While Jon and Richie were in the pub, Jasmine and Dorothea played with Stephanie and tidied up after lunch. They prepared dinner together, chatting about the guys and what they had been watching on television. Dorothea listened to Jasmine talking and counted the times she mentioned Richie, which was at least once in every sentence. She was happy that Richie had found someone who was interested in him and his normal persona, not just for his celebrity status. Jasmine was certainly in love with Richie whether she realized it or not.
“Yeah then Rich made dinner and we vegged out in front of the television. I know it doesn’t sound like much but it was a perfect evening for me.” Jasmine explained about what they did on one weekend.
“Sounds like you two have it all made. Sounds very domesticated. How much longer will you be staying with him?”
“Until the paperwork is done on my new place. It could be a week or it could be a month,”
Jasmine told Dorothea about the house and the house hunting with Richie. She spoke so animatedly about her new house but from what she was telling her, Dot could only imagine Richie’s place. Not that she was surprised, if Richie had helped her look for houses then he would have definitely helped her choose one like his, as he was in awe of his own house.
“Won’t it feel odd being back on your own after all this time with Richie?”
“Probably, for a while, but I need to stand on my own two feet sometime. Not that Richie is happy about it. He asked me to move into his place permanently but I said no. I think I really upset him.”
Dot reeled around so she was looking right at Jasmine, she hadn’t been expecting this admission.
“Why did you say no? From what you have been saying today it seems like you’re perfect for each other and are doing well living together already.”
Jasmine sighed in confusion. On one hand she was glad that someone was listening to her but on the other she wasn’t sure if Dot was the right person to be talking about it to. Deciding that talking to someone who knows Richie would actually be a good thing, and remembering that she didn’t have to hide their relationship anymore, Jasmine replied,
“I know it seems like we already have things as they should be but that’s really my point. We have been so wrapped up in ourselves in our little cocoon from the world that I just don’t know how I will be when I go back in the world. You know, like Richie has done so much for me and looked after me so well. I love being with him and hate it when we’re apart but I need to be sure that it’s because I really do love him not because I have become reliant on him. It’s not fair to him if I’m only with him because I don’t know how to cope on my own. Do you understand?”
Dot paused for a moment, not sure how to respond. “I think so but you need to explain that to Rich. I know if you explained it like that he’d understand. He might be a little upset at first but he’ll get it, he’ll get you. Deep down though, do you really think you’re in love with him because he was your knight in shining armor?” she asked, a little scared of the answer because she liked Jasmine and wanted all to be right in Richie’s life.
“NO!” Jasmine exclaimed a little too loudly. She looked over to where Stephanie was asleep and sighed in relief that she had not woken up the sleeping princess.
“Not at all. We were so close before I got hurt, so close that it hurt when we weren’t together, like I was missing some part of me, but we didn’t do anything about it until that first night at Richie’s. He was so gentle and…” she paused, not wanting to discuss her sex life. Dot nodded with understanding and Jasmine continued.
“I don’t know, maybe I’m being stupid but I guess I just want to be sure that we’re both in this for the right reasons.”
“I get that, but have you explained it like this to Richie? If you don’t make it clear how you feel about him and just turn down his offer, he’ll think it’s because you’re not really interested in him, and I know just from looking at you that that’s not true.”
“No, it’s not true. I don’t know why I’m even telling you this because I haven’t really admitted it to myself but I love him Dot. I love him with all my heart. He’s the most…the most….” Jasmine tried to find the words to describe Richie but nothing quite defined him.
“You know, there’s not enough words to describe how he makes me feel, how much of a wonderful, caring, considerate and passionate man he is. He makes me feel so many different things in so many different ways. I just can’t imagine being without him in my life.”
“Then tell him that. Honestly, if you tell him exactly what you told me you’ll make him the happiest man alive.”
“Really. Now, come on, let’s take this little one out for a walk and get some fresh air into her lungs.” She said, lifting up the now awake and gurgling Stephanie from her cot.
The guys joined the girls halfway down the path that linked the pub with the main house. Jasmine was carrying Stephanie on her hip and was laughing as the baby grabbed at her long hair, fisting her hands into the softness. Richie could relate to wanting to do that and chuckled at the thought. Jon grabbed his wife and gave her a deep kiss, savoring a few child free moments. They all walked around the grounds until they reached the jetty by the river.
“So, what were you guys doing in there so long?” Dot asked, stretching her legs out until her toes touched the water.
“Not a lot. Just getting whipped by the shark here. I need to practice more.”
“Don’t bother man, I am the master!” Richie boasted, his arms out wide hoisting an imaginary trophy.
“We’ll see. There’s a tour coming up so plenty of time to practice and beat you my friend. What about you ladies? Been singing our praises?”
Jasmine’s eyes narrowed as she laughed at Jon, “Something like that. Why? Were your ears burning?”
“Nope, but I know my wife. The minute I’m out of ear shot she starts talking about me. I’m not so sure it’s always so complimentary though.”
“Relax honey, I was nice. This time.” Dot said, pulling Jon down so he was sitting next to her. Richie had been oddly quiet during this time, he was still thinking about what Jon had said.
“Rich?” he heard someone say,
“I asked why you were being so quiet. It’s not like you.” Jasmine said, kissing him on top of his head.
“I’m good. Listen, Jon and I were talking earlier and we have an offer we’d like to give you.”
Jon stood up and joined Richie, “Obie and I have been talking about the tour and since Jimmy quit after the last tour Obie needs some help, he can’t do all the sound stuff by himself.”
“So,” Richie continued, “Jon and Obie want you to come with us and be Obie’s right hand woman on the tour.”
Jasmine looked from Richie to Jon, then to Dot who looked as surprised as she felt, and then back to Richie.
“Yeah. I only found out just now but I think it’s a great idea. I was dreading leaving you behind when we fly off but having you close is nothing short of perfect.”
“What about Island? I have a contract with them. Isn’t it bad enough that I’m going to be in trouble for being with you, now you want me to leave them and join you?”
Jasmine’s reaction was a surprise to Jon, who couldn’t quite believe that the usually calm Jasmine seemed to be having a panic attack over something that wasn’t even reality yet. Sensing that Richie might not take this rebuttal well considering he was still smarting about her not moving in with him,
“It is only a suggestion right now darlin’, we wanted to check with you before I approached Pete about it. Would you like to come on tour with us?”
The fan in Jasmine was screaming yes but something was holding her back; could she and Richie cope with being with each other all the time? Would the strain of the tour affect them, and would she be able to cope with the work load?
Richie could see the inner battle Jasmine was fighting and the bile rose in his stomach, she was going to say no, he just knew it.
“In theory, yes, I’d be honored to go on tour with you guys. You know I’m a fan and to be at each show is more than I could have dreamed of, not to mention actually being part of the production, but it’s a lot to ask and there is the question of my contract. Do you mind if I think about it?”
“Not at all. It is a huge undertaking. Is tomorrow morning enough time to think?” Jon asked, a little disappointed.
“Sure. I’ll have an answer for you in the morning. Thanks for the offer though.”
“No problem. Right, I’m starving. Time for dinner.” Jon said, wrapping his arm around Dot’s shoulders and leading her back up towards the house, Stephanie in her arms.