Monday, 10 May 2010

Chaoter Twelve - Richie's story

I have a son. I don’t believe it. Alexander Stephen Sambora, born at 10:47am this morning, weighing 7lbs 2ozs. I can’t stop grinning. Even when Pippa was doing her best to strip the skin from my pick hand I just grinned through the pain and held her hand. 37 hours. That’s how long she was in labour for. It was worse for her than it had been for Heather. Pippa has a small pelvis, something neither of us had noticed…ya know when you’re diving in no one looks at the structure of the cave if you get my meaning…but it meant Alex got stuck for a bit and she ripped. Even the thought of it makes me shudder. Hearing her scream like that. It wasn’t a normal labour scream and my heart stopped for a beat or two but after the Doc told me what was happening and I could feel my colour coming back, the grin just wouldn’t go away.

I wish my dad was here to meet Alex. He’d have loved to know that there’s another boy in the family to carry on the family name. He loved Ava, don’t get me wrong, but I knew he’d been wishing for a grandson. Mom’s over the moon. I took a breather right after the birth to call her and let her know, I also took the op to tell Jon and Jilly that everything was a-ok. I even called Heather to tell her and to speak to Ava to tell her she has a brother. Being with Pip has taught me that life’s too short to hold a grudge, even if that person is trying to destroy you. Do what you have to do to stop them but don’t take it too far, do exactly what is necessary and then walk away and life your life.

I have a son!!! Oh my god!! I sit down next to where Pippa is sleeping and stare at my son, sleeping in the cot next to her. Normally babies are taken away and placed in a nursery, all together, but no-one was taking my son away from me. Even if I have to stay here 24/7 to keep an eye on him then fuck it, I will.

Jon enters the room and beckons me over.

He pulls me into a bear hug and I relax in my brother’s embrace. All this time I guess I’d been feeling second best to him as he’s got three sons and I had none but now? I have a son too…I know it’s a totally sexist thing and if Pip could hear me she’d whomp my ass for even thinking it but I don’t care. Every man will say it doesn’t matter as long as the child is healthy and every single fuckin man is lying!! Every man wants a son!…ok, maybe I’m going a bit too far but hey it’s been 40 odd hours since I slept and I guess I’m a little punch drunk, oh and I did I mention I have a son?

“Hey man, congrats bro. Jilly and I are gonna head back home…unless you want us to stick around?”

I can see the exhaustion on Jon’s face and even though I want my bro with me he has his own family and needs to be there for them. It’s been a strange five years. Ever since we first decided to do a competition to meet one of us and we all drew straws to see who would have to do it as none of us wanted to…


“Fuck off, a fuckin competition to have dinner with one of us? Fuck me Jon, do you wanna get stuck with stalkers R us? Jeez…us man, have you gone stupid or somethin’?”
Jon gave me what has universally come to be known as the stink eye. It’s not nice and no-one wants to be on the receiving end but fuck me…dinner with a fan? I’d rather eat my own left testicle fried in butter and garlic…

‘This album is not selling as well as the last and we need to raise our public profile. Having dinner with a fan or two is nothing compared to the amount of PR it will generate.’ The stink eye was still in evidence, before he smiled wryly.

‘How fuckin’ thick do you think I am Moose? You really think I wouldn’t have people to check out the possibles? To sort out the stalkers and wannabees from the genuine? Oh and they will be female and good looking if I can help it. You really think I’m gonna sit across from some dog for 3 hours? Get real fuckhead…’

I smiled at that. There was the Jon I knew. A sniffer to the end.


Who could have known though that the good looking, genuine female fans that Jon hand picked ( yes that’s right – he employed PI’s to check out the last ten possibles) would turn out to be the loves of our lives? I never got to see the pics, in fact I didn’t know he’ ahd all this background work done until six months or so after we’d met them. I was over at his one day, Jilly was out shopping with Pip, and I caught sight of some photo’s he was trying hard to hide from me. Needless to say I grabbed them from him and got the whole story from him. He’s a devious shit at times, but protective and loyal. Though sometimes I think he’s more protective of the product than the people. Scratch that. He used to be like that and now? The people come first.
I always used to wish when I was a kid, for a happy ending. Yeah, I wanted fame and fortune but above all I wanted a happy ending. For a while I thought I ahd it with Heather but now I know I’ve got a happy ending. I have two healthy gorgeous children, My brothers in arms are settled and happy. Jon and Jilly are more in love than ever before and if I’m not mistaken Libby will soon have another sibling. And Pippa? What can I say about Pippa that I haven’t said before? She is my life, my breath, my heart and soul. I would do anything for her, die for her, kill for her…get ice cream at 4am and mix mushrooms into it for her ( ok I did that once but never again…it was the grossest thing I’ve ever done in my life and I’ve done some pretty out there things…). I am complete. She completes me. If I never sang or played guitar again it wouldn’t matter as long as I had her by my side. I’d like to thank you all for letting us tell you our story, all the ups and downs, over the years…Oh, and did I mention? I have a son!

The End

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Chapter Eleven - Pippa's Story

It’s so sweet. Jon and Jilly have just renewed their vows. She looks just gorgeous in her off the shoulder cream fitted dress that clings to her gorgeous curves until it fishtails out at the bottom. I don’t know who it’s by but it looks muy expensivo. Oh crap, I’ve been spending way too much time around Richie. I’m even starting to sound like him. I look around trying to spot my erstwhile partner but fail.

Oh god my back hurts. It’s not easy being this pregnant and I still have five weeks to go. I have so much empathy for Jilly now when she was carrying Libby, who, by the way, was just so adorable as a flower girl in her pale pink dress and little crown of red roses that she made me well up with tears at how gorgeous she looked. Of course it didn’t help that she saw me and waved which, of course, set me off crying again. Damn bloody hormones. Richie bloody Sambora didn’t help either, telling me how proud he was that I was carrying our child.

Next time he can bloody well do it, cause I’m not going through this crap again for no-one. Not even Mr Sexy-pants Sambora.

I feel so fat, like a bloated whale and everything hurts. My ankles are swollen, my fingers look like sausages and my hair’s a mess. I’m just so damned tired all the time I can’t even be bothered to straighten my hair so it’s gone back to curly and where I had it cut so short it just gets in my eyes. I’ve not had a fringe before and now I know why. It’s a pain in the arse. Talking of which don’t even get me started about piles….

“Hey babe.” Richie says as he plonks himself down next to me, all breezy and slim and smiling and suddenly I hate him.

“What’s up?” he asks, catching sight of the deep frown on my face.

“It’s not fair. You’re so slim and smiley and I’m just a fat whale, compared to every woman here. Why would you wanna be seen with me?” I know I’m moaning but I can’t help it.

“Oh Pip,” he says in that deep smoky molasses tone of his, “Y’ain’t fat darlin’, you’re carrying our child which makes you the most important person here, in my eyes. In fact you’re the most important person in my life.”

I look deep into his dark chocolate eyes, waiting for the rebuttal when he takes it all back and says I’m second only to Ava, as he usually does but it doesn’t happen. I must look as confused as I feel as he smiles at me and takes my hand in his.

“Come dance with me.” he whispers as he helps me to my feet and we shuffle, quite awkwardly onto the dance floor. I thought, early on in this pregnancy, that I was going to be one of the lucky ones and get away without putting too much weight on but in the last month I have just ballooned to the size of India. I’m even bigger than Jilly was in her last few days.

Still it’s nice to be held by my man, even if he is at the side of me and not in front. I close my eyes and shuffle along to the music, breathing in his unique scent. I am just the luckiest woman on the planet. I have the man I’ve always loved, who helped me through all my personal demons and didn’t flee when things got rough, and I’m going to have his son. Talking of which, he’s woken up and is moving around.

Ooh, you little bugger, stop kicking and don’t even think of doing a hand stand on mummy’s bladder. Oh too late.

I make my excuses and hurry, well hobble, off to the loo. I see Jilly in passing and wave. She looks at me with sympathy for my plight and follows me to the loo.

I pull up the skirt of the satin wrap dress I’ve managed to shoe horn myself into and sit down with a sigh of pleasure. Never thought peeing would bring me so much pleasure but don’t knock it. When you’re this pregnant it’s the greatest thing in the world next to Cookies and Cream Hershey bars.

“Pip? You ok?” I hear Jilly call.

“I am now. Junior decided to do Olympic gymnastics on my bladder.” I say as I stand up slowly, my centre of gravity isn’t where it used to be and I have to be careful how I stand if I don’t want to pitch head first to the floor.

I join Jilly at the washbasins and after washing, I redo my lippy and try to make sense of my hair. I have started to resemble Hermione Granger in bushiness and generally frizziness. It’s such a pity I don’t have a wand and a tub of Sleakeezies hair potion.

“I don’t remember your hair doing this when you were carrying Lib.” I moan as my hair does its own thing.

“That’s cause I don’t have the amount of hair you have, mine’s baby fine remember?” Jilly smiles, looking every inch the radiant renewer.

“How are you?” I ask her, my meaning a bit deeper than the question suggests.

“We’re fine, now.” she replies, knowing exactly what I meant.

She told me all about the marriage counselling and had me in fits of hysterics as she described Jon’s behaviour that day. Having spent time with the man when he was in one of his pissy moods I had some sympathy for the counsellor. Not much, as by all accounts he was a bit of a git, but some…

We make our way back to the dance floor, arm in arm, laughing and wondering how in the hell did we end up here.

Two regular girls from South East London, both with the men they’ve loved since they were able to know what the word meant.

I’m still pondering over that fact when my back twinges again.

I stand still and reach behind to rub the aching muscle, smiling as Richie walks over to me, when I feel something warm trickling down my legs.

The look on my face says it all. The look on his face is priceless.

Chapter Ten - Jon's Story

I’m going to Marriage Guidance Couselling. Me? Couselling? Gimme a fucking break. Still it’s what Jilly wants. Personally I think it’s a waste of fucking time. You know, spending an hour sitting in front of some conceited ass who’s probably single or gotta string of divorces under his belt and spilling all my secrets.

Nah, not gonna happen.


Jilly’s giving me that look again. You know the one. It says quite clearly that I’d better be on my best behaviour and not embarrass her in the slightest whilst at the same time she wants me to dig deep into my psyche and spill every little secret I’ve ever had, all in the space of an hour. Yeah whatever. Like that’s gonna happen.

Oops was that sigh too loud?

Yeah, yeah I know I’m scowling under my shades but fuck it, I’m wasting time sitting here in this opulent office when I could be laying down some great tracks in the studio. Yeah, I know. Best behaviour, right?

The door opens and a tall dark haired, quite handsome in an Ivy League way, man in a suit comes in.

“Ah Mr and Mrs Bongiovi? I’m so sorry for keeping you waiting.” he says as he sits down in his high backed leather chair, framed by vast windows showing a gorgeous view of the pacific ocean.

Smarmy git. Hate him already, with his Harvard accent and Hugo Boss suit. I look down at my tattered jeans and tight tee and my frown gets deeper. It was people like him who drove me into music during high school. So I suppose really I should thank him but I can feel something primal stirring deep down inside in response to his presence. Fucking assholes who think they run the school just cause they’re popular. Huh, showed them huh? Guess who’s more popular now?

Oh shit, they’re both looking at me. Musta missed something he said.

“Er, sorry, I was deep in thought.” I manage to stammer. Oh fucking great my stammer’s back. Of all the fucking places it could come out, it chooses here.

“That’s perfectly okay Mr Bongiovi. I was just saying that this will be a preliminary appointment for the pair of you to air any grievances you may have with each other without prejudice. I want you two to have a place to come to get everything off your chest without carrying it back home with you.”

Carry it back home? What is it? Fucking takeout?

El Smarmo continues. God even his hair is perfect, the way it sits just so on his head, makes me wanna rip his fucking eyeballs out and have him suck them like gobstoppers...

Ok, even I’m officially grossed out by that thought, still with all this anger I evidently have, seems I’m in the right place.

“So Mr Bongiovi, would you like to go first?” He turns to me, “Maybe you’d feel more comfortable if you removed the sunglasses. Eye contact is always important in good communication.”

Ok, now my eyebrows have officially moved into my hairline but still I find my hand moving to remove the glasses without a conscious thought. Hmm.

I look at him, squinting slightly as bright sunlight pierces through the clouds outside and shines through the window. He presses a button on his desk and a shade falls slowly, mechanically into place. Cool! I want one.

“If you’d like to face your wife, Mr Bongiovi, and tell her what exactly you wish to accomplish by being here.”

“Well,” I start then stop, this isn’t easy this whole truth thing. Then it hits me. She wants the truth I’ll give her the truth. After all it’s been three months since the day she came into the studio and hugged me and that was the last time we had any real physical contact. We’ve talked, we’ve even kissed, but little Jonny ain’t had no action and he’s getting mighty twitchy by now. Plus he’s sick of the sight of my own hand.

I clear my throat and look at her, taking her hands into mine, feeling the soft skin under my calloused fingertips.

“Firstly, I wanna get though this session as quickly as possible, then write a cheque out for what will probably be a horrendous amount of money, then I wanna go home and fuck your brains out.”

There, that truthful enough for ya?


Mr smarmy pants is so shocked he’s speechless. Probably cause he’s thinking of the cash he ain’t gonna get cause I’m fucked if I’m coming back here again.

I look at Jilly. She’s sat so still, her face blank as she stares into my eyes.

Ooooh shit! I’m thinking I may have dropped a bollock, when I see the corner of her mouth twitch slightly.

Ha, got ya! I think as the twitch develops into a smile then a laugh forces its way out of her beautiful mouth. Suddenly she’s rolling on the sofa with laughter. It’s infectious as I find my self joining in.

“Jilly? We don’t need this. I’m sorry I haven’t told you what’s on my mind, you know me, sometimes I forget to tell you how much I love you but it doesn’t mean I don’t, and everything I said to you in anger? You know I don’t mean it, I love you with every beat of my heart, you’re my soul mate, my companion, my love and without you I’m nothing but an empty shell.”

Albeit it one with better hair than Le Smarmarino.

Jilly looks at me and smiles. She sighs and then gets up from the sofa, holding her hand out.

“Let’s go home Jon.”

Monday, 4 May 2009

Chapter Nine - Jilly's Story

I stick my tongue out at my reflection. My eyes are all puffy and hot, with the lashes glued together with hardened tears, and I feel like shit. I can’t believe Jon said that yesterday. That he doesn’t love me anymore. Part of me knows he doesn’t mean it but there is a part of me that wonders if that’s the reason why I hardly see him anymore. I miss him.

I don’t really know when it started only that I woke up one morning to find Jon gone and realised that I couldn’t remember the last time I’d woken up next to him.

Sadly I watch as tears form in my eyes and make their way down my face. Thankfully Lib’s staying with Stephie at the moment so she doesn’t have to see me like this.

Is this what my marriage has come to? I feel numb inside, my stomach is in knots. I love my husband more than anything in the world but I think I’ve lost the ability to tell him. Every time I look at him now all I do is shout at him for not being there for me, while inside my heart is screaming out for him to just hold me and tell me everything will be ok between us but it gets lost in translation between my heart and my voice.

I can’t even talk to Pippa about this anymore as a) she’s pregnant and I don’t want to stress her, and b) Richie doesn’t want me to. I know he doesn’t. He doesn’t need to say anything, I could see the way he was looking at her whilst Jon and I were behaving like the mature adults we are and I just wanted Jon to look at me like that, as he used to. To look at me and undress me with his eyes before giving me that little knowing smile of his that told of things to come.

Sighing I finish brushing my hair and wonder about getting it cut. Ever since Libby was born all I’ve done with it is scrape it back into a ponytail. God I can’t even remember when I last had it cut. Critically I look at my face in the full length mirror and grimace. My eyes look tired as well as puffy and since when did my mouth turn down at the corners? My hair is lank and lifeless. I look a mess, I feel a mess. Ugh no wonder my husband isn’t around…scratch that. I don’t look like this all the time, it’s that damn studying I’m doing. I’d started to study in the evening, after Libby was asleep and before Jon used to get home from the Studio. Hmm this was back when Jon used to come home every evening.

I sit on the toilet seat and sigh. I can feel something rushing through me. Anger. Anger that he’s never here, anger that he made this decision without consulting me and anger that our marriage has seemingly gone down the pan. You know most marriages that end in divorce don’t end as a result of a major argument, just lots of little ones that go unchecked. There’s never a moment that you can look back at and say “There it was, that’s when it happened.” You just wake up one morning and everything you held closest to your heart is gone.

I finish in the bathroom and head out onto the balcony to have what will be possibly my fifth or sixth cigarette since I woke up about an hour ago. My head hurts and it’s not just because I spent the night crying so much I glued my own eyelashes together as a result. It hurts because I’ve stopped viewing this in small sections and have started to look at our problems as a whole and I don’t like what I’’m seeing.

I ground out the cigarette as another wave of anger overtakes me. Christ! My emotions are haywire and we’ve not even separated yet!

Bollocks to this!

I stare at my wedding ring.

I’ve had enough of this pussy footing around. Being with Jon for this long has taught me a few things about standing up for yourself and your loved ones and I’m fucked if I’m going to let him destroy us, especially without consulting me first!

I knock on the door of the studio. No response, which is hardly surprising as I can hear the music out here so god knows how loud it must be inside. I’ve never been in the studio before, even though Jon had it built on our land after Libby’s birth so that he would always be close to home. Little bit of irony there, me thinks….

Grasping what little courage I’ve got I push at the door, find it open and walk in.

It’s a weird place. A sort of reception type room at the front with a couple of doors leading off. One has Studio printed onto it and the other has nothing on it. Hedging my bets I choose the Studio door. I push it open quietly, not wanting to disturb the guys but once I’m in there I find that Jon’s the only one there.

He looks up from where he’s sat, hunched over a guitar, as I walk in. He grabs a remote and turns down the music that is blaring from huge wall mounted speakers, and turns back to his guitar.

I stand for a few minutes just looking at my husband. To anyone else he looks unchanged but I can see the slight slump to his shoulders and a stiffening of his back muscles. His jaw is clenched and every muscle in his body is in a state of high tension.

He looks as miserable as I feel, which ought to make me feel better but it just makes me feel sad; that we’ve allowed our marriage to come to this.

I look at him, waiting for my mouth to open and words of platitude to come tumbling out as has been the case lately, but nothing will come. I remember doing a sponsored silence for some charity when I was younger, which Pippa refused to do with me, and after the first two minutes I found it very easy not to speak for the rest of the day. It was as if I had a heavy weight in my jaw that prohibited me from speaking. I can feel that now and know that it doesn’t matter what’s happening between us, right now I’m physically incapable of speaking.

Jon looks up at me with unspoken questions and wariness in his eyes.

I can’t speak! I try to open my mouth even but nothing… I can see Jon looking at me questioningly, his bright blue eyes dulled with unshed tears and pain.

Oh god, I know I have to say something, my stomach is telling me to say something, anything to get the ball rolling, but it just won’t happen! Work mouth! Please!

Before I can change my mind and flee, which is what my mind is telling me to do, I cross the room and wrap my arms around my husbands neck.

Jon is startled and almost drops the guitar. I said almost, he is a musician after all…I can smell anxiety and fear on him and know immediately that he is just as scared as I am that we’ve irreparably broken us.

As I lay my head on his shoulder and feel the warmth of his body seep through into my embrace, I can feel a lone tear work it way down my nose and drip onto him. As it falls the spell is broken.

“Jon, I’m so sorry. I love you so much.”

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Chapter Eight - Richie's Story

This is a fucking nightmare. I’ve got Jilly, with the aid of my darling Pippa, on one side and Jon on the other. Neither are talking to each other. This is just getting fucking ridiculous. All Jilly wants to do is study and all Jon wants to do is be in the Studio. Neither one of them is willing to give way. I know it’s really getting to Pip and now she’s six months pregnant I’m damned if I’m gonna have her get stressed out by two immature adults who ought to know better. Hell, even Libby’s acting more mature than they are at the moment.

Steph moved out last week which I know is upsetting Jon but him being who he is won’t talk about it. You’d think after the debacle ( see, Pip’s teaching me long words LOL) of Dot he’d have learned that to keep a relationship going you need to communicate but no, the writer of some of the world’s greatest rock songs is totally dry when it comes to his own life. God I just wanna smack his, and hers, let’s not forget about Jilly here, heads together.

Oh no let’s not forget about Jilly. She is not entirely innocent in all this at all. I think if she’d just come out and told Jon about her wanting to study at the time instead of hiding it from him then they wouldn’t have the trust issue that they obviously have at the moment.

I look over at the love of my life ( sorry, second love of my life, next to Ava) and smile at her. She smiles wryly back at me, through her fringe. She had her hair cut and invested in a pair of straighteners last week and I’m still trying to get used to shorter, straighter hair. Her hairdresser told her it would be easier to manage once the baby arrives and she’d be better off getting used to it now than later. That’s all right for the hairdresser to say but he’s not the one who misses running his hands through her glorious mane of curls.

I have had enough of this shit.

“Ok you two, start talking or me and Pip are going home and you two can fucking get divorced for all I care.” I say, vehemently

Jon looks up at me, all startled blue eyes and pouty mouth.

“Jon you’re the eldest you start. Spill it man.”

He looks at me and knows I am serious. Hell he’s known me for how long now? He ought to fuckin well know when I’m being serious, still 25 years and only one major argument isn’t bad ya know.

“I never see you anymore.” Jon says quietly, but to this crowd it’s a fucking explosion.

“And who’s fault is that then?” Jilly counters, anger evident, “You’re in that bloody studio from sun up to sun set. Libby’s not even sure you still live here.”

“Don’t you fucking bring Libby into this.”

“And why not Jon? What am I supposed to tell her when she asks if Daddy’s coming home tonight and I haven’t the foggiest idea. Hmm?”

“What about you then? I’m surprised you take your head out of those books for long enough to realise you’ve got a fucking daughter.”

“I spend three hours a day studying! How dare you insinuate that I put that before Libby!”

I catch Pippa’s eye and she looks worried. This isn’t going the way I thought it would.

“I’ve only got your word for that. How the fuck do I know it’s only three hours? Huh?”

“Well maybe if you dragged your sorry arse out of that studio more often then you’d be able to see it for yourself wouldn’t you? But oh no, Jon Bon Jovi would never put his family before his fucking career, would you? Given half a chance between having a family and staying at home or losing the family and touring all year, you’d fucking tour wouldn’t you? Go on admit it.” Jilly half shout as Jon looks at her with a stubborn, mulish expression.

“Half the time I have no idea whether you’re really in the studio or what. Or should I say who? Don’t think I don’t know about those texts you’ve been getting late at night.”

“Oh for fuck’s sake Jilly, most of those texts are from Stephie and the others are from Dot asking about Stephie.”

“Well at least one of your daughters knows her father’s interested in her at least.”

“What the fuck? Lib knows I love her.”

“Really? You ought to be here when she’s crying her eyes out convinced you don’t love her anymore cause you’re never here.” Jilly yells, angry tears making their way down her face.

“It’s not her I don’t love anymore.” He replys softly.

Jilly gasps, looking as if he’s just physically slapped her before her eyes well with tears. I can see she’s about to dart off and try to catch her to comfort her but she’s too quick for me. I can hear her sobbing as she runs off towards the house.

Jon lights a cigarette and looks out over his land.

I turn back to him and just stare at the worlds best exhibit of sheer stupidity.

“You stupid fuck.” I say in disgust, holding my hand out for Pippa to take to help her out of her seat.

I stand over from him as Pippa goes up to him to see if he’s ok. Fuck him. I don’t care anymore. And he wonders why his relationships don’t work out. Fucking prick.

“Pippa.” I say, sharper than I normally would, holding my hand out to her.

She kisses Jon on the cheek and walks to my side.

We walk back to the house in companionable silence, my arm round her waist. Although she’s six months gone it doesn’t show at all and she’s only just having to wear maternity clothes. I know Jilly laughingly said she hated her for it.

I love Pippa with all my heart and I know that no matter what happens we will never go the way of Jon and Jilly. Pippa may have her faults, and there are many lol, but she will tell me when something is wrong. Usually about 30 seconds after she’s discovered it, mind you. She is certainly not backwards in coming forwards.

As we walk through the house I can hear Jilly crying in the study. I keep hold of Pippa’s hand and she tries to break free to go to her friend.

“Pip, honey, let’s go home. I’m not having you get stressed out by all this bullshit. Jilly’s a grown woman, she has to learn to deal with this by herself.”

I can see Pippa’s not happy but she acquiesces and comes with me.

We reach our SUV and wearily climb into it. She is just so damn beautiful, she really is, even when she’s looking for the seat belt buckle and getting slightly flustered, with her tongue sticking out between her teeth slightly.

I lean over and kiss her forehead, buckling the seat belt for her.

She looks at me, a wide dazzling smile on her face.

“I love you Pippa.” I say, smiling, glad she’s mine.

“ I love you too Rich, what’s brought this on, you’re not usually this soppy out in public.”

“I just wanted you to know that no matter what happens I will never treat you like that.” I jerk my head back to indicate what had just transpired.

“ I know you wouldn’t, “ she smiles, “cause I would track you down and whomp your ass.” she continues, laughing.

“Jon’s such a fucking ass at the moment. I am so glad I’m the only male in our family. Me you and Ava, and bump, of course. Means I don’t have to deal with any male bullshit.”

I start the engine but Pippa puts out a hand to stop me from driving off.

“Erm Rich, I didn’t have a chance to tell you this earlier but I got the sex of the baby this morning. Erm, get ready for some male bullshit.”

I can’t help it, I let out a whoop of joy and I smile broadly all the way home

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Part Seven - Pippa's Story


I hope that doesn’t show on my face. Gingerly I put the cup down and smile.

“Whaddya think? Jilly used to drink a gallon of that when she was pregnant. Swore she could feel it doing her some good.” Jon says, smiling at me.

“Erm, I think it’s an acquired taste. I’m not really a tea person, I prefer coffee myself.” I say, diplomatically. Green tea is just disgusting.

“Yeah well you know what the doc said hon, no caffeine, no alcohol and no cigarettes.” Richie pipes up from the sofa

“I can just tell this pregnancy’s gonna be a barrel of laughs. Somebody shoot me right now” I groan, laying my head down on the dining room table.

Richie just laughs, knowing that I don’t mean it and that I’m actually over the moon to be pregnant. Who knew that all these years of saying that I hated children was just a cover up for how much I hated my childhood. Richie knew, or at least had an inkling that all that much hatred had to be covering something else but it took a full year of intense therapy to bring it all out. I’ve even forgiven my mother. Well, vocally to Richie and my shrink at least. It’s gonna take a lot more before I go near that bitch again…,though I might show up at her funeral just to make sure she’s dead. See? Loads of anger, and now I know who it’s directed at I can start to like kids. Even Ava and I have had a civilised conversation. Ok, so I asked her if she wanted some pasta but it was a start, right? The answer was no if you’re wondering…

The front door opens and Jilly comes rushing in. I turn to look at her and in doing so catch a look on Jon’s face that I’ve never seen before, at least not directed at Jilly anyway. It’s not revulsion but it’s close. I look at Richie and he indicates that he saw it too. I move my head, flicking my hair in the direction of the garden, hoping my boyfriend will get the message and take Jon out there, but as usual he has no idea what I’m on about. Honestly, you’d think after being together for nearly four years he would have learned how to read my signals by now but no…must be man thing as I can read Jilly like a book and vice versa.

Thankfully she solves the problem by asking me to come into the garden with her.

I get up and follow her, eager to give her a hug. It’s only been a week since I found out I was pregnant but this’ll be the first time I’ve seen her seeing as Rich and I were on the Italian Riviera at the time and being a man he decided he couldn’t wait to tell the whole world and its whippet that he was a virile specimen of manhood and king of the lab (He’s just discovered Bones and is so hooked on it I feel that I should cite Tempe Brennan as the third person in our relationship! But it does give me the chance to drool over David Boreanaz - another tall, dark handsome man - hmmm think I’m seeing a pattern here…lol)

I sit down in one of the sun loungers that dot their immediate back garden area, honestly the whole estate covers approximately ten acres, give or take a couple of feet. It’s huge! I constantly get lost in the grounds whenever I’m here. In fact one time I was gone so long, just wandering around, that Richie had to come and find me. Needless to say we were a bit late getting back to the others as I managed to entice him into some outdoor loving! Trouble is now I’m pregnant he won’t entertain any naughty thoughts like that. God I’m only about six weeks gone but he’s treating me like cut crystal.

Hang on, Jilly has just lit a cigarette. What the fuck?

“Jilly? Since when do you smoke?” I ask, completely gob smacked as I’ve not seen her smoke for years.

“Oh about a week. It’s no biggie. Just helps, that’s all.” she says, obviously distracted. She must be, she hasn’t mentioned my impending motherhood once…yet.

“So pregnant? When did you decide that then?” she asks finally, sitting down in the shade of the umbrella, flicking her ash onto the grass.

I smile, I can’t help it.

“We’ve talked about it, seriously I mean, not just having Richie ask me all the time, for about 3 months and it just happened. I’m about six weeks gone, though to hear him indoors speak you’d think I was about to pop. Honestly he treats me like I’m some delicate piece of china that’s going to break if I do anything more strenuous than sitting down.” I laugh at the thought of the man who once fucked me so roughly I couldn’t sit for two days treating me like a china doll.

I stretch out on the lounger, enjoying the sunshine.

“So why are you smoking Jilly? I thought you’d given that up years ago.”

“Oh, I’ve gone back to Uni to do my Masters then my PhD and it just helps me deal with the stress.” she sighs

“What are you stressed about? Is the course harder than you thought?” I ask, puzzled as to what could be stressing her.

“Oh no the course is fine.” she sighs heavily, “It’s Jon. Although he says he okay with me going back to school I don’t think he is. He questions me if I’m ten minutes late home. I think he thinks I’m having an affair.”

I look at her incredulously. Surely she must be mistaken. Jon loves her with all his heart. Anyone who looks at them together can see that. I watch her staring into space and I’m really quite worried. This isn’t the Jilly I know. Before I can say anything to her, the love of my life comes over and wraps his arms around me.

“Hey babe.” he says, his deep honeyed voice causes shivers to go through me.

“Hey you.” I whisper back as I kiss his cheek.

“How’s my favourite redhead?” he asks, pushing me over on the lounger and sitting down.

“I’m your only redhead, doofus!” I joke, running my hand along his arm, feeling the muscles tense slightly as I do.

He leans towards me and nuzzles my neck, making me squeal with laughter as his stubble tickles the sensitive skin.

I look over at Jilly and notice a look on her face that I’ve not seen before, well not since she met Jon that is. Envy. She’s envious of me and I don’t know why.

I lean towards Richie’s ear and ask him to leave us alone for a bit.

He gets the hint and gets up.

“sayonara darlin’, don’t sit in the sun too much.” he says as he walks back towards the house.

I turn to wave then turn back to Jilly.

“How long have we known each other?” I ask her, squinting in the sun.

“What?” she asks, lighting another cigarette.

“it’s been what? 20 odd years?”

“about that. Why?” she asks

“And in that time have I ever not told you what was going on in my life?” I ask as I sit forward on the lounger and turn to face her.

She just shakes her head.

“So spill girlie. What is going on between you and Jon?”

A lone tear falls down her face and I’m up off the lounger and sat next to her before I can think.

“It’s all going wrong Pip, everything.” she starts to sob.

“Honey, tell me.” I urge her.

“I’ve not been happy for ages and I realised it was because I wanted to go back to Uni and get my Masters, but now I’ve started to do that I’m not so sure it was that to begin with.”, She says, getting up and pacing around so that the cigarette smoke is no where near me, “ Jon hates the fact that I’m not at home for him and Lib and he hates that I need to study when I am at home. I mean I’ve had to put up with his long hours stuck away in the studio, or him not being here when he’s touring so why can’t he accept my need to do other things? I feel so fucking trapped!” she states.

I’m not sure which shocks me more, her admitting to problems in her marriage or the fact that she swore. Jilly never swears. Except for when Jon married the first time.

I think I need to talk to Richie about this. Try to get both Jilly and Jon to sit down and talk their obvious problems through. I mean Richie did that for me, made me see that I was reacting to deeply buried problems in my everyday life so the least I can do is try to help my best friend.

It is in this pensive mood that Richie finds me as he comes to take me home.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Part Six - Jon's Story

I’ve just hurt my wife

I could feel her wincing as I slammed into her but I just couldn’t stop myself. I shut my eyes so I wouldn’t see the hurt on her face or the silent accusations on her beautiful face.

I stand under the shower feeling the hot water trying to wash away my worry. Jilly is my life but she’s been so different these past six months that I’m scared to ask why just in case she’s gone off me or something. You might think I’m stupid for worrying but that’s exactly what happened with Dot. One day it was fine and the next we were talking divorce. I couldn’t bear it if Jilly feels like that.

I can’t believe I actually hurt her physically. I feel sick. Maybe if I just stand here and let the water flow for a few more minutes it’ll all go away and be back to normal. Now who’s being stupid? This ain’t gonna go away until we talk it through and if it’s over then I will just have to deal with it.

Oh god, I feel really sick. My heart is pounding and my chest hurts. I wish Richie were here. Well not right here as he’d be in the shower with me and that’s not a place I’d like to go. I just wish he was in the country so I could phone him and talk this through with him. He’d know what to say. My god, how many songs have I written? I’m even in the Songwriters Hall of Fame for Chrissake and I can’t think of a single thing to say to Jilly. My mind has gone blank and that’s never happened before. Not once, not even that time when I forgot the lyrics for a split second on stage. I was exhausted at the end of the Jersey tour and for a second or two I just couldn’t think of the lyrics of Livin’ but even then I recovered and finished the song. Course that tour damn near finished me and as for my voice? Well for a while I wasn’t sure I’d ever sing again but all through that my mind worked just fine, hell I even wrote Glory off the back of that damned tour after getting lost in the Desert for a few days with Dot. Damn, I thought I was gonna be some coyote’s meal at one point and hoped it’d choke to death on my hair but never once did I lose the ability to think.

Ok. Time to face the music, so to speak, plus my skin’s gone wrinkly and that’s just not a good look on me…

I walk back into the scene of the crime, cause it is a crime to hurt your loved ones deliberately and I knew I was. A balmy breeze is blowing the voile curtains in. She must be out on the balcony. It’s a peaceful place our balcony. It overlooks the Pacific and you can hear the surf pounding onto the sand below. Pounding. Not a word I want to think about right now.

I can see her out on the balcony, her short blonde hair shining in the moonlight. She has my robe on and, is she?, yes, she’s smoking one of my cigarettes.

Shit. She hasn’t smoked in years. Not since the day her ex blew his brains out in front of her. This must be bad. My god I’m not even 50 and I’m going to have two divorces behind me.

I know she’s not been happy for a while. I can see it in her eyes and her posture -when she thinks I’m not looking she slumps a little, like she has the weight of the world on her lovely shoulders. Oh god I bruised her as well. Well done Jonny Boy, how to alienate your wife and get divorced in two easy steps.

I can’t even think what could have happened to set this in motion? After all I’ve given her everything she could possibly want. She doesn’t want for anything; neither she nor Libby.


My beautiful, precious daughter #2. I couldn’t bear to go through another battle like I did with Dot. Maybe if I give her custody she’ll let me see Lib when I want.

Oh for god’s sake Jon, get a grip. You’re not even sure what the problem is. Go out there and talk to her. She’s your wife. Your beautiful, loving wife. Who you just hurt, intentionally. Because you’re a git. A right git, as Jilly would call you. Me? I think I’m an asshole.

I walk out onto the balcony and look at her as she blows smoke out over the railings. All of a sudden I can feel anger towards her. I’m not the one to blame here. She is. If she’s not been happy for the past six months or so then she should’ve told me why, not left me to figure it out. She should’ve respected me that much but no she didn’t. Does she respect me? I thought so but now I’m not so sure.

She turns to look at me, apprehension in her eyes. I deserve that, at least.

“Jilly, we need to talk.” I say, my voice sounding odd in the stillness of the night. It’s as if all the local nocturnal creatures have taken the night off.

She nods and sits down at the glass table, leaning her cigarette in the Swarovski crystal ashtray that Richie had commissioned me for my 45th birthday. He told me if I was never going to give up then I should at least smoke surrounded by luxury. The moonlight glints off it as tendrils of blue smoke rise above it.

I sit down in the chair next to her and look at her. I can see a slight trail where she’s cried. Oh god I hope that wasn’t during though I have the horrible feeling that it was.

We sit in an uncomfortable silence, both waiting for the other to speak first. After an age I open my mouth but she beats me to it.

“Why?” she asks, lighting up another cigarette.

Childishly I want to say Why What? But I know exactly what she’s talking about. Why did I hurt her? I think about bluffing it out saying that I didn’t realise but of course she’d see straight through that one.

I look her straight in the eye as I reach over to snag a cigarette for myself. I remember the first time she asked me if I had a fag. I nearly fell off the sofa in shock. How was I to know that fag is UK slang for a cigarette and is not exclusively used to describe someone who’s gay.

“Why?” I asked, quietly trying to buy my brain some time, “Because I wanted to hurt you like you’ve hurt me that’s why.”

Way to go Jon, tell the truth! Now why didn’t I think of that before?

“Hurt you? How have I hurt you?” she asks, her voice rising with anger.

“How long have you been unhappy? About six months? And have you told me once what the matter is? No. And that hurts Jill.” I can see my use of her official name has shocked her into silence. I’ve almost never called her Jill or Jillian as she hates them. It’s always been Jilly. The last time I called her Jill was at our wedding.

She sits there silently, just smoking.

“Jilly, do you want a divorce?” I ask, quickly.

There, it’s out in the open. All I have to do now is be brave for the answer.

“What?” she asks, incredulously, rising from her seat to stand by the railings.

“Is it a divorce that you’re after? Have I made you that unhappy?” Oh boy the floodgates are open now. I ask one question and a whole herd of them are queuing up to be asked.

“Jon? What in hells name has gotten into you? Why would I want to divorce you? I love you, with all my heart, which you bloody well know,” She looks at me, her eyes suddenly suspicious of my questioning, “Why? Have you done something that would warrant a divorce?” she asks, tears suddenly appearing in her eyes.

Oh fuck! She thinks I’ve cheated on her.

“Oh hell Jilly, No! I’ve done nothing.” I say, really wanting to reach out to her but..I can’t, not yet, not till I find out what’s making her unhappy.

She sits back down and reaches for the cigarettes. There’s no point in me telling her that she doesn’t actually smoke, so I just pass her the lighter.

“Oh god Jon? Have I been that apparent?” she asks, looking straight at me, “I’m so sorry I was trying so hard to hide it. I never wanted to hurt you but there just didn’t seem to be a right way or time to tell you.”

My heart takes a sudden nose dive into my feet. I just know she’s going to tell me she’s been seeing someone else.

“I’ve made a decision and it’s going to have a major impact on everyone. I’ve wanted to tell you for so long now but, what with dealing with Libby and having Stephanie some and stay - not that I begrudge her anything, cause I don’t, but it’s all added up and just made it more difficult to find the right time to tell you.”

“What’s his name?” I ask, my eyes hard to hide the pain.

“What? Who’s name? Dr Daughtry? Is that who you mean?”

“A doctor? You’ve been seeing a doctor?”

“Well yes, who else would I see?”

“And yet you don’t want a divorce?” I was confused by now.

“Jon? What the hell are you talking about? Of course I needed to see Dr Daughtry if I’m going to be her student while I study for my Masters.” As was she apparently.


Jilly reaches over and takes my hands into hers. Such small hands, yet they fit perfectly into mine.

“Jon, I’m sorry it’s taken me this long to tell you but I’m going back to school, well University to be precise, in order to study for my Masters and then my PhD. I am sorry Jon. I should’ve told you but I just didn’t want to hurt you by telling you that this isn’t enough for me. I need to do something else other than being a wife and mother. I want to be a CSI. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do, I just never got round to it, partly due to Pippa and partly cause I just couldn’t be bothered. You’re not angry with me are you?” she asks, love shining through her eyes.

My heart bursts back into my chest and I laugh, a real deep belly laugh that has her smiling in perplexity.

“Oh come here my beautiful wife. I am so sorry for hurting you.” I mumble as I bury my face into her hair and breathe in her unique scent.

“Just don’t do it again.” she mutters back, wrapping her arms around my neck and stretching up on tip toes to kiss me.

“Jilly, next time you have a problem, just talk to me.” I ask her, thankful to have her back.

“Ok.” she whispers as she snuggles into me and we watch the play of moonlight on the ocean, content and safe with each other.