Tuesday, 9 September 2008


Six months had passed since Leah last saw Richie that night in the hospital. She felt as though she had cried a river in the first couple of weeks, the occasional thought about whether she had done the right thing creeping into her mind until she saw on the TV that Richie and Heather had announced they were back together. This, she thought, was proof that she had made the right decision back at the hospital and she used it as the power to get herself through it. No matter how hard she tried though, it was just impossible to push Richie far from her mind and most of all her heart. She felt as though a part of her was missing since she left him and couldn’t find anything to replace it so she turned to her work. She was now in the middle of a project with another company that was taking her across the world again which she was happy about as it kept her busy. She had noticed a number of changes in herself too, she was much more open about her past now and had even told her new partner Simon all about her experience with Richie and her past. It made their friendship easier as both knew where to draw the line in their conversations. On this particular day, Leah found herself in Arizona. The minute the plane had landed all she could think about was Richie. “What’s up with your face?” Simon had asked her. “You know that guy Richie I told you about? Well I need to do something while I’m here, I think it will help me get him out of my head for good. A kind of final goodbye,” Leah explained to Simon as she made her way out of the airport exit and into the first taxi she could see. It was a long trip through the night but she made it to Sedona just in time to watch the sun rise from the bottom of the hill to Richie’s house where he proposed to her.

As she stood there watching the sun create the beautiful view around her she was startled when she heard a man’s voice behind her. It was Richie. He looked just as shocked to see her as she did to see him. She hadn’t been expecting him up this early and thought it would be safe to come without bumping into him. Richie moved closer to her trying to work out what to say. Leah was speechless. “I can’t believe you’re here. I thought I was just a little nut’s by doing this. I should explain. I was in a little café in Dublin a couple of weeks ago and I heard this song called the Man Who Can’t Be Moved and I realised it was just how I felt,” Richie told her, which resulted in a mix of confusion and amusement from Leah who had no idea what he was talking about. He then started singing the song to her, making her think he had turned into a madman.

“Going back to the corner where I first saw you,
Gonna camp in my sleeping bag. I'm not gonna move,
Got some words on cardboard got your picture in my hand,
Saying if you see this girl can you tell her where I am,
Some try to hand me money they don't understand,
I'm not... broke I'm just a broken hearted man,
I know it makes no sense, but what else can I do,
How can I move on when I've been in love with you...

Cos if one day you wake up and find that you're missing me,
And your heart starts to wonder where on this earth I can be,
Thinking maybe you'd come back here to the place that we'd meet,
And you'd see me waiting for you on the corner of the street.”

“Well I didn’t decide to camp on a street but it made me jump on the next plane back here and put the idea in my head that if I came down here every morning at sun rise you would be here and you are,” Richie continued his crazy rant. Leah couldn’t help but smile at him. “You know Richie, that’s one of they crazy thoughts your supposed to keep to yourself. Tell the wrong person that and they’ll have the men in white coats lined up outside to cart you away to the funny farm before you can blink,” Leah laughed.

Letting the laughter between them settle, Richie turned to her with a more serious face. He was unsure of how to tell her about the past six months but started anyway, hoping she would listen. He explained about how he had agreed to give it another shot with Heather after much convincing. Jon and Dot had been against the idea from the start and they had even had a fight over it. He then told her of how when they were together it just didn’t feel right. Nothing was the same and after four months of trying at a marriage that just wasn’t meant to be, they ended it once more. Leah was surprised, she hadn’t read anything anywhere about them splitting up again. He explained how Heather had gave him her blessing to find Leah again after she realised they didn’t have the same love for each other as before and Ava spent most of the time they were together talking about Leah and asking why she wasn’t around anymore. “I spent most of the last two months trying to find you and it’s a really hard task to do. Every time I called your office they said you were out of town and I was ready to give up until I heard that stupid song in that café,” Richie told her. Leah explained that since she left him she had done nothing but work and had changed her mobile number. She then went on to tell him the reasons she felt she had left him for and her fear of not providing a family for him.

“The only woman in the world I want is you, Leah. I don’t care if we don’t have any kid’s but the chance of having them with you would be better than having ten with anyone else,” Richie assured her. Leah sat on the ground to take in his words, she had tears rolling down her face after what he had told her. She couldn’t believe how stupid she had been at throwing away what she had with him. She wanted to start again but couldn’t find the words to tell him how she felt. She didn’t have the same gift of words the way he did and found herself laughing at the terrible ideas that had came to her head, “It’s cheesy but it’s true, home is where the heart is, and my heart belongs with you.” Getting over her laughter she decided that words weren’t needed, they had always spoken with their eyes. She got to her feet and pulled him in close as they shared an intoxicatingly passionate kiss. Pulling away, Richie asked, “What the hell were you laughing at?” This caused Leah to laugh uncontrollably once more before replying, “It’s too embarrassing to tell you.” Richie shook his head and chuckled to himself before taking Leah’s hand in his and they started walking. “Where are we going?” Leah asked him. With a smile, Richie pointed up to the house and told her, “Home.”

Chapter 25

At 2.30am Leah and Richie’s hotel phone rings. Richie eventually decided to get up and answer it, ready to give the person on the other end a piece of his mind for waking him up. Turning on the bedside lamp, Leah watched as Richie’s expression changed from anger to a worried panic. Leah knew immediately that something was wrong. Getting out of bed and moving to where he stood on the phone she put an arm around him hoping it would comfort him from the news he was receiving. Hanging up the phone, Richie shook of Leah’s arm and rushed to get dressed, “I have to go to London.” Leah was confused as to why he would want to go there. “That was a hospital on the phone, Heather took an overdose and Ava found her. She’s there on her own,” Richie said as his voice filled with more panic. He was frantically searching the room for everything he would need to take with him. Leah stopped him and sat him on the bed to calm him down and explained that he shouldn’t go alone in the state he was in and that she would come with him. Opening the suitcase and throwing all their stuff into it, Richie had packed within minutes while Leah went to the next room to wake up Jon and Dot and tell them what had happened. Before Leah had finished explaining, Jon and Dot had already started packing telling her they were going too. A short while later they had met up at the front of the hotel and were getting into a taxi to the airport. Jon arranged for a flight to take them to London as quickly as possible since Richie seemed to only be able to mumble words so fast there were impossible to make out. Leah, Jon and Dot tried their hardest to calm him down during the flight as things weren’t moving as fast as he’d like.

Arriving at the hospital, Richie frantically searched for someone to take him to his daughter while the other three ran behind. They catch up just in time to turn the corner and watch just as Richie finds Ava standing in tears outside the window of a hospital ward and Richie runs towards her. Throwing his arms around his daughter and cradling her in his arms. Leah felt the tears well up inside her. She was suddenly hit by the realisation that she might never be able to give him a child. Watching him with Ava, Leah could see he was a great father and Ava adored him. It made Leah think of the times she had read interviews by Richie in magazines in the past where he openly spoke about wanting more children. Pulling herself together, Leah, Jon and Dot made their way over to Ava, each of them giving her a big hug. Richie spoke to the nurses about Heather who assured him she will be okay once she wakes up. They explained that she has been suffering from severe depression for a number of years now, which shocked Richie as she had never mentioned it to him while they were married. The nurse then led Ava and Richie into the ward to see her while the others waited outside. From the hallway, Leah could see through the same window that Ava was looking in. She watched as Richie and Ava stood around Heather’s still unconscious body. As Richie took Heather’s hand in his and held it tightly, Leah could see from the way he looked at her that some part of him still loved her. She turned away, unable to watch any longer but the thoughts of Richie and Heather still stayed in her head. They looked so good together and they had a beautiful child and could still have many more. Leah felt as though she couldn’t compete with that.

A short while later Richie and Ava return from the ward. They decide it would be best if they find a hotel in the area to spend the night and get Ava into her bed. Richie had gone with one of the nurses to speak to a doctor about Heather’s condition while the other three headed out of the hospital with Jon holding a sleeping Ava in his arms. Before they go outside they realise they don’t have Ava’s jacket and Leah goes back up to the ward to find it before they take her out in the cold. It didn’t take long for Leah to see the jacket lying over a chair beside Heather and she went in to get it. Just as she was turning to leave she heard Heather speak. “So you’re Richie’s new girlfriend,” she managed to say groggily. Leah looked at her confused as to how she knew who she was and unsure of what to say to her. “Ava showed me lot’s of photos from the holiday. She never stops talking about you,” she replied to Leah’s blank expression. “I’ll go get the nurse for you,” Leah finally managed to speak. “No, not yet. Come over here I want to talk to you,” Heather said, pointing to the chair beside her. Leah made her way over but chose to stand beside it rather than sit down. “I was really lucky to have a man like Richie love me and so are you. I ruined that by messing him around. I didn’t realise how much I loved him until he was gone and I still love him. I just wanted you to know that all I want is for him to be happy,” Heather explained to her. Leah felt awkward and unsure of why she was telling her this. “That’s all I want too,” Leah replied and left to find the nurse.

As she made to go back to Jon and Dot with the jacket, Leah replayed everything Heather had said to her in her head. She was now convinced that Richie should be back with his ex wife. She had thought about what she had told her and decided that the reason she had messed Richie around in the first place could have been because of her health. Her heart wanted Richie so much for herself but her head told her she couldn’t stand in the way of Richie’s happiness. With Heather he could be happy and they could have a big family together, what he always wanted. There was still the chance of Leah having a baby but it was slim and she wasn’t prepared to risk Richie’s happiness for it. As she made her way down the stairs she saw Richie coming down the opposite set and they met on the landing. Leah explained that Heather had woken up and was okay before telling him she had to talk to him. She explained that she wouldn’t be able to stay with him any longer and that she would be leaving tonight. Richie tried to stop her but she wouldn’t listen. Instead she took her engagement ring off and put it in his hand telling him, “Your wife and daughter need you.” She then turned and continued down the rest of the stairs as Richie watched her go. At the front door she hurriedly gave Dot the jacket and told them to take Ava to hotel and phone Richie to tell him where they are. She then made her way to the exit quickly, unable to hold the tears back any longer. Hearing Jon and Dot shout after her, she started to run and let the tears flow.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Chapter 24

The following morning Leah and Richie woke up late. They had arranged the night before that Leah, Richie, Jon and Dot would stay on at the hotel for a few more days after the others had left. They woke up in just enough time to get breakfast and washed and dressed to say goodbye to David, Katie, Tico and his wife as well as a few other guests. The only thing they had left to do now was decide what the plan would be for the rest of the day. After a long time wasted with no one wanting to do the same thing they eventually decided to go a boat trip and just spend the day on the loch. It was really cold out on the water but they made the most of it. Having a laugh together and making an endless supply of hot drinks to keep themselves warm. Arriving back at the hotel they all agreed never to get on a boat in the cold again even though they enjoyed themselves they still couldn’t get over turning blue and shivering for most of the time. They spent a little while together in the bar getting warmed up again before they made their way back to their rooms and arranged to meet for dinner and a drink later at night.

By 7pm they had all arrived at the table in the hotel restaurant and were ordering up their food. It was pleasant meal and they had been having a good time together but Leah felt as though she was being watched but no matter how hard she looked she couldn’t see anyone there. The room was pretty busy so she reminded herself that she was sitting with two members of Bon Jovi and put the paranoia down to it being some fans watching them. When dinner was over with the four of them continued to sit at the table and swap stories. Most of them were so funny that Leah had turned red from laughing so hard and she excused herself to get some fresh air and cool down. Outside Leah stood at the side of the building to catch the breeze coming from the loch. She stood there for a few minutes just taking in the scenery until she felt it again. The same feeling she had inside the hotel of someone watching her. This time she was convinced it was definitely no fan. The feeling brought with it the sense of danger and she began to study the areas amongst the trees for any sign of something moving and once again failed to see anything. Deciding it must just be her mind playing tricks on her after the couple of glasses of wine she had with dinner she moved to go back inside. But it was too late.

The man came out of nowhere and was standing right in front of her. She recognised him immediately. Panic and fear set in at the same time and she tried to run but he was too fast for her. In one swift movement he had her pushed back against the wall with his hand over her mouth so she couldn’t speak. “Do you know what you put me through, sending me to that place? I promised you I would find you when I got out and here I am. Imagine my surprise when I find out you’ve been living it up with some rock star while I’ve been locked up like an animal. Now the question is how do we finish you off?” the man said in a dark menacing tone. Leah was trembling now, she knew what this man was capable of more than anyone. “It’s a shame it has to end like this, we could have been good together but you had to go and ruin it all. I think I’ll go for a nice slow death and make you suffer for setting me up. Before we get to that though, I can think of better things to do with you. You were mines once before, you could be again,” he said as his free hand wandered over her body and found the bottom of her dress. As he began to lift it upwards Leah tried to kick and punch at him in an attempt to break free but it only made him mad. “Now that wasn’t very smart!” he whispered quietly which only made it sound more fierce than if he had roared it. Grabbing her neck he threw her back against the wall so her feet were dangling in the air and she couldn’t breathe. She continued to kick at him and pull at his hands but he only tightened his grip. Just as she was about to give up, Leah saw Jon come round the corner and the shock in his face that turned to rage as he realised what was happening. In a split second he had flew from the doorway to where Leah was and dived for the man. Leah fell to the floor and gasped for air while Jon and the man rolled around the floor fighting. After a short time the man managed to break free and ran away.

Jon picked Leah up and helped her back inside making sure she was okay. Richie and Dot noticed them from the table and ran to see what had happened while the barman phoned the police. Within half an hour the police had arrived and Leah explained to them everything that had happened. After dealing with them she returned to where the other three were waiting and Richie threw his arms around her. Leah had tears in her eyes as she apologised for getting them involved in this and thanked Jon for saving her life. She now had to do what she had been dreading for months, she was going to tell them about her past. She explained that she knew the man, that his name was Steve and he was responsible for the death of her husband Joe and their baby. He had been so sick as to set up a camera before he made the attack on them. First he had beat up Leah and stabbed her in the stomach while she was pregnant before moving on to killing Joe with multiple stab wounds. When she finally came around in hospital to the news that she had lost her husband and her baby, the police arrived to tell her that there wasn’t enough evidence to arrest anyone even though she had caught a glimpse of the man they couldn’t use it in court because of the state she was in. She told them of how she got so angry with life and vowed to get justice for Joe. She made the decision to act as Steve’s girlfriend and get to know him and find out where the tape had been hidden. She told them of how she overheard him talking about how he couldn’t believe the woman he stabbed was now his girlfriend and the torture she went through during that time and how it destroyed her as a person but she wouldn’t give up until she found the tape and she eventually did which got him sent to prison. The others couldn’t believe it and Dot seemed to be crying more than she was. They told her she was very brave for doing what she did, but she only felt stupid. They decided to call it a night and they headed to bed where Leah fell asleep in Richie’s arms.

Chapter 23

The day of the wedding had finally arrived and Leah bounced out of bed excitedly, waking up Richie in the process. He wasn’t looking too great this morning in Leah’s opinion. He had taken the celebratory drinking a bit far the night before and Leah and David had to help him up the stair to bed, something he had no recollection of this morning. They have a couple of hours before they have to start getting dressed for the ceremony which was due to start at 3pm so Leah set about getting Richie into a humanised state rather than the hung-over mess he had woke up as. Trying many different hang-over helpers as she could think of she eventually ran out of ideas and ran down the hall for any advice from they other guys. Jon and David couldn’t resist the idea of getting to see the state Richie was in and headed straight to their room to poke fun at him. After he had heard enough teasing from them he threw them out and went back to sleep telling Leah to wake him up in enough time to get dressed. Leah decided that 2pm would be enough time for him to get ready in and woke him up. “Hey sexy lady! How’d you expect me to get out of bed when you’re standing over me dressed like that?” Richie joked pulling her towards him and kissed her. She had got dressed while Richie was asleep so she could pay Josh a visit before the ceremony started. “Haha, I don’t think so Mr. I’m going down to see Josh in a minute so you better get your ass in gear and get moving and I’ll see you down there,” Leah told him as he got out of bed. Kissing him once more and slapping his ass as a teasing sign to hurry him up, she left the room to find Josh.

She didn’t have to look far to find him as she approached the room that they would be married in that overlooked the loch. He was pacing nervously up and down the length of the room. “So how’s the groom doing this morning?” Leah asked, startling Josh. She pulled him into a hug. “I’m having a cow! I keep thinking I’m going to forget what I’m to say and forget her name. I’m going to do it all wrong!” Josh blurted out. Leah laughed at the state he had gotten himself into over nothing. “Josh, you need to calm down and breathe. You want to marry her, right?” Leah asked making sure it was just his clumsiness that had him so panicked. “Yeah, I love her to pieces. I can’t wait to marry her, I just want to do it right. I’m always saying the wrong things, what if I do it today?” Josh spoke so fast it was hard for Leah to pick out the words. “Well if it does you can just laugh, because that’s what Emily would do. She loves you and that means she must love your clumsiness too, so if you mess up your words she’ll just laugh,” Leah said hoping it would calm his nerves. It seemed to work as he stopped babbling on and started to breathe easy. “So your getting married to Richie,” he said nudging Leah with his elbow. “I think I should take the credit for that,” he added looking smug with himself. Leah couldn’t help but laugh. She was glad he had convinced her to give it a shot with Richie. “So what’s the plans then?” Josh asked. “To be honest I haven’t really thought about it, I mean it was only yesterday,” Leah answered not wanting to distract him from his own wedding. They spent a short time together talking about the wedding and other things before they had to get him ready to greet the guests as they arrived and waited on the bride to arrive.

Leah met Richie in the hallway standing with Jon and Dot. They spent a couple of minutes talking before going in to take their seats, most people had got used to the idea of Bon Jovi being at the wedding by now and so they only had to deal with a few who arrived today and wanted autographs and pictures. Eventually the music started up and they all watched as Emily made her way down the aisle looking beautiful in a simple ivory gown. Leah had to hold in her laugh when she saw Josh’s face as he watched her come towards him. He seemed to a settled down a lot since she spoke to him as he never hesitated on anything. Finally the ceremony was over and they were all heading outside for the photographs to be taken. Luckily the sky was bright during the photographs as it had been dull for the beginning of the day. Leah found it funny the way the guests from outside the UK had to keep putting their jackets on and off since they weren’t used to the ever changing British weather. Leah counted at least three times she saw Richie remove his just to put it back on again and couldn’t help laugh when the photographer put him straight over what a kilt was when he heard him say, “I feel sorry for they guys in the skirts.”

The photographs went by quite quickly and all of the guys were raving about how beautiful the place was and how they understood why they picked it. The dinner passed quickly with people getting a good laugh from the speeches and then it was time for the party. Everyone was enjoying themselves and Leah had only managed to see Josh and Emily once after the ceremony and only for a brief few minutes. It was now time for them to leave as they were booked on a flight to Barbados for their honeymoon. Leah couldn’t help but burst into tears as Josh gave her a hug goodbye. He really was happy this time with Emily and she hoped it would last for him. Richie wiped away her tears after they had left and Leah grabbed his hand and ran out the hotel with him. “Where the hell you taking me this time?” Richie laughed. “I want to go to this place I remember, it’s just up here,” she replied while pulling him up the hill behind her. Eventually they arrived at a stunning little hideaway where two swings sat overlooking the loch. They both sat on them swinging away like a couple of kids in the pouring rain.

Chapter 22

The time they spent together in Sedona was the best time of Leah’s life. She had never felt so close to someone, not even Joe. Although she knew she loved Joe it just wasn’t the same with him as she felt when she was with Richie. Today would be the last day they had together in Sedona as they had a plane to catch later at night to take them to Glasgow for Josh’s wedding in two days time. Leah was both excited and apprehensive about going back to Loch Lomond, she was unsure about how it would feel to be so close to the memories she had of Joe while she was with Richie, she doesn’t want anything to ruin what they have. Packing their cases and tidying up the rest of the house, Leah and Richie were busy for most of the day getting everything sorted so they would only need to pick up their cases later and head to the airport. Leah’s excitement seemed to be rubbing off on Richie who was tidying up as fast as he could before telling Leah he had booked a table at a local restaurant for dinner. After finishing up all the tasks they had set themselves they had a couple of hours to spare before they were to go for dinner so they made the most of the pool. Richie continued to be really excited and playful as he ducked Leah under the water. The time had passed so fast while they were having fun that they were going to be late for their dinner. Racing each other to get into the shower first, they ended up playfully fighting over it before deciding to go together.

Arriving at the restaurant they were only a few minutes late and were served immediately much to their relief as they didn’t want to be late for the plane. They spent most of the dinner laughing and joking while they drank their wine. It was a beautiful restaurant they were in. The place had been well decorated and was clearly designed for couples having romantic meals as every table had candles and most were only two seats. They even had a band at the front of the room who were softly playing cheesy love longs that Leah hated. This, Richie found rather amusing as he watched her expression change at the end of every song anticipating the next one in hope that it was something she liked but each time ended up disappointed. Eventually they left the restaurant, choosing to walk the small distance back to the house. Walking hand in hand they enjoyed each others company all the way back to the foot of the hill that the house was on. Leah had noticed Richie had gone quiet after being so excited and playful a few seconds earlier. She was rather confused when he stopped and got to his knee. “I know you had some wine to drink but I didn’t think it was enough to make you unable to walk,” Leah said, laughing as she tried to pull him off the ground. Richie laughed loudly, “Stop it, woman. Just stand up, I’m trying to do something here.” Leah looked confused until he brought a ring out of his pocket and the realisation hit her. “Leah Mendez, will you do me the honour of marrying me?” Richie asked her. Leah was overwhelmed, she didn’t know what to do. Jumping at him and knocking him over, they both lay on the ground as she repeatedly shouted “yes.”

Arriving at Glasgow airport, Leah and Richie eagerly await Jon and Dot and the others to tell them their news. Excitedly they bounce around the airport waiting on their flight to arrive. It was mid afternoon in Glasgow after the overnight flight and Richie and Leah were starting to feel tired as they hadn’t got much sleep on the plane due to their excitement. After hours of waiting, the others finally arrive and we all say our hello’s. It wasn’t long before Jon noticed how excited Richie and Leah were and asks, “What’s got you two so happy?” Richie tells them they are looking at the future Mrs Sambora and they all congratulate them. Everyone seems really happy for them and Jon revealed that he and Dot had been placing bets on when he would pop the question while telling them, “Anyone can see you two were made for each other.” Together they all got into the cars that had been arranged to take them to the hotel they would be staying in at Loch Lomond.

On arrival at the loch, Josh and Emily were waiting for them and Leah couldn’t tell them their news quick enough. Josh lifted her off the ground in excitement as he congratulated her before turning to congratulate Richie. Emily also seemed happy about the news and gave her a big hug. They explained to them that they wouldn’t be telling anyone else over the weekend as they didn’t want to take the attention from Josh and Emily and asked them to keep quiet. After they met the rest of the guest who had arrived early they all went to their rooms to unpack before meeting up again later for a couple of drinks. At the bar they all catch up on what each other has been up to with their time off. Leah notices that Dot isn’t drinking alcohol and asks her about it. Instead of an answer Dot elbows Jon and whispers something in his ear. He then tells them he wants to make an announcement, “I know we’ve already had some great news today but we’ve got more to add to it. We’re having a baby!” Everyone holds their drinks up and one by one congratulates them. Richie asks, “We? So is that one each? I thought you were getting a little chubby the last time I saw you.” Leah watches as everyone talks about the news. She can’t help but feel a mixture of sadness and happiness. She loves that Dot and Jon are having a baby and knows they will be good parents but can’t help but feel sad that she might not ever be able to.

Chapter 21

The end of the tour arrives quicker than they all had anticipated, the time seemed to have flown past and Dot and Leah were going to be dealing with the press conference for their project on the same day as they guys were doing their last show. From the minute they met up for breakfast the atmosphere was different to previous shows, they were all excited but it was met with a mixture of relief that it was over but also sadness that after tonight they wouldn’t be performing together for a while. As the day goes on Dot and Leah leave to deal with the advertisement of their designs while the guys head to the stadium for sound check. The whole experience goes well for Dot and Leah and their clothing range has been well received which let them finish up and get to the stadium in time for the end of the show before they headed to the party afterwards.

The show was once again electric with the guys giving it their all for the last night. By time they were due to leave the stadium for the party everyone was ready for a good time and they all squeezed into the cars that were waiting for them. Arriving at the club, they all seated themselves around a large table near the back of the room and arranged for champagne to be sent over to celebrate the end of the tour and the success of Dot and Leah’s work. With the alcohol flowing it wasn’t long before everyone started to get a little drunk and Leah was taken by surprise when Richie lifted her off the chair and onto the dance floor for a dance. It wasn’t just her who was shocked by it as she looked over Richie’s shoulder to see the faces at the table stare in a combination of shock and amazement which made Leah laugh as she started to dance with him. “So you know that house I was looking at in Sedona? Well I got the keys today and I was wondering if you’d like to go down there with me for a while until Josh’s wedding?” Richie whispered in her ear as they danced. “Of course I will,” Leah accepted his offer without any hesitation. After an awkward start to their relationship, they had come a long way. Most days when they had some time off from work they would be inseparable but it didn’t cause any problems with the guys who had all decided that they were good for each other. Leah had been taken in as part of the family. After hearing her answer Richie lifted her into the air and twirled on the spot much to Leah’s amusement and embarrassment, before they went back to the table to tell the others about his new house.

Stepping off the plane in Arizona, Richie and Leah made their way to the car that was waiting for them. It was an uncomfortable journey due to the heat and they were both glad to get out of the car when it pulled up outside a beautiful house. The heat in the car had distracted her so much she never bothered to look out the window and take in the sights around her. Standing outside the house at the top of a hill they could see for miles around them, the giant sandstone formations creating a breathtaking view. “Still convinced the sea view is better?” Richie asked her after watching her take in the area around her. “Well it is much nicer than I expected, but to compare this to the sea isn’t possible,” Leah grinned not wanting to give Richie the satisfaction of gloating about having a view like this from every room in his house after she made such a big deal of living somewhere far from the sea. Richie shook his head and laughed at her reply knowing exactly what she was doing. Together they entered the house and investigated the place room by room. It really was a beautiful house.

After they unpacked and rearranged things the way they wanted they made a start on dinner together. They made a great team as all the food was cooked and prepared without any problems and Richie set the table on the balcony for them to eat at. When Leah brought the food out she was amazed at the trouble he had went through just to set up a table. The balcony had been cordoned off by beautiful red curtains so that it appeared that the balcony wasn’t part of the room but standing on its own so they could be entirely alone, surrounding them was a well laid out selection of candles which made it look so romantic. Leah praised him for the work he had done before they began to eat. As the sun set over the sandstone formations and the night grew darker, the candles really came to life and they spent the whole night talking. It was the first time she had experienced Richie’s song writing too, as they sat together he would play her various songs he had written and had also put together bits of new songs that were in progress. It was then that Leah realised that she really loved him. As the sun began to rise, he was playing his guitar and looking like he had the first time she saw him play when she thought he had gone to another place while playing. He looked so at peace with everything around him. She was surprised when she realised he had stopped playing but instead was looking at her the way she had been watching him. It was then that he said the words “I love you.” Leah smiled at him and felt tears of happiness well up in her eyes as she replied, “I love you too.” Holding each other close they watched the sun rise over the sandstone formations, creating an astonishing view all around them.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Chapter 20

The flight to Europe was one of the most uncomfortable journeys Leah had ever experienced. The whole flight she could feel Jon and Dot glaring at her. Walking past them onto the plane hand in hand with Richie, she felt like the most hated woman on earth. Richie had plans to tell them but had to give himself the time to calm down first, part of him was angry that Jon let him make the mistake and part of him was glad he was watching his back. Richie seemed to have sensed how uncomfortable Leah felt as he made his way up to Jon and pulled him aside. Watching from the corner of her eye she could tell Jon was really embarrassed and sorry for the whole thing but that didn’t stop her from wanting to escape from the plane when she noticed him coming towards her. “Leah, I really need to apologise for my behaviour last night it was out of order. I shouldn’t have treated you like that without knowing the whole story,” Jon said as his head hung in shame. “Don’t be sorry, it’s nice to know you’re looking out for Richie. It’s me that should be sorry, I should have told him earlier,” Leah smiled at him. It felt like a huge relief knowing that they didn’t hate her, there was no way she could stay with Richie any longer if that was what the atmosphere was going to be like.

After the plane had landed they all made their way to their hotel, the guys hoping to catch up on the sleep they missed on the plane before the show tonight. Leah was now booked to share her room with Richie, which both of them were happy about but Leah couldn’t help but think of it as strange. Now and again the thought would occur to her that she was dating a rock star. It felt surreal, especially since she didn’t think of him as a famous person. She once met Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones and turned into some star struck mess even though she wasn’t a great fan of his. The thought made her chuckle, how could she have been so uncontrolled when she met him and yet since her first meeting with any of Bon Jovi they all seemed so nice and normal. A knock at the door interrupted her thoughts and she found Dot at the other side. “I’m so sorry!” Dot threw her arms around Leah before she could manage to say anything. Leah pulled away laughing. “How can you laugh when we were so horrible to you,” Dot asked. “It was just a misunderstanding, everything’s sorted now so it’s all good,” Leah assured her. She was glad this would be the last apology she had to deal with since the others didn’t know about it. They arranged their plans for going back to the project which was almost in the final stages now. They had a number of products that had been a success and Leah was sure they would do well when they hit the shops. With work plans in place for the last couple of months to finalise things they decided they would have enough time to attend the show that night and abandoned all attempts at an early start the next morning.

Arriving at the stadium together, Dot and Leah were in high spirits and ready to have a good time. That seemed to be the general vibe from everyone backstage and the guys were more than eager to get back out there. Leah could sense this was going to be a good show, the atmosphere was electric and everyone was looking for a good time. Dot and Leah spent the first couple of songs at the side of the stage which was a great experience in most peoples eyes, but having been a festival goer for most of her life while in the UK, Leah was always convinced that the middle of the crowd was the best place to be. Grabbing Dot’s hand, they both ran through the backstage area and out to the front making their way towards the centre of the stadium. Within ten minutes of being there Leah knew Dot understood why she had taken her here, the atmosphere of being in the middle of all these fans was just amazing and although they had a better view before it didn’t have the same feeling. They spent the rest of the show jumping up and down and enjoying themselves with the rest of the fans before making their way back to the stage to go back to the hotel.

At the hotel everyone was still buzzing so they stayed at the bar for a couple of drinks before heading back to the rooms. It had been a really enjoyable night and Leah found it was the best show she had been to which pleased the guys. Eventually they all parted ways and headed to bed. Leah watched Richie as he lay on the bed deep in thought and then joined him as he started to talk. Leah sensed this was going to be a serious talk from the way he couldn’t quite find the words to start the sentence. He eventually managed to tell her about his relationship with Heather. Leah could tell he loved her very much and was devastated when he found out she was having an affair. He told her of how her behaviour changed all of a sudden and she just went crazy on him, out with different men all the time and leaving him to look after Ava. He spoke about how difficult it was to leave her after loving her so much and because he didn’t want to hurt Ava who seemed to have taken the situation better than them. Leah was glad that he opened up to her but also scared as this meant the pressure was now on her to do the same and she still wasn’t ready to relive the whole experience again. It was only right that she at least try to tell him and so she explained how her mother and father worked away and left her with her aunt who was less than supportive in everything she did. They didn’t get on at all and any time away from the house she could get she would take it. She explained how she had met Joe and Josh at School and they were her rocks throughout her life and told of how her and Joe were the childhood sweethearts that married early and people thought they would never last. That was as far into the story as she managed to go and Richie sensed it, he didn’t want to push her for more and turned the light off so they could sleep.