"What? He said what?" Jen stared at her friend over the rim of a rapidly cooling, forgotten cup of coffee.
They were sat in the bar area off to the side of the lobby and had been enjoying a cup of coffee and a detailed chat about how in over her head Jen felt she was getting with Richie before Deborah had dropped her bombshell.
"He told me he loved me." Deborah looked perplexed and slightly worried.
"Wow, I..er.. I'm totally speechless for once in my life." Jen laughed, " So what did you say back to him?"
"I didn't as I was drifting off to sleep."
"At four in the afternoon?"
"Yes, well..", Deborah blushed slightly, " we'd had a busy time."
"Ohhh." Jen said, knowingly, putting her cup down, "So, what did you say when you woke up?"
"Oh god Jen I just left him there asleep, I didn't know what to say to him that wasn't either trite or a lie. I like him Jen, don’t get me wrong, he’s a wonderful man. I just don’t know him well enough to say I love him and to hear him say that, well, I guess I got scared, I mean it’s only been a short while since I split from dickhead…”
Jen looked over as the lift doors pinged, her eyes widening.
“Tell me later, they’re here.” she whispered, effectively stopping Deborah from being overheard. Jen got up from the table and went over to where Richie was standing by the concierge desk.
Deborah looked up as Jon slid into the seat, squeezing up next to her. He slid his arm around her and kissed her.
Deborah felt some of her earlier worries melt slightly as his warm lips brushed against hers.
“Hey babe, you left me alone.” he murmured, his breath warm against her ear and neck, causing her to shiver slightly. He rested his head on her shoulder.
“Sorry Jon, Jen phoned. She wanted to talk and you were sleeping so soundly I didn’t want to wake you.” Deborah said, feeling him smiling against her skin.
“Ah, the curse of the King strikes again. No matter how he seems to behave all the ladies fall in love with him.” Jon said, quietly.
“Yeah,”, Deborah turned to face Jon, her face serious, “Is Jen going to get hurt by this?”
Jon looked at her, surprised at the passion and warmth of feeling in her voice.
“Why are you asking me?” he said.
“Because she’s my friend and I don’t want to see her get hurt.”
“I don’t know darlin’, maybe, maybe not. Depends on how much she feels for him I guess. Ya know he’s had a lot of women over the years and I’ve only known of a handful to end up being more than a notch on the bedpost but he only married one of ‘em. Saying that, he has changed over the years so… I just don’t know. But isn’t that up to Jen to bring up with him?” he said, his big blue eyes wide open and honest.
“I guess so.” Deborah replied distantly, looking over in time to see Jen and Richie leaving the hotel.
“Where are they going?” she asked, puzzled as she was sure they were all supposed to be going out together.
“I told Rich I wanted some time alone with you, that’s all, so he’s taking Jen to the Moulin Rouge.” Jon replied.
“Oh ok. So where are we going?” Deborah asked, intrigued but also feeling slightly nervous about being on her own with Jon after his proclamation of love.
“I thought we’d go for a walk first, then see what we felt like.”
Deborah smiled. A walk was just what she needed, to clear her head and get her thoughts and feeling into order and perspective.
The evening air was balmy as they walked along the Seine. The sun slipped slowly down beyond the horizon and the first night stars appeared in the cloudless sky. It was a beautiful evening in a beautiful city and Deborah could feel some of her earlier fears slipping away as they walked and talked, holding hands.
Jon stopped alongside the wall on the left bank of the Seine and pulled Deborah close to him. He captured her mouth for a tender kiss, leaving her breathless and totally confused. She didn’t know this man, not really, only what she knew of his persona; his image, and she knew if he’d been an ordinary Joe she would be backing off at this point but all she wanted to do was to carry on kissing him and loving him, shutting the whole world out.
Jon pulled away from her and looked at her, a small wry smile on his face.
“I guess maybe you think I’m rushing you.” he said, entwining both her hands in his.
She took a deep breath.
“Yes I do. I’ve only known you for a couple of days and what happened earlier, well I’m not like that. I don’t normally jump into bed with someone I’ve just met.” her words tumbled out in a rush, her voice trembling slightly.
“Hey darlin’, hush…” he crooned into her hair, kissing the top of her head, “ to be quite honest I have no idea what came over me earlier when I said that. I’m not normally one to jump into love with someone I’ve just met. Bed?, well yeah, but love? Never. I just feel we could have something really special between us and if it’s ok with you, I’d like to get to know you a whole lot more and not just for this week,” he smiled as he heard a slight sigh of relief from her as he spoke of going beyond the week.
“How?” she asked suddenly.
“How will we continue to see each other after this week when I love in the UK and you live in the US?”
“Uh, well you see there’s this invention called a jet plane.” he smirked as she punched him on the arm.
“Ass.” she said, smiling, “that’s not what I meant.”
Jon rubbed his sore arm and smiled at her, “ That’s the good thing about being the boss, it means I can take some time off to do exactly what I want. After this week we’ve got one more week of scheduled interviews for the upcoming album and tour, then after that we all had about eight weeks off, so, if it’s alright with you, I’d like to come and spend time with you in England.”
Deborah was so shocked at this it was all she could do to throw her arms around this funny, kind, loving, crazy man and slowly give in to the feelings that were building up inside her.