Monday, January 4, 2010

Chapter Eighteen

MacKenzie forced her smile and clapped along with the crowd as Senator Hilary finished her address. She tugged the knot at the end of her coat and let it fall open. It was seasonably warm for October. They were in the Hamptons, taking Jon’s chopper early this morning to come down in time for the rally. Of course he had a chopper, and he had a boat too.

She glanced his way and smiled through her shaded lens, the late afternoon sun took the bite off the cool sea air that was whistling around the tent. She’d spent the night wading through her emails, none of which bore any information suggesting that the Bloods were targeting Jon further for any cause. Either that was a one off, or either they were being clever and covering their tracks well. She suspected it with the latter.

Jon was a perfect target for a social or now even political statement, the countless people he acquainted with surprised MacKenzie, and he was more than just the average rock-star. She’d met people he’d worked on his philanthropy projects, his football team and even co-property owners that publically, he was a “silent partner” to. His diary was booked out for months in advance and MacKenzie struggled how he remembered everybody’s name and their background as they mingled.

Jon linked his hand with hers easily, drawing her in until their walk settled, as it always did, into the same stride. From walking to running, she matched him, even lapped him to be truthful. She was easily the strongest female he'd ever had beside him. The tented area was filled to the brim with powerful women, but her strength put them all to shame.

Therein lay his problem, in all honesty. She was strong in every way. Strong enough to kiss his face off in a Beemer then walk away from him like it was no big thing. Strong enough to level him to the ground, but not want to be with him. She was also strong enough to sit across from him every fucking night in a pair of yoga pants and a tank top that was barely big enough for a 14 year old teen and small enough to make him nuts. Not a hint of the Kenzie that twined around him every blessed day.

Hell, she'd even joked with him that he should get a fucking girlfriend. Fuck me.

MacKenzie covered her mouth as she yawned. “God, sorry.” Lack of sleep and making sure she had every single thing covered off around this was the culprit. She’d approved extra surveillance security on his family that was to intervene if anything were to happen. “So, where to?”

"I need some time away from the fucking press, the goddamn democrats and the reporters," he whispered nearly tonelessly just in case there was a stray one of the three in earshot. "I say we head out to my house."

“You have a house here? You’re just full of surprises.” He led her away from the sea of people that started to spew out from the domain.

"Yeah, I got it a few years ago on a whim. I like the old style Cape Cod feel to some of the places near the water." He nodded to the driver of the day, one of her changes. He'd used the same damn driving company for ten years, but they couldn't pass the MacKenzie Profile of Bad Guys so, she'd handpicked just one more thing in his life. She'd be picking his fucking underwear next. He'd like to see her try that one.

She ducked into the car as he held the door open for her. “I used to spend many a summer with Mum and Dad up at the Cape in my youth. Always wanted a beach house one day, one of those big rambling styles with a wraparound porch. I just might be jealous of you now, if the Chopper hadn’t already sealed it,” she teased as he joined her.

"Well, honestly even I couldn't afford a house on the actual beach at the time. I can now," he said it matter of factly, "but I fell in love with my wraparound porch, so I'm staying." He climbed in behind her. "I didn't get out of Jersey much when I was a kid, but I did make it to the Cape a few times as a struggling musician. The boardwalk had nightly expos that we used to try to win."

“See, you have a wraparound porch, now I do hate you.” She shifted her weight wedging her foot in the floor but it slipped and she ended up across his lap. “Shit, sorry. Damn shoes,” she muttered straightening herself up, peeling her arm off his woollen blended Armani.

He pushed away the thick lock of dark hair that slid forward and settled her into him as they'd taken to riding in the car. The windows were tinted, but not enough that the cameras couldn't infiltrate the little oasis he usually enjoyed.

No...Whenever he was outside, he endured and hated himself for enjoying the way she fit him. He played with the collar of her shirt, tempted to drop lower into the crisscrossing v of the neckline to see just how it tucked into her high waisted pants. Instead, he dropped a quick kiss along her jaw line and sat back.

"Wait until you see the sunset," he said smugly.

“I do love a good sunset,” she sighed as she settled back, her gaze drifting out the window. It was small touches like that, that unsettled her most. Tender and genuine, mixed with the scent of him late in the day dashed with spice and leather. The same smell that seemed to follow her around in his apartment, no matter where she was. Those touches she knew came, not necessarily because they had to, and they were both guilty of them without admission.

The ride took little more than twenty minutes, but he was as conscious of her as if she'd been sitting on his damn lap the whole ride. The bottle of ginger scented lotion that sat on his bedside table taunted him nightly, especially since the bottle kept getting slowly lower and he'd yet to catch her slathering herself in it, but the scent stuck to everything in his room. And now the car was as bad as his towels.

When the car stopped, he stepped free and good breeding had him helping her out, even as he breathed in the sea salted air. Anything that wasn't her. Just for a second so he could get his raging hard on under control. Thank God for the longer style of his suit. Even with the pervasive heat that bounced off the faded sunny shingles and pristine whitewashed trim, he closed his suit jacket. She didn't need to know just how badly she affected him.

"Here it is, Casa Bongiovi, East Hampton."

She'd already started walking away, the pull of serenity and peace that was wrapped up in the vintage home called to her. She made sure Jon was following before she zig-zagged through the lush yard. Old wicker furniture was dotted around the place, the worn grooves in them bore many sunny days of relaxation and good company. She clamoured up the steps to the grandiose wraparound porch and breathed in the crisp air, this was paradise. As he climbed up the stairs to the porch she gripped the railing and smiled, "We have to come here more often--" She stopped. This wasn't her reality, it was for now but one day her job would be completed and this would all go away. Somewhere she wondered if she was sad because also he would, or his perks would. "I mean, while I'm working for you."

He watched as her hair lifted and fell on the light breeze coming in, the happiness and the wariness there that often warred on her pretty face. "Lots to see in politics out here, so that's not a stretch," he said easily. He held his hand out for her to head inside. "C'mon, I'm sure we can find something for you to change into. We'll head into town in the morning.”

“Perfect,” she took his lead and followed her inside, it was surprisingly homey.

Generous in size and classic, plush furniture lined the rooms. It was minded herself of her apartment, just a hell of a lot bigger. The big stone fireplace in the centre of the room, she imagined how dreamy in the winter it was to sit, tucked up and read a book next to it. She plucked a frame off one of the units, a framed picture of Jon being mauled by four kids for the best spot on his lap. “You miss them huh?”

He glanced at the picture over her shoulder, the smile automatic as he took the picture. "That was the last day of Summer Vacation, two years ago." He set it back on the crowded shelf. This house was the one he allowed to be less than picture perfect.

He was used to having people over at the mansion, but it was pretty much only family at the Hampton house. He went out to parties, more than held them here. "I tend to stash a lot of pictures here. The kids like to give them to me since they never know what to get me for birthdays and Christmases."

"They are adorable and so are you,” he was blonde and a few years younger. Not that he hadn’t retained his good looks well, it was quite the opposite. "Nothing wrong with that, family is important and is irreplaceable," she dragged her finger along the top of chest. "So you going to show me this beach?"

"Well let's get undressed--" at her quick look he cleared his throat. "We'll go take a walk, get some dinner over near the waterfront."

What the hell was she going to wear? Did his ex-wife still have clothes here?

He looked down at her. Her hips flared a bit, but she should be able to get into a pair of his old jeans. "Follow me," he said and headed up the stairs.

His bedroom was bright, on the sunny side of the house since he didn't mind mornings on the beach half as much as in the city. The massive whitewashed chest took up half the wall. He opened the bottom drawers, digging into the pile of jeans folded until he found some of his less boot cut pants lay. Pulling out an older battered pair for himself, he found a well worn pair for her as well. He unearthed a Nike shirt for himself, long-sleeved and grinned at the faded Giants jersey and tossed it over his shoulder. "Think you can manage to wear that?”

Her hands froze as she stared at the jersey. “Ah, yea...” It got a little less painful each time she saw one. God, she still had Brian’s old one tucked away in her back closest somewhere. It still smelt like him, and now this, smelt like Jon.

“Sorry, nope this is good. I’ll go change.” She took the jeans and locked herself in the ensuite, and leaned hard against the door. Get a hold of yourself, this is different. You’re not in love with the guy. She stripped off and tugged on the jeans, they were snug but fit fine. She pulled the jersey over her head and stared at herself in the mirror for a good minute before shaking it off. “Fits,” she beamed as she walked back out.

He laughed, but it was a little strangled. The woman filled his jeans a helluva lot better than he did. Sweet fuck. "I don't know if I should be offended that a chick fits in my jeans or not," he said with a grin. Since he’d given her the jersey she’d been distracted, “are you ok?”

“Yea, just a little headache. I’ll take some ibuprofen and I’ll be fine. Besides, I don’t think I can compete with the only man I’ve seen that fills out jeans better than any chick I know. Your fans must love it.”

"Yeah well," he frowned. How did he put this that it didn't sound like he was a complete ass? "It's part of the package. I work out so I can run all over that fucking stage, but hell..." he grinned. "Nothing wrong with being proud of your body--to a point."

She patted him on the shoulder, “nothing wrong with it all. Hell, after what we endure at the gym. I’d be asking for a refund if I didn’t have these kinds of results. Come on then,” she winked as she led him out the door.

Heading out the back steps once they got downstairs, he automatically sought out her hand as they picked their way down the winding path that led to the beach. The gardens and the walkways of the surrounding houses made an overgrown maze, but the beach quickly came into view. "There's my beach. It's a private beach for all of us in this area, not a public one, just for the owners and renters."

He flipped off his battered Tevas and held them in his free hand, letting the sand sift through his toes. The shells and muscles crunched underfoot, but he was used to the rough hewn beach, taking comfort in the imperfection in the midst of the lapping water. "It's more of an inlet this way so we don't really get waves to speak of, but the water remains swimmable, so that's a plus. Most of New York's waterways are beyond hope these days."

She followed suit and kicked off her sandals as he led her along the beach, she welcomed the salty air as it balanced her out again. She wasn’t in love with the guy, she was just overwhelmed, and he was an overwhelming guy. The tension between them hadn’t died, she’d just tried in vain to build bigger walls that not even her gun- Oh shit, she’d left it in the bathroom in its holster when she changed. Crap, maybe it’d be ok. They were on private land. Damn Mac, how could you been so damn stupid? “This is amazing Jon,” she clasped his hand tighter not knowing if it was a reflex or a need.

He laced their fingers in reflex to her tighter grip, he gathered her in front of him. The stray inhabitant to the beach gave him the option to touch her. He was getting so he wanted to touch her more than not. And as she leaned against him, he sighed. He'd take the moment. It was all he had.


ehack said...

Uhoh! Lets hope she doesn't need that gun!

norwichliz said...

Ooooh. Hope that they have a relaxing, threat free evening! evening at the beach..maybe a fire...I sense the tension ratcheting up a few notches! LOL

Anonymous said...

Wow! The tension and personal conflict is building up. Dunno how much each of them can take. The walls will have to come falling down at some point.

Judith said...

Ohhhh, hopefully Mad doesn´t need then gun!

Let´s have them loosen up a bit and enjoy the beach.... ^^
Maybe they´ll both admit it´s not all just business and acting ;)

Anonymous said...

I sense something will go wrong, whenever you forget something, its always the one thing you need.