Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chapter 5

That night, the kids slept a little better, only waking up once, but Tori didn’t sleep well. Despite sports bra and cold compresses, her breasts ached with the lightest touch and the slightest movement. Even pumping again and feeding Lauren at bedtime hadn’t helped much. Weaning was definitely the worst part of motherhood.

By the next morning she was tired, sore and cranky. Throwing up her toenails before breakfast didn’t help her mood any either. The thought of all the preparations she needed to do for Easter made her want to sit down and cry....or scream.

After lunch, while the kids were napping, Tori went searching for her husband and found him in the studio restringing a guitar. “Honey, will you come reach the egg decorating supplies for me please so that I can see if we have everything we need? ” They were on a high shelf that she couldn’t reach on her own.

“Sure angel. I’ll be right there.”

Ten minutes later, he found her in the dining room, decorating supplies spread out on the table in front of her.

He frowned. “I thought you wanted me to get that stuff down for you.”

“I got them down myself.”

“I told you I’d get them.”

“I didn’t know how long you were going to be. I wanted to look at it while the kids are sleeping.”

“You couldn’t wait five minutes? You could have hurt yourself.”

She shrugged. “I’ve had to learn to do a lot of things on my own.”

Richie stared at her, stung by her tone and the meaning behind her words. Don’t react. She’s tired and doesn’t mean it. Without a word he turned to leave the room.

The demon inside her wouldn’t let it go and she followed him into the living room. “Where are you going? Aren’t you going to help with this?”

“I’ve got some errands to run.”

“What, another damn guitar? Is that more important than doing something fun for your children?”

“No, it’s not, and that’s not fair Tori. You know I love our children, and would do anything for them. I’ll be back in plenty of time to do whatever you want me to do. But right now I have to go out.” Before I say something I’ll regret later. He continued towards the front door, picking up his car keys in the foyer.

“That’s right Richie. Leave. You’re good at that.” She heard the words coming out of her mouth, but she couldn’t believe she was saying them.

Richie closed his eyes. Don’t react. She doesn’t mean it. She’s tired and hormonal. Don’t react. Don’t react! FUCK THAT!  He stopped. “I’m doing the best I can Tori. I’m sorry if that’s not good enough for you.”

The quiet closing of the door behind him might as well have been a canon firing. Tori stared at the wooden panel, stunned, horrified at her own words. Bursting into tears, she collapsed onto the couch.

Rosa stood in the doorway of the kitchen, her heart going out to the sobbing woman. She remembered what it was like to be overwhelmed by lack of sleep and hormones. Luckily it seemed Richie was smart enough to just walk away rather than fight. Hopefully he wouldn’t take her words to heart. She returned to the kitchen to make Tori a cup of tea.

The touch of her son’s small hand on her face had Tori opening her eyes.


“Hi Peanut. Did you just wake up?”

He nodded, his expression solemn. “Mama ok?  Why you crying?”

She pulled him onto her lap and hugged him. “Oh, I’m just tired sweetie. I’m okay.”

Thankfully, that seemed to satisfy the toddler. “Where Daddy?”

“He had to go to the store. He’ll be back in a little while.” I hope.

“Oh.” He thought about that for a minute. “He bing me somepin?”

“I don’t know. You’ll have to wait and see.”

“Okay. You do puzzle wif me? Pease?”

“Sure. You go pick one out and I’ll help you put it together.”

“Okay!” Stevie slid off her lap and ran down the hall to the toy room.

“He must be feeling better.” Rosa observed entering the room with a cup which she handed to Tori. “I made you cup of tea. Will help you feel better.”

Tori smiled wryly. “Thanks. Got anything that will keep me from running off at the mouth? God knows I can’t seem to stop myself.” God she hated being so unable to control herself! 

Rosa patted her shoulder. “It’ll be okay. He knows you don’t mean it.”

“I hope you’re right Rosa.”

Richie picked up what he needed plus a couple treats for the kids and then just drove around. He was torn between wanting to go home and wanting to avoid this Linda Blair version of his wife. With a sigh he raked his hand through his hair. He knew she didn’t mean what she said. She was tired after dealing with sick kids, plus the morning sickness, and her hormones were all over the map. But knowing didn’t make hearing the words sting any less.

He loved his wife, he really did, with every fibre of his being. And they made beautiful, incredible children together. But her Bongiovi temperament didn’t deal well with the hormones that inevitably took over every woman’s body and personality during pregnancy. The lack of control went so against the grain it made her irritability worse.  He didn’t know which was harder for him, watching her struggle with it and taking the brunt of her temper, or seeing the guilt eating her up after she spewed at him.

Finding himself on the shore, he found a place to park and shut off the engine, rolling down his window to let the soothing movements and sound of the waves and the light breeze blow away the last of his tension.

On the positive side, pregnancy hormones were temporary. Of course she hadn’t come completely off the roller coaster from Lauren’s birth before starting on the next one. He grimaced. She was right. The timing sucked. But he couldn’t begrudge the end result. Another baby!

Besides, it wasn’t like he wasn’t used to dealing with the temper. He’d managed to work side by side with her brother for thirty years without any scars. Thankfully, he didn’t have to try to cope with both siblings having Bongiovi hissy fits at the same time.....very often.

To be fair, Tori normally controlled her temper very well – much better than Jon did. If she cut loose, the person on the receiving end usually deserved it. And he knew she cut him a lot of slack. He was far from perfect, but she loved him anyway. That knowledge had brought him through many tough times and kept him going. For what she brought to his life, he would gladly put up with a few months of mood swings and occasional explosions. Plus, he was going to be on tour for the worst part of this one.

After one more look at the peaceful scene in front of him, he started the car and headed home. Pulling into the garage he killed the engine and sat for a moment before taking a deep breath, picking up his purchases and heading inside to see whether Mr. Hyde was still in residence or if Dr. Jekyll had returned.

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