Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Chapter 7

The room was loud and becoming more crowded with people, but Keira didn't notice. She'd forgotten how magnetic Jon could be, especially when he was looking at her with such intensity.

"How long has it been, Kathryn?" he said, quickly doing the math. "Jesus, it's been what -- about 12 years, right?"

Thirteen, Keira thought, but she nodded and said, "About that."

For a minute they were silent, drinking in the sight of one another. "You look beautiful," he told her, sincerely.

She blushed. She was never very good at taking compliments. "Thank you," she said. "You've grown into a fine young man yourself."

He chuckled, then grew serious again. "I always knew we'd see each other again. I just didn't think it would be at one of my shows."

Touched by his sentiment, Keira found his second statement amusing. "Where else would we run into each other? At the grocery store? On the street?" She smiled so he'd know she was just teasing. "You're not exactly the most accessible man."

"Ok, I'll give you that," Jon laughed.

She tore her eyes away from his and looked around the room. "This isn't how I pictured backstage to be," she murmured.

"What were you expecting?"

She shrugged. "I don't know. Lots of half-naked girls with big hair and long, red, fake nails. Boobs hanging out everywhere."

"You're thinking of ten years ago," Jon laughed. He crossed his arms and leaned back against the wall, giving her his famous lopsided grin. "So what's with the name change? You runnin' from the law?"

She laughed. "Nothing that exciting, unfortunately. I'm a writer. Originally, Keira was just going to be my pen name, but before long everyone was calling me it, and it just stuck."

As he took in that information, his smile faltered and a shadow of regret flashed in his eyes. "So you made it as a writer, huh? I'm happy for you."

They stared at one another, both lost for a moment in their own feelings of remorse and nostalgia. For a minute she thought he was going to reach for her, but he held back, knowing that he'd lost the right to touch her over 12 years ago.

"I'm sorry about Dorothea," she said. "I always thought you two were meant to be. She was always so much thicker-skinned than I was. When I heard that you married her, I thought, well -- the better woman won."

He shrugged and waved his hand, trying to lighten the mood. "She put up with me as long as she could. It's better off this way."

Before she could stop herself, Keira blurted, "You know, I tried calling your hotel once, when you were on your first tour. The people at the front desk wouldn't put me through. They figured I was just another obsessed fan trying to contact you. That was when I realized that you were out of my league."

Jon shook his head. "Kathryn, I was never out of your league. If you had left your name, I would have dropped everything to talk to you."

She couldn't let herself think about that. It raised too many questions about what might have been, and that made her heart ache. In a sudden flash of anger, Keira said, "That is such bullshit. Then why didn't you ever call me? Did you ever think about me?" The minute the words were out of her mouth, she regretted them. The last thing she wanted was to sound like a jilted, jealous girlfriend.

"Well, you have to admit that you made it pretty clear that you wanted nothing to do with me."

"I just didn't know how to fit into your life anymore, Jon. It was too much, too fast, and I was just a kid."

Jon nodded, understanding. The next words out of his mouth were spoken so quietly and passionately that Keira was rendered speechless. "I was just a kid too."

He was right, and she knew it; he had been just a kid when the band first got noticed, and there was no way he could have known how far and fast it all would go. How could she blame him for something that was so huge, and so unreal? How could she blame him?...and yet, there was a small part of her that did.

Slowly, she became aware that people in the room were starting to stare at them. She remembered where they were -- and who he was -- and she knew that they were running out of time to talk. People were chomping at the bit to meet Jon, the larger-than-life superstar, and she had no right to monopolize his time. For the second time that night, the thought crossed Keira's mind: everyone wants a piece of him.

Suddenly, Jon took two steps toward her, causing her to take a step back. As if he, too, sensed that their time together was coming to an end, he talked fast. "I know I fucked up back then, Kath -- Keira. But there's one thing I've learned after all this time: there's no such thing as having too many old friends in your life. I need more friends in my life who knew me before all of this," he said, gesturing broadly around the room. "I would love to have you back in my life."

Keira didn't know what to say to him. They stood toe to toe, not taking their eyes off of each other for one second. The electricity between them was palpable, and Keira was trying hard not to let it distract her from using common sense. She wanted so badly to believe everything he'd just said. Part of her -- the part that remembered him as a teenager, the bad boy with the good heart -- still trusted him. Still loved him, even. The other part of her -- the part that so vividly recalled sharing the excitement of his first hit song, and then the agonizing heartbreak when he could no longer seem to fit her into his life -- felt like she had no idea who he was anymore.

Inexplicably, she felt her eyes starting to well up with tears. Dammit, she thought, I will not let him see me cry. She opened her mouth to speak, but stopped suddenly when she noticed a stunning brunette crossing the room towards them. The woman snuck up behind Jon and snaked her arms around his waist, nuzzling her mouth against his neck. Keira thought she saw Jon flinch, but he regained his composure so quickly that she wondered if she'd imagined it.

This must be Cassandra, thought Keira, remembering what Molly had told her about Jon dating a Versace model.

Jon stepped to the side to gently extricate himself from the woman's embrace, then smiled at her. "Cassandra, this is my old friend Kath -- I mean, Keira. Keira, this is Cassie."

Cassandra coolly held out her hand to Keira, who shook it. "Nice to meet you," Keira murmured.

"Likewise," replied Cassandra, then turned her attention back to Jon. "So where are we headed after this?"

Jon looked distinctly uncomfortable. He glanced at Keira, then back at Cassandra, opening and then closing his mouth when he couldn't come up with anything to say.

Like a gaping fish, Keira thought, feeling slightly annoyed, yet amused at the same time. She decided to save him. "Well, Jon, it was nice seeing you again after all these years," she said, reaching out her hand to him. He took it, holding on for a few seconds too long. His blue eyes locked onto hers, as though he was trying to communicate something without using any words.

Keira forced herself to pull her hand away from his and turn away, even though the act of doing so threatened to break her heart all over again, the same way it had broken so many years before. Not for the first time, she wondered exactly what it was about this man that made walking away from him such a painful task. Taking a deep breath and holding her head high, she forced herself to walk confidently across the room to Molly, leaving Jon behind once again.


SoulGirl said...

Wondeful Chapter, Oh wow.. the emotion that Keira was feeling was so raw, I choked up when Cassandra came along, God... noooooo... now I need to know what's going to happen, I know Jon wanted to say more to her, I know he did.
This is a fabulous story, and I am so hooked already. :) Keep it coming!!!

Anonymous said...

Such a great chapter. :)


Sunstreaked said...

"Keira forced herself to pull her hand away from his and turn away, even though the act of doing so threatened to break her heart all over again, the same way it had broken so many years before. Not for the first time, she wondered exactly what it was about this man that made walking away from him such a painful task."

WOW! Had me taking in a big gasping breath with that one...so evocative of the past and regret.

Great chapter!

Opester said...

"I was just a kid too."

Jon would have been 34 twelve years ago since this is set during the Lost Highway tour, Keira was 21 at that time since the previous chapter indicates she is 33. The statement rings true for her, but Jon a kid at 34? That doesn't ring true, so I hope he can explain that one a bit better... or are the ages just out of sync? I'm confused now...

Daydreamer- said...

Hi Opester, I was wondering when someone would ask about that! The ages aren't going to match up with his albums in this story, the reason being that I wanted the female main characters to be about my age, therefore Jon is going to be younger in this story. Later on I write that they met when she was a year behind him in high school, which would make him 34 in this story (so they were 20/21 when they split).

I know the Bon Jovi albums and his age won't match up, but I'm hoping that won't be too confusing for the readers.

Opester said...

It's going to be a bit difficult as I'm thinking that 12 years agowould have been about the These Days era (my favorite period) or so, so I'll just try and suspend those thoughts. Since what we know of the guys won't match, can you give me an idea of how you're portraying Jon here as you mentioned longer hair and he now has it so short (yuk!)... I'm trying to get a picture in my mind, and wondering if I should use the TD era look, KTF look or more of the Bounce or HAND look. What do you suggest?

Daydreamer- said...

Sure! I can show you exactly how I'm picturing Jon in this story:


I have no idea when this photo was taken. All I know is, OMG yum. Yum yum YUM. LOL!! Do you know what period this picture is from? I think I may have to put this picture into my story's title.

Opester said...

Okay, got the picture in my head now-the hair looks like possibly HAND (tho the pic looks older, so maybe Bounce or Crush?)The shirt looks familiar too-if it was baby blue I would say HAND, but then you know how Jon loves to hang onto old clothes and re-wear them!(except the spandex, of course) I know someone saw him a few years ago in the TLFR shirt when he was out at a restaurant and I had to laugh at that!

allina_90 said...

It's such a great chapter!

I'm still curious where all this will lead to...