We scrambled to pull on our clothes just as the plane was landing. Vicky came round to check on us and I was sitting beside Jon on the couch looking very demure, albeit a bit disheveled.
“Was it a rough ride?” she asked, eyeing me suspiciously.
“No, not at all” I squeaked as Jon chuckled and winked at her and I blushed.
We exited the plane and made our way to the rental car counter and Jon thanked God that the suitcase was on wheels. He wrinkled his nose when we found the only car available was a Kia Rio, but we were desperate and the counter girl reminded us it was Saturday night. We took it and waited outside the terminal for them to bring the car around. Jon threw the suitcase and bag into the trunk and I walked to the driver’s side.
“Where are you going?” he asked, sincerely perplexed.
“To get in the car” I responded, thinking the answer was obvious.
“Oh, no, I’m driving” he said seriously, guiding me back to the other side.
“But you don’t know the area” I argued.
“Neither do you, remember?” he flashed me that blazing smile and I relented. He was right. I could navigate better if I didn’t have to deal with the traffic. He held the door and I climbed in.
“Okay, so where are we going?” he said looking at me for directions. I looked at the signs and pointed, taking my best guess. We started on our way and I realized almost immediately that I’d chosen the wrong option.
“Uhmmm, I think we should turn around” I said once we got onto the street and could pull in and turn around.
“You weren’t kidding, were you?” he said, still not quite believing I could be that confused, but laughing.
“I’m serious. We are going the wrong way, I think. I’m directionally impaired and totally dependent on Mapquest” I answered truthfully.
“Okay, okay. I believe you” he said, pulling into the nearest parking lot to turn around.
Once headed in the right direction, things seemed more familiar and I was able to get my bearings. I pointed out various places as we drove, relaxing once we were out of the immediate vicinity of the airport and turned on the radio. I fidgeted with the dial until I found a decent station and Aerosmith came on.
We hit a long stretch of highway and I dug out my cell phone and called my sister to tell her we were back in town. She invited us for dinner, but I explained we had eaten before we left New Jersey and that I was anxious to see my boys and promised I’d call her Sunday or Monday. She agreed to call dad and let him know Jon and I had arrived safely.
I snuggled up against Jon and he slid an arm around me as we drove toward the Southtowns. Eventually we got off the thruway and were driving through the country and the radio began to lose reception in the hills on the reservation. Jon remarked on the condition of some of the homes and I explained that there were some very poor areas on the Res. He also noticed the main business there, the smoke shops.
“We can stop at the one near home, they’re the cheapest and they take credit cards” I explained. “It’s only another fifteen minutes from here.”
We came to the last Smoke shop on the Res and I directed Jon to pull in and we went inside. He was shocked at how cheap the prices were and loaded up on several cartons and I did the same.
He pulled out his credit card and the owner looked at him and then at me.
“It’s okay. He really is Jon Bon Jovi” I smiled.
“As long as you vouch for him, Trish” the owner nodded, looking at Jon who clearly wasn’t accustomed to depending on someone else to verify his identity. The owner knew me for years and for once it was my turn to have some influence.
“We’re almost in Gowanda” I reassured him. And in another five minutes we were pulling into my driveway.
We parked in back of the house and I sighed. We were home. And here I was coming home with Jon Bon Jovi. Hell, it was beginning to feel very surreal!
Jon got out of the car and looked around. “Wow, this is beautiful! And so secluded. No neighbors? This has such possibility…” he said with a wicked smirk as he slipped his arm about my waist and drew me to him.
“Now, stop that” I said, not really resisting as he slipped his tongue between my lips.
Just then I heard an insistent “meow” and glanced at the kitchen window. There was Eddie, my most precious orange baby, staring right at me with a petulant look. Jon heard it too and followed my gaze.
“Uh-oh, looks like I have competition” he teased.
“It’s Eddie! Come on in first and meet the boys. I can show you the yard and all tomorrow!” I said, pulling him towards the door, anxious now to greet my cats.
I opened the back door and we walked into the kitchen and Eddie rolled on the floor, waiting for his belly rub. Zeke came running into the kitchen and took one look at Jon and disappeared like lightening as he was terrified of strangers. Soon, they all began making their entrance and I introduced Jon to each one, except Zeke, who’d gone off to hide and sulk. Floyd sniffed at Jon and walked away, not impressed with my rock star boyfriend and Jon laughed.
“So which one do I need to worry about punishing me for keeping mommy away?” he asked, looking a little suspicious as four of the five cats milled about us.
“Just Floyd, really. He’s the most jealous and he’s been known to pee in other people’s shoes if he doesn’t like them” I admitted, looking at Jon’s shoes on the floor where he’d taken them off.
“Seriously? Shit” he said, picking his shoes off the floor and holding them protectively.
I took his shoes from him and put them in a closet for safe-keeping as I tried to explain rather than acknowledge that Floyd was spoiled and got away with murder.
“Floyd’s the oldest boy and he’s very possessive. I got him just after my divorce and he was used to having me all to himself for a long time. Don’t mess with him and whatever you do, don’t touch his butt. He’ll bite” I cautioned.
“Will he bite if I touch your butt?” he grinned, testing him by rubbing my backside.
“He might, but I won’t” I said, leaning into him for a kiss.
“This is Beowulf, the only girl in the bunch. She’s nearly seventeen and will love you to death if you pet her once. She loves men. And this is Opie, the friendliest of the boys and the head cat. Just remember he’s in charge and you’ll get along just fine. And last, this is my baby, Eddie” I said, picking him up for Jon to pet. Eddie wrapped his little paws around my neck as he always did and hugged me.
“What about that wild one that went tearing out of here the minute he laid eyes on me?” he asked as he rubbed Eddie’s chin. I was impressed he remembered with so many to keep track of.
“That was Zeke. He’s a momma’s boy and he’s petrified right now. But he’ll come around after he gets used to hearing your voice. He’ll be in bed with us tonight, I guarantee you” I said, watching the reaction on his face out of the corner of my eye.
“So that’s why the stuffed cat stayed on the bed? To gradually wear down my resistance?” he asked, nudging closer to me.
“Yep. I figured I needed to break you in slowly” I smiled.
“I’d better pop that Zyrtec now, babe” Jon commented.
“I’ve got plenty if you need some. I’m allergic to cats too” I laughed as he looked at me and shook his head.
“I can see I’ll get no sympathy from you” he groaned. “I’ll go get our bags.”
He returned with the bags and I pointed in the direction of the bedroom while I got some fresh food and water for the cats. I heard a loud “What the fuck!” coming from the bedroom, followed by a crash and went to investigate, as a startled Zeke came tearing into the kitchen.
“What the fuck!” Jon said again, sitting on the bed and staring at me.
“What happened? I saw Zeke come racing out of here…” I asked, noting the lamp lying on the floor.
“I set the bags down and the noise surprised him, I guess. He was under the bed and bolted out so fast he knocked me right over onto the bed! I never saw anything move that fast! Holy shit!” Jon said, still looking rather startled.
“Awww, poor Zeke! He thought the bedroom was a safe place since no one ever comes in here besides me. He didn’t expect to see you” I laughed as I picked up the lamp and assessed the room for other signs of damage. “Are you okay, love? You look as frightened as Zeke!” I said seriously.
“Yeah, I landed on the bed. I don’t even know how the lamp fell. It all happened so fast” he said, still looking stunned.
The look on his face struck me as hilarious at the moment and I doubled over with laughter. He was wide-eyed and completely innocent looking and it was the first time I saw him truly caught off guard by something he hadn’t anticipated. I could imagine how he must have looked as a little boy, trying to tell his mom that he had no idea how that baseball went through the window.
“I’m so glad you find this amusing. Your cat nearly gave me a heart attack and you’re thoroughly enjoying it. C’mere, I’ll teach you to laugh at me!” he said, his lips curving into that familiar mischievous half-smile as he reached for me. I tumbled onto the bed laughing as he hauled me across his lap and swatted my backside with his hand.
I pretended to struggle and shriek for help as he spanked me playfully and I noticed the hardening bulge beneath me when he stopped abruptly.
“Uh-oh” he said, his hand in mid air.
I looked up then to see Floyd, my protector, standing on the foot of the bed, glaring at Jon.
I giggled as Jon attempted to soothe Floyd by patting him on the head and saying “nice kitty”.
“Do you think he’s buying it?” he whispered in my ear.
“Not for a minute” I said, catching my breath as I turned and sat up in Jon’s lap. I put my arms around his neck and kissed him hard on the mouth.
“Forget the cat” I growled in his ear as I pulled him down on top of me in the bed. And Jon didn’t argue.