Chapter Nineteen

Neither Jon nor Erin could wait until the week was over.

Jon was finding himself thinking almost nonstop of her, every waking moment punctuated by her brilliant smile and dark green eyes. She had one hell of a hold over him, but strangely enough he didn’t want to let it go.

Erin, on the other hand, was being pulled in opposite directions about wanting to see him. She desperately wanted to be with him, to find comfort in his arms and his touch, to press herself into his body and secure herself against any harm. He had that effect on her. A protective guardian, handsome and sturdy in his watch.

But on the other hand, he was the root of the reason why she was a psychological wreck at the moment.

She decided to ignore her conflicting conscience, shoving aside the nagging angel and demon that had taken up residence on her shoulders. She wanted to see him, and he wanted to see her. She wouldn’t let herself ruin the time they had together.

For the first time since they’d started dating, Jon had invited her over to his place that night. She’d gotten ready early that evening, excitement weaving its way through her veins and mixing with the unmistakable stirrings of anticipation and desire.

Jon pulled up to her house around six. Dressed in a sleek black minidress and matching pumps, Erin opened the door with an air of confidence that wasn’t lost on him.

Jon whistled. “Shit, woman,” he growled. “You’re making these jeans uncomfortable.”

“Good,” Erin flirted, leaning forward to kiss him. “They’re coming off later, anyway.”

Jon laughed lightly as their lips met. God, she tasted so good. Her lips were soft and gentle, and tantalizingly so. He had to reign himself in before he took her right there on the porch.

“So what are you feeding me?” Erin asked as she stepped outside and locked the door behind her.

“How does lobster and champagne sound?” Jon led her to the car and opened the passenger door.

“Elegant,” Erin smiled. “But I have never had a good lobster dinner anywhere but at the boardwalk.”

Jon merely smiled as he started the car. “I know a good place much closer than the boardwalk.”

About 20 minutes later, they turned onto the long winding drive outside his house. Erin’s jaw dropped wide open at the sheer size and majestic presence of the mansion as its looming silhouette emerged from the trees.

“Holy shit,” she whispered. “I knew rock stars lived big, but this place needs its own zip code!”

Jon laughed. “Does that mean you approve?” They stepped out of the car and approached the massive house, its pale profile striking against the clear black sky.

“It’s certainly amazing from the outside, but I haven’t seen the inside yet,” she winked.

The inside was no less approving. Erin looked around in awe as Jon gave her a quick tour. The Victorian style permeated throughout every room, complete with grand archways and sweeping windows that ran either so tall she couldn’t see their tops, or so wide Erin couldn’t see the point in a wall.

The kitchen was breathtaking, accented with rich mahogany cabinets and counters, the tops gleaming opaque marble. It was easily three times the size of her kitchen at home, and a golden chandelier dangled from the center above the island counter. Erin was instantly jealous.

“So are you just showing me all this to get me all worked up before we eat?” she joked. “It’s getting a bit late.”

Jon shook his head. “I know you said something last weekend about a nice dinner out,” he said. “But I thought we could stay in tonight.” He retreated through another archway to his right, intending for her to follow him.

Erin did, and then stopped dead in her tracks.

The dining room sprawled out before her like a house in itself, so magnificent and elegant that she found herself speechless. Victorian plated windows patterned the rounded perimeter, flanked by thick red velvet curtains. The gleaming ebony table seated a dozen, the matching chairs elegantly carved with intricate designs. Overhead, a diamond chandelier, twice the size of the one in the kitchen, glittered in the soft light of the candelabras that sat atop the table – the only light in the room.

“I hope you don’t mind,” Jon said as Erin stared, open-mouthed.

Erin slowly shook her head. “Mind? Why in the world would I mind?”

She approached the table and the two places that had been set out. China plates and napkins that matched the curtains were flanked by crystal goblets and real silverware. The glow of the candles was intimately romantic, and Erin felt a hush befall her.

“You did this for me?” she asked gently.

Jon nodded. “I made up everything this afternoon. I just need to put the lobster in the oven to warm them up, but that won’t take long.”

Erin held his gaze and smiled softly, unsure what else to say. Jon seemed to understand, though, and he smiled back before motioning for her to follow him back to the kitchen.

He pulled out two wineglasses, less fancy than the crystal goblets in the dining room, and served them both some champagne. “To you,” he said, his glass raised. Erin blushed and smiled. “To us,” she corrected.

They clinked glasses and drank, watching each other over the rims. Then Jon set to work finishing their dinner.

Erin watched as he preheated the oven and pulled the lobster, along with a glass bowl filled with mixed salad and a bottle of vinaigrette, from the refrigerator. From the freezer he got out a loaf of garlic bread, which he set out to thaw.

He turned to the island counter and opened a drawer to get a box of aluminum foil, which he then spread evenly with butter. He wrapped the first lobster in it with a slice of lemon, and did the same with the second. When the oven was warm enough, he placed the wrapped lobsters in a glass dish and set it inside to slowly heat.

“I didn’t know you were so handy in the kitchen, Mister Bon Jovi,” Erin teased.

“You pick things up when you live alone,” Jon winked.

Erin knew he said it good-naturedly, but in the back of her mind she wondered again about his past.

She helped him carry the salad and garlic bread into the dining room, and when the timer dinged, Jon served each of them a piping hot, succulent red lobster.

“Have a seat, madam,” he said in the manner of a maître d'. Erin sat, and they started to eat.

“This,” she said sincerely, “is the most delicious lobster I have ever tasted.”

Jon bowed his head. “Thank you. I’m glad you approve.” Erin grinned.

She quickly was overcome with a peaceful sense of contentment as the meal went on. The intimacy of the candlelit atmosphere coupled with the elegant surroundings was intoxicating, appealing to every one of her womanly senses. Jon seemed to feel the same, although more in a satisfied manner, as though happy his date was enjoying herself so much.

They took their time eating, enjoying the food and each other’s company. For the first time in weeks, Erin’s conscience had settled down in silence, and didn’t interrupt her much-needed relaxation and indulgence.

Afterward, they cleared their dishes together and Jon took her hand, leading her to the beautiful living room. A DVD case sat on the cream-colored sofa, and Erin picked it up to read it: Pearl Harbor.

She laughed out loud. “Are you serious?” she joked, waving the case in Jon’s face.

Jon chuckled. “Come on, it’s a good movie. Plenty of action and death for me – and all the romantic crap for you.”

Erin smiled, shaking her head. “All right, I concur. But only because you made me lobster.”

Jon stepped closer to her without a word and wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her into him. She was caught off guard, and stumbled into him before looking up. His gaze was gentle, full of kindness and care, deep with meaning.

If Erin knew any better, she’d say it was what love looked like in a man’s eyes. Unfortunately, however, she’d never seen quite what that looked like.

She held his gaze as long as she could before it overpowered her senses. Then, she buried her face in his neck, breathing in his musky man scent. Her heart pounded uncomfortably against her ribcage, jumping with something more than just blood. It seemed to be beating for something bigger, something stronger than her right now, and Erin didn’t know what to make of it.

Jon lifted her chin with a finger and leaned down to kiss her gently, his lips soft and warm. Erin melted into his kiss, willing herself not to think too much. She’d learned lately that it was her biggest weakness.

Jon pulled away and began setting up the DVD while Erin settled on the sofa, her mouth dropping open yet again when he pressed a button on a small dashboard and an enormous plasma screen television emerged from the floor, projecting slowly up until it nearly reached the ceiling.

“Shit,” Erin whispered when the movie-theater size screen stopped at full-length. “Rock stars really do do things big.”

Jon laughed and joined her on the sofa. “Baby, you haven’t even seen it in action yet…”

“Actually, I have,” Erin smirked. “And it has mighty fine action.”

Jon looked up, surprised, then shook his head and laughed at her bad joke, while Erin smiled innocently, feigning naivety.

It was going to be one interesting night.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Chapter Eighteen

Erin stretched and groaned beneath the blankets as she awoke from an uneasy sleep. She’d tossed and turned all night, conflicted with her feelings about Jon, wary of the way she’d left things with Max, and worried about the lies she’d told them both.

This burden was getting to be too much. She’d been carrying around this weight for awhile now, and it was getting heavier by the day…every day that passed since she’d broken things off with Max. She was torn. Torn between feeling as though she should come clean and tell both men the truth before they found out otherwise – before things got ugly – and feeling like it was too late. The part of her that felt it was too late knew that damage had been done, and now she just had to deal with it. The other part of her held out hope that something could be done to reverse it.

But it couldn’t be reversed.

Erin sighed and swung her legs out of bed. She winced as her feet touched the floor; for some reason her body seemed heavier than normal. She slowly padded into the bathroom and flipped on the overhead mirror lights.

She glanced at herself in the mirror and made a face. She’d definitely been putting on weight lately. Her cheeks seemed swollen, her breasts fuller, even her hips looked wider. And her belly was definitely larger. Erin furrowed a brow and wondered why she hadn’t noticed the weight gain before.

Suddenly, as if brought on by an electric shock, a strong wave of nausea overtook her. Erin instinctively grabbed her stomach and leaned forward, taken by surprise. The pain subsided almost instantly, only to be replaced with another wave, stronger this time. Erin doubled over, the customary sense of urgency and panic filling her system and shortening her breath as she stumbled over to the toilet.

A third wave hit and she lurched forward, gagging into the porcelain bowl and heaving uncontrollably, since her stomach was empty from a night’s sleep. Despite her body’s reflexes, she produced nothing but acid, which burned her throat.

A moment later the pain subsided and Erin collapsed onto the bathroom rug, shaking and swallowing instinctively. Her eyes watered and she sat bewildered, wondering where the hell that had all come from.

The only thing she could think of was….

A familiar sense of panic suddenly took root in her gut, its implications nagging, but Erin refused to believe it.

There was no way. She’d been on the pill for years.

Suddenly unable to shake the thought from her mind, Erin reached over for the cabinet beneath the sink. She rummaged around inside for a minute and found what she was looking for: a small, white opened box in the back of the cabinet.

She paused for a minute. Then, hands shaking, she withdrew a thin strip from the box and hoisted herself up on the toilet. She positioned the strip and finished her business. When she was done, she set the strip on the counter and waited impatiently.

60 seconds and three years later, she looked at the colored tip.


Erin stared, unable to breathe, unable to blink, her heart frozen in mid-beat, her mind blank. Pink?

The wheel of disbelief started to spin, slowly at first until it was revolving in her poor brain so fast she got dizzy. Her breathing shortened, her mouth went dry, her knees went weak. How?

This can’t be happening, she thought desperately.

A new responsibility…a new weight…a new burden…she wasn’t ready…she couldn’t handle it…

Heart racing, Erin collapsed to the floor.

And promptly sat up in bed.


Jon awoke around the same time as Erin, several miles away. He had to meet up with the rest of the band for a morning full of interviews in New York, and though he was not looking forward to it, he was in a perfectly good mood.

He thought of Erin while he showered and dressed, amusing himself with the memory of how her hair always smelled of oranges, her skin always soft and supple...inviting. He groaned inwardly at the thought of how easily she could get a rise out of him, seductive in a natural way the fit her perfectly. The way she lost herself in their lovemaking so completely; she was a creature of intense intimacy and passion. Jon couldn't wait to see her again.

At half past eight he dragged himself out of the house, munching on a bagel. He hopped behind the wheel of his Aston Martin and switched on the radio, subconsciously listening to the morning news as he battled his way through traffic to Manhattan.

When he arrived at the magazine’s headquarters, he found Richie pacing in the lobby.

“What the hell took you so long?” the guitarist snapped by way of greeting.

“Good morning, sunshine,” Jon replied. “Ever drive in Manhattan on a Monday morning?”

“The interview’s in 5 minutes,” Richie said pointedly, leading the way to the elevator. “Teek and Dave are already upstairs.”

The bell dinged as the sleek silver doors slid open, and Jon and Richie stepped inside.

“Dunno what you’re so fuckin’ happy about,” Richie grumbled as he watched Jon. “You hate interviews.”

Jon shrugged. “I guess I just have other things on my mind.”

Richie pulled a face so reminiscent of a teenage boy’s that Jon laughed. “Dude, you’re acting like a lovestruck puppy. Is she really all that amazing?”

“You can stop being so bitter, Rich,” Jon said good-naturedly. “Sounds like you’re unhappier about these interviews than I am.”

“Yeah well, that and you’re waltzing around without a care in the world, like you’re on a cloud. Feet with wings lately, man, I swear. It was like that all last week in Nashville, and you still haven’t come down.”

“Are you not happy that I’m happy?” Jon asked martyrly.

Richie rolled his eyes. “Shut up. All I’m saying is I’m not used to having the reins in both hands here. You’re usually the serious one, but lately you’ve been painting rainbows everywhere we go.”

Jon led out a hoot of laughter. “Someone definitely has a major stick up his ass this morning!”

Richie merely scowled as the elevator came to a halt and they stepped out onto the fifth floor.


The nightmare plagued Erin all day, making it difficult to concentrate on work and focus on her tasks at hand. She kept instinctively moving her hand to her belly, as if to reassure herself that it had only been a dream.

It had felt so real. When she thought about the details, it seemed ridiculous to her – like being able to bring up a positive pregnancy test after one time of morning sickness – but at the same time, it utterly freaked her out.

On her lunch hour, she scoured the internet for dream meanings and puzzled over the results for pregnancy dreams.

To dream that you are pregnant symbolizes an aspect of yourself or some aspect of your personal life that is growing and developing…though you may not be ready to talk about it or act on it.

To dream that you are taking a pregnancy test may be a metaphor for a new phase you are entering in your life. You may feel that you are being put to the test as to whether you are prepared or ready for these changes.

Erin inhaled deeply. The subconscious mind was just too unreal. The symbolism made a lot of sense: new life phases, a growing and developing aspect of your personal life…it didn’t take a genius to figure that one out.

She closed her eyes in exasperation. She was so tired of this guilt-ridden conscience, it was unbelievable. Nobody else lets it bother them this much, she thought angrily. Can’t you just be normal?

But the truth was, it wasn’t normal for her to be in the situation she was in. In fact, she’d never been in a situation like the one she was in. And it was affecting every aspect of her life now; it was even haunting her in her dreams.

Being with Jon should have been bringing her more happiness than she’d had in years. And on the surface, it was. But behind the mask, she was waging one hell of an internal battle.

That evening Erin left the office and began her walk home, more conflicted than ever before.

Friday, April 10, 2009

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