"After All" is a sequel to "Love For Sale". Both stories are purely works of fiction and no disrespect is intended to the actual persons or their families.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Ch 88 ~ Take Me To The Top

Jon plodded resolutely along behind Rachel as they ascended the gazillion stairs which would put them at the zenith of mighty Diamond Head.  His heart wasn’t in it and, in all honesty, he would rather be getting a root canal than scaling the epic Hawaiian landmark this morning.

Last night continued to weigh heavily on his mind, mostly because they’d never really resolved anything.  She’d offered up some half-assed intention to do better, they’d gone back to the boat for lackluster sex and when she popped out of bed this morning, it was obvious that she had put the whole restaurant scene behind her.  Seeing as he was still stewing, her carefree attitude irritated him a little.  Add in that this hike brought back memories of his last visit – when he was a lovesick schmuck pining after Rachel – and he was in a piss poor frame of mind.  

Nonetheless, he was trying his best to put on a hap-hap-happy face and not be a dick.  She had been looking forward to this excursion since almost the moment they met and he wasn’t asshole enough to want to ruin it for her.  Hell, he wished he could shake off his mood enough to try and enjoy it himself, but it just wasn’t happening.

As they edged around the tightly spiraled staircase at the top of the old military bunker, Jon pondered how they’d gotten from his lovesick schmuck moment to the point they were now – together, yet not. It confused the hell out of him to be in this predicament.  Jon thought he’d done everything right since they’d reunited.

They’d been infamous for doing very little beyond fucking and fighting, so he had been very about not falling back into that pattern.  Hell, he’d even read a few – okay, one – of those couples’ communication books in hopes of finding a way to make his point without becoming vicious or insulting.  Some of it must have even sunk in, because he could honestly say that they hardly ever fought anymore.  

While it was great that they weren’t trying to slice one another to ribbons with their insults and harsh words, he wondered if it really made a difference.  They still didn’t work through their problems, if you asked him.  It was more a case of avoiding the hot spots in order to keep the peace and, even if he was guilty of it at this very moment, he didn’t think it was a good solution.

After one final wiggle through a narrow opening in the bunker, they finally arrived at their destination – the pinnacle of Diamond Head.  While his chest heaved a little more deeply than usual, a smile as wide as the horizon lit Rachel’s face just before she threw her arms around Jon’s neck, chirping something about how beautiful it was and some other platitudes that he didn’t quite catch.  

Inhaling deeply of the warm sea air, Jon pulled his lips into some semblance of a smile.  Still of the intention to not be a dick, he kissed the top of her forehead, patted her bottom and mumbled semi-agreeably, “Yeah, Rach.  Beautiful.”

Seemingly encapsulated in her own euphoric bliss, Rachel didn’t take notice of his marked lack of enthusiasm.  She merely twisted in his arms so that his hands were clasped across her stomach and snuggled into him, dropping her head back against his chest.  

“I don’t think I’ve ever been as happy in my life as I am right this minute. Well…maybe when the kids were born, but this is a definitely close second, Jonny.”

What was he supposed to say to that?  He might not want to be a dick, but he wasn’t going to pretend he was happy as a pig in shit either.  

So he said nothing.

His lack of enthusiasm might not have dented her Diamond Head exhilaration, but his silence evidently did.  Rachel swiveled around within the loop of his arms, tipping her grinning face up to his and teasing, “What’s the matter old man?  Did the hike wear you out?”

“Nah.”  He sighed and settled his hands into the small of her back, deciding that he could try being honest without being a dick.  “I was just thinkin’ about the last time I was here.”

“You mean when you sent me that text out of nowhere trying to get me to fly over here and meet you for dinner?” she asked with a happy-go-lucky chuckle.  

“I wanted a lot more than dinner, little girl.”  His somber eyes met her merrily dancing ones. “I wanted you back where you belong – with me.”

“And you always get what you won’t, don’t you, Jon?”

“Not always,” he countered with a shake of his head.  “I just keep chasing my tail where you’re concerned.”

Rachel plainly didn’t understand that he wasn’t just engaging in lighthearted banter and witty repartee, because she grinned up into his face with a lopsided smile.  “You used to chase my tail, not your own.  What happened there, baby?”

“You got me all pussy whipped tryin’ to get you back and I’ve still not found my balls,” he grumbled, with maybe just a touch of acrimony.  It was true.  He’d been walking on eggshells for months, doing everything he knew in order to make sure he didn’t lose her again, trying to make her happy despite the fact he wasn’t.

This time, Rachel caught the tone in Jon’s voice and her infatuation with the paradise surrounding them dropped to the back burner.  “What’s that supposed to mean?” she asked defensively, unhappy lines furrowing their way into her forehead and cheeks.  “I’ve been dying to bring you here and now you want to pick a fight?  Here of all places?”

Okay, so despite his best intentions, he’d managed to be a dick anyway.  He didn’t want to pick a fight, he just wanted things to be the way he wanted things to be.  

“I’m sorry, Rach,” Jon sighed and tried to channel a technique from the communication book by dialing back the bitterness in his voice and speaking more conversationally.  “Being back here just makes me realize not much has changed since the last time I was here.”

“What do you mean?”  

Score one for the book.  Now she at least didn’t sound like she was ready to pounce on him and tear him to shreds for ruining her moment.  

“I stood here in this very spot, more miserable and lonely than I’d been in any far corner of the world, because all this…”  He waved his hand in a vague gesture toward their surroundings.  “…was supposed to make me feel closer to you, but it only made me miss you more.  Made me remember how much I fucked it all up.”

We fucked it up, babe,” she corrected quietly, laying a hand alongside his jaw. “And we fought to get it back.  Look at us, Jon…we’re stronger than ever.  We share a beautiful home, a beautiful life.  I’d say quite a lot has changed since the last time you were here.”

Jon frowned over her head out at the vast ocean and tamped down the urge to call bullshit.  

“We have a beautiful home,” he agreed carefully.  “But we don’t really share it. If I’m there, I’m there alone because you’re in California climbing the corporate ladder.”

“You know that I’m dedicated to my job.”

“I know that you didn’t used to give a shit about being a business tycoon.  You told me yourself when you started in real estate it was to make enough money to pay for fertility treatments.  The only thing I can figure is, now that you don’t want to have more children, the corporate world must be more appealing to you.”

“I’m not interested in being a business tycoon,” she reaffirmed with a frown. “Why else would I have taken on that new project with Habitat for Humanity? I’m not profiting from that and it’s one of your pet organizations.”

He closed his eyes for a moment.  In for a penny, in for a pound, he supposed.  

“Yeah, there’s that now, too,” he sighed.  “Don’t get me wrong.  What you’re doing is admirable, but it’s just one more commitment that keeps us apart.  It’s hard enough working around my crazy schedule, but when you have meetings here and there every day of the week.  Well, dammit, Rach.” Jon scraped a frustrated hand through his hair.  “I called you from this fucking hill because I wanted to be with you, and now it’s to the point where we aren’t any more together now than we were when I made the goddamn phone call.”

“Jonny!” Rachel protested, taking a small step backward, as though he had just grown a second head.

“It’s true,” he continued doggedly, knowing that if he didn’t find his balls now, he never would.  “You blow me off whenever I bring it up.  Oh, occasionally you make an extra trip to put a Band-Aid on it and pacify me for a while, but we never resolve anything.  Maybe we don’t scream and fight, but we still aren’t dealing problems like normal people and we have to if this – we – are going to last.  It’s time to make some changes, Rach.  Right here and now.”

Now his second head had apparently developed a serious case of leprosy, if the look of disbelief on her face was anything to go by.  “You’re serious,” she remarked with the same incredulity in her voice.

“As a fuckin’ heart attack,” Jon affirmed with a sharp nod, his balls gaining momentum. “I’ve walked a tightrope since we got back together, knowing that I was an asshole before, but I’ve had enough now.  When I’m home with my kids, I want you home with us instead of asking how high when cocksucker James says ‘jump’.” 

Her disbelief was slowly gaining ground and morphing into something that had her eyes snapping with attitude, but he didn’t give her the chance to unleash on him.  Jon just very quietly and calmly informed her, “I’m not interested in fighting or drama, and I’m not making empty threats here, Rachel.  I’m not even mad, but I am done with things the way they are.”
Maybe he had been a dick – with balls – by unloading all that on her at once, but at least it was out in the open now.  They would finally be forced to deal with their problems, anyway.  

“We either come up with a plan that has us together more than apart or…”  Jon shrugged.  He hadn’t planned on issuing any ultimatums when he climbed up here, but this is where they were and he wanted her to know he was damned serious.  “I’ll go back down this god awful mountain – and home – by myself. What’s it gonna be, Rach?”  

Rachel stayed quiet, eyes still snapping, though not quite as sharply as before.  Either she was actually considering what he had to say or devising the most efficient way to throw his ass over the edge.  Either was realistically possible.  She never had appreciated his ‘high-handed’ and ‘dictatorial’ personality traits all that much.  

When she sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose, he felt pretty sure he wasn’t going for an unscheduled dive and swim.

Rachel was dumbfounded.  

She hadn’t expected this conversation at all, much less here.  She’d thought last night was just Jon being overdramatic because he’d had too much to drink and that the issue had waned along with his blood alcohol content.  

Clearly, she’d been mistaken, because those weren’t the words of man talking off the cuff. He’d obviously put a lot of thought into this… situation, and she couldn’t say that she completely disagreed with his assessment.  They still hadn’t figured out how to work out their problems, only how to ignore them more civilly.  

She was proud of Jon for presenting his thoughts in a way that wasn’t making her feel defensive – much – and he wasn’t doing his usual thing by insisting they get married or even that she give up her job and let him support her. Those were all major steps in the right direction, so she figured the least she could do was take a step or two of her own.  

After all, he was just insisting that some changes be made and, she had to concede, his reasons for doing so might be valid.   They had been spending more time apart than together lately and she wasn’t necessarily thrilled by it, either.

“I miss the days when we were together more often than not,” she finally concurred with a slow nod. “When I was working from the New York office we had a more normal life together and I kind of miss that.  So I think you’re right about making changes so that we have that life again.”

The rigid set of his shoulders relaxed, filling Rachel with further assurance that she’d done the right thing in choosing to talk instead of be angry.  

“I’m sorry that I’ve been blind to how you’ve been feeling about this,” she continued, confidence blooming.  “And I will absolutely make arrangements so that we’re apart less often.”

“I’ve heard the empty promises before,” he reminded her.  “Specifics, please.”

“I, uh…”  What could she do?  Something concrete.  “Well, for starters, I can work more from Jersey when you’re home.”

“Okay,” He nodded and she realized that, for the first time that morning, there was a genuine smile on his face.  “That’s a start.  Anything else?”

When his arms settled back around her waist, it was something akin to Superman putting on her cape. With him by her side, she could do anything.  All she had to do was decide what she wanted to do.  

“My responsibilities will still be based on the west coast, and I’ll have to spend a lot of time on an airplane, but I can work in the air and try to maneuver around your tour schedule.” Yes.  She could make this compromise without giving up her entire world.  This was totally doable and she smiled up at him with the knowledge of it.  “Crawling in bed with you at night justifies the extra wear and tear on my luggage.”

Those beautiful blue eyes sparkled brighter than she’d seen them shine in a long time when he returned her smile.   “I’ll buy you new luggage, baby.  Hell, for such a huge compromise, I’ll buy you a luggage manufacturing company.”

Arms twined around one another, they turned at an angle which allowed them both to survey the renewed beauty around them.  The sea swam around the base of Diamond Head, a mixture of dazzling turquoise and aquamarine.  The sky was a turquoise several hues lighter, but none the less brilliant.  The mountain on which they stood, and the surrounding flora was a shade of green so lush that it almost looked like velvet. 

It was, in a clichéd word, paradise.

“Yanno somethin',  Rach,” he murmured into her hair as the breeze ruffled them both. “You're right.  This place is pretty special."

Now all she had to do was hope that karma - and James - cooperated.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Ch 87 ~ Turn the Tables

“Maybe you should, Rach,” he suggested quietly.  “Because I gotta tell ya…  I’m done playing house.”

Jon’s words hung in the air like the smothering cloud of extravagant perfume that pervaded Macy’s while Rachel was timelessly trapped in a stunned fog.  ‘Playing house’ had wounded her to the core, because it was an utter insult to how she perceived their relationship.  She couldn’t disagree that it was bi-coastal, but – in Rachel’s mind – it was simply an extension of those times when Jon was on tour. 

Of course, now that she took a moment to think back, she recalled that he didn’t like the separation then either.

Maybe it’s time to decide whether your marriage ‘principles’ are really worth all this, Rachel.

Beautiful blue eyes stayed pinned on her face, teeming with an odd yin-yang of sadness and antagonism that was no doubt the product of too much alcohol combined with a sensitive topic.  It set Rachel on edge, making her the tiniest bit defensive since she was unsure which way this tête-à-tête was going to swing. 

Regardless, she wasn’t particularly inclined to embark on a conversation of this magnitude in a public place. Wisdom dictated that it would be best kept on ice until they were safely cocooned in the boat’s relative privacy.

To that end, she scooted her chair back and began to stand, reaching for her purse as she did so. 

“Sit down.”  Jon’s soft words were infused with titanium steel, with no room for negotiation.  The balance of the yin-yang had obviously shifted in favor of antagonism, and it didn’t sit well with Rachel’s own alcohol soaked attitude. 

She froze mid-rise and met Jon’s gaze with an icy-steel one of her own.  “You really think I’m going to have this conversation here?’

“Yeah.  I do.”

She stood fully erect and squared her shoulders, looking down at the top of his tousled head.  After delivering his directive, it seemed Jon was more interested in the dregs of his cocktail than looking at her. 

That was fine.  She didn’t have to see his face to make her point.  “Well, I don’t.  We’ve both been drinking and I don’t want to have a scene that could end up on the Enquirer’s next cover.  Let’s go back to the boat where we’ve got some privacy.”

It was then that Jon lifted his eyes to Rachel’s and glared at her.  “No.  We’re gonna have this talk right here, right fucking now.  You don’t get another chance to avoid the topic, so sit yourself down before I sit you down.”  He gave her a smug, close-lipped smile.  “And if I do it, you can guaran-damn-tee there will be a tabloid cover.”

Rachel hated being told what to do, and her first inclination was to tell him to go fuck himself and find her way back to the boat.  The only problem with that scenario was that he knew she hated being told what to do.  He was trying to exert his dominance in this relationship and, if she wasn’t careful, he’d follow through on that stupid threat, landing them both in an embarrassingly awkward situation.

So she exercised her only viable option. 

She slipped back into her seat with the hope that, if nothing else, her man would behave reasonably to protect the sanctity of his public image. 

“Alright, Jon.”  She dipped her chin in acquiescence and folded her hands on the tabletop.  “Have it your way.  As usual.” 

“As usual?”  He quirked one eyebrow and cocked his head ever so slightly to the side.  “Are you actually implying I get MY way in this relationship?”  A rude snort ripped through the tropical hair.  “You’ve lost your mind, woman, because I’ve not had anything my way since the damn day I MET you!”

Flattening her lips into a tight line, she just barely kept from calling bullshit.

“I have panted after you from the minute I saw you with your skirt hiked up, trying to push those suitcases through the gates of the house.”  Jon leaned forward on his elbows so that he was in her personal space.  “You know the house, I’m talking about right, Rach?  The one I paid a stupid amount of money for – ten percent OVER the asking price – just because I was too pussy whipped to stand the thought of somebody else living there…?”

The server chose that opportune moment to approach the table, both inquiring about drink refills and unknowingly keeping her customers’ conversation from deteriorating into a shouting match.  Thankful for the interruption, yet uninterested in dulling her faculties any further, Rachel smiled with a declining shake of her head. 

Jon, however, propped his elbows on the table and offered the waitress his very practiced ‘panty melting’ smile.  He was clearly determined to take the opportunity to get his own way in something, and firmly disagreed with Rachel’s decision.  “Your timing couldn’t be more perfect!  We’re on vacation so bring another round and give my girl here a little extra something in hers.” 

Oh for God’s sake.

Rachel suddenly found herself drained.  Whether he believed it or not, her sole purpose in life wasn’t to thwart his wishes.

“Come on, Jon,” she breathed wearily, as the waitress sashayed away to do his bidding.  “Enough is enough.  Can we finish this conversation on the boat?  Please?”

Maybe he took pity on her.  Maybe common sense finally came into play.  She may never know, but something in him softened, Rachel thought.  His body relaxed.  Rigid shoulders and spine lost some of their stiffness and the eyes that had been brimming with anger moments ago were now softer.  The love he had for her had found its way to the surface again.

He loved her.  She never doubted that, even in times like this, when he was being argumentative. 

Then again, was he really being argumentative just because he was half-drunk and in a mood?  Or did he have a valid question? 

“Gimme the bottom line here, Rach.  Do you ever intend to move back to Jersey with me?  I mean, I understood in the beginning you were a little gun shy, but are you planning to just live apart the rest of our lives?”

God knew her reasons behind shirking marriage had made complete sense to her at some point, but when it was shot back her in stark, simple terms it made her question what in the hell she was doing. 


His voice summoned her from her own thoughts, and she found concern swimming in those beautiful blue eyes.  It was enough to drain any remaining fight right out of her. 

“What?”  She reached her hand across the table and knotted their hands together.  “I’m sorry honey, I didn’t hear you.”

“I was just sayin’ that I’d like to finish this sooner rather than later. Don’t you think it’s about time?”  

His strong fingers flexed around hers, silently suffusing her with his strength.  The strength to put his wants before hers.  What difference did it make, anyway?  It was just a piece of paper, right?

“Yes, it is.”  She inhaled deeply through her nose.  “So that’s what you want?  To get married?”


It gave her a measure of comfort that he didn’t have to think before responding.  A small measure, since he asked her to marry him every night before they went to sleep, but she’d take it. 

He asks you every night, Rachel.  Every.  Single. Night.  Who are you to say his reasons for wanting to get married aren’t the right ones?  Who made you the authority on marriage, anyway?


Sandy eyebrows winged up on his forehead.  “What the…?  Did you just agree to marry me?”

A melancholy smile curled her lips upward.  “I did.”

“What’s the catch?”

She gave a slow shake of her head.  “No catch.  You want to get married, so we’ll get married.”

“Just like that?”

“Just like that.”

His eyes narrowed suspiciously.  “Why?”

One of her shoulders lifted in a shrug.  “Because you want to.”

“And you still don’t.”

He was something close to adorable when he was confused, but, as cute as she found him.  It wasn’t her intent to confuse him. 

“Funny thing about relationships is that it’s not all about one person or the other,” she explained with a gentle squeeze of his hand.  “I’m sorry I didn’t realize I was making it all about me, Jon.  If you want to get married, then we will.”

His mouth turned down into a petulant frown.  “I hate you.”

“What?” she laughed, knowing he didn’t mean the words.  There simply wasn’t enough venom in them to warrant a three-hundred-sixty degree turnaround from love to hate.

“I said I hate you,” he repeated with annoyance, shaking his head.  “Because, even though you said the right words, you don’t really mean them.  That made me feel like shit because I don’t want to marry you if you don’t really want to, because it would make you feel like shit.”

“I’m not going to feel like shit, you silly man.”

“Whatever,” he sighed.  “For the first time, I think I actually understand why you’ve refused so long.”

Rachel’s eyes went wide.  “You do?”

“Don’t look so fuckin’ happy about it,” he grumbled.  “Because all that means is that we’re back to goddamn, mother fuckin’ square one.  You don’t wanna marry me because you don’t think I need you or what the fuck ever, and now I don’t want to marry you because I don’t want you feeling like you were forced into it.”

She chuckled, not having any idea that this would be the turn of events to take place.  “I said I’d marry you.”

“Yeah, well, maybe when you can say it with a smile on your face, then I’ll believe you.”

Really?  This was what it had taken to get him to see her point of view?  If she’d known that, Rachel would’ve done this months ago.  She didn’t necessarily think it would’ve solved all of his discontent, but at least it would’ve been a mutual decision instead of her fault. 

“I love you, yanno,” she murmured, leaning in to touch her lips to his.

“You goddamn well better.  I wouldn’t put up with this shit from anybody else.”

She giggled against his lips.  How many women would find him amusing even when he was sulky?  Not many, she’d wager.  Good thing he had her. 

“Hey Jon?”


Her ankle hooked around his and Rachel rubbed up the back of his calf.  “This doesn’t mean you’re going to stop proposing every night in bed, does it?”

“Damn straight it does!  I’m not a masochist.”

It was Rachel’s turn to sulk.  “But, Jon…  I can’t sleep unless you ask me to marry you.  It’s part of my night time routine, just like putting on my lotion.”

His scowl was meant to be dark and menacing, but the light in his eyes belied the crabby shell.  “Depending on how well you put on the lotion, we’ll see.”

That meant it was a done deal, as far as Rachel was concerned.  Because, a modesty aside, she could put on lotion better than a professional stripper could work a greased pole in a room full of the world’s wealthiest men. 

She could also work a different kind of greased pole….and, that night, she worked it well.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Ch 86 ~ Cannibals in Paradise

The man People Magazine had named Sexiest Rock Star was used to getting his own way, in his own time,  and certainly on his own terms.   The fact that he’d been left sitting alone in some local Hawaiian bar after his stellar buzz had been brutally assassinated by the ringing of Rachel’s phone did not thrill Jon.  The fact that the lady in his life continued to assert her independence by working – on the other side of the country, to boot – thrilled him even less.  Then she told him it was James calling and proceeded to step away from the table in order to take the call… 

Jon was almost grateful for the ice that ran through his veins and numbed both him and his emotions.  If not for that numbness, he would be heavily inclined to raise all kinds of hell.  Loudly.  Without regard to the effect it might have on his public image.

He wasn’t the least bit concerned about the fact that she’d slipped away to have her phone conversation, because he knew without a doubt that she’d been escaping the loud house band instead of scurrying off to have some secret rendezvous with her former lover.  There wasn’t any question in Jon’s mind that Rachel was completely in love and totally committed to spending her life with him. 

When she could manage to fit him in, that is.

Yeah.  The reason he found himself as agitated as a flea infested camel was because her work – and douchebag boss, James – was intruding upon his vacation.  His very short, very much needed vacation, which was just about the only time he ever got to be with Rachel, since they were still living in different time zones.

It was his first instinct to say that it wasn’t his fault there was three hours’ difference between the time on his nightstand clock and hers, but he wondered if maybe it was.  Sure, he had proposed forty-eleven times and ways, but she always dismissed the matter with a flirty little laugh and a quick change of the subject – and he let her.  In fact, beyond her initial insistence that she knew Jon didn’t need marriage and it didn’t mean the same things to him as it did to her, they’d really had very little further conversation on the matter. 

That was unlike him.  He was normally the one who got something in his head and refused to let go of it until it came to fruition, but, quite honestly, he’d gotten tired of slamming his head against the brick wall that was Rachel.  He had as healthy an ego as the next guy, but he’d quickly gotten tired of offering Cinderella her ‘happily ever after’ and being rejected time and time again – just like he was tired of this work bullshit of hers. 

Particularly that manipulative sonofabitch, James. 

Most people probably wouldn’t believe it, but Jon’s biggest problem with James had nothing to do with jealousy or insecurity.  Rachel had made her choice, and Jon knew she’d never leave him to rekindle her relationship with James.  No, Jon’s biggest problem with the manipulative douchebag was never knowing whether the guy’s constant work demands were legitimate or mere fabrications designed to create a wedge between Rachel and Jon by constantly pulling her away. 

Rachel refused to join in Jon’s belief that her boss’s intentions were anything but honorable and Jon typically didn’t consider the difference of opinion worth squabbling over.  Lately, though, Jon was starting to think that maybe he needed to stop being so pussy whipped and make her see what was really going on here.

He’d no more had that thought when two things happened simultaneously; one, the restaurant went blissfully quiet as the house band removed their instruments to take a break and, two, Rachel re-entered the dining room with a wide smile. 

Oddly enough, Jon was envious of that smile.  Right now, the only thing that could make him smile that wide would be her proclamation that the FDIC had just shut down her bank, and she was now out of a job.  

Jon grumbled under his breath.  Then again, she probably wouldn’t be smiling if that were the case.  

You’re on vacation.  Don’t ruin it.  Smile, have another drink, go back to the boat and have hot monkey sex until you pass out.

With that self-lecture, Jon forcefully shoved all the negative bullshit out of his universe and signaled the server for another round of lethal cocktails.  He determinedly sought to find his happy place as Rachel gracefully settled back into the chair beside him.

“Yanno…”  His eyes were drawn to the ultra-feminine cleavage created by two of the most perfect breasts he’d ever seen, and his fingertips couldn’t resist snaking up to take their own look.  His happy place had now been located.  “That big ole smile makes you so irresistible that I might have to do you after all.  Especially if it means that you didn’t let James convince you to cut our trip short.”  

If anything her grin got bigger, and she leaned into his touch when she said, “Then you’re definitely doing me.  I’m not about to miss hiking Diamond Head with you tomorrow. But…” 

In Jon’s half-buzzed state, his overactive mind equated that simple three-letter word to an imminent invasion by a tribe of boob eating cannibals.  His happy place was about to be devoured.


She reclined in her chair, taking her breasts with her while looking like the cat that ate the canary.  “James had some exciting news to share with me.”

The cannibals tied bibs around their necks, preparing for the feast, and Jon wondered where the hell that server was with their drinks.

“Really?” He tried to share in her obvious excitement by giving her an encouraging smile.  She was happy, so he should be happy.  “Tell me more.”

“Well.”  She leaned back in, resting her forearms on the table and propping up her chest.  “Back when you suggested the bank donate that vacant parcel to Habitat for Humanity, I started looking into other assets the bank was holding.  I won’t bore you with all the details, but I will tell you that the bank was so excited by the idea that they have a brand new division created solely to partner with Habitat.  We’ll be going through our inventory on a national level and utilizing bank assets to benefit homeless and low-income families!”” 

“Hey, that’s great!”  The cannibals took a step back, looking disappointed that Jon was going to be keeping his happy place.  “That’s going to make a huge difference to some very deserving people.  You did good, Rach!”

“Yeah, well I’m not finished doing good, because they made me the PRESIDENT of the division!” 

Her grin was nothing short of euphoric, and it matched those of the imaginary cannibals who prepared to renew their attack efforts. 

Jon had a fine line to walk on this one.  On the one hand, Rachel was excited about her accomplishment and promotion, as she should be.  Hell, he was proud of her, too.   She had many business traits he admired and occasionally mirrored, not to mention that their workaholic selves could be twins.

That was why, on the other hand, Jon couldn’t help but wonder how this was going to impact their relationship. 

The physical distance between their primary addresses was already a pain in his ass, and she was already borderline obsessed with her work.  Okay, maybe that was a slight exaggeration, but now that she was president of a division…  He did his best not to be a total dick about the fact that her life was almost completely separate from the man she’d committed herself to, but this part-time lover shit was a ticking time bomb if you asked him. 

No good could come of this, as far as Jon was concerned, and he would swear that one of those cannibals was now snacking on Rachel’s left nipple. 

A show of divine intervention had the server arriving at that precise moment, setting their drinks on the table with a clueless smile.  It was probably the only thing that kept Jon from shooting off at the mouth and showing his ass, and he was actually grateful for her timing.  That gratitude would be reflected in her tip. 

The cool drink slid down easily, chilling not only his throat, but his Italian hot-headedness.

Yes, there was a possibility he wasn’t going to like what this promotion entailed – at all – but for the time being, that was pure supposition.  It was a hard, cold fact that no good would come of trumping Rachel’s achievements with his own selfish agenda.  At least for now, it would be in everyone’s best interest if he respected her success and pretended to be happy about this thing. 

“Congratulations, Madame President.”  He lifted his glass to hers with a ‘clink’.  “I’m very proud of you.”

“Thanks, baby.  I knew you’d be excited about my becoming more involved with Habitat since it’s such a soft spot for you.  It kinda makes me feel like we’re working on something in common, and I like that.”

Jon had never been a great actor, even when he was inclined to try.  He was no longer inclined. 

“We shouldn’t need work to feel like we’re working on something in common, Rach.  That should be a given.”

“Honey, I just meant Habitat is one of your pet projects and, well….I thought you’d be exited that we were ‘playing for the same team’, so to speak.”

For as much as she understood him, he could not fathom how Rachel was completely clueless when it came to them.  Maybe he’d had too many drinks.  Maybe he was fed up with living life with her as a glorified mistress.  Maybe he was simply a prick.  At that point, he couldn’t tell you.  All he knew was that a switch had just been flipped, transforming him from his typical happy-go-lucky drunk self into Asshole Man.

“NO, Rachel,” he informed her tersely, keeping his voice low only by sheer willpower.  “Having Habitat for Humanity in common most definitely does not mean we’re playing for the same fuckin’ team!  What it means is that our relationship has disintegrated to the point that you think we need a project in common.  What we NEED in common is a goddamn ADDRESS.  Enough is enough.  When are you gonna quit being so motherfuckin’ stubborn and just come home?”

Green eyes blinked at him with utter confusion, making him realize he should’ve dealt with this months ago.  She really had no idea, and her next words only cemented that.

“Where is this coming from, Jon?”

“It’s coming from the same fucking place I am – always half a world away from you – and I’m over it.”

“Really?   You’re always half a world away from me?”  She lifted her brow with derisive surprise.  “Because I’ve sure seen an awful lot of airports to always be half a world away.  I’ve sure spent a lot of time juggling priorities, obligations and commitments so that I can jet off and be with you.  I’m the one who’s always working to make that happen.  Even when you’re home, all you do wait for me to show up or bitch that I’m not there.”

“If I’m home, I need to spend some time with my kids.  I can’t do that from California.”

“I understand that, Jon,” she sighed.  “And I’m not complaining about having to do most of the traveling.  Just give me credit for the effort once in a while, instead of criticizing.  That’s all.”

Jon took a slow swallow of his drink before setting the empty glass down and pushing it away so that he could hunker down in his chair.  “Gimme the bottom line here, Rach.  Do you ever intend to move back to Jersey with me?  I mean, I understood in the beginning you were a little gun shy, but are you planning to just live apart the rest of our lives?”


The shit had just gotten real for her.  He could read it in her eyes as clearly as New York Times headline, and Jon couldn’t say he was unhappy to finally cut to the chase.

“I…I… well….I guess I haven’t really thought about it,” Rachel stammered, and he would swear that the cannibals were licking their fingers.  His happy place was now nothing but a memory. 

Ha.  A mammary memory. 

Jon shook his head, realizing that last drink might not have been the best idea.  It was making him stupid and just a little bit sad.

“Maybe you should, Rach,” he suggested quietly.  “Because I gotta tell ya…  I’m done playing house.”

Monday, February 8, 2016

Ch 85 ~ Island Fever

This is the catamaran we’re spending our vacation on?” Rachel chuckled, propping her fists on her hips and turning to face Jon on the marina dock. 

“Sure is,” he agreed, shaggy head nodding unrepentantly as he grinned like the Cheshire Cat.  “How d’ya like it?”

Jon had intentionally misled Rachel into believing they’d be scaling back on accommodation quality during their Hawaiian Islands cruise.  When Rachel had teased him for his love of luxury yachts, he’d carefully avoided telling her their vessel was the largest catamaran yacht on any ocean in the world.  At 142 feet, it was hardly ‘roughing’ it. 

“Considering I was expecting something along the lines of the S.S. Minnow and the whole ‘three hour tour’ bit, I’m pleasantly relieved,” she snorted and tried to pass Jon on the gangway.

He, however, had other ideas and cuffed her wrist before she could get past.  Locking his fingers firmly, for emphasis, Jon pulled her close enough that his lips grazed the shell of her ear when provoking, “You’d love to be stranded on Gilligan’s Island with me.  You could fuck me senseless without a soul to hear you scream.”

“Thanks for playing, baby.”

With a tap to her backside as she moved on, Jon laughed at the obvious coloring of her cheeks.  “Well, hell.  If I’d known playing along was all it took to pacify you, I’d have done that months ago.  Now that I know, I’ll play.”

“Oh, please.”  She smirked at him over her shoulder.  “You’ve always been a player.” 

Jon grinned at her with pleasure.  It didn’t matter how many hours, weeks or months they spent together.  He found himself delighted by her in some way, each and every day and it made him look forward to not only the rest of this trip, but the rest of their lives.


By day four of their trip, Rachel and Jon had snorkeled off the coast of Maui, toured the volcanoes of the Big Island during the day and watched their lava flow at night from the privacy of their vessel.  Day five was spent deep sea fishing for marlin and, by day six, they’d finally made it to Kauai where they hiked the lush jungle and took in the breathtaking views along the way.

Day seven was a blessing.  One of the crew aboard their chartered yacht told them of a secluded beach on Kauai, suggesting that it may be the perfect place to recoup from the first active days of their ‘vacation’.

Rachel agreed.  While the beach wasn’t technically private, it was in a small cove surrounded by dark, craggy mountains and accessible only by water.  That made the hundred foot stretch of paradise the perfect hideaway in which to recharge by simply enjoying the sun, sand and sound of the surf.  

“Whoever said money can’t buy you happiness has never had the privilege of hired crew to set up the perfect day on the beach,” Jon murmured when he retrieved an icy bottle of water from the cooler that also housed an array of exotic fruit kabobs, cold shrimp and a stash of cookies big enough to sate an entire kindergarten class. 

“Mmm,” she agreed with a contented purr from her side of the gargantuan towel they shared.  “It’s a good thing you had somebody to do it, because there’s no way I could have.  My arms are still sore from all that fishing.”

“Bullshit.  Your arms are sore from being on your hands and knees half the night last night,” he corrected, screwing the cap back on the bottle and setting it aside so that he could resume his sun basking position.

Rachel responded with a giggle that Betty Rubble would have envied.  “Yeah.  That probably didn’t help matters.”

“Lucky for you I plan on being too drunk to get it up tonight, and you’re off duty.”

“Excuse me?”  Rachel rolled from her back to her side, one hip burrowing into the plush terrycloth while her elbow dug in the sand so that she could prop her head up on one hand and squint at him from behind her sunglasses. “You’re planning to be too drunk to do me tonight?”

“Yep,” Jon grunted and flipped toward her in a mirror image pose before dropping a hand to the indentation at her waist. “I heard about this little place on the other side of the island, right on the beach.  Great food and music – and rumor has it they make a Mai Tai that’ll leave you with a limp dick.”

“And you’re choosing to go there for this toxic Mai Tai, thereby leaving yourself incapable of performing your manly duties?” she questioned dryly, wondering how she continued to be amazed at what men considered to be badges of honor.  In her book, a limp dick wasn’t something you actively sought, it was an unfortunate and unplanned embarrassment. 

“Mm-hmm,” he hummed without a care.  Apparently, he felt he’d been thorough enough in his manly duties so far that he could justify a night off.  “All this sea air and healthy island living is wreaking havoc on me.  It’s been far too long since I’ve had a decent hangover.  Too much fresh fruit and shit ain’t good for a man.”

“And the impotency?  How does that factor in?”  Oddly enough, she wasn’t annoyed, but merely curious as to the ways of man logic.

Jon leaned in to kiss her while giving her backside a playful squeeze.  “I’m doing you a favor, baby.  You must need a break, because you can’t seem to keep up with this ol’ man.  Complaining about your arms being sore today after bitchin’ about a crick in your neck day before yesterday.  You’re fallin’ apart on me, Rach.”

She couldn’t resist giving his nipple a little twist and laughed when he pulled away in such a way that she’d swear he was mortally wounded. 

“I had a crick in my neck because you were doing me on the floor, and I was pinned between said floor and the bathroom cabinet.  I was twisted up like a pretzel!”

“And yet,” he raised his finger to prove his point.  “When I wanted to move to the bed you refused because it felt too good to change positions.  Am I right???”

She wasn’t sure if it was the sun making her face feel suddenly hot or if she was still capable of blushing when verbally reliving the memories of their sexual exploits.  One thing was for sure – the whole-body orgasm she’d had on the floor of the catamaran had been well worth the nasty crick in her neck. 

She’d repeat that exercise today, tomorrow and every day next week if given half a chance.


The sunset from the sandy, beachfront bar Jon had chosen for their evening meal was spectacular.  It reminded Rachel a bit of the joint they’d gone to in Turks and Caicos – casual, local and as low key as they came.  The food was fabulous and the Mai Tais every bit as lethal as they had been billed.  Complementing her rum-induced buzz was the colorful cover band giving rocking performances of everything from Rick Springfield to .38 Special to Van Halen. 

She was having a blast and, by her third Mai Tai, Rachel took notice that her cricked neck had loosened up considerably, leaving her quite free to sway her head to the music.  Then, when the bluesy guitar intro to Eric Clapton’s ‘Layla’ started, Rachel’s whole body followed suit and she found herself as relaxed as anyone could possibly be.  She lifted the glass and sipped the final drops of her cocktail, looking over the rim as Jon’s knowing eyes met hers.

‘Layla’ was a song that had good memories attached to it, and hearing it always transported her back to the summer evening at Jon’s river house in New Jersey – the evening those memories had been made.

He’d valiantly attempted to make her a meal that would charm her out of her panties, but when the lasagna came she hadn’t and was, in fact, still fully dressed.  Fortunately for both of them, his playlist had coughed up Clapton’s ‘Layla’, triggering some inexplicable force that stuffed her common sense into a locked cellar and flipped her libido switch to turbo. 

“That was some night, huh, Rach?”

Jon hadn’t interrupted her thoughts so much as he read them. 

“It sure was, baby.  As long as I live, I’ll never figure out what possessed me to be such a little trollop that night.  You put your hands on me and all reason just disappeared.”  She smiled dotingly at him.  “That sure hasn’t changed.  You get near me and I’m a mindless hussy who can’t think of anything other than your body on, in and around mine.”

“Whaddaya complainin’ about?” he asked with an intoxicated – and intoxicating – wink.  “I like you as a mindless hussy.”

The ringing of Rachel’s phone mixed with her laughter.  She wasn’t interested in talking to anyone, but she flipped the phone over from where it lay face-down on the table anyway. 

Upon reading the name and number on the screen, her smile melted away.

No, no, no.  Not now.  Don’t ruin my vacation. 

Because there was no doubt in her mind that, when Jon realized the caller’s identity…

He’s going to be beyond pissed.  

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Ch 84~Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend

The landmark Rachel saw out the plane window was sacred ground as far as she was concerned.

Diamond Head.

If there was a single place on Earth that could be more sentimental for her, she couldn’t think what it would be.  Diamond Head meant so much to her in so many different ways. 

It had been a favorite haunt for her and Nick’s family. 

It had been the place she went to heal after her breakup with Jon, and she’d hiked the volcano more times than she could count.  Each and every time she pushed herself up the trail in the hopes that she could sweat out just a little of the pain of losing him.

It was also the place from which Jon had reached out to her, taking the first small step that would bring him back to her life – this time for good.  Though they’d never been there together, that mountain was the one place that she knew without a doubt that they’d both been standing while longing for the other. 

When she finally was able to drag her eyes from the Hawaiian landmark and to his face, it wasn’t colored with the smug gloating that she’d expected.  Rather, their affection filled eyes connected and it became but one more moment when the two of them spoke volumes without ever saying a word.  There was no doubt that he knew her every thought and feeling in this moment, and Rachel had no trouble deciphering the soft stroke of the back of his hand against her cheek.    

She had to admit that he’d been right on the money when predicting that she wouldn’t care about his morning breath after a look out the window.  He was even right that she’d kiss the life right out of him without a second thought.  Morning breath, the stubble on his face, the messy bed head, the coffee in his hand…  They were all just details that would forever encompass this beautiful memory in the making.  Rachel lovingly ran her fingers over the disheveled mop of hair and bent to press her lips against his.

“You…” she breathed, still close enough to feel the warmth of his lips against hers.  “…have given me amazing, beautiful gifts.  Some were worth millions of dollars and some worth only the pennies it cost for the paper you wrote some silly note on.  But this…?  This is priceless, Jonny – absolutely, positively priceless.  The U.S. Mint couldn’t print enough money to pay for everything this moment represents.”

He didn’t even try to put any more space between them, and his morning-gruff voice soft when telling her, “One of the most miserable times I’ve ever spent in my life was at the top of that fucking volcano.   I’d plotted this grand scheme to show up in Hawaii and get you back, thinking there wasn’t a chance you could turn me away – and then found out you weren’t even here.” 

Jon chuckled quietly and gave a slight shake of his head.  “I planned an entire tour around this damn place and you weren’t even fucking here.  Well this time around I’ve got you – even though I’ve spent most of the tour trying to keep you with me – and I’m going to enjoy Hawaii like everybody else does.”

He finally leaned back and chucked his knuckle under her chin so that he could look her squarely in the eyes.  “And you know what?”


“This time when I drag my old bones up that mother fuckin’ hill, you’re gonna be right by my side. Period.  So I hope you brought tennis shoes.”

“I can’t remember but, if not, I’ll buy some,” she assured him agreeably.  “It’s going to be wonderful, baby.  You couldn’t have chosen a more perfect spot for this trip.”

“I’m glad you’re happy with it.”

“I am.  Now which hotel are we at?”

“Hotel?”  He flopped over onto his back, grinning up at her.  “I dunno if you remember this or not, but when we first started going out you told me you had always wanted to go to Kauai while Nick and your kids only wanted to hang at Waikiki.”

Rachel  nodded.  It wasn’t a crystal clear memory, but she remembered. 

“So that got me thinking,” he continued.  “Why not see all of the Hawaiian islands?”

Giddiness and excitement swelled up inside her.  Honolulu and Diamond Head would’ve been enough to make her happy, but actually getting to visit all of the islands?  That was the stuff dreams were made of.

“I figure the easiest way to see a bunch of islands is from a boat, right?”

This just kept getting better and better.  Sipping tequila from the deck of the obscenely lavish ship he would’ve chosen, taking a dip in the Pacific when it got too warm, and ferrying off to the tropical beauty of the islands when the time came all sounded heavenly. 

“Good call, handsome,” she commended, patting his chest.  “I know how you love those big fancy yachts.”

“Ha.”  His grin adopted the smugness she’d expected from him earlier.  “You think I’m so predictable, don’t you, Rach?  You assume that I have to have some 200 foot ship to be comfortable, don’t you?”

“Well, kind of.  Yeah.”

He blew a raspberry at her, making her laugh in surprise.  “I’ll have you know that we are, in fact, spending our vacation on a catamaran.”

A catamaran?  One of those ‘barely a boat’ things?  Seriously?

Rachel was convinced that she knew Jon better than just about anybody and, while she wouldn’t describe him as high maintenance, he had definitely grown used to the good life – and had gotten her used to the good life. 

In her world the good life wasn’t a catamaran.  A catamaran was…  Well, it was to the sea what a pup tent was to the forest – it got the job done, but that was all it did.

Oh boy.  This is going to be an interesting vacation.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Ch 83 ~ Destination Anywhere

New Year’s Eve, 2011

Rachel was surprised at just how much she had enjoyed the New Year’s Eve party with Jon’s family, ringing in 2011 with everyone at Matt and Desiree’s house.  Even Dorothea and her new husband, Ted, had been there, which was much less awkward than Rachel would have thought, because she and the former Mrs. Bongiovi had become friendly.  They weren’t necessarily close, but she genuinely enjoyed Jon’s ex-wife and tonight was just one more example of that.

The echo of party horns was virtually still hanging in the air, and the clock was barely past midnight when Jon had made their excuses and whisked Rachel away to the airport to bestow his Christmas gift upon her.  Not that her gift was at the airport.  On Christmas morning, he’d presented her with an envelope that promised a trip that she would never forget, but he had refused to tell her the destination.  It didn’t matter how much she’d badgered, wheedled and prodded in the week that followed, he still wouldn’t give up the secret location.  The only hint that he gave was that it was both warm and tropical. 

Typically this type of surprise would annoy the life out of her, but she was actually quite excited when they climbed aboard the huge jet with its engines revving.  The crew had immediately loaded their bags outside the VIP terminal at Teterboro Airfield and they had lifted off within minutes. 

It seemed like they had just fastened their seatbelts when Jon released his and reached over to do the same to hers.  With an impatient tug, he had her on her feet and stumbling after him toward the back of the plane. 

“Jon!” she giggled. “Slow down will ya?  A steep take off, these stilettos and healthy champagne buzz could be a dangerous combination!”

He gave her a lecherous smile over his shoulder as he opened a door and his chuckle was positively wicked when he pulled her through it.  The same door closed with an incendiary finality just a breath before he threw her down on a bed and loomed above her.  Properly reflecting the wolfish grin he wore, Jon was purely animalistic when he growled, “It’s been a week of kids, friends, family, more kids and more family.  The only thing that’s gonna be slow tonight is the way I fuck your beautiful brains out.”

“Well,” Rachel gulped, undeniably aroused by his urgency.  “I guess that rules out Bermuda, because we wouldn’t have a long enough flight for you to slowly fuck my brains out.”

“Not Bermuda.”  His reply was short and to the point because, Rachel presumed, he was more interested in hiking one of her legs up to slip off one of the potentially dangerous stilettos.  It hit the floor with a muffled clatter before the mate joined in with the same oddly arousing ruckus. 

Perhaps in her current state of mind, anything would seem arousing.   Even the graze of her little black dress against the bedding was doing unspeakable things to her libido. 

Her feet bared to his satisfaction, Jon pressed a thumb into each arch while his fingers curled over the tops, working the muscles there in a way that was intentionally arousing.  She had no trouble interpreting the maneuver and purred with appreciation when hard masculine palms scraped licentiously up the backs of her calves.  His touch dwindled to a mere tickle when reaching the backsides of her knees, and she bent her legs to divert him from the sensitive area. 

He didn’t mind.  That in itself was an engraved invitation to move higher, and he issued his RSVP by massaging slow sensual circles into her thighs.  The way he used his palms, then his fingertips, then his nails had Rachel panting before he got within striking distance of her panties.  

“Oh, baby,” she murmured appreciatively, fingers dancing a salsa through his hair.  “I may just tell the pilot to keep flying in circles until I’ve had my fill of you.” 

“I’m gonna fill you alright.”

His lips picked up the slack when his hands found more pressing matters to tend to – such as removing the panties that had become entirely too cumbersome.

“So is this going to be one of those ‘if you have an erection that lasts longer than four hours, seek medical attention’ kind of nights?”

Jon nipped the inside of her thigh with unexpectedly sharp teeth, apparently not finding her champagne fueled humor as amusing as she did.  “You think I need Viagra?” 

“No, I just- shit!”  She inhaled sharply when those teeth moved north into an especially sensitive area.  “I just think you’ve forgotten that you’re the horny drunk and I’m the sleepy drunk.”  Not only did his teeth find that sensitive area, but his tongue had begun its own exploration.  “Oh God…  If… If you’re determined to take your time I thought I might ask for a double espresso,” she teased, not quite sure whether or not she was stringing a fully coherent thought together – and not caring.

“Bullshit,” he mumbled around her clit and surfaced, licking his lips and crawling up her body.  “Your drunken libido will match mine any day.”

Rachel giggled and nipped at his bottom lip, pulling him closer with the crook of her arm and murmuring, “Let’s just put that theory to the test, shall we?”

And test they did – exhaustively.  She awoke some time later with still-vivid images of the night’s activities in her mind and sunlight peeking through the bedchamber window.   A slow turn of her head found Jon sprawled face down on his side of the bed, with one arm possessively thrown over her.   The weight of that arm felt exceptionally good, she thought, and the weight of it gave her an excuse to stay put and enjoy an unsupervised inventory of her snoring lover. 

The road was hard on him, but this morning she was happy to find that the customary tired lines around his eyes were barely visible.  He looked a good ten years younger, which was saying a lot considering he looked incredible on any given day.  That must mean that their time together agreed with him as much as it did her.

Being with Jon night and day for the past ten days was Rachel’s idea of true paradise.  It didn’t matter where they were, just being with him made her happier than she’d ever been in her life.  She still wanted him in the same old way, still wanted to share her life with him and missed the time in their life when they were living in the same zip code. 

The bottom line was that she wanted to be his wife.

More than he could ever realize, she wanted to accept one of the million proposals he had offered her, but she needed more than that piece of paper from him – she wanted him to need her.  Not like he needed his assistant, the housekeeper or any of the hundreds of Bon Jovi minions, but truly need her like he needed his next breath of air to be complete.  Sappy, perhaps, but that was how she needed him. 

There was no doubt in her mind that Rachel would always love Jon and devote her life to him, but she wouldn’t wed him knowing that his sole interest in marriage was its importance to her.  He’d originally offered matrimony and children to win her back and, while she loved him for the sacrifice he was willing to make, it wasn’t how she wanted to take that step. 

Rachel knew from the bottom of her heart that Jon would be truly happy living the rest of his life with her by his side without the legal trappings of matrimony.  It was as simple as that, and she was willing to accommodate him because, without Jon in her life, she had no life in her. 

She wasn’t sure how long she was lost in thought, watching her beautiful man sleep.  It could have been minutes or it could have been hours.  Although it was stunning, the view out the window was of no assistance in measuring time, as there was nothing but water in sight.  Since she first awakened there had been nothing but vibrant, bluer-than-blue water as far as the eye could see.

That particular shade of ocean was a clue as to their final destination, as it tended to rule out Europe or eastern destinations.   Jon had just come home from Australia, so she didn’t really think he would want to head west.  That meant they were likely headed somewhere south of New Jersey. 

Central America would be warm and would probably fit the flight time.

The buzz of the airplane phone startled Jon awake.  He reached above his head and answered with a grunt which was quickly followed by a wide grin.  “Thanks for the update.  We’d love some coffee back here when you can.”

He twisted around to kiss Rachel’s bare breast and then pushed his naked body across her to look out the window.  As though he could read the thoughts she’d just been having he asked, “You’re DYING to know where we’re headed, aren’t you Rach?” 

“Not even a little bit, Jonny,” she lied.  Dying was a ridiculous exaggeration, and it really didn’t matter where they were going, anyway.  “It would impossible for me to care any less where you’re taking me.  I could spend the next ten days at the city dump with you and be happy.” 

“C’mon!”  She could almost swear he was disappointed at her lack of eagerness.  “You know you want to beg me for hints.  You always beg for hints about presents.  It’s half the fun of giving you something!”

Rachel tried to smooth the messy bed head he woke with, laughing at his puppy dog eyes.  Jon was almost beside himself with excitement.  The guy who had traveled the entire world dozens of times over was behaving like a kid on Christmas morning!  It was enough to make her go all ferklumpt inside.

“It honestly doesn’t matter, my sweet man,” she assured him tenderly.  “I’m just so happy to wake up with you the first morning of this new year.”

Jon puckered his lips mere centimeters from hers and breathed, “Gimme a kiss.”

“Eww!” She exclaimed with an exaggerated wrinkle of her nose as she struggled  to wiggle away.  “Champagne doesn’t do any favors for your morning breath, Bongiovi!” 

“Hmpf.”  Jon smacked her playfully on the backside.  “Poke your nose out that window, Miss Morningbreath.  I bet you see something out there that’s gonna change your tune.  In fact, I bet you’ll be dying to cram your tongue as far down my throat as you can get it.” 

“We’ll just see about that.”

Propping herself up with her back against the headboard of the bed, Rachel peered out the window to see what would magically neutralize Dom Perignon doggie breath.  The water seemed closer to the plane, so she assumed they were dropping altitude but there still was nothing but blue water and the occasional boat.

Rachel was still puzzling out the landscape when the flight attendant delivered steaming hot coffee, fruit, cheese, croissants, and muffins.  Even with her nose practically pressed against the glass, she was still no closer to solving the mystery when Jon poured them both coffee and chomped on a muffin and some fruit. 

Land came into view, dotted with lush greenery.  That was followed by more water, then more of the same scenery.  It was tropical foliage that could be found any one of a dozen places. 

She scanned the horizon to see if there was something else – something she was missing that might give her a revelation.  Something… distinctive.

Rachel sucked in a breath.


There it was.

An unmistakable landmark that indisputably announced their destination and filled her eyes with joyful tears.  There was absolutely nowhere on earth that she’d rather be going with this man and, fulfilling his prediction, she completely forgot about his morning breath to cover him with endless happy, wet, grateful, and loving kisses.