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.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Chapter 19

On waking up on the last day they had left in Australia, Leah bounced out of bed, waking up Richie in the process. She wasn’t going to spend the final day moping about thinking of going back to work tomorrow. Although the original plan was just for the guys to take a holiday, Leah and Dot had also abandoned any attempts of work while they had been there. She was actually looking forward to getting started on the project again and as far as she could tell Dot was too. She noticed over the time they had spent together that the guys loved their job too, it was more of a hate they had towards the travelling, Jon in particular hated living out of a suitcase. Turning her thoughts back to the plans for today, Leah went for a quick shower and was dressed in record time. On her return to the room she attempted to pull Richie out of bed to a chorus of moans and groans about it being to early to get up and accusing Leah of being too cheerful in the mornings. Eventually he forced himself out of bed and got dressed while Leah went to make them breakfast. On his arrival downstairs he found his breakfast sitting at the table ready for him but no-one else there. After he finished he went a walk around the garden and found Leah in the pool. Kneeling down to talk to her, Richie was shocked when he realised he was falling into the water. Ava had pushed him, giving him no way to save himself from going in. As he resurfaced the shock on his face disappeared as he heard Leah and Ava laughing and giving each other a high five and realised he had been set up. Laughing, he jumped up and picked up Ava, holding her high in the air then dunking her into the pool. The plan seemed to have backfired on Richie because she loved it and kept telling him to do it again.

After spending the morning in the pool, they couldn’t decide on where to spend the day so they left the decision up to Ava who wanted to go surfing again. Richie didn’t seem so keen on the idea but not wanting to disappoint his daughter he agreed to go along. The three of them were having a great time together just messing about on the surf boards and having a laugh. Eventually Richie got tired of the sea and made his way back up to the house to deal with some things he had to do. Ava refused to go with him and stayed behind with Leah. They continued to play in the sea for a further hour, with Leah teaching Ava all she knew about surfing and Ava adamant she would one day be a championship surfer like Leah. Returning to the house they found Richie sitting outside with a pile of papers in front of him as he was choosing a house to buy. He had arranged for all the documents to be sent to him so he could narrow down the houses he wanted to view when he was back in America. Leah left him in peace while she went to get washed up. As she came back down the stairs she was met with Ava running at her telling her to pick what house she liked best. “So what’s all this for?” Leah asked Richie. “I’m looking for a new home, somewhere different this time though. I’ve got my place in LA but I want a quieter place where I can just kick back and write some songs,” Richie told her. Leah took a look at the choices he had been given, they were all nice houses but he seemed to have narrowed the choice down to two in Sedona, Arizona which surprised Leah. It wasn’t a place she expected he would like which he obviously noticed in her face as he told her, “you clearly haven’t seen the sunrise in Sedona. It’s breathtaking. The perfect place to write music.”
“I’ve heard it’s a nice place but there’s a severe lack of ocean for my liking, the places I like are all near the sea,” Leah said. “Well I better change your mind then,” Richie smiled at her then added as an afterthought, “Where is your permanent home anyway?” Leah laughed before answering, “You’ll think I’m nuts, but I’ve never really had a “home” as such. I’ve got a place in New York for work and a place in London but I wouldn’t call them a home. I think a home is a place that you love and want to stay, it’s like a place you have to find throughout your life, I just don’t have mine yet.” Richie looked a little confused then laughed softly, “Well that was a deeper answer than I expected,” as he leaned over to kiss her. Richie then made some phone calls to the estate agent but wasn’t getting anywhere with Ava dancing and singing around the room so Leah took her to the shop to get her out of his way while he made his phone calls.

After he had finished, Richie got a visit from Jon who had spotted Ava and Leah leave the house. “So how’s things going with Leah?” Jon asked, straight to the point. “There great. She’s great. I know it’s only been a little while but I really, really like her, Jon,” Richie told him, choosing his words carefully since he thought Jon would think he was a little mad if he had said what he had been thinking over the past few days, that his feelings for Leah were stronger than just “really liked” her. She had made him feel different from any other women he had had a relationship with in the past. He was slightly worried at the pace in which these feelings had developed since he hadn’t known her a long time but they also made him feel optimistic, he had taken the view that they must have a good thing going if he felt so strongly about her in such a short period of time. He expected Jon to look happy for him but he looked rather worried. “What’s up?” Richie asked him. “Richie, I don’t know how to say this but here goes. Dot think’s Leah’s hiding something from us. She’s been watching her over the past few days and at first I thought it was just her overactive imagination but the more I think about it, I think she might be right. I mean how much do we really know about her?” Jon said solemnly. Richie looked as though he had been hit with a shovel, he looked torn between anger and worry. The anger from the fact Jon could suggest something like that and the worry incase he was right. “I just don’t want to see you get hurt again, Richie. I thought it would be best to say something now before it’s too late,” Jon said putting a hand on Richie’s shoulder. Richie seemed to be finding it hard to take in what Jon was saying, he turned round and said, “It could just be Dot’s imagination, Jon. She just seems like a private person to me.” Jon looked at him for a minute, he looked so sad and so determined to believe that she wasn’t hiding anything. Jon got out his phone, “If she’s hiding something we can find out. There’s always people you can call.” Richie was unsure but after thinking about it he decided he would rather know what it was now than find out later. He told Jon to make some calls and see what he could find out.

As Leah and Ava made their way back to the house they met Jon and Dot at the front door. “Ava, you’re dad wants you to stay here just now. Come on in,” Jon shouted from the doorway. As Ava made her way to go into the house she still had Leah’s hand so took her along too. Smiling and skipping along they made their way to the door where Ava ran inside. Jon held his hand out to stop Leah from entering after her. “Richie wants a word with you,” Jon said with an icy tone that she had never heard before. Unsure of what it was about and aware that Jon wouldn’t answer her if she asked she turned at headed to the other house. Entering the house she found Richie at the kitchen table with his back to her. “Hey, you wanted me for something?” Leah asked. “Don’t give me that crap! I know about you,” Richie almost growled. “Know what, Richie?” Leah asked unsure of why he was so mad. “Your fucking married!” he yelled at her as he turned to face her. His face red with rage. “Am I just some idiot you fancied a fling with? I bet he’s that Josh bastard! What, you and him got some kinky cheating game going on? Was that Emily in on it too or is she just another idiot?” Richie kept yelling at her. Leah just stood string at him, the rage building up inside her. “How could you go behind my back and find out about me. I told you I would tell you my story when I was ready. If you didn’t want to wait you should have just told me and I would have finished things between us then,” she had began to yell back at him. “So you were going to tell me some time down the line that you were nothing but a cheating bitch who picked me as your idiot?” Richie asked incredulously. “Richie, you don’t understand! Who did you find out from? Why didn’t you ask me?” she asked, her voice calming down as tears began to spill from her eyes. “Because I think I’m in love with you! That’s why! I didn’t want to end up the same as the last time!” he shouted as he leaned his arms on the side of the table, fighting back the tears that were welling up. Leah stood silently, taking in what he had said. She reached out to touch his arm, “Richie, you don’t understand. He’s dead. My husband’s dead.” Richie continued to stand there unsure where to look as he took in the information. “He was killed many years ago now. It was the anniversary of his death the other day when Josh was here and I forgot about it, that was what upset me. I didn’t mean to hurt you Richie. I’ll get out of your way now, I’ll be gone in the morning,” Leah told him and walked away. Richie pulled on her arm, “If you could forgive me for going behind your back, I would love for you to stay on this tour with us.” Leah looked him straight in the eye, he was being serious and she realised that it was her fault that it had happened in the first place, if she had just told him. She hadn’t realised that he had been hurt so much in the past too. What she did realise was that they needed to get to know each other more but when they were both ready. She touched his face with her hand and nodded while smiling through the tears. Richie smiled back at her as he pulled her close to him.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Chapter 18

The next morning Leah woke up with her head resting on Richie’s chest, not wanting to wake him up so early she continued to lie where she was just thinking about last night. Eventually she felt him move and chanced looking at him, hoping he had woken up. “Sorry did I wake you?” Richie asked her smiling and moved in to kiss her. “No, I thought I had got you up there. I’ve been awake for a while now,” Leah smiled back. “You mean I’ve been lying here with a dead arm all morning, not moving incase I woke you up for no reason?” Richie laughed and they adjusted themselves on the bed so they were looking at each other. For the next hour they spent the morning talking and learning more about each other, Leah still careful not to reveal too much. She wasn’t ready to tell him about her past yet and Richie didn’t push her for answers. She felt so at peace with him just lying there that she didn’t want to get out of bed until Richie suggested a shower to wake them up. They both made their way to the bathroom and got in the shower and all was going well until they heard Ava’s voice, “Dad? Are you in the shower? I need you to fix my bike, its broken.” The look of panic in Richie’s face made Leah laugh as she made her escape out of the shower to hide behind the door while Richie went out to see to his daughter. Hearing him leave the room she decided he would be a while and took a shower alone.

Creeping down the stairs, Leah held her breath hoping that she wouldn’t bump into anyone. She wanted to make her way back to her room to get changed before she was spotted. Explaining to Ava why she was creeping out of her dad’s room wearing the same clothes she had on last night was a conversation she was happy to avoid. She had made it all the way up to her room before she was seen by Jon just as she went in the door, “Good night I take it,” he grinned. Leah only managed to look embarrassed as she made her escape into her room, leaving Jon chuckling in the hall. After she got changed and had breakfast Richie called her to ask her over at Ava’s request. Arriving back at Richie’s shortly after, Ava bounced up to her and gave her a hug while thanking her for going to the theme park with them. She only had a second with Richie alone before Ava came back to take her into the garden. He had whispered an apology for leaving earlier that made Leah laugh again as she remembered the look on his face. Taking Richie and Leah up to the garden table, Ava set out some games that she wanted them to play with her. Leah thought sitting with the two of them would feel awkward but she soon learned that it was a lot of fun as they joked around playing the games. Ava seemed to really like her, always asking her opinion before she made any moves on the games and constantly asking questions about what kind of things she liked. They continued to play the games until they got to the end of twister that Ava was the expert in, after winning every game they played. When Tico and his wife returned from their shopping trip, the five of them got started on organising things for the BBQ they were having for dinner. Leah was especially looking forward to seeing Josh and Emily again.

Josh and Emily were the first ones to arrive, shortly followed by Jon and Dot who gave Emily a warm welcome. David and Katie turned up half way through the night after being held up after a road accident. The night was going well with most of them already half drunk by time the food was over with. Leah was surprised at the difference in Emily after a couple of drinks, she was much more talkative and Leah found it easier to get to know her. “So where’s the wedding going to be?” Jon asked them. “Well, we’ve actually got it all planned and booked and we’re having it at Loch Lomond in Scotland. I know that will surprise you Leah since I go on about the beach so much but that’s a place I love so much from my childhood. Remember the holidays we spent up there? Plus Emily has a lot of relatives there and you‘re all invited,” Josh explained. Leah was more than surprised by the choice of location, she was expecting it on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean, Loch Lomond was a beautiful place but the cold and historic element of it never really appealed to her but she could remember all the good times they had spent there when they were younger. Josh pulled her aside and walked with her to the bottom of the garden where they sat with their heads resting together. “Will you be alright with the wedding being there? I know we spent a lot of time there during the summer’s and it could be emotional,” Josh asked her. “Josh, it’s what you want that matters, I was surprised at the choice but I will be there no matter what,” she smiled at him and gave him a cuddle. They spent a long time sitting there catching up with each other and Leah told him all about Richie which he was pleased to hear. “Talking about Richie, he hasn’t taken his eyes of us all the time we’ve been up here. I think he’s feeling a bit left out,” Josh stated, laughing softly. Leah looked around and waved at him. “It’s good to see you happy again, I don’t remember you being like this for a long time. Infact I don’t ever remember you like this, whatever you’ve got with this guy’s working. You look happier now than you were with Joe and you’ve only spent one night with him,” Josh laughed nervously wondering whether he should have mentioned Joe or not. At the moment he said the name he wished he hadn’t, Leah looked devastated. “Oh my god, Josh. It was today! It all happened today and I forgot all about it. How could I do that?” she struggled out, trying not to cry. “Leah, it’s not a bad thing. You’ll always remember Joe in your own way, he was a big part of your life, of both of ours. It’s better to remember him in other ways rather than today, and I reckon he’d be glad you forgot. He’d like nothing more than to see you happy and before I opened my big trap that’s what you were,” Josh pulled her close to him hoping that she would agree with him. Eventually she calmed down and got herself together.

Making their way back towards the rest of the party, they found Emily had drank a little too much while they were away and Josh decided to take her home. He and Leah lifted her through to the front door while they waited on the taxi and bundled her in before saying their goodbyes. She couldn’t help notice that Richie was watching her from the front window with a less than cheerful expression on his face. On her way back in she stopped off in the living room to find out what was wrong with him. “What’s up with me? I was just wondering what kind of friend that is? You were hanging over him all night. Forever cuddling him with your head on his shoulder just the way you were with me this morning,” Richie said in a sarcastic manner. “He’s my best friend, Richie. He’s the one person in the world that’s always been there for me no matter what. He reminded me about something tonight that got me a little upset but I’m over it now and I would like to keep seeing you, if you want to that is, because I’ve had a really good time the past couple of days. I know I don’t tell you much about me, I’m just not ready yet but I promise you I will tell you my story one day,” Leah said sincerely, hoping he would trust her on the subject. He paused for a minute just watching her as though to decide what to do before he stepped towards her and wrapped his arms around her, holding her tight. Both unaware they were being watched from the hallway by Dot.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Chapter 17

Leah bounced out of bed the next morning. She had a busy day planned with meeting Josh’s fiancée and going to the theme park with Richie and Ava, both of which she was very excited about. After she showered and got dressed she made her way into town to meet Josh and Emily. When she first saw Emily she was surprised, she wasn’t the usual overly confident type that Josh normally dated. She seemed quite shy and reserved, only smiling politely when Josh introduced them. During the time they spent together she gradually came out of her shell and Leah came to the conclusion that she was good for Josh. She was a really sweet girl and it was clear from their interaction that they were both mad about each other which pleased Leah. “So does she get the thumbs up then?” Josh asked as he waited with Leah until her taxi showed up. “Two thumbs up! She’s great, not what I expected but I like her,” Leah smiled. She could she the relief sweep over Josh as he took in the news that she liked her, he always valued her opinion. As the taxi drew up Leah invited Josh and Emily to a BBQ they were having at the house on Saturday, which he told her he wouldn’t miss and they parted company.

Leah had agreed to meet up with Richie and Ava outside the theme park as she wasn’t sure how long her meeting with Josh would last and didn’t want them hanging around at the house waiting on her. The area was busy and it took her a few minutes to spot them both through the crowds before she made her way over. She was greeted by a big hug from Ava who seemed really pleased she had come along and a kiss on the cheek from Richie. Before she could say anything Ava had taken them both by the hand and started running towards the entrance. They could only go on the smaller rides due to Ava not meeting the height restrictions on the big rides, which Leah was pleased about as she’s scared of heights. They did managed to get her on the water rides, that seemed to be her favourite and after the third time the three of them were soaking wet and doing more of a waddle than a walk. They made the glass maze a competition with the first one out being allowed to pick the next ride. It was a lot harder than it looked and Leah saw a lot of people taking bumps to the head. Taking it easy at first she felt her way around and Ava did the same. Eventually she saw Ava outside the maze and jumping in excitement that she had won. Richie had also seen her and thought he had found the way out making a run for it so he wasn’t last out. Leah didn’t know whether to laugh or panic when she heard the massive thud from the glass where he ran straight into it. It had been so funny from her point of view but she didn’t know if he was hurt or not since he had managed to knock himself flat on the floor.

Making her way towards him she found him curled up in laughter. The way he was laughing made her buckle too and the two of them were sitting on the floor of the maze attracting strange looks and pointing from the people passing by which made them laugh all the harder. Eventually helping him up they made their way out and over to the first aid cabin to have him checked over at Ava’s orders, “Know dad, you always tell me to take a bump to the head seriously! You could have brain damage.” Leah couldn’t help but laugh at the seriousness of her voice as she dragged her father to be checked out. After being told he would be bruised but okay, the three of them made their way to get dinner. Ava won at the maze so she made the choice of a diner in the theme park that had windows looking in on the people in a haunted house ride. Leah thought it was a good choice as she was entertained by watching the reactions of people getting a fright. “Leah, did you have a bump to the head too?” Ava asked her with a serious tone that confused her. “I think she’s wondering what you’re laughing at,” Richie added. Leah explained that in movies the people that get a fright always scream but in reality they do silly things. She made them watch as they saw people make low wails and run into walls while others screwed up their faces and ran on the spot. Soon it had all three of them in fits of laughter. Richie was also intrigued by how much she could guess about the people around her. While in the park he kept asking her to tell him the story of people that he would point out to her. It wasn’t anything she considered special, it was just a habit of hers while she was bored that she began watching people and soon was able to identify different emotions and place a story on them. She left Richie amazed when she guessed a lot about him, “You’re a psychic or something,” he had exclaimed. “You believe in all that stuff? I think it’s a load of rubbish personally, if you watch someone you can tell them about there self, and the people that go to them usually want to believe so whatever they tell them they will link it to something in their life. I think they are just con artists,” Leah said. Richie thought about what she had said and nodded in agreement. “I never thought of it like that before, I mean I never really believed it but I did wonder how they knew things they shouldn’t. You’ve got a few more brain cells in there than you let on,” Richie smiled at her and she thought she was going to melt, those eyes when she felt them on her were intoxicating.

By the time they left the theme park it was late and Ava was falling asleep in the car. She had been so lively all day that she had exhausted herself. Leah and Richie spent the drive home almost in silence so they wouldn’t wake Ava. When they arrived at the house Richie handed Leah the key to the door while he picked up Ava and carried her in and up to her bed. On his return he got out two glasses and filled them with wine and passed one to Leah before going into the living room. They sat close together on the couch deep in conversation. Even when they were talking about a serious subject he still had the ability to make her laugh, which she loved. Moving in close to her and looking straight into her eyes Richie asked, “So you’ve told me my story and almost everyone’s we passed today, are you going to tell me yours?” Leah looked at him for a few seconds before answering, “That’s for another time,” and moved in to meet his lips with hers. The kiss was long and passionate, both of them desiring to taste more of each other. Richie gently forced her backwards until she was lying on the couch with him on top of her tenderly kissing her neck, as his warm breath met her skin with a soft tickle. As he made to remove her top she sat up quickly pushing him backwards until his head was rested on the arm of the chair, “Who said you were in charge?” she asked as she moved in to kiss him deeply and slowly began unbuttoning his shirt as he allowed his hands to take in the shape of her body through her clothes. Just as she completely removed his shirt they heard the front door open and Tico and his wife come back. Laughing Leah grabbed Richie by the hand and they ran up the stairs before they saw them.

Bursting into Richie’s room they both landed on the bed trying not to laugh too loud incase they woke up Ava. It took them a while to calm down enough to be able to speak. “Well that could have been really embarrassing,” Leah said. “We might get a visitor in a minute. She’s going to go nuts when she see’s the couch! Has a thing about the chairs, you either sit properly or not at all, God forbid you ever crumpled a cushion and I left my shirt so I’ll be in the bad books in the morning!” Richie told her causing her to laugh again. Richie pulled her over to him and kissed her again, this time pausing after it to look her in the eye. They just stared at each other feeling their desire grow. Leah pulled his mouth back to hers while exploring his bare chest and arms with her hands. He responded by pulling her up so he could remove her top, his breath warm on her skin as he tenderly kissed her from her neck down until she felt his mouth brush the tip of her breast while his hand engulfed the other causing her breath to quicken. As he moved down further to the rim of her skirt he felt her begin to tremble and retraced his movement back to her mouth enveloping her in his desire. Reaching down his body, she felt the hardness in his jeans grow and giggled as she began to unbutton them. Slowly and seductively she made her way down his body, kissing and massaging him all over before she finally reached his cock which rose in anticipation at the warmth of her breath. With the touch of her wet and inviting mouth he suppressed a groan. Slowly she teased him at first, enjoying the power she had over him at this moment which made her laugh, the vibration through him causing him to groan then she let her tongue dance around him as she felt his muscles tighten in pleasure. Feeling his hand on her head she looked up at him as he picked her up and put her on the bed as he leaned over her and kissed her once again with a hunger more powerful than before. Slowly he kissed her on her neck, working his way down to her breasts and stomach and all down each of her legs before making his way back up and removing her skirt with a mischievous smile that made her melt. Feeling the anticipation building as he kissed the top of her inner thighs he finally lowered his mouth and tasted her. Effortlessly working her clitoris and inserting a finger as she tried not to groan with the pleasure of it. Her wetness encouraging Richie’s erection to throb between his legs. Her heart pounding as she felt her orgasm approach and her hips lift from the bed as the sensation swept through her. Pulling Richie up to face her she kissed him longingly, wanting to feel him inside her. Slowly he entered her, moving slowly together until desire won over and they began to quicken the pace. Both of them caught up in the moment unable to focus yet aware of every move, every touch and every sensation. Taking in each other’s scent as they built up speed, he drove into her feeling the pressure increase. As he felt her come, he gave into his release as the pulsation of orgasm enveloped them in pleasure. Long and intense, they collapsed on the bed as after shocks ran through her and she felt him grow soft inside her. Exhausted, they pulled the covers over themselves as Richie held her tightly, both still breathing heavily.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Chapter 16

Although Leah never went to bed until late and was tired, she spent the night tossing and turning unable to sleep properly. She couldn’t understand why she refused to go into the house with Richie as it was something she really wanted to do. She didn’t know if it was feeling nervous that had stopped her, which made her wonder why she would be nervous. Since Joe she had had a few relationships, nothing was ever really serious but she hadn’t been hesitant to spend the night with them after she got to know them. She felt she knew Richie quite well now and it scared her how much she liked him. No-one else had ever made her feel the way he did just by being there. She had a great night with him and wanted to spend more time with him but it terrified her how out of control of her feelings she was when it came to Richie. Eventually deciding that sleep was going to be impossible, Leah dragged herself out of bed and away from her thoughts and got showered and dressed.

Richie made his way over to the house Jon was staying in. Before he could step up to the door Jon had already opened it to let him in, “So I never heard Leah come in till late last night, I take it you had some fun?” Jon asked with a cheeky smirk. Richie laughed, “Well good morning to you too.” Making his way through the door and into the living room, Richie glanced around. “She’s not here. Her and Dot went for a walk,” Jon told him, guessing he was looking for Leah. “So are you going to tell me or not?” Jon was perched on the edge of the chair eagerly awaiting Richie’s news. “It was a great night, the whole thing. But I’m going to have to disappoint you because nothing happened,” Richie said. “Yeah right, stop the lying. I saw the two of you last night and Dot and I both thought you’s were heading straight to the bedroom,” Jon said, adamant that Richie was talking rubbish. “Yeah, that’s what I thought or hoped. But seriously Jon, nothing happened,” Richie replied. “Well what the hell were you doing all night? Playing scrabble and swapping cooking tips?” Jon’s amazement made Richie laugh. “You know it is possible for me not to pounce on every woman I like. Anyway, even though nothing happened I still had a great time. Infact I would call it one of the best nights I’ve ever had. I definitely want to see her again.” Jon laughed at how into Leah Richie was, he hadn’t seen him like that over anyone for a long time. “So what did you do that was so fantastic all night then?” Richie thought for a minute before answering, “I don’t exactly know what to call it but I think I’ll keep it for myself just now.” Jon was about to coax him into spilling the beans when the door went. Stood at the other side Jon immediately recognised the man as Josh. Letting him in and welcoming him he took him to meet Richie. “This is Josh, one of Leah’s friends that we hung out with for a bit in Hawaii. And Josh, this is Richie,” Jon introduced the two men and they shook hands. “So what brings you here, Josh?” Richie asked. “Leah told me she was staying out here and I was passing through so I thought I’d drop by and pay her a visit. I’ve been in Australia for a while now this is the last stop before I leave in a couple of days,” Josh answered.

The walk with Dot was refreshing, Leah needed it after the lack of sleep she had gotten. They mainly spoke about the dinner they had the night before and how they enjoyed the night. Leah knew it was coming but it didn’t make the question any easier when it arrived. “So you enjoyed hanging out with Richie, I never heard you come in last night. Will you be seeing him again?” Dot inquired. Leah laughed, “I suppose I’ll have to answer that one, since it’s a straight forward question.” “Well I hope so since I’ve been dropping hints all day and getting nowhere with them,” Dot laughed. “For starters nothing happened last night, we just went down to the beach and sat for a while talking. I had a really good time and I would like to see him again but that depends if Richie wants to,” Leah said hoping that would change the subject, but it didn’t work. “Why did nothing happen? Jon and I were so sure something would,” Dot asked, curious. “It was me I just didn’t feel comfortable, well not comfortable. I was definitely comfortable. I don’t know how to explain it. I wanted to, I really did but something stopped me,” Leah provided in an uncomfortable babble. She didn’t want to be having this conversation with Dot, not when she knew she wouldn’t understand. Dot sensed that Leah didn’t want to talk about it so let it be and they continued to walk. It didn’t stop it playing on her mind though and she found she was suspicious of her new friend.

As Dot and Leah returned to the house, they could see three men through the window. “Who’s that other guy? It doesn’t look like Tico or David,” Dot asked. Leah studied the man for a minute before shouting “It’s Josh!” Running at full speed she was in the house in seconds, barely allowing Josh to realize she was there. She jumped on him and gave him a big cuddle while saying hello to Jon and Richie. She couldn’t help notice the look on Richie’s face as she cuddled Josh. Dot entered shortly after her also greeting Josh with a hug. “What are you doing here?” Leah asked all excited. “Came to see you, I’m here for a couple of days and I need your approval on something,” Josh told her, just as excited to see her. “My approval? On what?” Leah asked looking confused. “Well I just got engaged then I realized that my best friend hasn’t even met my fiancée, so I thought I’d come over and see if you had any time to spare this week? Preferably on Saturday though because I have plans for most of tomorrow?” Josh said with a straight face as though unsure of Leah’s reaction of not being told he was going to propose. She jumped up and gave him another cuddle. “Your getting married? Wow! I’m so happy for you. She’s definitely normal though, yeah? Not like the other psycho?” Leah joked. “Come on, it’s not only psycho’s I attract. Want to go a walk and I’ll fill you in on the details?” Josh suggested, already heading towards the door. They arranged to meet for breakfast the next morning since Josh had plans the rest of the day and Leah was eager to meet Emily. He told Leah all about her and he seemed really happy with her, which pleased Leah. “So what’s your problem then?” Josh asked, catching Leah off-guard. “Don’t lie to me though, I know something’s bugging you,” he smiled. “I swear you are psychic or something! I’m just a bit confused about something, well someone,” Leah explained all about her and Richie. “You know I haven’t heard you talk about someone like that since, well you know since when. It was you who told me to take a chance, can you remember? Well that chance led me to Emily. I think you should take some of your own advice. Just see where it goes. Now I’ll see you tomorrow, I have to go,” and with that Josh left Leah to make her way back to the house. His words worked, by the time she reached the house she had decided that she would ask Richie to go somewhere with her tomorrow and they arranged for him, Ava and Leah to go to a theme park the following day.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Chapter 15

Leah left the house feeling a mixture of excitement and embarrassment. She couldn’t believe how much like a teenager she felt again. It had been a long time since a man had made her feel this way. Fighting away the urge to start giggling she let herself into the house and comfortably planted herself on the couch staring into the distance beyond the window, allowing herself the occasional grin. Her thoughts were soon disrupted when she heard the front door open and the others came pouring in, most of them rather tipsy. David and Katie almost knocked Leah over in their eagerness to escape to their room, while Jon and Dot greeted her with a hug. Jon stumbled towards the couch while requesting that he would like another drink. “So a good night I take it?” Leah asked Dot who seemed to be most sober of them. “Oh it was fantastic! First good night out we’ve had together in so long,” Dot replied while raiding the cupboards for Jon’s wine. Finally managing to find some she got out a glass and poured it rather chaotically, leaving more on the worktop than in the glass itself. More spilled out as she made her way towards Jon with it. Stopping just short of him, she turned back laughing and handing the glass to Leah. “I guess this is your’s now. He’s fell asleep over there.” Leah took the glass saying thanks and studied the tiny dribble left in the glass which Dot apparently hadn’t noticed. “Wow lady! If you keep drinking like a fish your going to end up flat on the floor. I turned round and you’ve finished the whole thing,” Dot said wide eyed. Leah couldn’t help but laugh before explaining that most of the wine was on the floor.

Leah took charge of the wine pouring duties and the two women sat at the kitchen table talking until the early hours of the morning about everything and nothing. Leah eventually worked up the courage to tell her about her kiss with Richie and was shocked when she told her she already knew, that Richie had phoned Jon and he had told her. “Seems like he’s had the same effect on you as you have on him,” Dot smiled. “So you fancy some shopping when we get up to buy something for tomorrow night?” Leah looked at her puzzled as to what she was talking about. “I take it Richie hasn’t phoned you yet then? Jon arranged a night out for me, you, him and Richie. Well you know now, I’ll text Richie and let him know you’re going,” Dot said. Leah laughed at the lack of choice she had been offered in the decision. Before they went to bed they had to take an arm each of Jon and pulled him up the stairs eventually getting him to lie on the bed. It seemed impossible to wake him until there was an almighty thud of the two women falling over a lamp cable and he jumped up from the bed to find Leah and Dot lying in a heap on the floor. “Dot, did you go all lesbian on me and I fell asleep and missed it?” he mumbled in a disappointed tone before lying back down and falling asleep as though nothing had happened. Leah and Dot were in hysterics at the way he spoke before getting off the floor and heading to bed.

Leah was so excited about the prospect of a night out with Richie that it had taken her a long time to fall asleep resulting in her waking up late the next morning. Before she knew it Dot had her breakfast cooked and was ushering her out the door so they could start their shopping trip. They trailed around the shops for the majority of the day, both unsure of what to buy. Trying on what seemed like most of the shop, Dot eventually settled for a long, classy black dress with a deep cut back while Leah chose a simple yet beautiful long, blue dress with a split at the side. Making it back to the house in just enough time to get ready before the car pulled up outside to take them to dinner. Leah followed Dot down the stairs to where Jon and Richie were waiting. When she spotted Richie, Leah felt her heart race. He was wearing a black suit that looked great on him, it was a colour he really suited. As she approached him, he took her arm and walked her out to the car, opening the door for her. They hadn’t spoken a word to each other but they didn’t have to, their eyes were speaking volumes and Leah felt Dot and Jon had noticed it too as they kept glancing over to them. Arriving at the restaurant the four of them took their seats and gave their orders. Before they knew it dinner had been and gone and they were moving into another room for the entertainment. Dot and Jon were one of the first couples to get up and dance, leaving Leah and Richie alone together. She had earlier been told by Jon that Richie doesn’t dance and it was one thing she was determined to change. Grabbing his hand she pulled him up on the dance floor and she immediately sensed he felt uncomfortable and could see him checking for people watching him. She was surprised at his reaction as she had always thought him a confident person. She walked him over to the gardens where it was empty hoping it would make him feel better about dancing. To her relief it worked, at first he just swayed nervously on the spot but after a while he relaxed and Leah thought he was actually quite a good dancer. They spent the rest of the night out in the gardens alone just dancing and talking, occasionally Leah thought she could see Dot or Jon’s head peeking round the corner watching them.

The drive home felt much quicker than the drive to the restaurant. Jon and Dot seemed happier than Leah had ever saw them, she waved goodnight to them both as they went into the house leaving her and Richie outside alone. “I had a great night tonight,” Leah said hoping Richie also had enjoyed it. He didn’t say anything for what seemed like an eternity, but moved closer to her never once taking his eyes off hers and picked up her hand. “I enjoyed it too, but you know it doesn’t have to be over yet. There’s no one in the house tonight, Ava’s with David and Tico is away for the night, you could come in for a while,” he said pulling on her hand to lead her to the house. Leah stopped where she was. “You know I could do that, but I would prefer to go this way,” she said tugging on his arm and running towards the beach. He followed after her, catching up he threw his arms around her waist lifting her up and swinging her round until they both fell on the sand. They spent a short time just lying there staring into each others eyes, both seeing the hunger they had for each other. Leah jumped up first, “Come on, I want to show you something. The water is perfect for it right now.”

She took his hand and they walked towards some rocks that were leading out to sea. Carefully they made their way out. “Where are you going? Please don’t tell me your some suicidal nutcase that’s brought me out here to die,” Richie joked. Leah laughed only telling him to follow her. She made her way towards what looked like open water but on closer inspection was rocks that were just under the surface of the water. They finally arrived at a large rock that both of them sat on. “Right close your eyes for 10 seconds and listen to the sea. When you open them, look up at the stars,” Leah instructed Richie. He did as he was told and looked at the stars, which he thought looked amazing. He hadn’t noticed them all night but sitting out there they seemed so bright and full of life. “Now look around you,” Leah smiled at him. Everywhere he looked around the rock they were on seemed to be the sea, he couldn’t see any of the rocks they had used to get out there. The view was breath-taking, it looked like they had their own little island that no-one could get to, surrounded by the peaceful sound of waves and the beauty of the stars. Richie appreciated the place more than Leah had imagined he would. They spent a long time lying on their backs staring up at the sky in silence. Richie leaned over and moved in to kiss her. It was a soft, tender kiss that felt electric due to the surroundings they were in. The energy engulfed them both as they tasted each other hungrily. Getting carried away they both rolled off the rock and into the sea. Leah laughed hysterically as she got back on the rock and pulled Richie out, who seemed shocked at having landed in the water. “I think we can call it a night now,” Leah said standing and taking Richie’s hand as they made their way back to the beach and went their separate ways.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Chapter 14

Leah woke up to the sound of music coming from downstairs. After getting showered and dressed she made her way down to investigate. Finding Dot and Jon dancing around the living room wasn’t exactly what she had been expecting but couldn’t help smile at seeing them happy together again. As she made to go to the kitchen unnoticed she was spotted by Dot and then pounced on in a group hug. “Thank you Leah. You’re an angel, we’ve done a lot of talking and we’re going to see a specialist about getting over the baby,” Dot smiled at her. Leah waved off her thanks saying it was nothing and headed into the kitchen with them. “Sorry about last night, I don’t know what I was thinking,” Jon said to her a little embarrassed. “Don’t worry about it, it’s forgotten now,” Leah replied with a smile. “So Leah, Jon tells me your into Richie,” Dot startled Leah with her words, she looked at them both trying to think of something to say while turning pink. Dot and Jon laughed at her reaction, they didn’t need an answer to see what was obvious. “Well as long as you don’t hurt him or Ava, they come as a pair, then that’s fine by us. Plus you helped us out so that makes you part of the family. I don’t think we need to worry about you,” Jon said in mock warning. Leah didn’t know where to look and feeling embarrassed she excused herself telling them she promised Ava she would take her surfing.

Before she got the chance to knock on the door, it had already swung open to reveal Ava standing ready to go in her swimsuit. Shouting goodbye to Richie she grabbed Leah’s hand and they began running towards the sea. Leah was impressed at how quickly Ava mastered standing on the board and began to take her further into the water. She had been expecting it to be awkward especially after her comments last night, she definitely thought there would be some questions asked that she didn’t particularly want to answer. It was a pleasant surprise that she was enjoying spending time with Richie’s daughter, it also reminded her of her own childhood and playing in the sea. Eventually the sea calmed and the waves weren’t having much of an effect on the boards so they drifted out a little and just enjoyed sitting on them, occasionally splashing each other so as the fun factor wouldn‘t disappear. Feeling like they were being watched Leah turned towards the beach to see Richie walking towards them.

After Jon had apologised to Leah his next stop was to explain everything to Richie. They had spent the best part of the morning discussing what had happened. On the way down to the beach Richie spotted Ava and Leah straight away. He couldn’t keep his eyes off Leah, she looked so good out there in the sea and he couldn’t help notice how great she looked in her bikini too. “That woman is a godsend Richie,” Jon said breaking Richie’s thoughts. “If it wasn’t for her I don’t know what would have happened to me and Dot. You should definitely ask her out, I think she really likes you.” Richie looked at his friend unable to decide whether to tell him about the night in the hotel or not but it was too late, Jon recognised the look on his face and told him to spill the secret. After telling him, Jon seemed more excited than he was, “What’s up? You should be happy about it.” Richie shook his head, “I don’t know where I am with her, we got interrupted by Heather and then she spent the last two months avoiding me until last night.” Jon looked confused, “What happened last night?” Richie was unsure what to tell him and decided on the half truth, he told him about the baby she lost but didn’t let him know that it might not be possible for her to have another one. “I feel like such an idiot! I’ve been harping away about how bad it is to her and she knows all about it,” Jon said annoyed at himself. “She chose not to tell you so she must have her reasons, don’t beat yourself up about it you couldn’t have known,” Richie reassured him. Jon made his way back to the house and left Richie to go down to the beach alone.

Seeing him arrive, Leah and Ava started paddling back to the beach. Ava began showing off her new tricks for her dad to see before coming off the board and pulling Richie into the water. “Leah, you need to show my dad how to surf, he’s rubbish in the water. Will you please?” Ava beamed up at Leah. Richie began to protest bringing up the problem that he had no board when Leah passed him hers. This was going to be fun. “Well looks I don’t have a choice in the matter,” Richie said as he whipped off his shirt and threw it back on the sand. Leah couldn’t help but stare, he looked so heavenly without it, the tan he had was showing off his stomach muscles in the best way possible. Hoping he hadn’t noticed her staring, she got back to business instructing him how to sit on the board. A simple task to Leah, this was proving difficult for Richie to master, already toppling over three times. Stepping in to help, Leah held onto the board while Richie tried to keep his balance. He finally managed to stand up for a brief second before falling backwards, attempting to stop him from hitting the water, Leah jumped up trying to grab an arm to steady him but failed miserably. Both of them tumbled over the board and under the water. Leah was a little shocked at emerging from the water with a pair of shorts in her hand. Richie was a little more shocked at finding his had vanished. Both looked utterly dumbfounded as to what had happened before realisation kicked in that the thing Leah thought was an arm had turned out to be Richie’s shorts which had somehow managed to come off during the tumble. Laughing hysterically, Leah threw Richie over his shorts. He was looking rather embarrassed until he saw that Leah and Ava were doubled over in laughter and began to see the funny side. Deciding they had spent enough time in the water, the three of them headed back to the house to make dinner.

On arrival they found the house was empty and the others had left a note saying they went out for dinner. Raiding the cupboards for something to make for dinner proved a difficult task. They looked as though they had been visited by a hungry army. Settling on some bits and bobs that they found and cooked up, they sat down at the table for dinner. Leah was worried it would be awkward spending time with just the two of them but was surprised at how easily they all got along. The conversation was flowing and Leah and Ava spent most of the time teasing Richie about losing his shorts. Before they knew it the meal was finished and they were washing up in the kitchen while Ava played in the garden. Richie washed the dishes while Leah dried them. “So you going to take me surfing again?” Richie asked Leah with a grin. “I wouldn’t quite say you were ready to surf just yet, you were like bambi on ice out there today,” Leah teased. Richie finished up the last of the dishes and turned to face Leah, “What if I told you I can surf, but I was wanting you to teach me. What would you say to that?” Leah looked confused, “I would say you must be nuts! Why would you do that?”
“Oh I think you know why. Although if I knew you were planning on stripping me I probably would have just asked you out to dinner,” Richie said, laughing and moving closer to her. “How dare you accuse me of that! If you’re pretending you can’t surf then how do I know it wasn’t part of your plan to kick them off?” Leah teased him. Richie moved closer still, placing his hands on the counter at either side of her locking her in. “You’re just going to have to take my word for it,” he smiled. Then his lips came down to meet hers. They brushed softly at first, then more passionately as Leah’s lips parted to welcome his tongue, tasting each other and feeling the desire burn inside them. Just at that moment Leah heard a door open and pulled away from Richie. Both of them turned to find Ava standing with her arms folded in the doorway watching them. “I told you that you’s fancied each other,” Ava spoke with a tone that reminded Leah of her mother when she had been proved correct about something. Leah and Richie both laughed through their embarrassment. “Well I better go now, its getting late. Goodnight,” Leah said smiling at Ava and waving before kissing Richie on the cheek and making for the door.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Chapter 13

Leah slept late the next morning due to her having been kept awake by Dot’s revelation. Everything was beginning to make sense now about the way Jon and Dot had been acting the past couple of months. She really hoped they could make it through this rough patch, it must be hard enough being married to a rock star without having to deal with this too. Forcing herself out of bed, Leah made her way downstairs to find the house empty apart from Dot. She was sorting out her handbag planning on making a shopping trip into town when Leah found her. Not wanting her to be on her own, Leah asked her to wait until she got dressed and agreed to go with her. Together they left to get some retail therapy. At first Dot seemed uncomfortable about the conversation they had had the night before, avoiding anything Jon or baby related but with a bit of encouragement from Leah she was beginning to open up about how she felt about it. Talking about it seemed to be easing her pain which Leah was grateful for. She wasn’t sure how the day was going to be if they were to act like the conversation never happened and she was also surprised with her ability to cope with what Dot was telling her. Many shopping bags later the two women made their way back to the house to get ready for Richie’s BBQ.

From her room window Leah could see that everyone else was already in Richie’s garden and the alcohol was already flowing. Deciding on a pretty white dress, Leah completed her make up and made her way to find Dot. On arriving at her room she found Dot hadn’t made any attempt to get dressed and instead told her she wanted some time on her own to get her head around things. Finally agreeing to let her stay Leah left to go next door but promised she would be popping back later to check on her. Entering the garden everyone welcomed her, she could already smell the food sizzling away on the BBQ. Explaining that Dot wasn’t coming was an easier task than she had expected, everyone seemed to understand. “Follow me Mrs, we have to give you the grand tour so you know where to find everything,” Richie said grabbing her hand to take her into the kitchen showing her where all the alcohol and glasses were kept. Leah burst into laughter when he landed almost inside one of the cupboards as his daughter came running in and jumped on his back. When he emerged from the floor he was also laughing hard but had managed to save the two glasses he had in hands from breaking. Pouring the wine proved to be a rather difficult task for both of them due to the laughing causing their hands to shake. Ava eventually pulled the bottle from Richie pouring it herself, “Look at the mess you’re making, like a couple of lovesick kids,” she said while shaking her head. Richie and Leah looked at each other as though they couldn’t believe what she had said before laughing hysterically. Richie finally managed to speak, “Why would you say that Ava?” Ava paused and looked at both of them in turn, “Well dad it’s clear to me that you two fancy each other,” she stated matter of factly before running off into the garden. Leah and Richie were left alone in an awkward presence of laughter and embarrassment. “Well I see she likes to tell it as she sees it,” Leah said still laughing. “Yeah, she’s great….usually. Never heard her say anything like that before, but I must say the way she done it was hilarious,” Richie said as he put his arm around Leah leading her back into the garden.

By the time everyone had finished eating most of them were well on their way to being drunk. Jon especially had been drinking a lot, he was sitting on one of the chairs with a glass of wine in one hand and a whole bottle in the other. He again started watching Leah and wondered if he had been too obvious when she made her way over and sat down beside him. “You look as happy as larry,” she said as she sat down. “Oh I’m great just a little tired and could be slightly drunk,” Jon replied smiling at his bottle of wine. “Slightly? I think you past that stage a long time ago. Look at Richie, now he’s slightly drunk, I’m slightly drunk. You my friend are steaming,” Leah replied laughing. “You like Richie, don’t you?” Jon asked her. “I’ve been watching you all night and you two have hardly been apart. What‘s he got that I don‘t?” Leah couldn’t tell if he was being serious or not. Ava’s arrival came just at the right time so that she wouldn’t have to answer the question, “Leah come and dance with me, none of them will and they all said you’re a good dancer.” Bouncing up from her seat Leah took the escape and started spinning Ava around, dancing all over the garden until Richie told her it was time for bed. Giving everyone a goodnight cuddle, Ava made her way upstairs with Richie. Picking up her empty glass, Leah made her way to the kitchen for a refill when Jon followed her in. “Your some mover! Lets dance,” Jon said walking towards her. “I think what you need is some water to sober up,” Leah laughed. “I’ll tell you what then, you dance with me and then I’ll take the water, deal?” Jon put his arms around her, she could feel him swaying all over the place from the drink. Feeling uncomfortable at how close he was holding her, she pulled away a put in some spins. When she stopped spinning she leaned beside the sink while Jon still had his hands on her waist dancing away on his own. She wasn’t paying much attention just letting him dance away and before she knew it he had went in for a kiss. His lips touched hers softly before she realised what was happening and pushed him away. “What the hell is going on here?” Richie demanded from the doorway.

“Was this the plan from the start, you work with his wife while you fuck around with her husband behind her back, and to distract from the truth you just play me along?” Richie was angry and aggressively accusing Leah, “And what about you Jon, how could you do that to Dot especially after all that’s happened?” He was in Jon’s face now looking for a reaction. Leah pulled his arm turning him round to face her, “Nothing has happened between me and Jon. He’s far too drunk and he made a stupid mistake, didn’t you see me push him away?” Richie looked into her eyes and examined her expression, he believed her but he had to heard it from Jon. “It’s true, I fucked up,” Jon told him before sitting down at the kitchen table. Leah pulled Richie aside asking for his help to get him home to his wife, which Richie agreed to while apologising for jumping to conclusions. “Jon I think you should go back to Dot now. She’ll be wondering where you are and I think you both have some things you need to sort out,” Richie tried to get through to him but it didn‘t seem to be working. “Jon is this about the baby?” Leah asked him gently. Richie spun in her direction as though amazed she knew about it. Jon replied mumbling, “She’s not the same anymore. She changed and I don’t know if I can be with her anymore, I can’t take it waking up not knowing what she’s going to be like today. She thinks I coped well with what happened but I didn’t, I just hid it from her, from everyone.” Leah laughed softly, “I think I’ve had this conversation before. Jon I need you to get up and go back to your wife. There are a lot of things that need to be discussed and only the two of you can do it. The both of you haven’t dealt with losing the baby, Dot has the same problem as you, she told me she’s scared of losing you because of this.” Jon looked as though a new air of hope had hit him at hearing his wife still needs him. Leah could see that they had shut each other out after they lost the baby in their own attempts to deal with it. He cuddled both Richie and Leah before heading out the door.

“Well that was eventful!” Richie said turning back to Leah. He was shocked to see her with tears streaming down her face. “What is it? You okay?” Leah laughed softly at his concern, “Nothing I’m fine, just got caught up in an emotional train wreck. Not sure whether I’m happy or sad.” Richie moved to where she was standing and pulled her into a cuddle, causing her to cry harder. “Do I really smell that bad?” Richie joked. Before she could stop herself Leah began to speak through the tears and laughter, “I’m sorry, I’m not usually one for crying my eyes out. I lost a baby once too, it was years ago now but I still remember it clearly. My circumstances were completely different though and there was complications and now there’s a chance I won’t ever be able to have children. When I look at Dot and Jon, I think there going to make it. I can imagine them in the future with lots of children running around them, they’d be great parents. I have no idea why I’m telling you this, I’ve never told anyone before.” Richie wiped away her tears and pulled her close, not saying a word.