Thursday, November 5, 2009
Jon tied his sneakers, stretching as he prepared for his daily run. It seemed easier to just run over to the studio since it was in SoHo and getting a cabbie to come down Mercer was a lesson in futility. His driver…well, he understood the need for him when he did his city visits, but it seemed overly indulgent for just a quick trip. Besides, three miles out and back was just a little more than he usually did for a circuit off tour anyway.
He headed out, with a warm up being the stairs to his the lobby. Waving to George, he headed down Mercer, lengthening his stride as he felt the evening out of his heart rate as he entered the zone. He’d programmed his iPod for the run, throwing a few advanced albums on to change things up. He’d been exercising like a demon for the last few days. Intellectually he knew it was right to let Wes go for the good of the team, but the actual stripping of the contract had hit him low. The look on the kid’s face, according to Jerry made him feel like he’d just taken away hope to one of his own kids.
He knew Weston Blake was just trying to find a better life, but he couldn’t do it. Not at the expense of the families and the other players he was responsible for. He wanted to revitalize Philly, not draw the gangs deeper in with family ties. As he hit the street that Richie's studio was on he slowed to a jog, letting his muscles come to a rest. Using the brick building he stretched out his calf muscles and uncapped the bottle he’d gripped the entire way. He took a swig as he followed the sounds of Richie’s voice down the hall. Tech-speak flew between Was and Richie as they belabored the strength of the last recording versus the one they’d laid last night. “Jesus, bickering like a bunch of girls in here.”
Richie turned to Jon. “Coming back for seconds?” He tossed a handtowel in Jon's direction.
“You know me, can't keep my nose out of it.” Jon swiped the sweat from his brow.
“Bored Jonny?” Richie teased him.
“I wish,” he took another swig of his water. "Too much going on. But of course, no music. So I had to come and be nosy.”
Richie chuckled and slapped his shoulder. “Just in time, I was going to give this new track a burn.” He nodded to the booth where Jon happily took up residence.
Richie started out with "Flame" and the hooks were amazing. Richie'd been growing as a producer and writer for the last five years, so much so that Jon just thanked every God known to man, that he was loyal. He didn't need him to write with. If Jovi wanted to put together an album every five years, they could and Richie would be more than fine working on special projects and solo efforts. People were chomping at the bit to work with him, even with his uncomfortably public mistakes people knew there was solid wisdom and talent lurking in Richie's laughing eyes. He knew how to make people feel at ease, more so than he did. Richie was under contract with his management company, but the day his friend didn't look happy to work with him, was the day he'd be free.
He was worried about Richie though. He'd never seen his friend more creative and more unsure of himself in his life. He usually knew what was solid and what wasn't. He knew what to trash and what to polish. This Richie was distracted. The natural talent didn't have anywhere else to go but out of his fingertips, but he knew Richie needed to focus.
They discussed different techniques and Jon offered his opinion, as he always did. It was good to see his friend back in his creative zone. After a few more songs, he stood and stretched. "All right, I have another three miles to get in before it gets dark out there."
"Good, because you're smellin' up the booth, asshole." Was shot back. "Besides, we need to get another few tracks down before we lose the studio space."
Richie stood, walking him out. "Thanks for coming down to check things out."
Jon nodded. "Hey, I'm always ready to stick my nose in where it don't belong, you know that."
The screech of tires had him spinning around as a large, squared off sedan headed straight for him. It hopped the curb and barreled right for him. Like a deer in headlights, he totally froze.
He heard Richie's yell around the rushing in his head as the cark jerked back away and he stumbled back into the wall rapping his head against brick as he curled into a fall as his wife had taught him. His hip slammed into cement as a kid hung out the window with a red paisley bandana low on his eyes.
The rest of his face, unremarkable as his lips pulled away into a perfect smile. “You think about your actions, Rich Man.”
The old school Chevy roared away and around the corner. It couldn’t have been more than a few seconds in total for the whole of the incident and yet, it seemed to have gone in slow motion. He winced as heat shot up his body.
"Yeah!" Jon called back and assessed the damages. Christ, he'd hit the ground hard. "I'm fine."
Richie crawled over to him, his blood chilling when he saw blood against the wall. "You're head, man."
Jon hissed, his fingers going to the lump that was already forming. "Just a knock." Jesus, had they actually been aiming at him?
"Maybe you'd better lie back." Richie said and crouched walked his way over to Jon.
"I've taken a bigger beating at training camp, than this." Jon griped and sat up. He rested his forearms on his knees and winced. "I might have bruised a rib, but that's about it."
"What the fuck, Jonny?"
"Hell if I know." Jon muttered.
"What did that kid say out the window?"
Jon sighed. "Something about thinking about my actions." He stood as the sirens blazed from around the corner. His hand immediately went to his lower back. "Ah fuck. Just what my back needed," he laughed.
Richie shook his head and reached up for Jon's hand.
"C'mon old man," Jon said and dragged him up off the ground.
Jon scrubbed his hands over his face. "I hope to God, I'm wrong but the kid was wearing gang colors."
"Yeah, I saw." Richie said and instinctively met her halfway. He rubbed her arms. "Are you sure you're all right?"
Jon squinted as squad cards came into view. “Aw fuck.”
There was a commotion behind them of doors slamming and feet pounding.
"Paparazzi coming in," Richie said and pushed ahead of him. "Here," he thrusted a music pad into his hands and held the other one up as flashbulbs flared. "Hell."
"Fucking vultures," Jon muttered and flipped open a few pages so he had more than just his face covered.
Jon watched as the cops corded off the area, pushing the rubber neckers back as much as they could. He closed his eyes, rubbing his temple where the worst of the pain zinged through him. There was always the chance that he was a target because of his money, but that didn't feel right. It felt like it was something more. Especially with the ominous threat to think about his actions.
There really wasn't any other option except for it to be retaliaition for terminating Weston Blake's contract with the Philadelphia Soul. He sighed, wincing as one of the enterprising camera guys had managed to circumvent the crowd, to snap a picture of his bloodied face. "Fucking great." He lifted the pad higher.
"Mr. Bon Jovi!" A cop called from the sidelines.
Jon nodded and strode ahead, Richie came up the back as they were all herded toward the ambulance.
"Why don't you come over here and get looked at, sir." A paramedic motioned him over, but Jon just shook his head. "I'm fine."
"Your face is bleeding."
Jon frowned and touched his temple, coming back with blood stained fingers. "Hell."
He turned his back to the familiar logo of the local news in Manhattan as the medic motioned for Jon and Richie to hop into the back.
"We'll get you out of camera range for at least a few minutes." A uniformed cop, said from the belly of the ambulance.
Jon nodded. "Good idea."
The cop held out his hand. "I'm Officer Johannsen, what can you tell me?"
Jon sighed. He explained the car as best as he could, Richie filling in the difference as they both came up with a relatively solid description of the car.
The officer nodded, writing things down. "And you're sure he said, 'Think about your actions, Rich Man,' Mr. Bon Jovi?"
Jon nodded. "That's about all I got." He laughed without humor. "I was sort of diving for my life."
"Okay, why don't you let Mark give you a once over and make sure the cut on your head is okay."
Jon sighed. "I have kids, I know when a knock is something serious and when it's just that whole it looks worse than it is, sort of thing."
"Good, then you'll be an easy patient and let me take a look," Mark said and replaced the cop at his elbow.
"What else did you see Mr Bon Jovi, anything about what the kid was wearing?”
"Excellent," Officer Johannsen looked down. "And there was only one?”
He hissed as Mark pressed packing down against his head. "No, there was a guy out the window and the driver." Christ, hadn't he just said all this? His head felt like someone was ramming a pipe through it.
The officer nodded. "All right, that's good." He tapped the page. "I have a feeling I know who it is, I wish I didn't, but I've popped these guys a few times." He shifted to the doors. "Thank you for your help."
Richie's shoulders tensed. The reality of their situation was bad enough, but she was the one to ask his best friend if he was all right. Jesus. "Jonny, let's get inside before we're on every channel."
"Too late," Jon said and clambered out. But he followed them inside. Now what the fuck was he supposed to do?