Sunday, April 13, 2008

Chapter 17

Richie sat there with a lap full of girl, a girl who had finally dozed off an hour or more ago. He’d kept her outside in the fresh air until he had realized that there was no gas leak. After two hours and her changing forms nearly 3 times as she whimpered, it was firmly implanted in his brain that, one, he wasn’t hallucinating and two, she really was what she said she was.

He had finally taken a deep breath and moved them both back into the living room and gently placed her on the couch, thinking that she’d be more comfortable. It had taken a scant ten minutes before she had sat up and moved back into his lap. They had chatted on and off in between her moments of near unconsciousness. The more she told him the more worried he became. How had Jon coped the few days he’d been gone? He remembered well how Jon would work through anything and it worried him. He didn’t want a repeat of the band’s dark days.

Dusty whimpered and opened her eyes slowly, her keen sense of smell alerting her yet again to the fact that the man holding her was still Richie. Soft golden eyes shadowed as she sighed softly. Tilting her head upwards she gave him a weak smile. “Decided it was safe to come back inside?”

Richie gave her a lopsided grin as he reached up and flicked her nose gently. “I checked it out, there is no leak, and it’s a damned sight warmer in here than the balcony.” He studied the girl quietly a moment, considering his next words. “I need you to show me again Dusty, I need to prove to myself I haven’t went crazy.”

Dusty sighed softly then looked up into Richie’s dark brown eyes. “I dunno Richie, its harder for me right now. I ache so much cuz of the bond. I told ya, it works on your system.”

Richie nodded, “I know and I’m worried about Jon because of what you said. What if he’s in as bad a shape as you?”

White straight teeth worried a full lower lip as golden eyes grew shadowy. “Well he’s never shifted, I’m hoping that has stopped some of it for him, and you did say he sounded ok?”

Richie nodded, then grinned “yeah he sounded fine, and YOU are changing the subject on me Dusty girl.”

Dusty pulled herself from his lap and stood facing him. “I don’t get why this is so important too you Richie and if it were anyone else I’d say no.” She stepped back a pace and crouched low, her golden eyes steady on his as she slowly morphed from a woman to the white wolf he remembered so well from Arizona.

Richie reached out with one hand and slowly gave the wolf a gentle pat on the head. “Well I’ll be damned, I wasn’t imagining things.”

The wolf pounced up and placed her paws on Richie’s shoulders before slowly fading away leaving Dusty standing there before him.

He opened the door, his worries having lent wings to his getting home even faster than normal. As the door swung wide his blue gaze caught Richie standing stock still in front of the couch with the wolf in front of him. Now where the hell had the wolf come from? They had left her in Arizona. Before he could get a word out his eyes widened in stunned shock as the wolf faded from view only to be replaced by the woman he loved.

“What the holy fuck?” His voice cracked out like a whip as he processed all he had just seen.

What the holy fuck indeed.

Chapter 16

He tapped on the door rapidly and got no response. Hell maybe she was out and Kidd was worrying over nothing. His mind ran back over the phone call he’d gotten an hour ago from his best friend, who sounded at best totally stressed and at worse totally out of it. He didn’t get the reason for him driving all the way from Jersey just to check on a girl who seemed self sufficient, but hell Kidd asked so here he was. He growled softly as he tapped on the door again and still got no response.

He shook his head and pulled the key from his pocket that Jon had given him months ago, just in case, and slid it into the lock, praying that she wasn’t in the shower or in some other state he didn’t want to catch her in. Opening the door carefully he sauntered in and called softly, “Hey Dusty girl, ya home?” Dark brown eyes scanned the apartment noticing the layer of dust on everything. Now that was something he didn’t think would be around with Dusty around.

He swiftly moved to the kitchen and shook his head at the plates of half-eaten food that were accumulating its own brand of fur on the counters. Hell even the pots were still standing at attention on the stove. That just wasn't right. Whipping around he moved to the small bedroom and saw a bed that looked like a world war had occurred there, sheets torn and hanging from the bed with pillows tossed from one end of the room to the other.

Muttering softly he moved to the bathroom and opened the door only to find an empty room with still damp towels in piles next to the door. "What the hell?" Turning he moved back to the living room. This wasn’t good. Fuck what had happened to her? Moving into the living room he walked to the phone and picked it up and dialed the number to Jon’s hotel. Giving the code name to the hotel clerk he was put through to Jon’s room immediately.

"Rich you find her? Is everything ok?" Jon answered the phone immediately somehow knowing its Richie.

Richie winced as he considered how to word this, "Kidd, something's not right man. She wouldn't answer the door so I let myself in. Man the place is a mess, I mean she’s not that messy is she?"

"No she's normally spotless. Where is she? Let me talk to her?" Jon wanted reassurance that she was ok at this point. He'd been feeling off and missing her terribly was that a sign something was wrong with her and he didn't know it.

"Man I cant FIND her, the place is a mess though, looks like she hasn't touched a thing in days.. she......." His voice trailed off as he glanced down and saw a pair of feet laying behind the couch. "FUCK!" The phone dropped with a clatter to the floor as he made his way over to the woman who was at this moment nearly curled into a near fetal ball behind the couch.

Jon yelled into the phone, “RICHIE? RICHIE?” then quieted as he heard his friends voice murmuring to someone or something. “Fuck this.” He disconnected the call and immediately went to the closet and pulled his bag out. Within minutes he had everything in the bag willy-nilly and was on his way out of the room. He was going home. The rest of the interviews would happen on the phone. Something was wrong and he was gonna be where he was needed.

She whimpered softly as dazed golden eyes fluttered open. Her voice was nearly gone from all the crying and screaming she'd done in the last two days as pain after pain wracked through her body. She knew someone was standing over her, but the pain was deep and that told her more than anything that it wasn't the ONE person she needed.

One slender arm tried to lift, beg for help as shadows played about in her eyes. Deep dark circles had her face looking pinched and wan as she tried valiantly to move, only accomplishing a soft gasp of pain as strange glimmers of fur seemed to play about over her skin.

Her normally elfin face seemed to shift and shimmer as she whimpered softly, her mind too caught up in the agony to care who saw her flickering in and out of her more furry form.

"Dusty sweetheart, talk to me, what the hell is going on?" Richie couldn't believe his eyes, it couldn't be what he thought he saw. He just knew this woman who had become so important to Jon was in pain. "Dusty let me help you up." As he said that he saw it again, this time it was no mistaking that wolf, that beautiful white wolf from Arizona. All he could think was there must be a gas leak or something in the house messing with his mind. He picked her up as gentely as possible and took her outside on the enclosed deck to get away from danger.

She curled into his lap, soft whimpers racing over lips gone too dry to work. "Hurts, just hurts, need Jon." Dusty's golden gaze reached upwards, the simmering pain evident as her back arched and again the soft shimmering began, as the wolf again fought for prominence.

"Jon's on his way Dusty, hold on, he'll be here soon, just hold on to me." Richie offered her the only thing he could, his comfort. Whatever the hell was going on that made his eyes see things he couldn't understand he just knew this girl had a serious case of withdrawal from her man.

"Can't tell him, can't. You won't tell him?" Dusty gasped as his gentle comfort reached in and gave her a small measure of control. "He can't know." Her final word was drawn out on a sigh as she forced the wolf back, leaving a shaking golden haired girl.

"I dont' know what has you so scared Dusty but just hold on to me, he'll be here soon and you'll be as good as new." Richie hoped his holding her was enough to keep her sane until Jon got there. He was going to have to seriusly talk to his brother about her dependency on him.

Dusty shivered as she watched the flicker of thoughts behind Richie's eyes. "You can't tell him bout the wolf or what's wrong. He'll get here and i'll be fine. PROMISE ME!" Even though he wasn't Jon, he was a close second, someone she had grown to trust, he had seen the shift, seen her in her worst moment, but even with all that Dusty couldn't let Jon find out this way. Pulling all her strength into the center of her being she whispered again. "Promise?"

Richie watched her intently. He didn’t quite get what she was asking, but it seemed important to her, it just wasn’t important enough for him to lie. Dusty I can't lie to my brother." Richie couldn't promise something he didn't understand. "I'll let you do it when he gets here, if you don't I'll have to."

She pulled herself straighter in his lap and looked deep into his eyes. "You saw, but you don't believe, and if I do it, I might not be able to get back before he comes home." Her voice faded out as her torment grew, "He's like me, but he doesn't believe, he doesnt understand Richie, about us and the bond. You have to believe me, we HAVE to protect him!" Her tears began to race along cheeks that were hollow from the days of being unable to eat. "He’s your brother, your friend, you HAVE to help me protect him."

Richie studied the girl quietly, "I'll always protect him, even if that means from you if I have to. I don't believe anything I saw in there, the gas leak..well if you're telling me it wasn't a gas leak and I did actually see that, then you have to tell him immediately. He has a right to know and make and educated decision on if he wants to be with you or not."

Dusty shook her head, her pain giving her strength, “I showed him once, don’t you get it? He didn’t believe! There’s no gas leak here Richie, no gas leak.” She put her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes, She was too tired to care anymore, it hurt too much to keep stopping it. With a soft sigh she let herself go, let control slip and let the wolf free.”

Richie sat in stunned amazement with a lap full of white wolf and took a deep breath of the fresh air that was blowing onto the balcony. He closed his eyes and looked again, assured that he’d again see the pretty little blonde that had his best friend tied in knots, but the only thing that stared at him was a big white wolf that shared the golden eyes of the girl he had been holding just a few minutes before.

He reached up and gave himself a rather hard pinch and almost yelped when it hurt like hell. “Well fuck that didn’t help.” He shook his head and looked down at the body on his lap. “Could ya go back to being Dusty?? I believe ya, fuck I believe ya.”

Within moments a shivering Dusty was again in his lap, her soft whimpers tearing at his heart.

“I know your hurting Dusty, and I can’t begin to understand why, but when Kidd gets here, well this is something you’re gonna have to tell him, no matter how scary it seems. He’s a good guy Dusty, he can deal.” Richie gave her his most winning smile as he pulled her into a hug, “Until you can explain all I just saw though I’ll try to not say anything. But I won’t keep a secret forever.”

Dusty curled into his lap and nodded. How the hell was she gonna convince him to keep this quiet?

Chapter 15

She awoke to the drone of Jon’s voice. Turning onto her side she gave him a sleepy smile as he talked into the telephone. A golden brow arched as she watched the exasperation grow in his eyes. “Man, It’s the holidays, can’t we do this after the first? Ok, Ok, I get it, its an important gig, but man you owe me one.” Slamming the phone down he moved over to sit on the edge of the bed before sighing heavily. “It never lets up, even though I swore we’d take downtime this go round, it just never lets up.”

Dusty reached over and brushed a lock of his hair from his eyes, “What’s wrong babe?”

“Some interview, for an upcoming awards show. Seems I have to be in California this afternoon dammit, and it’s a holiday! I just wanna spend it here, ya know?” Jon pulled her up into a hug. “You don’t mind packing again so soon do you?”

Dusty watched him silently an idea forming in her mind. She needed to test her theory of the mating and bonding not working on them like it did other shifters, and this would be a prime chance to see how it worked. “Baby, its just an interview, you can fly out and be back in a day or so right? Why don’t I stay here? I’ll plan a little get together of your friends and we’ll have our holiday when you get back?”

Jon grinned as he leaned in to kiss her, “Your one in a million, you know that Golden? You do that, plan us a little party, and I’ll be back before you know it.”

She smiled and gave him a push from the bed. “Go on get ready, its only a day or two, you’ll be back before you know it.”

Jon laughed softly and reached down to flick a lock of golden hair from her eyes. “I’ll be back before you know it Golden girl.” Turning he moved to the closet and pulled out his bag and packed it swiftly. “I’ll make it quick, I promise.”

Dusty stood then moved to the dresser and swiftly pulled on a pair of jeans and her favorite tank top before turning to watch him pack. With the life he led it didn’t take him long to sorta and organize enough things for a couple days away, but then he was used to packing for long tours.

Jon hefted his bag and turned to her, his eyes taking in her slender form and felt his body respond instantly. What was it about this girl that had him heating up by just looking at her? Sighing softly he walked to her and gave her a swift kiss. “Soon Golden, soon.”

She smiled and took his hand, walking him to the door. “Don’t worry about me Jon, I’m a big girl, I’m sure I can entertain myself for a couple days.”

Jon grinned and opened the door, “I’d rather be the one doing the entertaining baby, but we’ll take care of that in a couple days.” He gave her a brief kiss and slipped from the door, walking down the hall swiftly.


Two days, it had only been two days and already she could feel the beginnings of the niggling pain that was settling deep into her bones. She dragged herself from the bed knowing she had to eat, although the she really wasn’t hungry, but she had to keep up her strength until Jon got home, then this ache deep inside of her would vanish. She had answered her own question, separation from him equaled pain. If this was how she felt after only two days she couldn’t help but wonder how he felt.

Jon sat staring at the interviewer as he shifted in his chair yet again. The questions were easy and standard, the same questions he seemed to get asked over and over again, yet he couldn’t formulate the answer. Picking up his glass of water he sipped as he forced himself to concentrate. It was bad enough that he couldn’t concentrate, but damn, now he kept getting wood in the middle of a fucking interview? With a sigh he looked at the reporter. “Could ya give me a minute? I’ll be right back.” Only one thing seemed to ease that stupid feeling when it came over him and that was her voice. Moving to the phone he quickly dialed home and waited impatiently for the phone to be answered.

Dusty almost jumped out of her skin as the phone shrilled. Even that sound had her bones jarring. Thank God she only had to make it through another few hours. Picking up the phone and placing it to her ear gingerly she spoke. “Hello?”

“Hi baby, had the urge to hear your sweet voice.” Jon smiled at the wall as her soft voice washed over him and soothed that crazy ache that had settled around him.

Dusty managed a grin and eased herself onto the couch. “So, what’s up hot stuff?”

“I just wanted to hear your voice baby. I know I’ve been calling you a lot the last couple days, but it’s keeping me going. They’ve added a couple more interviews, so its gonna be another day or two at least.” He sighed into the phone, “I should have gotten ya to come with me, I may not make it back by the holiday. Dunno why but calling is keeping me sane the last couple of days. Sorry if I interrupted anything.”

Dusty winced as she stared out the window. He was going to be gone longer? She could hear the ache in his voice, an ache she knew he was trying to control with simple phone calls. “Its ok baby, that’s the life ya lead right?”

He talked a few more moments and felt the ache ease as he hung up the phone. Walking back over he sat in front of the reporter and smiled. “Thanks for that time, I needed to let my people know I wasn’t gonna be home tonight.” With his famous grin in place Jon again started answering questions; the one he wanted answered winding through his head. How much longer before he felt the need to call her yet again?

Dusty curled up on the couch and let the tears began. She was already a mess after two freaking days. What was she going to be like in a couple more?

Chapter 14

He woke to the feel of her body pressed tightly to his and his smile rivaled the brightness of the sun. It had finally happened; she had given herself to him. Pulling her closer to him he dropped a kiss onto the top of her head. “Time to wake up Baby, we need to start getting ready to go to Mom and Dad’s.”

She sighed softly and snuggled up closer to him, “Don’t wanna move, happy here.”

Jon grinned like a fool as his hands slid over her back. “I’d be happy to stay here the entire day myself honey, but they ARE expecting us, and I wanna show my girl off to my family.” With a soft smack on her bottom he laughed, “So up and at them baby girl, lets get ready.”

Dusty slowly stood then gave Jon a wicked grin as she bolted for the bathroom. “Dibs on the shower!” She had the door closed and locked before Jon had even managed to sit up. He started to laugh as the thoughts of how his life just might change now surrounded him, and he was damned happy at the thoughts.

Two hours later Jon was pulling into his parent’s driveway and shut the motor off. Turning slightly in the seat he watched Dusty fidget, her golden eyes scanning the brightly lit house. “Baby they are gonna love ya, quit worrying bout that.”

She gave him a small smile, her thoughts racing. She couldn’t tell him that she wasn’t worried about that, because she wasn’t. She was worried about which ever parent that was a shifter, who HADN’T told him he was one. How would they react to her? “I’ll try Jon, but I admit it’s a daunting thing to meet someone’s parents.” She smiled and swallowed her nervousness. Nothing was going to get her out this, and nothing was going to make her leave Jon, she’d just have to figure things out as she went along.

As they entered the Bongiovi home Jon was swarmed by his two brothers, his dad and mom and assorted other family members. It took a bit of time, but finally he had made the circle of family. Wrapping his arm around Dusty’s waist he slowly moved her over to the two most important people in his world, his mom and dad. “Mom, Dad, I’d like to introduce you to Dusty Matthews, the most wonderful girl in the world.”

Carol and John smiled with delight to finally meet the young girl their son had waxed so poetic about for weeks. She was a lovely girl and they could see what Jon loved about her. She was like a piece of walking sunshine in both coloring and warmth.

Dusty’s mind was spinning. It had skipped a generation, his parents weren’t shifters, and she smelled no wolf in them at all. Well that explained why Jon refused to remember or believe what he saw that first night, and why he didn’t know. His parents couldn’t tell him what they had no idea about, which niggled and worried her mind all night. How was she going to explain this to him? As the night wore on she tried valiantly to push the worries deep and just enjoy his family. They all treated her like she’d been a member of the family forever teasing her about Jon and teasing Jon about her.

The night came to a pleasant end and before she knew it she and Jon were in the car and on the way back home to the apartment. As he drove through the night her thoughts twisted in on themselves. What the heck was she going to do now? His parents weren’t shifters; none of his family seemed to be. That just made it all the harder now. How was she going to explain things to him? She had no back up or moral support, she had no one to even blame for this but herself.

A soft sigh escaped her and garnered Jon’s attention. “You ok Golden?” He glanced at her, his blue eyes shining with concern.

A whisper of a smile played peek-a-boo with the shadows of the night, her golden eyes almost shining back at him. “Oh I’m fine. Just thinking of how nice your family was.”

Jon gave her a silky smile. “Yeah baby, they did like you. That’s a good thing as I plan on keeping you around forever huh?”

Dusty gave him the appropriate laugh then gazed back out at the scenery flying by. Just how was she going to tell him about the bonds he and she had forged that very afternoon? How was she going to explain how difficult it would be for both of them if they were apart? There was no simple way to do it, hell he had blanked it from his mind when she had shown him how unique she was, so how was she going to broach the subject now?

It was then a desperate thought occurred to her. He had no formal training as a shifter, no preconceptions about bonds; just maybe the bond wouldn’t affect them like it had others. Maybe she wouldn’t have to tell him at all. Closing her eyes she made the decision to wait. If he started showing signs of what distances could do to bonded shifters she’d talk about things, but until then discretion was the better part of valor. Right or wrong she was going to wait and pray if the time came, he wouldn’t hate her too much.

It was the only thing she could do, at least for now.

Chapter 13

With one leg of the tour over, Jon and Dusty managed to finally make it home right before Christmas. He looked up at his apartment grinning with relief at the chance to put Jon Bon Jovi rock-star behind him and just be Jon Bongiovi for the holidays. He had missed his mom and dad, and even his pest brothers over the last few months. He was looking forward to taking Dusty to the family Christmas and introducing her as the woman in his life.

Dusty looked up at the tall building. There was so many buildings here and hardly any trees, if you could call those spindly things peeking out of the concrete sidewalk trees. She sighed softly, living in hotel rooms and on a bus had seemed bad enough, but now he wanted her to live in a huge box with no open spaces. As they walked into the room that little niggling desire to change and run reared its head, but she had made her decision and she was going to follow through no matter how crazy it made her. She had to understand why Jon was never told of his true nature and the only way to learn was to face the coming days with as much grace as possible.

As Jon walked into the apartment his entire demeanor seemed to shift and change. “Oh god it feels so good to get home.” He turned and grabbed Dusty and swung her in a quick circle. “Welcome to Casa Bongiovi Golden Girl.”

She laughed softly her hands grasping his shoulders. ‘I take it you’re glad to be home.”

He lowered her to the floor, her body sliding over his sensually. As her feet touched the floor he dipped his head closer for a kiss. He groaned as her arms wrapped around him and her hands cupped his firm ass. God he wanted this girl, but she was still refusing him that one thing. He didn’t get it, he knew she wanted him as much as he wanted her yet she steadfastly refused to let him do more than kiss or hug her. It was driving him insane, yet making him want her more.

As Jon pulled away from the kiss he smiled, “I best go get a shower, and we have to be at mom and dads for a welcome home thing.”

She smiled and tried to not show her trepidation over the impeding meet and greet with the family. “I’ll go next; this gives me time to figure out what I can wear.”

As Jon moved to the bathroom she went into the small room she called hers. It had caused an argument her small room, but she needed space from Jon and his charismatic personality. As it was she was too close to giving in to his blatant desire for her, sleeping in the same room on a regular basis would be her literal undoing. She wasn’t sure how much longer she could keep putting him off though, he was at best, persistent, and at worst, down right stubborn.

Jon strolled from the bathroom, a towel riding precariously low on his hips, another towel in his hands as he vigorously towel dried his hair. “Its all clear for you baby.”

She turned and her breath caught in her throat. He was so glorious with his skin rosy from the heat of his shower. She had battled so long to keep him apart from her, but his body was there and she couldn’t resist to just once again feeling his warm fur pressed close to her again. Her nature was to give to the one who was her life mate, and she had fought it for months, understanding the fact he didn’t realize what he was, but in these moments, when they were alone, it was damn near impossible.

He pulled her into his arms, the need for her burning inside of him as it always did. He couldn’t understand it but he needed her more each day. From the time he’d found her hurt and bleeding a rage over what was his being hurt had grown into a full blown, although unrequited passion. He pushed closer to her, his arms wrapping around her as his lips dove in for a kiss. That was one thing she allowed him, kisses.

His kiss set her afire, it always did. She allowed him to pull him close, her hands reaching up to tangle in that wondrous hair of his. As the kiss deepened she moaned softly her body arching closer to his in an ages old timeless dance. This was need, this was want, this was instinct, and with no one around to interrupt, or a crew to take care of she had no way to escape it, no longer wanted to.

He slowly walked her backwards, understanding somewhere within that her walls had fallen and she had agreed to the one thing he needed of her. His hands slid down her sides before slowly pulling her tank top up and over her head, a groan vibrating in his throat as her saw she had no bra on. With speed born of passion his lips captured one rosy nipple in his mouth, then slowly licked along the chest to her other breast and suckling the pebbling nipple. Her soft gasps were driving him wild, unsheathing a raging fire that threatened to burn them both to cinder.

His hands fell to her cut off jeans and quickly had the button undone. Sliding them down her legs, he pushed forward, landing them both on the plushness of his couch. Without stopping his lips began to kiss and nibble south, his tongue slipping in to taste her belly button, her scent and silken skin calling him further. He kept moving, his destination the mound that was covered by silken blonde fur. Raring up on his knees suddenly he pulled her down before sliding his hands under her ass, opening her to his inquisitive view. Flames begin to lick at his senses as his head dipped forward, her scent coating his nostrils in a burning desire. The tip of his tongue flickered out then along her nether lips, tasting, scenting marking her as her shuddered gasps drove him further into mindless abandon.

As he licked and nuzzled along her nub he slid one finger inside, a groan falling from his lips as she clenched around him, Pulling back he slid in again, adding a second finger, knowing that if she was this tight around his fingers, she would be heaven on earth when he was seated inside of her. Slowly he began to move upwards, his fur rubbing against skin overly sensitized by desire. Placing his arms on each side of her head he looked down into her golden eyes, eyes burning with inner fire that matched the crystal flames within his blue gaze. “Stop me now or I wont be able too Golden,” he whispered, praying that she would. He knew she had wanted to wait, but for some reason had responded, but he had, god help him, give her a chance to back out.

She looked up at him, the fire in her eyes speaking volumes. As she reached up and tangled a hand into his hair she sighed, “I can’t anymore. Please, don’t stop.”

With a groan his lips found hers and he pushed slowly home, his shaft striking true as she began to arch upwards, needing him deeper. His hips slowly moved, as he plunged deeper, only to pull out and plunge forward again. Her soft sighs turned to a soft wail, her fingers sliding over his back to his ass as her nails dug in pulling him into her. His pace increased with each gasp, his head falling to her shoulder, his lips sliding over her his teeth nibbling along the collar bone that always set her off.

In that moment, their bond was born, a bond of heat and fire and longing, two hearts, of like souls, screamed into the abyss of passion. With fire licking at the souls the he bit down gently on her shoulder, the insane need to mark her as his overriding all sense of self. As she screamed his name, her inner walls clenching against him like a vice he let go, his release washing into her like liquid flame. He slowly lowered himself, just slightly to the side, his head falling upon the shoulder he had marked as his own. His heart was pounding with a strange new rhythm as he wrapped arms around her and pulled her into his body.

She sighed softly, her nose again finding his fur and rubbing over it, her body sated and complete. She drifted off into sleep, his scent surrounding her, his body heating her, her heart beating in twin time to his.

Chapter 12

She leaned her head back against the bus seat and sighed. Damn she was so tired, tired of the scenery rushing past on a daily basis and tired of the non stop hotel rooms. She sighed softly as she thought of all the places, California Utah, Colorado, Wisconsin, Ohio, Georgia, and a few more she’d already forgotten, all stops on the whirlwind tour they were on. That didn’t even cover all the time she’d logged flying from one place to another over the past few months. For the millionth time she wondered how Jon had managed to convince her to leave her desert home that day only to come right back to the startling conclusion that he didn’t have to try all that hard. She had felt from the day she ran from him in 1989 that she had left half of her soul someplace else, now though she still felt incomplete too and she was unsure of how to fix that. Was being with Jon enough to keep the wolf at bay? It had been that way for months, but she could feel the tell tale beginnings of the urge to roam; something she had fought for the last few months because the need to be with Jon was running even deeper.

A soft smile played about her lips as her mind ran and skipped amongst the memories that had started the day after her fight with Max. He had been so careful with her that day, from caring for her wounds to ensuring that she ate and rested. When the time came to leave Arizona he simply planned for her to be along for the ride, and in her condition she had fallen in with his plans enjoying being taken care of by such a wonderful man. Even the presence of Alec hadn’t taken the shine off the new penny.

It had been hard telling him about Alec, but he had been so understanding, even reassuring her that he would be keeping a better eye on his bassist. It had proven to be a timely warning as over the months Jon had, more than once, caught the bassist unprepared to play. Much time was wasted sobering the man up, or finding a way to ensure he didn’t fuck up the entire stage show. It amazed her even now at all that went into a few guys just standing up on a elaborate big box and singing. Increasingly of late though, that elaborate preparation included hours of convincing Alec to play, and he had started out right refusing to come to any rehearsal or session they had on their few days off in between shows.

Her eyes opened momentarily and scanned the bus, her eyes settling on each man in turn. Just watching Richie for a second made her grin. He was forever in motion, she doubted he could ever slow down or sit still. If he wasn’t strumming one of his many beloved guitars he had a pad and pencil in hand and was writing. Most of his and Jon’s songs came from those very moments of introspection when the pen was scratching over the paper. The funny thing was, he was as protective of her as Jon was in his own way. No one got close enough to the golden girl to cause harm when Richie was there. He had said once as his cheeks flushed pink that she was the sister he’d never had, and that one heart felt thought from him had ensnared her into this ride as much as Jon’s need for her had. She looked over at David and couldn’t help but smile. Their “Joker”, always with a grin or practical joke in process or planning stage that no one was safe or immune from. His devious mind never slowed down. She started giggling as she remembered the night in Omaha when right before the show Jon had figured out his way too tight pants had been coating in itching powder. That one incident had instigated a month long “who had the itchie’s” that no one on the bus was immune too.

Then there was Tico, Tico of the gravelly voice and ready grin who treated her like a daughter, a daughter of the heart if not body. Maybe it was his little boy enthusiasm for his job or maybe it was just his hot Latin soul, but she often compared him to a little boy on Christmas morning when she watched him play the drums. He had that looked of unbridled joy that being the heartbeat of the band seemed to inspire, with each and ever downward stroke of his hands. Her eyes came to rest on Alec, who was as usual staring out the bus with the evident glassy eyed stare. She stayed away from him the best she could as he always seemed to make her feel dirty. He was forever more giving her looks that reminded her of the wolf in “Little Red Riding Hood.” If anyone could have played the wicked wolf in that story it would have been Alec. She didn’t know how much longer Jon was going to put up with him, but she was praying deep inside it wasn’t that long.

As her gaze made their circle her eyes centered on the face of Jon at sleep. He looked so young and carefree when he was asleep. It was then more than any time that he reminded her of the floppy haired biker she had met so long before. She leaned forward and pressed her nose against his long silky hair and sniffed. He had started to let it grow longer when she had agreed to come along with them and it was her undoing. A slight grin flickered over his lips and one blue eye cracked open. “Hello there baby.” His grin shifted to a full on smile as he tilted his head and pressed his lips against hers. “Have a nice nap?”

“I’m not the one who was napping you devil and you know it.” She laughed softly.

He nuzzled her neck, his tongue flickering along her carotid artery. “Just a few more gigs then we’re off for Christmas Baby. You’re gonna love my mom and dad.”

She pulled away and sighed softly. “Jon I told you, I shouldn’t intrude on your family holiday.” She didn’t know about meeting the family that had let him grow up unknowing of his true heritage, or if they’d recognize in her those same traits. She was no better though, she had wanted so many times to talk to him about what he was, but always put it off. She knew she should tell him, but he was happy with his life and learning what she knew might take away that happiness.

“Baby, they’ll love you trust me, especially Matt and Tony. They love a blonde nearly as much as me.” Jon grinned, “but they can’t have you, I have you reserved for myself.”

“You make me sound like a bottle of wine or something Jon. I’m not a damned possession you can put on a shelf.” Dusty’s eyes darkened ominously. She never had liked feeling caged.

“Ah hell baby, you’re my girl, not a possession.” Jon reached over and with one finger lifted her chin so that she was looking into his eyes. “I know we’ve been taking time to get to know each other, I’ve never treated you like a possession. Just wanting you to know how much you mean to me baby, that’s all.”

A ghost of a smile began to play at her lips. “I’m just worried your folks won’t like me is all.”

He couldn’t call her on her honesty, she never lied to him, but she didn’t offer information either, but as he studied her intently knowing that she carried a secret that was translating itself into her fear of not being loved. He knew it had something to do with the fall they met, now if he could just figure it out. Maybe once they were away from the band, alone in his apartment, maybe then they could really talk.

Chapter 11

As they ate Dusty couldn’t help but smile as she watched the two friends try to out do themselves as they tried everything to keep her mind off her woes. She could tell that both men wanted badly to quiz her about the night before but were reluctant to bring the topic up. As she laughed softly at Richie’s outlandish jokes and Jon’s “oh why is he my friend” expressions her eyes kept traveling to Jon’s face. Something was different about him. Oh sure he was a few years older, she recognized that fact, but it wasn’t that. Her eyes widened as it came to her and her mouth started running before she even thought. “You cut your hair, THAT’S what it is.” Jon turned a quizzical gaze towards his golden girl and Richie bust out laughing.

Her cheeks flushed pink as she realized she had spoken her thoughts out loud. “It’s just that four years ago you had this long mop top, and I kept trying to figure out what was different about you and,” she paused as her eyes met his a soft plea within them for him to understand.

“Yeah, I got tired of it about a year ago and just whacked it all off.” His face shadowed briefly as he wondered if she was one of those who only saw the hair and looks.

“Yeah Dusty, man it made the freaking world wide news.” Richie grinned as he reached over to thwap Jon on the back of the head. “Everything the wonder boy does damn near reachs the news.”

She shook her head grinning as her hand brushed over his head. “Pissed you off didn’t it? So much to you than just hair and they chose that to talk about?” She smiled gently before removing her hand. “They just don’t see beyond the package is all, you’ll have to forgive them for not seeing the man behind it, and maybe it’s a good thing, that much will allow you a bit of privacy. They see what you want them too and it keeps that special part of you safe.”

A brilliant smile played over his lips as he listened to her words. She did see that he was more than hair and music, it was evident in her gaze and that afforded him a chance to see if she liked what he had done. “So do you like it short like this?”

“Well now, if I say I do or don’t are you going to think its all about the hair?” She winked and picked up a croissant and took a small nibble as her gaze stayed intently on his.

“Nah, I actually don’t mind an honest opinion.”

She smiled and reached out again the flip an errant lock of his hair away from his eyes. “I like that it’s not all in your eyes, and it’s a very nice look, but honestly I think you’d look a bit better with it longer. Your face is very sharp and the hair serves to soften the planes of your face.”

He tilted his head and smiled a bit the urge to just lean over and sweep her into a kiss dancing through his mind. “Well I might take that into consideration Baby, eventually.”

Richie leaned back with a stunned look on his face. Had anyone else mentioned Jon’s hair they would have probably gotten the back end of his tongue. If he was touchy about anything it was being seen as the rocker with the hair, but this tiny slip of a girl had managed it. He shook his head before taking a sip of coffee and wondered what else might change with her in Jon’s life.

The sudden pounding at the door startled all three sitting at the tiny hotel table. “Fuck it’s probably the guys.” Richie muttered as he looked at Jon with a “what we do now?” look.

Jon sighed and called out, “ONE second guys,” then stood and moved to the bed to pull the vibrant purple sweat pants from the bed. He took them to Dusty and helped her stand and get her feet into the legs. As he began to pull them upwards he glanced upwards and seeing the look on her face stopped with a grin on his face. “Ok, Ok, you can do it yourself, I get that.”

As Dusty finished pulling the sweats on, Jon moved over to the door and pulled it open. “Well come on in guys. I was wondering how long it would take you all to meet the day.”

David, Tico and Alec more or less tumbled into the room, David being rammed from behind as all men stopped short. Being ever the joker David was the first to speak. “Even in this god forsaken town, I walk into your room and you’ve found the prettiest one around. Now last night you were all alone and this morning you’ve got a goddess in your room. Exactly when did you find the time Jonny boy?”

Jon’s eyes flashed momentarily at the blatant desire that was suddenly flittering in each of his band’s gazes. “Guy’s, I’d like you to meet Dusty.” His tone was friendly, but the underlying ‘back off she’s mine’ was there for the men who knew him best.

As the guys moved closer to Dusty she moved closer to Jon. The curly headed one seemed nice, and the dark one was radiating a mix of humor and friendliness but the tall skinny one set her hackles to raise and she didn’t have hackles in human form. The skinny one set her teeth on edge and the only way to resolve that was to be closer to the one whose scent and presence could calm her. She startled as David leaned over and dropped a swift kiss on her cheek. “So this is the famous DG we’ve been hearing about off and on for four years eh?”

“DG?” Her look was quizzical as she studied the curly haired one.

“Yup, that would be Desert Girl, the only woman to leave this man wanting more. Yep, I’ll just call ya DG cuz danged if you aren’t the color of the desert, and he found ya here so it just fits, I’m Dave by the way.” David shot her his famous, I’m the Joker you love me grin, and she knew in that second that he was safe and ok for her to like.

“Well it’s a pleasure to meet you too Dave.” Dusty smiled and watched as David twirled around and shot over to the table snagging the croissant right out of Richie’s hand, jamming it into his mouth as his friend yelped a huge “Heyyyy that’s mine!” David gave him a grin and proceeded to steal his coffee too eliciting a laugh from everyone.

Jon looked at her then back at the band, without even trying she’d already earned a band nick from David, and they hadn’t even gotten to know her yet. He grinned then shook his head, but come to think of it, he knew very little about her either and that was something he’d have to resolve very soon.

With everyone involved in David’s snatch and run, Tico moved to the young woman and smiled. “Hello there Little One, It’s a pleasure to meet you, I’m Tico, but you can call me Teek.”

Dusty smiled softly at the dark man. “You have a nice voice Teek, all gravely and whiskey soft.”

Tico grinned at the lady in front of him. “Well thank you darlin but if you don’t mind I think I’ll go grab me one of those breakfast croissants before the Joker and Richie eat them all up. He waggled his brows and garnered a silly grin from her as he turned and wandered over to the table.

As Alec moved up to greet Dusty she wrinkled her nose and slid closer to Jon. “Excuse me a moment.” She gave Jon a look that screamed she wanted to flee, as she turned and slowly made her way into the bathroom, shutting the door swiftly behind her. She moved over to the sink and turned the tap onto cold hoping that a bit of cool water on her face would remove whatever it was bugging her. She splashed the water over her face with a sigh. What was it about the tall skinny one? He smelled wrong, even to her human nose he smelled poisoned and she couldn’t figure out why. It was almost as if he smelled sick, but he didn’t look sick so it couldn’t be that could it? Not only did he just smell off but he looked off to her, his eyes were a bit glassier than a normal man would have in the mornings. She just wished she could figure out why he struck her so wrong.

Jon stood staring at the bathroom door. Dusty had been in there quite a while and didn’t seem to be coming out any time soon. He began to worry that something was wrong with her wounds or that something else had happened. He walked over to the door and tapped softly before calling out, “Hey baby, you ok in there?”

Dusty sighed and moved to the door, cracking it open enough to allow him to enter. As he slid into the bathroom she moved back, her golden eyes showing the worry flickering in the golden depths. “I’m sorry Jon, I just couldn’t greet that skinny one. I just,” her voice faded off as he took her into his arms.

“Baby, you can tell me anything, don’t worry about being nice all at first, you’re still hurt and shouldn’t have to be dealing with this.”

“It’s not that Jon, really, its that one guy, something just isn’t right about him. He smells off to me, like he’s poisoned, and his eyes are all glassy. He makes me nervous is all.”

Jon’s eyes widened for a moment as he tightened his arms around her reassuring her. He’d been wondering for months if something was wrong with Alec and her observations added to how the wolf had literally snarled at the bassist had his mind in over drive. They had served to make him finally realize that something bad was wrong with Alec.

The only question was, what was Alec’s problem and how were they going to handle it?