Monday, December 29, 2008

The Sauna Part 280

The crowd was excited as they jammed their way in to the Westpac Trust Stadium, affectionately known as the “Cake Tin” by the locals. They’d dubbed it that some time ago in recognition of its striking resemblance to a huge cake pan and the name stuck. The “Cake Tin” was generally used to hold rugby tournaments-the island’s national sport-but tonight it was packed to the rafters with eager fans awaiting the first Jovi concert in New Zealand in years.

Jim took a deep breath as he peered out from the side of the stage and gulped. Shit! There must be almost fifty thousand people out there. What if I fuck it all up? What if I forget the chords to the songs? What if I throw up? he thought miserably, feeling the bile rise in his stomach when he spotted the guys from the bar in the front row. There just might be a way out of this he thought to himself as he felt Richie sidle up alongside him, clapping him on the back for support.

“Hey, look! It’s those guys from last night! Out in the audience-see-there they are! Maybe they could sit in-at least they’re real musicians!” Jim announced excitedly.

“That’s a possibility for a few numbers, bro, but they don’t know many of our songs, remember? I’ll mention it to Jon, but relax, man, you’ll be fine” Richie grinned, but it wasn’t a bad idea either. “I’ll go talk to Jon” he agreed.

Jon listened as Richie explained the idea and Jim nodded vigorously, confirming everything Richie was saying. The songs that the guys from the local band knew were the ones that Jim didn’t feel comfortable playing, except ‘Wanted’ which he actually knew. It would be a great way to help out a struggling local band and it might just save Jim from having a meltdown. He acknowledged it was a win-win situation and chided himself that he hadn’t thought of it first.

“Go ahead, go talk to them. Give ’em a chance to earn those tickets we gave ’em” Jon finally said and Jim breathed a sigh of relief.

Richie sent Rick into the audience to go get the guys while he barked a few orders to his guitar tech to bring up a few spares he wasn’t planning to use during the show. He’d give the kids their choice from his collection and make sure they were ready when the time came. He smiled a broad smile when Rick ushered the newbies into to his dressing room.

“So, are you guys in the mood for a little exposure?” he grinned.

“Man, I’m really sorry about the other night. I felt like an ass when we realized who we’d been jammin’ with” the bassist stuttered, embarrassed by the remarks he had made.

“Yeah, me too. I can’t believe I called Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora old farts” the lead singer apologized.

“Yeah, Dickie, you’re such an asshole sometimes” the lead guitarist admonished him. “They ain’t gonna let you up on stage after you shot your fuckin’ mouth off like that.”

“Not true, my friend. Arrogance is an important quality in a lead singer. Right, Jon?” Richie winked as Jon entered the room and Dickie whirled around, blinded by Jon’s flashing smile.

“Yeah, I oughtta know” Jon replied with a laugh, shaking hands with the kid who’d predicted he’d be pretty lame. It was easy to be magnanimous when you were Jon Bon Jovi.

“Shit…” Dickie rasped, his throat suddenly dry. “We’re not worthy” he grinned, bowing down with some flare as he recovered his wits with a dramatic rendition from ‘Wayne’s World’.

“The kid’s got some spunk” Richie smirked, shaking his head.

“Okay, kid, let’s see what ya got. How about if I call you up when it’s time for an oldie?” Jon teased and Dickie winced, nodding ruefully.

“You got it man, it’ll be an honor” he said, genuinely humble now.

“Five minutes” Rick called from the hallway and they all headed out towards the stage.


I drained my third cup of coffee, wishing for something stronger, as I paced back and forth in the waiting room. Hugh had gone into surgery over an hour ago and I hadn’t seen any of the staff who’d accompanied his gurney into the elevator. I was refilling my cup for the fourth time when the young intern appeared in the doorway.

“Is he okay? Did everything go okay?” I asked in a worried voice.

“Your friend’s in recovery and he’s doing well. He’s just coming around now, but he’s fine. We got it before it ruptured” he smiled.

“Oh thank the Goddess! When can I see him?” I bleated, tears pricking my eyes.

“Not right away, but maybe in an hour or so, but he needs to rest, so you won’t be allowed to stay long” he replied.

“Thank you, thank you! And thank the surgeon for me too, okay?” I answered excitedly.

“No problem. There’s just one thing, though” he added and I caught my breath.

“Any chance I might be able to get an autograph from Bon Jovi? You guys are with the band, right? My girlfriend is a huge fan and …” he began.

“No problem, I promise. The guys will be here after the show” I grinned. “Let me know when I can go up and see Hugh” I said with a sigh of relief.

“Will do” he nodded and disappeared back into the hall.

I tried calling Jon but he didn’t answer and I looked at the time. They were already on stage so I called Rick and told him the good news. He’d make sure Jon knew as soon as he took a break and he’d get them to sign a CD or something for the intern who’d asked. I settled back into my chair and called Hugh’s wife to share the good news and I promised to call her back as soon as they’d let me in to see him.


The show was going surprisingly well despite the stress everyone felt. Jon told the fans that Hugh had been taken to the hospital with acute appendicitis and asked them to show a warm welcome to Jim who’d just been drafted into the band. The fans were terrific and they gave a resounding cheer for both Jim and Hugh and as a result they were treated to an especially memorable show.

The band played a few oldies that they rarely performed on tour anymore, but they did them with an acoustic slant and the fans ate it up. ‘Dry County’ seemed even more popular now than it had been when Faith was first released and Jon gave some serious thought to resurrecting it a little more often. Jim made a few errors, but no one even blinked an eye and even Richie was proud of how well he played considering what little preparation he’d had. His confidence soared when it came to ‘It’s My Life’ and he actually looked like he was starting to enjoy himself.

Jon left the stage briefly to change his shirt and Rick told him that Hugh was out of danger and in recovery and the relief washed over him like a breath of fresh air. He returned to the stage with renewed vigor and energy and shared the good news with the audience. There was a round of applause as he very appropriately launched into ‘Keep the Faith’ and the guys were all grinning like loons.

The kids from last night were genuinely awestruck as they watched from the wings, awaiting their cue. Willie, the lead guitarist and Dickie’s brother, lovingly fingered the strings of Richie’s guitar, sighing with admiration.

“Are ya gonna play it or fuck it?” Dickie grinned, jabbing his brother in the ribs.

“Shut up, you asshole! Try not to spew any more stupid shit and just sing the damn songs when we’re asked, okay?” Willie spat back.

“I’m cool, man. Lighten up, will ya?” Dickie retorted as the bassist shot him a look.

“Dickie, man, don’t freakin’ blow this, okay? Those guys have been really good sports and they’re givin’ us more exposure than we deserve after the stupid shit we said. Watch your mouth” Jeremy chimed in.

“Okay, okay. I’m just nervous too” Dickie admitted.

“And now we’d like to take this opportunity to share some home grown talent with ya’ll! From right here in Wellington, would you please give a warm welcome to the Bluenotes” Jon’s voice boomed through the amps as the kids made their way onto the stage.

The applause from the audience was nearly deafening as they strained to hear the opening notes of the song they needed to play. Willie and Dickie exchanged knowing looks as Jeremy, the bassist, dove headlong into ‘Bad Medicine’. Jim stayed on stage until they finished the song, quietly slipping away when the house lights dimmed momentarily and watching from the side as they ripped through several old numbers. Dickie managed to keep himself in check and joined Jon in the choruses, while Willie and Richie jammed with each other.

If the crowd had been disappointed with the unexpected showcase of local talent, they gave no indication. Jon beamed as all the Tommy’s and Gina’s in the audience echoed his chorus and they found themselves wooed once again by the adoration of their fans. The show finally ended after three and half hours with Jim joining the band for their anthem and ‘Wanted’ blared from the amps with the entire audience on their feet. The “Cake Tin” was shaking from thunderous applause as the entire cast took their bows and Jim and the Bluenotes shared their first Jovi high.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukkah and Blessed Yule to everyone from Jon, Trish and Opester and the kitty clan! Have a safe and wonderful holiday and we'll be back with a new chapter next week!

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Sauna Part 279

We made it back to the hotel around dinner time and hopped in the shower to clean up after the beach. Jon was decked out in his leather pants and a skin tight wife-beater shirt that made my mouth water as I reluctantly tugged on my jeans. We’d arranged to meet all the guys for dinner prior to the show and we didn’t dare arrive late yet again.

We met up with Richie and Jim before stopping to collect the rest of the band. David was already leaving his room and there was no answer when we knocked on Tico’s door.

“Yo, is Teek in there with you?” David called as he pushed open the door to Hugh’s room and we waited outside.

“Yeah, man, I’m here. Something’s up” Tico called back and we walked in to see Hugh gripping his stomach and trying to smile.

“Shit, man, you look white as a ghost” Richie observed.

“It’s nothing. I must’ve ate something that didn’t agree with me” Hugh explained, forcing a smile, but I could see beads of sweat on his brow.

I felt his forehead and he felt feverish and I was beginning to get worried. This isn’t a simple stomach ache I thought to myself as I watched him wince while another jolt of pain rippled through him.

“Jon, he needs a doctor. It might be a heart attack” I whispered.

Jon nodded and called down to the desk for an ambulance while Hugh protested he was fine. Tico looked at us and then back at Hugh and shook his head.

“Sorry, man, no sale. You gotta get this checked out” he agreed.

“We got a show tonight! I can manage…” he argued, gripping his belly again.

We waited anxiously for the ambulance and Tico and I sat with Hugh while Jon and Richie spoke in low whispers.

“This ain’t lookin’ good, bro. He can’t go on stage, whatever it is” Richie advised.

“I know, man, I know. It’s too late to get someone else, but we can change up the set and do some acoustic numbers, but we still need a bass player” Jon said thoughtfully, eyeing Jim.

“Hey, what songs do you know well enough to play?” Richie asked, looking at Jim.

“What? Me? You can’t be serious…” Jim replied with a look of disbelief.

“Our options are limited, man. It’s either that or cancel the show” Jon responded firmly.

“Jon, I’ll be fine. I’ll go to the hospital and they can give me something…” Hugh interjected but Jon dismissed him as he pushed Jim a bit harder.

“I can’t cover for Hugh! I’m no musician! I just fool around on the guitar…” Jim protested, running his hands through his hair.

“Well, you’re the best thing we got” Richie sighed.

The paramedics arrived and checked Hugh’s pulse and his blood pressure, but his temperature was the major concern. It didn’t appear to be his heart, but they suspected appendicitis as they proceeded to strap him into a gurney. Hugh wasn’t arguing any longer as it was obvious he couldn’t perform and this wasn’t the flu.

“Babe, go with Hugh, okay? We’ve gotta help Jim learn a few more songs and figure out what we can dump from the set list and…” Jon explained in a rush.

“Got it, I’ll stay with Hugh and I’ll call as soon as we know something, okay? I’ll either meet you at the venue or you can meet me at the hospital after the show” I said hurriedly as I kissed him goodbye and followed the paramedics.

“Thanks, darlin’. Call me as soon as you know” Jon called after me, turning his attention to Jim.

“You guys gotta be fuckin’ kiddin’ me! I’m not any good and I only know seven songs!” Jim bellowed.

“Chill, amigo. They’ll do some acoustic stuff and change up the set list; Jon can cover the bass for a number of songs. It’ll work” Tico grinned, patting him on the back.

“Yeah, dude, and don’t forget about the groupies. I can help cover you there” David chimed in.

“C’mon, let’s get to work. Somebody order some dinner from room service. At least we got time to prepare” Jon interjected, focusing now on the task of turning Jim into a bass player.

“Fuck…” Jim sighed, acknowledging defeat.


I sat quietly in the waiting room while they wheeled Hugh into the examination room. He’d smiled at me bravely as I kissed his cheek before they took him away and I toyed with the idea of calling his wife. I decided to wait and see what they said, hoping I’d have better news than I feared. I bent my head and offered a silent prayer to the Goddess while I concentrated on directing healing thoughts towards Hugh.

“McDonald? Is someone here with Hugh McDonald?” I heard a voice ask.

“Yes, I’m here! How is he?” I answered immediately.

“Are you his wife?” the nurse asked.

“No, I’m his friend. His wife is in New Jersey but I can call her. Please tell me what’s happening” I begged.

“He’s going to need surgery, but he gave consent. He’s got a hot appendix and I need you to fill out some paperwork and arrange for the payment” she replied as if it was simply routine.

“Here’s my credit card, dammit! Just charge any expenses” I spat back, shoving the card in her hand.

“Doesn’t he have any insurance?” she persisted.

“I don’t know and I don’t care. There’s more than enough on this card to cover anything he needs. Is he going to be alright?” I demanded, losing patience rapidly.

“I expect he’ll be fine, dear. It didn’t burst and they’ll get him into the O. R. as soon as they can” she replied calmly.

“As soon as they can? What are you saying?” I cried, feeling helpless as the panic set in.

“It’s been a busy night and we just had a car crash come in ahead of you and the O. R. is full” she explained tersely.

“I need to talk the doctor” I insisted. “Right now!” I screamed, pushing her out of the way as I headed toward the exam room.

“You can’t go in there!” she said adamantly, blocking my way.

“Watch me!” I hissed as I shoved her out of the way and pushed through the door.

“What’s going on in here?” I demanded, rushing to Hugh’s side as he looked at me weakly.

“It’s his appendix. He’s stable right now, but he needs surgery. We’re waiting on the O. R., but it shouldn’t be long before one opens up” the doctor in charge replied as he ushered me towards the door.

“What if it bursts while you’re waiting?” I needed to know.

“It’s not quite that serious, we’ve got time and we’re monitoring him. He’ll be fine” the doctor assured me, still moving me towards the door.

“Can’t I stay with him?” I pleaded.

“No, we don’t really encourage that, ma’am. There are plenty of folks here to keep an eye on him and we’ve given him something to help with the pain. It won’t be much longer and I’ll keep you informed. Right now we need you to fill out some paperwork” he said gently.

My heart was still thumping, but Hugh smiled at me gently and nodded his head. Maybe I’d overreacted, but I was still annoyed that he had to wait and I didn’t like the nurse’s attitude one little bit. I returned to my seat and filled out the paperwork before dialing Hugh’s wife to give her the news.


“It’s not that complicated” Richie said patiently as he showed Jim the chord progression for the third time.

“Yeah, maybe not for you” Jim complained as he tried it again, finally getting it correctly.

“This is gonna be fun” Dave snickered as he nudged Tico.

Jon shot him a warning glance as he grabbed another sandwich from the cold plate they’d ordered for dinner and scratched something else off the set list. Richie continued to instruct Jim on a couple of songs they really needed to include, while he tried diligently to remain calm. Jon had briefly considered canceling the show, but he quickly dismissed the idea in favor of readjusting the set list and including more spotlight solos. The fans in New Zealand would not be disappointed this tour.

He took another bite of his sandwich, swallowing with determination, and winced as he heard Jim make another mistake. His phone rang and he prayed silently that I had better news than he expected.

“Trish? How’s Hugh? What’s going on?” he asked and the room fell silent as they waited for news.

“It’s his appendix, Jon. He needs emergency surgery and the operating rooms are all full. There was an accident before we arrived, but Hugh’s stable right now according to the doctor” I breathed heavily.

“Did you call his wife? Did his appendix burst?” Jon fired off questions.

“I called her nd I’m keeping her up to date. It didn’t burst yet and they’re monitoring him. Wait, wait a minute…” I said, standing as I watched them wheel Hugh out of the exam room and head towards the elevator.

I ran up to the doctor, but one of the interns stopped me to explain.

“They just cleared an O.R. upstairs and we’re taking him up right now” he said hurriedly.

“Did something happen?” I asked, gripping the young man’s arm.

“Not yet” he smiled grimly.

“Trish? Trish?” Jon’s voice came over the phone.

“He’s on his way up to surgery now. It looks like his condition just got more serious, but at least they cleared an O. R. I’ll call as soon as I know more” I replied.

Jon broke the news to the guys who’d been waiting with anticipation. Jim swallowed hard, but he redoubled his efforts now that he realized there was no chance of a reprieve and he seemed better able to focus now that he knew it was up to him. They had less than an hour and it was time to head for the venue.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Sauna Part 278

Jon woke up refreshed, but he winced when he recalled how he’d fallen asleep last night. I was still sleeping soundly when he began nuzzling my ear and soon I was wide awake too.

“I’m up and awake, and incidentally, so’s Lil’ Jon” he teased and it was my turn to groan.

Jon began tickling me until I could barely breathe and I begged him to stop.

“Not until you let me redeem myself” he said with an impish little laugh.

I nodded indulgently as he released my arms and climbed over me, grinning wickedly. Jon was most certainly in fine form this morning and he lavished my body with attention until I was once again begging for mercy. As I lay there beside him, panting and exhausted, he preened like a peacock.

“I hope you’re satisfied with yourself” I commented, my voice sounding ragged.

“Only if you’re satisfied, babe” he leered menacingly.

“Oh yeah” I reassured him, my body still shuddering.

“So what have you got planned for today? We’ve got almost twelve hours before tonight’s show” he asked, flopping down on the bed and stroking my arm.

“I’d been thinking about the City to Sea Walkway, but right at the moment the ferry trip or the cable car seem more like my speed” I replied honestly.

“Let’s order breakfast and take a quick shower and we can see how you’re feeling after that” he winked.

I was feeling better after a shower and I pulled up the websites on the computer as we sat down to eat. Jon had ordered a full breakfast since he’d worked up an appetite, but the strawberries and kiwis with champagne appealed to me most. We sat down together and reviewed our sightseeing options and finally decided to go with the Dominion Post Ferry trip.

“Just you and me, no Richie or Jim?” Jon suggested and I agreed readily, relishing my time alone with Jon more than anything else.

We finished our breakfast and headed down to the lobby where the concierge arranged for a car to take us over to Queen’s Wharf where we could purchase our tickets for the ferry. The waterfront itself was impressive, and we could have easily spent the day in one of several museums, but the shimmering waves and sunshine were calling on such a glorious, mild summer day.

We purchased our tickets and boarded the ferry, finding an uncrowded spot on the deck where we could soak up the sun and get a good view of the harbor. Our first stop was Matiu/Somes Island, a unique nature preserve. The island had had a varied history over the years, but in the eighties it was reforested with native plants and trees and a major conservation effort had managed to clear the land of all non-native species of predators. Many endangered species were then reintroduced and it had since become a haven for indigenous wildlife.

We arrived on the island where our bags were thoroughly checked for any potentially harmful pests and we learned that rats brought in aboard sea-faring ships were largely responsible for much of the destruction of the once prolific population of lizards, including skinks, geckos and the famed tuatara. Even native species of insects were encouraged here and I wrinkled my nose at the picture of the giant weta, but I appreciated that nature required all manner of critters to maintain the delicate balance of wildlife.

Jon and I disembarked and began our leisurely stroll round the island. We could see the city of Wellington across the bay and we were actually close enough still to overhear the faint sounds of traffic off in the distance. I concentrated more on the sounds of the birds as the island was a paradise for avian lovers. The striking hue of the blue bay against the lush forest and craggy bluffs left me speechless and we settled ourselves down in a particularly sunny area and gazed out at the raw beauty surrounding us. Jon sat down behind me and sighed as he draped his arms round my neck, resting his chin on my shoulder.

“It sure is beautiful in this part of the world” he said, half to himself.

“In all those years you’ve been touring-you never realized all this was here?” I asked questioningly.

“Mostly just what I saw from the window of a plane or a hotel room. The ‘lost weekend’ in Australia was largely spent chasing women and drinking myself into a stupor. What a waste” he observed sadly.

“Jon, you were young and you had a lot thrown at you all at once. You were overwhelmed. You fared a lot better than most kids who achieved fame as quickly as you did” I reminded him.

“Yeah, in some ways that’s true. I’m glad I never got into drugs, but I missed an awful lot too. What I did see I was often too tired or too drunk to appreciate and that I regret. But I am grateful to have another opportunity now” he smiled, aiming the camera in my direction.

He reached out to brush a stray lock of hair from my face and our eyes met and locked. I felt a fierce need to comfort and protect him and I could imagine the child he had been when I looked in his eyes. I could still see traces of a young man’s wonder and awe, framed by the wisdom his wrinkles had brought him. Goddess, how I loved this man for who he had been, who he was and who he would always be. Jon had the soul of a wandering minstrel and he was borne to tell the tales of the things he had seen. His raw passion for life gave him his wings, but experience tempered his vision with the depth that comes from bittersweet understanding. No wonder his music spoke to my soul.

I pulled out my sketchbook which I had brought with me as I studied his face, trying to capture all that I felt at that moment. He smiled to see me so engrossed in my task and he was glad I had found my way back to my art. I had toyed with the idea for some time, but something about this quiet moment inspired me and soon I had a rough sketch that began to reflect the man that I saw. I showed it to Jon and he wiped a tear from his eye, suddenly realizing that no one had ever known him as deeply as I did.

“By the Gods, Trish, I’ve stood on a stage in front of thousands of people and I’ve posed for more shots through a photographer’s lens than I ever would have dreamed possible. But no one has ever seen me the way that you do. I feel naked before you. I hope I can always like what I see in the mirror of your eyes” he sighed.

I pulled Jon against me, cradling his head on my breast as I stroked the silken strands of his hair. His heart soaked up my love like a dry sponge, letting it fill him until he felt no more trace of the emptiness that had been with him since he was a child. This is what it was like to be loved for who you are, not what you are, he thought to himself.

We stayed there on the hilltop, holding each other until the sun was high in the sky and we knew it must be approaching noon. I gathered my things and we made our way back to the dock and watched together as the ferry approached.


It was lunchtime when we arrived in Days Bay and we walked the short distance to Eastbourne in search of a cafĂ© where we could take advantage of the beautful weather. We’d overheard another couple talking on the ferry about a restaurant named the Cobar and if the food was anything like the view we knew we were in for a treat.

The restaurant was pretty busy for a Monday afternoon, but we were able to get an outside table in the sun with a gorgeous view of the shore. We both opted for the green tea smoked chicken salad accompanied by an expresso instead of our usual wine. I was anxious to stroll through the village and do a little shopping while Jon would have been content to take a nap on the beach, but we actually had time for a little of both.

The warmth of the sun and the fresh breeze from the bay was rejuvenating as we strolled through the town, leisurely browsing the collection of shops and just soaking up the local color when my cell phone began humming.

“Trish? It’s Jack. I just wanted to let you know that everything’s fine and there has been quite a bit of excitement here at Backstage” he explained enthusiastically.

“Were you able to set up the credit for the fans who’d been misled and refund their money?” I asked anxiously.

“Yep, we got everything straightened out and there’s been a lot of positive feedback so far. I think it was a great idea and it really seemed to convey that you both value the fans and people are really responding. In fact, I think that the news has been spread by the existing members since we’ve had record numbers of new people registering all of a sudden. The only thing I’d suggest is posting a picture of the guitar you plan to raffle off, if you can get one” Jack replied.

“I think we can manage that, but Jon will have to decide which one he’s willing to part with” I laughed.

“Okay, just email me the pic once you decide and I’ll post it on the main page. Otherwise, we’re good to go” he reassured me.

“Thanks Jack- Jon and I are so grateful for everything you have done. I think we might just manage to turn things around after all” I breathed with a sigh of relief and Jon nodded in agreement.

I’d found the book I was looking for by a local author who’d written about her experiences growing up there as a young girl. Katherine Mansfield was a local icon and I was looking forward to reading more about her life in New Zealand in her book ‘At the Bay’. Jon was pulling me in the direction of the beach and I relented, having found a few souvenirs and my reading material; I was ready to follow his lead and dig my toes in the sand and relax.

The beach wasn’t crowded and we found a spot easily and settled down to enjoy the afternoon sun. We’d picked up a blanket and a bottle of wine during our jaunt in the town and Jon was soon stretched out and comfortable, lying beside me. We looked like typical townies and blended right in with the locals, though I’d noticed that no one had really approached Jon despite his lack of any particular disguise beyond sunglasses.

“I love it here” he announced, as if reading my mind. “It’s almost like being home. No one gets crazy over celebrities here” he yawned.

“I’ve noticed that too. It is nice not to worry about being mobbed everytime we go anywhere” I agreed, opening my new book as he laid his head in my lap.

“Wake me up before four so we don’t miss the ferry back” he mumbled before closing his eyes for a nap.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Sauna Part 277

Our plane touched down in Wellington just after seven and we headed straight for a favorite haunt. The Bodega had a reputation for showcasing local talent and Richie was in the mood to jam. The place wasn’t too crowded and we were soon seated at a large table near the rear, perusing the menu while we waited for drinks. Vicky had fed us pretty well on the flight from Australia, but the appetizers sounded too good to pass up and we ordered quite an assortment ranging from seafood and chicken to cheese and vegetables in order to please everyone’s palate. I traded some of my crumbled brie with plum sauce for some of Richie’s almond stuffed dates and I stole a prawn fritter from Jon when he wasn’t looking.

David kept us entertained with more stories from the band’s misspent youth while we nibbled on finger food and sampled several New Zealand wines, but the conversation died down when the band began its first set. The kids on the stage barely looked old enough for the goatees two of them sported, but they were clearly rather accomplished musicians. Richie’s eyes sparkled as we settled back and relaxed to the strains of a rather bluesy little number that was reminiscent of one of my old favorites.

“I wonder if they know ‘Thirty Days in the Hole?’ I haven’t heard that song in years” I whispered to Richie.

“I’ll betcha they do. I’ll play it for ya, Trish, if they’re open to having me join them” Richie winked back.

Surprisingly, no one seemed to recognize any of the guys despite their lack of the typical baseball hats they always wore as disguises. Richie had sent a round of drinks to the band, the “Bluenotes”, and invited them to come join us when they finished their first set and Jon explained that New Zealanders were pretty mellow and didn’t tend to fuss over celebrities. Apparently it wasn’t uncommon for other well-known musicians to pop in from time to time and check out the local talent.

“Thanks for the brews, man. Where you guys from?” the tall, blond haired lead singer asked as they raised their glasses to Richie.

“We’re from New Jersey” Richie answered and Jon hid his smile.

“Ah, America, then. Are you here on holiday?” the bass played joined in, rubbing the peach fuzz that passed as a beard.

“Not exactly, more like business, actually” Richie replied pleasantly and I had to look away to keep from laughing outright.

These kids, despite their musical talent, were clearly kids and it was obvious they didn’t have a clue who they were chatting with as Richie complimented their work. We learned that the four had grown up together and had been playing since first forming a band back in gradeschool when they were just youngsters. No wonder they sounded so tight despite being so young.

“I play a little myself now and then. Would you mind if maybe I sat in for a song or two?” Richie asked politely and the kids smiled indulgently.

“Sure, whaddya know?” the guitarist asked, quirking an eyebrow.

“Know any Bon Jovi?” Richie asked with a smirk.

“Crikey, man, yeah. We wouldn’t get any gigs if we didn’t know some, what can you play?” the lead singer chimed in.

I thought David would bust a gut trying to contain himself as Richie suggested a few songs and I felt Jon squeeze my knee under the table, encouraging me to just play along. I could see from the smile on Jim’s face that he was filing this all away for a future book chapter and I couldn’t resist getting in the act now myself.

“Aren’t they playing here in New Zealand pretty soon? I thought I heard something on the radio” I ventured.

“Yeah, but the gig’s completely sold out. We were gonna go, but we couldn’t get tickets” the drummer whined.

“Who wants to see a bunch of old farts anyway? They’re probably pretty lame now at their age, what are they now, in their sixties?” the lead singer added.

“Yeah, they’ve been around since the stone age” the bassist agreed.

Even Tico almost choked on his wine, but David’s eyes were brimming with mischief. Jon squeezed my knee again while I hid my smile with hand and waited.

“Yeah, kid, I don’t think I was even born when they first started playing” David said with a perfectly straight face.

“Hey, I think it’s time we got back on stage. We’ll call you up when we’re ready for the oldies, okay?” the guitarist nodded as he nudged the rest toward the stage. “Thanks for the beers.”

The band went back to the stage and we all began talking at once.

“Stone age? Fuckin’ little pipsqueak” Tico muttered.

“Shit, they could be our kids, ya know” Hugh reminded them all.

“Thanks, man, just what I needed to hear” Tico replied, shaking his head.

“I’ve gotta get them tickets to the show now” Jon commented, dialing his tour manager.

“I wonder what ‘oldie’ they’ll choose for me to play?” Richie laughed.

“You’re gonna jam it up, no matter what, right, bro?” David encouraged with conspiratorial aplomb.

“Nooooooooo….” Richie grinned.

When the time came, they announced they’d play a few audience requests and the guitarist nodded to Richie to join them. Richie carefully looked at the two guitars that were available and after making his selection, he deftly slipped on the shoulder strap and smiled magnanimously. The opening notes to ‘Bad Medicine’ flew from his fingers and suddenly the remainder of the audience sat up and took notice.

Richie was dazzling as he ripped through the chords, interjecting a modest solo at an opportune moment and I saw the expression on the guitarist’s face change to one of respect. Next came ‘Wanted’ and Richie joined the lead singer, adding his voice to the chorus as Jon hummed along softly beside me. After a few moments of consultation with the drummer and the guitarists, they played ‘Thirty Days in the Hole’, the Humble Pie classic I’d wanted to hear, but Richie had to pull Jon up to sing lead as the kid didn’t know the words. Richie stayed on stage for another few songs at the band’s urging as it was clear by now that the ‘guy from New Jersey’ knew how to rock.

The audience applauded loudly when he was finished and Richie shook hands with the guys before stepping down to join us again. Jon had managed to get hold of the tour manager and after a bit of swearing and insistence, he’d informed me that Rick was on his way over with tickets for the show tomorrow night. When Rick arrived, Jon checked the tickets and smiled ruefully as he handed them over to Richie.

“Guess we’ll show ‘em what old farts can really do, eh?” Richie chuckled with satisfaction as he stuffed them back into an envelope and laid them on the stage, quietly mouthing “thank you” as we hurriedly made our way out the door. The guys all did a “high five” as we hit the street and I filled Rick in on what had just taken place.

“They’ll recognize Bon Jovi from now on” he grinned at me. “Those were front row seats.”


When we arrived at our hotel, we checked in and made our way to our rooms. Our luggage had already been deposited and I unpacked my bathrobe and slipped out of my clothes. Jon was sprawled on the bed, flipping through channels on the TV and eyeing me at the same time.

“I feel like a long, hot soak in the tub. Wanna join me?” I coaxed.

“I was just waiting for an invitation” he grinned, yanking his t-shirt over his head.

I poured in some scented bath oil I’d brought from home and lit a few candles, taking Jon’s hand as I stepped into the tub. He followed willingly, sliding his arms around my waist and drawing me close. I drew my fingers across his chest, toying with the soft, downy curls as I gazed into his eyes, dissolving into their sapphire depths. Jon stroked my cheek and smiled as he brushed my lips with his finger and I instinctively took it into my mouth, eliciting a low, gutteral growl of desire from deep within him.

He reached for my hand and placed it over his stiffening erection and groaned softly when my hand closed over his shaft. I lovingly stroked him as I let my eyes wander over his body, noting the chiseled definition of his pecs and the sculptured ab muscles that led their way down to the prize. I lowered myself into the steaming bath with Jon still attached and I pushed him back into the water. I knelt my head down and slowly fed on his length while he leaned back even further with the heaviest of sighs.

I licked ever so lightly, tasting his musk, as my hair swirled around on top of the water, framing my face. The flickering candlelight and the heavy curtain of steam played tricks on his sight and he mused for a moment that some fairy nymph had appeared to seduce him. I dragged my nails along the tender flesh of his thighs and he purred like a kitten as I continued to bathe him with my tongue. I could feel his blood pulsing as I swallowed him deeply and he rewarded me with a loud moan. It wasn’t long before I was rewarded with the first splash of sweet cream as his body twitched and convulsed under my ministrations.

Jon laid there limply as I reached for a sponge and began washing him gently from head to toe. It was a pleasure to see him relax and I savored the opportunity as I kneaded his scalp with my fingers. The warmth of the water and the pulsating orgasm had drained him of energy and he began to drift off to sleep as I rinsed his hair out. I finished bathing myself and I smiled with contentment as I heard a low rumble escape him, signaling me that he was out like a light. I hated to wake him, but I leaned in for a kiss and he stirred as his lips answered mine.

“Did I fall asleep?” he mumbled, still sounding a bit groggy.

“Yes, love, you did. I think we’d better get you to bed before we both shrivel up” I teased.

“Yeah, shrinkage ain’t what I’m aiming for here” he chuckled as he sat up and groaned.

I helped him up and toweled him off and he looked at me through heavy lidded eyes as he stifled a yawn.

“Go to bed, baby. I’ll be along shortly” I laughed.

“But…” he protested.

“Jon, you can barely keep your eyes open and I’m going to just finish up here. Now go” I grinned, adding a quick swat on his butt as I just couldn’t resist.

“I’m just a sex object” he lamented as he dutifully obeyed and shambled off to the bed, promptly falling asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Sauna Part 276

“Morning baby. Did you sleep well?” I murmured, seeing Jon stretching and yawning over the top of the computer screen as I looked up, hearing him stir.

“Trish, come back to bed. Why are you up so early? We’ve got plenty of time before we leave for New Zealand” he admonished, seeing the clock showed it was only seven-thirty.

“I wanted to check and see if Jack got our email and whether the new site was up yet” I replied, turning my attention back to the screen.

I had slept rather soundly until a bad dream had woken me with a start and I needed to set my new plan in motion. I’d resolved during the night that I would never again allow myself to become so distracted that I neglected the business that Jon had entrusted to me. The nightmare I had about half the fans quitting Backstage had been only that; just a nightmare, but it served to confirm my need to get on the ball. In reality, Jack hadn’t even read our reply yet, so I began researching other boards.

“Trish?” Jon called out my name but I had already become quite engrossed in reading the comments people had made on the Topix forum about the band and the Fan Club.

“Trish!” Jon said again louder as he jumped out of bed and moved towards me, shutting the laptop without waiting for me to respond. “Come back to bed and let’s talk about last night” he insisted, tugging me along by my robe.

“Jon! I was in the middle of something!” I protested.

“This is more important” he announced resolutely, wanting to nip my renewed obsessiveness right in the bud.

I didn’t resist and climbed back into bed, knowing the computer would still be there when we were through. I had no intention of burdening him with my worries; I’d brooded enough for the both of us. I tried distraction instead.

“Last night was amazing. You were really spectacular, both onstage and off” I grinned rather salaciously.

“Darlin’, that’s not what I meant when I said we need to talk about last night” he said firmly.

I lowered my eyes, avoiding his gaze, and tried to dissuade him with flirting. I ran my fingernail down the length of his chest and licked my lips with a provocative smile as I straddled his lap. But something was wrong and he wasn’t responding.

“Trish, stop it! Why won’t you talk to me? Don’t shut me out!” he bellowed, shaking me a bit angrily.

“Jon, just leave it alone, will you? I’m ashamed enough as it is, do you have to make me confess?” I cried desperately, color creeping high on my cheeks.

Jon let me go and I stood up and started to pace. Dammit! Why was he being so tenacious about this? I’d dealt with my shame in my own way and I knew what I needed to do. It wouldn’t happen again. I wasn’t going to let him down ever again. But he was like a dog with a bone and he just wouldn’t let it go.

“I spoke to Jim last night after you fell asleep” he said calmly, watching me from the bed.

“You did what? What did he say?” I asked thickly, my mouth suddenly dry.

“He said quite a few things and most notably he reminded me what a jackass I am and how in some perverse way you feel responsible for my error in judgment about Matt and the Fan Club. Is this true?” he demanded, catching my hand as I stopped dead in front of him.

“Jon, it’s more my fault than yours. You trusted me to manage things there and I allowed Matt way too much freedom because I was too busy enjoying myself on this tour. It never would have happened if I’d been doing my job the way that you always do yours. You made a mistake when it happened, but it was more understandable. He was your brother and you had reason to trust him and your mom and it wasn’t your job to be minding the store. It was mine and I let you down. I blamed you as a way to avoid facing the fact that it was really my fault, but I promise it’ll never happen again” I bleated out the whole thing, my shame and remorse pouring forth like a wellspring as I confessed my inadequacy.

“For pity’s sake, Trish, will you look at me! Do you honestly think that I hold you responsible for what happened? There’s plenty of blame to go around and I blame myself more than you, but Matt and my mother have the lion’s share of the guilt. What sort of arrogant bastard would I be if I judged your ability based on that particular incident? Don’t you realize how proud I am of you? For Chrissakes…” he swore, having no doubt that Jim’s assessment had been right on the money.

Jon pulled me down roughly onto the bed and hugged me so hard I could barely breathe as the sobs tore forth from my lungs in a rush. It reminded me of the time when my father first told me he loved me after we hadn’t spoken for over a month following a fight. The floodgates had swung open and the relief washed over me like a tide. He wasn’t disappointed in me after all and it didn’t matter to him that I wasn’t perfect.

“Baby, I don’t want you obsessing about work or worrying that I’m gonna lose some respect for you if something goes wrong on occasion. Hell, that’s a standard I don’t wanna live up to either. I’ve enjoyed myself more on this tour than ever before and frankly, so have the guys and I don’t want that to change. I don’t wanna become the workaholic I know I can be and I certainly don’t want that from you. Nobody ever died saying they wished they’d spent more time at work” he grinned, quoting Jim.

I had to agree. While it wouldn’t have been hard to revert back to being consumed with my job, it wasn’t what I wanted and I was glad that Jon didn’t want it to be like that either. He handed me a kleenex and I blew my nose loudly, nodding that I understood.

“And baby, just one more thing” he continued as I waited expectantly. “In the future, will you promise to talk to me? Please don’t make me drag it out of you or beg someone else to tell me what’s bothering you, okay?” he asked, holding my chin so I couldn’t look away.

“I will, Jon. I promise” I said apologetically even though I knew it would be hard. It was one thing to confront a behavior that pissed me off, it was quite another thing for me to show vulnerability. I’d need to work on that.


It was late afternoon when we boarded the plane for New Zealand. The guys were all looking rested and relaxed and the lot of them were playing cards while I surfed the web for some interesting things to see in New Zealand.

“It’s recently come to my attention that there’s a myth that I’m perfect” Jon began, winking at Jim who grinned in response.

“That’s a myth alright” Richie muttered as he threw down a card.

“I was hoping that you guys would help me set the record straight and share some of the memories of the things that went wrong and the bad decisions I made over the years. I can’t seem to recall them myself” he smirked.

The challenge was met with a chorus of hooting and shouts for who got to go first and I laughed as they competed for the chance to tell their best stories. Jim grabbed his pen and opened his notebook, signalling for David to go first. He rubbed his palms together and licked his lips.

“Ah, where to begin…the flight’s only a short one” David said with a gleam and Jon groaned.

“What about the time when he almost started a riot at the first show in Moscow?” Richie offered.

“Or how about the time when we had to go down to the police station in Prague and vouch for his identity?” Hugh threw out.

“What about the time we got escorted out of Vancouver and were asked never to come back?” Tico volunteered to which Jon only groaned.

“It’s going to be a long flight” he laughed, rolling his eyes.

The remainder of the flight went by fast as the guys regaled Jim and I with tales of Jon’s lesser known foibles and Jon, for his part, took it in stride. He knew he’d matured a lot over the years, but it had come at a price, and he wasn’t shy any longer about sharing his mistakes. Most of the stories, if the truth were to be known, were from the band’s heyday when they were all young and foolish and Jon gave as good as he got. He spared no expense at reminding Tico of the time they had to pay for the fancy golf cart he’d crashed into the ocean right there in Australia or the time that Tico and David were found asleep in each other’s arms after they’d passed out while fighting.

“Hey, what about that time when you were drunk and almost ended up married to that broad in Fresno? I saved your ass, remember, bro?” Richie cackled wickedly.

“Shall I enlighten Jim and Trish about the chandelier that I paid for that earned you your nickname, eh, buddy?” Jon tossed back and Richie turned four shades of purple.

“Don’t go there or I’ll tell ’em about the cross-dressing dude that you and Teek were both mooning over ’till you saw him go in the men’s room!” Richie fought back.

And so it went until my face hurt from laughing. There were stories as well of a more serious nature that Jon shared himself about business dealings gone badly. Everyone grew more subdued when they talked about Doc and how hard he had driven the guys. Jon still regretted allowing himself to be used by the industry “machine” and blamed his poor judgment back then for some of the permanent damage to his vocal chords. The tone became even more somber when they discussed Doc’s arrest for trafficking drugs. That incident left such a sour taste in everyone’s mouth that it led to Jon’s policy against drugs. There were other stories too that clearly demonstrated the struggles and life lessons they all had endured before becoming the nearly flawless performers they were now.

“So, does this put to the rest the myth of my perfection?” Jon asked summarily as we landed and we all nodded our heads.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Sauna Part 275

“Baby, what’s wrong? Were you crying?” Jon demanded as he ran over to where I was standing.

“Nothing, love. Really. I’m fine. I was just moved seeing you in your element” I replied.

It wasn’t a total lie. It was watching his perfect performance that had started my mind spinning.

“Darlin’, you’ve seen the show over and over. It’s nothing new” he persisted, not buying my excuse for a moment. “Were you and Jim arguing?”

“No, we just see certain things a bit differently, that’s all” I explained, smiling brightly.

Please Jon, please. Just leave it alone. Not now. Not tonight. I need time to think. I didn’t want to have this conversation right here, right now. All I wanted was to lose myself in his loving. To feel his strong arms around me, soothing the doubts I was beginning to feel about myself. My eyes pleaded with him to just let it go. At least for now.

Jon looked searchingly into my face and I saw the questions reflected in his shining blue eyes, but he let it go. Jim shrugged his shoulders and walked away when Jon turned his attention to him and I put my arms round his neck and drew him in for a kiss. His mind was still working, but his body responded and he whispered hotly in my ear.

“Let’s get the hell outta here” he suggested and I didn’t argue.

We made our way back to the hotel room, leaving Jim and the guys to handle the fans at the after-party. Jon scooped me up in his arms and carried me off to the bed, instinctively knowing I needed him. He laid me down gently and stripped off his clothes while I peeled off my jeans and he tugged my shirt over my head.

“Baby, I want you” he breathed into my ear.

I pulled him down closer and he plunged his lance into my welcoming wetness. I shifted my hips and encircled his waist with my thighs, gripping him tightly, as I bucked in reply to his rhythm and he deftly nibbled the sensitive spot on my shoulder. I moaned my appreciation as a ripple of electricity shot through my body and I felt my contractions beginning to milk his depleted reserves.

Jon’s fingers were achingly tender as he reached down to stroke my trembling flesh and I fell over the edge, calling his name. His own release was not far behind and I felt him stiffen and tense as my body rocked him along with my wave. He collapsed alongside me and drew me into his arms, stroking my hair as he kissed me softly on each of my eyelids, soothing the pain in the only way he knew how.

“I love you, Jon” I murmured into his neck.

“I love you too, Trish” he sighed in reply, cradling me in his arms as I fell deeply asleep.


Jon lay awake, wondering what could have happened to have changed my mood so abruptly from playful to somber during the show. He ran through his setlist, noting nothing unusual, and knew that it had to be something that happened between me and Jim. He couldn’t imagine what sort of argument we might have had, but he was determined to find out.

He carefully pulled away from my sleeping form and rolled to the edge of the bed, quietly pulling the covers around me as I snuggled into the warmth. He crept out of bed and slipped on his jeans and a t-shirt as he watched me slumbering peacefully, closing the door silently as he stepped into the hall.

“Yeah, what is it?” Jim answered irritably as Jon pounded on his door.

“Hey man, open up. I need to talk to you” he bleated back with some urgency.

The door opened slowly and Jim stood in his robe, staring at Jon with a rather annoyed expression. He motioned him in nonetheless as he’d learned by now that Jon got what he wanted and it didn’t seem worth the effort to argue. He hadn’t been sleeping as it was anyway.

“Christ, man, it’s after two o’clock in the morning. What’s so important that it can’t wait ‘till tomorrow?” Jim grumbled.

“Trish” Jon replied succinctly.

“Oh” Jim responded without much enthusiasm.

“What the fuck happened out there tonight?” Jon began with implied accusation.

“You two are really something! You really deserve one another. You both could screw up a wet dream!” Jim said bitterly as he walked to the frig and cracked open a beer.

Jon was momentarily thrown off balance as he hadn’t expected such a caustic retort, but he recovered quickly and spun Jim around to face him.

“What the hell are you talking about?” he sputtered, somewhat affronted.

“You didn’t do anything this time, Mr. Perfect. It’s just Trish and her unwarranted need to punish herself for not feeling good enough to deserve you” Jim snapped, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

Jon’s mind was reeling with this information and some of his anger with Jim began to subside as he concentrated more on trying to understand what had happened. Clearly Jim knew something he didn’t know and he wanted the story, not some heated argument. He took a deep breath and sank down in the chair, keeping his voice steady as he prompted Jim to go on.

“I’m listening” he said calmly.

“You and Trish, man, it’s like some twisted fairy tale. You finally find each other after lifetimes apart and it seems like the two of you can’t just accept that you’re blessed. You nearly blew it when you trusted your brother and somehow she thinks it’s her fault for not paying closer attention. I’ve known her for years and no one has ever invested more in her work than Trish. Trust me, I know. She finally learned to let go and just let herself love you and look at what happened! Her devotion to you made her less careful and now she’s blaming herself for the mess with the Fan Club when you’re the jackass who didn’t listen!” Jim spat out harshly.

Jon sat there in stunned silence, trying to absorb what he’d heard. Trish was blaming herself? That didn’t make any sense. She’d tried to warn me about Matt several times and it was me who hadn’t been paying attention. And as far as not feeling good enough? It’s me who isn’t good enough to deserve her, he thought miserably.

“Jesus” Jon muttered absently as he ran his hands through his hair.

“You really don’t know just how lucky you are, do you? You’re just used to getting whatever you want and you take it for granted that Trish made you the center of her world” Jim chastised him softly.

“I just didn’t realize…” Jon sighed heavily.

Some of Jim’s venom withered away as he realized that Jon really loved me with all of his heart and he was doing the best that he could to make sure I knew it. His own pain evaporated now that he’d spoken it aloud for the first time and he resigned himself to the fact that he wasn’t the one as he tried to undo the wounds his words had inflicted.

“You got what I always wanted; I can admit that. But I know that she loves you more than she could ever have loved me. I know now that you really love her and I want you both to be happy. Just don’t fuck it up again or I won’t stand aside” Jim said with genuine regret.

“What can I do, man? How can I fix this?” Jon wondered aloud.

“Just show her that you really are proud of her, even when things don’t go so smoothly. She sees you on stage and the well-oiled machine of Bon Jovi and then reflects on her own mistakes in comparison. Can’t you try and to dispel the myth that you’re perfect on a more regular basis? You know, show a little chink in the armour once in a while? Let her see the little mistakes that you make all the time and not just the polished product, man” Jim advised.

“That doesn’t sound hard. Maybe then I can avoid a major fuck up like the last one? I would have thought that was enough proof that I ain’t anywhere close to perfection” Jon smirked with humility.

“Yeah, you’d think so, wouldn’t you? But maybe you should try a bad hair day now and then” Jim grinned back at him. “But seriously, don’t let her get so absorbed in her job, trying to follow your lead that you both drift apart. Job’s are just jobs, she’s your life, man. Nobody ever died wishing they’d spent more time at work” he added wisely.

“You love her too, don’t you?” Jon observed with circumspection.

“Yeah, man, I’ll always love Trish, but I love her enough to let her go” Jim reassured him.

Jon walked back to our room and slipped inside without making a sound. I was still fast asleep and he stripped off his clothes and climbed in beside me. He lay there for a few moments, watching the steady rise and fall of my chest as I breathed in and out peacefully, lost in my dreams. He reached out his arms and folded me closer, taking comfort in the familiar scent of my perfume and the warmth of my body.

“I love you more than anything in this world or the next” he whispered reverently as I curled myself tighter against him.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Sauna Part 274

Tonight’s show was at the Crown Towers and I was glad we didn’t have far to go. We weren’t moving very quickly as it took time to recover and we were both ravenously hungry even though our dinners had long since grown cold. Jim knocked on the door first and he was a bit startled to see us still in our robes, munching on salad and obviously cold chicken.

“You guys aren’t ready yet? It’s almost seven-thirty” he reminded us anxiously, checking his watch.

“It’ll only take me a minute and the show’s right here” Jon said reassuringly, licking his fingers as he took another bite of the chicken.

“Okay, maybe you won’t need very much time, but…” he continued worriedly, glancing in my direction.

“Hey, I’m already bathed” I answered sarcastically, removing the towel from my hair and heading into the bathroom.

He was right, it was rather late and I wasn’t in the mood to move quickly. I dabbed on my make-up and began drying my hair just as I heard Richie’s voice join Jon and Jim. I switched on the dryer and bent my head downwards, drying it as quickly as I knew how, when I suddenly felt Jon’s hands on my butt.

“If we weren’t already so late…” he teased, lifting my robe and slapping my ass with his stiffening penis and I laughed.

“Baby, you’re gonna give Jim a heart attack! Did you see his expression when he saw we weren’t ready?” I grinned.

“Yeah, he looked pretty nervous” Jon agreed, removing my robe and licking his lips.

“Did the two of them go on ahead of us?” I asked with a gleam in my eye.

“Hell, no. They’re both out there waiting. Apparently I can’t be trusted when we’re both nearly nekkid” he chuckled mischieviously.

“I’d say they’re both fairly perceptive” I giggled, stroking his cock as it grew exponentially.

“Hey! Shake a leg, you two, or I’m coming in!” Richie’s voice boomed threw the door.

“No need for threats, man, you’re just jealous, that’s all” Jon called back.

“Shit” Richie muttered to Jim as he dialed Tico’s cell and told him we were all running late.

Despite the inviting possibilities Jon’s renewed vigor was offering, I slipped on my jeans and a gray tank top and brushed out my hair. Jon sighed with displeasure, but he followed suit and donned his ass-hugging black pants and the black leather vest that I dangled in front of him. I leered at him as he struggled to get the pants over his bulging member and he flicked my nipple with his tongue, leaving a wet spot.

“Stop that or I’ll have to change into a new shirt!” I protested, pushing his mouth away albeit a little half-heartedly.

“No time for that now” he cackled lecherously and I pursed my lips in mock indignation.

When we emerged from the bathroom we heard a sigh of relief from both Jim and Richie until Richie’s eyes came to rest on my noticeably protruding nipple. He rolled his eyes and reached out to cuff Jon, but he saw it coming and ducked, grinning wickedly.

“Fuck, it’ll dry” Richie said resignedly. “C’mon children, Dad’s getting annoyed” he added under his breath, jerking his head in Jim’s direction.

Jim was now pacing and beginning to seem genuinely distressed and he pointed to his watch as he hurried us on out the door. I grabbed a light weight bolero and closed the door to our room.

“Five minutes! There’s no opening act tonight, we should already be there” he chastised us as we walked down the hall to the elevator.

We arrived five minutes late, but no damage was done. Tonight’s show was a smaller one and the proceeds were going to benefit a woman’s shelter in Melbourne. A few people in the crowd appeared slightly disgruntled as they’d hoped that their thousand dollar ticket had bought them the right to socialize with the band. That wasn’t the plan, however, as Jon wasn’t feeling especially indulgent and he’d purposely stalled some just to avoid the paparazzi, though he did make a brief statement before heading directly to the stage.

Jon had actually planned things this way, leaving the press little choice except to listen to me wax on rather passionately about the needs of victims for shelter, support and legal assistance. I had no idea that was the plan, but I got a clue as he winked at me before racing off to join the rest of the guys. He’d given me a segue into the discussion and I was grateful for the chance to reach a broad audience and I took full advantage of it. I saw Jim shaking his head as it dawned on him too that we were never really in danger of disappointing the audience.

The guys performed flawlessly, playing a mix of acoustic and electric versions of all the fan favorites and the audience ate it up like a connoisseur savoring a fine wine. The more intimate atmosphere of the Crown Towers was well-suited to this type of show and the guys seemed to enjoy the change of pace from the regular venues. Jon spent more time than usual talking to the crowd and that made up for the lack of social interaction some had been hoping for.

“Nothing he does is ever random, is it Trish?” Jim observed, nudging me slightly.

“Nothing public anyway” I admitted.

I was proud of Jon and the smooth way he handled the business end of his life. He was neither brash or impulsive nor was he foolish or arrogant. He took what he did very seriously and it was rare to see him have an off-day. He was thoughtful and skillful in the way that he wielded his power and he was nothing if not charismatic and purposeful. I watched the show from the sidelines, smiling knowingly as he made the well-scripted banter appear to be spontaneous. I admired his discipline and his public persona and I hoped that I could measure up to what he expected and needed in a business associate as well as a wife. I needed to earn his respect far more than he needed to earn mine.

I thought back over the mistakes I had made with the website and how I had gone against instinct and trusted his brother. I had allowed myself to become caught up in the wealth of experiences that touring had brought me and I had let my guard down and it had led to a ruinous fall from grace for Jon. I was ashamed of myself and proud of him at the same moment. Jon would never had made the mistakes I had made and I resolved then and there that I would do everything in my power to make him proud of me too.

“Trish?” Jim said rather softly, eyeing me as I watched Jon.

“Trish? Is everything okay?” he asked, interrupting my reverie but capturing my attention.

“Why do you ask?” I wondered, my eyes narrowing slightly.

“You just had this look in your eyes. Almost sad, but not exactly…something, ah… unsettled” he remarked. It wasn’t a question; it was a statement.

“I let him down. I screwed up. I let things slide as I was having so much fun on the tour…if I’d been paying closer attention, Matt never would have gotten away with what he did. Jon trusted me and I let him down. Because I was irresponsible, I nearly cost him his reputation. How can I ever make up for that?” I spat miserably, feeling the full weight of my burden.

Jim stood there and stared at me. He was simply aghast. He’d thought me many things in the past, even a ruthless bitch in some of my worse moments. But irresponsible? That was something he couldn’t even imagine applying to me.

“Trish, are you kidding?” he asked, knowing I was dead serious by the tears glistening in my eyes as I choked back my regret. “You’ve never even approached irresponsible, honey. May I remind you that Jon’s been doing this act for nearly twenty-five years? How long have you been running in his circles?” he demanded, wiping a tear from my eye.

“That’s no excuse. I’ve been in management for years and I should have known better. I just don’t seem to be able to focus on work like I used to, you know? It just isn’t the priority it once was anymore. It’s like…” I tried to explain.

“It’s like you’re in love, sweetheart. Finally there’s something else that matters more than work and that is a new experience for you. Believe me, I know” he said a bit dismally.

I looked at him intently and I saw the pain in his eyes. My lack of commitment to him when we had been lovers had hurt him deeply and the wounds may have healed, but the scars still remained. I felt real regret now, both for him as well as for Jon. Perhaps I just wasn’t capable of maintaining any balance myself in a rlationship.

“Jim, I’m so sorry. Neither you or Jon deserve the suffering I seem to inflict on those that I care about” I said earnestly as I slipped into remorse.

“Stop it! Just stop it! When are you ever gonna realize that you don’t need to be perfect to be worthy of love?” he shot back and it was my turn to be stunned.

“I don’t need to be perfect! I just need to stop messing things up!” I hurled back to which he responded with a twisted grin.

“And just how do you define perfect?” he asked wryly.

I swallowed hard as I considered my words and his. The show was wrapping up and the applause from the appreiative audience was deafening. Jim and I stared at each other before turning our eyes towards the stage. Jon was watching me from the center of the stage and I smiled brightly back at him. There’d be time later to sift through my feelings. Right now he needed his wife to pull it together and that I could do.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Sauna Part 273

Since the weather was mild, lunch was arranged as an informal affair and we were escorted onto a terrace which overlooked the expansive vineyards of Di Bortoli. Jon ordered a crisp white wine to begin and we made our selection from the lunch menu. We had an hour to eat before our guide, Rolf, returned to collect us and the conversation naturally turned to what we had seen at the sanctuary.

“I’d never even heard of an echidna before today” Jim remarked.

“Me either, but I can tell you it’s a name I’m unlikely to forget” Richie laughed.

“I was surprised at how ferocious those Tassies seemed; they looked a lot cuter in pictures” I said, still a little taken aback at the behavior I’d witnessed.

“They weren’t quite what I expected either. I thought they’d look more like Zeke” Jon added snidely.

Richie and I both punched him in the arm simultaneously and Jim let out a laugh while Jon rubbed his arm, looking sheepish. We finished our meals and waited outside for our guide. It was just after one o’clock and we still had a few hours before we needed to head back to the hotel and prepare for tonight’s show.

Rolf had returned and accompanied us back to the sanctuary where we continued our tour, heading off towards the wetlands. We saw a variety of waterfowl and more than a few reptiles, but we were about to give up on our search for the elusive Lyrebird when Rolf pricked up his ears.

“Listen” he whispered and we all stood there quietly as we strained to hear what he heard.

“Sounds like a car alarm off in the distance” Jim whispered.

The sound was soon followed by what we assumed was a native Kookaburra and then the sound of a baby crying. The strange chorus continued with a medley of other bird calls we didn’t recognize and it ended with a sound that closely resembled that of a barking dog.

“That’s a Lyrebird if I’m not mistaken” Rolf advised us and we followed him in the direction of the sounds.

The symphony repeated, growing louder as we approached, and we heard a rustle of movement in the woods off to the right. The sounds suddenly halted as we came upon a spectacular Lyrebird proudly displaying his plumage. He wound up again and repeated the call of the Kookaburra and added a chainsaw to the medley as if to confirm he was most definitely the souce of the melody.

“Fucking amazing” Richie breathed heavily.

“That sounded just like the actual noises! Shit! How did you know it was the bird and not a car alarm or a buzzsaw or something?” Jon demanded.

“It was the rapid succession of sounds mixed with bird calls that gave it away. The Lyrebird is an incredible mimic, huh?” Rolf smiled with satisfaction.

“Hell, yeah! Can it do music too? Like an actual song?” Richie wanted to know.

“I’ve heard stories that they can pick up single instrument tunes if they hear it often enough” Rolf replied, scratching his chin. “I’m not sure they could mimic the sound of a full song off the radio, though” he added thoughtfully.

“Damn good thing-guess my job’s safe for the moment” Richie cackled.

Author’s Note:
For video links to see a Lyrebird performing his repetoire, click here:

I snapped a few photos and we moved on to finish our tour as we couldn’t leave Australia without seeing a dingo. We weren’t disappointed as we saw several on the way back to the main area and I sighed with satisfaction. We thanked Rolf for his superior skill as our guide and Jon gave him a generous tip in addition to the check he wrote out for the sanctuary. We headed back to the hotel to get changed before tonight’s gig and I downloaded my photos onto the computer and emailed the kids and a few friends.

I noticed an email from Jack and quickly scanned through the contents, realizing that Jon and I needed to write that letter of apology to the fans. The website was ready to roll and Jack was just waiting for us to give the okay and send him the letter to post. We ordered dinner from room service and sat down to collect our thoughts.

“Shit, babe, what can we say? I don’t wanna post all the details but the fans deserve some sort of explanation” he frowned.

“I’m thinking that no one needs to know exactly what happened, but they need reassurance that it was unintentional and that their money will be refunded just as we’d promised. In fact, Jack’s email said that they’d already managed to refund all the charges, so we just have to let people know that they need to check their credit card statements. And we need to tell them how sorry we are…” I emphasized.

Jon nodded and sat down beside me to compose the letter and together we wrote our apology and sincere gratitude to the fans who’d hung in there. Jon felt that it still wasn’t enough and he wanted to do something special for those who’d been wronged.

“How many people were affected by the shit that Matt pulled?” he wondered aloud.

“Over eight hundred fans registered and posted on the adult site before we could shut it down and the word got around” I replied.

“Shit, that’s a lot of people but I’ve got an idea. Could we give everyone who registered a $25 credit at the Fan Club store? At least they’ll know that we’re really sorry and I want them to know how much we value their faith in me and the band” he reflected, calculating the figure.

“We can do that” I smiled and I’ve got another idea too. “How about a drawing for an autographed guitar? Let’s generate some excitement to celebrate the launch of the new Fan Club and the beginning of a new era!” I urged him, getting excited myself.

My enthusiasm was contagious and he nodded vigorously in response. The fans who’d been cheated would get an additional $25 in credit at the club store and all the fans would be eligible for the drawing which would take place at the end of the tour. I fired off a reply to Jack explaining our plan and attached the letter that Jon had composed, signing it simply as ‘Jon and Trish’.

This was the generous man that I loved, not the tight-fisted, greedy icon he’d appeared to be during Matt and his mother’s tenure. There’d be no more “promotions” geared at bleeding the fans and the new Fan Club would serve as a vehicle for Jon to return the appreciation it’s members had lavished upon him for so many years. The times ‘they were a changin’ I hummed as I sent off the email.

“Thanks, baby” Jon grinned. “This change really has been long overdue.”

“C’mon Mister Rock Star-you’ve got a show to do” I beamed happily back at him as we shut down the computer and made straight for the shower.

Jon nuzzled my neck as we waited for the water to heat up and I felt the stirring of desire deep down inside as his fingers reached around to my nipples. I wasn’t the only one feeling aroused, I noticed, as I turned round in his arms and reached for his erection that was prodding my thigh. His hands slid to my hips and he lifted me up, easing me on to his pulsating shaft in one fluid movement.

The steam was beginning to cloud up the mirror, but not before I caught a quick glimpse of us in its reflection. Jon’s tongue snaked down my neck as I pressed my breasts harder into his chest and he stepped into the shower. I gripped his arms with my hands and he winced slightly as my nails dug into his flesh, sparking an urgency he hadn’t originally felt. I caught my breath as he rammed into me with an unexpected ferocity and my muscles began to contract almost immediately.

I felt my back slam into the wall as I bit back my cries, burying my mouth in ear. He was on fire, burning with his need to suddenly possess me, body and soul. He’d be gentle and tender later, but right now he needed to bury himself deeper inside my smoldering flame, losing himself in the lust that consumed him.

I responded with a need of my own, growing more insistent with each thrust of his pelvis as our bodies thrashed to a crushing beat only we could hear. The rhythm of our heartbeat pounded loudly in my ears as I crashed into him, washing him in the flood of my passion. His voice rumbled sonorously in my ear as he ground out his own cries, his orgasm ripping forth from his core like a volcano erupting.

“Holy…”he groaned, his body still shuddering.

“Fuck” I finished as the last wave ripple through me.

Our eyes locked and we giggled at the shared intensity of the experience as he slowly withdrew and I slipped my legs to the floor. He was trembling himself as he held me up or held onto me; frankly I couldn’t distinguish the difference at that very moment, nor did I care. I slumped into his chest and he nestled his face in my hair, still heaving from his exertion.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Samhain!!!!!!!!!!!

Hi Folks!
Jon, Trish and I just wanted to wish everyone a wonderful Samhain (Halloween)! It's a fabulous time of year when we have the opportunity to don costumes and live out a fantasy or two, so it seems an expecially appropriate time to thank everyone who has followed my little fantasy and I hope that ya'll are having a blast and letting your imagination run wild! It's the Wiccan New Year and thus it is a very busy time for me with celebrations and such, but you can expect a new chapter early next week! Make a wish on the eve of the New Year and let's hope all of our day dreams come true!!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Sauna Part 272

Saturday morning arrived and we woke feeling refreshed and renewed as our bodies were finally adjusting to the time change and we were on a more normal schedule. Jon stretched and yawned, drawing me into his arms as he kissed the sleep from eyes. I buried my nose in his neck, inhaling his scent and luxuriating in the comforting warmth of his body.

“So, wife, what’s the plan for the day?” he asked with a twinkle in his eye.

“Tasmanian devils!” I grinned eagerly.

“Should we invite the guys on this adventure?” he wondered aloud.

“Absolutely!” I chirped.

I sat up and reached for the cell phone to call Richie and Jim as Jon called the front desk and ordered coffee. Richie answered in a voice thick with sleep.

“Hullo? Trish, what time is it?” he asked, sounding a bit disoriented.

“It’s just after seven and we’re heading to the Healesville Sanctuary right after breakfast. Wanna join us?” I asked excitedly.

“Sanctuary? Where is it?” he wondered aloud, still trying to shake off the morning fog in his head.

“It’s about an hour from here. They have Tasmanian Devils, wallabies, dingoes, …even platypuses! C’mon, Richie, it’ll be fun!” I encouraged.

“Someone’s been on the internet again” he replied indulgently. “Of course I wanna come; lemme hop in the shower and I’ll meet ya for breakfast” he grinned, forcing himself out of the comfortable bed.

“Sounds like a plan!” I beamed and proceeded to call Jim and the others.

Jon had the shower going and I joined him after extending the invitation to all the guys. Richie and Jim were on board, but the others begged off, preferring a less action-packed day.

“It looks like it’s just you, me, Richie and Jim” I pouted, stepping in alongside Jon as he nuzzled my neck.

“S’okay, babe, the others just can’t keep up with you” he smiled.

“Am I wearing you out too? Am I pushing too much?” I wondered, realizing they really weren’t used to all this sightseeing during a tour.

“No, darlin’, I love the fact that you get so excited about seeing the countries we visit. To tell you the truth, I’m glad you’re shaking up our routine. This tour’s been more fun than I’ve had in a long time” he reassured me with a kiss.

We finished our shower and had just gotten dressed when Richie knocked on the door. I welcomed him in and poured the last cup of coffee for him while we waited for Jim to arrive. Richie looked a bit haggard, but the coffee began to revive him and I pulled up the website on the computer so he could see where we were going. Jon looked over my shoulder and noticed the wine and wildlife package that was offered.

“Hey, let’s call and see if we can get reservations for that!” he chimed in.

I handed him the phone and he dialed the number but frowned when he was told they were completely booked up for the day. Richie and I exchanged grins as we listened to Jon work his magic as he tried to charm his way into a reservation. He grinned back, nodding his head, as he thanked the person for managing to squeeze the four of us in at the last minute.

“Damn, man, you’re good. How’d you finagle that one?” Richie teased as I heard Jim’s knock on the door.

“Just my natural charm” Jon answered with a smirk.

“Yeah, right, and a generous donation I’ll bet” Richie laughed.

“It is a good cause-they do have a wildlife hospital, ya know” Jon nudged him back.

Jim had arrived and we headed down for a quick breakfast while the desk clerk arranged for a limo. I tried the infamous ‘Vegemite’, but I crinkled my nose as I didn’t care for the malty taste of the stuff. We scarfed down a more traditional meal of eggs, homefries and bacon and headed off for adventure, arriving at the Sanctuary just before ten o’clock.

The sun was shining overhead in a cloudless, blue sky as we met up with our tour guide who gave us an introduction to the variety of animals we might see. Jon and Richie were especially fascinated by the Lyrebird, who was capable of mimicking almost any other bird in the forest as well as a number of man-made mechanical sounds. I was anxious to see the Tassie Devils and the platypus, as well as the wombat, but these all took a backseat to the little echidna once our guide finished his tale.

We learned that the seemingly unimpressive little creature, which looked much like a cross between a porcupine and a hedgehog, actually has a four-headed penis and that females were designed in a way that would accommodate up to two heads at a time. Our puzzled looks prompted our guide to explain that, like reptiles, half of the male penis shuts down during sexual encounters which allows him to “fit” the female and remain ready for round two, keeping the other half in reserve. Apparently this was a rather recent discovery as echidnas are fairly private about their intimate encounters and these discoveries led to great excitement in the scientific community.

“Fuck…” was all Richie could murmur.

“And you thought you were a ladies man” Jon quipped, nudging Richie.

Our tour guide, encouraged by our enthusiastic commentary, appeared determined to share all that he knew about the sex life of echidnas and we realized his knowledge was fairly extensive. He proceeded to entertain us with tales of how the males would form “trains”, with as many as ten males lined up nose to tail behind a single female echidna in heat. These “trains” might follow the female from two weeks for up to a month or more, competing for her affection.

“Sort of like groupies” I smirked, earning me pouts of disapproval from the guys.

“Yeah, but I bet the damn thing can’t play guitar” Richie grunted.

“Well no, but…” our guide laughed and continued.

He went on to describe how echidna foreplay often lasted as long as four hours prior to the actual act of intercourse and I sighed wistfully, prompting a sour expression from Jon. I giggled, but our guide wasn’t finished as he added that the actual act of intercourse itself would continue for up to another three hours after that. Now even the guys were a bit wistful, groaning in unison.

“I wanna be an echidna” Jon muttered aloud to which we all nodded our agreement.

“And I thought rock stars had it made” Jim remarked.

“Shit…” Richie added.

Our guide was exceptional as we drove through the sanctuary, stopping at various points of interest along the way. Our first stop was the platypus area and I was tickled at the opportunity to see several of these comical creatures in one spot. We learned that platypuses are difficult to breed in captivity, but Healesville was one of only a few places which had achieved much success.

We moved on along the Woodlands Track and we saw a fare number of wallabies and wombats and my camera got quite a workout as I snapped one picture after another. I longed to be able to touch the soft looking fur of these adorable marsupials, especially the wombats who had often been mistaken for badgers. With the help of our guide, we also managed to find an echidna burrowed inside a rotted out log, after following signs only a tracker would have recognized. There lay the epitome of sexual potency, soundly asleep and curled in a ball, hidden from the world.

“He hardly looks like a stud” Jon observed wryly.

“He might not be handsome, but he still gets plenty of action, mister rock star” I teased.

“Blondie’s just jealous ’cause he’s never been known for his stamina” Richie snickered, defending the critter to his critic.

“Yeah, but I don’t need half a year to recover” Jon replied, jabbing his finger at Richie.

The little creature stretched and yawned, snuggling back into a prickly ball of spines, his confidence still intact despite the sarcastic remarks being thrown at him. I snapped a few more shots of the sleeping echidna before our attention turned towards our guide who was pointing just a short way off to our left.

“Tassies!” he announced with excitement.

He returned the echidna to his hiding spot and motioned for us to follow him as he led us through the trees to an open clearing. There I had the opportunity to watch as a small group of devils fought over the carcass of some unfortunate animal.

“Tassies prey on echidna” he whispered, “but our little friend is safe for the moment.”

We stood quietly at the outskirts of the trees and watched the Tasmanian Devils as they made short work of their bounty. We could easily hear the sounds of their feeding frenzy as they devoured their meal, including the bones and the fur, and I was rather shocked to learn that they truly deserved their reputation for voracious appetites.

“On average, a devil eats nearly 15% of their total body weight daily and they have the capacity to eat 40% of their weight in thirty minutes if the opportunity presents itself. They also aren’t fussy and their diet varies widely depending upon what they might find. They gravitate towards wombats, but they’re primarily scavengers who will feast on whatever they find and they’ll prey on most anything when they’re hungry. They also have the strongest bite of any living mammal” our guide informed us.

As we watched the commotion they made, I had no doubt it was true. They postured and screamed at one another and we learned that a good deal of their antics was largely for show. Our guide cautioned us to keep our distance as they often released an unpleasant odor when they became agitated and he pointed out the red ears on one of the group as a sign of heightened arousal.

“Speaking of food, is it time yet for lunch?” Jim interjected and our guide grinned as he looked at his watch.

“Let’s head over to the restaurant and we can finish the tour after lunch” he suggested.

We took our seats in the limo, making room for the guide, and headed off to Di Bortoli Winery and Restaurant. I didn’t have much of an appetite after watching the Devils annhilate their prey, but it seemed I was in the minority. A good glass of wine would certainly help.

Author’s Note:
For those who may want more information (or may doubt the echidna’s legendary sexual prowess), here are two links to explore:

The first includes a video link of an echidna who wasn’t particularly shy! :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Sauna Part 271

The Telstra Dome was charged with excitement when we arrived and I had never seen quite so many banners in the audience as I saw proudly displayed tonight. The warm up band had gotten the crowd ready and the screams from the stadium were deafening as the guys hit the stage. When the spotlight suddenly illuminated Jon’s tiny form off in the distance, the clamour rose even louder and I could barely hear the opening notes of “Last Man Standing”.

I smiled at Richie and he grinned back as we watched Jim peering out into the sea of shining faces for the first time. I remembered my first experience with being on stage and how different it was compared to being a spectator in the crowd. Jim had the opportunity to see it all now from the perspective of the guys themselves and I could see he was almost as star struck as I was the first time.

“Hey, Trish! C’mere! Grab your camera!” Jim called as I hurried over to where he was standing.

“I didn’t bring the camera. What is it?” I asked, following the line from where he was pointing.

There, in the front row, were two girls dressed up as giant smirks! I grinned at the girls, acknowledging that they were true fans, and I signaled to the photographer that always accompanied the band. He nodded and indicated he’d already gotten some shots of them.

“I’m guessing they’re radio contest winners. They’ll probably be at the after party” I shouted to Jim and he nodded, shaking his head.

Eventually Jon made his way through the crowd and back to the stage, flashing that megawatt smile at both Jim and I as he sprinted past us. He was having a ball, scampering back and forth along catwalks and dancing on stage and bantering with the audience.

“What a rush!” Jim exclaimed as he watched Jon and Richie as they interacted with the fans.

When Jon launched into an electrifying rendition of “It’s My Life”, the crowd exploded and Jim felt himself becoming caught up in the fervor as thousands of fists pumped the air, echoing the chorus right back at Jon. I noticed that Jim was singing along too and I had to laugh. For someone who’d never professed to be a big fan, he sure could have fooled me. Jon and the guys had just won a new convert.

Jim saw me watching him and he shrugged, grinning from ear to ear. It’s hard not to like this band, he thought to himself. He’d never disliked their music, except when I’d played the same songs over and over, but he’d never even considered buying an album. Damn, these guys are good. They really kick ass and they get the crowd moving and keep ’em going. I can see what inspires people to follow them.

I knew Jim was just realizing what I’d already learned to appreciate some time ago. I smiled as I glanced over at the guys and watched while Jon wiggled his ass at the crowd. These guys knew how to have fun and they loved what they did and it showed. I’d heard the oft-quoted remarks about how they couldn’t believe they got paid for this job and how Jon wouldn’t have traded places with the president. It was all true. While touring might be grueling, the on-stage performance was intoxicating and it drove them faster and farther than most bands ever dreamed. The money was great, but the music was better. It’s all about the music, I smiled to myself.

By the end of the show, Jon was drenched with sweat despite having changed his clothes on three separate occasions and he was on a true adrenalin high as he bounded off the stage directly toward me. He stopped long enough to sweep me into his arms before carrying me off to a secluded spot in back of the stage.

“I love the stadium gigs! I needed this, babe” he breathed and I nodded.

Jon seemed to draw energy directly from the crowd and he’d needed a big show to refuel after the lackluster performance in Portugal. The chaos at Backstage and his confrontation with his mother had drained his reserves and both he and the fans had needed a spectacular show. I’d seen one or two banners that I couldn’t quite read, but I thought I’d seen one that mentioned Backstage and I prayed that the problems there wouldn’t get played out by the audience.

“Jon, you were amazing and the show was tremendous, but I did see a banner…” I began, knowing he must have seen it too.

“I saw the one that you mean, but it wasn’t about the Fan Club, Trish. It said ‘Invite us Backstage-We’ll surprise you’ and I do believe it was aimed at Richie” he laughed.

“Oh, thank Goddess! I thought …” I started but Jon interrupted.

“I know, so did I, but when I was out on the catwalk I got a better look. Don’t worry, doll. Backstage will be back and Bon Jovi fans are the best-they’re very forgiving” he grinned and I relaxed.

“How did you know the banner was meant for Richie and not you?” I wondered suddenly.

“Because I walked right up in front of the two girls holding the banner and they still screamed for Richie” he smirked.

“Are you going to tell him?” I asked, quirking my eyebrows.

“Hell, no! He’ll preen like a peacock if he hears that they snubbed me!” Jon teased.


“Hey, where’s the Kidd?” Richie shouted.

“You mean Jon? He disappeared into the shadows with Trish and I’m not interrupting that, my man” Jim replied.

“Aaawww, hell, where’s your sense of fun and adventure?” Richie beamed as he grabbed Jim’s arm and dragged him along.

“Hey, are you two gonna join us or keep makin’ out in the shadows?” Richie needled us as he rounded the corner.

“Yeah, yeah, we’re comin’. What’s the rush?” Jon wondered.

“We’re all waitin’ on you, man. Let’s go, there’s a party, remember?” Richie said as he bustled us out of the stadium and into the limo.

The guys all headed up to their rooms to take quick showers while Jim and I headed down to the banquet facility to wait. We soon discovered the reason why the hotel had run out of Pavlova at dinner. There, amid all the hors d’oeuvres, were two huge Pavlovas, one covered with kiwis and strawberries while the other looked to be chocolate or mocha flavored. I started laughing, but that didn’t stop me from helping myself to a large helping of the meringue laden treat and Jim did the same. I was munching away on my second helping of the delicious confection when Richie showed up, his eyes wide with surprise.

“Shit! That’s why they ran out at dinner!” he chuckled.

“Damn, this shit’s good!” Jim said as he went for a another piece too.

“Richie, can you make this? Have you got a recipe?” I mumbled, taking another bite just as Jon arrived, followed by Tico.

“It’s addicting, huh?” Richie agreed, prompting Jon and Tico to both take a slice after they realized what we were raving about.

We were all gathered around the banquet table when Hugh and David joined the party and David groaned as soon as he saw it.

“Seriously, man, try this stuff. At least there’s plenty to share now” Jon encouraged as he sneered at Richie and me.

I almost felt guilty for not sharing the piece Richie and I had split earlier, but the stuff was so good that I got over my shame rather quickly. We were all stuffing our faces when I nearly split a gut laughing. They all stopped chewing and looked at me like I’d lost my mind.

“Holy crap! Listen! Don’t you hear what song that is that they’re playing?” I sputtered.

Everyone listened intently, but only Richie and Jim understood the joke and began chuckling softly. No one had paid much attention when Richie started his culinary history lesson at dinner and they had all tuned him out, except me and Jim. The others had missed the entire story of where the name came from. Pavlova was named after Anna Pavlova, the Russian ballerina for whom it was created, in 1926 in New Zealand. The song that was playing was one of ABBA’s greatest hits, “Dancing Queen”.

“It’s the Ode to Pavlova” I giggled as Richie and I began singing a duet to the music.

I grabbed my plate and held it aloft while Richie got down on one knee and began improvising the lyrics when I started laughing too hard to continue. The look on Jon’s face was beyond priceless as he stood there and stared, totally clueless, as Richie continued serenading me and the cake:

You are the pastry queen, rich and sweet, only made of cream
Pastry queen, feel the beat from the mix machine
You aren’t cake, you aren’t torte, tasting’s the time of my life
See that mousse, watch that fruit, dig in the pastry queen

I was beside myself now, with tears streaming down my face, and even Richie was having trouble singing as he tried to choke back his glee. I handed my plate off to Jim and nearly tripped over Jon as I attempted a rather amateur pirouette before finally collapsing on the floor next to Richie as we dissolved in a fit of hysterical giggles.

My sides hurt and I could barely breathe, but Jon’s consternation kept egging me on and the laughter had become rather contagious. Even the others at the party who had no idea what any of this was about began laughing and giggling while Jon stood there looking stunned. It was unlike me to act quite this goofy, but something about Richie seemed to provoke it. As the laughter subsided, Jon gave me his hand to help me off the floor, shaking his head.

“What on earth got into you?” he whispered into my ear.

“I have no idea but you can blame it on Richie” I laughed, thinking that was probably the first and last time I would ever attract more attention than Jon.

The remainder of the after-party seemed rather anti-climatic after that, but I did manage to get a few pictures of the guys with the two female “smirks” to pacify Jim. They had won a radio contest for tickets and they were simply beside themselves with delight at getting to meet all the guys. The party wound down and Jon and I made our escape as soon as it appeared seemly and headed back to our room for a more private celebration.