Never Say Goodbye

The drums and David's synth filled the night air. Her conversation with Richie's wardrobe girl faded into the back of her brain. The opening notes prompted her to slip away, to brave the crowd and the little chair that always waited for her on the circle out of the line of fire with the fans. By the time she got through the crowd--with a little help from her all access pass, thank you very much--she couldn't feel bad about abusing her power.

Not when the sad notes of Richie's guitar and Jon's lonely wail tugged at her like that. The man had no idea what he did to her with his music. To this day it still drew the emotions as completely as her first show in the hair-days. In fact, it tugged at her more now because she knew where some of that emotion came from.

His eyes opened and found hers as if he'd known she would be there. "Goin' the chapel and we're going to get married...goin' to the chapel of love." He blinked out of her sphere and gave himself back to the crowd. But there was a smirk on his face that made her belly twist.

"I was upstairs before the show, in the afternoon with a bunch of folks that were die hard fans of the band..."

And as he told the crowd about the QnA session he laughed with Richie and she knew she was officially in a world of trouble. The tears were instant and complete. She tipped her head back and the harmonies broke her heart then put her back together in the flash of a chord progression. A fire glowed hot inside her and matched her husband as he crowded around the mic with Richie.

And there in one of the largest arenas they'd played this year it felt as intimate as a bar. The sweetest testament to the song was the heartfelt response from the crowd. The words soared from the floor, from the seats, and even from the rafters. The song always resonated, would always resonate no matter how old they were. And when Jon and Richie pulled together in perfect harmony there was nothing more amazing in her little world. She had a feeling the entire crowd would agree with her.

Eyes closed as the song drew out he opened them and found her, the smile and the wink came. "David Bryan and Tico Torres report to the principal's office."

She laughed, blinking back the tears as the jam effortlessly bloomed out of the emotional wash of the previous song. And just like that he was grinning like a fool and laughing with his brothers. The acoustic part of the show was always a favorite for her and she was glad he'd brought it back into the shows.

As they ran back to the front she started for the stage and couldn't stop the laugh as Jon took vocals for Lay Your Hands On Me. She clapped with the crowd and sang back with them as Jon demanded their participation. Watching him own the crowd buzzed inside her as she fed off the crowd as much as her man did. And through to the end of the show she enjoyed it like a fan. It was her husband, but when he was on that stage and doing the job, he became just a little bit more for a few hours.

Sometimes she fell into all that love that swamped her and he stayed her husband, but sometimes like tonight it was the music and the memories of why she'd been drawn to him in the first place. She'd fallen in love with their music long before the man had walked into her life. And when he was like this, when he was the music it brought her back to simpler days where a concert was just something to enjoy and be a part of, not the machine that took him away from her more than she'd like.

And with each song she sang along and when the songs shuffled at the end. When he didn't go with the tried and true she knew Sydney had touched him and the smile wasn't staged as it could be sometimes. The enjoyment was as pure as it should be every show in a perfect world. But they didn't live in a perfect world and he was definitely an imperfect man.

His blonde hair stuffed in a blue Santa hat as vivid as his eyes, she laughed as they all sweated their asses off as Christmas made an appearance in the unreal heat. She'd nearly forgotten it was Christmas with the travel and the weather. The jaunty little cotton ball flicked around his shoulders as he smiled, touched fingertips and laughed through the song only to destroy with In These Arms as an afterthought.

Expecting that to be the end of the show, her eyes widened as Rule came out as an encore. Again, the setlist was rearranged and there was her optimistic husband. Sometimes he could be so removed from people in their SoHo penthouse, or their New Jersey mansion, the VIP parties, but there were certain things he remembered and certain things that resonated with him. The ones that called him scripted didn't understand him. Sure part of it was scripted, but only because he knew those were the words that worked.

A perfectionist to the core, when he found something that worked he would use it to death. And she'd been to plenty of shows over the years where he could be on autopilot, but not that night. Tonight he let the words and the music speak for him and build as he walked through the crowd. And okay, so she wanted to snap off the chick's hand at the wrist that cupped her husband's ass, but hell...it was a nice ass. And she'd be the one cupping it later.

She made her way to the back and watched from the sidelines as he extended the song and the entire arena answered him in that moment. This was one of those shows that Sydney would talk about, the fans would wish they were at, and that made her proud of the man that sometimes couldn't be just hers.

Tonight, she didn't mind sharing.

And when he talked his way behind the stage he looked her dead in the face she could agree love was the only rule that got you through the night. She'd damn well get him through the night and hold him every day and maybe, just maybe everything would be all right. She could see the lines in his face, but she could also see the hope there again.

She wrapped her arms around his neck and he lifted her off the coils of cords and duct tape of the underbelly of the stage even with all the techs and roadies and family he lifted her into his arms and kissed her. Not that he wasn't one for public displays, he definitely didn't have a problem with that, but not usually a kiss like that. Not that was for her and for her only.

His arms banded around her waist and crushed her tight. She pressed her cheek to his, her mouth at his sweaty ear where she dragged the monitor out. "I missed you."

He didn't pretend to misunderstand, he just held her tighter.

The End...for now.