May 31, 2001
Jon considered Richie’s requests for his birthday a little too easy, so he set his mind to finding the perfect ‘something extra’ to make it even more special. The wish Richie made back in March kept replaying through his head, sending chills racing up Jon’s spine every time he remembered. It didn’t take him long to grow facial hair so he was leaving that until closer to the time.
He made arrangements for he and Richie to spend the entire summer in France and kept the keys to the vineyard close at hand most of the time, almost like a talisman, as a reminder of what life together would be like one day. There was one day in May that he was holding them that he had his 'something special' idea. He contacted his jeweller and asked if he could replicate something in the given timeframe. After finalising all the details, Jon was happy with his idea and couldn’t wait to see the final product.
The week before their departure, the couple busied themselves deciding what they couldn’t live without for three months in another country: guitars, summer clothes, and David’s playlist. Jon was packing up his dress pants and jackets when he slid into a fantasy of going with Richie to the most glamourous restaurant in Paris. Then he almost passed out from laughing when Richie interrupted to ask if they had lube in Europe. Jon could really just pack and move stuff around and have the best possible time as long as he was doing it with Richie.
He kept touching Jon's face to check on stubble, wondering when he was going to let it grow.
He turned his face up, expecting a kiss but it never came. “What are you doing?” Jon asked.
“When are you going to grow the goatee?” Richie asked.
“Later! Your birthday is six weeks from now!”
Richie pouted. “But I wanted to see it early!”
“No! You’ll have to wait for your birthday. This is how birthday wishes work.” Jon could be so bossy.
“You’re no fucking fun, are you?” Richie grumbled.
“You think I’m fun when we’re in bed,” Jon reminded him.
“Hmm, yes you are. I’ll give you that,” he said as he pulled Jon into his arms. “I’ve been thinking of a few different things I’d like us to try someday.”
“Oh me too!” Jon said excitedly. “We should make a list.”
“You and your lists, babe,” Richie chuckled. “Okay, I’ll go get the pen and paper.”
By the end of the day they had an impressive number of items on said list.
“Richie, it’s good that we’re getting married because this may take the rest of our lives,” Jon stated.
“I’m looking forward to it.” Richie read over the list again. “Especially this one.” He pointed one out and gave Jon a wolfish smile.
Jon read the line and shivered. “Oh yeah, I like the sound of that one too!”
Before they knew it, it was the night before they were due to leave. They spent the evening together with a light dinner and a bottle of their wine before having a reasonably early night. They had planned another early flight so that they arrived in daylight hours. Jon was looking forward to seeing the changes between the cooler winter months and now.
During the uneventful flight, Richie leaned over his seat and asked, “Excited about seeing Pepper again?” He laughed.
“Ha, maybe we’ll have to buy her a boyfriend so she’ll leave us alone.” Jon chuckled, but secretly he was looking forward to seeing the big goofy fluffball.
Richie laughed again.
“You know who she reminds me of with her unwavering devotion and joy of licking my face?” Jon asked.
Richie shook his head.
“You, silly!” Jon gave him one of his sexy lopsided grins.
Richie shrugged. “I love you.”
“Love you too babe.”
“Can I just say that giving Bernard and Marta time off to visit their son was very thoughtful.”
“I think we can keep the place from burning down for a few days,” Jon agreed.
“Any ulterior motives?” Richie asked with a gleam in his eyes.
“Yeah, we’ll also have the place to ourselves.” Jon grinned wickedly. “We should pick a warm day to have a No-Clothes Day. Would you like that baby? Would you like to watch me walk around naked outside in the sunshine?”
Richie took a deep, steadying breath, reaching for Jon’s hand, placing it in his lap and said, “What do you think?”
“So you would be interested in laying down on a blanket among the vines and-” he raised his eyebrows, “enjoying ourselves?” Jon squeezed his hand a bit.
“Grrr, are you going to follow through on what you’re doing there, hot stuff?” Richie growled. “If you keep talking like that, I’m going to have to take you into the back and close the curtain!”
“Of course,” Jon said. “I was just making sure. You know how I like to plan things.”
“So what else do you have planned, babe?” Richie wanted to hear Jon’s dirty mouth come into play, as it always insanely turned him on. He shifted in his seat, readjusting himself.
Jon looked around and stood up. “Let’s talk about this in the back.” He reached out for Richie’s hand.
“You won’t be doing much talking, Jonny!” Richie said. “I plan for your mouth to be busy for the next half hour or so.”
They slipped unnoticed to the back of the plane and quietly earned some frequent flyer miles.
“Oh Jonny! I so love flying the friendly skies with you,” Richie sighed in ecstasy, watching the blonde head bob up and down.
June 1, 2001
The rental car pulled up at the farmhouse around mid-morning and the men were greeted warmly by Bernard and Marta, Pepper waiting patiently for her turn. After being fussed over and the promise of joining the older couple for dinner, Jon and Richie slipped inside and closed the door to the world.
“Welcome home, Jonny,” Richie said softly, embracing him from behind around his waist.
“Feels good, doesn’t it?” Jon smiled over his shoulder at Richie, “C’mon let’s unpack before jet lag hits.”
They spent the rest of the day unpacking and rearranging since it was their place for the whole summer. Marta had left a platter of fresh fruit in the refrigerator for their lunch, along with some wine and local cheeses. It was light and refreshing and perfect for the warm day.
June gave way to July as the two lovers grew more and more comfortable with each other in bed. They fell into a daily routine that began with sex in the morning, then Richie would go back to sleep and Jon would go out for a run, usually with Pepper following along. Jon would then get Richie up for a shower and breakfast and then they would visit the grapes before it got too hot.
Sometimes they had lunch outside on the patio or went for a picnic which usually led to making out and further hanky-panky. Sometimes they would write in the afternoon; sometimes Jon would be on the phone taking care of Bon Jovi business and Richie would disappear to play with the dog.
Their evenings would start with a romantic dinner and wine and always end with cuddling and lovemaking. It was bliss and Jon was so happy that they were spending the summer here. Richie could not stop smiling. He was the happiest he had ever been.
They had also been on a few day trips to nearby cities where they shopped around and ate dinner at a restaurant. Of course they wanted to visit Paris again but they were saving that trip for their anniversary in late July.
Jon had stopped shaving about a fortnight before Richie's birthday, and was letting a full beard grow in. He hadn't done anything like it since their early days going through their cowboy phase.
It was hot and itchy and he couldn't wait to trim it down. However, Richie loved the feel of it under his palms when he kissed Jon and would caress his cheek at night as he fell asleep.
The only downside was that Jon wouldn't allow his face anywhere near Richie's nether regions.
“No blowin’ while it’s growin’!” he said every time Richie wanted some lovin’ down there.
July 10, 2001
A day out from Richie's birthday, Jon made sure all his plans were in place. The jewellery box was tucked away in his office; Richie never pried into that. His razor was sharp and ready to go, Bernard and Marta were leaving later today and reservations at a tiny, highly recommended boutique restaurant were confirmed. Jon mentally shook himself, wondering how on earth Richie managed to keep all of his plans to himself.
Richie cooked a simple dinner, so Jon offered to cook breakfast in the morning. It fell in perfectly with his plan. They ate out on the patio just off the kitchen, a cool breeze played with the dancing flames of the ever present candles, the delicate hum of the country evening accompanying the melodies of the music. After the dishes were cleared, and Pepper following their every move with utter devotion, Jon pulled Richie into his arms for a slow dance in the moonlight.
“Hey you,” Jon said softly, almost a whisper.
“Hey, baby,” Richie answered against Jon’s mouth before gently plying him with long, slow, wet kisses that seemed appropriate in the summer silence. Hands caressed familiar planes and curves as they moved in synchronicity.
When they paused for a calming breath, Jon said, “I suppose I should get you upstairs, old man. You’ll need your rest for tomorrow.”
“Hey, watch it with the old man stuff!” Richie protested, pinching Jon’s side slightly. “I’m not dead and buried just yet!” He grabbed Jon’s hand and dragged him inside, and then they headed upstairs and into their bedroom before Richie proved that he had plenty of energy. He had to prove it over and over again, at Jon’s insistence, before they drifted off into a dreamless slumber.