Feeling stuck in a loveless marriage? Looking for a way out? The one you’ve been longing for is just around the corner. The love and family you deserve is waiting for you.
Richie snorted and tossed the note into the passenger seat. Must be some movie or a play....or maybe a dating service. The only love and family I want is waiting for me at home. I may not deserve them, but I want them.
He ran a mental check list of what he was supposed to pick up. Food, treats, chew toys – so Taffy would have something other than their shoes to chew on. Actually, she never touched Tori’s shoes. The puppy’s behaviour around Tori was very....surprising. While she played with the kids – and him – sometimes roughly, she was very careful with Tori. After that first day, she never jumped on Tori again, but would often lie quietly beside her. She also tended to follow Tori around from room to room, particularly when the kids were napping. It was almost as if she was watching over Tori.
As for Tori....he’d been afraid that she didn’t like dogs and would ignore Taffy as much as possible. He should have known better. Judging by the affection she doled out on the pup, her beef really was with the time and effort required to look after a dog. Not that she did any of it, other than the occasional brushing. No, it all fell on him. She was making a point. But he had no room to argue. He’d been warned and he’d brought it on himself. A glance at the dashboard clock told him he’d better get a move on. Taffy would need to be walked soon.
“So, are you speaking to him yet?” Karin asked even though she knew the answer.
“Yeah. You know I can’t stay mad at him for very long.” Tori considered her own words for a moment. “Not over something like a dog, anyway.”
“You just like the make up sex too much.”
“What can I say? My husband is a sexy stud.”
“I believe the animal he’s compared to is a moose, not a horse.”
“He’s a bull alright.”
Tori chuckled. “Jealous? How is Shirley anyway?”
“Hey! Don’t be knocking my Chia Pet! Besides, it’s not about the size, but how he uses it. And David definitely knows how to use it.”
“Mmmmhmmm. Lucky for me, I get both size and skill.” Tori opened the fridge in search of a bottle of water.
Tori’s laugh was cut off by Lauren’s scream followed by crying.
“What was that?” Karin had heard the scream.
“Lauren. Hang on.” Tori rushed into the living room to see Lauren sitting on the floor, her face scrunched up and red as she voiced her unhappiness, Stevie and the puppy sat nearby. “What happened?”
“Taffy knock her over.”
“Is she okay?” Karin asked when Tori came back on the line.
“Yes. Collision of puppy and toddler. I think she’s more mad than hurt.”
“Never a dull moment around your house, is there?”
“Nope. It’s a regular circus around the Sambora house. Don’t pull on Taffy’s ears Sweetpea, you’ll hurt her.”
“So, what does that make you? The ringmaster?”
“Ringmaster, lion tamer, juggler. Don’t give her too many treats Peanut. She’ll get sick and Daddy won’t be happy if he has to clean up another mess.”
“Clown? No, that would be Richie’s department.”
“Actually, that’s more your house than mine. Richie’s more like a comedian...and then not as bad as Shirley. His impersonations are hilarious though.”
“Our lives sure are different than how we pictured them ten years ago, aren’t they? I mean instead of your average white collar husbands and three bedroom houses with maybe a pool if we were lucky, we live in mansions, get to travel all over the world and we’re married to rock stars. They may act like big kids a lot, but they love us and treat us like princesses.” She sniffed. “And they make beautiful children.”
“Hormones Karin.” Despite her warning to her friend, Tori felt her own eyes fill.
“I know. It’s just that it’s all so wonderful, like something out of a fairy tale.” Karin’s voice hitched. “We couldn’t have dreamed anything any better, could we?”
Richie walked in to find his wife on couch, phone to her ear, tears streaming down her face. “Angel? What’s wrong?”
She shook her head and waved to signal everything was fine.
Richie frowned and bent to scratch Taffy’s ears. He looked at Peanut. “Who’s Mommy talking to?”
“Ah.” Hormone convention. Best to stay out of that. “Come on Taffy, let’s go for a walk. Peanut, you want to come?”
When they got back, they found Tori and Ava in the kitchen helping Rosa with dinner, Lauren and Elmo on the floor in the middle of the room. Richie walked up behind her and slid his arms around her waist, palms rubbing her stomach. “Everything okay with Charlie?”
“Yeah, why do you ask?”
“Because you were in tears talking to her on the phone. That usually means something’s wrong.”
“Oh, that.” Tori turned in his arms and looped her own around his neck. Her eyes searched his, then she reached up to kiss him. “I love you.”
“I love you too angel. I’m not complaining, but what brought this on? Did Charlie say something?”
“She just pointed out how lucky she and I are to have you guys in our lives.” Tori leaned against him.
Richie rubbed her back. “Shirley and I are the lucky ones angel. And we know it.”
Lauren’s scream jerked them apart in time to see Taffy take off towards the living room...with Elmo in her mouth.
“Guess she can’t stand the noise anymore either.” Tori commented.
Lauren used a chair to pull herself to her feet and set off after the puppy.
“The girls are fighting Rich. Better go break it up.”
“I’ll go.” Ava offered.
But Tori shook her head. “No, let your father deal with it. This is his show.”
She may have forgiven him, but she obviously wasn’t going to let him off the hook completely. “Yes dear. Taffy, come here girl.”
After dinner they were relaxing in the living room watching TV while the kids – human and canine – played on the floor.
“What do you think of me taking flying lessons?”
Tori didn’t look up from the magazine she was reading. “If you want to. Just promise me you’ll be careful. Of course, you realize that Jon will have you flying the jet.”
“Then maybe I’d get more say on where and when we go somewhere.” He chuckled.
“Speaking of your controlling brother, he called me earlier.”
“Yeah? What did he want?”
“To let us know that since we’re going to be in Jersey next month for the arrival of the newest Bryan munchkin, he’s booked us a gig.”
That got her attention. “He did, did he? What happened to post tour down time?”
“It’s a fundraiser.”
She frowned, then shrugged. “As long as he doesn’t expect me to participate.”
“It’s for the Kidney Foundation.” He’d let her draw her own conclusion. He didn’t want to be the bearer of bad news.
“Son of a....I’m going to kill him! No wonder he called your cell instead of the house! Why does he always do this to me when I look like I’ve swallowed a beach ball? And without even discussing it with me!”
“You look beautiful.” He leaned over to kiss her neck and rub his hand over her swollen stomach.
“I’m honest.” He countered.
Tori smiled at him in gratitude. Her hand rose to caress his cheek and she kissed him. “Thanks, but I’m still going to kill him. Or maybe I’ll just call Dot and let her kill him.”
“Whatever you need to do angel.”