Monday, July 21, 2008

Chapter 43

Frannie spent her evening with her little girl, playing and just enjoying their time together. After settling Sophie down to bed Frannie went back to the studio. This project was under her skin now and the need to get it down on paper was so great she couldn’t keep away from it. She had to let it out.

She worked late into the night, finally stopping when she could no longer keep her eyes open. She didn’t even bother to drag herself up stairs. She collapsed onto the sofa and let herself fall into a dreamless, exhausted sleep.

When she opened her eyes in the morning she was disoriented and stiff. The sofa was fine for sitting on, but definitely not for sleeping. She looked and around and got her bearings, she was in the studio. Frannie looked across the room and was surprised to see so much of her drawing finished. She didn’t remember getting that much done. She had been so caught up in what she was doing that she couldn’t recall where it had all come from. She had just let her pencil go and the results were sometimes fantastic and other times, a train wreck. This was definitely along the vein of fantastic. When it was finished it would be one of her best pieces, she hoped.

After a shower, breakfast and some time with Sophie, Frannie headed back to her studio. The picture was calling to her and she wanted to finish it. Turning on her radio she again let the music flow around her as she picked up her pencil. As she hummed along she shaded here, blended there, filled in and faded out, making minor adjustments throughout until she got to the last portion. She had a space that needed to be filled in but she hadn’t decided how she wanted to fill it. Frannie stepped back and studied the flow of the piece. There were all the things about him, music, family, his philanthropy, their beach, but something was still missing.

Frannie paced back and forth trying to decide just what she could add that would complete what she had done. She kept looking back and trying to figure out what she could have possibly left out. As she moved back and forth across the room she caught a hint of movement out of the corner of her eye. Glancing over she spotted Geena and Sophie in the doorway.

“Hey Geena, everything okay?” She walked over to where the two were standing as Geena nodded, “everything is fine Frannie. I was just sent to tell you that dinner is ready.” Frannie nodded and kissed Sophie, “okay. Tell Lani I’ll be along in a minute.” When her lips pressed against the baby’s head it came to her. She walked back and picked up her pencil and in minutes she had filled in that last spot. She smiled as she set her pencil down; she would have to touch it up a little but for now it was finished.

While Frannie was smiling in satisfaction, Jon was frowning in frustration. His meeting with the sponsors for the Soul wasn’t going as well as he hoped. Because the team wasn’t doing as well as the sponsor had been led to believe they would, they were threatening to pull out. After two hours of near begging and pleading Jon hoped that he had convinced them to stick around a while longer. Surely his team wouldn’t continue down the path they were on. They agreed to wait until after the game on Saturday to make a final decision. This would have to be good enough for now.

As he let himself back into his empty hotel room he sighed, wishing Frannie was there. He hadn’t slept well the night before and that hadn’t helped his disposition during that meeting either. Hanging up his suit coat he dug into his pocket for his phone. Maybe he could convince Frannie, without too much begging on his part, to come tomorrow instead of Saturday.

Holding the phone in his hand he just stared down at it, not opening it. Frannie. He moved to the window and stared out, trying to figure out just how she had come to mean so much to him in such a short amount of time. The person she is now is so far removed from who she was when they met it was just amazing. And, he wondered, how had he found someone so like what he had had before but yet so different? Her passion for her work was admirable and her generous nature was beyond fault. Her strength was undeniable and combined with the softness that was apparent, he was lost. There were so many facets to her. He loved what he had undiscovered so far and he had no intention of letting anything slip past him.

Glancing down at the phone again, he opened it this time and dialed. Hopefully he could get her to see that she should come tomorrow instead of waiting.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Chapter 42

Frannie watched as Jon packed his bag. He looked over at her, “you sure you can’t come with me this time?” She shook her head, “I need to finish up in my studio. I’ll come Saturday for the game.” Jon sighed. He had to go to Philadelphia. He had meetings at the Soul offices and with Habitat and then there was the game on Saturday. He had tried to convince Frannie to come with him again but she refused. Jon shut the suitcase and set it on the floor before approaching her.

He cupped her face in his hands as he lowered is mouth to hers. The kiss was gentle and soft. “I’ll miss you baby.” He glanced over to the night table and then back at her, “bring the paint brushes?” Frannie’s face heated, “I’ll miss you too and consider them packed.” He smiled and took her hand, “walk me out.”

They descended the stairs and stopped at the front door. Jon kissed her again before slipping on his coat. “You’re sure?” He had to ask one last time. She nodded, “I’m sure Jon. I’ll be there on Saturday, I promise.” They heard the honk of a horn; the car was here to take him to the heliport. He was taking the chopper into Philly to save time. Jon pulled Frannie to him, hugging her close before kissing her soundly. “I’ll call you later baby. I love you.” Frannie hugged him tight, “I love you too. Be safe.”

Frannie watched the car leave before turning and heading to her studio. It was time to get this last piece done. All the ones from their trip were done as well as a few others she had started before they left. The only one left for her upcoming show was the one of Jon.

She pulled the sheet off and surveyed her mess. Picking up a photograph she stroked his face with her fingers. Would anyone get it? Would they see him as more than just the rock star? She sighed and set the picture down and turned to the wall. She had a large sheet of stiff-backed paper tacked up to the wall. Because she was doing a pencil drawing she couldn’t use a canvas and this would hold up to the blending and shading and any erasures she may make.

Frannie gathered all her supplies and set them up on a small table next to her. Turning on her small radio she picked up a pencil and stared at the blank paper. She closed her eyes and pictured him in her mind. As his music flowed around her, Frannie put pencil to paper and started to draw. While Jon sang of faith and of finding something to believe in Frannie’s pencil skimmed across the paper. She glanced at photos, picking out expressions and emotions, bits and pieces of him and the things that matter most.

Morning slid into afternoon and Frannie continued to work. When Dennis DeYoung begged someone to show him the way Frannie put her pencil down. Her hand was starting to feel the effects of her long day and her back was aching. Taking a step back, she studied what she had done. She nodded her head, yes, this was what she had been trying for.

His eyes stared back at her from the center of the piece. She had chosen her drawing from the other night, of him looking at her from over the corner of the newspaper for the center; the starting point and the eyes were in color. Everything else would be done in black pencil, but his eyes had to have color. She picked up her pencil once more and softened the lines and shaded around the edges, blending the one drawing into the next. When her phone rang she jumped and dropped her pencil. Dammit!


To Jon’s ear she sounded distracted. “Hi baby. How’s it going?”

Frannie smiled, “Hi yourself. Things are fine here. How was your trip?”

“It was uneventful. Are you okay?” He was concerned that she was pushing herself too hard.

Frannie nodded, “I’m fine, just working. You’re a tough one to get down on paper.”

Jon sighed, “just don’t over do it Frannie. I know you tend to lose all track of time when you’re working. Make sure you at least take a break from time to time.”

“I won’t. As a matter of fact, I just stopped for the day. I’m going to go find Geena and Sophie and indulge in some well-deserved baby time.”

Jon smiled at the picture that came to mind of her and Sophie. “Give her a kiss from me and make sure you eat somewhere in there, please.”

Frannie sat down and nearly groaned, “I will babe, I promise. Did you finish up your meetings? What are you going to do for dinner?”

Jon moved around his room, restless. “We’re all done for today and I think I’m just going to order room service and watch some TV tonight. I have a feeling its going to be a long night.”

Frannie sighed, “I’m sorry babe. You know I’d be there if I could. If it’s any consolation, I don’t think I’ll be sleeping any better than you.”

Jon sighed again, “okay baby, you go eat and see little Sophie. I’m going to shower the day off and get some dinner myself. I’ll talk to you tomorrow. Love you.”

“Love you too Jon. Bye.” Frannie hung up and looked over to the drawing again. She really should keep going but she needed this break and she promised Jon. Standing she covered everything, shut off the light and headed out to find Geena and Sophie.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Chapter 41

Frannie lay in bed, awake in the wee hours as Jon slept on beside her. She should be exhausted after their love making on the couch and then later when they had made it to the bed. Yet she was awake, her brain unable to settle. She got up and pulled on her robe and, leaving Jon sleeping, she headed downstairs to her studio.

Flipping on the light she looked to the project that was giving her so much trouble. She sifted through the photos yet again and finally decided to let it rest for a while. She covered everything with a sheet and turned her attention to the easel in the center of the room. Maybe if she worked on something else for a while she could return to this with fresh eyes and a new perspective.

Jon sighed as he rolled over and found Frannie gone from the bed. She was so much like him when involved in a project it was a bit unnerving. He stretched and pulled on a pair of sweats and a t-shirt, wondering how long she had been awake or if she had even slept at all.

Carrying two cups of coffee he found Frannie putting her initials in the corner of the watercolor she had just finished. Frannie turned to him with a smile as she finished, “good morning.” He handed her one of the cups of coffee, “good morning baby. How long have you been up?” He studied the picture as he waited for her to answer. “For a while, I was too restless to sleep and I didn’t want to wake you up.” He wrapped his arm around her, “then I guess I need to work a little harder at wearing you out.” Frannie smiled and shook her head, “you try any harder and I won’t be able to walk.” Jon laughed and turned his attention to the painting, “this is amazing baby. It’s from our trip, right?”

“Yeah, it’s from that first afternoon.” She had painted the beach from their first walk on the beach right after they arrived on Turks and Caicos. “I have a few others I want to do, but I thought I would start with this one.” Jon nodded, “I love it. Are you going to call Tico about doing a show at his gallery?” Frannie sipped her coffee, “I had planned on calling Joan at the Alliance and then him later today.” Jon took her hand, “Okay. Now, how about some breakfast?”

Frannie spent the day in the studio, breaking only see Sophie for a bit before her nap and when Jon interrupted her at dinnertime. He had spent the day in his office and he was ready for a break when Lani informed him that dinner was ready. He left his phone on his desk; he didn’t want to talk on the damn thing anymore that day if he didn’t have to. Most days he felt as if it was permanently attached to the side of his head. He wandered down to see what Frannie was up to and found her on her phone. While she talked he studied the painting that was drying on the easel. She had used acrylics this time, capturing the bold colors of the sunset over the beach. The palm trees swayed on the one side of the painting and you could just make out a sailboat in the distance.

He turned to say something to her and she held up her hand, signaling him to wait. “Okay Tico, end of next month sounds like it will work just fine.” She smiled and finished up the call. “I look forward to it Tico, thanks. See you soon.” When she closed the phone Jon spoke. “You look forward to what?” Frannie took a couple of steps, closing the gap between them, “seeing his studio. He promised to show me his paintings.”

Jon took her hand and pulled her into his embrace, “he does love to show of his work. You’ll love it, I’m sure.” Frannie kissed his cheek, “I’ve no doubt I will. What do you think of this one?” Jon turned his head, “I think it’s wonderful. You really have a way with that paintbrush ma’am.” Her cheeks pinked slightly, a vision of using a paintbrush for an entirely different reason flashed through her head “thanks.”

The look didn’t go unnoticed by Jon, “what? Why are you blushing?” Frannie lowered her head, resting it against his chest. “I’m not blushing.” He placed his fingers under her chin and raised her head, “yes you are. What’s going on in that head of yours?” She closed her eyes briefly before meeting his gaze, “I was just thinking about different uses for my paintbrush, that’s all.” He raised his eyebrows, “really, do tell.” She shook her head and loosed herself from his embrace, “I do show better than tell. I’ll show you later.” She turned to walk out of the room and he grabbed her hand, “later better come quick” he told her as they shut the light off and headed to dinner.