
8:21: I miss you too
8:21: Have fun with girls, talk to you tmrw...love you
8:22: Love you too
Setting down the phone, she noticed her friends all watching her. “What?”
It was Lori who answered. “You miss him don’t you?”
“Yeah.” More than I ever thought possible. More than I ever have anyone else in my life. “I’m so used to him being around. Ten times a day I turn to say something to him, but he’s not there.” And I’m so damn lonely! And a bit horny. I guess when you’re used to getting it regularly you really notice when it’s missing!
“So fix it so that he is.” Was Naomi’s solution.
Veronica sighed and downed her wine. She didn’t want to talk about it anymore. A song came over the sound system and she stood. “Come on, let’s dance.”
An hour or so – and three glasses of wine – later, Lori looked over Veronica shoulder towards the door to the bar that had just opened. At the sight of the man who walked in she smiled. Dude’s got it bad! She caught the eyes of Naomi and Tricia and nudged Veronica, whose back was to the door. “I think someone’s here to see you.”
Veronica turned in the direction Lori was indicating and felt her breath catch in her chest. She had no clue that her face lit up – in fact she positively glowed – at the sight of him, but her friends did. They looked towards Jon for his reaction and were relieved to see the male equivalent of Veronica’s glow on his face when he saw her rushing towards him.
“Lucky bitch.” Naomi’s comment said it all. It was obvious to them that their friend had found the man that made her happy beyond all their hopes for her....and it looked like he felt the same way.
Veronica threw herself into Jon’s arms, her own slipping around his neck to hug him tight. Leaning back a little, she gave him a long and lingering kiss, uncaring of who might be watching. “What are you doing here?”
“I missed you. I wanted to see you.”
“I’m glad you came.” She hugged him again, then led him over to the table where her friends were sitting.