The glisten of tears on his wife's face, the sea of faces singing his words back to him, and finding that perfect harmony with Richie filled him up. Sometimes a crowd was just magic, and the Sydney people were certainly there to party. And with each song he gave more, played harder, pulled more from the guys until the stadium's roar of approval was a testament to the years he'd sacrificed, the moments he missed with his family, and the days he couldn't be with Tessa.
It was hard to remember that sometimes, but looking out on the waving hands and smiling faces the familiar notes of Wanted meant as much the first time he played them as it did tonight. And he played like it would be his last night, even though for the first time in a long time it felt like maybe it wouldn't be.
And with the bows that night he held onto his brothers and smiled his thanks to the people of Sydney. He wasn't sure they knew just what their generosity of spirit did for him, but he knew. And when Tessa launched herself into his arms off the side of the stage he laughed and swung her around.
"Can we pack them up and bring them to NJ?" She asked and slid her arm around his back and Richie's as they rushed into the back.
"I know! Right?" Richie's brown eyes were shining with delight and the adrenaline high of a good show. The mishmash of voices didn't push him into his cave tonight. He wanted to be with everyone. Happy to share in the stories and the rehashing of songs. Tonight it didn't matter that These Days was a little off. He wasn't going to pick it apart.
Tomorrow would be soon enough to obsess on what didn't work.
Tonight he just wanted his friends and his wife.
10am Sydney time 12/18/10
"Why did you keep pouring wine into me?" Tessa moaned from beneath her pillow.
"You were the one that thought you could drink me under the table while still on the fringes of jet lag," Jon said sitting on the edge of the bed, tying his running shoes. He grinned as she closed the pillow around her head. He'd pulled the drapes open ready to run off his sins from the night before. He'd rather stay in bed and coax her awake, but he had a show to do tonight and if he didn't get the last of it out of his system he'd be dying in the second hour.
He slapped her ass. "You could come run with me."
"Bite me." The words were muffled, but yep...that was definitely what he heard. So he did.
She shrieked and couldn't quite stop a giggle as she flipped the sheet back over her ass. Since that was exactly what he was looking for he stood up. "It'll make you feel better."
She flipped the pillow back and squinted at the sun that was trying to burn off the rain clouds. She sat up, her hair tousled deliciously. "Sadist."
What he wanted to do was slide back into the bed and show her just how evil he could be. He'd bet her pussy would taste like wine with how many bottles they'd gone through the night before.
"I know that look."
"What look?" he asked innocently.
One creamy thigh slid out of the sheets and swayed in invitation. When she let the downy comforter slide down to show a pretty pink nipple his mouth dried even more than the wine hangover had already left him with. "I bet my workout trumps an hour on the treadmill."
She smiled that secret smile and he let his sneaker thud to the floor.
And she did, in fact, taste like wine.
When he finally left her he had to sprint for soundcheck. His day was a bit fuller than usual thanks to a QnA session that he didn't normally allow Matt to schedule. Even the usual setlist conversation didn't piss him off today. Sated off a two hour fuck-a-thon with Tessa--his wife certainly didn't lie, he did enjoy her version of a workout far more than the treadmill--he sat on God's most uncomfortable stool and deciphered the oddly lyrical mix of accents that filled the small room.
He tried not to look out the window at the rain sleeting down. And when the usual, I-just-wanted-to-tell-you-how-much-your-music-means-to-me's started he tried desperately not to roll his eyes. He was proud of his body of work and loved that his fans loved it just as much as he did, but compliments never sat well on his shoulders. And when Tessa slipped in just as yet another fan fawned over the last time Bon Jovi'd been in Sydney and the review he'd written up he caught the finger Tessa'd held up to staunch the eye roll that was starting.
He forced his lips into a genial smile and took the pamphlet the guy had taken the time to create for him. He just didn't know how to react to the adoration. It made him feel stupid. How many times could you say thank you and sound genuine? But having a fan for a wife had taught him a few things and he made the effort to make sure they knew he appreciated it. Just because he felt stupid didn't mean the fan had to too.
And when his eyes found Tessa again, she was at the back of the room against the wall with her arms crossed, a sassy cocked hip matched the smirk on her face and he relaxed into the rest of the fan club event. How many times did she tell him that he had to get out of his hotel room and get in touch with his fans? How many times did she have to tell him he was starting to act like Elvis?
And he knew he could lock himself away and check out with an Ambien and a bottle of wine the deeper he got into a tour. And no one would say anything to him except his wife. Kissing ass was what he was used to--give the order and it was taken...period. He hated when his wife was right. And she almost always was.
So when he took a good look at the setlist, he took the time to actually read it. Seeing a few older songs on there, he tapped his pen against the sheet. Maybe tailoring the songs just a little more would be a good idea. He sure as fuck was sick of hearing about the Bon Jovi boards and fan club boards that went on and on about the setlist. Didn't they realize that he did change things up compared to other bands out there? For fuck's sake, he had to have Tony redo the entire light show when he threw a song out there. Playing certain songs, while a fan favorite, could kill the timing and the mood of a show.
But why would they think like that? It was always his job to be the bad guy.
And normally it didn't piss him off when people bitched. He had to think about the masses, not necessarily the ultimate fans. Not when he had 55,000 people in a stadium and only a percentage of them were the uber fans. And the lull in the conversation made him realize he'd tuned out just a little too much. He smiled and gave a pat answer that he could regurgitate like lyrics and caught Tessa rolling her eyes.
Damn woman kept him honest. He scribbled a star next to one of the songs and smirked at her.
Time to wind up his wife a little bit tonight.