Sunday, February 19, 2017

16. Confessions

Lilah was curled around him like pasta in the tines of a fork, softly snoring into his shoulder.  Tony would be perfectly content to stay tangled up in her warm familiarity, but nature called and he had no choice but to answer. 

“Lemme up,” he whispered, gently unwinding their legs and scooting her away.

“Mmphf.”  His wife grumbled a little, but rolled to her side of the bed willingly enough. 

Feeling his way through the darkened room, he found the bathroom and shut the door behind him before hitting the light switch.  Taking care of business while keeping his eyes half-closed against the glare, he then turned to the sink.  A flick of his wrist had the hot water on, and he groped for the miniscule bar of hotel soap, running it through his hands a few times and encountering the raised flesh on his newly tattooed finger.

It made him smile.  

The ink hadn’t been nearly as big of a deal as the conversations leading up to it. 

Lilah had told him she wanted something small and simple, which suited him perfectly.  They were also in harmony on the preference to use initials rather than names or artwork.  

He now wore “her” mark of LJB - narrow letters carved by the smallest needle in the tattoo guy’s arsenal.  They were inked sideways, stacked on top of one another so that the L was closest to Tony’s middle finger and the B was against his pinky.  On each outer edge of the initials ran a thin line that circled around to the palm side of the finger.  That’s where “10.14.16” had been stenciled in the same ink and style as the initials. 

The result was no more than a quarter-inch wide and would be easily covered by his wedding band, which was currently on the bedside table.  It was made even more understated by the fact that they’d chosen white ink instead of black.

He'd really believed this whole thing was about him being branded for the world to see, but, when she realized that's where his head was, Lilah had wasted no time in correcting him.  She bluntly cited that her ego didn't need him to make a profession of love to the world, her heart wanted a very personal profession that happened to be permanent.  Hence, white ink.  

His wife’s finger was nearly identical to his own.  The only surprise on that one had been when the artist asked what initials she wanted to use.  Tony had fully been expecting her to say “TBJ”, but she’d surprised him by choosing his given initials, “AMB”.

When he commented on the choice, she’d just shrugged.  “TBJ is who your brother made you.  AMB is who you are.”

He didn’t contradict her.

Tattoos were followed by a nice Italian dinner where his wife had gotten a little tipsy and, thereby, squirmy.  She had been all over him by the time they got back to the room and, having had a drink or two himself, he wasn’t opposed to it in the least.

Who was he kidding?  He wouldn't have been opposed to it if he was stone-cold sober.

While removing her clothes, he remembered mumbling something about how she was never going to use that new vibrator because he was throwing the damn thing away before it replaced him.  She had whispered that she didn’t need the “damn thing” and asked him to make love to her.  That was quickly followed by  reassurance that she’d been enjoying every filthy minute of the vacation sex.  It was just that, after their "vows" and rings that day, it had felt an awful lot like their wedding night again. 

He translated that to mean she needed/wanted the softness and romance, so he gave it to her. 

Tony kissed her like it was the very first time, called her his baby, told her he loved her and touched her as if she were as fragile as fine china.  He coaxed her with a tease here, a soft kiss there, a lazy swipe of his tongue someplace else until she…  Exploded wasn’t the right word for her orgasm.  It was more like she dissolved into a contented puddle of goo.

He could relate to that, because for a man who loved the hard and fast simplicity of a good old-fashioned fuck, making love to his wife last night had been memorable.  Maybe it was the newfound conviction that this truly was for the rest of their lives, but he hadn't experienced the usual blinding orgasm signalling that sex was over.  This time, release had come almost leisurely, and was accompanied by the soul-deep satisfaction of knowing that it wasn't over, it was just finished until next time.

Maybe it wasn't the orgasm he would always be looking for, but it suited him this time around.

Then, in a horror film twist of irony, his house started haunting him.  The monstrosity wouldn’t let him rest with his untold secret and, while Tony had lain with her all night, he hadn’t done much sleeping. 

Padding back to bed, he saw that it was a little after five.  As she normally did during her gradual wake-up process, Lilah was tossing from one side to another trying to find sleep when her body wanted her awake. 

Today.  Now.

Sliding under the covers, he scooted to spoon himself around her nakedness, dropping a light kiss to the scars at her neck.  After a moment, his lifted his hand to caress the curve of her hip.  Then he dipped to stroke that soft spot he liked, right between the curve of her ass and thigh. 

“If this cuddle isn’t gonna end in an orgasm, stop it,” she rumbled drowsily. 

His soft chuckle tickled her and earned him a limp swat on the cheek.

“I need to tell you something,” he murmured against the shell of her ear, spooning a little tighter. “And you might not like it.”

“It’s not daylight yet.  I already don’t like it.”

Maybe he should let her sleep.  He could always tell her later.

You’ve waited long enough.  Any longer and your institution of marriage might become a penal institution.

His right hand found her left and Tony wedged them together, rubbing his thumb over her tattoo ring.
“No matter how bad you think I’ve fucked up, you can’t leave me.  Don’t forget that.”

“Oh, God,” she groaned, extracting herself to reach for the lamp.  A quick snap and the light flooded away the darkness, leaving them both squinting in its wake as she slid back down to the mattress.  “What have you done?”

“It’s not that bad.”  He reached for her, both because he wanted the intimacy and to keep her from beating the hell out of him when he got to the punchline.  “C’mere.”

“Anthony Michael, you’re freakin’ me out.”  Her mommy voice was in full bloom, but she still allowed herself to be tucked close.  “Tell me.”

Tony sighed, nestling her ass into his crotch.  “It’s about the tour job.”

“Mm.  You finally gonna tell me why you took it?”

“Yeah.”  His eyes closed against the light, and he tried to lose himself in the feel of her.  “No matter how many times I said no, Jon kept harping at me to go with him.  I ended up asking for something totally ridiculous to shut him up, but the joke was on me.  He actually agreed to it.”

“Agreed to what?”

“Baby…”  Her hair ruffled at his soft huff.  “We’re drowning in debt.  I had just finished paying the bills when he called that last time and was feeling overwhelmed and desperate.  So I told him I’d go if he paid off our house.”

“Holy shit,” she breathed, no doubt doing some quick math in her head to subtract four years’ worth of payments from their purchase price.  “That’s got to be more than you usually make by… what?  At least three times.”

“Try six.  Now you know why I couldn't fuckin' believe he agreed.”

“So, wait.”  His eyes popped open when she flipped over to face him and levered up on one arm.  “He’s giving you enough to pay off the house?  Like, completely, with no more big ass house payments?  Jersey, that’s great!”

“Yeah, well, don’t get too excited just yet.”  His mouth twisted wryly as he prepared to bite the bullet.  “There’s more.  Jon, being Jon, gave it a different twist, so that he could reap some benefit from coughing up that much cash.”

“Uh, hello?”  Her eyebrows slammed down over her eyes in irritation.  “You’re goin’ on his freakin’ tour.  Wasn’t that supposed to be the benefit?”

He couldn’t help but smile.  She was cute when she was pissed at somebody besides him. 

“Nobody on the tour makes that kind of money, baby.  It's hard to justify as a standalone deal," he explained.  “So he made a counteroffer that isn’t optimal, but…  I agreed to it anyway.”


Stop stalling, Bongiovi.  Rip the Band-Aid off and see what's underneath.  

“And... we’re outright selling him the house so he gets the tax break on it.  We’ll still live there, but it will be his name on the deed.  That’s the deal.”


That’s all she said.  A simply stated, flat response that offered no room for argument. Not that he was surprised she wasn't doing a happy dance, but a guy could hope.


“No, Anthony,” she impatiently cut him off.  “Unless I’m just plain stupid, you need my signature to sell that house.  I’m not signin’ squat, and you’re an idiot to think I would ever live someplace at the mercy of your brother.  Or anyone else, for that matter.”

Tony shoved himself up in the bed so that he was propped against the pillows.  “Do you understand how much financial relief we get by not having that house payment?  Because it’s enough that I won’t bitch about Drew’s rent anymore – and then some.”

She wriggled around until she was sitting cross-legged at his hip, facing him.  “I know how much the house payment is, and I know how nice it would be to have that money for something besides a house payment every month, but this is a crock.”  She bumped the heel of her hand into his shoulder.  “I can’t believe you’d do this!  When the hell were you gonna tell me?”

“I wasn’t,” he mumbled under his breath. 

His shoulder got another rude jarring.  “Excuse me?

“I wasn’t going to tell you at all,” he came clean and plowed ahead.  “But since we got… us back, it’s been eating at me.  No bullshit doesn’t come as easy when you’re keeping secrets.”

The hamster wheel in her mind was spinning so fast, he was surprised that there wasn’t smoke coming out her ears.  She wore one wicked scowl as she did that soul looking thing, focusing on his left eye, then his right, then his left again.  He just knew she was mentally ticking through a million convoluted thoughts, and God only knew what type of retribution would come of it.

“I’m not arguin’ with you about this,” she quietly decided, dumbfounding him with how the fight simply left her.  The angry set to her jaw vanished.  The harsh angle of her shoulders softened.  “Because it’s a moot point.”

“How do you figure that?”

She picked up the sheet and began creasing it in her fingers, avoiding his gaze, and Tony instantly recognized the gesture.  He should, since he’d seen it countless times throughout their relationship.  It was what Lilah did when she was having a conversation she didn’t want to have.  A conversation in which she was unsure of the outcome – or thought it would piss him off.

“Lilah Jane,” he quietly threatened.  “What have you done?”

“It’s nothin’ bad!” She was quick to defend herself, stopping with the sheet long enough to point a finger in his face.  “In fact, it’s very good, and don’t you dare think I was tryin’ to hide it from you.”

Hiding?  Suddenly, he didn't feel as guilty as he had ten minutes ago.

“Talk, woman.”

“Don’t be an ass,” his wife demanded petulantly, and sat there playing with the sheet… and sat there... and sat there. 

"If you don't tell me and tell me right now, you're gonna be reminded just how much of an ass I can be.”

Her nose crinkled in a fit of pique and she huffed at him, but it didn't stop her from embarking on her explanation.  “You remember the other night when I was in such a good mood?  I said I had a surprise for you that wasn’t ready?”

The memory was quite clear in his mind.  He would be hard pressed to forget the transformation that had overcome her that evening, and she was so delighted with whatever the surprise was that he hadn’t pushed.  Details hadn’t mattered as long as he'd kept his Bluegrass.  

“I remember.”

“Well, I was waitin’ to get hold of the bank and ask them about refinancin’ the house on a shorter term.  I wanted to find out what the payments would be and if they thought we’d qualify since we just borrowed against the house a couple years ago.  But they still haven’t gotten back to me, which is why I haven’t brought it up before now.”

Jesus, I bet that’s what’s delaying the closing date.

“I’m confused,” he told her, reaching for his glasses, in a subconscious search for some kind of clarity.  “You surely understand that a shorter loan life means a higher payment?  There’s no way in hell we can afford a higher payment, Lilah.”

“One would think.”  Her eyes darted up to his, and her hands stilled on the sheet as her chin jutted with determination.  “But the annuity I’m gonna get is for twenty years and our mortgage still has 25 years left.  I want the house paid off by the time the annuity is done, so a shorter loan life makes sense in this case.”

Did he fall asleep or into the Twilight Zone?  Did she say annuity? 

“Wait.  What fucking annuity?”

“Welllll…..”  She gave him a sheepish smirk, confessing, “I won a little money.”

“Enough for a fucking annuity??”

“Yeah.”  Her eyes sparkled with utter delight.  “When you ran into me that evenin’, you might recall there was a lot of ruckus goin’ on…?”

Tony immediately flashed back to the moment where he asked that guy if someone had hit it big.

Yeah, you could say that.  Nine hundred thirty-three grand.

“Jesus, Mary and Joseph,” he breathed, heart racing faster than any of their Camaros could hope to.  “You won almost a million dollars?!?”

An impish grin lit both her face and the room.  “Still think that slot machine career is so foolish?”

He framed her face with his palms and planted a loud, smacking kiss against her lips.  She could have any damn career she wanted, as far as he was concerned.  “You are the most amazing, beautiful woman!”

“I take it you’re not upset with me, then?”

“Upset?  Hell, no!  I’m so happy that I might let you keep that vibrator.  I may even use it on you myself!  Holy shit.  Almost a million dollars!”

“Nine hundred thirty-three thousand, to be precise,” his little calculator recited.  “Paid out over twenty years at two percent interest is roughly thirty-five thousand a year after taxes.  That’s twenty-nine hundred dollars a month, which should be close to the payment on a refinance of our current balance, if we get a good interest rate.”

He was just going to take her word for it, because all that shit was beyond his level of comprehension - or caring - right now. 

“Jesus motherfucking Christ,” he repeated with wonder.  “You won a house, baby.  You won your house!”


I love seeing him happy, Lilah thought, her heart filled to overflowing.


She loved him.  She loved their family.  She loved the life that they were fully committed to living together.  She also loved being responsible for the joy that shone in his eyes right now.  It might be as much joy as he’d given her with his badass commitment spiel in front of the tattoo shop.

Her husband likely thought her silly over that whole thing, but he couldn’t possibly understand the peace he’d granted by so permanently declaring his commitment to her.  Lilah had been left on her own so much – as a latchkey kid, by Walter, by Amos, then by Tony after Europe – that she could never shake the anticipation it was going to happen again.  

Her reason was that, if she was expecting to be left, it wouldn't be quite as hurtful when it came to pass.  That was the idea, anyway, and when she’d accused him of living with one foot out the door, it had made her feel incredibly hypocritical because she'd been living that way since before they got married.  

She rubbed her thumb over the discreet tattoo on her finger.

But not anymore.  He’d taken that away.  Nobody in the Bongiovi Mafia was going anywhere – ever – and that made her blissfully happy.


She gave her husband an arrogant grin and pushed his shoulders toward the mattress so she could straddle his waist.  “I won our house,” she corrected, bending forward to capture his mouth in a joyous kiss. 

His eyes were still closed when she tore her lips away, and impulsively dove for his nightstand.  One quick motion later, she reclaimed her straddled position.

“What are you doing with my phone?” he questioned, one eyebrow high on his forehead.

She ought to be offended that her husband sounded so suspicious, but he couldn’t be blamed.  It was only because he knew her so well. 

“Callin’ your brother.”

She tittered at the ugly face he made while she scrolled through his contact list.  Considering the history between Jon and herself, he was probably conjuring up all sorts of troublesome drama. 

Lilah Jane, don’t torture the man.

“Relax, sweet baby,” she soothed, subtly grinding her pelvis until she felt him stirring between her legs.  “This won’t take long.  Then you can try out that vibrator for me.”

In truth, she didn’t give a flip about the vibrator.  It didn’t have a hairy chest, a wicked grin or a big ole Jersey attitude.  Those were the things that flipped her switch.  But if those things were holding the other thing… 

The phone connected and promptly dragged her mind from the gutter.  It was not appropriate to have dirty thoughts while talking to her brother-in-law, even if he was Jon Bon Jovi.

“You’re up early,” he answered without ado, understandably assuming that Tony was the one calling.  “She kick you outta bed or has she taken up residence in the casino?”

“Good mornin’, Mr. Bongiovi,” Lilah greeted with all the southern charm she’d ever learned, witnessed or even heard about.

“Ah, fuck.  He told you, didn’t he?”

She smirked at his sigh of utter resignation.  “He did, indeed, and I’m callin’ to inform you that we will be declinin’ your thoughtful offer on our house.”

“Are you divorcing him?”

“That will never happen,” she vowed, petting the dark pelt that covered her husband’s chest.  “But I do have some other regretful news to share with you.”

The groan coming across the line was almost more pathetic than the sigh had been.  

“He promised me that he’s going on this tour, Lilah,” Jon was quick in jumping to conclusions.  “Gimme a break, here, will ya?  I didn’t shove that offer down his throat, and shouldn’t have to pay for his dumbass moment.  Hell, I told him he shouldn't be keeping it from you!”

Well give her a feather and call her a duck.  Jon had actually petitioned on her behalf?  Maybe he didn’t dislike her quite as much as she’d come to believe.  In that case, she supposed she should get him something nicer than socks for Christmas this year.

“One moment please,” she requested professionally, then covered the phone’s mic.  “Jersey, I forgot to ask.  Do you still want to go on the tour?”

Her husband frowned.  “No, but he’s my brother.  If he thinks he needs me to go, then I have to go.”

Lilah stroked the side of his face with a nod, recognizing that husband went above and beyond for family.  It was just who he was and, since she had been the recipient of that loyalty during the past few days, she could hardly deny the same to Jon. 

Looks like you’ve got groupie nightmares to look forward to.

As long as they were nightmares and not premonitions, she would deal with it.  And if they turned out to be premonitions…  Well, one of them had to die to get out of their private mafia, right?  She didn’t recall him specifying who.

“Jon?” she returned to the call at hand.  “He’ll still be goin’ on the tour.  The news that you might find regretful is that I’m going to be negotiatin’ his contract for him.  If I don’t step in, he might try and sell you the kids this time.”

Tony silently flipped her the bird, but she just flipped him one right back.

“I’ve spent four days with your kids, Lilah.  I wouldn’t take ‘em as a gift.”  The chuckle in her ear was gravelly.  “What’s your price, Kentucky?”

If it had been anybody but one of the Bongiovis, her mama bear claws might have emerged at the insult to her children.  However, she happened to know Jon was full of crap.  He was M.J.’s godfather and Matt was Lucas’s.  If something happened to Tony and Lilah, the brothers would take her kids in without hesitation.  Jon just liked to be an asshole from time to time.

Must be a Bongiovi thing.

“Well, for starters, you’re gonna have to pony up twice as much as you did last tour.”  Tony held up three fingers.  “Make that three times as much.”

“You people are extortionists,” he complained loudly.  “I could have your asses arrested for this kind of blackmail.”

“Then he’d be in jail and not on tour,” Lilah pointed out, not believing the empty threat.  “That’s counterproductive to what you want and you’re not goin’ to do it, so stop bein’ melodramatic.”

He might have just growled at her. 

“I think I’ll wait to hear the rest of your terms before I commit to anything.”

She snickered as Tony was mouthing “bonus”.  “Why Mr. Bongiovi, you are almost as smart as your brother.  I’m quite impressed.”

“Cut the Southern charm shit and get to the bottom line.”

“As you wish,” she murmured agreeably.  There were days when she enjoyed making the Bongiovi brothers cuss.  Today was Jon’s day.  “Three times the last tour paycheck, bonus at the end, and Patriots tickets for the rest of the season, plus season tickets for next year.  Good tickets, since you’ve brainwashed my son into thinkin’ Tom Brady is God’s illegitimate son.  Oh, and Lucas is gonna want to be meetin’ him and Gronk both.  And Micah Jane wants to meet Elsa.  I have no idea how you’re gonna pull that one off, but I’m sure you’ll figure somethin’ out.”

“Who the hell is Elsa?”

Lilah smirked into the phone. It was time for Uncle Jon to learn a little bit about Disney princesses, and she knew just how to remedy that.  “Ask Micah Jane.  She’ll tell you.”

She couldn’t make out all of what he muttered under his breath, but did pick out “pain in the ass” and “more trouble than it’s worth”.

“Is that your full list of demands?” he spoke clearly into the phone.  “Those are all doable, but there’s nothing on the list for you.  Don’t you want something out of this deal?  Hope Diamond, maybe?”

She lifted her left hand, admiring the smidgeon of white ink etched there before smiling affectionately at the Jersey boy between her legs. The one who was watching her with an amused affection that made her soul happy.

Jon had a lot of money and he knew a lot of people.  There were many, many things that he could – and maybe would – grant her if she asked, but she didn’t see much point.  She had her husband back, along with a guarantee that he would always be there.  She had two beautiful, if rowdy, children, and a home that she loved.  If she asked Tony, he would say she also had her swagger. 

Everything else was just stuff.  

“No, sir,” she demurred.  “I’ve already got more than I dreamed possible.  Askin’ for more would just be greedy."

And they lived... ever after

Saturday, February 18, 2017

15. Inka Dinka Doo

Tony looked down into her face, knowing that he wouldn’t deny Lilah anything at this moment.  He felt too good.  Like he had his life back.  The charmed one, not the shitty one.

“Got something in mind do ya?” he inquired drolly.

“I do.”  Her hand stroked his thigh, fingertips hovering dangerously close to what lay between his thighs.  “The idea was to get something for me as a symbol of your total commitment, right?”

When his wife started reminding him of why he was doing something, he typically ended up screwed. 


“Well.”  She peered up at him with an innocence possessed only by angels and babies.  “Remember the cashier on our shopping trip yesterday?”

“The kid with the-  Oh hell, no!  Did you not hear me say ‘let’s not go crazy’?”  He was screwed and it turned out there was something he would deny her – a tattoo around his ring finger.

“It’s not crazy,” she insisted with a stubborn set to her jaw.  “If you’re committed, then what’s the big deal about gettin’ a tiny little tattoo?  You’ve got half a dozen that are way bigger than the one I’m askin’ for.”

Because those fucking things were nothing but bad luck.  He could not think of a single person who had gotten a “proof of love” tattoo and was still happily married.


Their breakfast arrived, and Tony gave full attention to his omelet while she glared at him over her croissant. 

“You can scowl at me all you want,” he offered, reaching for the pepper shaker.  “The answer is still no.  How ‘bout a pretty necklace instead?”

The stubborn tilt of her chin told it all.  “Why won’t you do it?”

“I told you,” Tony reiterated.  “Those things are a prescription for divorce.  We’re just now back from the edge of that cliff, and I’d like to keep it that way.”

She pointed at him accusingly with her butter knife.  “Bullshit.  That’s nothing more than an excuse so you can go on livin’ one foot out the door.”

The fork in his hand went still and his expression went stern.  “Say that one more time and you’re gonna piss me off good.  Just because I don’t want the tattoo doesn’t mean I’m on my way out.”

“If you’re truly plannin’ to keep me, it shouldn’t matter what’s on your ring finger.”  She summarily popped a piece of pastry in her mouth.

“I have something on my ring finger already.”  His left hand was presented to display the heavy gold band.  “Remember this?”

“Weddin’ rings come off real easy.  I’ve got two ex-husbands as proof.”

“I am nothing like those redneck motherfuckers,” he growled.  “So don’t even go there.”

Lilah rolled her eyes at him.  “I’m not comparin’ you, I’m just sayin’.  You’ve got an ex, too.”

An ex that he preferred not to think about, as she was the reason he hadn’t been anxious to get married a second time.   A psychiatrist would probably tell him that she was also the reason he was so damn adamant about this tattoo thing.

Tony stuck Lilah with a harsh look of warning, and went back to his food. 

Silence reigned for the remainder of the meal, with the only exception being a single deep sigh of frustration from her side of the table.  Beyond that, there was nothing more than the bump of a cup on the table’s surface or the clatter of flatware against dishes until Tony pushed his plate away. 

He looked over at his wife, finding that she was still picking at what was left of her croissant. 

“You giving me the silent treatment?” he asked, curling a hand around his coffee mug and preparing himself to see the Shield of Apathy when she lifted her face. 

“No,” she denied with remarkably clear eyes and placid features.  “You wanna go to the Mob Museum today or poke around the hotels?”

“I thought we were going shopping?”

“Mm.”  She finally pushed away her plate, and stabbed at her phone to check for messages.  “If you want.  M.J. would probably like a new Disney princess dress.”

“You’re going to be a bitch about this,” he sighed with resignation.  It wasn’t a question.

Surprise colored her eyes and she shook her head, chocolate waves swishing across her shoulders.  “Not at all.  I told you what I’d like to have and you said no.  Okay, fine, but I’m not interested in havin’ anything else.”

Tony watched her carefully for any body language that might contradict what she was saying, but there wasn’t any.  She wanted what she wanted or nothing at all.  So much for his romantic gesture.

Goddamn it.

“It means that much to you?”

She peeked up from the phone and said simply, “You’d get tired of listenin’ before I got done explainin’ how much.”

What the hell was he supposed to say to that?  She was such a pain in the ass sometimes.

But she’s yours, for better or worse.

“If I say I’ll think about it, can we go have a nice day without a cloud of pissed off hanging over us?”

She tipped her head to the side and studied him for a moment, maybe trying to see if it was a sincere offer or if he was merely blowing her off in a nicer way. 

He could save her the trouble.  As much as he had no idea in hell why it was so important to her, it was, so the offer was legitimate.  It wouldn’t kill him to mull over the idea a while before giving it the final kibosh.

“I’d appreciate that since I sure don’t want a piss cloud hangin’ over me,” she eventually replied with a laugh, tucking her phone into her pocket and grabbing her purse.  “Let’s go find somethin’ fun to do.”

He tossed his napkin on the table and scooted from the booth, hoping like hell that this wasn’t going to be another minefield day.

Eight hours later, he wanted nothing more than to park his ass somewhere and not move.  

They had been through a dozen casinos and hotels along the Strip, from the MGM all the way up to Treasure Island.  That was in addition to dozens of tacky souvenir stands and shops in between.  By the time they’d made it as far back as the Venetian, Tony had thrown in the towel.  His arms were laden with purchases, and he insisted that they were going to ride the monorail back to their hotel. 

His aching feet aside, it had been an exceptionally nice day without a landmine in sight.

True to her word, Lilah hadn’t acted the least bit pissy during the day.  He would go so far as to say she had been the perfect companion by simply walking beside him, and holding his hand while her face transformed with delight, amazement and just plain old happiness over the sights and sounds around them.  If she thought there was something he wanted to see, she happily followed along behind him.  Other than that she was simply content to go where their feet led them.

She also managed to lose another hundred dollars in the slot machines, affirming his decision to never take her anywhere near Atlantic City.

Tattoos were never mentioned, but their breakfast conversation was never far from Tony’s mind.  He’d even noticed a few people in the crowds who had matching wedding band tattoos.  They’d been way overdone, in his opinion, but they were…  Well, there was nothing wrong with them.  

By the time they’d made it back to the hotel lobby, he’d almost made his decision. 

She’s right, you know.  It’s not like you have a problem with tattoos.  What you have a problem with is wearing proof of your fuck up if things fall apart.

“Why don’t you take these upstairs,” he requested, holding out the bags to Lilah.  “And meet me back here in a few minutes?”

Her eyebrows drew together in confusion.  “Why?  Are you going to gamble?”

“No,” he chuckled.  “You’ve done enough of that for both of us.  I’m gonna smoke a cigarette and ask about someplace for dinner.”

The confusion immediately cleared, replaced by easy acceptance.  She popped up on her toes to give him a quick kiss before heading off.  “Okay.  I’m goin’ to change my shoes while I’m up there, so it’ll be a couple minutes.”

“Fine.  I’ll find out what I want and get the car from valet.”

Fifteen minutes later, having had his smoke and gotten the information he wanted, Tony requested the rental car from valet.  He had already referred to his GPS for the necessary directions and was flipping through posts on the Bongiovi Brand Facebook page when both the car and Lilah arrived.

“Does that look good to you?” he asked, showing her a snapshot of someone’s Italian meal.

She buckled her seatbelt and gave him a look like he was dense.  “It has pasta in it.  You really have to ask me that?”

Tony chuckled and put the phone in his pocket.  His wife loved carbs any way she could get them and, although bread was her real passion, pasta was a close second.

“Are we havin’ Italian for dinner?” she asked conversationally as they pulled up to the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana.

“Is that what you want?”

“Well what did they say at the desk when you asked about someplace?” she pressed as he watched street signs.  Dinner plans hadn’t been the reason he sent her upstairs.

Jones.  There it is.

He executed a right-hand turn, playing her question off with, “They recommended places there in the hotel.”

“Yet here we are.  Not in the hotel.” 

He smirked at her sarcasm.  According to his phone, their destination was only a couple more blocks.  Tony could banter with her for that long. 

“Did you want to eat in the hotel?”

The huff of annoyance amused him.  “I actually want to know where we’re goin’.”

Right there.  Just on the other side of Arby’s.

He flipped on his turn signal and braked for the right turn into the parking lot, immediately spotting the place he was looking for.  A quick circle had him pulling into a parking space that faced the front door.  He slipped the gearshift into Park and nodded toward the storefront. 

It read “Studio 21 Tattoo Gallery”.

Lilah’s eyes darted from the shop, then back to him, then back to the shop.  He didn’t give her a chance to ask the question written all over her face, he just dove into his spiel.  

“I will do this only if you agree to the following stipulations.”

Lips pressed firmly together, she nodded her head in acknowledgement and waited for what he’d say. 

“First, no matter how bad you think I’ve fucked up, you won’t get to leave me.  Ever.” 

“I was actually more worried about you leavin’ me,” she clarified softly.  “I don’t exactly have the best track record with husbands.” 

Jesus Christ we’re a pair.

“I have two words for you - redneck motherfuckers.  Second,” he continued. “I will never sign divorce papers, so don’t mention the word again.  Not a single... fucking... time.”

Why did that make her eyes well up?  He wasn’t being romantic here; he was just outlining the only terms that would allow him to bypass his better judgment and go through with this.

“Third, fuck our wedding day.  Today is the day you’re guaranteeing me the rest of your life.  The minute that needle touches my skin, we are the Bongiovi Mafia and the only way you get out is to die.” 

The tear level had risen enough to spill over and trail down her face, confusing the hell out of him.

“Why in God’s name are you crying?”

She wiped at the tears, clearing her throat to speak.  “I know that was probably supposed to scare me, but all it did was give me a huge sense of relief.  I kinda feel like I just escaped the jaws of death or somethin’.  I’m shakin’ like a leaf.”  She held up her hand to show him how it trembled. 

He took that hand and hooked his through it, bussing a kiss across the knuckles.  Tony would never understand women. 

“Can I take it to mean you’re on board with all that?”

“I am.”

Her eyes sparkled like diamonds under the tears and her smile…  Her damn smile got him every time.

“Alright,” he murmured gruffly, feeling a little relief of his own.  This was it.  Decision made.  No more uncertainty as to what she may or may not do.  They stayed and they worked it out, come hell or high water, just like marriage was always intended to be.  “Then let’s go get a friggin’ tattoo.”

“Wait,” she entreated.  “I know you think this whole thing is silly and frivolous, but it... it truly means the world to me.  Thank you.”

Two inches worth of ink.  That’s all it was, but you’d think he was giving her a pot of gold from the way she was going on about it.  It had him feeling good about his decision to reconsider the idea.

“How ‘bout you thank me by getting one, too?” 

“I planned on it,” she said with a smile, before waving her scarred hand at the side of her neck that bore the same scars – all of which were indirectly put there by her second husband.  “I have to wear these things the rest of my life because of a dumbass I didn’t even like.  As important as you are to me, how can I not want to wear your mark?”

He might not understand her, but she - without a doubt - had the sweetest heart of anyone he knew.

“I love you, Lilah.”

Friday, February 17, 2017

14. Working It Out

Tony was cold again.

Seeing as it hadn’t gotten him anywhere the previous two mornings, today he didn’t even bother reaching for her side of the bed.  He instinctively knew she wasn’t there and skipped directly to, “Lilah!”

There was, naturally, no answer. 

“Why can’t she ever stay in bed?” he grumped to the empty room.  Logically, he knew the reason had something to do with the time difference between Las Vegas and New Jersey, but still.  Was it too much for her to keep him warm past six in the morning?

Sighing, he reached for his phone and discovered that’s where his Groundhog Day rerun ended.  There was no need to fire out a demanding text this morning, because she’d left him a note right between his phone and his glasses. 

Doing some professional development for my new career.
I’ll bring coffee in a while.

His head fell back to the pillow with a rueful laugh as he considered staging an intervention.  At the rate she was going, she could easily be a gambling addict by the time they got home, and they lived way too close to Atlantic City for that shit.

In another Groundhog Day moment, his phone rang, and a glance at the screen had him wondering if he should expect to hear from his big brother every morning of this trip.


“Well at least you don’t sound as pissed as you did last time I called,” Jon greeted.  “You must’ve got something good at the porn shop.”

Tony snorted quietly.  Sometimes his brothers were like little old ladies keeping up on the neighborhood gossip. 

“I might have,” was all he would admit to.  “What’s up?”

“Just checkin’ in.  How many pussy promises have you gotten?  She talk you out of going yet?”

She actually hadn’t mentioned it since the talk in the porn shop parking lot.  There was always the off chance she was going to take him at his word and never question it again, but this was Lilah they were talking about.  Who knew?

“Nah.  We had a come to Jesus moment yesterday.  I think she’s gonna be okay.”

“Halle-friggin-lujah,” his brother praised with a sigh of relief.  “That makes me almost as happy as you saying yes in the first place.”

“Careful there.  You might make me believe you care or something.”

“Don’t start ugly rumors,” Jon drawled.  “I got no news on your house.  Some damn thing at the bank has it tied up, and we can’t get a closing date until they distinguish the difference between their asses and a hole in the ground.”

The damn house.  The one that was going to give him an ulcer  before he got the thing paid off.

Yesterday had been a significant day in marriage reconstruction and, as far as he was concerned, there was no further question about the status of their marriage.  He was in for the long haul. but the house situation hung in thhe periphery of his mind, reminding him that it might not be his choice.

It’s not too late.

“I, uh…”  Tony cleared his throat and impulsive confessed, “I’m having second thoughts about this thing.”

Jon’s denial was immediate and emphatic.  “Oh, hell no!  Not an option little brother.  You said yes, and I’m holding you to it.”

“Don’t get your panties in a twist,” he placated.  “I’m not talkin’ about backing out of the job, I’m talking about the house.”

“Oh for fuck’s sake.  You and your marital strife,” Jon sighed.  “If I was you, I’d tell her this is what we’re doing.  Period.  Give her all the positive aspects, and maybe a little bauble to soften it all, but man up to your decision.”

Well if that didn’t sound as easy as taking candy from a baby.  Not. 

“As if there’s a bauble big enough to soften that.  The only thing that would even come close is her own Slippery pendant.  You gonna hook me up with one of those?”

Tony damn well knew the answer to that one.  They were treasured because they weren’t handed out to just anybody.  Those pendants had to be earned and, as a result, they were worn with pride.  He never took his off.

“No,” was the flat refusal, as expected.  “You don’t like that idea, here’s another.  Ever think of just asking her opinion on the matter?  It’s possible she might climb right on board.”

Jon the marriage counselor wasn’t someone Tony was used to and wasn’t sure that he liked.  These sage platitudes sounded great on the surface, but how would they pan out when it came to execution?  There was always the chance it could result in his execution.

“Maybe,” he was all he would concede to.  “Go ahead with the bank, and let me know what happens.  I’m gonna take a shower.”

“Alright.  You know where I am if you need anything.  Tell Lilah…” He cleared his throat.  “Ah, hell.  Tell her I asked about her.  Later, man.”

Tony put his phone aside, knowing the line was already dead. 

He was just reaching for the shower faucet some time later, when he heard the door open.  “Hey,” he greeted over his shoulder.  “How’s the new career?”

The woman that appeared in the bathroom doorway did not look happy, despite the oversized coffee cups in her hand.  Her features were drawn and her eyes dull.  “Sucky.”

“How much did you lose?” he laughed, with just a twinge of concern that she might be making trips to the ATM to fund her new hobby.  If so, it would be a short lived one. 

“Not a lot,” she assured him, setting one of the Starbucks cups on the counter.  “The fifty I won yesterday, plus another twenty.  I would’ve hit it big if it wasn’t for the man who swooped in front of me and stole my machine.  The asshole ended up winning a thousand dollars, and gave me a headache with his cigar smoke.  Needless to say, I’m just bitchy all the way around.”

“Tell ya what,” he said, silently crediting and thanking Jon for the idea that had just popped into his head.  “Take something for your headache and rest while I shower.  Then we'll out for breakfast and shopping.”

She treated him to a distrustful frown and dourly reminded, “You hate shopping.”

Don’t engage while she isn’t feeling well.  Just keep it light. 

“Take some Tylenol, baby.  I’ll be out in a few.”

Fifteen minutes later, he was showered, shaved and dressed.  Ready to face the world, he stepped into the bedroom to see if his wife was anywhere close to that.  

“How’s the headache?” he inquired, coming to stand at the bedside.

“Better,” she admitted, putting her phone and, no doubt, Facebook aside to talk to him.  “I think I can eat without wantin’ to throw up.”

His eyes flicked over her jeans, sandals and hot pink t-shirt.  No makeup, but her hair was hanging freely and looked fixed.  “So you’re ready to go then?”

“Yeah.”  She sat up and swung her feet to the floor.  “Morgan says you should be buying me diamonds as a reconciliation gift.”

He’d been right about Facebook. 

Morgan was the friend who lived in Oregon, and tended to be pretty liberal with her opinions.  From the information Lilah conveyed, he had found Morgan to be a typical woman in the sense that she believed diamonds could cure a host of evils.  Lilah wasn’t, and had never been, typical.

Tony’s eyebrow flicked up.  “Morgan is the one who likes diamonds, not you.”

“Yes, but the idea isn’t a bad one.”

He waved her toward the door so they could at least get out of the room 

“No, it’s not a bad idea,” he picked the conversation back up at the elevator.  “In fact, that’s what I’d planned to go shopping for.”

Her head snapped around, and her eyes went as round as baseballs.  With the amount of shock she was displaying, his last romantic gesture must have been longer ago than he thought. 

Try your wedding. 

Planning a surprise wedding that his bride wanted, but didn’t want to deal with was definitely his grandest gesture to date.  Still, he didn’t think it was the last time he’d been romantic.  Probably.

“What?” he laughed, shepherding her into the elevator.  “Is it totally outside the realm of possibility that I’d want you to have a token of my sincerity?”

Lilah twirled toward him as soon as she was inside the car, her smile filled with utter delight.  Snaking her arms around him for a tight hug, she amended, “Not totally outside the realm, just partway.”

If it made her that happy, he should consider doing this gesture thing a little more often. 

He tucked her into his side as the floors ticked away.  “Yeah, well, I’m just a man, but I don’t want you having any doubts that I’m fully committed to this marriage.  That means I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is.”

“That’s very sweet comin’ from a tough Jersey guy.”  She touched her lips to his cheek.  “What did you have in mind?”

“Anything you want.”

A sweet smile tipped the corners of her mouth, beckoning that he return it, while a gentle hand cupped his jaw.  “Feeling generous I see.”

Tony shrugged as the elevator doors parted, amazed by how quickly a genuine response surfaced.  One that he hadn’t necessarily put words to until this moment. 

“I got my wife back.  Everything else seems small by comparison.  But,” he tacked on with a tone of caution.  “Let’s not go fucking crazy expecting a Maserati or something like that.”

She slipped her hand into his with a laugh, and they strolled toward the café.  “Maserati’s not my style.  You should know I’m more of a Camaro girl.”

“You better be since there are three of the damn things sitting in our garage.”

“Yeah.  I’ve been thinking about that,” she admitted.  “It seems kind of silly to have all the cars we do.  I was wondering if we should consider selling.”

His eyes darted toward her in surprise.  Had he heard that correctly?  She wanted to sell the Camaros?

“I thought you said they had sentimental value.”

“They do,” Lilah conceded with a shrug.  “And I love Lilah J.  She’s my favorite car ever, but she’s not exactly a mommy-mobile.”

Lilah J was the black Camaro dubbed as such by her “LILAHJ” vanity plates, and he knew his Lilah adored the car.  Once in a while she’d leave him and the kids for no other reason than to take it for a drive.  She was never gone very long, but she always looked gratified when she got back.  Revived.

They arrived at Avenue Café and Tony held up two fingers to the hostess.  The young lady smiled and led them to a table, promising that a server would be with them shortly. 

“How about we keep yours and sell the pace car?” he suggested casually and picked up the menu, not wanting to let this topic drop since it had been on his mind for a while.  If she was open to discussion, it would be nice to have one of those albatrosses off the payroll. 

“Sure you wouldn’t rather get rid of mine, so you can keep the matching set?”

She was referring to the 1969 Camaro SS that he’d had restored, which had been the original Indy pace car model.   When the Camaro SS had been selected for the 2010 pace car, and had same paint job as the original… Well, it was why he wanted the car for his bonus from his last tour.  They matched. 

“The classic stays,” he confirmed, skimming down the list of omelets.  “But you’re more attached to Lilah J than I am the newer one.  And since Jon is the one who actually bought it, I can sell it as ‘his’ car and get a better price.”

She gave him a quick glance over the top of her menu and nodded.  “Good point.  If that’s what you think is best, then go ahead.  We can always reconsider Lilah J later.”

Honest, direct, and with no drama. 

This is what it used to be like with them.  It had always been his favorite thing about them, in fact, and he was pleased they could do that again.

You should try Jon’s suggestion about floating the house plans by her.  She might surprise you.

She might, at that, but he wasn’t confident about how that would pan out.  It wouldn’t hurt to get her that “bauble” first, at any rate.  It couldn’t do anything but tip the odds in his favor if he decided to come clean.


Having decided on the Spanish egg white omelet, he set the menu aside to find her looking at him.  “What?”

“Since we’re gettin’ along and bein’ so reasonable, can I talk to you about somethin’ else?”

His stomach interpreted that as “we need to talk” in disguise, and tied in a knot.  Damn he hated those words. 


Lilah set her own menu aside and chewed at her bottom lip.  “I got an email from the community college a couple days ago askin’ if I’d be interested in comin’ back for the spring semester.” 

“Which one?” he asked uneasily.  She’d worked for two different community colleges since they’d been together.  “The one in Kentucky or the one in Jersey?”

“Jersey,” she was quick to assure him. 

Snippets of things she’d said recently flitted through his mind like confetti while the waitress took their orders.  She hated being a stay at home mom.  She didn’t have her own money.  It wasn’t practical to put the kids in daycare. 

As soon as the waitress had gone, he casually probed, “I guess since you brought it up, you want to do it?”

She nodded, her eyes fixed on him to gauge any shred of reaction he let slip.  So far, he thought he’d been very neutral in his words and his facial expression. 

“What about the kids?”

“They actually have child care available at the college,” she explained.  “It’s reasonable, payroll deducted and I’d be close by if they need me.  The school also provides health insurance, so we wouldn’t have to pay for our private policy anymore.”

Healthcare premiums that ate up a fair chunk of money.  Even with the cost of the daycare, they’d still be coming out ahead.

“Tell me why you want to do it,” he petitioned.  “Is it just so you can say you have your own money?”

“It’s nice to feel like I’ll be contributing,” she acknowledged after a thoughtful moment.  “But it’s not the main reason.”

“Then what is?”

His wife was a bit slow to respond, obviously choosing her words with care. 

“Staying home with the kids isn’t servin’ a substantial purpose anymore,” she began slowly.  “Leaving them with somebody outside the family was different when they were babies and couldn’t talk.  They communicate quite well now, and will tell you every damn thing that happened during the day.  They’ll also get more social integration at daycare than with me, since I hate play dates with mommies half my age.  I limit them as much as my guilty conscience will let me.”

All of those were valid, reasonable points.  Tony could find no fault in her logic and his gut didn’t tell him it was a bad thing.  It’s not what he would’ve chosen if he were ruler of the world, but the pros seemed to outweigh the cons.  And if Lilah was going to be happier...  Well, chances were that they would all be happier.

And since you accepted a job without even consulting her, you’d be a dick extraordinaire to complain about this.

“So are you asking my permission?”

Lilah squared her jaw, but her voice was gentle when clarifying, “I’m askin’ your opinion.”

Perfect answer.

“In that case…” The corners of Tony’s mouth curled slowly upward.  “My opinion is that it would be a good move for all of us.”

The way her eyes sparkled over a wide, beaming smile was priceless.

Damn.  Will there ever be a day when her smile doesn’t light me up like the sun? 

Lilah scooted around the horseshoe booth until her hip bumped up against his.  “I love you.”  Hand on his thigh, she leaned in for a kiss, whispering, “Now about that token of commitment…”

Thursday, February 16, 2017

13. Having a Ball

“Get your ass out here, woman!”  Tony sat in the chair closest to the hotel room window with his feet propped up.  He’d been dressed in jeans and a white button-down shirt for fifteen minutes now, waiting for Lilah to emerge from behind the closed bathroom door. 

He had, however, made good use of his time. 

Both of Lilah’s toy purchases had been removed from their packaging, and he had put the vibrator through its paces just to see what it could do.  The long and the short of it was that the damn thing could make him obsolete. 

The “dick” head rotated in either direction, no doubt with the intention of rubbing a woman’s g-spot in just the right way, and the smaller protrusion that was intended to stimulate the clit.  That damn thing did everything but the hokey pokey.  It had three vibration intensities, six random patterns.  There was the constant on vibration, but the other five reminded him of Morse code with the long and short buzzes. 

She wasn’t going to be using that this week.  Or ever.  If she'd already been happily employing a couch cushion as his replacement, this thing would permanently put him out of a job and he'd recently been reminded just how rewarding that job could be. 

Maybe he'd pass it along to one of his sisters-in-law.  

With an evil grin in place, he sat there and juggled the duo-tone balls in one hand, waiting for Bluegrass to appear.  These, he would let her use.  He would even help to make sure they were placed correctly, because he was just that nice a guy.

 And his plans for them this evening would allow her to experience the fullest benefits of her new purchase.

You’re a wicked pervert.

No denying that, but he was going to have a fun night.  Guaranteed.

“Okay, I’m ready.”

His wife appeared in the bedroom and came to stand before him, allowing Tony the opportunity to appreciate the time she’d spent hidden away in the bathroom.

Her hair and makeup looked just a nice as it had the night before, but tonight she wore a dress in place of jeans.  Cut in a deep vee, the random orange, yellow and brown pattern perfectly hugged her breasts before flowing almost to her ankles.  In deference to the expected temperatures, she had topped the sleeveless frock with a little orange sweater.  Sparkly sandals with shiny red toenails finished up the ensemble.

“New dress?” he inquired, standing to kiss her. 


Totally justifiable purchase in Tony’s mind.  “It looks great on you.  Now hike it up.”

The look of bewilderment on her face was priceless.  “Huh?”

Holding on to the end of the black nylon rescue cord, he dangled the duo-tone balls in front of her.  “You said you were gonna try this out this evening.  I’m going to help.”

“I, uh…  Oh.”

Tony smiled and swooped in for another kiss.  “You’re cute when you get all bashful like I’ve never had my hands on your pussy.”

She ignored him and held out her hand for the balls.  “I can do it myself.”

“Oh, no, no,” he rebuffed her, snatching the toy out of reach.  “You get all the fun these things have to offer.  Least you can let me do is put ‘em in.”

She didn’t like the idea.  Not even a little bit.  It was written all over every tight muscle in her body, and his wife needed to loosen up. 

“Baby,” he soothed, purposely selecting that particular term of affection.  A step closer and he cupped his empty hand over her shoulder and slid it all the way down to twist their fingers together.  “We’ve been married almost five years and together longer than that.  What’s the deal with the embarrassment?”

“I don’t know,” she huffed softly.  “It just feels funny you helpin’ me to do somethin’ to pleasure myself.”

“Pretty sure I’m going to be reaping the benefits of that pleasure later,” was his confident reply, hand releasing hers and sliding further down to grasp the back of her thigh.  With an easy tug, he instructed, “Shut up, put your foot on the chair, hike your skirt and relax.  You’re gonna like this.”

Jesus, he hoped she did.  His quirky wife could easily be in the .000001% of the population who didn’t like having her box tickled.

“Alright,” she conceded with a sigh.  “Please don’t tease and make fun of me, though.”

“My primary objective is to cop a feel,” he assured her, fingertips pushing her panties to the side and encountering bare, silken skin.  “Did I mention how much I like the bald is beautiful movement down here?”

Lilah snorted quietly.  “Another thing to not get used to, because that hurt like a beast.”

Tony silently gave her kudos.  He sure as hell wouldn’t let anybody near his pubic hair with hot wax and an intention to rip it out.

“I’ll enjoy it while it lasts, then,” he agreed, positioning the first golf ball-sized orb at her entrance.  An easy push had it buried, and he used the full length of his finger to seat it and its mate deep inside her. After making sure she recognized the feel of the thin cord that would extract them, he helped her stand on both feet again.  “Walk across the room.  Tell me how it feels.”

Her face was the epitome of concentration as she took a few hesitant steps, but then the absorption melted away.  Lilah looked up at him with a funny little grin.  “It’s neat.  Not intense, just… there.”

Tony’s eyebrows wiggled suggestively.  “Feelin’ filthy yet, Freda?”

The grin grew wider.  “Not filthy at all.  More like… deliciously dirty.”

Forget the casinos.  He’d just hit a bigger jackpot than anything they had to offer.  Any man in America would give his left nut for a deliciously dirty wife.

“Careful or we won’t make it out of the room, and that would be a damn shame considering what I have planned.”

“You have plans?”  Lilah appeared pleasantly surprised.

“I do.  You’ll either love me or cuss me when it’s all over.” 

“Likely both,” she drawled and sashayed toward him with an exaggerated swing to her hips.  Tony knew she was doing it to give extra motion to the balls, but damn if it didn’t do something for him, too, and a soft growl slipped out. 

 “Let’s get outta here before I change my mind.”


“Damn you,” she swore when the ride came to a stop, making Tony chuckle with glee.

She’d originally thought him sweet when he took her to the Nine Fine Irishman’s pub for dinner.  Little did she realize that its location inside the New York-New York casino was the primary draw for Tony.

They’d never gotten around to riding the roller coaster the night before, and he had deviously plotted to remedy that oversight.  His wicked hope had been that, in Lilah’s current situation, the up, down and around would provide her with much more than the traditional roller coaster excitement.

He pushed his nose through the curtain of her hair to devilishly inquire, “Did you come?”

“No,” she spat with a half-hearted glare.  “But I bet the back of my dress is drenched.”

That in itself was enough to make him hard.

Lilah jabbed her thumb into his thigh and quietly warned, “You have exactly two minutes once we get out of here.”

“For what?”  Damn he loved seeing her all lit up with arousal.  She was about two miles beyond squirmy as they waited for the seat harnesses to release.

“To pull these things out and screw me silly.  I’m so far gone, I don’t even care if you have birth control,” she hissed.

Best date ever.  Hands down.

“Lucky I’m packing, then.”  Considering tonight’s toy play, and how much his swimmers loved her eggs, Tony had actually tucked two in his wallet, just in case.  It was definitely time to reconsider the vasectomy, though.

The restraints popped open, and Tony hugged close to Lilah’s back in case her prophecy about a wet dress came true, but he couldn’t see anything.  Taking her hand, he followed along like salmon with the rest of the riders, allowing most everyone to pass them until they were in back of the crowd.  They were practically alone when Tony saw a door next to the stairs they were about to descend.

His overstimulated wife started her countdown, “Ninety seconds.”

“I’m workin’ on it,” he assured with a tug the door’s handle.  When it opened easily at his touch, Tony gave her an arrogant wink.  “I fuckin’ love Fate.  Have I ever mentioned that?”

She wiggled where she stood, squeezing her thighs together while he ducked his head inside to check out their prospective love nest. 

“Janitor’s closet,” he murmured, pulling her in behind him.  It wasn’t very big, but Tony saw that someone had been kind enough to leave a desk chair behind.  While banging against the wall was the traditional frenzied fuck position, but he was old enough to be grateful for the touch of comfort.  Bouncing on her his lap was going to be a lot easier on his back.

“Jersey.”  With the door locked behind them, Lilah tried to crawl inside his skin.  She tore at the buttons on his shirt, tugged at his belt and pushed at his pants.  “Hurry.”

His dick went rock hard in appreciation of her enthusiasm.  Jeans around his knees, Tony held her hips still while he sat his bare butt on the chair.  “Spread your legs and hold still,” he ordered, shoving both hands up her skirt.  He peeled saturated panties down to her ankles and groped her slickness for the cord. 

“Jesus Christ, you’re wet.”  He’d never felt the wetness weep down the insides of her thighs before.  It took only the barest of tugs on the little strand of nylon before the duo-tones slid out to the overture of Lilah’s arousal.

“I told you,” she whimpered, hitching the fabric up around her waist as the balls hit the floor.  “Rubber.”

Tony scrambled around, using one hand to search for his wallet, while his other went for a swim in Lilah Falls.  The slick cream was so abundant, he would’ve swore she’d already had her orgasm and it drew him like a magnet.  He dipped low, his tongue indulging in a hearty draw of the bounty. 

“Oh fuck,” she breathed.  “Don’t, or my knees will buckle.”

It would be a notch in his male pride belt, but he cinched his wandering arm around her so she’d stay upright.  His wallet was flipped open with the other hand. 

“Give it.”  She snapped one of the packets out and ripped it open, offering him the contents and telling him to get a move on.

“Okay, baby.  Sit,” he instructed once the latex had been rolled into place. 

Lilah didn’t spare a breath before she was spearing her sheath with his hardness.  “Oh my GOD yesss.” 

His sentiments exactly. 

She dropped her face into the crook his neck, mouth roving over all the skin there.  Her hands dug through his chest hair while her pelvis ground against him. 

“I’m drivin’,” he rumbled assertively, and curved inflexible fingers around her hips.  “You play with your clit.”

“Do it hard,” she breathed, leaving one palm open on his chest while the fingers of her other hand disappeared between her slick lips.  “Oh good gracious.”

He brought her viciously down on him and the sound of flesh slapping together filled the air.  “Like that?”  He forced her up and slammed back to meet her descent.  “Huh?  That what you want?”


He took that as a yes, and plowed into her again while her fingers danced over the sensitive spot that had to be throbbing.  Again and again he rammed into her with no trace of mercy or tenderness.  Her wetness sucked at him, her flesh slapped him and her teeth sunk into his neck. 

“C’mon, baby,” he panted.  Sweat trickled down his forehead and into his eye, but it didn’t slow the relentless pace.  “Gimme what ya got.”

“Don’t.  Stop.  Goddonteverstop.” 

Her hot breath over his skin was ramping his testosterone up to dangerous levels.  Tony banged, fucked, slammed, drove and drilled her as deep as he ever had.  Over… and over… and over until…

A strangled gasp found his ears just as her muscles seized around his dick with the strength of the Incredible Hulk. 


Tony pushed through her contracting heat only another handful of times before his own orgasm blew up from the soles of his feet, the explosion all but blinding him.  He hadn’t seen so many stars since hitting his head on a piece of scaffolding years ago, and that hadn’t felt nearly as good.

“Jesus, baby…”  His arms wrapped around her, and Lilah willingly collapsed against his chest.  Pressing a lingering kiss to her temple, Tony tried to catch his breath.  “That was… insane.”

“Mmmmm,” she purred into his shoulder.  “I don’t think I’m gonna be able to move.  Ever.”

His legs were none too stable at the moment either, so he wasn’t going to rush her.  He just stroked a hand up and down her back and enjoyed the slight buzz still singing through his nerve endings. 

“I already cussed you,” she murmured softly.  “Guess now I should tell you I love you.”

“Only if ya mean it,” he hummed with amusement, not caring whether she said it or not.  She wasn't shutting him out, and they were working through their problems.  Both spoke more of her love for him than any three words ever could.  

“Mmk.  Consider it done.”  After a lazy stretch that had her clamping down around his deflating dick again, Lilah pushed herself up to look at him.  “When I come see you on tour…”


She inclined her head toward the purple balls lying on the floor.  “Those things are comin’ with me.”