Saturday, December 22, 2007

Chapter 18

Pulling into the driveway at Frannie’s, Jon shut the car off and looked over at her. Frannie was looking out the window, staring at her house, not sure she wanted to get out of the car. They sat there for a minute, him looking at her, she staring out the window. “Are you all right baby?” Jon was a bit worried that she hadn’t moved yet. Frannie nodded, “I think so.” She turned to look at him, “all my memories are tainted now, because of him.” Jon took her hand, “come on, let’s go get your stuff and start making some new memories for you.”

Heading in through the front door, everything looked like it had when she had been there last. With a sigh Frannie headed to her room to gather her things. Jon watched as she walked away but he didn’t follow her. Instead, he went the opposite way and headed out to her studio. He pulled the police tape away from the door and turned on the light. Looking around it pretty much looked like it had that night. He could see the black dust where the police had collected finger prints and the blood was still on the floor, the painting she had done of him was still on the easel at the far side of the room. The broken window had a board nailed over it, and there was broken glass still on the floor.

Not wanting Frannie to see her studio like this Jon looked for a broom. He swept up the broken glass, dumping it into a nearby trash can. He found a rag and a bucket under her kitchen sink and worked on the cleaning up the blood from the floor. This was how Frannie found him, on his hands and knees, scrubbing her studio floor.

“Now what would your fans think if they could see you like this?” Jon turned to find Frannie grinning at him.

He smiled up at her, “they’d probably think I’d lost my fuckin’ mind.” He moved to sit on his heels, dropping the rag in the bucket. “I had hoped to have it all cleaned up before you came in here.” She went to him and helped him up off the floor, “that’s really sweet of you, but it’s okay, really.” She looked around, “I thought it was going to bother me more to come in here, but it really doesn’t.” She looked back at Jon, “If you hand me one of those crates, I’m going to start packing up all this stuff.”

He helped her and together they packed up the studio, they took the painting of Jon, leaving most of the rest of the canvases and supplies, taking only enough for Frannie to get by with for now. As they wandered back through to the living room Frannie grew somber at the thought that while she would return to the house, she wouldn’t ever live here again. Jon watched her, wondering what she was thinking. He put his arm around her and pulled her close “are you all right?”

She looked around once more before meeting his gaze, “I’m okay; just a little sad.” He wrapped his other arm around her, hugging her close. “Come on baby, let’s get your things and go back to my place.” Frannie moved away from his embrace and grabbed Sophie’s things while he grabbed hers and together they headed out to the car.

When they got back to Jon’s they took Frannie’s and Sophie’s things in and left them by the stairs. Jon made a second trip to the car and got Frannie’s art supplies. Coming back in he told Frannie to follow him. “Jon, where are you going to put that stuff?” He just smiled, “you’ll see.”

Jon had wanted to surprise Frannie so before they had left that morning he had made a couple of calls and had Lani rearrange the solarium for Frannie to use as her studio. If everything had been done as he had asked, the room should be stocked and ready for them.

When they got to the room Jon walked in, not looking around, and set the box down he had been carrying. Frannie had stopped at the door, her eyes wide and her mouth open in surprise. “Jon, what did you do?” The question came out on a surprised whisper. He stood and smiled at her, “you said you needed someplace to work right?” She nodded her head. “Well, I saw your drawings from the other day and thought maybe you could work in here. What do you think?”

Frannie crossed the room to him and kissed him, “I think if you keep this up, I’m never going to want to leave.” Jon smiled; he had hoped she would say something like that. He kissed her back, “baby, I’ve got to go hole up in my office and make some calls. You get yourself settled here. She wrapped her arms around him before he could step away, “thank you Jon, for this, for letting me stay here, for everything.”

He looked down at her, her amber eyes having taken on a bit more green today because she was happy. He was learning to read her emotions that way. With a smile and a kiss he disentangled himself from her. Frannie watched him walk away toward the door, “see you later.”

Jon paused at the door, looking back at her “think about one more thing for me while you’re getting set up in here?” Frannie cocked her head to one side, “what’s that?” He smiled wickedly at her, “don’t find a new place to live. Stay here with me, permanently?” He didn’t wait for her to respond, he turned and left the room, leaving Frannie standing speechless amongst her things.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Chapter 17

After Frannie got Sophie settled, Jon arranged for them to have dinner in his sitting room. He lit the fire and they enjoyed a quiet meal, enjoying each other’s company and talking about the events of the last few days. “Jon?” He looked over at Frannie, “what?” “Do you think we could go to my house tomorrow? I need some things for Sophie and myself, not to mention I’d like to have my car.”

He thought for a minute, trying to remember what was on his schedule for the day. “I have the morning free; we can do it first thing if you want.” Frannie nodded, “that would be fine, the sooner I get it over with the better.”

They finished their meal in comfortable silence, taking their wine and moving to the sofa when they were through. They had had so much upheaval lately that the quiet was welcoming and calming. After taking the last swallow of wine, Jon set his glass on the coffee table and stretched out along the couch, in a pose much like the one he was in when Frannie had painted him. He nudged her with his foot, “come here” he whispered when she looked at him. Frannie set her glass down and moved so she was reclining against him, his arms wrapped around her.

They lay watching the fire; Jon’s hand lightly caressing her arm. “Frannie?” Her eyes were closed and she was enjoying the closeness, “hmmm?” “After your show next weekend I have some free time, would you like to go away somewhere?” Her eyes fluttered open, “I think I’d like that, but what about Sophie?” He tilted her face so he could see her, “we could take her and Geena with us, how does that sound?” Frannie smiled, “that sounds perfect. Where did you have in mind?” He thought for a minute; “do you have a passport?” He felt her head nod against his chest “I do.” “Okay, how about Turks and Caicos?”

He had been to these particular Caribbean Islands before and had thoroughly enjoyed his time there. It was a place where they could recharge and spend some quality alone time together without any worries. Frannie’s smile broadened, “I’ve always wanted to go there. I like the way you think Mr. Bon Jovi.” He waggled his eyebrows at here, “really? Then you’re gonna love this.” He leaned down and kissed her, tracing her lips with his tongue.

Frannie parted her lips and Jon’s tongue slid inside, tasting her, catching her low moan as they shared a long slow kiss. Shifted against him so they were face to face; Jon’s arms still wrapped around her. They lay there, kissing, nipping, nibbling and caressing each other until they were both ready to explode. Frannie could feel his erection pressing against her as he urged her off of him.

Jon led her into his bedroom, slowly stripping her of her clothes as they got closer to the bed. When he got to the lacy red bra and matching panties he stopped and let out a low whistle, “do you know how much that turns me on?” She looked down at herself and then back at him, “the red, the lace or the fact that it matches?” He raked his eyes over her again before meeting hers, “yes.” He tugged her to him and as his mouth came down on hers she could feel his hands sliding up and down her back. Her hands made a journey of their own, to the buttons of his shirt, opening them for the second time that day. She pulled her mouth from his as she pushed the shirt over his shoulders and down his arms, making him take his hands off of her.

As his shirt fell to the floor Frannie moved around him, tracing the “S” of the superman tattoo with the tip of her tongue, kissing across his shoulders, tracing the bulls head tattoo, all the while letting her hands roam over him. When she was standing in front of him again he opened his eyes in time to watch her run the tip of her tongue over one very hard male nipple just before she sucked lightly on it. Groaning his approval he ran his hand through the silky brown waves of her hair and down her back, releasing the catch of her bra. Frannie moved enough for her bra to fall to the floor then continued her assault on him, kissing up his chest, nipping at his adam’s apple, finally reaching his mouth. As they got lost in the kiss Jon filled his hands with Frannie’s breasts, kneading and teasing, lightly pinching the hardened tips.

As Jon’s hands kept themselves busy Frannie’s found the button on his pants and as she let them fall to his ankles her hands coasted over the smooth hardness of his ass. “God Jon your ass is amazing” she whimpered against his mouth. He ran his hands down her sides and around her waist, letting them slip inside her panties, cupping her ass. “Your’s ain’t so bad either baby.” He urged her onto the bed, kicking free of his pants before climbing up next to her. He slid her panties off and kissed his way up her legs, her scent drawing him in. With the first touch of her tongue on her she arched up off the bed. “JON!” she cried out as her orgasm came over her that quickly. She had been more than ready since their encounter in the sun room earlier that day.

Jon crawled up over her, kissing and licking his way to her mouth, his tongue dancing with hers as he slid into her. He groaned into her mouth as she fisted around him. “God you feel so good baby.” For long moments he didn’t move, savoring the feeling of her all around him, her thighs gripping his hips, her arms around his shoulders. When she started shifting her hips under him he moved, slowly at first, only increasing his pace when she nearly begged him for it. “Please Jon.” He kissed her neck, “please what baby?” She moved her hands from his shoulders, cupping his face and bringing his gaze to hers, “faster babe, harder, please.” He nipped at her mouth, “whatever you want baby” and he shifted, pulling her hip higher and moved faster, drove into her harder, sending her over the edge. Watching her come apart pushed him to his own release and he collapsed down onto her, rolling to his side so as not to crush her.

They lay in a tangled heap on the bed, their breathing slowly settling. Frannie raised her head from his chest, “that was some celebration babe.” He chuckled as he hugged her close.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Chapter 16

While Jon pulled himself together and Frannie tended to Sophie he remembered something he had meant to tell Frannie. “Hey” she turned to him, “what?” He smiled, “I almost forgot to tell you, Tico is coming in this weekend. I told him about you and he wants to meet you.” She swallowed, here we go. “Really? That’s … that’s great.”

She was nervous and Jon could tell. He got up and went to her, “hey, there’s nothing to worry about. Tico’s a great guy, you’re gonna like him, I promise.” She shook her head, “if you say so.” Jon took Sophie from her and pressed a kiss to the baby’s head, “talk to me Frannie. What’s wrong?” She sat down with a sigh, “I’m just a small town locally known artist Jon. He’s an internationally known, well-respected artist. Not to mention he is one of your closest friends; how can I compare to that?”

He sat down next to her and Sophie immediately grabbed for her hair. “I’ll say it again; you have nothing to worry about. When I told him that I was seeing Francesca Daniels, he wanted to come. You’re more well-known than you obviously believe.” Her head snapped up when he said her full name. “That’s the first time you’ve ever used my full name; and how do you know I am well-known?” Jon chuckled, “I Googled you.” Frannie laughed, Jon frowned. “What, you don’t think I’m computer literate?” She laughed again “it’s not that. It’s just, I would think you’d have better things to do than surf the internet. Besides, all you had to do was ask. I would have told you anything you wanted to know.”

He smiled, “I was bored the other night after the boys went to bed and before you called, so I played for a bit.” He paused as he looked her up and down, “you wouldn’t believe how many sites I found regarding you and your work, not to mention the pictures I found too.” Her eyes widened, “oh God, pictures? I’m almost afraid to ask. Nothing too horrible I hope.” He stood and grabbed her hand, “come on, I’ll show ya.”

They walked hand in hand down the hall to his office, Jon teasing her along the way. When they went around the far side of the desk Frannie looked at him, “I’m not sure I really want to see this. Maybe we should Google you instead.” He laughed, “maybe after.” He handed Sophie to her and proceeded to bring up the web pages he had browsed recently. They weren’t anywhere near as embarrassing as Frannie had feared. She stared at the screen in awe, “how did they manage to get these pictures? I don’t recall cameras ever being allowed in the Alliance?” Jon just smirked at her, “darlin’ phones nowadays have cameras in them and you would never even know your picture was being taken. Trust me, I know.”

Frannie looked at him; she saw the roll of his eyes and could see just a hint of aggravation in his features. “You hate it don’t you?” He met her gaze, “it’s not my favorite aspect of my job, let’s just put it that way, but at least I have managed to keep my kids away from it for the most part.” Frannie nodded, “I can only imagine how hard it must be for you.” He took Sophie from her and paced the room, “I suppose it could be a hell of a lot worse than it is, but I deal with it and as long as I give them what they want, they leave my family alone.” He turned to her when he heard the keys clicking. “What are you doing?” She laughed as she looked up at him, “I forgot how pretty you used to be.”

He raised an eyebrow in question and rounded the desk to see just what she was looking at. “Oh God, did you have to?” He was looking at himself in all his long-haired, spandex-clad glory. She smiled at him, “it’s only fair. You did it to me.” She scrolled through a few before clicking on one that wasn’t new, but it wasn’t as old as some. It was a concert shot and he had short hair and was wearing a bandana. When she clicked the photo it enlarged to its original size and she gasped. She found him to be quite sexy with that bandana on his head.

Jon chuckled when he heard her intake of breath. “Something wrong baby?” She shook her head but couldn’t tear her eyes from the screen. “You really are beautiful, you know that?” Not on to talk about his looks he just shook his head, reached over and turned the computer off. Frannie smiled as she turned to face him, “now why’d you do that, I was having a good time.” He pulled her up from the chair, “I just bet you were.” She looked past him to the window; it had gotten dark while they had been at the computer.

As they walked back toward the solarium, Sophie started to fuss; it was about time for her to eat. Frannie took her from Jon and sat to feed her. He watched for a minute before turning away, becoming slightly aroused at the site of her bared breast. The ringing of Frannie’s cell phone broke the silence. Frannie looked over at Jon, “would you mind answering that for me?” He picked up her phone, “Francesca Daniel’s phone.”

“May I speak to Ms. Daniels please?”

Jon looked over at Frannie, “can I say who’s calling?”

“Officer Simmons.” Jon raised his eyebrow, “this is Jon Bon Jovi, can I help you?”

Frannie looked up, motioning for the phone. Jon waved her off. “I’m sorry, what was that officer?”

He turned away from Frannie, not wanting to be distracted again. Officer Simmons repeated what she had said. “I wanted to let Ms. Daniels know that Mr. Andrews was offered and accepted a plea. Mr. Andrews will be going away for a long time.” Jon closed his eyes and thanked his lucky stars at what he had just been told. “How long?”

Frannie came around to face Jon, Sophie up on her shoulder, hand out for her phone. “May I talk to her please?” Jon opened his eyes then “Officer, Frannie would like to speak with you.” He handed her the phone and took Sophie from her.

The officer repeated what she had told Jon. Frannie reached out and laid her hand on Jon’s arm. “How did this happen?” Officer Simmons explained to her that with the two rapes and the assault with a deadly weapon on her along with the breaking and entering the man was looking at life in prison. The DA offered him life, with no possibility of parole until after 25 years. He took it.”

Frannie smiled at Jon, “thank you officer. Do I need to do anything else?”

“Just try to put this behind you and get on with your life Ms. Daniels.”

Frannie nodded her head, not that the officer could see her, but she did it anyway. “Thank you again.” After she closed the phone she pulled Jon close and kissed him. “Not that I’m complaining” he teased, “but what was that for?” She kissed him again, “it’s all over Jon. He’s going to jail for at least 25 years before he will be eligible for parole. No trial, he took a plea deal and is going to jail.” She ran her hand over Sophie’s head, “it’s done.” Jon set Sophie down in the baby seat and pulled Frannie into his arms, “I think this calls for a celebration, don’t you?”

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Chapter 15

Frannie woke alone the next day, finding a note on Jon’s pillow.

You were sleeping so peacefully I didn’t want to wake you. I had a meeting but will be back later. Make yourself at home.


Frannie stretched and lay back against the pillows. She thought back to what Jon had said to her in the wee hours of the morning stay here with me until you find something. Should she? When she thought about it, other than going to a hotel, she really didn’t have any other option except to stay in her own house and that wasn’t an option. She loved her independence, but at 39, she was tired of being alone. Even if it was only for the time being, she decided to stay.

After showering and getting Sophie fed, Frannie wandered through the house, finding herself in the solarium or sun room. She set Sophie in the baby seat she had retrieved from Romeo’s room and settled on the chaise to sip her tea. As she took in the view Frannie realized this would be a great place to draw. She set her tea down and picked up her sketch book.


Jon’s meeting this morning had been with Dot and their lawyers. It had all been very amicable yet surreal. It was hard for him to believe that with a “sign here, initial here” from his lawyer and a swipe of his pen, eighteen years of marriage was over and done with. He and Dot had walked out together, riding the elevator to the garage in silence. As they were about to go their separate ways Jon turned to her “Dot I…” she stopped him. “Don’t Jon, just … don’t.” She gave him a quick peck on the cheek and squeezed his hand, “this is for the best; it just wasn’t working anymore. I’ll always love you, but I just couldn’t do it anymore.” He didn’t say anything. He just looked at her, wondering how his life had come to this. He kissed her one last time, “Good-bye Dot.” They parted and headed for their respective cars.

As Jon drove through the gate and up the drive he thought about who was waiting for him on the other side of the door. It was nice to know that there was someone waiting for him and he wasn’t going to walk into an empty house today. He didn’t think he could handle being alone right now. He sat in the car for a minute, just looking at the house. It wouldn’t ever be like it was, but maybe with the woman inside, it could be a home again.

Jon walked up the front steps and opened the door, wondering where Frannie was. He hung up his coat and walked through the house looking for her. He stopped in the doorway of the solarium, the scene in front of him bringing a tear to his eye.

Frannie had stopped sketching and had picked up Sophie. She fed and her and was standing in the middle of the room gently swaying back and forth, singing quietly to the nearly sleeping baby.

In my daughter's eyes I am a hero
I am strong and wise and I know no fear
But the truth is plain to see
She was sent to rescue me
I see who I wanna be
In my daughter's eyes

In my daughter's eyes everyone is equal
Darkness turns to light and the world is at peace
This miracle God gave to me gives me strength when I am weak
I find reason to believe
In my daughter's eyes

And when she wraps her hand around my finger
Oh it puts a smile in my heart
Everything becomes a little clearer
I realize what life is all about
It's hangin' on when your heart has had enough
It's giving more when you feel like giving up
I've seen the light
It's in my daughter's eyes

In my daughter's eyes I can see the future
A reflection of who I am and what will be
Though she'll grow and someday leave
Maybe raise a family
When I'm gone I hope you see how happy she made me
For I'll be there
In my daughter's eyes

As she sang the last of the song she caught sight of Jon standing in the doorway. She gave him a smile and a shrug as she set the now sleeping baby down on the chaise and placed a pillow across, just in case. “Hey” she said as she turned back to Jon. He crossed the room to her and hugged her tightly. Frannie wrapped her arms around him, returning the hug. She pulled back so she could see his face and immediately knew something wasn’t right. “What’s wrong?” He shook his head, afraid to speak at the moment and just held her. She rubbed his back lightly and spoke quietly, “whatever it is Jon, you can talk to me. I don’t know that I can give you any advice or answers, but I can listen.”

He drew in a shaky breath and stepped away from her, taking her hand and leading them to the couch. Frannie watched him and waited for him to say something. Jon leaned forward, his elbows on his knees, raking his hands through his hair. “You saw my note this morning right?” He looked over at her, she nodded “yes.” He took her hand in his and turned his gaze to the window, “my meeting this morning was with Dot and our attorneys. I just signed and initialed the last eighteen years of my life away. Except for the papers being filed, I am now officially divorced.” He told her about the conversation with Dot in the parking garage and his thoughts as he pulled up to the house. “Have you decided what you’re going to do yet Frannie?”

With her hand still in his, she took her free one and turned his face to hers, “I’d like to stay, if that’s still all right with you.” Jon smiled for the first time that day, “it’s more than all right baby.” She kissed him lightly, “I’m going to need to get some of my and Sophie’s things though and I am going to have to call Geena.” He shook his head and smiled, “we will take care of everything baby, don’t worry.” She shivered at the thought of going back into her house. Jon felt her tremble, “are you okay?” She frowned, “just thinking about going back into my house, into my studio.” He pulled her close, “I’ll go with you baby, you don’t have to go alone.”

They sat wrapped up together for a while; each garnering strength from the other. After a bit Frannie looked up to find Jon gazing down at her, “thank you for being here Frannie.” She raised her head and captured his mouth with hers. It had been a tough day for him and she wanted to ease the sadness she saw in his eyes, ease the pain she was sure he was feeling around his heart. She eased her mouth from his, glancing over to make sure Sophie was still asleep.

Bringing her mouth back to his, she kissed a trail from his mouth down his neck to the top button of his shirt. She nipped at his adam’s apple as her hands opened the buttons and spread his shirt open. She ran her hands over the silky hair she found there, her mouth following the path her hands were making. She ran the tip of her tongue around his rapidly hardening nipples. His hand threaded into her hair, pressing her against him. He gasped as she moved from one to the other, goose bumps breaking out on his flesh.

Sliding to the floor in front of him, Frannie kissed her way across his hard abs, circling and dipping into his navel, stopping at his belt. She glanced up at him; his face was a portrait of ecstasy. His eyes were closed, his mouth was slightly open, his breath was coming in pants. He didn’t move as she opened his pants other than to lift his hips so she could slide them down. She ran her hands lightly up and down his thighs, spreading them for better access.

Frannie nipped lightly up the inside of his thighs, pausing when she heard his breathing become more labored. She looked up at him, “are you okay hon?” He just nodded his head. Frannie ran her tongue up and down the crease of his thigh, not touching where he wanted her to the most. “Baby…” he trailed off as he felt her tongue circling his balls before taking each one, in turn, into her mouth. She gently released him and then ran her tongue up the underside of his hard length, licking at the tip where a drop of fluid had escaped.

He could feel her warm breath on him and the anticipation was killing him. “Baby, please” he all but begged. She took him then, in one slow glide she took him deep. He let out a guttural groan as she moved her mouth on him, wanting the feeling to last forever, yet wanting the sweet release he knew was coming. With long slow glides and short shallow thrusts she brought him ever closer to release. He fisted his hand in her hair, urging her on. She sucked harder and as she teased his balls he came with a grunt and a groan.

She took everything he gave her, releasing him and resting her head on his thigh when he had gone soft again. The hand that had been wrapped in her hair loosened its grip and the fingers stroked her head, “come here baby” he whispered. Frannie rose to sit next to him and he pulled her close, kissing her gently. Easing back he looked at her. Her face was flush and he could see her nipples pressing against her shirt. She had enjoyed that too. He ran his hand over the front of her shirt, teasing the hardened tips that were so evident. As he slid one hand up inside her shirt, Sophie started fussing. Frannie grabbed his hand, “hold that thought.” He smiled at her, “you can count on that baby.”

Friday, November 16, 2007

Chapter 14

Long after Jon had fallen asleep, Frannie lay awake, her body exhausted but her brain whirling a mile a minute. So much had been happening lately; she needed to sort it all out. Rolling onto her back she looked over at Jon. Even in slumber he was beautiful. She reached over and stroked his cheek; he’s been so good to me.

Not wanting to disturb him she slipped from the bed and wrapped herself in the blanket that was on the back of a nearby chair.

Gazing out the window into the darkness she gave thought to what Jon had said earlier about him helping her. She liked the thought of not being alone. She turned to look at him; I could fall in love with him. With a sigh she turned back to the window.

She hadn’t had much luck in the romance department of her life. She was 39 with an infant daughter and, until a few short days ago, had no man in her life. That alone should have been enough to scare Jon off. If that hadn’t been bad enough, she had dragged him into the nightmare that called itself her life. She looked over at him again, would he still be there when it was all over, when there was nothing left for him to fix? Turning back to the window she dashed away a tear that had slid down her cheek. He has his own very busy, high profile life, his own set of problems to deal with. He shouldn’t have to deal with my crap, I should be helping him.

Jon watched her, wondered what she was thinking. Soundlessly he slipped from the bed and moved up behind her, wrapping his arms around her, “what’s wrong?” Frannie leaned back against him, “nothing.” He pulled her closer, speaking softly in her ear, “don’t tell me nothing baby. You’re standing in front of the window at”, he glanced at the clock “3 in the morning wiping tears off your cheeks. Something’s wrong. Talk to me.” Frannie turned to face him, his blue eyes full of concern, “I’m sorry I dragged you into the mess that is my life right now Jon. You don’t need the hassle.”

He pulled her closer, wrapping his arms around her and kissing her forehead, “you don’t have to apologize. I’m glad I was there. You are a special woman Frannie. If I hadn’t wanted to be there, I wouldn’t have been.” She freed her arms from the blanket and wrapped them around him, resting her head against his shoulder, “still, you didn’t have to be and you could have been seriously hurt. I would never have forgiven myself if something had happened to you.” He stroked her back through the blanket, “aside from some bruised knuckles, I didn’t get hurt and that asshole is back in jail where he belongs. Can we move on to the next subject please?”

He felt Frannie chuckle against him. Lifting her head she looked up at him, “I’m going to sell my house.” This surprised him. “When did you decide that?” “While I was standing here looking out the window. I won’t feel safe there anymore and, besides, I need to find another studio anyway,” she shrugged her shoulders, “may as well start all over again.” Jon moved his hands to her shoulders, pushing the blanket off so it pooled at her feet. He ran light kisses across her shoulder, his tongue tracing circles in the hollow at her neck, “you can stay here with me until you find a place, if you want to.” He continued kissing up her neck, making it harder for her to think straight. Her hands moved up from his waist, exploring the muscles of his back, “I do…” was all she managed to get out before his mouth was on hers, his tongue gliding over hers.

Without taking his mouth from hers, Jon urged Frannie back to the bed. Laying her across the bed, he crawled up next to her, letting his hands skim over her, leaving a trail of goose bumps in his wake. She watched as he touched her, fascinated by his hands. They weren’t all that large, but they were clever and they played over her like none other, they knew exactly how to please her. She grasped one in her own and Jon looked at her, surprised by the gesture. He watched as she brought his hand to her mouth, kissing the palm and then lightly sucking on each fingertip. He groaned at the sensation of her mouth on his fingers, recalling what it felt like on his dick earlier.

Pulling his hand from her grasp, he slid it down to caress her breast, his mouth finding hers once again. They shared slow passionate kisses as they caressed and stroked each other. When Jon felt her hand slide down his chest and across his stomach, he stopped her, wanting to maintain his control as long as he could. He laced her fingers with his as he moved over her, parting her legs with his. He slid into her slowly; she could feel ever hard inch of him filling her completely. Jon closed his eyes against the sensation of her fisting around him, trying to hold on. When he felt her hips start undulating against him, he moved, slowly at first, only increasing his pace when he felt her start to tighten around him. “Jon… I’m, oh God” she cried out as the waves of her orgasm washed over. He moved with her through it and, when she started to go over again, he let himself go, following her into oblivion.

When they were breathing somewhat normally again, Jon moved off of her and pulled her close. Tucking herself against him, she could hear his heartbeat in her ear as she finally drifted off to sleep.

Looking down at the woman in his arms, Jon sighed contentedly. He hadn’t felt this satisfied in a long time. By the end of his marriage, he and Dot had been sleeping in separate rooms. Even with the woman he had dated up until he had found Frannie again, he hadn’t felt this fulfilled, this complete. Kissing her head he had a final thought before dropping off into sleep. I hope she stays.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Chapter 13

Frannie stood as if rooted to the spot. The calm with which she spoke belied the fear that was coiling in her belly. He was here, in her home, her worst nightmare had just come true. She reached behind her, her hand wrapping around the neck of the guitar. “What do you want from me?” She was tired of being the victim. She had given in to her fear that morning and she wasn’t going to do it again. She wasn’t going to let him win this time.

He looked at her, his back to the door. “I wanted you to notice me. You never noticed me. Every time you came into the store, you never noticed me.” Frannie had no idea what he was talking about. “Store, what store?”

He stepped closer, “the art supply store. I always made sure we had your favorite brushes and pencils, paints, but you never gave me the time of day!” He lunged for her and she side-stepped his advance, leaving him to fall against the wall. “Bitch, you’re gonna be sorry you did that.” He turned, knife in hand and he advanced on Frannie.

“Hey!” came from the direction of the door. He turned to find Jon standing in the doorway. He had come looking for Frannie, wanting to find out what was taking so long. “Think you’re gonna be able to save your girlfriend, rock star?” He sneered at Jon.

Grasping the guitar in both hands, Frannie took the opportunity of his momentary distraction and swung it at him, hitting him across the back of the head. He fell to his knees and Jon punched him in the face, breaking his nose and, using a trick he learned from Dorothea, kicked him square in the chest, leaving him to fall to the floor. Jon rushed to Frannie, taking the now broken guitar from her and gathering her close, “are you okay baby?” She was shaking, “I think so. Are you okay?” He held her tighter, “I’m fine. I called the police when I heard the voices in here, they should be here any minute.” Just as he finished speaking they heard the sirens.

Frannie looked down at the man lying on her floor; he was moaning but not moving. She felt some satisfaction knowing that she had had a hand in his present condition. She hadn’t let her fear get the best of her. Her gaze moved to the now broken guitar. She looked at Jon, “oh Jon, your guitar” she put her hand up over her mouth, “I’m sorry.” He just chuckled, “I’m not worried about the guitar. I have others. I’m just glad you’re okay.” She pressed a kiss to his lips, “where’s Sophie?”

As they walked past the man to leave the room, his hand came out and grasped Frannie’s ankle, tripping her, causing her to fall to the floor. Jon turned and stomped on his forearm, the sickening crunch indicating a broken bone. Jon helped Frannie up as the man writhed in pain. “Come on Frannie, let’s get out of here.” The police were banging on the door as they walked back into the living room. Frannie unbuckled Sophie from the car seat and held her close as Jon let the officers in and led them to the studio. She watched as they walked him by her and out the door.

Officer Simmons stayed back, “we’re sorry this happened Ms. Daniels. He won’t be getting away again. I can promise you that.” Frannie just nodded at the officer. Jon came back and sat next to Frannie, ice on his hand. The officer spoke again, “we’re going to need to get your statements.” She noticed the overnight bag, “going somewhere?” Frannie nodded and pointed at Jon, “to his house.” Officer Simmons nodded, “I think that’s a good idea. We’ll try not to keep you any longer than necessary.”

Officer Simmons was true to her word. An hour later they were in the car heading to Jon’s. Frannie laid her head back against the seat with a sigh. Jon glanced at her, “are you okay?” She turned and looked at him, “I’m not going to be able to use my studio again. I’ll always see him there. It would just be too hard.” When she closed her eyes now she saw him in her space. She knew she wouldn’t be able to work there again. Jon took her hand, “I know baby. Is there any where you can work until we can figure this out?” She gave a slight nod, “I can work at the gallery or at the university I suppose.” Her eyes flew to his face, “you said ‘we’. What do you mean until ‘we figure this out’?”

He turned the car into the drive and as they pulled up to the door he shut the car off and turned to her. “I want to help you Frannie. You don’t have to do this or anything else by yourself. I’m here and want to help. Will you let me?” Frannie leaned in and kissed him, “you are way too good for me. Yes, I would like the help. Thank you.” He kissed her back. “Come on let’s get the little princess inside.” Frannie got out and opened the back door and unbuckled Sophie, “come on baby girl, let’s go in and get you fed and then to bed. It’s been a long night.”

Once Frannie got Sophie settled she found Jon in the den. He had lit the fire and was sitting on the sofa, wine glass in hand. She walked up behind him and massaged his shoulders. “How are ya doing?” He pulled her around to sit next to him. “I’m all right, my hand is sore though.” She picked up his hand and noticed the bruises at the knuckles. She kissed each one before looking at him, “thank you for being there tonight Jon. I don’t want to think what would have happened if you hadn’t been.” He wrapped his arm around her shoulders and pulled her closer to him, “you don’t have to thank me, but you could answer a question.” She plucked the wine glass from his other hand and took a sip, “what’s that?” He took the glass back, “why didn’t you scream or yell when you saw him there?”

Frannie thought for a minute, “I didn’t want you to come running in with Sophie. I didn’t want either of you to get hurt because of me. And, I guess, I wanted to face my fear and not let it get the better of me again. I was tired of being the victim and I wanted it to be over.” He kissed her “you are a brave woman Frannie. Remind me not to piss you off though; you are lethal with a guitar.” She had to laugh, “rest assured, I won’t be hitting anyone with a guitar again anytime soon. I was just going on instinct there.” He leaned in to her, “well, I’m going on instinct here” his mouth came down on hers, lightly kissing her lips, tracing them with his tongue. She parted her lips and he pulled her to him as his tongue invaded her mouth, dancing with hers. Frannie wrapped her arms around him, letting his kiss take her over.

They sat like that on the sofa, making out like teenagers, until Jon finally had to pull away. He stood and held out his hand to Frannie, “let’s go to bed.” She looked up at him, the fire in his made them almost midnight blue. She took his hand and let him lead the way.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Chapter 12

While Jon went into the living room to do his interview, Frannie cleaned up the lunch dishes and went out into her studio. I need this she thought. I need to move beyond what happened this morning. I need to take control. Looking around, she did a little rearranging and tried to picture how she wanted him.

When Jon walked in she had a blank canvas on the easel and the small couch near the window. The sunlight filtering in would ease the harshness and soften the edges. After fluffing the pillow in the corner of the couch she turned to him. “Any chance you have your guitar in your car?” He nodded, “actually, I do.” A smile lit her face, “could you get it?” “Sure.” He came back, guitar in hand, “where do you want me?” This was new for him. He had posed for photographs, but holding a pose so someone could paint him, well, this would be a challenge. He didn’t do sitting still well, but for her, he would do his best.

Frannie had him take his shirt off and tuck into the corner of the couch, one leg stretched out the length of it, the other bent at the knee, foot resting on the floor. The guitar was in his lap, one hand on the neck, the other laying across the body. Standing at the easel she took in the sight in front of her. It made her mouth water. Shaking her head to try and focus, she had him sink down a little further, so he could lay his head against the back of the couch and still look at her. “Okay” she smiled, “don’t move.” She picked up her paintbrush and worked in silence for the first little while, wanting to capture the mood.

As time moved on she started talking to him. They learned about each other that afternoon. Finding out the little things that make each other who they are. They found they had more in common than just mob movies and football. They loved warm summer days and vacationing at the beach. They shared a love of a nice crisp white wine and cookies were the one food neither could avoid.

They had passion for their respective lines of work, and while neither craved the accolades for what they did, they craved the outlet it provided, and at the end of the day that was all that was really important to them, creating something they believed in and wanting to share it with anyone and everyone.

When Frannie finally put down her brush she looked around the canvas at Jon. His head was still resting against the back of the couch and his eyes were closed. It seemed he was asleep as he hadn’t said a word in the last five minutes. Picking up the feather she had placed on her work table earlier, she walked over to him.

She picked the guitar up and set it aside, only then noticing the bulge in his jeans. This is going to be fun. Kneeling on the floor in front of him she lightly drew the feather up one arm and down across his chest, pausing to tease a nipple, then down across his abdomen, stopping to swirl in his navel. As she dragged it back up he started to move. She was tracing the tattoo on his left arm when he flinched again.

What the hell is tickling me? Jon cracked one eye open just enough to find out what was going on. He watched as she moved the feather on him. He tried not to move, but when the feather passed low on his abdomen a second time he put his hand over hers. Frannie looked up at him, “I found my feather.” He grasped her wrist and pulled her up on top of him, “I see, come here.” He pulled her down and his mouth claimed hers. The kiss took her breath and left her wanting more. Jon pulled away, “watching you this afternoon, it was making me nuts not being able to touch you.” Frannie brought her mouth within a whisper of his, “touch me now” she told him as she fastened her mouth to his. His hands worked their way under her shirt, stroking the smooth skin of her lower back. He brought his hands to her front, unbuttoning her shirt and dragging it down her arms. She pulled her mouth from his to sit up and pull the shirt from her wrists, dropping the feather to the floor with it. Jon’s hands came up and cupped her lace covered breasts, thumbs rubbing across the tips, hardening them instantly.

As he continued to tease her through her bra she moved her hips against him, making him harder, his jeans more uncomfortable. His hands moved from her breasts to the button on her jeans. She stilled his hands and climbed off of him. Standing beside the couch and looking down at him, she could see exactly what she had done to him. With a smile she knelt next to the sofa and undid his jeans, sliding them down and off. She looked up at him, “I should have painted you nude, you are magnificent.” He flushed at her compliment and sat up, reaching for her.

She dodged his hand and knelt in front of him, running her tongue up and down the hard length of him. When she took him in her mouth his head fell against the back of the couch, “God Frannie.” The closer he got to release, the harder he tried to hold back. He fisted his hands in her hair and gave a gentle tug, “Frannie, stop.” She looked up at him, “what’s wrong?” His breathing was labored as he tried to talk. “I want to, need to be inside you.” He tugged her up and unfastened her jeans, sliding them and her panties down her legs and off. He ran his tongue across her slit before shifting on the couch so she was laying on it. He bent over her, letting his tongue trace a path from her shoulder to her mouth, from her mouth to her breasts.

He kissed his way down across her stomach, pausing to look up at her. She was watching him, her amber eyes dilated and dark. She watched as he reached down and picked the feather up off the floor. He dragged it across her skin, leaving goose bumps in its wake. He circled her nipples and they seemed to stiffen even more. As she had done to him, he dragged it down over her stomach, swirled it around her navel and took it lower, circling her clit and brushing it against her thigh. “Jon” she moaned out. He circled her clit again, watching her face as he did. He slid a finger into her as she teased her with the feather, “cum for me baby.” He moved his fingers and she came with his name on her lips, never taking her eyes from his.

Dropping the feather and slipping his fingers from her, Jon pulled her up and onto his lap, filling her in one long slow stroke. “God baby you feel so good” he told her as she moved on him. He could feel her tightening on him and he urged her to move faster, his hands on her hips guiding her. She came with a scream and he with a groan as he emptied himself into her.

They sat on the couch, Frannie’s head resting on Jon’s shoulder, his resting against the back of the couch, trying to catch their breath. Jon hands moved on her, caressing her back, soothing and settling. She kissed his shoulder and up his neck to his mouth, kissing him lightly. He wrapped his arms around her and held her close, “do I get to see the painting?” Frannie picked her head up and looked at him, “sure.” They rose from the couch and pulled their clothes back on before she showed Jon what she had done. He turned to look at it and she told him, “I’m going to call it ‘Rock Star at Rest’. What do you think?” He didn’t know what to say. It was amazing. “It’s fantastic baby.” Frannie beamed, “I’d like to put it in the show at the end of the month. Would that be all right?” He nodded his head, “just let me know when the show is so I can be there. I don’t think I want anyone else having this particular painting.” Just then Sophie’s cries came through the monitor. “Come on, I have to go get her.” Frannie tugged Jon away from the easel and into the house.

The afternoon had waned to early evening and dusk was starting to settle as Frannie walked through the house to get Sophie. She turned on lights as she went, her fears starting to creep up again. She tried to tamp them down, but Jon noticed as soon as she walked back into the living room. He had watched her turn all the lights on and he could see it in her face when she came back. “Why don’t you come home with me tonight? I’d feel better if you weren’t here alone.” Frannie sat down to fee Sophie, considering Jon’s offer. She looked down at Sophie and then back up at Jon, “okay” she said softly. He took Sophie from her after she was finished and Frannie went to pack a bag for overnight.

She came back into the living room and stopped at the sight Jon and her daughter made. He was looking down at her in his arms and her little hand was resting on his cheek. Frannie could see Jon’s lips moving, but couldn’t make out what he was saying. She inched further into the room and caught the last verse of the song he was singing to her.

cause I've seen rainbows that could take your breath away
the beauty of the setting sun on any given day
and when it comes to shooting stars I have seen a few
but I’ve never seen anything as beautiful as you

He looked up; sensing he wasn’t alone anymore and his cheeks were pink. “You weren’t supposed to hear that.” Frannie walked over to him and kissed him, “that was the sweetest thing I have ever seen.” She looked down at her baby girl and stroked her cheek. “You are a lucky little girl sweetie.” She looked back up at Jon, “I’m a lucky girl too.” With his free hand Jon reached out and pulled Frannie closer, pressing a kiss to her cheek. “I think you got that wrong Frannie. I am most definitely the lucky one here.” He kissed her once more and then turned to strap Sophie into her car seat.

“I’m just going to run out to the studio, I’ll be right back” Frannie told Jon as he struggled with the car seat. Walking into her studio she grabbed the monitor off the table and walked toward Jon’s guitar. She felt a cool breeze and looked up, the window was broken. “What the…” her voice trailed off as she realized she wasn’t alone in the room. Turning she saw him. “What are you doing in here?

Friday, November 9, 2007

Chapter 11

Jon wasted no time in getting over to Frannie’s the next morning. He dropped the boys back to Dorothea as early as he could and headed straight to Frannie’s. He pulled in the driveway, not recognizing the other car that was there. He practically ran up to the door and rang the bell. He was just about to start pounding on the door when it opened. “Can I help you?”

The face Jon saw was not Frannie’s. “Who are you?” She looked him up and down, “I’m Geena. Can I help you?” “Hi Geena, I’m Jon. Is Frannie here?” She nodded her head, “yes, just a minute.” She closed the door and Jon heard the locks open. She let him in and, looking around, didn’t see any sign of Frannie. “Where is she?” Geena indicated toward the hallway, “in her room. She hasn’t come out since I got here.” Before she could finish her sentence, Jon was down the hall and knocking on Frannie’s door. “Frannie?” He talked to her through the door, “can I come in?” Getting no response he cracked the door open.

Glancing around her room he didn’t see her right away. She was curled up in the fetal position on the far side of the bed, the blankets pulled up around her. Closing the door behind him, he crossed the room to her and crawled up behind her on the bed. “Frannie” he said softly as he stroked her back, “look at me baby.” She didn’t move at first. He pulled her hair back from her face and continued to stroke her back. “It’s going to be all right Frannie.” She rolled over then, an incredulous look on her face. “How can you say that?” She sat up, “did they find him during the night? Can you tell me he’s not going to try to hurt me again or hurt someone else?” She started crying, “I’m scared Jon. I’m so scared.” He gathered her close, “I’m not going to let anything happen to you Frannie. I promise you that.” He reached over to the night table and grabbed a tissue for her. She wiped her face and looked up at him, “is this ever going to be over?” Not knowing what else to do he held her close, kissing her head. “It will baby, I don’t know when, but it will.”

They sat like that for a while and, gradually, he felt her relax against him. When he looked down at her, she had fallen asleep. He eased her down to the bed and covered her up. Judging from the shadows he had seen under her eyes, he assumed she hadn’t slept much the night before. He hadn’t either. He had been so worried about her after the phone call. He had wanted to come over right then, but he couldn’t. Resting his head against the headboard, he closed his eyes. Just for a minute he thought. Soon, he was asleep too.

Sophie was crying. Frannie needed to go to her. She dragged herself from the bed and went down the hall. Looking down into the crib she found it empty. “Sophie?” She ran out of the room and down the hall to the living room, the baby’s cries were getting louder. “Sophie!” She stopped in her tracks; there was a tall man in the living room, holding her baby. “What are you doing? Give me my baby!” He looked over at Frannie, his gray eyes boring into her. “Don’t you mean my baby, bitch?!” She shook her head, “she not yours!” She started toward him, intent on getting Sophie away from him when he stuck his arm out and caught her around the throat. “Don’t even think about it!” His grip tightened and she started thrashing about.

Jon woke to Frannie’s moans and her thrashing on the bed. He watched as she clawed at her own throat and he tried to wake her up. “Frannie.” He shook her gently, trying not to panic. She didn’t respond. “Frannie come on baby, wake up!” He shook her a bit harder this time and she opened her eyes. He watched as she almost recoiled from him, but then she stopped. “Jon?” He stroked her hair back from her face. “I’m right here.” She curled into him as the sobs wracked her body. He let her cry it out before trying to get her to tell him what the dream was about. He stroked her back, “its all right baby. I’m here.” She didn’t look at him, she just started to talk, “he was here. He was in my house looking for Sophie.” She sucked in a shaky breath, “he had her and I tried to get her” her voice broke before she could continue. “He tried to kill me Jon.” She started crying again. He held her and offered quiet words of comfort and she finally started to settle down. “Where is she Jon, where’s Sophie?” He grabbed a tissue and handed it to Frannie, “she’s with Geena baby. She’s safe.” Frannie wiped her face, “I need to see for myself.”

Entering the living room Frannie breathed a sigh of relief when she saw Sophie in her baby seat, Geena capping the bottle she had just finished. Geena looked up, “ah Frannie, feeling better now?” Frannie nodded, “I am, thank you. Thank you for taking such good care of Sophie.” Geena nodded as she stood, “its my pleasure.” She took the bottle into the kitchen and Frannie turned to Jon, “I’m sorry Jon. I’m not usually such a basket case.” He thought about how she had been the last few days and her actions this morning. “I know you’re not. You don’t need to apologize. You have every reason to be afraid.” Frannie sighed and turned to lift Sophie out of her seat. She nuzzled and kissed the soft downy head before turning back to Jon. “I know I have every reason to be afraid, doesn’t mean I have to like it.” Jon smiled, she hadn’t totally reverted. He crossed the room to her, taking Sophie from her. “Why don’t you go take a shower? That might help you feel even better.” Frannie told Geena that she could go home and then went to shower.

Jon lay down on the couch with Sophie on his chest. She laid her head down and he stroked her back. This was how Frannie found them a short while later, both of them asleep. She pulled a blanket up over them and just watched for a minute. Seeing Sophie safe and sound, sleeping on Jon made her feel that much better. The dream had scared her more than the thought of being attacked again. She didn’t know if she would be able to handle anything happening to Sophie. She reached over and brushed the hair off Jon’s forehead with a smile. He said he wouldn’t let anything happen to her, she hoped that meant Sophie too.

Frannie went into the kitchen to fix herself something to eat. She hadn’t eaten since the night before and she was hungry. She put the water on for tea and turned to find Jon standing there. “Oh, you startled me.” He looked good all sleep mussed. Sophie was still asleep against him. “Should I put her down?” Frannie nodded, “yeah, just bring the monitor out with you.” When he came back carrying the monitor Frannie was mixing up some tuna. She looked up at him, “care for a sandwich?” He hadn’t eaten either and his stomach was letting him know. “That’s sounds good. I’m starved.” Not five minutes later they were sitting down to tuna melts and chips, Frannie with tea and Jon with coffee.

After finishing half of her sandwich Frannie looked over at Jon, “you don’t have to stay here today. I’m sure you have better things to do with your day.” He reached over and covered her hand with his, “I want to stay. I have one interview and I can do that over the phone. I’m not going anywhere, unless you don’t want me here.” She was relieved to hear that. She really didn’t want to be alone. “Thank you. I’d like it if you would stay.” She raked her eyes over him. “Maybe you’ll let me paint you?” He quirked an eyebrow at her, “where’s your feather?”

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Chapter 10

Jon and Frannie had an enjoyable afternoon. The boys were polite enough when Jon introduced Frannie to them, they oohed and ahhed over Sophie, and they actually got along quite well, much to Jon’s surprise.

Frannie had her sketchbook out when Romeo came running over. “Whatchya drawin’? He climbed up on the bench and sat next to her. She smiled down at him, “want to see?” He shook his head. She turned the book so he could see. “It’s me!” he said excitedly. “Yes it is. It’s you and your brother and your dad.”

She had drawn the three of them as she had come upon them, while they were sitting on the bench she now occupied. Jon was in the middle, one boy on either side. Romeo clambered off the bench and ran to Jon, “she drawed us dad, she drawed us!” Jon laughed and walked over by Frannie. “Romeo says you ‘drawed’ us, can I have a look?” She smiled at him and showed him the picture. She had captured a moment when the boys were actually sitting still and he was touched. “This is wonderful Frannie.” She smiled at him as she put her initials in the corner. He waited, but she didn’t tear it out of her book. She looked at him and he was pouting, “I don’t get that one?” She looked down at the sketch, “nope. I think I’m going to keep this one for myself.”

Jon sat down on the bench and looked over at his boys. They were taking turns on the slide. He watched them for a minute and then turned his attention to the stroller. Sophie had been contentedly laying in the stroller until Jon peeked in on her. Her face lit up with a toothless baby grin and she started blowing spit bubbles at him. He reached to unbuckle her, “come here princess.” He lifted her out of the stroller, straightening her little lavender hat before settling her in his arms. He looked over at Frannie. She had flipped to a clean sheet in her book and was drawing again. He was fascinated at how she captured every little nuance of her surroundings. Her pencil moved almost effortlessly. The area of the park they were in was slowly coming to life on the paper. He watched her face, the look of concentration, her lower lip was caught between her teeth, her eyes flitted back and forth between the paper and her surroundings, her fingers softening the pencil strokes. Jon found it to be quite sexy.

Frannie could feel him watching her as she drew. It was a little disconcerting, if not a little arousing. She glanced over at him, “what?” Jon looked over at his boys and then back at her, he dropped a kiss on her lips “you’re sexy when you’re working.” Frannie felt herself blush. “You think this is sexy? You don’t get out much do you?” He laughed. It felt good to have a little flirtatious banter with her. “What can I say? I know what I like.” He touched her chin and turned her head toward him, “and I like you.” She smiled. “I like you too.” He slid closer to her on the bench and she posed a question to him, “would you let me draw you?” He glanced over at his boys, making sure they were still playing nice and then looked back at her. “You have drawn me.” He didn’t understand. “No, I mean would you pose for me and let me draw or paint you?” He chuckled, “what exactly would you be painting me with?” The lecherous look in his eye told her where his train of thought had gone and she answered in kind. “A feather, with long slow strokes over your skin, up and down your …” she was interrupted when the boys came running over. “Dad!”

Jon sighed and shifted in his seat, his jeans had become slightly uncomfortable. “What guys?” Romeo climbed up next to him, “we’re hungry!” Jon laughed, “of course you are.” He looked over at Frannie, “want to come back to my house for an early dinner?” She checked her watch, she was going to have to feed Sophie soon anyway. “I’d like that.” She tucked her sketch book away, wiped her hands and took Sophie from Jon. He looked at the boys, “is it all right if Frannie joins us?” The two little heads nodded in unison.

When they got to Jon’s Frannie closed herself in the den to feed Sophie and the boys were watching a movie in the family room. When Frannie went looking for Jon, she found him in the kitchen. He was perusing the contest of his refrigerator. His housekeeper had the day off, so he was on his own in fixing them something to eat. Frannie moved silently up behind him, peering into the refrigerator over his shoulder “so, what looks good?” He jumped, bobbling the carton of eggs he was holding. “Jesus Frannie” he started as he turned to face her, “I didn’t hear you come in.” She laughed, “that was the idea.” She stepped out of his way and let him move back and forth from the fridge to the counter. Taking stock of the items he laid out, she concluded that they were having scrambled eggs with cheese and toast. She just smiled and shook her head. He noticed, “what?” She shifted Sophie to her shoulder, “would you like some help?” A look of relief crossed his features, “absolutely. I hate cooking.” Frannie laughed, “I kinda got that impression.”

Jon went and got Romeo’s old baby seat and after getting Sophie settled, he and Frannie made scrambled eggs for the boys. Once the boys were eating Frannie turned to Jon, “how about an omelette?” She liked stuff with her eggs and was pleased when Jon pulled out peppers and mushrooms from the fridge, along with some leftover ham. The boys finished just as she was plating theirs so she and Jon were able to eat in relative peace and quiet.

Frannie helped him clean up and decided that she should probably head for home. Glancing outside it was getting dark and Frannie wanted to be safely inside her own home. Jon was watching her, noticing that she was starting to get a bit antsy. “You want to go, don’t you?” Frannie ducked her head, “am I that obvious?” He crossed to her, taking her in his arms, “only because I know you baby. I’m not going to force you to stay if you don’t want to.” She looked up at him, “it’s not that I don’t want to Jon because I do, but I need some time. This is a big step for me.” She averted her gaze, slightly embarrassed by what she was about to say, “I’m 39 years old and the dark still bothers me.” His hand ran up her back to the end of her ponytail. With a gentle tug her head tilted back and he laid a kiss on her lips. “You don’t need to be embarrassed by that Frannie. I understand. If I could, I would go with you.” She smiled, “you have your own little monsters to deal with” she motioned toward the other room, “you don’t need to deal with mine too.” She reached up and kissed him, “but thank you just the same.” Jon released his hold on her. “Go get your things, I’ll get Sophie.”

Jon got Sophie situated in her car seat as Frannie said good bye to Romeo and Jake. He walked her to her car, helping her get Sophie buckled in. Standing by her door Frannie looked at Jon, “I had a good time today.” His fingers stroked her cheek lightly, tucking a stray curl behind her ear, curling his fingers around the back of her head. “I did too.” He leaned in and kissed her, his lips soft and warm on hers. His tongue teased her lower lip and when she opened her mouth, his tongue slid inside, dancing over hers. Frannie let her hands roam over his back, finally settling at his waist. He continued his assault on her mouth, savoring the taste of her. When he eased back, he nipped at her lips, neither breathing quite evenly. “You sure you have to go?” Frannie nodded her head, “yeah.” Jon kissed her forehead, “call me when you get home.” Her arms were still around his waist and she hugged him tight. “I will.” He released her, watching as she got in the car and drove away.

Frannie let herself into her house, glad she had thought to leave a light on when she had left earlier. Closing the door behind her, she engaged the deadbolt and took Sophie to her room. After getting her fed and settled for the night Frannie changed into her pajamas and sat down on the couch to call Jon. She flipped the TV on while waiting for the call to connect when a news flash came on. The man who raped her, the one she knew as #4 from the line up, Vincent Andrews, had escaped from prison earlier that night.

Jon had just gotten his boys to bed and was in the den when his phone buzzed at his hip. Glancing at the window he smiled as he answered, “hi there.” Frannie smiled “hi J..” her voice trailed off as she caught the new flash. “oh my God.” He heard the panic in her voice, “Frannie, what is it?” She didn’t answer. “Frannie!” He was a bit louder. “Frannie, what’s going on?!” She still didn’t answer and Jon was worried, “Frannie, talk to me. What’s wrong?!” She shut the TV off and finally found her voice, “Jon.” She didn’t sound like herself at all. She sounded terrified. “Frannie, what is it?” He heard the tears in her voice, “Jon, he escaped.” Now he was confused, “who are you talking about?” She swallowed and wiped her face. “Him.”

Jon suddenly he knew who she was talking about. Shit.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Chapter 9

Are you all right?” Jon’s voice was a whisper in the dark. Frannie hadn’t said anything and he wanted to make sure she was okay. She reached over and turned the low light on her night table on. She wanted to see his face. Jon took her hand as she looked at him, “I’m fine.” She looked down at their joined hands, suddenly feeling shy, wishing she had left the light off. “Thank you.”

He stroked the back of her hand, waiting for her to look at him. When she didn’t he sighed. “Frannie, would you look at me please?” She dragged her eyes back to his. “What?” He rolled to his side and propped his head on his hand, “what’s going on in that head of yours?” She gave him a small smile, “you made me forget.” A smile tugged at his lips, “that’s a good thing, right?” Her smile widened, “it’s a very good thing. It feels good to not be afraid.” He pulled her close and kissed her softly. “Let’s see if we can’t keep that feeling going.”

He kissed down her neck and down the valley between her breasts, working his way to first one breast and then the other. He slid lower, kissing and nipping across her stomach. He looked up at her, “it’s hard to believe you had a baby.” Her stomach muscles tightened involuntarily. “I work out once in a while” she whispered. His warm breath on her skin had her shifting restlessly, yearning for more. He moved lower, shifting her legs apart with his knee. He drew one leg up and kissed from knee up her inner thigh, tracing lazy circles on the sensitive skin with the tip of his tongue. He moved to the other leg, giving it the same treatment.

She could feel his breath as he got closer to her core. He stroked his tongue over her lightly, teasingly. She arched her hips up, silently begging for more, but he dragged his mouth back up, circling one nipple with his tongue before sucking it in and then making his way to the other. He smiled to himself when he heard his name roll off her lips on a ragged breath. As his mouth claimed hers, he slid into her at the same time, swallowing her groan. They moved together slowly and he watched her, fighting back his own orgasm as he felt her tighten around him. He wanted to savor the feeling, but his need was almost too great. He moved faster, bringing them both the release they were reaching for.

Jon moved off of her, dragging her close. With her head on his chest Frannie could hear the rapid beat of his heart. “God Jon” she whispered, “you were amazing.” He rubbed her back and kissed her head, “I didn’t do it alone babe, we were amazing.” He felt her chuckle against him before they drifted off to sleep.

With the sunlight falling across him, Jon woke alone in the bed the next morning. He ran his hand over the spot where Frannie had been, it was cooling rapidly. She had been up for a bit. He got up, pulled on his jeans and, after a stop in the bathroom, went in search of her. Following the scent of coffee and the music that was playing, he found Frannie in the kitchen. She was standing at the sink, looking out over her backyard; Sophie was in her swing, happily swaying back and forth.

Frannie had woken later than normal and she could hear Sophie was fussing. She got out of bed without disturbing Jon and as she slipped her robe over her shoulders she turned to look at him. She couldn’t stop the smile from spreading across her face as she thought of the previous night. Before she could stop herself, she reached over and brushed the hair off his forehead. He shifted but didn’t wake and she left the room to take care of Sophie.

With Sophie on one arm, Frannie made it to the living room and shut the movie off that they had left running and turned the stereo on. She sat down and fed Sophie before her screaming woke Jon. Once she had Sophie fed, Frannie settled her in her swing in the kitchen and made some coffee, she didn’t usually drink it but she knew that Jon did. She was looking out the window when the song that was playing got her attention.

I found a reason for me
to change who I used to be
a reason to start over new
and the reason is you

She smiled; he really is helping me she thought. This was how Jon found her. A small smile was playing on her face as he came up behind her and he sang the last words to her. “Good morning” he told her as the song ended. She turned her head and kissed his cheek, “good morning yourself. Would you like some coffee?” He moved her hair and nuzzled her neck before stepping back from her. “I would love some coffee.” She handed him a cup, “it’s over there” she pointed to the coffee pot.

After breakfast Jon found the rest of his clothes and told Frannie he had to go. “What are you doing later?” He was taking his two youngest to the park. “I don’t have anything planned Jon.” He sat to put his sneakers on, “why don’t you and Sophie come to the park with me and my boys?” Frannie thought about it; it seemed nice enough out. “Okay, what time?” They made arrangements and Frannie was going to meet him later that afternoon. As she went to open the door for him, she realized then that she hadn’t locked all the locks the night before. “Hmm.” Jon looked at her, “what’s wrong?” She smiled at him, “nothing. You really did make me forget. I didn’t even lock my door last night.” He pulled her into a hug, trying not to squish Sophie in the process. “I’m glad you were able to forget for a while Frannie.” He dropped a kiss on her lips, placed a kiss on Sophie’s head and headed out to his car.

Frannie got Sophie to take her morning nap a little early and she got herself ready to go out. She showered and pulled on jeans, a long-sleeve t-shirt and her favorite Giants hoodie. She pulled her hair into a low loose ponytail and as she turned to sit on the bed, she stretched across it instead, inhaling Jon’s scent that still lingered on his pillow. I still can’t believe it. I was able to enjoy being with a man again because of him. Frannie smiled as she sat up, she was starting to feel more like her old self. And Jon is the reason.

She put her sneakers on and went to get Sophie ready. They headed out half an hour later. Arriving at the park she spotted Jon and his boys over near the swings. Buckling Sophie into the stroller and grabbing the diaper bag she set off to join him.

Jon spotted her and smiled. He was feeling a little more like his old self today. He thought back to that morning and the song that had been playing when he found Frannie in the kitchen. He waved as she got closer, maybe she's the reason.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Chapter 8

Franie shut the door behind Jon and Stephanie and with a sigh she leaned against it, dropping her head to her hands. What is the matter with me? Jon had been understanding, but she had seen just the slightest bit of disappointment in his eyes when she pushed him away. Maybe she needed to push herself a little harder. Moving away from the door Frannie went through the house shutting off the lights and making sure her doors were locked.

Once she was settled in bed Frannie’s thoughts again took her to Jon’s living room. The last line of the song they had danced to stood out in her mind, All in the eyes of a boy. She shut her eyes and tried to remember what she had seen in his eyes right before she got lost in his kiss. Lust, want, longing. There was no evil lurking there. Somewhere in her mind she knew he wasn’t going to hurt her, that being with him would be beautiful and wonderful. With a sigh she rolled over and looked at the clock. It was late but still, she picked up the phone, hoping he would still be awake.

Jon was sitting in his den, staring into the fire he had stoked and thinking about the evening and the woman he had spent it with. He leaned back on the couch, laying his head against the back with his legs spread before him. What do I have to do to get her to trust me? He was at a loss at the moment. He had told her he wouldn’t rush her or push her into anything, but they didn’t even get past a kiss. He sighed and got up off the couch. How do I get her to see that I won’t hurt her? He crouched to poke at the fire. Deep in thought, the buzz of his phone at his hip startled him and he nearly lost his balance and fell on his ass. Checking to see who it was before he answered, he was surprised to see the number. “Hello.” There was a long pause then a quiet voice, “hi.” He got concerned, “what’s wrong Frannie?” She shifted in her bed, “nothing’s wrong Jon.” He stood and moved back to the couch. “Well then, what can I do for you?”

Now that she had him on the phone, she wasn’t quite sure what to say to him. “Frannie?” She took a deep breath, “I wanted to apologize again for what happened tonight Jon. I feel just awful.” So, he wasn’t the only one thinking about it. “You don’t have to apologize Frannie, its fine. I understand.” She smiled, “I know you do. Look, are you busy tomorrow night?” He mentally ran through his calendar, “I have a late meeting, but should be free by 7:30. Why?” She took a deep breath, “How do pizza and a movie sound?” He thought about it for minute. He had a feeling he knew what she was doing and he didn’t want her doing anything she may regret later. “Are you sure Frannie?” She tried to be nonchalant, “its just pizza and a movie Jon. What’s not to be sure about?” He shook his head, “Okay, okay, I should be there by 8.” “Good. I guess I will see you then. Thanks Jon, and goodnight.” “Goodnight Frannie.”

The next day Frannie had Geena come by and keep Sophie entertained while she worked in her studio. She spent most of the day working on the scene she had memorized from the night before. By the time she finished and stepped back to look at what she had done, it was nearly 7. She left the painting to dry and headed in to shower. She opened a bottle of wine and had just changed Sophie into her sleeper when the bell rang. She looked down at herself before heading to the door. She had worn dark jeans, black lace cami and a brown v-neck lightweight sweater. She had left her hair loose and, at the moment, Sophie had one little hand tangled in it. She opened the door and Jon grinned at seeing the two of them. Frannie tried to get Sophie’s hand out of her hair, “hi, come on in.” He closed the door behind him and held out the flowers he had in his hand, “I’ll trade ya.” Sophie heard his voice and her grip loosened and she started to kick her legs. Frannie pulled her hair free and handed her over to Jon. He passed Frannie the flowers and looked down at Sophie, “how’s the little princess today?” She gurgled and smiled. Frannie looked at her daughter and then up at Jon, “I think she’s in love.” He smiled at Frannie, “the feeling is mutual.”

Frannie led Jon into the kitchen and he set Sophie down in her baby seat. Frannie got out a vase and put the flowers in some water. “They are really lovely Jon, thank you.” She set them off to the side on the counter, “would you like a glass of wine?” He smiled at her, “your welcome and yes I would.” Frannie poured the wine and watched Jon making noises at Sophie. “You’re really good with her.” She handed him his glass and he clinked his glass with hers, “what shall we toast to?” Frannie thought for a minute, “to a fresh start.” Jon caught her eye and winked at her before taking a sip from his glass.

Dinner was a lively event with Sophie right there. Every time she heard Jon’s voice she laughed and made some sort of happy noise. After they were finished he kept her entertained and Frannie loaded the dishes into the dishwasher. Before they started the movie, Frannie took Sophie and fed her and put her down, hopefully for the night. Coming back into the living room she found Jon sitting on the couch. She reached out her hand for him, “come with me?” He took her hand and followed her out to her studio. “What are we doing out here Frannie?” Jon was curious. Frannie just smiled and led him to the easel in the middle of the room. “You said you wanted first crack at my latest project, well, have a look.” He turned his gaze from her to the easel. It was the scene from the night before, minus the two of them. It was amazing, even the flame on the candles seemed to come alive on the canvas. “How did you…, you captured every little detail. It’s fantastic.” She put her hand on his arm, “it’s not too recognizable as your apartment is it? I tried to keep it generic.” He looked at it again, trying to find anything that would compromise his home, but couldn’t find anything. “If I hadn’t been there last night, I wouldn’t know it was my dining room. You did a great job with this.”

Jon turned to face her. She had dropped her head to look at the floor, slightly embarrassed by his praise of her work. He lifted her chin with his fingers, “why are you embarrassed? You should be proud of what you’ve done.” She let her eyes meet his, “I am Jon; it’s just that I’ve never had praise like that from the subject of one of my paintings before.” He didn’t take his eyes from her face, didn’t say anything, just lowered his mouth to hers.

Like the night before he kept the kiss firm but gentle and when she tilted her head he took that as permission to deepen the kiss. He parted her lips with his tongue and he tasted her again. Jon felt her slide her hand up his arm to rest on his shoulder and bring her other hand up as well. He slid his arms around her waist and waited. She didn’t pull away so he pulled her closer. He felt her trembling and hoped it wasn’t out of fear. He pulled his mouth from hers and she nearly cried out at the loss. He scanned her face, “you’re trembling, are you all right?” She nodded her head, “I’m okay.” She looked up into his eyes, gone was the summer sky blue, replaced with a deeper, darker sapphire. Again she saw what she had seen the night before and that bolstered her courage. “Kiss me again?” How could he resist such an innocent plea? He dipped his head and took her mouth with his again. With his arms around her Jon pulled Frannie flush against him as their mouths mated. She didn’t push back this time, but he felt her stiffen slightly in his embrace. She pulled her mouth from his and took a breath. “Jon?” He kissed her cheek and up to her temple, “what?” “Maybe we should go watch that movie now.” She could feel him pressing against her and she needed slow things down a little. He pressed a kiss to her forehead, reached to take her hand and together they headed back into the house.

“Go on into the other room Jon. I’ll be right there.” Frannie stopped in the kitchen to make popcorn and grabbed a soda for him and a bottle of water for herself. Jon saw her coming with her hands full and reached to help her. “I grabbed a soda for you; I hope that’s all right.” He nodded, “that’s fine. What are we watching?” She went to the DVD player and put the movie in. Grabbing the remote she moved back to sit next to Jon. “Goodfellas. I know it’s not the Godfather, but it’s one of my favorites.” Jon smiled at her, “a girl who likes mob movies, if you tell me you like football too, I may just have to marry you.” Frannie laughed, “get ready to buy a ring pal, I love football.” Jon put his arm around her shoulder and pulled her closer to him. “What’s your favorite team?” He hoped she didn’t say the Cowboys. She smiled up at him, “pro, college or arena?” Jon raised an eyebrow in surprise at her, “you follow all of it?” She nodded her head “hmm mmmm. Pro team is the Giants. College is Ohio State and the Arena League,” she paused and looked him up and down, “the Soul.” They chatted a bit more about football and then Frannie started the movie. She let herself lean against Jon, enjoying the feeling of his shoulder under her cheek. She could feel his fingers playing with her hair and then trailing up and down her back. She relaxed against him and let herself enjoy his touch.

While watching the movie, Frannie felt like she was being watched. She picked her head up and looked at Jon, his eyes weren’t on the movie, they were on her and they were that dark sapphire blue again. She leaned up and, without taking her eyes from his, she laid her mouth on his. He pulled her closer and she didn’t back away. She wrapped her arms around him, opening her mouth against his, their tongues dancing over each other. Jon let one hand wander up from her back and slowly let his thumb caress the curve of her breast. Frannie pulled her mouth from his and gave a slight gasp. Jon stopped, “are you all right?” She closed her eyes and took a breath. “I’m fine.” He wasn’t convinced, “are you sure?” She opened her eyes again, he didn’t see any fear in them, “I’m sure.” His mouth met hers again and as she concentrated on the kiss his hand found its way under her sweater and cami, caressing the silky soft skin beneath. Pulling his mouth from hers he shifted and eased Frannie back so she was laying down on the couch.

He leaned over her and kissed a trail up from the vee of her sweater, up her neck to her mouth. Again his hand was on her skin, working its way up the inside of her sweater and cami. When she felt the butterfly light play of his fingers on the underside of her breast, her breath caught in her throat and her nipple hardened instantly. When he moved to slide her shirt up, she stopped him. She grabbed his hand, “Jon, wait.” He looked at her, “what?” She pushed him up off of her and sat up. “I think we’d be more comfortable in the other room.” Standing, she held out her hand for his. He stood and took her hand, “Frannie, don’t do this if your not ready. I would never force you to do anything you don’t want to do.” She walked toward her bedroom. “I know Jon. You’re not forcing me, I want to.” She stopped at the side of the bed and turned to face him. She ran her hands up from his waist to his shoulders, marveling at the hard muscles that twitched beneath her touch. He pulled Frannie close, drawing her flush against him, letting her know just how much her touch was affecting him.

Frannie felt his hardness pressing against her and this time, she didn’t push him away. She ran her hands under his shirt, feeling the warm skin and silky hair across his chest. Jon slid his hands under her sweater, lifting it up and off. He pressed kisses across her shoulder and up her neck, finding a sensitive spot at the hollow in between. He ran his tongue over the spot causing her to shudder. He kissed his way back to her mouth as his hand slid up her side and closed over her breast, kneading and rolling the tip between his fingers. Her hands slipped down from his shoulders as he continued to bring to life feelings she had thought long buried. He urged her closer to the bed, laying her down across it. He tugged his shirt off and joined her on the bed, his fingers toying with the hem of her cami. Their mouths met again and Jon’s fingers moved up inside her cami, skimming across the soft skin of her stomach as they trailed up to her breast. Frannie moaned against his mouth as he lightly pinched the hardened tip. His hand left her breast briefly, pulling the cami up and off, tossing it to the floor. His mouth replaced his hand on her breast, tracing the tip with his tongue, before taking it into his mouth, sucking gently. “Jon” she breathed out on a sigh as her hands wandered, lightly skimming over his back and up and down his arms, the softness of his skin in stark contrast to the hardness of his muscles. With every pass of her hands, Jon could feel himself growing harder for her.

While his mouth continued its assault on her breasts one hand slid down across the flat of her stomach, stopping at the button of her jeans. When he didn’t notice any hesitation on her part, he reluctantly removed his mouth from her and sat up. Her creamy skin had a rosy glow to it, flush from arousal. He opened the button and released the zipper on her jeans, sliding them down her legs and off. Jon stood and, with Frannie watching, divested himself of his clothes. The only barrier between them now was the scrap of black silk that Frannie called panties. He joined her on the bed once more and ran his hands lightly up and down, from her hip to shoulder. She reached out, hesitantly and touched him, his cock twitched as she lightly ran her fingers up and down. She looked up at him, his eyes were closed and his breathing was unsteady. Feeling a bit bolder, she wrapped her hand around him and stroked him from base to tip. Leaning down she kissed his chest and ran her tongue around one flat nipple, causing it to harden in her mouth. “God Frannie” he breathed as she continued to run her tongue across to the other nipple, all the while her hand continued to stroke him.

She kissed and licked her way up his chest and neck to his mouth. Their kisses were hot and wet and with every stroke of her hand and every pass of her tongue in his mouth, Jon finally had to pull her hand from him. “I can’t… you gotta stop” he panted. God, he was ready to take her right then, but he knew he needed to be careful. Jon rolled her over and hooked his fingers in the waist of her panties, sliding them down her legs. Trailing his fingers up the inside of her thighs he watched her. Her legs opened of their own accord and there was no fear in her face as he continued. He let his mouth follow the path his fingers had just taken, her scent drawing him in. He could see that she was ready for him; her lips glistened with her need for him. He ran his tongue up and down her slit, dipping it into her pussy before seeking out and finding her clit. He slid a finger into her as his tongue teased her clit. He slid a second finger into her and could feel her start to tighten around him. “Jon!” she cried out as she felt her need for him growing, teetering on that precarious edge. He kissed his way up her body, laving each breast before claiming her mouth. He pulled his mouth from hers and knelt between her legs. “Frannie, look at me.” She opened her eyes and watched him as he entered her. He moved slowly; she was so tight he was afraid he might not be able to control himself.

Jon didn’t move right away, letting Frannie’s body adjust. He lowered himself, letting some of his weight settle on her. When she started to move beneath him he moved with her, letting her set the pace. As he moved in her he laved the hard points of her nipples with his tongue, and he felt her hands in his hair tugging him up. He lifted his head and her mouth fused to his. She could feel the wave building and she tore her mouth from his, “Jon... I…ahh! He felt her tighten around him and, as he drove into her once more, she dragged him with her into oblivion.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Chapter 7

Frannie stood and took in her surroundings. She was touched that he had gone to so much trouble for her, but she also had to wonder what he expected from her. Jon watched as Frannie moved around the room. He was pleased to see that she didn’t seem affected by her surroundings, just comfortable and curious. She turned to find Jon watching her. “Jon, you didn’t answer my question.” He met her gaze, “question?” Frannie nodded her head, “yeah, why did you bring me here?”

He moved closer to her and took her hand, never taking his eyes from her face, “I didn’t want to risk taking you somewhere that held bad memories for you. I thought bringing you here would be a way for us to start off on the right foot. If you would rather go out somewhere, we can do that instead.” Frannie relaxed a little. He had only been thinking of her when he planned this. She smiled at Jon and squeezed his hand, “thank you, this was very sweet of you.” Jon smiled at her, kissed her hand and led her over to the table. As Frannie sat down she had a thought, “don’t tell me you cooked dinner too?” He lit the candles on the table and laughed as he walked toward the kitchen. “Not unless you wanted scrambled eggs for dinner.” Frannie chuckled and looked out the window while she waited for him to come back.

As Jon stepped into the kitchen he breathed a sigh of relief. He had been afraid she wasn’t going to want to stay. He moved around the kitchen, putting their plates which had been kept warm for him by his cook, along with a bottle of wine onto a tray to carry back into the other room. He stopped long enough to put some music on before returning to the dining room.

He came back into the dining room and stopped. Frannie was looking out the window, the candlelight softly illuminating her features. He cleared his throat and set their plates down. Frannie turned her head just as he set the plates down. “The view” she gestured toward the window “is fabulous.” Jon held her gaze, “it sure is.” Frannie felt herself blush and she glanced down at her plate. “What are we having?” Jon sat down across from her and poured the wine, “chicken marsala, oven roasted potatoes and asparagus spears.” Frannie picked up her fork, “it looks wonderful. Who cooked, or did you order out?” “You’re not going to let the whole cooking thing go are you?” Frannie smiled and shook her head “nope”. Jon smiled as he picked up his fork, “Lani, my cook/housekeeper cooked. She made dessert too.”

They enjoyed their meal and their conversation flowed from one topic to another, discussing their hobbies, interests, families, generally getting to know all the little details of each other. Without realizing it, Frannie had let down her guard. Jon watched as she talked about Sophie, she was totally at ease and relaxed. The little lines around her eyes and the creases on her forehead eased and softened. Her smile was easier and there was no wariness in her eyes. She really was a beautiful woman. He brought his attention back to what she was saying and poured more wine. When she stopped talking he looked across the table at her, “are you having a good time Frannie?” She nodded her head, “I am Jon. Thank you so much. I think I need to stand up and move around a bit though, if I sit here any longer I am going to become one with the chair.” He laughed and they moved away from the table. He took their dishes into the kitchen and started a pot of coffee and came back to find Frannie standing in the doorway, looking over at the table where they had just been sitting. “What are you doing?” She was trying to memorize the scene, from the moment she walked into the room and saw the table by the window she knew she was going to have to paint it. “Would you mind if I painted this?” He walked over to stand next to her, trying to see what she saw. He took in the view and turned to her, “I don’t mind, so long as I get first crack at the finished product. Now, let’s go in the other room.”

She followed him into the living room and immediately felt like she was invading his personal space. Looking around this was obviously where he spent a lot of time with his kids, there were family photos on the mantle and walls. He seemed nonplussed that she was there, and went to light a fire. He turned back to find her smirking at him. “What?” “You certainly know how to set a scene Jon.” He raised an eyebrow in question “scene?” She smiled at him this time, “scene Jon. You’ve got the fire, soft lights, quiet music, quite the seductive scene.” He shrugged his shoulders as he came to stand in front of her, “can’t blame a guy for trying now can ya?” He ran his hand lightly up and down her arm and she could feel the goose bumps rise on her flesh. He took her hand and tugged her to him, wrapping his arms around her, “dance with me” he whispered in her ear. Frannie slid her arms up around his shoulders and they moved slightly to the music. The words of Celine Dion couldn’t have been more perfect.

Where it was dark now there's light
Where there was pain now there's joy
Where there was weakness, I found my strength
All in the eyes of a boy

As the song ended they stayed locked in each other’s arms. Jon slid one hand up Frannie’s side to her chin, tilting her face up to his. Her eyes were wet. “What’s wrong baby?” She pulled in a breath, “nothing really. Just that song hit a little close to home.” He watched her eyes as he leaned in to kiss her. He didn’t want to scare her, but he wanted more than the chaste one he gave her the other day. The kiss was firm yet gentle. He watched as her eyes closed and he felt her tremble slightly but didn’t pull away. Letting instinct take over, he closed his eyes and let his lips roam across hers, waiting for her to respond. His tongue snaked out and traced her lips. Frannie parted her lips slightly and let her own tongue sneak out and touch his. That slight tentative touch sent a jolt right through her. His lips were whispery soft and she tilted her head just a bit and let herself fall into the kiss. He tasted her fully for the first time and hoped to God it wouldn’t be the last. Jon let his hand skim up her jaw and into her hair before sliding it slowly back down to her waist. He pulled her closer and, feeling his hardness against her, Frannie pulled back.

“Frannie?” He opened his eyes and looked at her. “I’m sorry Jon, I just… I can’t do this.” The wall had come back up and he could see that the fear was creeping back into her eyes. He slipped his hands from her waist and took her hand, leading her to the couch. “You don’t have to be afraid of me Frannie. I could never hurt you.” She sighed and shook her head. “I know you wouldn’t hurt me Jon, and it’s not you I am afraid of.” He didn’t understand, “if you’re not afraid of me, then what’s wrong?” She sighed, “could I get a cup of coffee before we take this any further?” Without a word Jon went to the kitchen and came back with coffee for both of them and two slices of the cheesecake that his cook had made.

Cradling the cup in her hands Frannie stood and moved near the fire. Jon watched as she struggled to find the words to tell him what was bothering her. “I don’t know if I will ever be able to be with a man again Jon. I thought I might be able to get past it with you, hoped I could even. While my body reacted as I knew it would, my head is another matter entirely.” Jon came up behind her and slid his arms around her as she stood facing the fire. She set her cup down on the mantle and rested her hands on his forearms. “I know you’re not ready yet Frannie. I would never force you to do something you didn’t want either. I am enjoying being with you and the rest we will deal with.” He turned her so she was facing him. “We’ll take this as slow as you need to baby.” He led her back to the couch where they fed each other bites of cheesecake and they finished their coffee.