Cold Blast - 6
Thirty minutes later the girls were pulling up to the MCI Arena. A quick flash of passes and they were directed to park within the center itself. Mara smiled at the excited look on Donna's face and thought you ain't seen nothing yet kid to herself. They were about a hundred yards from the car when Mara heard the unmistakable Jersey accent calling out to her.
She looked up, smiled and ran in to his waiting arms. He swung her around twice before setting her back on her feet.
"Hi stranger long time no see."
C.J and Donna had caught up to Mara. Sensing Donna's nervousness C.J leaned over and whispered breath Donna he's just a guy.
"Look at you, you performing or something tonight girl?"
"Maybe" Mara teased with an enigmatic grin.
"Hey C.J great to see you. You're looking fine too "
"Right back at you Jon." C.J smiled and gave him a warm hug.
"Will one of you introduce me to this enchanting lady?"
"Jon this is Donnatella Moss, the real brains behind the Deputy Chief of Staff."
"Beauty and intelligence a deadly combination. Pleased to meet you Donnatella."
Donna loved the way her name rolled off his tongue and shivered as he kissed her hand not breaking their eye contact for several moments.
"It's a pleasure to meet you. I'm a big fan."
"I'm flattered. I hope you enjoy the show. What's your favourite song?"
"If I have to pick just one I'd say I'll Be There for You."
"I'll just have to rearrange the play list and sing it for you then."
"That's sweet but I don't want you to go to any trouble for me."
"Donnatella I wouldn't be surprised if men waged wars just to be near you. Changing a set list is no trouble."
"Who's bright idea was it to invite her? We are both going to be ignored tonight. "C.J whispered to Mara.
"Oh I wish Josh was here to see this." Mara whispered back.
"Richie is waving let's go talk to him." C.J suggested and pulled Mara away.
Donna didn't even notice her friends slip away as she unknowingly played the part of enchantress. Jon seemed to be hanging on her every word. laughing at her jokes and enjoying the slivers of trivial knowledge that slipped out in their conversation. Donna smiled as he slid his arm around her back and walked her towards the dressing room. Donna suddenly remembered Mara and C.J when she noticed them pouring over a stack of pictures on the couch.
"She's so adorable Richie." C.J commented.
"Thanks she is the love of my life."
"Any musical talent?" Mara asked.
"No she's can't hold a tune like her mother." He laughed.
Mara looked up. "Well hello you two. Thought we lost you there for a minute. Any recent pics Jon?"
"I think you've seen these." Jon answered as he reached over for his wallet and tossed it at Mara.
Mara flipped through the pictures and stopped when she got to a picture of herself playing patty cake with Jon's daughter. "I just love this picture it's in my wallet too."
"Yeah I love the serious little look on her face trying to keep up with you."
"Hey this one is new." Mara said of a family portrait.
"Oh yeah that was this summer."
"Wow they are getting so big. I remember them as babies and now they are both in school."
"Tell me about it. I'm already looking for a convent for Stephanie."
"What to keep her away from boys like you?" C.J laughed.
"Hell yes." Jon answered.
"Five minutes." The stage manager yelled from the door.
"Well that's our que to leave. Have a great show and you better sing my song."
"Yes Mara." Jon laughed swatting her back as she walked by him.
The girls just had enough time to make it to their third row center seats before the lights dimmed and the concert began. Donna was surprised how well C.J moved and wondered if any of her co- workers knew just how good C.J was at dancing. Donna thought Mara belonged on stage since she knew every word by heart. Donna was having a great time until the music stopped and Jon started talking. She missed the first part but clearly heard her name when Jon called her on stage. Mara pushed her towards the stage and before Donna could protest she was on the stage. She looked out at all the people staring at her and wished the stage would open and swallow her up. Jon smiled and lead her to center stage.
"This one is for you Donna." Jon kept Donna's right hand in his and began to sing I'll Be There For You to her. Donna turned a deep red scarlet. She had that deer caught in a head light look to Jon and he had a hard time not laughing. He finally leaned over and whispered relax luv to her. Donna took a deep breath and relaxed a little bit managing to sway to the music. The song ended and Jon kissed Donna's hand.
"I'm ah... I'm ah going to go back to my seat and die now." Donna muttered.
Jon gave her the biggest grin before leaning over "So what are your favourite flowers?"
"Umm pink roses why?"
"I'll send them to your funeral."
Donna managed a small smile before fleeing the stage. She quickly made her way back to her seat and buried her head in C.J's shoulder.
"I don't believe he did that. I must have looked so stupid."
"Nah just a little shell shocked." Mara laughed.
Twenty minutes later Mara was up on the stage and Jon was telling the audience that if they ever wanted to know if this next song was on the set list they should find out if Mara would be a the concert. C.J leaned over and told Donna to watch a pro in action.
Mara leaned over and snatched the mike from Jon's hand. "Stop talking gorgeous and start singing."
Jon rolled his eyes and took his microphone back. "You are trouble with a capital T girl."
"The original bad medicine" Mara replied with a smirk placing both hands on her hips.
Jon had intended to sing her song first but he decided he'd make the brat wait instead and turned around to let everyone know he was changing the set list.
An angel's smile is what you sell
You're a loaded gun
Shot through the heart
Mara knew Jon was going to pay her back by withholding her song so she just went with it and showed the entire MCI Center just how good she was at grooving with Jon. She walked away after a bit and went over to Richie who was happy to flirt with her. Two songs later Jon gave in and pulled her away from the neck massage she was giving Tico to sing her song to her.
"Wow Mara is great up there."
"Yeah be thankful she isn't wearing buttons this time."
"Oh it's a long "Mara did what story" I'll tell you later."
"Hey no buttons this time."
"No now that C.J is important I knew she'd do a button check before letting me come out and play."
"Then I guess I'll have to find another way to have fun tonight."
"She does a wicked version of the Jackal."
"You know most musician don't have a conversation during the opening of a song."
"Baby you know I'm not most musicians."
"Just sing to me Blondy."
Jon laughed, wrapped his left hand around her waist, pushed her hair behind her neck and began singing Bed of Roses in to her ear. The proximity of the microphone guaranteed that Mara's private performance was actually for the entire arena. Mara happily swayed to her favourite song closing her eyes to pretend there was no audience. During Richie's solo Mara and Jon treated the audience to a slow sensual dance that almost brought a blush to C.J's cheeks. Jon kissed Mara's neck when the song was over and she leaned back to leave a soft kiss on his chin.
"Dang if I was just an inch taller." Mara joked.
"I'd be in serious trouble."
"Oh you'd enjoy my particular brand of trouble."
"I'm sure I would and Dorthea's divorce attorney would too."
"Too bad I like her."
"Too bad I love her brat."
"You know folks I think I need a back up singer for this next song, someone use to the spotlight so how about putting your hands together and coaxing White House Press Secretary C.J Cregg up here."
Donna started laughing as C.J vehemently shook her head no. When Jon wouldn't stop calling her name and the video screens were flashing C.J, C.J she knew she had no choice. She grabbed Donna's hand and pulled her towards the stage."
"He wants you not..."
"Zip it Donna I'm not doing this alone." C.J said sharply as she stormed towards the stage.
"Has the IRS audited you lately Jon?" C.J. hissed.
Mara tried to leave the stage but C.J grabbed her hand. "You aren't going anywhere Blondy. If I have to sing so do you."
Mara shrugged and stood on the other side of C.J wondering what they'd be singing back up on. Two strums of the electric guitar was all it took for Mara to recognize It's My Life. C.J breathed a sigh of relief since she knew the chorus and Donna decided it was time to lip synch. Mara didn't last too long as back up singer and danced over to Richie to share his mike and have a blast performing with him. It surprised her to hear her voice clearly in the arena but the rush was so incredible that she wished she was a rock star instead of a politician.
"Figures Mara is just eating this up." C.J remarked dryly
"She's awesome. Are you sure she's not a rock diva?" Donna replied.
"Diva definitely, I'm not sure her ego will be able to take singing to 35 000 people and having them cheering. I should say I don't think I'll be able to take her ego after tonight." C.J joked.
Jon pulled Mara away from Richie and brought her back to Donna and C.J. He finished the song surrounded by the women and hugged each of them.
"That was fun, don't you ever do that to me again Jon or I'll have you tried for treason."
"Can we go back to our seats now?" Donna asked.
"Do I have to go back?" Mara asked.
"Gotta love this girl. Sure stay if you want."
Mara grinned and headed over to Dave to dance. Every so often Jon would come by to dance with her or get her to sing with him. She was having the time of her life and pouted when Jon informed her that this really would be the last encore. Jon thanked the audience, C.J, Donna and Mara and said good night. when the band stood to take their final bows Tico grabbed Mara's hand and she bowed with them. Jon walked off the stage with his arm comfortably resting over her shoulder.
"Someone had fun tonight." Jon laughed.
"Oh, that was the most incredible, addictive rush I've ever experienced. Can I run away and join Bon Jovi?"
"Mara Hon last time I checked you had this high power government job."
"Actually I'm going to be starting a higher profile job in the new year but it's boring as hell compared to being on stage. Can I, can I, please, please?"
"You sound like Stephanie."
"Well you couldn't say no to your own daughter now could you?"
"Mar you know I love you right?"
"Good, cause you'd drive me absolutely stark raving mad if I had to deal with you on a daily basis."
"Geez thanks for the compliment."
"Anytime. So what's the new job?"
"I haven't officially accepted and C.J doesn't even know I've made up my mind so...."
"Your secret is safe with me."
"Canadian Ambassador to the United States of America."
"Wow congratulations." Jon turned inward and gave her a big bear hug.
"Thanks, you know you are the first person who's jaw hasn't dropped or lost the power of speech when I tell them."
"You are one of the smartest women I've ever meet in my life, the job wouldn't have been offered to you if you couldn't handle it. I feel sorry for anyone who dares to get in your way. "
"Have I told you lately how brilliant and perceptive you are?"
"Not lately, hey if you're here what am I going to do when I play Ottawa?"
"Do you actually think for one moment I'd let you play the Corel Centre, the Forum or the ACC without me? I can be back in Ottawa, Montreal or Toronto in three hours or less. Need I remind you I was flying in from Paris to see you in Toronto?"
"Now I don't know about you but I could sure use a hot cup of tea with lemon and honey."
"I bet I can think of a few people who would like you to wake up with no voice in the morning"
"A few? Sweetie I can rattle off about a hundred without having to think about it." Mara laughed.
"Still winning friends and influencing people everywhere you go I see."
"But of course."
"C.J and Donna should be making their way back here soon. I've got your birthday present back at the hotel so you'll just have to follow us back."
"Sure you owe me a drink anyway."
"So you're going to make the move. I never thought I'd see the day you left Canadian soil."
"Well technically the embassy is Canadian soil so I'm not really leaving. I don't think my mansion counts though so I'll just have to tear up the grass and replace it with the grass from my backyard."
"A mansion? I better get more than one invitation to dine with you."
"You will. You know I haven't even seen this mansion and I've already started decorating it. I was shopping for kitchen stuff this afternoon with Sam and I bought all these things for his kitchen that were really for me. Sam doesn't know what they are let alone what they do so he won't care that I take them."
"So who is this Sam that brings a smile to your face?"
"He's the Deputy Communications Director."
"How long have you known him?"
"3 days and you're beaming like a woman in love? He must be special."
"He is, I yelled at him and he didn't back down. His eyes did me in and my anger just disappeared. What is it with me and blue eyes?"
"Like I'm going to spill the secret?" Jon laughed.
Mara looked into his blue eyes and the grin that never failed to make her smile and sighed. "No I don't suppose you'd tell me why I'm drawn to your kind."
"You know Jon if you walk away she's harder to hear and you can ignore her." C.J quipped.
"C.J do you want to walk home?"
"The way you drive it might be safer."
"I feel the need to speed, deal with it." Hmm note to self find out if diplomatic immunity means I'll never get a speeding ticket again.
"K will someone tell me the button story now?" Donna asked.
Jon and Mara shared a guilty smile, "That's my que to leave. See you all at the hotel bar."
Mara pounced on Jon faster than he could move and wrapped her arms around him. "Not so fast there mister you started it so you can stand around while C.J embarrasses us both."
"Oh this sounds good C.J. spill it."
"LA five years ago, both of them have had a few before Mara goes on stage to be serenaded. She's wearing black leather pants and this cute little purple top with black onyx buttons. They are flirting up a storm as usual but for some reason Mr. Married Rock Star doesn't think he's close enough to Mar. I'd like to point out for the record that his right leg is between her legs and that their shoulders are touching but that wasn't close enough. Jon's singing and he leans in and unbuttons her top button. Mara doesn't object so a few more buttons go bye bye. At which point Mara figures that turn about is fair play and his shirt is undone in seconds. A game of who stops this first ensues and by the time Bed of Roses is finished Mara's shirt is undone, Jon is shirtless, I'm blushing furiously and every other woman in the audience wants to murder Mara."
"Good thing I was wearing a very cute bra." Mara said with a grin.
"It was cute." Jon concurred.
"Both of you are impossible!" C.J muttered.
"If you can't infuse the air with sexual tension with a friend who can you do it with?" Richie commented from behind C.J.
"You use to be my favourite, but after that comment....have you been audited lately?"
"You can buy your own drinks at the bar tonight Claudia Jean.." Richie said with a grin.
"We'll see you at the hotel, I'm going to try to ditch Mom so we can have fun." Mara whispered in to Jon's ear leaving a kiss on his cheek.
C.J. pulled Mara away by the ear. "I heard that Brat."
"C.J I'm driving so I 'm only having a drink but I intend on having fun tonight. What's with you?"
"I just got a killer headache, you better drop me off."
"Sorry, K I'll drive you home first." They were in the car before they
"Shoot I'm so use to it being just us at concerts. Ah Jon will take care of her."
"Donna will thank me not yell at me."
"It's your funeral."
"Donna I don't want to worry you but I don't think they are coming back."
"You think?" Donna said giving him a look Josh would have smirked at.
"I know where you can meet up with Mara or I could drop you at home."
"C.J had a headache, that's why she wasn't her normal sarcastic self."
"I figured something was up. Follow me."
Donna happily accepted Jon's hand thinking spending more time with the band was not a bad thing. She entertained them all by playing tour guide as they passed several Washington monuments on the way to the hotel. Donna felt strange walking in to the posh hotel and the bar in jeans. She recognized a few faces but didn't think anyone would put a name to her face. Jon wrapped his arm around her shoulder and brought her over to the less visible end of the bar. She sat down between Jon and Richie and started telling them what it was like on the campaign trail. Donna had to go to the bathroom so she excused herself. She got a few disapproving looks in the bathroom and overheard a lady tell her friend that young people these days just didn't know how to dress. She made her way back to the bar and fiddled with her drink.
"What's wrong Donna you've gotten awful quite." Richie asked.
"I suddenly feel very out of place and underdressed."
"Who said what to you?" Jon asked.
"Nothing was said to me directly but I was the topic."
"Finish your drink Donna, hell finish mine and you won't care anymore."
"Trying to get me drunk Richie?" Donna asked with a grin.
"No I think buzzed will do it." He laughed.
"Come with me Donnatella." Jon got up and pulled her to her feet.
"We are going to make you feel more comfortable."
Donna looked at Jon strangely but followed him to the elevator and up to the top floor. Jon opened his hotel door and told Donna to make herself comfortable.
"Do me a favour grab the blue jewelry box and don't le me forget to bring it downstairs."
"It's going in my purse now."
"K. Give me five minutes, help yourself to the mini bar." The door closed and Donna heard the shower go on.
Donna leaned back until she was lying down with her feet hanging over the edge. At some point I think I had this fantasy and now it's really happening she thought. When Jon left the bathroom he found Donna lying down on her back tossing M&M's from the mini bar in the air trying to catch them in her mouth.
"Oh I'm an expert at this." Jon said with a grin and joined Donna on the bed.
Donna watched as he caught ten in a row and sat up in awe. "I'm impressed how did you get so good at this?"
"It's called being on tour and having too much time to kill before a show. I can usually do an entire bag without missing."
"I'm really good with peanuts. Sam and I have contests on Air Force One."
"You know C.J has promised me tours of the White House and I haven't been invited yet."
"If you have time on Monday give me a call and I'll arrange it. I'll even be your guide."
"Thanks if I can find the time I'll call you."
"I just need about a half an hour heads up."
Jon bounced off the bed and went over to the closet before disappearing in to the bathroom again. He came back a few minutes later in jeans and a black sweater.
"There now you won't be alone."
"Thanks you are so sweet."
"Sweet, just what a rock and roll guy likes to hear." Jon said sarcastically.
"Let's get downstairs before Richie starts making up rumours for the next week."
Mara spotted Richie and sat down beside him. "Long Island Ice Tea on his tab." She said to the bartender.
The bartender gave Richie a look until he nodded his head that it was OK. "Took you long enough. Where is Donna and C.J?"
"C.J said to give you a kiss night and send her regrets she's got a killer headache. Donna isn't with you?"
"No" Richie replied since she wasn't with him at the moment.
"Oh no, I assumed Jon would bring her with him."
"Mara you know what happens when you assume: You make....."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah I know. Damn it, where could she be?"
Richie figured the panicked look on her face was good enough. "She went up to the room with Jon about thirty minutes ago."
"Oh thank God, she what?"
"You heard me."
Mara took a long sip of the drink that had just been placed before her. "How drunk was Donna?"
"She's a big girl Mara she can take care of herself. For the record they are both sober."
"Hi remember me?" Donna said to Mara.
"Sorry Sweetie, C.J. had my attention and I'm so use to it just being the two of us. I knew Jon would take care of you."
"Ah there you are. Mara does Donna resemble a card key or something?"
"Ha ha very funny. Hey I was suppose to remind you about my present."
"So you forgot Donna but not a gift. I'd find a new friend if I were you Donna."
"She's a little shallow but she's a lot of fun so I think I'll keep her."
Donna opened her purse and gave Jon the blue box wrapped in a matching organza ribbon. Jon handed it over to Mara. "Happy birthday Brat."
"Ah Tiffany blue my favourite colour." Mara sighed. She undid the ribbon and lifted off the top of the box. "Oh Jon it's beautiful." Mara turned the solid gold bangle bracelet and noticed that it was engraved on the outside. The inscription read I want to lay you down on a bed of roses. The inside inscription was simply Happy Bday Love Always JBJ Mara slid it on to her wrist and let the light catch it a few times before throwing her arms around Jon and giving him a big hug and kiss.
"I take it you approve." Jon laughed as he wiped lipstick off his mouth.
"I love it, you always get me amazing gifts but this is my favourite. You are too good to me."
"Yes I am but occasionally you are worth it."
They all sat back down and continued talking and telling Donna stories about the trouble Jon and Richie invariable would get in when Mara was around. Mara felt the need to defend herself and told Donna a few stories of her own as the time slipped away .
"Sam it's 12:30 Donna should be home by now right?" Josh asked.
"I doubt it, Mara told me not to wait up she'd be very late."
"What's Mara's cell phone number?"
"I don't know and Donna's a big girl Josh she can stay out past midnight if she so desires."
"Did you have to pick desire as a word. I'm worried about what Donna desires which is apparently the lead singer!"
"Josh you are being stupid, more stupid than usual I might add."
"I was pretty nasty to her Sam, I told her to go sleep with him for all I cared."
"Oh that was brilliant, he's married Josh."
"He's a rock star Sam."
"So you've read Rolling Stone you know what the lifestyle is like."
"Josh Mara has known him for years and is quite close to him so If I'm not worried you really should just chill."
Josh picked up the phone and dialed Donna's number. He hung up when the answering machine picked up. He dialed C.J next to see if she was home yet.
C.J picked up the phone and growled what in to the receiver.
"Hi it's me did you just get in?"
"No Josh Mara drove me home right after the concert I had a headache."
"So Donna was with you?"
"No we left her there with Jon."
"You what?" Josh yelled in to the receiver.
"Joshua I SAID I have a headache don't yell and grow up. Is Sam there? Put him on."
Josh handed the phone to Sam. "Yeah."
"If Josh calls me again I'm personally holding you responsible. Got it?"
"Got it, night C.J."
"They left Donna alone with him!"
"Oh the horror." Sam said glibly.
"Josh why are you getting so bent out of shape over this? It's not like you are even dating Donna."
"She has horrible taste in men, Sam she picks losers all the time I have to protect her from herself."
"Josh she doesn't need protecting you are just way too jealous. Which leads me to think you care more about her than you claim to."
"I... we... we are just friends Sam."
"Yeah, yeah go tell it to someone who might believe you Josh."
"I'm going home."
Josh just gave Sam a look and picked up his coat. "Night."
"Night Josh, see you Monday." Sam said with a grin.
Sam felt Mara wrap her arms around him as she snuugled up to him in bed. He moved his leg and felt cool leather against his skin. He opened one eye and noticed Mara was still fully dressed. "What time is it?" He mumbled.
"It's six thirty Sam go back to sleep." she whispered before falling asleep.