Jon opened the door and I took a deep breath again. With his arm around my waist, he maneuvered me into the hall. I stopped and started to tremble like a leaf.
“You okay, baby? Just be yourself. It’ll all be over soon and we can go home” he said soothingly.
He smoothed my hair and held it in his hands at the back of my neck, his arms resting on my shoulders. I was still trembling. I heard footsteps approaching and I wanted to bolt down the hall and hide.
“Lady, you’re beautiful” he said, trying to still me from shaking.
“And remember, I love you. Just be yourself” he added.
The footsteps materialized into Richie.
“C’mon, lovebirds. It’s you they’re waiting for” he said looking at Jon.
I felt a momentary sense of relief. They were waiting for Jon. They probably didn’t care to…
“and you” Richie added, looking at me.
Oh shit. I wasn’t getting off as easy as I just had with Jon in the dressing room. I could hear our footsteps echoing in the hallway as we walked towards what I guessed was some sort of reception area. Why did I have to feel like I was walking the last mile to the gallows? I laughed suddenly, breaking the silence and Jon and Richie both stopped dead and looked at me.
“I’m okay, really, I am. I just had this visual of ‘Dead Man Walking’ that’s all” I explained nonchalantly.
They both laughed then and Jon hugged me a little tighter. I sounded a lot better than I felt. But this was tough enough and I didn’t want Jon worrying about me when he would be the real target tonight.
Rick was standing outside a large room and I could hear voices and laughter inside. He smiled seeing us, but said nothing. Jon whispered something to him and he nodded and held open the door, following behind the three of us. The room wasn’t that big after all. It was lit by dim lights and people were milling about with drinks and food.
Okay, I could do this. It was a party of sorts. I could do a party. Jon grabbed two glasses of champagne from a server walking past us and handed me one. His smile was radiant and he lit up the room.
A gaggle of reporters and photographers immediately gathered around us, firing camera flash bulbs at Jon. I could see why he wore sunglasses so often as the lights were blinding, but he had forgotten them and it hadn‘t occurred to me.
“So, Jon, the tour is going well. Two sold out shows and we hear you’re in love?” one asked.
Shit. They weren’t wasting any time.
“You heard right” Jon shot back as he pulled me closer.
“So, how did you meet?” came the next question.
Jon looked at me and we both laughed.
“She fell asleep in the sauna and I rescued her” he said amiably.
True enough, I thought.
“How long have you known each other?” was the next question, directed to me this time.
“Not nearly long enough” I replied, looking at Jon.
He flashed that amazing smile and the flash bulbs went off again. The camera loved him.
“What about all your female fans? How do you think they’ll react?” came another question from a young woman in the back of the gaggle surrounding us.
“I hope they’ll be happy for me. For us” he corrected.
“And if they’re not?” she retorted.
“I’m sure there will be plenty more who will be” he said simply, but he looked annoyed. .
“What about your wife? Does she know?” a fat, balding guy in glasses with a runny nose wanted to know.
“Ex-wife. And I have no idea” he corrected the man.
“What’s your name?” I heard from someone I couldn’t see in the back.
I put my hand to my eyes to see who I was being addressed by as another flash bulb went off. Jon jumped in, unsure how I felt about sharing that much information.
“Jon Bon Jovi” he teased amid a round of laughter.
Even I was laughing then. But the man persisted.
“We know who you are. I meant the new lady in your life” he asked, amiably enough.
I put my hand on Jon’s arm and felt the tension there.
“It’s okay” I whispered as he turned to face me. “I don’t mind if you tell them, it was you I was afraid of” I smiled back at him. After all, I was hardly ashamed to be his new lady.
“Trish” he said then, relaxing his arm.
“And what are you two doing tonight, now, after the show?” came the next question.
Jon flashed that famous smirk.
“Whatever she wants to do with me” he replied smoothly. And with that Jon put his hand up to signal the press that he was finished.
“If you’ll all excuse us now. Thank you and good night” he concluded.
Rick and two other security guys appeared out of the crowd and surrounded us, ushering us back out of the room and out the door where the limo was waiting. I sank into the seat and Jon climbed in next to me as flashbulbs lit up the dark night.
“Have fun, you two” Rick said as he closed the door after us.
We were alone. Finally.
“Damn, that was rough” he sighed and ran his hands through his hair. “You okay? Are you hungry?”
I laughed. That was just like Jon to think about food after that.
“You’re amazing. You handled them beautifully. You’re such a charmer” I purred as he reached around my waist, tugging me towards him.
“I charmed you, didn’t I?” he asked, turning my face to meet his eyes.
“You sure did” I said simply, letting my head fall on his shoulder, and stifling a yawn.
“Are you tired, baby?” he purred, but I was already asleep on his shoulder.
“Take us back to the hotel, but stop at the drive-thru first. I’m starving” he said, opening the window to the driver and smoothing my hair while I napped, exhausted now, my head on his shoulder.