Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Chapter 4

Lizzy’s brow wrinkled in thought as Jon lifted his eyes, their gaze locking.

Still rubbing her finger mindlessly, she finally spoke, unable to tear her eyes away from his,”Umm, that was my editor on the phone, while you were taking your call. He, umm, was very pleased with the idea of the charity visit and article idea. However, he had another idea, that might expand upon this a bit. Well, quite a bit.”

She paused, lowering her gaze as she tried to piece together her question. But all she could think of was how difficult it was to get a handle on her thoughts when she was with this man. On one hand it confused her, on the other hand it just irritated her, which in turn caused him to irritate her just that much more. Yet she felt like she was being held captive in some invisible way.

Still studying her with that cool, blue gaze, he prodded “ok.......”

His voice snapped her back to reality, as she looked up at him, “ Uhh, he, umm, thought it would be a fabulous idea if we did a series of articles, you know, instead of just one. With you. About you...umm, and your charity foundation. He wanted me to convince you to do it.”

Oh my God, Lizzy! What in the hell was that? You did graduate from college, you can speak like an educated human being, she scolded herself silently.

Jon’s gaze turned thoughtful, “Sooo, he wanted you to convince me. And just how do you plan on doing that?” He challenged, that devilish smirk forming on his lips.

The dark look she gave him would have caused a lesser man to wither to the floor, but not Jon, who was obviously getting too much enjoyment out of poking at her.

No longer flustered, she stared him down, accepting his challenge, “I think he is right. It would be a good idea. A great idea, in fact. Think about it. A whole series of articles about your charitable work and foundation in one of the biggest newspapers in the country. Think of all that press that would get, how helpful it could be to your foundation.”

She waited for his response, her gaze unchanged.

The smirk slowly faded as he slowly nodded, “You're right. It is a good idea. I like it. Tell your editor to draw up a contract for this series and we will get started right away.” He said with a firm nod as he stood up. “We should get going though, if you want to do this.”

She nodded as she gathered her things, and rushed to keep up with him as he exited the deli. He turned to her as he held the door, “I warn you though, I am very passionate about my charitable work, you are going to have to put in a lot of hours to fully grasp all that is involved.”

He turned and headed down the street, leaving Lizzy standing behind. Blinking quickly, she gathered herself and followed, unsure how to take his “warning.”

Finally catching up with him as they arrived back in front of the hotel, he gestured for her to enter first. Stopping at the front desk he requested a car to be brought around. Putting his hand on her back, he steered her toward a bench where they sat and waited for the driver.

She couldn’t help but notice how quiet he was. He wasn’t going to make this easy on her, that was for sure. He knew he messed with her mind, and he enjoyed it far too much. She squirmed in her seat, unsure how to break the awkward silence.

“Umm, so, Jon, you're on tour now, right? How long will you be touring and where will you go next?” She mentally scolded herself for her measly attempt at conversation. But what else do you talk about with a rock star, except himself?

He glanced over at her, nodding, “Yes. We have a couple of legs left of a very big tour. 18 months. There are a few more shows sprinkled around the US, then off to Europe for the summer.” Leaving his response closed ended, he looked back out the window of the hotel.

He was going to make this really hard on her, she could tell, her emotions beginning to boil. How dare he! Well, she could play that game, too. Putting on her interview cap, she decided she would approach this like she approached most of her clients interviews, with a role of confident leadership.

“Oh well, that is quite the tour.” She responded coolly, just as the black car pulled around to the front of the hotel.

He rose, looking toward her as he waited for her to stand, then put his hand on her back again in a rather possessive manner. Feeling the heat of his hand through her shirt, she struggled to remain composed as she let him steer her toward the open door of the car. Nodding politely to the driver, she slid into the cool interior of the vehicle. Jon slid in after her, sinking back into the leather seat, his legs spread out in front of him.

He is such a guy, she thought, as she noticed his body language. And such a rock star. He seemed so comfortable in his own skin it was hard not to smell the confidence he oozed. It caused the hair on the back of her neck to stand up, and tickled all of her senses. There was something about him that she couldn’t put her finger on. As much as she kept telling herself he was just another cocky rock star, she wasn’t sure she quite believed it. Despite her best efforts to stay calm, cool and collected, he set her on edge. She couldn’t deny that.

Realizing she should be prepping herself for the charity visit, she pulled out her notepad and pen.

Turning slightly towards him, she asked, “Jon, would you mind telling me a little bit about your visits to charities throughout the country as you travel around on this tour?”
Shifting his weight as he turned in her direction, dark shades over those icy blue eyes, he rubbed the slight stubble on his chiseled chin....”Not at all.”

He continued rubbing his jaw as he thought for a moment, causing her gaze to follow his hand, noticing the tiny flecks of gray sprinkled across the still smooth skin of his slightly tanned face. The gray hinted at his age, while the skin it sprouted from remained amazingly unmarred by all the years of touring. She realized she was forgetting to breath again as her eyes followed his fingers. Coming back to the present moment, she looked back up, seeing a hint of his eyes watching her from behind the tinted glasses. She could feel the heat rising up from her neck to her cheeks. Forcing herself to look away, she fumbled in her bag for her own sunglasses, only looking back at him when they were firmly perched high on her nose. She noticed the very slight upturn of the corner of his lips, so slight no one would notice unless they were intently studying his face. Which she wasn’t, of course.

Dropping his hand as his lips formed a more real smile, he turned more fully towards her, and launched into an explanation of his visits. “As you know, giving back is very big deal to me. As we started on this tour, I gave myself a goal of visiting as many charities, across this country, as I could. I wanted to see what others were doing. See what worked. Meet the people that were a part of this great movement, and see who it was they were helping. And mostly, I hoped to gain a lot of information to bring back with me, and maybe implement in my own foundation. Eventually I have hopes of expanding the reach of the foundation.” He paused for a moment, removing his glasses, a serious look on his face. “That is why I think this series of articles you spoke about may be a really good idea. It could be a win/win for both of us.”

He held her gaze, his lips forming a small, genuine smile. Lizzy replied, her features softening, “I think you may be right, Mr. Bon Jovi.”

He reached over to her face, removing her glasses, his face inches from hers. “Please, Lizzy, call me Jon.”

Not finding the words, all she could do was nod as those blue eyes once again, held her captive.

She could feel his warm breath on her face, as she felt the car jerk to a stop, bringing her back once again. He gave her a quick, one sided smile, the one he was so famous for, and exited the car even before the driver. Holding the door for her as she got out, he handed her the glasses, which she shoved on the top of head. Paper and pen in hand, she followed him into a small brick building in a rougher looking area of town. She could hear children playing around the back of the building. She looked around the street at their surroundings as they walked toward the front door of the building.

“Welcome to my other world.” Jon said with a smile, as he gestured for her to enter.

She stepped foot through the door as she realized she was about to see a whole other side of the man.