Site hosted by Angelfire.com: Build your free website today!

January, 2002

Abigail Ross got off the plane in Dublin airport fumbling with the many packages she brought aboard, not trusting them in the cargo area with her luggage. Among them were gifts for Rick Savage’s new baby, and a little something for him, Paige and Tyler as well. She may not be a mother, but she learned from previous experiences that you never show up at a house with a gift for a baby and not bring something for his year and a half year old brother!

She was heading right over there first to visit with Sav and Paige before heading to meet Pete at the hotel. For the past three years she has been Pete Woodroffe’s assistant. She usually was never expected to travel in the beginning of her employment, but, since he’d been holed up at Joe Elliots place in Dublin putting the finishing touches on Def Leppard’s new album, Pete had absolutely lost track of everything else. He asked Abby to come out so he could dump it all on her to take care of. She didn’t mind – that’s what she was hired for.

The one thing she did mind was the incessant butterflies in her stomach. Butterflies over seeing a certain 6’2, blonde haired, green eyed gorgeous lead singer. Yeah, she knew that he’d been involved with Bobbi since 1996, but that still didn’t stop her skin from practically melting off her bones when she heard that throaty British accent.

She had met Joe only once about 2 years ago when she first came to Dublin. While here, she became very friendly with Sav and Paige, having reminded her of her brother and his wife. Also, she knew that Sav and Joe were close so it was a good way of trying to find out about Joe – for no specific reason, of course.

Abby didn’t know why she felt this way. She passed it off as a silly, schoolgirl crush. However, at almost 35, she should be long past crushes.

At her age, she should be concentrating on finding someone of reality to spend the rest of her life with. With her light brown, golden streaked hair, deep, forest green eyes and a figure that would make a 25 year old envious, she has had her share of stares and dates. However, nothing ever lasted more than several months. She knew the very reason why. She couldn’t kid herself. Men want the entire package. In one heartbreaking way, she couldn’t give it.

She gave up hope that any man would want her, especially a man like Joe Elliott.

"Oh Christ, Abby…would you stop it!" she scolded herself. "The man’s as good as married to this beautiful bombshell. Why the hell would he want to go backwards with someone like you?"

She immediately berated herself for her thoughts of self-pity. Having been born and raised and living most of her life in New York City, she should be made of tougher stuff than that.

Sighing over the cruel twist of fate that left her empty, she quickly grabbed her luggage, got her rent-a-car and headed off to Sav’s new digs in Dublin.

****************************

Abby rang the doorbell at the Savage household and was led inside by the housekeeper to the kitchen. Paige was in the process of feeding 1 ½ year old Tyler his lunch when she saw her.

"Abby! You found the house okay?" Paige asked as she walked over and gave Abby a hug.

"Yeah, the directions were fine," Abby said as she put an armful of gifts down on the table. "Hey, this place is nice!"

"Well, its just our little Dublin base, you know…while the band is here recording. The place in Sheffield is beautiful. Rick loves being ‘home’ again"

Paige then looked at Abby’s packages.

"Wow, what did you bring here? An entire gift shop?"

"Oh, just something for the new baby and Tyler and a little something for you and….."

"Me?"

Abby smirked and turned around at the sound of another equally appealing British voice. Sav.

"Excuse me, Rick?" Abby said.

"I said, would there be something in there for me as well? I had a part in all this too, ya know."

"Yeah, the easy part," Paige said sarcastically.

"Yeah, well, someone’s gotta do it," he said with a wicked grin as he walked over to Abby. "Good to finally see ya, luv. Did you have a good flight?"

"Not too bad, uneventful, considering. Just a long wait when checking in, you know, security stuff."

"You look good too. Still running?"

"Yeah. Decided to join a gym too. I finally realized that I’m 5 years away from 40 and it depressed me."

"And whats wrong with being 40?" Sav asked sarcastically.

"Uh oh," Paige mumbled under her breath. "Here comes the mid-life crisis crap again."

"Oh, well, nothing Rick," Abby stammered. "Nothing’s wrong with being 40."

"41!" Paige corrected.

"Oh 40, 41….what’s the flippin’ difference?" Sav fumed.

"Right," Abby said with a twinkle in her eye, humoring him. "Especially when you look as good as you do."

"Good save, luv," Sav said.

"Da-dee!"

Little Tyler put his arms up for his father to pick him up, which Sav automtically did.

Abby watched him, a heartwarming feeling washing over her. "Gee Rick, fatherhood certainly agrees with you."

"It’s the best, luv. Just two years ago my divorce finally went through and now look – I’m with a wonderful woman who’s given me two beautiful, healthy sons."

"Speaking of which…where is little Scott? I can’t wait to see him!"

"Oh, he should be waking from his nap any moment," Paige said. "I timed it so he’d be up when you got here."

"Thanks, that’s real nice of you."

"So?" Sav asked. "What are in all those packages?"

Abby shook her head at Sav’s impatience. "Well, this one is something for the baby. And this," she said handing it to Tyler," is for you big fella."

Tyler’s saucer sized blue eyes widened at the brightly wrapped gift.

"Da-dee! Santa!"

"No, she’s not Santa. He’s still in awe over his first Christmas where he was old enough to know what was going on."

Abby reached in the bag and pulled out a feminine looking decorative bag and handed it to Paige. "A little something for the mommy to pamper herself with."

"Thank you I…..oh Abby!" Paige exclaimed as she reached in the bag. "Body Spa! I love this stuff!"

"Ahem!"

Abby looked towards Sav who was clearing his throat.

"Yes?"

"Is that all you’ve got?"

Abby had to control her urge to break out into a wide grin. Sav looked like a little boy who was forgotten on Christmas Day."

"Well, not exactly. I did save the best for last."

Abby reached in with a smile and pulled out a box to which Sav’s eyes almost popped out.

"I bought these freshly made this morning."

Sav put Tyler down and took the box, his tongue was practically hanging out of his mouth.

"Krispy Kreme donuts! Oh, God….I love these things! Ever since Viv brought them here once. I never tasted anything like it."

"Well, there’s a dozen in there."

"And, try not to scarf them down all at once, Rick," Paige said. "Save one for me at least."

"What? Are you kidding? These are mine! You already got your gift."

"You mean you won’t share one of those 12 donuts! Rick, you eat all those and you’ll get fat!"

"That’s okay," Sav said, as he pulled a donut out and took a bite. "We’re going on tour soon. I’ll burn it off and…….oh my God! Oh, man, I…..oh crap, these are so friggin’ delicious! I think my mouth just had an orgasm."

"Rick!" Paige scolded as she put her hands over Tyler’s ears. "Watch your mouth. He’s just starting to talk, you know?"

"Sorry, its just that…..oh man! I’m in bloody heaven."

"Um, Paige," Abby said. "Think we should give him and his donut some privacy?"

"Say whatever you want," Sav said, "I’m in utter ecstasy!"

"Oh Abby…I forgot. I thought you were coming here back in August and I bought a little something for your birthday. Its been sitting here since."

Paige got up and retrieved a perfectly square shaped box and handed it to Abby.

"Oh, Paige…I can’t believe you remembered. "You didn’t have to."

"Well, its just a little something. I saw it in a gift shop and I remembered you saying how much you missed living in……"

Abby stopped opening the package as soon as Paige cut off her sentence.

"What?"

"Oh, um…look, Abby…that gift has been sitting here since the end of the summer. Maybe I should take it back and get you something else."

"Paige, don’t be ridiculous. I’m sure whatever you got me is fine."

Abby continued to open the package as Paige cast a worried look to Sav, who was totally oblivious to anything but the second Krispy Kreme donut that he was in the process of stuffing in his mouth.

As Abby opened the box, she looked at the top of the glass ball and pulled it out as she spoke.

"Oh, Paige….a water globe. I love these things. This is so……."

Abby went dead quiet.

Paige bit her lip. "Abby, I… I know how much you missed living in New York. And like I said, I bought that at the end of August. Two weeks before….."

Inside the water globe was a replica of the New York skyline. Abby shook the globe and watched the fake snow descend upon a miniature Empire State Building, Crystler Building and….the World Trade Center towers.

A somber look came over Abby. "My sisters husband is a New York City police officer. He was there that day. He very well could’ve died. I went to visit them after it happened. They wouldn’t allow anyone who wasn’t authorized past the yellow tape that surrounded Ground Zero, but from afar the devestation was unimaginable."

"We’ve all been affected by it, even across the Atlantic," Paige said quietly.

All three adults were quiet for a second before a cry came blaring from the baby monitor.

"Oh, good," Paige exclaimed. "Scott’s up. I’ll be right back."

Paige walked away leaving Sav and Abby at the kitchen table. Abby set the water globe down, her eyes transfixed on the two beautiful towers that no longer stood, before shaking herself out of her thoughts.

"So, Rick….how’s everyone else."

Sav was going to work on his third donut when he answered. "Like who?"

Abby looked at his smirking face. "Whats that supposed to mean?"

"Nothing. You mean…..Phil?"

"Yeah, Phil. How’s he?"

"Fine. Married again. Still kickboxing and eating nothing but bamboo shoots. Still a pain in the arse. Anyone else?"

"Oh, how about the other two Californian’s…Rick & Viv?"

"Fine and fine. They just went back a little while ago after being here for a while."

"Oh, that’s too bad," Abby said.

Sav looked at her with a mischievous grin. "Leave anyone else out, luv?"

Abby now knew where this was going. Sav picked up on her attraction to Joe the last time she was here. She couldn’t believe that he remembered, let alone, brought it up.

Abby rolled her eyes to fight off her embarrassment. "Okay, Rick…how’s Joe?"

"Doing good. Considering he’s been on his own for the last three months."

Sav peered up from his donut to gage Abby’s reaction to that. Amazing, she kept a non-chalant face.

"Three months? Where did Bobbi go? Some extended tropical vacation with the girl’s at his expense?"

Sav burst out laughing, bits and pieces of Krispy Kreme donut flying out of his mouth before he covered it.

"Oh, you’re a saucy wench, you," Sav said. "Met her only once and already you got her pegged."

"I’m sorry, Rick. I shouldn’t have said that. The fact that I did meet her only once didn’t give me the right to say things like that, whether they’re true or not. So….where has she been all this time?"

"Back in the States. To Michigan, where she’s from. Her and Joe had some big blowout about her wanting to go ahead with something that they had a mutual agreement on not to do."

"What was it?"

"Don’t know, luv. He wouldn’t tell me."

"Joe? Not tell you? I thought you guys could read each others minds?"

"Well, it could be a good and a bad thing to know everything about each other. Whatever it was, it must’ve been super personal. And, as much as Joe likes to broadcast stuff, he’s been quiet on this. He’ll tell me when he’s ready."

"Do…do you think Bobbi’s coming back? I mean…did..did they break up before she left?"

Sav was enjoying her curiousity without making it look like she was. She really liked Joe a lot and both were very comfortable around each other when last she was here. That was until Bobbi wedged her little self between the two of them to make known that her man was well…..her man! Sav really liked Abby and, well, it was too bad that Bobbi was around.

"I’m not sure, luv. He didn’t tell me that either."

Sav watched her face look as if she were calculating something when suddenly Paige walked in with little Scott.

"Here we are!"

Abby turned and stood up as Paige immediately handed the baby to her. She looked at the little face, too tiny to tell who he looked like, and nestled him against her shoulder.

"Oh my God," Abby whispered. "He’s so little. And soooo cute. Oh, he’s so cuddly too."

"Yep, just like daddy!" Sav proudly boasted.

"You know, you’re getting a little arrogant in your old age," Paige said.

Sav’s still handsome face grimaced. "Who are you calling old? Men don’t get old. They get…what….distinguished!"

Paige looked from him to Abby and whispered to her. "Pretty Woman was on the telly the other night. You know…Richard Gere...gray haired man in his 40’s who still has it."

"I do NOT have gray hair!" Sav spouted.

"Of course you don’t," Abby joined in the humor. "Thanks to that blonde hair color."

Sav nearly choked upon finishing his third donut. "Ooooh, I was right. You are getting too saucy. It’s the New Yorker in you."

"Got that straight."

Just then, little Scott fidgeted against her shoulder. Abby snuggled him closer and cooed in his ear. The baby answered her back with a coo of his own. The sound, the scent of a newborn baby, the feel of his warm cuddly body suddenly brought tears to her eyes. The baby fidgeted again, snapping her out of her meloncholy.

"Here, I think he wants to be fed," Abby said, handing Scott back to Paige.

Paige sympathetically took Scott from her as she looked to Sav.

"You okay, luv?"

"Oh, yeah," Abby said, wiping a tear from her eye. "Just a little emotional. You know, it’s a woman thing."

"Please…you don’t have to explain. Living with a woman who’s been through two pregnancies in two years, I’ve got this ‘woman thing’ down to a science."

"Yet you’re still complaining," Paige said.

"I do not complain, woman" Sav stated. "Now, quit lying and go breastfeed my son!"

Abby and Paige’s hand smacked the back of Sav’s head at the same time.

"Ow!"

The three adults visited for a little while longer before Abby had to leave to check into her hotel. She kissed Paige and the baby goodbye before she took him back upstairs. She gave Tyler a squeeze then let Sav walk her to the door.

"Luv…you sure you’re alright?"

"Oh, yeah. I’m fine. Babies just make me weepy."

He put his arms around her and gave her a hug. "Well, one day some chap will come along, take one look at your lovely face and give you some beautiful babies of your own."

Sav pulled away and looked into her eyes, which were misting again, and frowned.

"Yeah. Someday, Rick. Well, I better go. I’m sure I’ll see you more throughout the course of my stay."

"I’m sure. Drive carefully."

With that Sav closed the door and walked back in the kitchen just as Paige came downstairs.

"Do you think there’s something wrong with Abby?" he asked.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, the way she was crying. I know women get emotional over certain things, but it looked a little different."

"Well, it is different. I feel so bad."

"Over what?"

"Rick…she can’t have children. Her doctor found some cysts during a routine exam that were wrapped around her reproductive organs. She had to have a complete hysterectomy."

Sav sat down, a look of guilt on his face. "Oh no!"

"What?"

"Well, when I said goodbye to her, I told her that someday she’d meet someone and have babies of her own."

"Oh God, Rick….tell me you didn’t?"

"Paige, I didn’t know! Oh, bloody hell, I feel like a total wanker for my big mouth."

"Too bad you didn’t have a Krispy Kreme shoved in it, else you wouldn’t have said anyting."

"Paige, I have to apologize to her."

"No, you can’t do that! Then she’ll know that I told you. I don’t know if she wants too many people to know. She’s very sensitive about. I’m sure she knows that you didn’t know and it was an honest mistake. Don’t worry about it, babe."

Paige walked away leaving Sav to think about his erroneous remark. He consoled himself by shoving a fourth Krispy Kreme donut in his mouth. He knew he’d be sick later, but he didn’t care. Just then, the phone rang.

Sav struggled to swallow the donut as he answered the phone.

"ulllo"

"Sav?"

"Oh…Joe…ode on," Sav said with a full mouth as he walked to fridge to take a swig of milk.

"Sorry mate. You caught me eating. Whats up?"

"My friggin’ blood pressure, that’s whats up!" Joe fumed on the other end

"Whats wrong?"

"Bobbi, that’s whats wrong. Its over for good this time, mate. Trust me, there’s no going back after this. None whatsoever!"

"What? What did she do, Joe?"

"I can’t believe it," Joe continued to spout. "I can’t bloody believe it. She actually did it! Even after we agreed we wouldn’t go that route."

"Joe! Stop rambling for Pete’s sake. What did Bobbi do?"

"She got herself artificially inseminated!"

2

Sav almost dropped the phone. "She what?"

"You heard me," Joe fumed. "She just called me with the ‘joyous’ news. She said she’s going through with this with or without me. I can’t believe it! I’m so flippin’ mad that I want to break something!"

"Well, Phil’s still there? He’s in good shape. Maybe you can use him for a punching bag."

Joe ignored the humor and continued on his tirade.

"Sav, we agreed not to go that route. I told her that I wanted to adopt and she was fine with it. I don’t mean to be selfish, but I don’t like the idea of some unknown guy being the father of her baby. I just couldn’t deal with that. Bobbi knew how much it bothered me and she showed me complete disrespect and went behind my back and did it anyway. That’s it, mate. I’m through. I’ve had it with women. You give them your heart and soul and all they do is squeeze it dry. This is why I never married her. I told her we would once we adopted but now she goes and does this? How can I trust her again? I mean it, Sav. I’m though. I’ve been without her for three months and I’ve done just fine. I’m going it stag for a while longer."

"Yeah, sure mate," Sav said chuckling. "When Malvin’s hair grows back, I’ll believe that!"

"Watch. You’ll see. I’ll show you. I’ll show all you blokes!"

With that, Joe hung up. Paige then came back in the kitchen.

"Who was that on the phone? I heard their voice all the way upstairs."

"Joe, who else. Bobbi and him are through."

"Oh, what now?"

"She’s pregnant."

"No! Oh God, you’re kidding? She’s been cheating on Joe?"

"Well, not really. Seems while she was in the States she..uh…visited a sperm bank."

Paige brought a hand to her mouth in shock. "Oh my God! She didn’t?"

"Yep, she did."

"But…I thought they agreed to adopt."

"They did. But I guess Bobbi changed her mind without telling Joe. She just went off and did it on her own. Now Joe wants no part of her. He can’t trust her anymore after betraying him like this."

"Wow," Paige said. "I…I can’t say I blame Joe. Wow, after all these years together, its finally over for them."

"Seems so," Sav said.

"Well, Joe is, after all, Joe. He’ll have no trouble finding someone else."

"Well, don’t know if that’ll happen anytime soon since he’s taking a vow of celibacy."

"Joe? Celibate?" Paige began to laugh. "Do those two words even belong in the same sentence?"

"Oh trust me, his little declaration won’t last long. I can guarantee it. Someone will catch his eye that……heeeeeeey?"

"What?"

"Abby!"

"Rick, no. As much as I like Joe, he’s just…I don’t know, he still has a lot of gigolo ways about him. Fixing her up with Joe is like throwing her in a shark tank."

"Naaah, not Abby. After all, she is from New York. And, she’s got a sharp tongue to go toe to toe with Joe’s slick wit. I think I’m onto something.’

"Rick..what are you thinking of doing? Play matchmaker, or something?"

Sav thought about the idea long and hard.

"What a capital idea, luv!"

3

"Rick…you can’t be serious? You guys have never gotten involved in each others love lives. Well…..come to think of it, considered how some of the relationships turned out, maybe you should’ve. I guess you do know Joe better than his own mum."

"Bloody right I do," Sav agreed haughtily. "Hell, I think I know him better than he knows himself. And I know for a fact that Joe cannot go long without a woman. He may spout all he wants, but, the fact of the matter is he is Joe Elliott and Joe Elliott does not fare well as a single man."

"Well, maybe it might be good for him to be alone for a while, you know, figure out where he wants to go in terms of a future with someone else," Paige said.

"Paige, he’s already been alone for three months! Do you know what three months without a woman is to Joe? Man, I feel sorry for Pete and Phil being in the house with him."

"Christ, Rick, you make it sound like the man walks around in a constant state of heat," Paige said.

Sav gave Paige an obvious face to which Paige took back what she said.

"Sorry, I forgot….like you said, he is Joe! However, all the more reason I don’t think we should set him up with Abby. She’s not some bimbo toy to satisfy his voracious sex drive. Both Joe and she are very vulnerable right now."

"What do you mean?" Sav asked.

"Well, Joe’s been without Bobbi for three months and, well, um…..I happen to know for a fact that Abby hasn’t been with someone since she had her surgery."

"How long has that been?"

"Um…about a year and a half. She said its been hard getting involved with someone because of her ‘condition’. She just doesn’t want to jump into bed with anyone. She wants it to be with someone that she can have a future and marriage with. But, because of her sterility, she’s not quite future wife material. She’s been having friends set her up with guys they know are looking to settle down. At her age, she doesn’t have time to play the singles/dating scene. As soon as she has a few dates with someone she really clicks with and thinks they might be the one, she gives them the true test by telling them about her condition. She usually never hears from them again."

"Oh, God!" Sav exclaimed. "That’s so cruel."

"Fate dealt her a cruel blow, Rick. Most men want to be fathers of their own children. She can’t give a man that opportunity."

"All the more reason she’s perfect for Joe," Sav said. "Paige, c’mon, this is just too much of a coincidence. Abby arriving here the same day that Joe finally ends it with Bobbi. And, Bobbi’s been gone for three months, so its not like its fresh so I don’t think Joe will be on the rebound or anything."

"So you say," Paige. "Look, Rick…I really like Abby and she doesn’t need to get hurt or have some horny rock singer play games with her. She deserves to be with someone who can give her a chance at a happy future. She feels like she doesn’t have a lot of prospects."

"Paige, Joe wouldn’t hurt her. He’s in the same boat she’s in, although his chances are slim to none for fathering children whereas hers are zero. Joe already made the decision he wants to adopt so we know he wants to settle down with a family. His swaggering gigolo days are long gone, luv."

Paige smirked at Sav. "Like yours?"

"Me?" Sav said with raised eyebrows. "I was never a gigolo."

"Mmmm, sure," Paige said. "I’m just so glad I never knew you and all those wild stories on the road back then."

"So am I," Sav murmured to himself.

"What’d you say?"

"Nothing luv!"

"So, Mr. Matchmaker…..how do you propose to get these two together? I think she’s only here for a week or so. Pete’s gonna throw several months of work at her to catch up on and then she’ll be on the next flight back to London. If you’ve got a plan, you better work fast."

Sav thought long and hard about how to go about doing this. Suddenly, he broke into a huge grin and shook his head laughing.

"What?" Paige asked.

"I can’t believe it. Joe Elliott is actually gonna be fixed up with someone. The man never had a problem getting women since the day I met him. This is gonna be fun."

Paige just stared at him blankly.

"What?"

"Rick, has your life become so uneventful that you’ve resorted to fixing up your bandmates? Maybe you are getting old."

"I am not old!"

"Fine, fine. So, whats plan A for ‘Operation Joe and Abby’?"

"Well," Sav began. "Since she just arrived today, I don’t think Pete will be dumping anything on her. Maybe she may want to hit a pub for dinner or something tonight. I got it! Call her at the hotel and invite her to go out to dinner tonight. Say that you want a girls night out since you had Scott. Go pick her up and go shopping and get something real nice to wear and make sure she wears something hot. Then, I’ll call Joe, Phil and Pete and invite them here tonight for takeout and a movie maybe. After they’re here, Abby will come pick you up wearing her hot little number and we’ll all sit back and watch Joe’s eyeballs fall out! That’ll be the first initial meeting that’ll inflame his interest."

Paige just looked at Sav stunned.

"What now?"

"Oh, nothing. I just can’t believe that plan came out of your mouth – a man’s mouth. Well, I guess its true what they say – every man has a feminine side."

"Stop saying that, Paige! There is nothing feminine about me and I’ve got two sons to prove it!"

Paige just shook her head. There was no use arguing when it came to questioning a Leppard’s masculine prowess.

"Well, I like this plan of yours because I get to go out. And…you’re gonna watch the children?"

"Unless you want to get the sitter to come and stay while I entertain the guys."

"Its up to you," Paige said. "Well, let me give Abby a little while to get to the hotel before I call her. I’ts still early, so hopefully she’ll go for it. We’ll make it a quick shopping trip so she can take a quick cat nap to catch up on the time change before we go out.""

Paige left Sav alone in the kitchen with that last remark. Sav then thought of his conversation with Joe only moments earlier which made him even more eager to go ahead with his matchmaking plans.

"Celibate? Going ‘stag’ for a while, Joe," Sav thought to himself. "Get ready to eat those words, Elliott!"

****************************

"Paige, I don’t know if I’ll be able to stay awake tonight," Abby said to her on the phone.

"Oh, we won’t stay out too late," Paige said, with Sav breathing down her neck trying to hear the conversation. "Listen, if you already have something nice to wear then we don’t have to go shopping. I’m gonna run out quick to find something nice to cover my little baby bulge. Uggh, I can’t wait to get rid of this thing."

Sav responded to Paige’s little gripe by rubbing her belly to where she, in turn, turned around and swatted him.

"What’d you hit me for?" Sav asked, bewildered.

"Shhh, she’ll hear you," Paige said.

"Um, Paige…are you there?"

"Yeah, I’m here. Listen, wear something really nice in case we can’t get into a more casual place."

In the backround, Sav gave Paige a ‘thumbs up’ for her slick thinking to get Abby to wear something that would hopefully make Joe’s brain shut down.

"Okay, I’ll go. You’re right – you deserve a night out. I’ve got a new pair a black pants that I was able to squeeze my butt into after 2 months of jogging. That and a nice top should be fine."

"Good. Why don’t you come by around……."

Paige looked to Sav for a time. He had already called Joe and Phil and they were coming by around 6:00. Pete was going to stay and do some prep work for Abby tomorrow.

Sav held up 7 fingers, just to be sure Joe would already be here by the time Abby got here.

"…7:00 o’clock?"

"Um Paige, since were gonna be eating here in Dublin Centre, wouldn’t it make more sense for you to come here?"

Paige’s eyebrows went up in an ‘uh-oh’ kind of look and mouthed Abby’s request for Paige to come get her to Sav.

Sav nervously fidgeted, trying to think of a believable excuse to get Abby to come here. He quickly remembered the toy musical keyboard that she got Tyler as a gift. Sav whispered in Paige’s ear.

"Oh, Abby, I know that but…well, would you believe that right after you left, Tyler started playing with the keyboard for hours and, well, he composed a little song for you. He kept calling your name, wanting you to come back. I think he wants to play for you."

Paige looked to Sav who flased her the ‘okay’ sign as they waited for Abby’s response.

"Oh, alright. How can I resist? I’ll be there around seven."

"Good, see ya then."

Both women hung up as Paige watched Sav do a little happy dance around the kitchen.

"Oh, will you stop! You are acting like such a …..woman!"

Sav grabbed Paige from behind and brought her bottom hard up against the fly of his jeans.

"Tell me that now, huh?" Sav whispered against her neck. "Keep saying that and I’ll just have to prove you wrong!"

Paige struggled against him. "Rick, you know I can’t have sex for another week or so."

Sav whispered in her ear. "There are other ways, luv," he purred.

"Remember that goes both ways," she reminded him.

"Me….forget? Never!" Sav said as he nibbled on her neck.

"Its just, well, I never see you act like this before. Getting all giddy and stuff over fixing up Joe, for goodness sake."

"I just like any opportunity to prove Elliott wrong. He says he’s swearing off women for a while and that he was gonna prove to us that he could. Well, you know me and a challenge that has to do with Joe. I’m out to prove him wrong. If he doesn’t show any interest whatsoever in Abby, he’s either got ballocks of steel or he’s bloody gay! Now, go and buy something pretty while I go fish out the Japanese takeout menu so I won’t have to hear Phil whine!

Paige took off as Sav scrounged together several takeout menu’s, preparing for Joe to see Abby for the first time in two years tonight.

 

4

"Listen, Savage…you’re lucky I’m here tonight with the mood I’m in!"

"Nice to see you too, Joe," Sav said as Joe stormed past him after walking in the house.

Sav closed the door behind him before turning to Phil and whispered. "Has he been like this all day?"

"Mate, this is the worse I’ve seen him since I’ve been here," Phil whispered back. "I mean, at first I thought it was sexual frustration, but after his phone call with Bobbi – man, I thought he was gonna destroy all the instruments in the Garage. Pete and I actually had to go outside until he got over his little tirade. I didn’t want to be anywhere’s near him."

"Wow, he’s that pissed, huh?" Sav said.

"Mate, wouldn’t you?" Phil asked. "I mean, look what she did! Even after they agreed not to. I know Joe has no control over her and there not married or anything, but still. After almost seven years together, you just go off to the States for three months, then just pick up the phone to call the man you’ve spent those last seven years with to tell him that you had another bloke’s seed planted in you. If I were Bobbi, I wouldn’t step foot back in Ireland. Joe is beyond enraged. And, he’s sworn off woman."

"Yeah, so I’ve been told," Sav said. "Somehow I don’t think that’ll last too long."

"You know, I may be pissed out of my mind but I’m not deaf you two!" came Joe’s booming voice. "I know you’re talking about me so stop it!"

Phil and Sav rolled their eyes at the long night ahead of them with an unbearable Joe. It wasn’t until Joe walked in the living room to see 1 ½ year old Tyler on the floor playing with a toy keyboard. Joe immediately softened a bit and bent down beside him.

"Aye, little mate. What’cha got there?"

Joe bent down to the toddler’s ear. "Trust me ‘lil Savage…keep your focus on music and off women. They’re not worth it!"

"Aye, watch what you say to my son, mate," Sav said as he walked in. "If he listens to your advice he’ll grow up to be a sissy boy."

"Yeah Joe," Phil added. "I know what Bobbi did was beyond forgiveness but, mate, aren’t you going a mite far with this anger?"

"No, Philip…I’m not going too far with this anger," Joe said in a mimicked.

"Well, that’ll take time to get over Joe," Sav said. "Plus, once the album is finally out and we start to tour, you’ll have something else to concentrate on. Just don’t let this deny yourself of trying to find someone…."

"I told you Sav…..I’m off women – literally and figuratively – for a while, so end it!"

Phil turned to Sav. "Why don’t we leave him here and we’ll go out?"

"And have him corrupt my kids? No way. Trust me, by the end of the night, he’ll forget all about his little hissy fit."

"Yeah, well I guess you know him better than anyone Sav," Phil said.

"Well that and…..oh, a little secret weapon."

"Yeah?" Phil said wide eyed. "What?"

Sav looked over to see Joe playing on the toy keyboard with Tyler before looking back to Phil.

"Well, Pete’s assistant Abby just came in today. She was here this afternoon to bring the children gifts. Phil, the last time she was here was 2 years ago and I noticed that she took a shine to Joe, even though Bobbi had made it good and clear that he was off limits. Anyway, she was here and I could tell that she still has a thing for him. And mate…she looks real good. And….I cooked up this little plan."

"What?"

"To hook her and Joe up. Paige is upstairs right now getting ready to go out to dinner with Abby, who should be here in about a half hour to pick Paige up. As soon as I gage Joe’s reaction when he sees Abby, then I’ll know if his vow of chastity is something he can keep or not."

Phil chuckled quietly, but not quiet enough.

"I said….stop talking about me!" Joe shouted from the living room It caused little Tyler to put his hands over his ears.

"Joe, if my son goes deaf, I’ll have your arse!"

Joe answered Sav by waving him away.

"So Phil….what do you think?"

Phil laughed again, this time much more quietly. "Mate, I gotta hand it to you. The two of you really have your share of drama on this side of the Atlantic. Maybe its because Viv, Rick and I are too normal. Hell, I could use a little drama unfolding tonight."

Just then Joe stalked into the kitchen and spotted the menus.

"So Savage, did I just come over here to look at your pretty aging face, or are you gonna feed me? I’m starved! What the hell are we waiting for? Or are the two of you gonna stand there and gossip about me like two school lasses?"

Sav glared at Joe as he sifted through the menus on the kitchen table, before looking back at Phil.

"Abby better get here soon, else we’ll have a dead body on our hands to dispose of later."

All of a sudden, the doorbell rang.

"You know what they say mate," Phil said. "Saved by the bell!"

5

"I’ll get it," Sav said.

"No, allow me, mate," Phil mused.

"No Phil…I’ll get it," Sav shot back.

"Oh for bleedin’ Christ’s sake," Joe snipped. "I’ll get it!"

Sav and Phil were too busy arguing over who was gonna get the door to notice that Joe was already halfway to getting it.

When Sav saw Joe going for the door, he started to call out to him, then hesitated.

"Keep you eyes peeled, Phil," Sav said to him.

Joe angrily yanked the door opened. The anger coloring his face was drained away by the gorgeous site that stood before him.

Little did he know, he had the same effect on Abby.

"J..Joe," Abby stammered, not prepared in the least for the sight of him.

All thoughts of what happened prior to opening the door escaped Joe. His brain scrambled to find some words, nor was it registering that this beautiful woman knew who he was.

"I’m…I’m sorry," he managed to say, not knowing to look at her face or her body first. "Do I know you?"

"Um, well, we only met once about two years ago. I’m Abby, Pete Woodroffe’s assistant. I just got here today to do some work for Pete but I’m here to pick up Paige. We’re going out to dinner tonight."

Abby? Abby? Joe’s mind tried to retrace back two years to remember her, but he couldn’t. How could he not, especially a woman this beautiful? His eyes were on autopilot as they scanned her silky hair, deep green eyes and fine boned features. He gulped as he ventured further to a celadon green, fitted wrap top that showed a teasing hint of cleavage from her impressive bosom. They then went a little lower to her narrow waist, curvy hips and long shapely legs in a pair of black pants that hugged her to perfection.

Joe didn’t have any saliva in his mouth as he desperately swallowed air.

"Abby, of course," he said. "I..uh, yes, Pete said you’d be coming in. Um..yeah, uh….come in."

As she walked in, Joe realized what an idiot he must’ve sounded like! Only when he got a view of her perfectly rounded bottom did he he feel every ounce of blood rush from his face to his groin.

"Dammit!" he cursed, trying to shift unnoticably.

Sav and Phil watched Abby walk in, but not before registering the flushed, speechless look on Joe’s face. Sav turned to Phil and grinned.

"Mission accomplished, mate," Sav whispered. "This is gonna be easier than I thought."

Sav walked over to Abby and kissed her on the cheek. "Aye luv, you look smashing. Paige’ll be down soon. She just wants to feed and get the baby down before she leaves.

"No problem," Abby said. "I’m a little early anyway."

"Aye!" Phil exclaimed. "Remember me?"

Abby grinned and leaned forward to kiss Phil on the cheek. "Hi Phil," she said. "Rick said you were still here. So, whats this…a guys night in while the girls are out?"

"Something like that," Sav said with a smirk. "Hold on, let me go see if Paige is ready."

Sav bounded up the stairs before Abby could question him. She was left with a grinning Phil and a very aroused Joe, who lingered behind Abby desperately trying to pull his short sweater down to cover the growing evidence behind his fly.

A move that didn’t escape Phil who was going to have some fun after all the verbal abuse he took from Joe today.

"Mate, what are you doing back there? I’m sure the lass doesn’t bite."

Abby felt her heart stick in her throat. "Joe..oh God, I can’t believe he’s here! Dammit, he looks so good. Those eyes! Those incredible green eyes. If he stands near me I think I’ll faint from his body heat!"

"Abby…you okay?"

Abby snapped her eyes to Phil. "Oh, yeah, its just that..um, Paige said that Tyler played a little song on the keyboard I bought him."

"You bought him that?" came Joe’s gravelly voice from behind.

Abby slowly turned around to once again look at the beautiful face that went with that equally beautiful voice. "Yes. I came by this afternoon with gifts for everyone."

Joe loosened up a bit, though his erection was still painful. "Well, he’s in here playing with it still. Maybe we can get him to play for you."

Joe swept his hand for her to walk ahead, if only to stare at her hot looking backside. As she walked ahead, Phil saw where Joe’s eyes landed before Joe felt Phil staring at him.

"What?" Joe asked with a growl.

"Nothing!" Phil said, raising his hands in surrender. "Don’t bite me head off, mate. Aye…I know I’m married but…not bad, eh? Tight little body too and…"

"You’re right Phil..you are married, so shut up!"

Phil followed a wobbly and suddenly defensive Joe into the living room. There they saw Abby, kneeling on the floor next to Tyler as he played his keyboard for her.

As he did, Abby sang along some cute little words as if it were a little song. Her reward was a sparkling smile on Tyler’s cherubic little face. It almost undid her.

Joe’s legs were acting independently of his brain, and other active body parts, as they walked themselves over to kneel down on the other side of Tyler as he continued to play. As soon as Joe knelt down, Abby saw him and clammed up immmediately, ceasing her singing.

"Luv, why’d you stop singing? You’ve got a lovely voice. Did…did you ever take lessons?"

Abby flustered at the praise of her singing from someone who does it for a living. "Me? No. Just your standard shower singer, I assure you."

The sudden vision of Abby in the shower, naked with droplets of water and soap bubbles sliding down her body caused Joe’s erection to flinch. He immediately changed his positon on the floor, which Phil caught.

"Uncomfortable mate?" Phil asked, leaning against the wall grinning, arms folded in front of him.

Joe shot Phil a venomous look.

She couldn’t take her eyes off Tyler’s precious little face. He was definitely his fathers mirror image, from the saucer shaped blue eyes, light brown softly curled hair and pert little nose.

"So…Abby..how long are you here for, luv?"

Abby’s skin tingled as Joe’s deep voice sent a vibration through her. "Oh, only a week. Maybe ten days, most. I just got here today and spent the afternoon checking in, unpacking and taking a nap so I can stay awake through dinner."

"You’re staying at a hotel?" Joe asked incredulously. "What for? Pete and Phil have been camping at my house. Abby, there’s more than enough room at my house. Plus, Pete’ll be right there."

Abby dug her fingers into the palms of her hands to still her shaking hands. "Me? Staying at Joe’s place all week? Can this be real?"

She then remembered. Bobbi.

"Oh, Joe…that’s very generous of you but….um, won’t your ladyfriend mind? I mean, I know I’m here on business, but some women are funny about those things."

The reminder of Bobbi and her unexpected shocking news, waned Joe’s excited state. But not for long.

"Well, Bobbi, my ladyfriend, and I are no longer together. She’s been in the States for the last three months and isn’t coming back. We’re very much over, so I can assure you so there won’t be a problem."

Did Abby hear that right? Could this be true? Here only half a day and already she all but ran smack into the man who made her knees collapse two years ago, got invited to live at his house for a week AND found out that he’s unattached.

"Yeah, like its gonna matter any," Abby thought to herself. "If he broke up with that beautiful, buxom blonde, what’s he gonna want with damaged goods like you?"

"Joe, like I said…that’s very generous of you, but staying in the hotel isn’t so bad."

"Well, I don’t feel comfortable with you holed up in an isolated hotel room while Pete, Phil and I relaxing in a comfortable spacious home. I insist. Plus, since we’re paying Pete, your hotel bill is part of our costs so…staying at my house will save me money. Trust me, its for economical purposes only."

The sound of Phil loudly clearing his throat earned him a glaring green gaze from Joe and a questionable look from Abby.

Just then, Paige walked in with Sav close behind her. They stopped dead when they saw Sav and Abby kneeling on the floor on either side of Tyler who was playing away on his keyboard. Just then, Tyler looked up and locked eyes with Sav.

"Da-dee! Play!"

"He was just playing me that song you told me about," Abby said

"What song?" Paige said.

Sav nudged Paige from behind. "You know….the song you told Abby that Tyler played after she left. The song you wanted her to hear him play which was the reason you had her come here to pick you up….remember?"

Abby and Joe looked at Sav and Paige quizzically. Paige looked back at them before catching on.

"Oh, right! That’s right. Tyler’s song. Yes, yes, he’s been playing it all afternoon. You…you say he’s been playing it for you?"

Paige was a little stumped because there was no song. It was a ruse to get Abby to come over. However, little Tyler cooperated in not making his parents look like liars.

"Not only is he musically gifted, Sav," Joe said, "but it seems that Abby here is quite a little songbird too."

"Joe, stop!" Abby said with a blush. "I was just singing some cute little words along with Tyler to make it seem like it was an actual song."

"And what beautiful singing it was, luv," Joe said with his trademark charm that was starting to make an appearance.

Paige turned to Sav. "This may be easier than you think."

"I know," Sav said. "That’s what I said to Phil.

"Well, looks like your tenure as a matchmaker is shortlived, mate," Phil said. "Guess its back to being a rock star."

"What are you three whispering about over there?" Joe demanded.

"Nothing!"

Abby got up, suddenly very hungry and very desperate to get away from the heat permiating from Joe’s body before she did something foolish.

"Well, luv…looks like I’ll be seeing a lot more of you since Joe invited you to stay at his house," Phil said to Abby, loud enough for Sav to hear.

Sav turned surprised eyes to Joe and folded his arms. "Oh really? How very hospitable of you, Joe. I’m sure Abby will enjoy her stay at Stepaside more than a cloistered hotel room."

"Well, it makes perfect sense since Pete’’ll be there," Joe tried to justify himself. "Plus, her time is on our clock so it’ll save us money."

"How financially savvy of you mate," Sav mused. "Learning to tighten your belt in your old age, I see."

"Screw you Savage!" Joe spat. "Last I checked the calendar, father time has paid your pretty face a visit too."

"Yes, but I’m still sexy!" Sav joked.

"Oh yes, baby," Phil cooed, slinking his arm around Sav. "I totally agree!"

"Time to leave!" Page interrupted as she grabbed Abby by the hand and walked towards the door. Abby hadn’t been around these guys long enough to know when they’re playfully bantering with one another or seriously trying to rip each others heads off. If Joe were to have any chance with her, the less she were shocked the better.

"Have fun, ladies," Phil and Sav called out before they both turned back to a fuming Joe."

Phil rubbed his hands together and looked at Joe.

"Well, that was fast work, mate. Got a beautiful woman living under your roof for a week no sooner than Bobbi is officially out of the picture."

"Yeah," Sav said as he slapped Joe on the back. "Too bad you swore off women. C’mon, I’m starved. Lets order!"

A snickering Sav and Phil walked into the kitchen leaving Joe standing in the living room with Tyler still playing away on the floor.

Sav’s final words sunk into him.

"I actually told Sav on the phone earlier that I swore off women," he thought to himself.

Cursing his foolishness, he bent down and picked up Tyler. Joe held the bewildered 1 ½ year old out at arms length and stared into his innocent face.

"Little mate! What have I done?"

 

6

Abby couldn’t stand it any longer. During dinner, she questioned Paige.

"So…whats this Joe tells me that he and Bobbi are through?"

Paige smiled in her salad, waiting for Abby so say something. "Yeah, seems so. And, its for good this time. I can’t say what, but she did something so totally unforgivable. It’s the reason Joe was in such a bitchy mood tonight."

"Oh? He seemed fine to me," Abby said.

"Well, maybe that’s because he saw something to change his mood," Paige said with a raise of her eyebrows.

Abby’s confused look told Paige that she had no clue that it was her presence that calmed Joe down from a raving lunatic to a simpering lad on his first date.

"Abby! C’mon, girl. I thought you were from New York?"

"I am. What do you mean by that?"

"Don’t you get it?" Paige asked. "Put two and two together. When Rick came upstairs to tell me you were here, he filled me in on how Joe was raging around the house. That is….till you showed up."

"Paige! That doesn’t mean anything! He probably just didn’t want to seem rude around me."

"Joe? He never alters anything about him for anyone. Plus, earlier he told Rick on the phone that he completely swore off women due to what Bobbi did to him. So, no sooner after his vow, I come downstairs to see the two of you kneeling on the floor beside Tyler with him eyeing you like a diabetic walking past a sweet shop."

"Paige…you’re crazy! I may have only met Bobbi once but, believe me, I sure do remember what she looked like. Blonde, beautiful and very busty."

Paige crooked her finger for Abby to lean in closer as she whispered to her.

"Abby…between you and me. Bobbi….well, they’re not real!"

Abby’s eyes widened as she heard Paige’s confession.

"But, you didn’t hear that from me," Paige announced, raising her hands in surrender.

"Whatever, Paige. Real or not, that’s the type of woman Joe will replace her with. I mean, even if Joe was interested, once he finds out that….."

Paige just realized that Abby had no idea that Joe was in the same infertility boat as she. However, that was a more personal subject than Bobbi’s enhancement surgery. It wasn’t for her to tell.

"Abby, stop it! Stop it right now. This self pity of yours is doing you no good. You are not worthless because you can’t have children. There are a million other things you can excel at, yet you dwell on the one thing you can’t do."

Abby stirred her iced tea before taking a sip. "Paige, that’s so easy for a woman who’s had two children to say. I know I shouldn’t feel this way. I mean, if I found someone who didn’t care about my….condition, that would be wonderful. But I haven’t. And, at 35…I’m starting to give up hope. Maybe I’m just meant to be single."

"Yeah," Paige thought. "Just like Joe is meant to be celibate!"

"Abby, listen to me. Please don’t give up. There is someone for everyone. Look what Rick went through after he and his ex split. Between his wife leaving him and his illness at the time, he never thought he’d find anyone to love him for what and who he is. But, he found me and now he has two children. I swear, I’ve never seen that man happier than when he’s holding Tyler or Scott. Its like he’s in another world of complete bliss. Trust me, Abby. Someone will come along that will give you the same feeling."

"Well, only if they want a childless marriage. Or…adopt. I wouldn’t mind doing that. In fact, its my only hope, you know."

"Joes too," Paige thought.

Paige raised her glass which prompted Abby to do the same. "Here’s to a man out there who feels exactly the same way you do."

They clinked glasses and drank before Abby spoke up. "Yeah, now lets just hope God drops him in my lap!"

"Drops him in your lap?" Paige thought. "Girl, you’ll be living under his roof for the next week!"

7

 

Meanwhile, back at the Savage house, Joe reverted back to his moody state, however, his hostility was gone.

Sav and Phil knew exactly why. Abby.

The three of them sat around munching on their takeout and talking shop, though Sav and Phil got no more than grunts and groans from Joe as answers. His eyes were transfixed on the wall in front of him as he half listened to his bandmates. He was so oblivous to their conversation that he was stabbing his chin with his fork just about every time he brought it up to his mouth.

Sav and Phil eyed him with amusement, wanting so much to toy with him, yet didn’t want to deal with his wrath. However, Phil couldn’t hold out too much longer.

"Aye, Sav…mind if I put some music on?"

"Not at all, mate," Sav replied before looking at Joe. "The silence is deafening."

Sav was awarded with a glassy eyed grunt of approval from Joe.

Phil got up, went over to Sav’s massive CD collection and starting thumbing through it. He knew had the CD he was looking for and smiled wide when he found it.

"Aye Joe," Phil called out. "Here’s an oldie we haven’t listened to in a while. The Beatles ‘Abbey Road’!"

Sav nearly spit his water across the coffee table when Phil said that.

"Huh?" Joe said with a snap of his head towards Phil.

"Got your attention finally, eh mate?"

"What do you mean?" Joe said defensively. "We’ve been talking for the last hour."

"No Joe," Sav said. "Phil and I have been talking. You’ve been in a galaxy far, far away."

"What? I’ve been right here. I’ve been listening."

"What’ve we been talking about then?" Phil challenged.

"Uh…the album," Joe stammered.

"And…….what else?" Sav pressed.

"Uh…..the tour," Joe replied.

"And……..?"

"Oh, what…am I being tested or something?" Joe replied hotly. "Whats the flippin’ difference what we’ve been talking about or whether I’ve been listening or not?"

"No reason," Phil said. "You just looked like your mind was on, you know, something else."

"Or…some one else, perhaps?" Sav added.

"What? Who? You don’t mean….you don’t mean…Abby, do you," Joe said with feigned ignorance.

"Well, she’s the first woman to cross your path since Bobbi’s been gone….."

"Do NOT mention her name to me," Joe spat out.

"Okay, okay," Sav said. "Calm down before you pop a blood vessel."

"Like I told you before, Sav…I’m swearing off women for a while," Joe regrettably said through clenched teeth.

Sav rolled his eyes at the absurdity of his remark. "Joe..please. C’mon, we both know how ludicrous that is. Plus, you already proved your own words to be a lie. No sooner than Abby walked through the door you got her living under your roof for a week."

"Sav, that doesn’t mean anything," Joe lied. "If I had known that Pete called her out here I would have told him to have her stay here regardless."

"Mmmm, hmmm," Sav said haughtily. "So…the fact that she’s beautiful and available had nothing to do with your invitation to stay at your house?"

"None whatsoever," Joe again lied.

"Yeah, right mate," Phil chimed in. "And I’m the next Ginger Spice!"

"Bugger off, Phil. Both of you. I meant it as nothing but a generous gesture."

"Christ, they know," Joe fumed to himself. "How am I gonna hide my reaction to Abby this next week with these two clowns up my bum?"

"Joe, cut the charade, okay," Phil said. "You don’t have to hide it. You can’t. There is no possible way that Joe Elliott can go a week under the same roof with a beautiful, sexy, single woman with a great body and a round, lucious…"

"Phil!" Joe scolded.

"I guess that just about says it all, eh mate?" Sav said.

Joe threw his fork down and stood up. "I’ve had it with you two wankers," Joe said. "Its not like I see enough of you as it is. Man, I don’t even know why I came here tonight. I just wanted to be alone!"

With that, Joe stormed off into the kitchen.

"Think we overdid it?" Phil asked Sav.

Sav gave Phil a sour look. "You kidding? Its just getting good. I love nothing better than proving him wrong. Oh, he’s gonna try as hard as hell to avoid Abby, especially when we’re there. But, at night…you know…. Joe is Joe."

Phil and Sav shared a laugh before Joe walked back in with his mouth full. Sav looked up at him and his face fell.

"Mate…what is that you’re eating?" Sav said warily.

"My dessert," Joe said as he took another bite. "I saw the box of Krispy Kremes hidden on top of your fridge. Fortunately, with my height, I spotted them. I’m assuming that Abby brought these here and, considering they were hidden and there were only 4 left, she bought them for you, right Sav?"

"How many did you have?" Sav demanded.

"Oh, well, I shoved the first one in my mouth as soon as I found them. When I thought I’d die from the ecstasy, I decided to savor the next one. Don’t worry, there’s two left. And, you don’t have to worry about Phil sniffing them out."

"Joe! Those were my Krispy Kremes! I can’t get those here! Abby brought them for me especially today."

"Mate, that’s a dozen box," said Phil. "What, did you and Paige have a donut eating fest today?"

"Uh, well….no. She didn’t have any."

"You inhaled eight donuts on your own?" Phil asked astonished.

"I couldn’t help it," Sav replied sheepishy like a little boy.

Phil’s eyes bugged. "Mate! Do you know how much fat you ingested?"

"No, Jack LaLane…and I don’t want to know, thank you very much," Sav snipped back. "I don’t care. I love those things. I don’t get them that often. And now… thanks to Joe, I only have two left."

"Sav, just call Rick or Viv and have them ship you out a case," Phil said.

"Phil, I’m not taking any chances of someone tampering with them en route!"

Sav then turned to Joe. "Thanks a lot, mate. Next time, ask."

Joe swallowed with a smile. "Next time, don’t piss me off! If I hear anymore or your snide remarks about Abby the rest of the night, those last two donuts are history."

Sav sneered as Phil went back to choosing some music to play. Joe leaned against the wall with a smile that he won this round.

However, he wasn’t too sure about the next one.

8

After dropping off Paige after dinner, Abby retreated back to her hotel. On the ride back, she thought about what Paige had told her regarding Joe’s recent single state.

The fact that he and Bobbi had been apart three months led her to think that he wouldn’t be on the rebound, however, Paige did make mention that it was officially ended as of today. Over a reason too personal for her to divulge. Abby wondered what it was?

At first she wasn’t aware of the attention she was getting from Joe, that is, not until Paige pointed it out. She still could see the way his eyes raked her up and down when he answered the door. But, just as quickly, she cast it aside.

"He’s just a man who appreciates a woman, nothing more. All men gawk, he’s no different," she thought to herself.

She pulled up in front of the hotel, went in and took the elevator up to her room. The first thing she spotted was a flashing light on her phone. She called in for her message. It was from Pete, asking her to call him on his cell when she got in. She immediately phoned him.

"Pete, its Abby."

"Aye, early night I see."

"Yeah, well I wasn’t sure what time you were expecting me tomorrow so I dropped Paige home right after dinner."

"Well, listen. Elliott just got back. He and Phil went to Sav’s tonight.’

"Yes, I know," Abby said, her heart beating in remembrance of his stare. "I saw them there when I got there."

"I understand that you’ll be staying here the week," Pete said.

"Um, yeah," Abby said nervously. "I…I guess what Joe said makes sense, since he’d have to foot the hotel bill for the week. I guess being a millionaire rock star doesn’t cut into your financial common sense."

"True," Pete said. "Plus, this way, it’ll be easier. Joe’s got a separate room he uses as an office with a computer, fax machine, internet – the works. Everything that I need you to catch up on you can do from there while I finish working out these album snafus with the guys."

"Not a problem, Pete. As long as you men don’t mind having a woman hanging around."

Pete chuckled low enough for Abby not to hear. Phil filled him in on Joe’s reaction to Abby. Although she was here to work, the fact that its been all work and not much fun has been stressful on the guys. Plus, he was still reeling from Joe’s tirade earlier about Bobbi. Having Abby in the house may soothe the beast in him enough to think straight and tie up the loose ends on the album.

"No problem, Abby. Besides, Nuala, Joe’s housekeeper, is here everyday so you’ll have an ally. So, here’s some easy directions to Joe’s house. Be there no later than 10:00 tomorrow. I need about an hour with you before Sav arrives at 11:00 so we can make a conference call to Rick and Viv so we can finish everything up."

Abby jotted down the directions, and made sure she had Pete’s cell number in case she got lost.

"Okay, got it Pete. I’ll see you at 10:00 sharp."

Abby glanced around at her empty suitcase and began to empty out her drawers, leaving out an outfit to wear tomorrow. She then changed into her jammies, washed her face, brushed her teeth and got into bed. Since she packed her portable CD player, she turned on the clock radio and found something decent and soothing to listen to. She then grabbed her hardcover journal and opened it up.

Since her surgery a year and a half ago, she had sought counseling to deal with the depression that she faced afterwards. The counselor had suggested that she get her feelings of anger, resentment and betrayal down on paper instead of keeping them bottled up inside. However, jotting down angry, hurtful words on paper for keeps to read over and over only made her feel worse.

She didn’t want to write about what depressed. She wanted to write about what made her feel good. She imagined a life and a love that was perfect and unaffected by anything on the outside. Just a total, unabashed, unconditional love between two human beings that nothing could break apart or alter.

So, she threw the counselors advice out the window and began to write poetry. She wrote of a love that she craved, yet had such difficulty finding. It may be fictional, but, at least when she opened her journal, she could escape from reality a bit. She also hoped that her words and dreams would reinforce her positive thinking.

She tapped her pen against her chin as she thought of what she wanted to write about. Love – pure and simple. A love that was based about nothing but what was in the heart and soul where material possessions or physical imperfections had no place. A love that was….forever.

The words came to her mind quicker than she could write them down. She wrote as fast as her hand allowed. When she was done, she put her pen down and read what she wrote. Even she was startled by the force of their emotions. So much so, that she began to cry.

"Why does this have to only exist on paper?" she thought. "This means something. I know it does. I’m not sure what, but it means something. Someday, these words will change my life!"

 

9

The next day, the Elliott house was in full swing. Pete, Phil and Joe were up, showered, fed by Nuala and in the Garage by 9:30am. As Pete awaited Abby’s arrival, the three of them were discussing an idea that was passed by them by Peter Mensch. It would be a Def Leppard project, however it was mainly focused on Joe. The other guys thought it might be interesting to do, however, Joe was against it.

"Phil, c’mon," Joe argued his case. "We’re a rock band. We do rock ballads, not love songs."

"Joe, it is geared towards a rock ballad," Phil retorted.

"I don’t know, Phil…it sounds kinda cheesy," Joe said. "A duet?"

"Mate, there’ve been plenty of rock duets done in the past. Ozzy Osbourne and Lita Ford. Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks. Don Henly and Patty Smyth. All of them hits. It never took away from the artist’s credibility because the song fell in line with their trademark sound. I’m not talking about becoming the Backstreet Boys or N’Sync or anything."

"Who would we consider?" Joe asked. "You know, to sing the female part?"

"How about J. Lo or Brittney Spears?" Phil mused.

Pete laughed as Joe gave Phil a dirty look. "Yeah, right," Joe said. "Then I’ll really look like some jailbait seeking, dirty ol’ singer."

"Aye, Aerosmith sang with Brittney Spears and N’Sync at the Superbowl halftime show last year, remember? Didn’t put a tarnish on their career."

"Yeah, but..as much as I love Aerosmith, they seemed to have gone corporate a bit. But they’re big enough to where they won’t get any backlash for that. I don’t want that for the band. I don’t think any of us want to become ‘corporate rock’."

"You’re right there," Pete said. "As you say, someone as big as Aerosmith can get away with it, but other bands would look like a sellout. Phil, Joe’s right in that respect. Def Leppard is about making music and albums to please the fans and marketing it with your own abilities – which is touring and videos, not commercial endorsements and stuff like that."

"I agree, Pete," Phil said. "But Joe, doing a rock duet isn’t like having one of our songs try to push the next big SUV to hit the road, or having Pepsi or someone sponsor our tours. Just a song. One, simple song. Something we can churn out quick to whet the public’s appetite before the album’s released."

"Yeah, but again…with who?" Joe asked. "Especially so soon?"

"Well, someone who can match your set of pipes, mate," Phil said. "Someone with a voice like Pat Benetar, or Ann Wilson or even Patty Smyth. Those are all ‘80’s ladies’. You need someone who’s out there now, who can fit the match for a rock ballad and not some bubblegum, teenage virgin diva."

Joe’s eyebrows raised a bit. "Hmmm, a teenage virgin….."

"Mate, you are a dirty old man!"

"I am not old!" Joe said exasperated. "Watch what you say, you’ve got two years on me."

"Yes, but I have the body of a twenty five year old!" Phil stated proudly."

"Okay, I believe this is where I go get some more coffee," Pete said. "Be right back."

As soon as Pete was out of sight, Phil turned to Joe. "So, speaking of nice bodies, what time does Abby get here."

Joe shook his head in frustration. "Boy, you ‘re not gonna let up, are you mate?"

"You kidding? Just wait till Savage gets here!" Phil threatened.

"Yeah, well he best stay off my bad side else he’ll have something more devestating to worry about than running out of Krispy Kreme donuts!"

"Joe, why don’t you just stop this whole ‘I’m swearing off women and I’m gonna prove to you that I can’ farce and just go with it. It was obvious, to anyone who has at least one eye, that you couldn’t take both of yours off her last night. I know you’re still reeling from what…."

"Do not say her name, Phil," Joe warned.

"Whatever…you know what I mean. But every woman isn’t gonna be like…her or Karla. Think of it mate, you’ve only been in two serious relationships between 1989 and now. You married Karla then, you separated in, what, 1995, then you met……"

Joe gave him a dirty look.

"…..’you know who’ soon after. You can’t go judging every woman based on those two, for God’s sake."

Joe hung his head at the validity of Phil’s words. "I know your’e right, mate. Its just….man, I’m so sick and tired of not knowing who to trust and when. I mean, both those women loved spending my money, but when it came to something I wanted, I get slapped with the utmost disrespect. Fine, she’s gonna go off and have some strangers baby without me, fine. She can carry it, give birth to it, raise and support it…alone."

With that, Joe got up and stormed out of the garage.

"Here we go again," Phil muttered.

Phil got up and followed him out to where Pete was chatting with Nuala while drinking his coffee. Joe stopped upon the scene and folded his arms.

"Uh, Pete….we are waiting for you," the newly-moody Joe spat out sarcastically. "I don’t pay you to chew my housekeepers ear off when she’s got work to do and so do we."

Pete looked past Joe to see Phil, who was standing there with his hands wrapped around his neck, simulating a strangling. Joe saw where Pete’s eyes went and turned around, just as Phil brought his hands down.

"What are you doing?"

"Nothing!"

Nuala went about her chores, not the least bit affected by her employer’s outburst. She’d been with Joe long enough to know when he was serious or just spouting off steam. And, judging from the telephone conversation she overheard between him and Bobbi yesterday, Joe has a lot more to get off his chest."

"Nuala, is everything set in the third guestbedroom for Pete’s assistant?"

"Yes, I’ve already got the clean linens on the bed and fresh towels in the adjoining bath."

"Thank you," Joe said, suddenly guilty of his little outburst in front of her. He knew she was almost like a mum to him, but he would never do anything to make her feel bad. She’d been too loyal and good to him over the years to ever lose her.

Just then, the sound of a car pulling in the long driveway got Joe’s attention. And his reaction as to who it was got Pete and Phil’s.

"Guess who?" Phil sang out with a smirk.

"When are you going home?" Joe flung back at him before turning and walking to the front door to meet Abby.

Joe opened the door in time to see Abby bend over her trunk to take her suitcase out. The sight of her in that provacative position was just enough to case some heavy action down below.

Three months! Three long, bloody friggin’ months!

To Joe Elliott, that was an eternity!

He pulled his sweater down and walked over to help her.

"Aye luv, let me get that," he said to Abby as he snuck up behind her to grab the handle of her suitcase.

The unexpected sound of his voice, and the warm masculine scent permeating from his skin, caused Abby to jerk up, just in time to bang her head against the top of the trunk.

"Ow!" she hissed as she brought her hand to her hand. "Joe…you startled me. I didn’t hear you come up behind me like that."

"Maybe if I had a gravel driveway you would’ve," he replied, wanting so bad to rub his hand over where she hit her head, and then through her thick, silky hair. Christ, nevermind her hair. He wanted to fill his hands with that bum of hers!

He cursed his lustful thoughts as he pulled her suitcase out of the trunk. Abby closed the top and followed him in the house.

"Joe…you’re positive this is okay..me staying here?"

"Absolutely. Trust me, you wouldn’t be able to escape if you tried."

Joe accompanied that last remark with a dimpled smile that almost turned Abby into a puddle in the driveway.

Joe suddenly realized just how easy his mood brightened and his charmful ways returned as soon as she showed up. He just cast it off as him just being himself. And his physical reaction to her was no different than any other beautiful woman.

He’d been charming women since he was nineteen. With his golden voice, smooth words, bedroom green eyes and electric smile, he really didn’t need to try too hard. His charm just came naturally. It was part of him. Abby was just a receipient of his charm.

Who’d be living under his roof…sleeping just a few doors down, wearing God knows what to bed….showering her incredible naked body in his bath…..

"Crap!" he muttered to himself as his erection throbbed.

"Something wrong?" Abby said from behind.

"No, nothing," Joe lied. "Just my ballocks are about to explode, that’s all!"

Abby got inside and was introduced to Nuala. The kindly housekeeper took an immediately liking to her warm, friendly face, sweet voice and helpful disposition. As Abby followed Nuala to her room so she could get situated before meeting with Pete in the office, Joe watched her walk away, a smile upon his lips.

Sensing Phil’s eyes burning holes into his back, he turned to him, only to find him batting his eyelashes at Joe.

Joe blew out a frustrated breath before he made himself a cup of tea.

"Crikey! What in the world can be worse than having you around today?" Joe fumed at Phil.

"I’m here!"

Joe’s eyes turned to see a beaming Sav who just walked in the kitchen door. Joe just shook his head, looking towards the heavens.

"There’s the answer to that question!"

 

10

Abby furiously typed away on the computer keyboard as she balanced Pete’s cell phone between her ear and shoulder, all the while cursing the mountain of paperwork Pete dropped on her.

She was gonna need each and every day of the week to finish it all!

She churned out 10 letters, sent 6 faxes, checked Pete’s business e-mail address and placed too many calls to count. Her head was beginning to throb and she hadn’t even been here a full day.

She got up and got some Excedrin out of her purse and washed two tables down with bottled water. She then noticed a small, tabletop CD player on a bookshelf. That’s what she needed – a little music to break up the silence of the machines!

She went into the guestbedroom that was assigned to her and got her CD case out of her overnight bag. She walked back in the office, flipping through, looking for something to keep her awake, but not too loud.

She quickly pulled out Alicia Keye’s "Songs in A Minor", popped it in and got back to work.

*******************************

Joe, Phil, Sav & Pete had just finished up a three way call with Rick and Viv in the States before they broke for some lunch. They went into the kitchen to find sandwiches, salad and fruit Nuala had put out for them.

"Nuala luv," Sav said. "This all looks lovely. I’m bloody famished."

"How could you eat a thing after all those donuts you wolfed down yesterday?" Phil aske disgustedly.

"Well, the donuts were my breakfast and lunch," Sav justified. "I didn’t have any last night…considering somebody only left me with two to last me until we tour the States!"

"Yet you still manage to go on," Joe answered with mock sympathy.

"Bite me, Elliott. Anyway, you had your little revenge last night. And, all that sugar caught up with me as soon as I went to bed. I had a huge migrane. And, the fact that Scott was up half the night with colic didn’t help."

"All that and you’re still in a better mood than Joe," Phil said. "He started pissing and moaning this morning about the duet, which led to talk about……."

Joe raised a warnin brow to Phil.

"….about…’you know who’. However, I do declare that once lovely Miss Abby showed up, you’ve actually been a pleasure to be around."

"Aaah, yes," Sav said. "Sent her right off to work, didn’t you Pete?"

"That’s what she’s here for," Pete answered.

"Right!" Joe added. "That’s what she’s here for."

Phil turned quizzical eyes to Sav. "Gee Sav…do you think Abby’s gonna be working after hours, or what?"

"Aye guys," Pete said. "She is my assistant, okay? Have your fun, but just watch what you say."

"At least someone has some sense around here," Joe said, before turning to his bandmates. "You know…the two of you should check the birthdate on your licenses. The way you’ve been acting, one would think you’re a couple of pathetic school lads."

Phil got a mock look of hurt on his face. "That’s it, Joe…we’re not going steady anymore!"

Sav raised an eyebrow at Joe. "So…cheating on me with Phil behind my back, eh?"

"Screw you two fancy boys! I need some bleedin’ aspirin," Joe turned with a huff in the direction of the main hall bath upstairs.

Before he went into the bath, he heard a beautiful sound coming from down the hall. From….the office.

As he got to the door, he put his ear to it and listened.

"I keep on fallin’, in and out, of love, with you,

I-I-I never, loved no one, the way I love you,

I keep on fallin’, in and out, of love, with you,

I never, loved no one, the way I love you."

 

Joe stood there completely motionless, listening to Abby sing along with one of her CD’s. He knew the song from seeing the video a few times on VH-1. What was the artists name….very pretty young black girl…plays the piano…..?

He continued to stand there listened to her voice. It had a raw, sexy edge to it, but with enough polish and pitch to hit the high notes. He couldn’t believe she got that way singing in the shower.

He then heard her stop singing and get up. Then he heard the CD player turn off. As soon as her footsteps came closer to the door, Joe made a bee-line to the bathroom and shut himself in. He then heard Abby open the office door then close it. Maybe she had to use the bathroom and saw it was occupied?

He rummaged through the medicine cabinet only to find no aspirin. Damn! He opened the door to the bathroom at the same time Abby opened the office door again. Joe looked her way and Abby his – their eyes burning into one anothers as their reaction to the other was clearly evident.

"Oh…Joe, hi," Abby said nervously. "I was just coming out to use the bathroom and I saw the door closed."

"Oh, well, I just came up to look get some aspirin," he stammered.

"Headache too, huh?" she asked.

"Yeah. But, there wasn’t any aspirin in there. I think I’ve got some in my masterbath."

"Oh, well, I’ve got some Excedrin Migrane tablets. They’re great. Would…would you like a couple?"

"Um, sure luv," he said. "If you’re positive they’ll work."

Abby smiled nervously then went back in the office to retrieve her purse. Joe followed her in, his mouth going dry as she bent over to reach into her purse, giving him a delectable view of her bottom.

"How long have you had your headache?" she asked, still going through her purse.

"Well, the one in my ‘head’ I’ve only had for a few minutes," Joe thought. "However, the one in my ‘other head’ I’ve had since you walked through Sav’s door yesterday."

"Joe?"

"Huh?"

Joe’s thoughts gave way to her lovely face, that was now before him with a bottle of aspirin in her hand.

"I said, how long have you had your headache?"

"Oh, only a little while. I can’t wait till all this album stuff is done. As much as I love to tour and perform, the album process is by far the worse."

"I can imagine. Here, these should help."

Joe took the aspirin from her, the pads of their fingers sensually grazing one another. Abby felt as if she touched a lightening rod.

The teasing feel of her fingers traveled straight through Joe’s arm all the way down to his groin.

"Damn!"

"Three bloody months!!!"

"Th..thanks, I’m sure they will," Joe replied, his voice husky with the beginnings of arousal.

At 5’7, the top of Abby’s head just reached Joe’s shoulder. She kept her eyes transfixed on his sweater covered chest, afraid to venture upward to his face. But she did….very slowly. When she did, she saw glittering green eyes filled with something that sent an absolute chill up her spine – and a rush of heat down below.

"Oh God!"

Joe saw the wariness in her face as she looked up at him, wondering if she noticed a change in his countenance due to their touch. His face felt flush, his moist palm cupped the aspirin and his skin tingled. Oh yeah…and he was hard as a rock!

"Christ, I feel like a bleedin’ lad! Over a simple touch. Crikey, what would making love to her do?"

After three months? Probably kill him!

Joe finally shook off the effects of her deep green eyes, heart shaped face and slightly parted lips. It was either that or clear off the desk, throw her across it and shag the tar out of her.

That image alone almost caused him to lose it in his jeans. He had to get out of there. Now.

"Well, I’ll let you get back to work," Joe managed to clumsily say. "Sure looks like Pete has you busy. I guess we kept him here longer than we expected. And, now he had to drag you out here because of it."

"Oh, its not that bad," Abby assured him, her heart slamming in her chest. "The London office was getting a little lonely. The change is nice."

"Its nice around here too," Joe countered almost automatically.

He noticed her cheeks pinken when he said that. The innocence of her look almost made his knees collapse.

"Get out of here, Elliott", his mind screamed.

He turned to walk out before he remembered something.

"Um…you’ll be having dinner with us, right?"

"Oh…oh, well, I guess so," Abby stammered. "Um, yes, that would be nice."

"Good. I’ll um…see you then."

"See you then."

Joe smiled with those last words as he blankly walked towards the door, almost running into it. He put a shaky hand on the knob and opened the door, running smack into the most annoying presence in his life.

"Take a detour on the way to the loo, mate?" Sav asked.

11

"What are you doing here, Sav?" Joe asked hotly.

"Looking for you," Sav replied with a plastered grin. "Thought maybe you fell in the aspirin bottle and got trapped. However, now I see the true reason for your absence."

Sav looked past Joe and locked eyes with Abby who offered him a wave and a smile. Sav brushed right past Joe and went inside.

"Aye luv," Sav greeted with a lingering kiss on the cheek to piss Joe off. "Wow," he said, looking at the mess on the desk, "you’re awfully busy."

"Yeah," Abby replied. "I guess Pete’s been away longer than I thought."

"That’s what I told her, Sav," Joe chimed in, hating to be left out of the conversation. "Said we kept Pete here longer than expected."

"Yes, but if not for that, Abby wouldn’t be here now," Sav said with a wink towards Joe. "Don’t you agree her lovely presence does wonders for the….uh…ugly mood that’s been hovering around here lately, Joe?"

"Oh, someone’s been dipping into the ‘charm jar’," Abby said to Sav.

"Yeah," Joe snipped sarcastically. "He still thinks it’s the 80’s when he was young, pretty and could get away with lame lines like that!"

Abby was starting to understand the friendly, teasing back biting between these two long time friends. It was obvious that Sav was teasing Joe…about her! Oh, God…did Sav think there was something going on between her and Joe that he caught on to, and is now teasing Joe about it?

The thought made her blush profusely. Sav just happened to find Joe in here, getting aspirin from her…..that was all! However, the two of them knew each other too long to recognize certain signs.

She remembered that look in Joe’s eyes when she looked into his face – the look that gave her a chill. The look that she didn’t know what meant. Did Sav see and recognize it as…….

"No! Oh, God no! He’s mistaken. He’s got to be!"

Abby decided to cast her foolish thoughts aside and go with it. "So, do you guys always bite each others heads off like this?"

"Yes!" said Sav.

"No!" Joe countered. "Only when he really deserves it. Which is pretty much always."

Sav ignored him and turned to Abby. "So luv, Paige told me the two of you had a nice time last night."

"Yeah, we did. Although I had a tough time staying awake."

"Ha! I had just the opposite problem last night. Between the sugar rush I had from those glorious donuts, not to mention Scott up half the night with colic, I can’t believe how bright eyed and bushy tailed I am today."

"Oh, I’m gonna get sick!" Joe muttered to himself.

"What was that, mate?"

"Nothing!" Joe spat out before grabbing Sav by the arm. "C’mon. Leave the lass alone to get back to work, something that we’ve got to do too."

"Yeah…but Joe…if she works too fast, she’ll only have to go back to London all the sooner," Sav said with a knowing smile that made Abby want to hide under the desk.

Joe tightened his grip on Sav’s arm.

"Ow!"

"Lets go! Now! One more word, Mr. ‘bright eyes’, and I’ll knock that ‘bushy tail’ of yours down the stairs!"

Joe dragged Sav out of the office before turning to Abby.

"Dinner’s around 6:00, luv. See you then."

"Ooooh, dinner!" she heard Sav’s voice say from down the hall. "Candlelight, perhaps?"

Sav’s remark was followed by a loud ‘ooomph!"

 

*************************

Dinner that evening was a delicious seafood stirfry made with baby shrimp and chunks of red salmon. If it wasn’t for Pete’s familiarity and Phil’s infectous humor, Abby didn’t think she’d make it through. Especially since she was seated directly across from a pair of piercing green eyes.

After dinner, Phil, being the shy boy that he is, took Abby by the hand and dragged her into Joe’s tv room and challenged her to a game on Sony Playstation.

Joe walked in on them, perched on the edge of his couch, wildly operating the controls of the Playstation. Abby and Phil were laughing and nudging shoulders as they taunted each other.

He saw the ease between her and Phil, and even her and Sav earlier. And they both seemed to take to her as easily as well.

"That’s because they’re both taken, that’s why," Joe thought to himself. "That’s why she’s so comfortable around them, and had a funny look around me."

Joe then wondered if her unease was due to an attraction she had for him. It could be very easy for him to be vain and presumptuous to think so, but he didn’t. She also knew that he was recently unattached – a thought that made him wince in remembrance of that heated argument with Bobbi yesterday.

Okay, so he swore off anything serious. He doesn’t have to get into anything serious. He had a beautiful, warm, witty woman under his roof and he was gonna make the most of it. He may be 41, but he wasn’t that old to think of ways to be enjoy a woman’s company and make it look platonic.

However, after being in the office alone with her earlier this afternoon, platonic was the last thing he wanted to be. She was exceptionally lovely and the effect she had on him hit him like a brick. He tried to justify his reaction to her to the fact that he hadn’t been with a woman since Bobbi left. However, something told him there was something more. Something about her stood out different from any other woman he had known, whether they were serious relationships or groupies that passed in the night.

He could never lump Abby in either category. What was it about her that made him feel some strange connection? He, Joe Elliott had never been unsure about women in his life. But, the presence of this one baffled him. And, somehow, he felt that the reason for her presence here had something more to do than just working for Pete.

Abby and Phil kept playing for the next 2 hours before Abby decided to call it a night and head off to her room. She bid Phil goodnight to where he awarded her with a kiss on the cheek, updated Pete as to where she stood with work before he headed back into the Garage for some late night work and thanked Nuala for a glorious dinner.

She then turned to see Joe standing by the archway leading to the stairs.

"I forgot to ask. How’s your headache?" she casually asked.

"Oh, much better," Joe replied, his ears tingling from husky tone in her voice. "How’s yours?"

"Well, my eyes are a little buggy from staring at the tv screen with Phil for two hours. But, nothing a good nights rest won’t fix."

"Well, have a pleasant sleep."

"Thank you, I’m sure I will. I laid down for a few minutes to rest my eyes before dinner. The bed is very comfortable."

Abby felt a blush creep up her entire body as soon as she said that. She then saw a mischievous look in Joe’s eyes.

"I wonder what he’s thinking?" she thought.

"If you think that bed’s comfortable, lass, wait till you lay in mine!" Joe was thinking.

"Um, Joe..I usually like to run early in the morning. I don’t know if you have any kind of an alarm on the house, but would it be a problem if I were to get up and go out before anyone else was up?"

"Not at all. Nuala gets here around 7:00 am so you can leave when she gets here, if that’s not too late.

"Oh no…that’s perfect. Thank you Joe."

"You’re welcome, luv. And goodnight."

Abby gave him a polite smile, to which she was awarded with a brilliant, dimpled on. Oh God, she hoped her legs would make it up the stairs!

"Goodnight, Joe."

Joe watched lucious backside walk away until she was out of sight. He then sighed, then walked back into the kitchen. And right into Phil’s smug face.

"Collen, when you go to bed tonight, you better pray to God that I don’t kill you and that bound-for-hell bass player tomorrow!" Joe warned.

"You know mate, these threats of yours are getting really tired. Don’t yell at me because you blew your chance to spend some time after dinner with Abby?"

"Yeah, well it was kinda hard to do since you hogged her for two hours playing Final Fantasy 10!"

"Aye, you coulda cut in at any time, mate," Phil defended. "You play better than I do. You just sat across from us in your chair sulking."

"I do not sulk! She just looked like she was having such a good time that I didn’t want to disrupt her, that’s all."

"That’s not it at all, mate," Phil said. "You probably would’ve been simpering too much sitting next to her to even play the game right."

"I do not simper!"

"Alright, fine. Then you would’ve had trouble keeping your hands on the controls and off her!"

Joe was about to chew Phil out for that ludicrous remark before he realized the truth behind it. The look on his face when he realized Phil was probably right was priceless and Phil wasted no time in noticing it.

"Am I right?"

"Crikey, mate," Joe said in frustration as he ran his hand through his blonde hair. "There’s something about her Phil. Some kind of vibe that I get that I can’t place."

"Um, just where on your body do you get this vibe?" Phil mused.

"Stuff it! That’s not what I mean. I mean, I feel her presence is here for a reason. And not that it was coincidental that she showed up the same day I broke up with…….Bobbi."

"Ah, so you’ve graduated to actually saying her name, I see?"

Joe shook his head, his anger over the past two days beginning to cool. "I know…I gotta get over this. What Bobbi did was….""I know Joe," Phil agreed. "I know.""Do you, Phil? Do you possibly understand what it was like? This was a worse slap in the face than anything Karla did. I already feel like half a man because I can’t father children, now she goes and does this which just grinds the truth in deeper. Maybe I just……I don’t know, maybe I’m just jealous of her.""Of her? Why?""Because she can have children. It hurts, knowing she was able and I wasn’t. I guess all these years that I thought it didn’t matter to her, it actually did. You don’t know how fortunate you are, Phil, to have a twelve year old son that you can play soccer with. And Sav has to look forward to teaching Tyler and Scott the same thing. And Rick and Viv and three beautiful daughters between them. That’s what I want, someone I can pass something of myself down to, whether that someone is of my body or not."Phil’s insides tightened at Joe’s words. In all their years together, Joe never poured out his heartache about his infertility. It was something that he kept to himself. But when he and Bobbi began to seriously talk about adoption, only for her to take off to the States for three months and winds up getting artificially inseminated, it opened the dam for Joe."Joe…mate, I….wow, I just never heard you pour all this out. You’re right – I am blessed to have Rory. I guess you don’t truly appreciate the benefits of being a parent. But Joe…I know its too soon to say this, or that its easy for someone in my shoes to say it, but don’t give up, mate. I may not totally understand your hurt, but I can imagine. We made it through all kinds of obstacles when it came to the band, now its time to make it through our personal dilemmas. If you let what Bobbi did destroy your desire from finding someone who shares what you what, then you’ll be alone forever, Joe. If you think you’re unhappy now, just think of how miserable you’ll be then."Joe knew that everything Phil said was true. But how? When? And..most importantly….who? Being a famous musician, it was really hard to meet someone who didn’t know him or, once they found out who he really was, he felt that they were with him only because of that. That was one of the hardest parts about being famous. Finding a woman you can trust. Someone who didn’t want to be with him for his fame or money. And…someone who wouldn’t mind that he couldn’t give them children.Joe turned to a concerned Phil. "Mate, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to blurt all that out. All this crap with Bobbi is still fresh. I’ll get over it. I know I will. As much as you and Sav are a major pain in the arse, I don’t know what I’d do without the two of you here now. You guys, all of you, we’re always here. We never gave up on one another. We’ve been through death and birth. Marriage and divorce. Car accidents and illnesses. We’re a walking soap opera for Pete’s sake! I…I know I’ll get through this. Maybe I should just leave it up to God and have him drop the right woman in my lap."With that, Joe turned to head up to bed. "G’night mate.""G’night, Joe," Phil replied.As Phil watched Joe walk upstairs, he smirked and shook his head, silently thinking to himself.."I think God just dropped her on your doorstep yesterday, Elliott!" 12The next morning, Abby woke up about 6:30am. She washed her face, brushed her teeth and pulled her long, thick hair up in a high ponytail. She then put on a white sports bra under a fitted, lycra white tank. She then pulled on her black lycra pants with a double white stripe going down either leg and a matching hooded, zippered top. After tying her running shoes, she grabbed her Sony Discman and Pink’s latest CD and headed downstair just as Nuala was entering the house and turning off the alarm."Nuala…good morning. Joe told me you usually get here around 7. I waited for you to get here to turn the alarm off so I can go for my run.""Ahh, so that’s how you keep such a lovely figure," Nuala said with praise which made Abby blush. "I once had a figure such as yours once. Loooooong time ago. Well, I hope you run long because I’ll have some buttermilk pecan pancakes waiting for you when you get back."Abby groaned just thinking of how good they’ll taste. "Great! Now I’ll have to do fve miles instead of three!""Oh, don’t worry, lass," Nuala assured her. "I’m sure it’ll take a lot more than me famous pancakes to put any fat on that body of yours.""Well, thank you," Abby said humbly. "Anyway, if Pete should awake and come down before I get back, please tell him where I am.""I will lass, but I wouldn’t count on the men being up until you get back.""Okay. Well, I’ll be back in about an hour or so.""Enjoy, lass," Nuala called out as Abby bounded out of the house. *******************************Upstairs, Joe stretched his long, naked form awake in his luxurious king sized bed. He glanced at the clock and saw that it was a little after 7. He assumed that Nuala was already here and probably let Abby out.He eagerly jumped out of bed and threw on a black robe. He walked over to a pair of beautiful French double doors that led to a private balcony that overlooked the rear view of the house. Down a ways, was a little path that he forgot to tell Abby about last night. Joe knew that it was a very scenic route, not to mention safe. Just as he thought it, he saw Abby running in the direction of it. The sudden sight of her took him aback. Her long, sleek legs encased in fitted black pants took graceful strides in the direction of the path. He continued to watch her until she disappeared out of sight.Joe decided that he wanted to be showered, dressed and ready by the time she got back. He headed into his Italian white tiled master bath and twisted the polished brass knob inside his spacious, enclosed shower stall. He shed his robe, brushed his teeth then stepped under the soothing hot water.As he let the massaging blast of water saturate his hair and slither down his long, sinewy body, he thought of Abby. He thought of that mass of silky, dark, honey streaked hair, penetrating deep green eyes, chistled cheekbones and full, lucious lips. Then he thought of what was below the neck.He could see the perfect, high curve of her breasts, teasingly outlined through her fitted top. As he let his mind wander down the rest of her body, his hand began to absentmindedly wander down his.As he pictured her taut, curved waist which gave way to her sexy backside, he slowly began to stroke himself. The heat of the water combined with his rhythemic strokes and erotic thoughts soon had Joe rock hard and screaming for release.As he pictured Abby naked, bent over, her hands against the wall, he imagined running his hands all over her soft, curvy body before entering her from behind. As he imagined pounding into her while filling his hands with her lucious behind, he furiously stroked himself faster. He was nearly over the edge."Yes Abby! That’s it, luv. Take me. Take all of me. Christ, you look so damn sexy in this positon. You’ve got an incredible ass. I love doing you like this. Dammit, it feels so good!"Joe’s hand continued to work his massive, engorged erection as his other hand came up and pulled on his hair, pretending it was Abby pulling it in the throes of her climax."Yes, luv. Show me how hot you are for me. Show me how much you want it, lass. Harder, luv…pull harder. Turn my pain into your pleasure…"

The excruciating pressure building up in his groin was too much too take. He leaned up against the tiled wall as his hand continued to work his long, hard shaft as his hips thrust back and forth, pretending that he was slamming into Abby’s tight wetness.

"Yes! Oh, God yes! Abby that’s it. That’s it. Oh, God you’re gonna make me come, luv. J-E-S-U-S ……. A-B-B-Y!!!!!

Joe threw his head back against the tile as hot fluid shot out violently from throbbing manhood. When the spasms subsided, Joe still stood with his back plastered against the shower wall as the warm water washed away the residue of his orgasm, his knees on the verge of giving out. Only when he recovered did the realization of what he just did sink in.

"Bloody hell! I can’t believe I did that!" he muttered.

He rinsed his hand then, on unsteady legs, continued with the rest of his shower. So many nights after Bobbi left had he passed on the frustrating urge to pleasure himself. Instead, he just gritted his teeth and channeled his thoughts elsewhere until the lust subsided.

But it always returned. And now, with Abby around, it only fueled his thoughts to the brink.

He couldn’t deny it anymore. He wanted her and he wanted her bad. But, he didn’t want to go after her in the usual Joe Elliott way. He wanted to seduce her unknowingly….through a means that doesn’t make it look like he’s trying to seduce her.

Today, he’d look for a way.

13

Abby returned from her run to find the entire household up and sitting around the kitchen table eating Nuala’s infamous pancakes. Phil included.

"Wow, Phil," Abby exclaimed. "You’re eating pancakes?"

Phil swallowed guiltily. "I can’t help it," he said with a grin. "These things are to me what those blasted Krispy Kreme’s are to Sav. I may have to join you in your run tomorrow morning, luv."

"Pushy, aren’t we?" Joe replied. "Maybe the lass doesn’t like company when she runs. Which is the reason why she runs with a Discman."

"Well, if I had some company, I wouldn’t have to now, would I," Abby said. "Feel free to join me, Phil. However, if you keep late nights, it might be hard since I like to get up and out early."

"Hmmm, don’t like the sound of that," Phil said in retrospect. "Maybe I’ll just stick to the treadmill in Joe’s gym."

Abby took a seat as Nuala handed her a plate with two huge pancakes on it. She thanked Nuala before turning to Joe. "Oh, you have a gym here too, Joe?"

Joe smiled. "Yep. Everything state of the art. Feel free to make use of it while you’re here."

"Thanks, I may just do that. Do you, um..workout often?"

"Not as often as Mr. Bowflex over here, but I try to maintain my boyish figure."

Phil teasingly ran a hand over Joe’s shoulders. "Mmmm, I know mate…and it shows!"

Joe knocked Phil’s hand away. "Stop it, you fairy boy. Christ, you have been away from Anita too long."

Abby laughed at their friendly joking, Phil’s presence making it easy for her to loosen up, even with Joe sitting there looking so damn gorgeous and smelling like Irish Spring soap.

"Well, Phil’s right, Joe….it does show."

Phil took a forkful of pancakes to keep from commenting as he eyed Joe, who’s entire body flushed profusely.

"Um….I can say the same for you, Abby," Joe’s mouth spoke before his brain realized what he just said.

In the backround, Nuala flipped more pancakes, enjoying the innocent, flirting banter between his employer and this interesting young woman who seemed much more likable and personable than Bobbi. Pete drank his coffee, trying his best to keep his mouth shut.

"Uh….thanks. I…um….try. Well, I better get upstairs and get ready. Pete, anything I should know before I get started?"

"I just left some notes on the desk before I came down. Pretty straightforward."

Abby nodded and finished her pancakes. When she was done, she put her fork down, got up and brought her plate over to the sink. She was immediately intercepted by Nuala.

"Lass, no need for that. That’s what I’m here for."

"Oh, well, its habit, you know. My mom always taught me to clean up after myself. I’m not used to getting waited on like this, except by her when I go to visit."

"Well, this is my job and I don’t want to keep you from yours," Nuala responded as she took the plate from Abby."

"Thank you. Well, Pete….I’m off. Let me know if you need anything."

"I’ll stop up later to see how you’re doing. Hopefully we can get all this work completed and squared away by the end of the week."

Joe’s shoulders slumped as soon as Pete said those words. He didn’t want Abby to go yet. Not yet. He had to think of a way to keep her here. But what?

Abby inwardly groaned as well. She didn’t want to leave either. She senses something happening between her and Joe, what she didn’t know. However, she had some nagging feeling that she’d be finding out soon.

14

Abby ventured right into the office first to see what Pete left for her. She sat down for about a half hour and went over his notes and organized her day. Among her pile was her journal that she had written in the day before during her break. She went back to the poem she wrote in bed the night she came back from dinner with Paige. She had an urge to add to it, why she didn’t know, but her mind came up blank. Maybe something will come to her later.

She closed the journal then headed back into her room.

She stripped off her sweaty clothes and went into the bath that adjoined her room. She was appreciative that Joe gave her a room that had its own bath for privacy sake. She thought it would be awkward dashing to and from the hall bath.

She turned on the shower and found no water pressure. She turned the nozzle as high as it would go, but it still only came out in a light stream. Hmmm, something must be clogging it.

She quickly threw some clothes on and brought her shower stuff out to use the one in the hall bath. She ran smack into Nuala in the midst of cleaning it.

"Oh, Nuala…forgive me. But the shower nozzle in my shower must be clogged. There’s no water pressure. I came out to use this one, but since you’re cleaning it, I guess I’m outta luck."

"No worry, lass," Nuala said as she gathered up her cleaning supplies. I already did two before I got breakfast ready. This is the last one. Go ahead and I’ll finish up when you’re done."

"But…but you’re almost done. I’d hate to have to have you re-clean the bathroom because of me."

Nuala smiled at this charming young woman. She couldn’t get over how thoughtful and considerate she was. So unlike…..well, it didn’t matter."

"Lass, its perfectly okay. That’s my job."

"Aye, what’s going on, ladies?" Phil asked as he came upstairs.

"Oh, Phil….I think the shower nozzle in my bath is clogged. There’s no water pressure. I came out here to use the hall bath but Nuala is almost done cleaning it and I feel bad messing it up again."

"Well, why don’t you just use Joe’s masterbath? If I’m not mistaken, I believe Nuala saves that for last, being the bleedin’ slob that he is, right luv?" Phil directed a wink to Nuala.

"Yeah, I’m afraid you’re right," Nuala said with a jolly chuckle.

"Oh…no, I couldn’t use Joe’s private bath," Abby said.

"Why not?" Phil asked. "Its just a bathroom, only it’s a lot bigger. He won’t mind, considering the circumstances. I just came up here to get eyedrops out of my bag. When I get back to the garage, I’ll just let him know. Problem solved, okay?"

Abby looked a little wary, but she didn’t have any choice. It was either no shower, or dirty one of the bath’s that Nuala already worked so hard cleaning.

"Well, I guess you’re right. It is only a bath. Don’t forget to tell him, Phil. I don’t want him to think that I just wandered in and took liberty of using his private bath without asking."

"Don’t worry, luv…I won’t."

With that, Phil disappeared into his room, Nuala continued cleaned and Abby headed off for Joe’s masterbedroom.

Abby walked in the sprawling masterbedroom suite and her breath caught in her throat. It was absolutely glorious.

In the center of the room was a massive king-sized, wrought iron poster bed, that was still unmade. She cautiously walked over to it and ran her hand over the white satin sheets, a tingle going up her arm as she did so. The bedspread was a black, white and gold design. Very, very masculine.

The furniture was a dark, knotted pine with wrought iron rings for handles. The two huge picture windows that adored two walls were covered in white pleated shades with black and white organza framing the window borders. The colors were masculine, yet the material lent a feminine almost sensual feel to the room.

In the corner was a black marble stand with a roaring ceramic leopard sitting upon it. The long mirrored dresser had furnishings upon it that were clearly female – a few perfume bottles and a small, silver jewelry box. Bobbi’s.


Feeling a twang of jealousy, she headed back to the bed and boldly sat upon it. She brought the pillow up to her face and breathed in the warm, male scent. Joe’s scent.

A mixture of heat and lust surged through her body at the same time. Her heart began to pound as her breathing became rapid. She couldn’t believe how the scent of him upon his pillow could have such an effect on her.

She immediately put the pillow down and headed into the shower. The last thing she wanted to do was have Nuala walk in on her while she was getting intimate with Joe’s pillow!

She turned the brass nob to start the water running. While it was heating, she stripped off her clothes and stepped into the stall. It was big enough for at least 4 people. No doubt he and Bobbi had taken showers together.

She reached for her white musk shower gel and white mesh puff and began to slather away the remnants of her early morning run.

*************************************

"Phil! Phil! What in bleedin’ hell is keeping you?" Joe shouted through the intercom from the Garage into Phil’s room.

But, there was no answer.

"Crikey," Joe cursed under his breath. "He goes for bleedin’ eyedrops and he gets lost. Probably bothering Nuala again with his incessant chatting."

"Well, I’ve got to work out this part here a bit, Joe," Pete says. "I don’t need him yet."

"Yeah, well, I do. I’ll be back."

Joe left the Garage and headed up the stairs to find Phil. When he got to the top of the stairs, he heard the sound of Nuala vacuuming one of the bedrooms. He headed down the hall to Phil’s room before his ears perked at the sound of water coming from his masterbath.

"Oh, what in bleedin’ hell is he doing in my bath!" Joe spat as he ventured into his masterbedroom.

15

Joe stormed into his bedroom and heard his shower running. Nuala was vacuuming so it wasn’t her cleaning. He walked into his bath and stopped dead in his tracks.

Through the textured plexi-glass of the shower stall, Abby’s long, taut, voluptuous body was clearly outlined. Joe just stood there, the breath leaving his lungs, as he gripped the white marble countertop. He wondered why she was in here, but, at the moment, he didn’t care.

He watched her secretly as she continued to run a small, white object over her. As she lifted each arm to wash it, he could make out the size and shape of her full, lovely breasts as the jutted forward with her motion. She then bent over to do each of her long longs. As she did, the lucious curve of her bottom thrust out.

Joe’s mouth was dry, his heart was slamming in his chest and his manhood was raging hard. Oh, to open those doors and get in there with her! He then watched her turn under the nozzle to rinse herself off. When her back was to him, he made out the long, sensuous line of her back that gave way to gently rounded hips – hips that he pictured grabbing and rocking back and forth as she straddled and rode him hard and deep.

Just as he pictured that, his erection throbbed to the point of pain and he felt a few drops of moisture escape him.

"Bleedin’ hell!" he thought to himself. "If I don’t get out of here I’m gonna come in my pants like a uncontrollable lad!"

It was bad enough that he pleasured himself while he thought of her in the shower this morning. However, it was worse to lose himself in his jeans while he stared at her throught the shower door.

Suddenly, the shower was turned off. Joe gulped. "Christ!"

He turned and scurried out of his bedroom and right smack into Phil.

"Aye, what are you doing up here?"

"Uh…I…uh….came looking for you. Why didn’t you answer the intercom?"

I was in the other hall bath running cold water in my eyes. They’re flippin’ bloodshot. The eyedrops in my bag must’ve been old. It felt like my eyes were on fire. I……Joe…why are you all red?"

"Huh?"

Just then, the lovely sound of singing came from the direction of Joe’s shower. Phil looked towards the singing, then to Joe and knew that he found the source of Joe’s blush.

"Mate….were you staring at her in the shower?"

"Phil! Crikey, mate. Whats wrong with you?"

"That didn’t answer my question, mate. Well……?"

"I…I…well, when you didn’t answer the intercom, I came looking for you. When I heard the shower, I became curious and I walked in and I……"

"…..stood there getting your fill?" Phil finished for him.

"Bloody hell, yeah so what. I did. Why was she in my shower anyway?"

"Um, well, I was supposed to tell you why when I got back. Um, the nozzle in her shower was clogged and Nuala was almost done cleaning the other bathrooms. Being the kind, considerate lass that she is, she didn’t want to mess up the baths after Nuala cleaned them. So…..I suggested she use yours since Nuala usually cleans it last. I was supposed to tell you but…well, I guess you found out for yourself."

Joe knew there was some logical reason. However, he couldn’t hide the signs of what he saw. It was written all over his face and growing behind his fly. He was grateful he had a long shirt on, else he’d never hear the end of it.

Phil and Joe were too busy talking to realize that the sound of Abby’s singing got louder. Suddenly, Joe’s bedroom door opened behind him to see Abby standing there, wearing just a pair of cotton pajama bottoms and a small, white tank. Her long hair was wet and hanging down her back, her skin was dewy, fresh and scented with white musk. The scent filled Joe’s nostrils and went straight to his groin. The sight of the two men startled Abby.

"Oh God! I’m…I’m sorry. Joe, I..I hope Phil told you about me using your shower. I think there something wrong with the water pressure in mine."

"Um, yeah Phil told me," Joe said. "Not a problem, luv..I’ll uh…contact the plumber today to see if he can take a look at it."

"Well, I think Pete’s about ready for me. I’ll meet you downstairs, mate," Phil said as he left Joe and Abby alone.

Joe meekly glanced at Abby’s face which was warm and pink from her shower. He couldn’t prevent his eyes from glancing down to her hard nipples which were straining against the thin, white tank. He willed his eyes away just as Abby looked down. She inwardly gasped at her provacative state and held her towel up to her chest to conceal it.

"Um…I guess you’re right," Joe struggled for something to say. "You really are a shower singer."

"Oh..yeah, well, like I said, it’s the only place I practice."

"Have you ever considered voice lessons? Not that you really need much help, but with a little more polish I think you’d have a powerful voice there."

"Well, actually I did consider it back in highschool. But I decided to play sports after school instead."

"Oh," Joe said intrigued. "What did you play?"

"Well, I was a cheerleader in the fall and winter and I played soccer in the spring."

"Soccer? Really?" Joe asked excitedly. "That is the game of choice, here. All of us are rabid soccer fans."

"Well, we don’t get too much soccer games broadcast in the States. American football is more popular. Soccer is really big in the grammar and high schools."

"Ah, I see. Hmmm, still got some old soccer moves?"

"Oh, I don’t know about that," Abby said, blushingly. "That was a long time ago, Joe. I’m 35, not 16."

"Well, I’m 42 and I don’t feel it one bit. And you could put a 25 year old to shame."

"Th..thank you," Abby said all flustered. "You um…you don’t look your age at all. You’re in …uh…great shape and you…uh…look great."

Joe had literally thousands of women swooning over him in his heyday with the band. However, the compliment from Abby humbled him to his very toes.

"Well, thanks," Joe said, looking down at the ground in embarrassment. "I guess the older we get, the harder we have to work at it."

"That’s what I’m told," Abby said.

"Well, you certainly don’t have to work too hard," Joe said, feeling like a flamin’ idiot for sounding so stupid.

"Thanks Joe. I, um….think I better get back to my room and get dressed. I have a lot of work to do."

"Oh, sure…sorry, I didn’t mean to keep you."

"Oh..no, you didn’t keep me. I um..enjoyed talking to you."

"Me too. Um, listen…after dinner tonight…would you um...care for a game of soccer on the Playstation? I’ve got this wicked cool soccer game that you may like."

Abby offered him a huge smile. "Yes, I’d like that. Especially after Phil whooped me in Final Fantasy 10 last night. I’m still licking my wounds from that. At least I know my soccer."

"Well, that makes two of us. It’s a um…date then?"

"Yep. You’re on. We’ll see which one of us comes out on top," Abby said as she walked away.

As she did, Joe watched her delicious bottom sway back and forth as her final words sunk into his brain.

"Oh lass…if I had it my way, we’d take turns being on top!"

Just as he adjusted the bulge in his jeans he headed downstairs just as he heard Sav’s voice.

"Yoo-hoo! I’m here!"

"Oh goody!" Joe murmured.

16

Joe walked into the kitchen to find Sav holding a baby seat with little Scott nestled inside.

"Aye mate," Sav said. "Hope you don’t mind an extra bloke hanging around today. "Paige has a touch of the stomach flu so I got the baby out of the house just in case. The nanny’s taking care of Tyler."

"No problem, Sav, considering all the little guy does is sleep."

"Uh, if you were in my house at 3:00am, you’d have found out that he does more tha sleep," Sav said annoyingly. "This kid’s got a bigger set of lungs than you, Joe. Crying and colicy again. Now he sleeps peacefully."

"Well, bring’em on back, Phil and Pete are in there."

"And….where’s Miss Abby?"

"Upstairs working," Joe said in a huff.

"Where you just came from?"

"Sav, you’re amazing, you know that?"

"So women have told me over the years!" he replied haughtily.

"Sod off! I mean, you’re not here even two minutes and you’re jumping to conclusions."

"I’m not jumping to anything, mate," Sav said defensively. "Its written all over your face. Joe, I know you like her. Don’t fight it. She’s a nice lass."

"Yeah, who’ll be going back to London at the end of the week. Whom I’ll probably not see till the next album, if I don’t die by then."

"Joe…shut up! Will you. You don’t know whats gonna happen between now and then. Just take it one day at a time, don’t force too much of that swooning Elliott charm on her, and just let things happen naturally."

"You’re giving me advice on women?" Joe asked Sav incredulously.

"Who better!" Sav replied with a grin. "After what we’ve done together….well…nevermind. You know what I mean. All I’m saying Joe, is don’t try too hard with Abby. She’s not one who has to be impressed. She’s a very surprising woman."

"You’re telling me," Joe agreed. "There is something about her, Sav. Some special quality that I just can’t put my finger on. But I’m gonna find out. I already challenged her to a soccer match on the Playstation. Come to find out, she played it in high school."

"See?" Sav said as he slapped Joe in the arm. "You already have something in common. Now if you just find out what her favorite color is and what her zodiac sign is you’ll be ready to walk down the alter."

Joe gave Sav a sarcastic look before bending down to little sleeping Scott.

"Of all the blokes in the world, you had to pick him for a father!"

Little Scott answered Joe by smiling in his sleep.

*****************************************

Around lunchtime, Nuala came upstairs to get Abby to come down to get something to eat. When she did, she practically squealed over the sight of little Scott.

"Oh, Rick, you brought him here," Abby said as she peered into the huge blue eyes looking up at her from the baby seat.

"Yeah, Paige isn’t well so she’s resting while Tyler’s with the nanny. He’s with me for a while."

"Can I?" Abby asked.

"Sure!"

Abby smiled wide as she picked up little Scott and nestled him against her shoulder. She put one hand under his little diaper padded bum while the other rubbed his back. She was awarded with tiny sounds that sounded like the coo of a dove.

She continued to walk around the kitchen with Scott, whispering little nothings into his ear. All the while, Joe stole glances at her, thinking that she was even more beautiful with a child in her arms. A child. Certainly she’d want to have children of her own…just like Bobbi.

Sav watched Abby too, looking for signs of emotion. He still felt bad about what he said to her about having children, even though he had no idea she couldn’t. However, she looked anything but depressed right now. She looked right proper with a baby in her arms. If only..…….

As Sav thought that, he looked at Joe and watched him stare at Abby with a light in his eyes. A wide grin spread on Sav’s face. If only……..

Abby put Scott back in his baby seat then had some lunch. She then bid the men goodbye, kissed little Scott on his head and went back upstairs to work. She closed the door, sat down, put her head on the desk and cried. She then opened her journal to her last entry from two nights ago, unable to finish what she wanted to start. Somehow, the poem didn’t seem like it was finished in someway. But she couldn’t finish it. As easily as the first half of the poem came to her, she couldn’t find the words to say more. She didn’t know why.

She flipped the book over and continued with her work.

**************************************

Later that night, after dinner, she and Joe went head to head in the best of three games of soccer. Being the rabid fan he claimed to be, Joe won out.

Worn out from an exhaustive day, Abby called it a night a little after nine. She bid Phil and Pete goodnight before Joe walked her to the bottom of the stairs.

"Sorry about beating you, luv," Joe said apologetically.

"Oh, I’m not a poor sport, Joe. I did manage to beat you in one game, though."

"Yeah, and a thorough beating it was. Um…listen, if you want to run tomorrow, Nuala will be here again at 7, okay?"

"That’s okay, I think I’ll sleep in tomorrow. I run every other day."

Joe noticed a sadness in her face ever since she came down for dinner. He couldn’t attribute to where it came from. She was fine when she came down for lunch, held the baby and went back up. Maybe something happened between then and now.

"Are you alright, Abby? If you don’t mind me saying so, you look a little meloncholy."

"Oh..oh, no…just a little fatigued. Nothing a good nights rest won’t take care of."

"Okay, well…have a pleasant sleep."

"Thanks Joe…you too."

Joe wanted to bad to lean in and kiss that frown off her face. Instead, he controlled himself and offered her a wink and a set of dimples instead.

As he watched her lovely bottom sway up the steps, he felt elation over the little victory he had tonight.

Tomorrow, he planned on inching his way a little further towards the prize.

17

The next morning, Pete, Phil and Joe were sitting at the kitchen table finishing off a wonderful garden omlette that Nuala prepared.

"Nuala luv," Phil exclaimed in ecstasy. "Don’t tell my wife, but I believe I may leave her for you!"

"Oh, Philip…stop that nonsense. You just want me for me cookin’."

"Well, I don’t know about that, luv," Phil answered with a wicked wiggle of his brows.

Joe rolled his eyes. "Well, at least you’re flirting with women. I was getting worried at the way you were eyeing Sav yesterday. I know he’s still pretty in his old age, but…."

"Stuff it, Elliott," Phil lashed back. "You know I think you’re just as sexy as Sav!"

"I’m outta here," Joe said as he stood up and headed for the Garage. "Stay away from me today, Collen. You’re beginning to worry me. I think its that swinging California living."

"I’m right behind you, Joe," Pete said. "I…oh, damn. Hold on. I left my micro-cassette recorder upstairs in the office. Abby was doing some transcription for me."

"That’s okay, Pete. I’ll get it," Joe offered.

"Thanks," Pete said as he headed into the Garage with Phil following close behind.

***************************

When Joe got upstairs he put an ear to Abby’s room and heard the shower coming from it. She was still getting ready. He then walked into the office and looked around on the desk for Pete’s recorder. As he pushed things aside, a book fell on the floor.

He bent down to pick it up. As he did, he noticed the hard cover, floral print design. Very feminine. Abby’s.

He grabbed one end of it and flipped it over. The pages immediately flipped open to an entry. Joe didn’t want to invade her privacy, but the words practically jumped off the page.

 

There lies deep,inside of me……a long forgotten memory, of how love’s supposed to be,

Then I see you, and I realize…..that all I’ll ever need is right before my very eyes,

Baby, can we make this happen?

Can this all be true?

Somehow my questions are all answered,

When I’m looking right at you.

Darling can’t you see, this is what love should be…two beating hearts brought together, for eternity,

Cuz when I look at you, there’s nothing I can’t do…just as long as you’ll promise me forever ….forever with you.

 

Joe read the words over and over again. He flipped back to see that they were poems, however, this one was written….almost in song format.

He read it once more, this time a second verse automatically came to mind. Why he was thinking of one, he didn’t know. Then he realized why.

"J..Joe?"

Joe nearly dropped the book when he turned to see Abby standing in the doorway looking at him read her poetry journal.

Joe looked from her face, to the book and then back. He was ridden with guilt.

"Abby….luv, please, its not what it looks like. I didn’t mean to….I mean, I came up here because Pete needed his recorder. I knocked this over while I was looking for it, it fell open to this page and…..I…I didn’t mean to invade your privacy. Please, believe me Abby."

"I..I believe you, Joe. That’s…that’s my poetry journal."

"Abby, if you don’t mind me saying so, but…this one here….the one you entitled ‘Forever With You’. Luv, that is absolutely amazing. And, whats even more amazing is that you wrote it in song format. You see, this is the verse, then you wrote this part as the bridge, and this is the chorus. Did…did you ever take music lessons?"

"No, none at all."

"Abby, this…you know, if you cleaned up the lyrics a bit, added a second verse and another bridge….this could be a beautiful ballad."

"Joe, c’mon!" Abby said ludicrously. "I’m not a songwriter."

"Neither was I until I joined a band. Luv…I’d like to ask your permission to use this."

"Use it? For what?"

"Well, our manager put an idea past us to do a ballad, Sort of a prep song for the fans to get them anticipating the new album. However, it was put to us for me to sing it as a duet with a female singer. Phil and I were gonna try and whip something together, you know, something you can churn out and record fast before the album gets released. But this….Abby, would you consider it?"

"Joe, are you serious? You want to record my pathetic little poem as a song?"

"Abby, its not pathetic. I think it had the beginnings of a lot of promise. In fact, I bet if I went through this journal I’d find a lot of talent here. Hidden, just like your vocal talent."

"Joe, I never meant to write it as a song," Abby assured him. "I began to write poetry about….well, it doesn’t matter. I began to write it as therapy for something I went through."

Joe saw the same sadness in her eyes that he saw last night before she went up to bed. He tried to make the connection as to what it could be about.

"Well, whatever the reason, Abby…you have a talent. Trust me, I know. Please, luv…I can’t do it without your permission, but I would hope you’d consider it."

"You’re serious, aren’t you?" she asked.

"Very. Please, at least let Phil and I take a look at it and see what we can do with it music-wise."

Abby was incredulous. She couldn’t believe that one of the most famous rock bands wanted to use her dinky little poem and record it as a rock ballad. This kind of stuff only happens in fantasies.

"Well, if you think it has potential, then be my guest. Um, here," Abby said as she took the book from him, "let me copy the page for you so you don’t have to take the whole book. I don’t know if I’m ready to have my poetry journal critiqued."

She brought the book over to the little tabletop copier and copied it. She then handed the sheet to Joe.

"Thank you, luv. I think I’ll wait for Sav to come over so we can all work on it. He’ s good with ballads. He wrote one all by himself on the last album. Turned out to be very popular."

"I know, it was beautiful. Well, I don’t know what do tell you, Joe. Um, let me know if it amounts to anything."

"I promise."

Abby looked down on the desk and saw Pete’s recorder. "Oh, here, this is what you came looking for."

"Oh, yeah," Joe said as he took it from her hand. "Thank you Abby. I think we may have something here."

Joe gave her a wink and left the room. She still couldn’t get over it. Her little poetry journal, that she started to help her get over the pain of not being able to have children, was possibly filled with potential rock ballads? Just the thought of Joe’s voice singing those words gave her chills. That beautiful golden voice belting out the power of a perfect love.

What more could a girl want?

18

Sav joined Joe, Phil and Pete around 1:00 in the afternoon. As soon as they got album business out of the way, Joe brought up the subject of the duet.

"Mate, just three days ago you were dreading it," Phil said. "Whats with the sudden enthusiasm?"

"Well, I think I got the basics of a song. Let me know what you think."

Joe passed the sheet of paper with Abby’s poem on it to Phil. Phil read it with wide eys before passing it to Sav who was equally impressed.

"Joe," Sav exclaimed, with batting blue eyes. "You romantic you. I had no idea. I guess Bobbi’s little stunt didn’t affect you too much."

"I didn’t write it, smart ass," Joe chided.

"If you didn’t and Phil didn’t….who did?" Sav asked.

"Believe it or not, that’s one of Abby’s poems."

Phil and Sav exchanged bug-eyed glances.

"Abby? Abby wrote this? As a poem? Wow," Sav said.

"Um, and just how did you get your grubby little hands on this, Joe?" Phil asked suspiciously.

"Well, when I was upstairs looking for Pete’s recorder, I came across her poetry journal by accident. I didn’t mean to read it, but it was flipped open to this page. She walked in from her room and caught me reading it. I told her about the duet/ballad and praised her for this and said it had potential. I asked if we could look at it, polish it up a bit and maybe use it."

"And she said yes?" Phil asked.

"I have it, don’t I?" Joe said. "I didn’t just take it. I asked permission. She couldn’t believe I wanted to use one of her poems as a song. She says she uses her journal to help her get over something. What I have no idea, but, judging from these words, its probably a broken heart."

"More or less," Sav added.

"What do you mean by that?" Joe asked.

"Nothing."

"Sav…tell me!" Joe stated.

"Yeah, me too," Phil insisted.

"Mates, its really personal," Sav said.

"Well, it can’t be that personal if you know about it," Joe said.

"Well, I found out by accident because I said something to her that may have upset her, only I didn’t know why. Paige had to tell me why."


"WHY?" came two frustrated male voices.

"If this gets back to her…or Paige..in any way, shape of form.."

"Yeah, yeah…our lips are zipped. Why, dammit," Joe huffed.

"Well," Sav said looking directly at Joe. "She underwent a hysterectomy about two years ago. She can’t have children."

Joe’s heart got caught in his throat before it swelled with understanding.

"Oh God!" he whispered.

"Yeah, kinda makes you feel a little silly about all this bitching you’ve been doing about Bobbi getting artificially inseminated and you not being able to have kids. See, Joe…you’re not the only one."

"Oh God!" Joe whispered again.

"Poor lass," Phil added.

"That explains it," Joe murmured to himself.

"Explains what?"

Joe snapped out of his trance. "Well, when she came down for dinner last night, she looked a little sad. I could tell she was trying to fight it. I realized that she was fine yesterday until she left to back upstairs after lunch. After she held Scott."

Sav sighed a bit. "Yeah, when she first came to the house, Paige handed her Scott when he got up from his nap. I could tell she was softly crying when she was holding him. She said that babies make her weepy. Then, big mouth me, said to her as she left that someday some guy will come along that will give her babies of her own. She looked at me a little weird before brushing it off. She knew I didn’t know about her…condition. When I told Paige what I said to her, she practically cut my head off. Like I’m supposed to be a bleedin’ mind reader! Anyway, I did feel bad."

"Well, I can honestly say, I understand," Joe said sympathetically. "Well, ahem..aside from that…what do you think of this as a possible song? I was hoping we could pen something quick, record the guitar and vocals and then overnight the music and drum fills to Viv and Rick for them to record their parts."

"You’re forgetting another important part, Joe," Phil said.

"What?"

"Who’s gonna sing the female lead?"

"Crikey, that’s right! I don’t know. But, I was thinking along the lines of someone not so popular right now. Someone up and coming. The last I want us to do is for Def Leppard, a 25 year old band, collaborating with a teenage diva only to have the media trash us for riding on their success. I’d rather have some mystery lady. Someone who, when they hear the song, will sit up and say ‘who the hell is that?’. I want the song and the intrigue to pull listeners in."

"Aye, mate," Phil exclaimed. " I like it. Very mysterious. It’ll definitely set us apart from all those other long time bands that are trying to fit in with the current teenuy-bopper craze. We usually shy away from the norm and make our own rules and do what we want to please the fans, not the radio."

"I agree with Phil," Sav said. "But still….the question is who? If you want someone unknown, then how are we gonna know who she is go find her?"

"I don’t know," Joe said. "Maybe we can have Peter get in touch with some agents to see if they’re representing someone who may fit the bill."

"There’s a good start," Phil said. "I say lets go for it. Hold on…I just got an idea."

Phil grabbed the sheet of lyrics out of Joe’s hands, picked up his guitar and started plucking away at a tune. He then grabbed a blank piece of paper and a pencil and started jotting down notes. Sav remembered the lyrics and saw where Phil was going. He picked up his bass and began to fiddle with some tabs. Joe sat there listening, smiling over the fact that this was probably going to be an easy undertaking.

He suddenly wondered what pain and heartache was etched in the rest of Abby’s poetry journal. Probably the same pain and heartache he felt over the same empty feeling he had inside. Something else they had in common.

As he listened to Phil and Sav work on the tune, Joe closed his eyes and put his head back. His mind raced between a subtle way to seduce Abby and who was gonna sing with him on this possible ballad.

The answer to both hit him like a ton of bricks! It was so obvious that he almost giggled with delight!

 

19

Later that evening, just after dinner, Pete and Phil adjourned to Joe’s tv room while Joe paced a bit. He let Pete and Phil in on his idea in order to have the privacy he needed after dinner with Abby. That was, if she went for it. Joe took a deep breath and approached Abby.

"Luv, I was um….wondering if you could help me with something."

Abby tilted her head back to look into his crystal green eyes, wondering what he wanted. She was so taken by his extrodinary face that she really didn’t care.

"Um sure, Joe. If I can. What is it?"

Joe boldly took her hand. Abby’s breath caught at the sudden contact of his skin as she looked up at his face again, only inches from hers.

Joe miraculously restrained himself from kissing her. "Follow me."

He led Abby out to the Garage. When Abby stepped inside, she stood in the middle and scanned the room. Recording equipment, sound boards, instruments everywhere and furniture.

"So, this is where you guys hole up everyday?" she said.

"Yeah, I built this studio when I moved to Dublin from Dalkey. I needed a bigger place so I can put the studio in. Much more convenient that way."

"I agree," was all Abby could say. "So Joe..what can I do for you?"

She had no idea the effect those words had on him. "Oh lass…if you only knew!"

"Well, I’ve got good news. The guys loved the song. No sooner than I showed it to Phil, he picked up his guitar and the music just fell off his fingers. Sav got some preliminary bass tabs down and we quickly wrote Viv’s part and Rick’s drum fills. This is probably gonna be the easiest song we ever did."

"Are you kidding?" Abby said in disbelief. "Joe, I’m…wow, to say I’m honored is an understatement. I can’t believe it. But…what can I help you with?"

"Well, we have our manager, Peter Mensch, searching out an appropriate female lead. We want someone unknown rather than go with someone who’s hot right now. A little intriguing, you know? Anyway, until that someone is found, I was wondering if you would…..um….help me get the feel of this by filling in the female lead?"

Abby’s eyes bulged as her cheeks flushed pink. "Oh, no….Joe, I….I couldn’t. I told you, I’m a shower singer. I never sang in front of anyone."

"You sang that night for Tyler."

"Joe….he’s a toddler. I could’ve screeched like a vulture and he wouldn’t have cared. You’re a professional singer. Having my poetry critiqued is one thing, but my voice is more personal."

"Luv, first of all, poetry is very personal, because its something that doesn’t just come from the mind, but from the heart. Am I right?"

Abby bowed her head a bit, thinking about the basis of her poetry. "Yes. You’re right."

"And….second of all…I’ve heard you sing before. And not just for Tyler."

Abby’s brows knitted together. "When?"

Joe gulped as soon as he realized what he said. The two times he heard her sing was when he was listening at the office door before he hid in the bathroom and when he was standing outside his bedroom after lusting after her taking a shower. How was he gonna tell her the truth?"

"Um…well, the first day you were here, um…remember when you came out of the office and saw me coming out of the bathroom? I heard you singing through the door. Very pretty, soulful song."

Abby searched her memory. "Oh..yeah. That was ‘Falling’ by Alicia Keyes."

"That’s who that was! I remember seeing the video on VH-1. Anyway, I heard you sing that and I um…well, when I was talking to Phil outside my bedroom while you were in my bath taking a shower, I heard you singing then. Luv…you’ve got an exceptional voice. I already told you that. Since I already heard it, you don’t have to worry about being embarrassed. I already think its phenomenal. Please, Abby…this would help me out big time. I’ve never sang a duet before and I want to get the feel of it before I do so."

"But, wouldn’t yours and the female singers parts be recorded separately anyway?"

God, she was quick! "Well, you’re probably right. In some cases, they are. But, if we can find someone quick enough, I may ask them to come here to record it together so we can get a feel for each others range to see how it sounds together."

"Oh, I see. Well, gee, I don’t know. Even though you did hear me, I’m a little shy, I guess."

"Don’t worry, luv. It’ll be just you and I out here. Pete and Phil are watching the telly. What do you say? Will you help me?"

Joe’s pleading, glittering green eyes made her insides melt. How could she say no? Christ, how could any woman say no to this man? Plus, the thought of them, standing side by side, singing together, a song based on her poem, sent chills of excitement through her body.

"Yes, Joe. I’ll help you. Just show me what to do. But, I warn you, if I have to hit a high note, don’t wince, okay."

"Same goes for you, luv. It’s a deal. Lets get started."

 

*****************************

Joe and Abby spent the next two hours singing the basics of the song. It was agreed that Joe would open up with the first verse, alone. Then, Abby would come in with the bridge, alone. Then they’d sing the chorus together. Next, Abby would sing the second verse, which the guys quickly churned out this afternoon, alone. Then Joe would come in with the new bridge, alone. Then the chorus again, together. They they would refrain back to the first bridge to which Abby would sing the first line, Joe the next then the last two together.

When they finally worked out who would sing what, Joe picked up his guitar and strummed as they sang. Abby kept her eyes on her lyrics as Joe sang and played, while Joe kept his eyes on her as she sang. Their timing, vocal blend and, most of all their, harmony was….well, it was perfect!

They meshed so well together, that all went as planned in one take. Joe couldn’t believe how well their voices fit together. His deep, sultry, raspy sound combined with her raw, sexy range was incredible. When they came together in the chorus, Joe felt a tingle throughout his entire body at the sound. It was beautiful as it was sensual. Needless to say, by the end of the song, he was sufficiently aroused.

Joe put his guitar down and looked at Abby in sheer amazement. "Luv….that was absolutely brilliant! The harmony was perfect."

Abby blushed from the praise. She smiled too for she had to agree, it did sound wonderful. "Yeah, it did sound good. God, the music you chose fits the mood of the lyrics perfectly. You guys sure know what you’re doing."

"Well, we can’t take all the credit. Your words were inspiring. They speak of a love that’s untouchable by anything on the outside. Just pure, simple, unabashed love."

"Perfect love," Abby muttered.

"Yeah, perfect love," Joe agreed, as he saw Abby’s eyes snap up to his. She obviously wasn’t aware that she spoke that loud enough for him to hear her.

"Is there such a thing, Joe?"

Joe saw the longing for an answer in her eyes. Those lovely, sensual deep green eyes that also looked a little lost.

"I like to think there is, lass. Considering what I just went through, its hard to be faithful and say so. But, I guess its true what they say. There’s someone for everyone. A perfect match. As perfect as the harmony of this song."

Joe’s words flowed through Abby’s body like warm honey. However, it was the look on his face that snagged her. It was downright dangerous.

"Oh God, no," she thought. "No…I’m not gonna be sucked in by his charm, only for him to find out the truth and toss me aside like damaged goods. No! I can’t. Even though he’s as gorgeous as sin and sexy as hell."

Just as Abby’s mind screamed for her to resist him, her body had other plans. Since her surgery, she had to take medication to counteract the natural functions that her body no longer performed.

Her doctor had told her that intercourse may be painful at times because she may experience dryness that may make it difficult to accommodate a man. However, this wasn’t any man. This was Joe Elliott and his look, his voice, his eyes, oh God everything about him, was sending waves of delicious, moist heat down below.

She hadn’t been with a man since her surgery, which was almost two years ago. Two very long, frustrating, lonely years ago. She was mostly afraid that she wouldn’t be able to function properly and that she would turn a potential lover off. However, now she was feelings things that she hadn’t since before her surgery. Oh, God, how it would feel to be loved by a man again. To feel that closeness, that intimacy, that body and soul baring eroticism that would make her feel like a woman again.

She saw Joe look like he was leaning into her from where he was sitting across from her on a stool. Fighting long supressed urges, she casually stood up and walked over to one of the walls, perusing the instruments along it.

Joe sensed some uneasiness and wondered what it was. They just spent an amazing two hours with each other, singing together as if they’d been doing it together. They were a perfect fit. What could possibly have caused her to shy away?

Joe planned on seducing her this way, by casually asking her to sing with him. And he didn’t plan on deterring from it now that he got her this close, not to mention alone.

He got up and joined her at the wall. Abby felt his body heat immediately and her senses began to reel. She then felt his large hands rest upon her small shoulders.

"Abby…are you okay?"

Abby nodded her head, still facing away from him. "Yeah…I’m fine. I just…."

Her speech was halted by the feel of Joe rubbing his hands up and down her arms. "Are you tense, luv? Here."

Joe then moved his experienced hands up to the back of her neck and began to gently massage it. Abby never felt anything so good. She was so lost in the incredible feeling, that she closed her eyes, leaned her head back and parted her lips slightly.

Little whimpers of pleasure escaped the back of her throat, which spun Joe out of his mind. He wondered what his hand on other parts of her body would wrought from her?

Joe couldn’t take it anymore. She looked so damn hot with her head back, long silky hair cascading down her back, eyes closed and moaning like she was in ecstasy. And he was in bloody, friggin’ heat! His hands moved back to her shoulders and slowly pulled her back against his chest.

As soon as Abby came into contact with the warm, hard expanse of his chest, her eyes flew open and she gasped. She turned around in Joe’s arms, her head tilted up, her lips just inches from his. The last thought that raced through her mind before Joe’s lips caught her is that she’d die from the sheer passion of this moment.

 

20

As soon as Joe’s lips touched Abby’s, it was as if nothing else existed except the two of them. As wary as Abby was of possible letdown, at that moment, she could care less if this man ripped her heart out of her chest and squeezed it to bits. All she cared was the feel of his lips moving masterfully over hers as his hands searched the curves of her body.

Abby gave in to the exquisite feeling and reached up, stretching her long, lucious body, until her arms were entwined around Joe’s neck.

That move was more than enough encouragment for Joe. He tightened his hold around her waist and pulled her soft body flush against his hard, hot one. His mouth wasted no time in opening to search the insides of hers. As soon as he did, Abby answered the call by slinking her tongue into his mouth first, the sudden move causing Joe to growl low in his throat. He matched her response with even more force, dueling his tongue with hers as his mouth slanted hungrily over hers like a starving man.

Abby slid her hands down a bit until they were at the nape of Joe’s neck. She spread her fingers and raked them up into his glorious, blonde silky hair. And, very lightly, she pulled on it in her arousal.

Joe remembered his episode in the shower when he pulled his hair while he pleasured himself, imagining it was Abby pulling on it in her passion. The fact that she was doing it now drove him almost out of his mind.

He tore his mouth away from her for a moment, just to look into her deep green eyes which were liquid, lucid and full of fire. Her face was flush with arousal. The woman in his arms was hot for him and he wanted her. Badly!

He took her mouth again with a viciousness that stunned even him. What shocked him even more was that Abby matched it unabashadly. His three celibate months were obviously no match for her 2 years. The thought of this woman unleashing two years worth of passion and lust on him almost collapsed his knees.

Abby ran her hands up and down his long back, scored the skin on the back of his neck with her nails and lightly pulled his hair as she teasingly nibble Joe’s lips in between kisses.

Out of his mind, Joe’s hands were everywhere. Up and down her rib cage, down the small of her back and, oh sweet Jesus, cupping her delicious round bottom. His hands kneaded its sexy firmness before he jerked her hard against his rock hard erection that was about to explode in his jeans.

Abby felt the evidence of Joe’s arousal and responded with a deep, sultry groan in the back of her throat. She instinctively ground her lower half against his, cradling his long, thick member between her legs.

Joe rubbed himself up against her like an animal in heat as his hands left her bottom, came up and around to her front and cupped her breast. When he felt its size and shape through her thin sweater, he moaned deeply and ground his erection harder against her hip. He found her hard, erect nipple through the material of her sweater and bra and rolled it between his fingers before pinching it. Abby flung her head back and cried out his name at the exquisite feeling.

The two of them were totally out of control as Joe took her mouth again. He was about to cast all caution to the wind, throw her down on the couch, strip her naked and thrust into her hard and good when Phil’s voice broke through his sexual haze.

"Aye mate," came Phil’s voice over the intercom. "How’s it going in there?"

Joe and Abby’s mouths tore away from one another, but their hands remained where they were over each others body.

Abby was the first one to realize their position and pulled herself away while Joe walked very unsteady over to the intercom on the wall.

"Yeah mate?" Joe answered with harsh frustration.

"How’re you two making out?"

The literal meaning of Phil’s words would’ve made Joe laugh completely. However, he was well past arousal to even respond.

"Uh…..we uh….well, we went through the song. Sounds real nice. I, um…I think its gonna work."

"Aye, that’s good," Phil’s voice said. "Well, I just wanted to check in before I headed up for bed. See ya tomorrow."

"Yeah, g’night, mate,"

Joe released the speaker button and slowly turned to Abby who was sitting down on the couch, her head buried in her hands. Oh God…what did he do? He mauled like like a groupie seeking a quickie in the loo!

His walked over to her as gingerly as his shaky knees would allow.

"Abby?"

Abby looked up at him, a mixture of passion and shame on her face. And, her eyes glittered with unshed tears. Joe’s heart felt like it was in a fist.

"Oh God, luv," he said, sitting next to her. "Abby, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean for it to get out of hand like that. Its just that…God, woman you felt so good. I’m so attracted to you, Abby. Very much. And I think you’re a wonderful, brilliant, talented woman. It was everything…the song, being alone, you smelling so good, I….."

"…we have to forget this, Joe," she said regrettably. "I can’t..I can’t start something like this. I just can’t get hurt. I won’t set myself up to get hurt anymore."

Abby shot up off the couch and headed for the door. And just as fast, Joe stood up and caught up to her in three long strides. He took her arm and spun her to face him.

"You think I’d hurt you?" he asked in a hurt tone. "Abby…I would never do that."

"How do you know that, Joe?" she asked as her tears fell down her cheeks. "You can’t make that promise. I know you just broke up with your longtime girlfriend, even though she’s been gone several months. I’m not some consolation prize but, more importantly, there are things about me you don’t know. Things that would never make you consider being with someone like me."

Joe was both concerned and angered at the same time. He knew she was referring to her sterile condition, but he was angry that she judged him by making his mind up for him.

"Abby, you have no right to put words in my mouth or thoughts in my head," he said sternly. "While we’re at it, there are things about me that you don’t know as well. The reasons behind my breakup with Bobbi hurt me to the very core. Yes, I may be lonely, but I would not use someone just to slake my sexual frustration. You are not a consolation prize. You are much more than that, Abby. You’re a woman. A beautiful, sexy, fascinating woman and you’re driving this man out of his mind with want for you!"

Abby looked in his face, a mixture of dangerous desire and unleashed passion. "But I’m not, Joe. I…I’m not completely. I don’t feel like a……"

Joe knew what she was feeling and doused it instantly. He proved it with a bold move. He pressed her up against the wall, took her hand and placed it over the fly of his jeans. The size and thickness of what lay behind it caused Abby’s eyes to widen.

"What were you gonna say, luv? Hmmm? That you don’t feel like a woman? Abby, only a true woman would do this to a man. And believe me, Abby…there are times that I don’t feel like a…….true man. But, when I’m with a woman, and she brings me to a point that I’m absolutely delerious with desire that I could die from the pleasure, it just reminds me just how much of a man I really am."

She sheer eroticism of Joe’s words were only matched by the incredible feeling of his desire in her hand. She looked him deep in the eyes, that turned dark green to match her own. When she did, she boldly squeezed him, and watched those eyes close and his head fall back.

"God woman…you’re gonna kill me with that touch," Joe throatily whispered. "Abby, I swear, if you do it anymore, I’m gonna….."

Joe reluctantly took her hand away. It was either that or embarrass himself in his jeans in front of her.

"Abby, as I said, I’m sorry if it went too far. What I feel for you has nothing to do with desperation. I just don’t give in to any woman. I did enough of that in the past when I was young and stupid. Abby, as soon as I read that poem of yours and heard your incredible voice, I knew you were special. So very special. Tonight, here, singing together alone….the temptation was too much. I..I didn’t mean to be so forceful."

"You weren’t Joe," Abby responded shakily. "I..I was just as forceful myself. Its just that…oh God…."

"What, luv…tell me. Please."

"Its been a long time for me."

"I understand," Joe said with a nod of his head. "I don’t think badly of you for giving into your passion, Abby. If anything, I welcomed it. A woman’s passion is a powerful thing because it heightens a man’s passion even more. Please, don’t be ashamed of what just happened."

"I…I’m not, Joe. Believe me, I wanted it as much as you. Its just that…I’m afraid, that’s all."

Joe cupped her face tenderly in his hands. "Abby, whatever it is that you’re afraid of, don’t be. Trust me, luv. Don’t let your fear rule you."

"I….I can’t, Joe. I’m sorry," she whispered on a cry as she broke away from him and ran back into the house.

Joe was left standing there, shaking, confused and horny as hell. He knew what her fear was, that he’d probably dump her if he found out she was sterile. He waited for her to confess it to him, before he confessed his own sterility as well. He should’ve told her first, but he wanted bad for her to trust him and tell him first.

"Trust me?" Joe thought to himself. "She’s only been under my roof for what, three days, and I expect her to trust me?"

Joe came very close to where he wanted to be with Abby tonight. This was only a minor setback. He still had a few days left. He would make good use of them.

21

The next day, Abby kept to the office and didn’t venture downstairs at all. She got up for her morning run then, thankfully, returned before the rest of the guys, Joe especially, were up. She told Nuala that she didn’t have time for breakfast, since she was swamped. Nuala, never liking anyone to go without any nourishment, handed Abby a freshly made cranberry walnut muffin. Abby smiled and went upstairs to lock herself inside.

She heard Pete’s voice out in the hall and got to him while no one else was around. She got any instructions from him before she set about her day. Fortunately, she finished up with him and buried herself behind the office door just as she heard Joe’s bedroom door open up. She prayed that he wouldn’t come in the office to talk about last night. She just couldn’t. She was so ashamed at how she acted, and running out, that she didn’t want to see him.

She knew that dinner tonight would be a problem so she called Paige to see if she wanted to go out, even if she had to take the kids with her. She didn’t want to deal with the awkwardness of sitting at the dinner table with Joe, especially after he had his hands all over her the night before.

Her body and lips still burned from his touch. Oh, God, he felt so good! She knew that if Phil hadn’t called in on the intercom that it would’ve gone a lot farther.

She stilled when she heard footsteps come down the hall, stop at the door and then pause. Abby held her breath for what seemed like an eternity before the footsteps walked away.

That was it! She needed to get out of the house sooner than tonight. She would have to check it out with Pete first, which meant she had to go downstairs. Then she took the cowards way out. She hit the intercom button to the kitchen.

"Nuala?"

Nuala looked at the intercom, as did Joe when he heard Abby’s voice come over it. Nuala walked over and hit the button.

"Yes lass?"

"Um, do you know if Pete is still in the kitchen."

Pete turned around when he heard his name.

"Yes, he is," Nuala answered.

"Um, could you ask him to come upstairs before he gets started? I have something important to go over with him."

"I’m on my way now," Pete answered from the table.

"Thanks Pete."

When Pete disappeared, Phil turned puzzled eyes to Joe. "Hmmm, wonder why she didn’t come down?"

Joe just shrugged his shoulders as he sipped his tea. "Don’t know," he lied.

Phil wasn’t fooled. "Yeah you do! Did….uh oh….did something happen between you two last night?"

"What do you mean?" Joe asked defensively. "We went over the song. That’s what we went in there to do."

"Yeah….but what did you wind up doing?" Phil asked.

Joe blew out a frustrated breath. "Man, I love you guys to death, but sometimes I get so aggravated because……"

"……we know you too well?" Phil finished for him.

Joe put his elbows on the table and held his head in his hands.

"Joe….what happened?"

"Guess?"

Phil was wide eyes. "You didn’t?"

"Well, no…not that far. But, lets just say that if you didn’t call in last night on the intercom, it would’ve. That’s how far it was."

"Hmmm, and I was thinking about paying you a surprise visit instead of calling in. Maybe I should’ve. Would’ve been an interesting sight. So, now that you’ve got hot and heavy with Abby, she can’t face you this morning, is that it?"

"I don’t think its because of what we did, Phil. I think she’s afraid of what it might lead to….or not lead to."

Phil looked confused. " I think you better expound upon that a little more, mate."

"Phil, I told her that I like her, a lot. I told her that I think she’s beautiful, smart, talented and, well…just plain wonderful. She thinks that I’m just using her as a filler for Bobbi. And, I’m sure that she thinks that, because of her condition, that I wouldn't her anymore once I knew. I couldn’t tell her that I knew – Sav would kill me. Then Paige will kill Sav. She didn’t come out so much and say it, but she indicated that there were ‘things about her that I didn’t know’. She had to be referring to that. I was hoping she’d tell me, Phil, so then I could tell her about….me, you know…that we’re in the same boat."

"And she didn’t say anything?"

"No. I tried to persuade her not to be afraid of anything, without saying what it was. Seems it really has a hold on her. I guess she’s been hurt in the past because of it, you know…getting rejected."

"Joe…maybe you should tell her first. You know…give her an opening."

Joe turned bewildered eyes to Phil. "Oh yeah, Phil. Just go up to her and say, ‘oh, Abby..by the way…I’m sterile. That’s right…blanks in the gun. No guppies in the tank. Nil. Nada. Zippo’!"

"Uh…Joe, you don’t have to be so crude," Phil said.

"Phil, I can’t tell her. But, unless she knows I don’t mind about her, then she’ll never trust what I’m feeling for her. Sooner or later, its gonna come out. Its just…she’s almost done here and will be going back to London. I don’t have much time and if she begins to avoid me, then I’m really sunk."

"Joe…you need to go to her and try to re-assure her. If you feel that strongly about her, don’t let her go. She may feel awkward, but if you say that she was as willing as you were last night, then she must feel something for you. There’s your start."

"You’re right mate. But I don’t have much time. She’ll be going back soon, unless Pete give her more……hey, wait a minute!"

"What?"

"I think I’ve got an idea on how to keep her here a little longer."

"What?"

A slow, wide smile spread across Joe’s face, deepening his twin dimples.

"Phil, I think we just found our unknown singer for the duet!"

22

"Paige, thanks for letting me come over this afternoon. I told Pete that I had some personal errands to do and asked for the afternoon off."

"Well, you sounded a little desperate on the phone," Paige said as she adjusted Scott in her arms. "Whats going on over there, Abby?"

"You mean Rick hasn’t been filling you in?"

"Well……" Paige said a little sheepishly, "he did say that Joe’s interested in you and is trying to hide it. However, none of those guys can hide anything from each other. Especially Joe and Rick. You think they were Siamese twins joined at the central nervous system!"

"Well, yeah…Joe is interested."

"Yeah? How interested?"

"Um….so interested that we came close to doing it in the Garage last night."

Paige gasped and almost dropped the baby. "What? Are you kidding me?"

"No. Phil called in on the intercom and doused the mood a bit."

"Phil can do that sometimes," Paige said with a smile.

"Well, it’s a good thing. If it had gone that far….I mean, oh God Paige! I like him so much. And he told me that he likes me too. But….I’m not a replacement part. I know he told me that he’s not looking for someone to fill in the void Bobbi left, but I find it hard to believe. Then….once he finds out my little secret, then he’ll really have no use for me."

Paige looked at her dejected friend and knew it was time to tell her the truth. It was the only way to get to her understand that Joe wouldn’t care and make her not feel so bad about herself.

"Abby…listen to me. Joe would not think that way about you."

"Paige, you don’t know that for sure."

"Yes I do. Abby, the reason for his and Bobbi’s breakup was because she went off to the States 3 months ago and wound up getting……artificially inseminated."

Abby’s eyes almost popped out. "What? Why? Why didn’t she and Joe just….."

"Joe can’t, Abby," Paige said sympathetically. "Apparantly, he had the mumps twice when he was younger, and now he’s sterile because of it. He and Bobbi had been together since 1996 and were just starting to talk about adopting. At first, she agreed, but then, she takes off to the States to visit her family, stays 3 months, then calls Joe with the news that she changed her mind. Said she wants to experience childbirth. Hah! If she just talked to me first, I would’ve told her to adopt. Its less painful. However, I would gladly endure the pain all over again for my two little boys."

Abby was incredulous. "You mean….she just did this behind Joe’s back? Without telling him first?"

"Yep."

"Did…did she think that Joe was gonna go along with it and raise some unknown guy’s child?"

"Well, I guess Bobbi took a chance that Joe would blow off steam about it first, then, eventually, give in, since it would be her child too. However, it was the ultimate slap in the face to Joe. As much as he loved Bobbi, he lost all trust for her. He could never take her back after this."

Abby let it all sink in. "Wow..poor Joe. I can’t believe she’d do something like that, even after she agreed to adopt."

"I know, that’s how we all think. So, you see…Joe would not mind your inability to have children since he can’t have any either. However, you mustn’t let him know that you know. He has to be the one to tell you."

"But, if Bobbi gave up and went off and got pregnant, then what would stop Joe from thinking that another woman would do that to him. Since he doesn’t know about me, he’d probably think I’d go off and do the same, being as distrusting as he is right now."

"Well, that’s where you have to tell him."

"Oh yeah, sure. ‘Um..Joe, guess what? I’m barren!"

"Abby, when the time is right, it’ll all come out. Both sides. In the meantime, don’t avoid him. He’s already had two women in his life that have abandoned him. Joe may be tough to be around sometimes, but he can be a real softie when he wants to be. I know he just wants someone to love him for who is is, regardless of his faults. If you hide from him after what happened last night, its gonna hurt him, especially after he told you how he feels about you."

"You’re….you’re right, Paige. I…I have to apologize to him for how I acted last night. And…I’ll tell him why."

Paige smiled. "I think he’ll be mighty surprised. So, what were the two of you doing in the Garage alone, anyway."

Abby’s eyes widened. "Oh, God, that’s right! I never got to tell you. Well, you see, I've been writing poetry since my surgery, you know..to get a lot of stuff off my chest. A lot is about heartache, getting rejected, men and, well, the kind of love I want. Joe happened upon my poetry journal and, well innocently read my latest installment. He said he wanted to use it as a song that they’re gonna record as a ballad for him to sing with a female singer."

"Get out?" Paige exclaimed.

"I know, that’s how I felt. I gave him permission, then him, Phil and Rick worked on the music yesterday. Joe asked me to sing it with him last night so he could get the feel of singing with another person, since he never did a duet before. At first I was reluctant, but he already heard my voice before and he said it was nice. I figured, what the hell? Paige….it sounded so pretty. The tune that the guys came up with, as well as the second verse is awesome. It was so nice and romantic sitting there alone with him, singing. That’s what kinda led to our, um..makeout session."

Paige smiled down at little Scott as she listened to Abby, the romanticism of the events warming her. "Hmmm, if I know Joe, I think he planned that to get alone with you. Then again, if you didn’t have a good voice, I don’t know what he would’ve done for Plan B. Sounds interesting. Any chance that I can hear you guys sing?"

"Paige, I don’t know. He just asked me as a favor to, I guess, warm him up. He’s got their manager calling agents for a female singer that fits the bill. I guess they want someone unknown and mysterious instead of someone who’s out there now."

Paige smiled even wider. She listened carefully to all Abby said and the direction where this was going. She had a feeling that, if things went as planned, Abby would be leaving Ireland with a new career ahead of her!

23

Abby still decided to go out to dinner with Paige that evening. Paige had called Sav on his cell phone to let him know that the nanny was with the boy’s and also to update him on the Joe/Abby situation. Sav told Paige that Abby better talk to Joe tonight and straighten this mess out else he and Phil were gonna slit his throat and quietly dispose of his body!

Around 8:00pm, Abby pulled up at Joe’s house after dinner with Paige. She got out of her car and gasped at a lone, tall figure standing in the dark at the top of the driveway. Joe.

"Evenin’, Abby,"

"Hi Joe," she shakily replied.

Joe walked slowly over to her. Abby decided to meet him halfway.

"Abby, listen. I heard you pull up and wanted to get to you as soon as possible. I couldn’t wait for you to come into the house. There’s something I have to ……"

Abby put a finger over his lips. "No..no, Joe. There’s something I have to tell you. First of all, I want to apologize for breaking down the way I did last night and for running out on you. That was inconsiderate of me. You didn’t do anything wrong – in fact, you did everything right. You’ve brought back feelings in me that I thought were long since dead."

Joe took her by the wrist, brought it up to his lips and placed a soft, lingering kiss upon the inside of it before he darted the tip of his tongue out for a teasing lick. Abby thought her knees would buckle.

"Luv…its perfectly okay. I told you, I understand. You said its been a long time for you and you also insinuated that you may have been hurt in the past and didn’t want to risk it. Trust me, I completely understand."

"Joe…you see…the reason…."

Now it was Joe’s turn to put a finger over Abby’s lips. "Shhh, luv. First of all, if we’re going to continue this conversation, lets do it inside. January nights are a little too cold for me."

Abby smiled and Joe released his finger reluctantly from her lips. He took her by the hand and led her to a door at the back of the house that led to a private stairway. They went up the stairs which led to a door that brought them to the upper floor hallway. Abby smiled at Joe over the ‘secret’ passageway.

He turned to her. "Where would you like to talk?"

Abby looked at her bedroom door, then the office door, then back to Joe. Should she? After last night, she’d pretty much dare anything.

"How about your room, Joe?"

If Joe smiled any wider, he would’ve blinded her. The sight of his dimples and the wicked gleam in his beautiful green eyes made her want to jump in his arms immediately.

"This way," Joe said as he took her by the hand, turned and walked to his glorious masterbedroom.

Abby walked inside, her eyes instantly going to the black, white and gold bedspread that covered the king-sized bed. She instantly remembered the white satin sheets underneath. Oh, to be naked, laying upon those sheets with only the heat of Joe’s equally naked body covering her!

Joe led her to the corner of his bedroom that was a quaint little sitting area with a white, chintz Roman lounger, a soft, black & white sofa and a black velvet easy chair.

Abby sat on the couch and Joe sat beside her.

"Now, luv…what were you going to tell me?"

Abby was too entranced looking at the bed that she barely heard him. "Huh?"

Joe saw where she was staring and it began to arouse him greatly. He looked down at her looking up at him. Perhaps now wasn’t a good time to talk!

"I uh, asked you what it was you wanted to tell me. But, you know…I’d rather just tell you something. I think you’re one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen. And its not just your looks, Abby…its your warmth, your smile, the way you play soccer on Playstation, your obliviousness to your extrodinary talent. Crikey, that bloody damn scent of yours! What is that?"

Joe asked that last question just as he nuzzled her neck to breath deeply of her skin. Abby’s eyes closed at the feel of his breath and lips upon her neck, her senses spinning out of control.

"Th..that…I, uh…oh…its White Musk."

"Its delicious," Joe murmured seductively as he ran his hands through her hair to lift it off her neck. He then ran his lips slowly and hotly across her neck. "Absolutely delicious!"

Abby couldn’t take it anymore. Knowing what she now knew, she didn’t feel so fearful of Joe’s reaction if he were to find out about her. She wanted to tell him now, but right now, her mind was completely elsewhere.

She reached up and filled her hands with his gorgeous, silky blonde hair and pulled him closer.

"Mmmmm, yes luv," Joe whispered his encouragement. "Yes. Run your hands through my hair like you did last night. God, I love that Abby. It lets me know that I’m making you feel good.

"You do, Joe," Abby breathlessly replied as Joe’s lips trailed down the front of her neck, down to the skin exposed by her v neck sweater. "God, it feels so good. I forgot how good this feels."

Joe lips trailed down until he reached a hint of her exposed cleavage. He darted his tongue out and ran the silky tip between it.

"Jesus! Joe!"

"Dammit, lass," Joe huskily said. "You’re driving me out of my friggin’ mind!"

Before Abby could register any of Joe’s words, he had her leaned back on the couch, his long hot body pressed lightly into the length of hers.

Abby thought she’d die from the contact.

They furiously wrapped their arms around one another as Joe’s mouth came down upon hers with a vengence. His tongue wasted no time seeking the silky hot crevices of her mouth as his lower body began to wreck havoc on hers as he ground his already stiff erection between her legs.

Abby felt like she was falling, even though she was safely wedged between the couch and Joe’s incredible body. His masterful lips and tongue loved her mouth as his hands roamed all over her. She felt a rush of liquid heat flow down between her legs, the exquisite feeling causing her to whimper loudly into his mouth as her legs instictively parted, lifted and wrapped themselves around Joe’s waist.

Her move almost made Joe come on the spot! He tore his mouth away and looked down at her with dangerous eyes. The wicked, sinful green green eyes of a dangerous leopard!

He ran his hand roughly down her body, to her hip, over her bottom and to her leg that was hooked around his waist. And, just as roughly, he ran it back the other way, never taking his eyes from her. He waited.

"Joe! Please!"

That was all he needed to hear.

He got off her, scooped her up in his arms and, with an urgent lust that was surging through both of them, threw her on the bed.

24

Abby stared up at Joe with wide, passion filled eyes before he came down upon her on the bed. As soon as he did, Abby’s hands went under his sweater and met hard, hot skin.

Joe groaned into Abby’s mouth at the feel of her hands upon his naked flesh and wanted more. He lifted his body and knelt above her. Looking down at her with his most intense gaze, he grabbed the hem of his sweater and lifted it over his head, revealing a sexy expanse of golden skin and a light sprinkling of hair.

Abby thought he looked like a golden, blonde, green eyed statue. His body, for a 42 year old man, was superb! His mid-section was still taut and his chest and arms muscled. She reached a hand up to run it from his stomach up to his chest. Joe just knelt above her, his head thrown back, luxuriating in the feel of this incredible woman’s hand on his body.

Abby decided to join him. She lifted up slightly, reached her hands behind her and up her sweater to unclasp her bra. Then, with one fluid movement, both bra and sweater were off as she lay back down, awaiting Joe’s reaction.

His eyes fell upon a pair of the most beautiful breasts he’d ever seen. And…they were real! Firm, full and anxiously awaiting his hands and mouth.

"Christ Abby," he cursed as he bent down to nuzzle her chest, "you keep this up and I’m not gonna last."

"That’s okay, Joe…because I’m not gonna last either! I’m gonna……OH GOD!"

Abby’s words were halted as Joe’s hot, wet, silky mouth enclosed around her nipple. He suckled her like a starving babe and all Abby could do was writhe and groan beneath him as she fisted her hands in his hair and brought him closer, if she could.

"Joe! Oh my God, Joe! I, oh….yes baby! Dammit, yes!"

Abby arched her upper body into Joe’s mouth as she alternated pulling on his hair and running her sharp nails down his back. She then felt cool air as Joe released her breast to devour the other one.

As he was doing this, Abby released one hand from his hair and wedged it between their bodies. She felt her way down till she reached something very hard, very thick and very long between his legs. She firmly began to stroke him which caused Joe to release her nipple and moan loudly. As much as he was enjoying the feel of her hand upon him, he took it away. Abby looked down at him puzzled.

"Lass, I’m warning you. I’m not gonna last."

"Then lets not wait," Abby replied. "Joe..I’ve waited long enough."

So had he! Joe smiled wickedly and ran his hand lightly from her breasts, down to her stomach till he reached the waistband of her pants. He unbuttoned and unzipped them. He grabbed both sides with his hands and slowly peeled them down her long, lovely legs. All that was underneath was a black silk and lace panty. Joe didn’t think she’d look more erotic stark naked.

He just knelt above her taking his fill of her beautiful body. He then leaned down and trailed soft kisses down her stomach until he reached the waist of her panties. He peered up at her with mischeivous green eyes before hooking a finger in the waist and slowly slithering them down.

As soon as he did, Abby tensed. Joe felt it immediately and looked up.

"Luv…what’s wrong?"

He saw her move her hand to her stomach, but then moved it away again, trying not to look obvious. Joe looke down and saw the reason for her concern.

A long, thin, faded scar ran low across her bikini line, just above her dark curls. Joe surmised that she was embarrassed by it and noticing it would cause him to question. Little did she know, that Joe already knew the answer. He decided to put her fears to rest the only way he knew how.

He leaned down, darted his tongue out and ran a hot, wet trail along the scar. He thought Abby would jump off the bed.

"JOE! Oh God…Joe!"

Joe continued the wickedly lick her scar back and forth until he heard her softly whimper. But it didn’t sound like a whimper of pleasure. It sounded like she was fighting back tears.

He kissed his way back up her body till he got to her face. There were fresh tears in her beautiful green eyes that began to escape down the sides of her face.

Joe cradled her face tenderly in his hands. "Luv…why are you crying?"

"Because….because I……….please, Joe…now! Please make love to me now!"

He was practically over the edge as it was. He reached down and unbuttoned and unzipped his jeans discarding them immediately. He then reached up and tore the blanket of his bed down. He scooped an arm under Abby and slid her up until he heard her breath intake at the feel of the cool satin sheets upon her naked skin. He then threw the blanket around them.

He came down upon her and took her mouth in a soulful kiss meant to intoxicate her and drive her senseless. She wrapped her arms around his neck as her legs simultaneously came up to hook around his waist. She begged in between kisses.

"Joe…please…I need you in me…now baby…please, I…I can’t wait. I’m gonna explode."

So was he. Joe lifted up and positioned himself between her. He took his hand to guide himself to her opening. When his hand came into slight contact with her moist heat, he thought he’d die. He rubbed the head of his erection against her until he felt her open. He then released his hand, slid it under her bottom, lifted her up and thrust deep inside.

"OH MY GOD!!!" Joe, I….oh God!!"

Abby threw her head back at the force and the size of him. Joe remained still, not yet moving until she got used to him. Plus, if he did move one bit, he might come immediately. She had been without a man for so long that she was incredibly tight. It was almost too much to bear.

"Luv…are you alright? Did I hurt you?"

"No…no you didn’t. Its just..I didn’t expect you to be so….oh, God Joe!"

Joe smiled arrogantly before he slowly began to thrust in and out of her. She was hot, tight and soaked. As he moved he released his hand from under her and she took over by matching his downward thrusts with upward ones. However, she was becoming frantic, her long awaited release not wanting to wait any longer.

"Joe…oh God, baby, I’m……I can’t wait! Its been too long! I just can’t. Joe, I’m sorry, I…."

"Don’t hold back luv. Let it go. Don’t wait. Do, it Abby! Show me how much I excite. Hurry, lass because I can’t wait any longer. You’re too tight….too wet…I just can’t…"

"Joe I…I….oh, God I’m gonna……harder, Joe…harder and faster. PLEASE!!"

Joe rammed into her like an animal out of control as Abby clawed his back and pulled his hair before throwing her head back and screaming his name.

"JOOOOOEEEEE!"

Joe felt her spasm all around him as her head wildly tossed from side to side in her orgasm. The feel and the sight of her brought his on as well.

"Christ, Abby….I’m gonna….God, girl, I’m gonna come so hard in you!"

"Do it, Joe! DO it!"

Joe threw his head back and the muscles in his neck corded as he shot his fluid hard and deep inside of her. "A-B-B-Y!"

Abby ran her hands all over his chest, shoulders, arms and back as he released himself inside of her. His loss of control over what she did to him made her feel like the woman she forgot she was.

And he was the man she’d always wanted.

 

25

Abby awoke the next morning to the feel of cool satin and warm skin. Joe’s skin.

His arm and leg was wrapped protectively around her body. Abby never felt anything so warm and safe in her life as she was cocooned in this man’s arms.

She carefully turned her head to look at him. He was sound asleep, his beautiful features relaxed, his blonde hair mussed and sexy. She then turned back and looked at the clock – 7:15am. She knew that Pete would be up and about soon and would be looking for her. The last thing she wanted was for him to find her emerging from Joe’s bedroom!

She put her head back down, reluctant to get up. Joe loved her three more times after their first frenzied joining, each time was even more bliss than the last.

They were so drenched with sweat after their third lovemaking session, that Joe picked her up, carried her into the shower stall and turned the water on as hot as they could stand. They lazily washed the remnants of their hard night of lovin’ off their well-pleasured bodies. When Joe washed her hair, she couldn’t think of anything more sensual. When it was her turn, she lathered her hands with soap and ran them slowly over every single inch of him. And there were many! Especially in one very pertinent place!

She looked deep into his eyes as her hand wandered down his soapy body until it grasped his wakening erection. She furiously began to pump him as she took his mouth and plunged her tongue in and out of his in time with her hand.

Joe was just on the bring of exploding when he removed her hand, turned her around forcefully and placed her hands on the tiled walls. He’d been wanting ot take her this way every since he laid eyes on that gorgeous ass of hers.

He bent her over slightly then ran his hands roughly over her smooth bottom before reaching down and touching her in between. Abby threw her head back as his fingers found her opening and plunged deep inside while his thumb worked her very sensitive nub of flesh.

When he couldn’t take the sight of her lucious bottom wriggling anymore from his ministrations, he entered her from behind with the force of a battering ram. As he mindlessly thrust in and out of her, he reached forward and fondled her breasts.

Abby pushed back and Joe plowed ahead forward until they mutually screamed their release. They then both slid down to the floor of the shower stall, their orgasm sapping their energy and weakening their knees. When they recovered, they giggled like naughty children before finishing their shower. When they got out, Joe tenderly towel dried her warm, moist body off and Abby did the same to him. Joe then led her by the hand to the fireplace in his room as he held up her long strands of hair to dry, talking and laughing as he did.

When their hair was sufficiently dry enough, they retreated back to bed, wrapped themselves around each other and fell back to sleep – exhausted, clean and very, very sated.

And now it was morning, and Joe was still wrapped around her in the same position. But, she had a job and she had to get to it. She carefully lifted his arm from where it lay across her lower stomach. She instantly thought of how he licked her scar last night and got the chills. He never asked what it was from, but knew that eventually he would.

She moved his arm away slowly and she scooted her leg out from under his.

"Just where do you think you’re going?"

That sultry British accent gave her gooseflesh. She turned around to see Joe’s brilliant green eyes staring at her like he had some devilment planned. She leaned forward and kissed his forehead.

"Joe, I have to get back to my room and get ready. I’ve only got today and tomorrow to finish up my work before I leave."

Leave. Oh, God…Joe hadn’t the opportunity to tell her the good news. His idea. It was the reason he met her in the driveway when she came back from dinner with Paige last night. He wanted to be able to tell her immediately but…well..one thing led to another and now they were waking up in each others arms because of it.

"Um…Abby..there’s something I never got to tell you last night. It was the reason I was outside waiting for you. You won’t be leaving in two days."

Abby groaned. "Oh, don’t tell me that Pete found more work for me to do? I just got caught up."

"Well, he has a job for you, but not the administrative kind."

She turned her body fully to him and Joe eyes went directly to her bare breasts. He leaned forward and took an inviting nipple in his mouth.

"Mmmm, Joe, you can’t start that now," she tried convincingly to say. "I have to go to work."

"Uh huh," he said with a nipple between his teeth. "Whatever."

She gave up and placed her hands on his shoulders, giving into the feel of his mouth. All of a sudden, the sound of a shower going on down the hall snapped her to.

"Joe…someone’s up. Its either Pete or Phil. If Pete catches me in here, I’ll die. And, if Phil catches me in here, you’ll never hear the end of it today. And, once Rick gets here and Phil spills it to him…."

"Okay, okay…I get your point," Joe said as he released his mouth from he breast. "I’m about ready to send both of them on a one way trip to Jupiter as it is. I don’t need them busting my ballocks over this. However, sooner or later, they’re gonna find out."

"Oh?" Abby asked.

"Mmm-hmm," Joe answered. "We can’t keep this a secret for too long. Which is why I’m glad you’re staying."

"Joe…why again am I staying?"

"I think I’ll let Pete break the news to you."

Joe! C’mon, tell me!"

"Impatient, aren’t we," he said mischievously.

"And you are naughty, teasing me like that. Hmmm, I believe you deserve a spanking."

Joe’s eyes widened. "Promise?"

"Uggh," Abby said disgustedly as she got out of bed and threw her sweater and jeans on.

"Hurry and get ready and come down for breakfast. I have a funny feeling that you’re starved."

She looked at him arrogantly. "And you?"

"Oh, I had my fill last night!"

Abby swatted his leg before she snuck out of his bedroom and down the hall. Joe laid back in bed, a huge satisfied smile on his face.

"Oh yeah, Abby," he thought. "I got my fill of you last night, but its not enough. I plan on having more of you, girl. A whole lot more. You’re not leaving in two days. Or two weeks. Or even two months, if I can help it. Just wait until you see what I have in store for you!"

26

Phil looked up from his cup of green tea to see a cheerful, whistling Joe come strutting into the kitchen.

"Mornin’, mate," Joe said with a smile.

Phil looked puzzled. And scared. The calm before the storm, maybe?

"Uh…mornin’, Joe," Phil replied warily.

Joe walked over the stove just as Nuala was picking up the teapot. "That’s okay, Nuala…I’ll do that," he said as he took the teapot out of her hands and poured his own water.

"My, you’re helpful this morning," Nuala mused with her employer. "Any chance that you’re hungry too?"

"Starved!"

Nuala had prepared some light, fluffy Belguim waffles that were still warm. She cut up some fresh fruit, put it on the side and then put the plate in front of Joe who had sat next to Phil.

"Oh luv, these look like heaven," Joe exclaimed as he dug in.

Phil continued to look at him as if he was searching for the ‘real’ Joe Elliott.

Joe looked at the cup of tea that Phil was drinking and the small dish of fruit in front of him.

"Is that you’re having?" Joe asked.

"Yeah well, you know me," Phil said. "I’m watching my girlish figure. You’re awfully chipper this morning."

"Am I?" Joe said vaguely. "Well, I guess I’m starting to look at all that happened and finally realized its for the best."

"You mean with….?"

"Bobbi." Joe answered.

"Good morning maties," came Sav’s unexpected voice as he walked in Joe’s kitchen door.

Joe looked up and beamed. "Sav mate! This is an early surprise. Sit down and have some of Nuala’s glorious Belgium waffles.

Sav stopped in his tracks.

"What?" Joe asked.

"Joe?"

"Yeah?"

"You’re…you’re happy to see me?" Sav asked.

"Of course!"

Sav stood there, hands on hips, looking at Phil. "Okay, Phil. What did you do with Joe?"

"I don’t know, mate," Phil replied. "I think the mother ship came in the middle of the night and abducted him."

"Oh what are you two morons pissin’ about," Joe said as he took a mouthful of waffles.

"Okay, that sounds a little more like you," Sav said relieved, as he sat down.

"What are you two so skeptical about?" Joe asked.

"I don’t know," Phil said. "It just seems a little weird that……"

"Uh-oh," Sav interrupted Phil.

"What?"

"Phil….look at him. The sparkling eyes. The rosy glow. The nice disposition." Sav looked around to see that Nuala had left the room before turning to Joe. "Someone got laid last night!"

Joe almost spit a mouthful of waffles across the table.

"Oh, ho!" Phil exclaimed. "Is that what it is? You know, I was wondering what happened to you last night. You said you were going out for some air and didn’t return. You never go out for air on a January night, you big weenie. Then I remembered hearing Abby’s car pull up, but we never heard you come back in."

More enlightenment overcame Phil. "Oh mate..did you take her up the secret passageway?"

Joe looked incredulous. "How do you know about that?"

"Joe, there’s not much Phil or I, or any of the guys don’t know about this house," Sav said. "We practically live here half the time. So, is Phil right. Did you and Abby…….."

"Will you please keep your voices down," Joe said. "She’ll be down soon."

"So its true?"

All Joe could do was smile and go back to eating his waffles. Sav turned to Phil.

"Phil…how long has Abby been here?"

"I believe this is day 6, mate," Phil answered.

Sav turned to Joe. "Well, you may be losing your touch a little in your old age, but 6 days isn’t bad."

The old Joe emerged as he threw his fork down and shot daggers at Sav. "What do you mean by that?"

Sav tapped a finger against his chin and feigned deep thought. "Well….let me see. I do recall a frantic phone call from you exactly 6 days ago stating that you were swearing off women. A younger, more virile Joe Elliott wouldn’t have let that threat last 6 days but, hey….beggers can’t be choosers."

"Sav, I’m warning you," Joe began to fume. "Don’t say anything you’ll regret. I’m too happy today."

"Six days?" Phil said. "You’re right, Sav. For his age, that is quite a feat."

Phil immediately got up and grabbed the telephone receiver. "Aye, what’s the number for the ‘Guinness Book of Records’?"

"1-800-FUCK-OFF!" Joe sarcastically replied.

"Ooooh, temper temper there, mate, Sav replied. "We’re just having a little fun. We knew you wouldn’t last. Its just not in you, Joe. You’re not meant to be virtuous."

"Alright, fine. You’ve had your fun," Joe said. "Just don’t get all stupid when Abby comes down. Better still, go in the Garage and wait for me."

"Nope! Not yet. I think I want some tea," Sav said as he got up to pour himself a cup. "So Joe…tell me. How many times, eh? Or did you fizz out and go to sleep after one time?"

Phil laughed so hard he snorted.

"Whats the matter Sav?" Joe asked. "Haven’t been getting enough action of your own lately that you’ve got to pry into my sex life?"

Sav looked defensive. "I…I…I get action! Give me a break, mate! Paige just had a baby three weeks ago. She’s still, you know…out of commission."

"Yeah, right," Joe replied. "She probably realized what a dud you are. I bet you can’t even get it up anymore."

Sav put his cup of tea down and folded his arms in a huff. "Yeah, well maybe you’ll eat those words if I stick it up your arse! Sure would put an end to all those gay rumors about us, eh Joe?"

"Ugggh, stop it Sav!" Joe said disgustedly. "Don’t even go there!"

"Whats the matter, Joe," Phil purred in seductive British. "Haven’t you ever wondered……?"

"Shut up!" Joe half-shouted. "That’s it, I’m leaving you two homo’s. After what I had last night, trust me Sav….you are not my type. Not even when you were at your prettiest!"

Joe stormed out of the kitchen and into the Garage.

Sav turned to Phil. "Back to normal, eh?"

"Amen!" Phil replied.

27

Abby came down to a quiet kitchen. She took longer than usual getting ready this morning, letting the hot shower pulse down on aching muscles that hadn’t been used in a long time. She was especially sore between her legs. Joe’s size, combined with her lack of activity in that area, saw to that. But, oh…how it all quickly came back to her! Last night was so wonderful that she couldn’t stop smiling. She wondered how Joe was feeling since she left him early this morning in a playful mood?

Nuala had already gone about to clean the rest of the house, but left a note for Abby that she saved her two Belguim waffles in the oven. Abby smiled over her thoughtfulness, took them out and poured herself a cup of coffee. She ate standing up at the counter and finished her coffee when Pete walked in.

"Aye, there you are" he said to her. "We’ve been waiting for you. C’mon, there’s something we need to talk about."

"I know, Joe told me that you have more um…work for me." Abby said skeptically.

"Well, its not what you think. C’mon."

Abby followed Pete into the Garage. There, awaiting her, was a beaming Joe and a very smug looking Sav and Phil. Oh, God…she wondered if they knew what happened between her and Joe! These guys know everything about each other.

She felt herself pinken a bit before Pete’s voice broke through her embarrassment.

"Abby…now, I want you to consider this. You know how the other night you helped Joe with the female part of the ballad they’re gonna do?"

Abby looked to Joe with remembrance of that night, not to mention last night. She nodded.

"Yes."

"Well," Pete continued. "The guys thought it would be intriguing to have an unknown singer do the ballad with Joe, rather than someone who’s out there right now. Joe mentioned to me how wonderful the two of you sounded and how well you blended and complimented each other. And I thought…well, Joe thought….he’d like to have you sing the ballad with him."

Abby almost choked on Pete’s words. "Pete..are you crazy? I’m not a professional singer. You…you want me to sing on a record that people are gonna buy? They don’t know anything about me."

"They don’t have to know anything about you, luv," Joe assured her as he walked forward and took her shaking hands. He didn’t care if his feelings for her were apparent in front of the guys. They were gonna find out one way or another.

"This is a Def Leppard project. You’ll be helping us out. People who buy the record will be fans of ours, however, they’ll be in for a little treat once they hear your voice. We like the idea of having a mystery lady. Someone whom people will ask, "who is that lass with that beautiful voice’?"

Abby shook her head. "Joe, there must be a thousand other unknown singers that could be found that……."

"…..That wouldn’t sound as good with me as you did the other night. Abby, you even said so yourself, remember?"

"Yes, you’re right. We did sound great."

"We sounded perfect, luv. We had perfect harmony together. I know you’re the one. I couldn’t praise you enough to Sav and Phil."

"That’s right, Abby," Sav said. "He’s been gushing like a school lad."

Joe turned around and glared at Sav before turning back.

"You see…c’mon. Please say yes. Phil and Sav already got their parts worked out and Viv and Rick received theirs by express yesterday. All we have to do is record the vocals, wait for Viv and Rick to send their tapes in then Pete can work his production magic. Of course, it may take a few more days…maybe even a week. Which means….you’ll have to stay here a bit longer."

Abby tried hard to bite down on the smile that was threatening her lips. She looked to Sav and Phil for their reaction to Joe’s words. It was obvious that they knew about the two of them and was welcoming it. She looked back up at Joe who had a happy, yet hopeful look on his face, waiting for her answer.

To record a rock ballad with Joe Elliott? Is this a dream or what? She didn’t think that anything could’ve gotten better than last night.

She looked up at Joe’s sparkling green eyes and smiled. "Okay…I’ll do it."

Joe tuned out the sound of Phil and Sav clapping and whistling behind him and drew Abby in for a long, lusty kiss. It was interrupted by the sound of Pete clearing his throat.

"Okay, you two….work time now. Play time later."

Joe’s lips reluctantly left Abby’s before they traveled to her ear. "You heard your boss, luv. Later!"

 

*****************************

Abby spent the good part of the morning and early afternoon doing the vocals with Joe. Sav and Phil were in awe of Abby’s vocal ability, as was Pete. He almost smiled like a proud papa.

"To think I had her talent right under my nose and I had her hiding behind a computer screen."

"Pete, this song is gonna be amazing, I can feel it," Phil said. "We can schedule it for release right before ‘X’. You know…give the fans a little tease to make them want more."

"I have to admit, this was a brilliant idea on Peter’s part," Sav added. "They do sound good together, I have to say."

"Yeah, and last night can only add to how well they click," Phil added with a wiggle of his brows.

"That I can definitely agree with," Pete replied.

"Aye, how do you know what happened last night?" Phil asked.

"Uh, Phil," Pete said, "were you dead to the world last night, or what? I heard Joe moaning and groaning almost half the night."

Sav snickered. "That’s Joe – wants the whole world to know he’s getting’ some!"

"Oh mate," Phil scratched his head. "I didn’t hear a thing. I took about 4 Motrin last night. Had a bloody migrane. They must’ve knocked me out cold."

"Yeah, well you missed quite an earful," Pete assured him. "Then again, with the history you guys have, its probably nothing you haven’t heard before."

"Or seen before!" Sav added.

Phil leaned back and put his feet up. "Ahhh, yes. Those were the days!"

28

After a very successful recording session, Pete had enough tape of Joe and Abby to produce the vocals. Their job was done. The rest of the day was spent with Sav and Phil getting the bass and guitar parts tightened up.

Even though Abby was done, Joe wanted her to stay on until they got Viv and Rick’s tapes. Once they came in, Joe wanted her and him to sing it with all four instrument parts to get the full effect. How could she say no?

She placed a call to Pete’s London office to tell Lucy, the receptionist, that she and Pete would be in Dublin for at least another week. Lucy had a key to Abby’s apartment and had volunteered to go check on her flat and overnight her mail to her so she wouldn’t be behind on her bills.

Abby also realized that she hadn’t brought enough clothes for another week. Sure she could wash what she had and re-wear it, but she felt a shopping trip coming on. She decided to go into town for the rest of the afternoon until dinner to go pick out a few outfits. One, especially, that would knock Joe’s eyes out!

As she decended the stairs to leave, Joe met her at the bottom. She stood on the second to the last stair in order to meet him eye level. Her heart flipped at the wicked look in those eyes.

Joe wrapped his arms around her waist and lifted her and swung her to the ground. He then decended his mouth upon hers in a long awaited kiss. He couldn’t wait to get his hands on her again. He broke the kiss when he realized she had her coat on and purse in her hand.

"Where are you off to?"

"Well, since I’m gonna be here a little while longer, I thought I’d do a little shopping. I didn’t bring enough clothes with me so I’m in the mood for something new."

"Mmmm, can’t wait to see what you pick out," Joe murmured as he nuzzled her neck and ran the tip of his tongue along her ear.

The action caused Abby to give as good as she was getting. She slid her hands down to his firm bum and pulled him in close, grinding his growing erection against the vee in her legs. Joe looked up shocked.

"Keep that up, lass, and I’ll throw you over my shoulder and take you up to bed. You won’t have to worry about clothes, cuz I’ll keep you naked in there for a week."

"Mmm, now that does sound interesting," Abby huskily replied. "But not very practical. Now, are you gonna let me go?’

"You mean I have a choice?"

"Yes."

"Then I choose to hold on a bit longer," Joe said as he came down upon her mouth again, his tongue wrecking havoc on hers.

Their hands roamed furiously all over each other as their lower bodies ground against one another.

Abby dropped her purse and Joe quickly helped her shed her coat so he could feel her better. As soon as she did, his hands were wild all over her back and bottom before sliding up to capture her breast.

Not to be outdone, Abby slid her hand down between them and rubbed his massive erection through the fly of his jeans. Joe moaned loudly in her mouth and thrust his pelvis forward. Abby answered by squeezing him and he answered by throbbing in her hand.

Joe was just about ready to bend her over the stairs, yank her jeans down and take her from behind like he’d been dying to all day when he heard the sound of a key sliding in the front doorknob and then the door opening. And then he heard a startled gasp.

"Joe!"

Joe turned around and felt all the blood leave his face, before it colored again with anger.

"Bobbi!"

 

 

29

"Joe! What….who is this?"

Abby was still in Joe’s embrace when Bobbi demanded to know who she was. She gripped onto the stair railing and pulled herself back, out of Joe’s arms. Joe straightened up very tall and regarded Bobbi with unfeeling, cold eyes.

"Woman, you have a lot of nerve asking questions, not to mention barging into my house like this after what was decided on the phone 6 days ago.’

"I…I think I better leave the two of you alone to discuss this," Abby sheepishly said as she snuck around behind Joe and sidestepped Bobbi to the door.

"Yes, good idea, hun." Bobbi answered sarcastically. "Don’t bother coming back. I’m sure your little diversion suited him for the time being, but I’m back now."

Those words bit Abby like a rabid dog. Diversion? That’s what she was afraid of being, even though Joe assured her that she wasn’t. Whether she was or not, Bobbi was back. And, as mad as Joe was at her for doing what she did, they had a history of 6 years together, whereas they only had 6 days. Six days would not erase 6 years, no matter what happened between them.

Abby bit her lip, opened the door and left. Joe lunged for the door as it shut.

"Abby! Wait!" he opened the door and shouted after her before turning back to Bobbi.

"You lying, decietful, disrespectful bitch!" he spat out at her as he took her by the shoulders.

He never hurt a woman in his life, but right now, he wanted to slam Bobbi against the wall. For what she did to him – and for what she just did to Abby.

"How dare you! How dare you! After what you did I can’t believe that you have the audacity to show your face here, carrying some unknown bastard in your belly!"

"I’m not pregnant, Joe."

Joe felt his blood boil even hotter as he squeezed her shouders tighter.

"What?" he seethed between clenched teeth.

"I’m…I’m not pregnant. Not anymore. The insemination took, but..but I miscarried it."

Bobbi bowed her head and began to weep. "Joe….oh God, you don’t know how sorry I am for what I did. I just…I don’t know what made me do this. I know we agreed to adopt, and I was fine with it. Its just…well, when I found out that Paige had Scott three weeks ago, I started to get these empty feelings inside. I wanted to experience it, Joe. I know you can’t understand that, but if you were able to, you’d want to experience it to. A lot of men who are infertile opt to go this way."

"That’s fine for them, but I didn’t want to, Bobbi! I told you my feelings on that and I stood on them. Yet, you went behind my back and did it anyway, because you felt like it. You could care less how it made me feel or look."

"Joe, don’t you know its harder for couples who aren’t married to adopt than couples who are? They look at married couples as more stable. I know with your celebrity status that we may be able to pull a few strings, but you can’t always guarantee getting an infant. I wanted to guarantee it, Joe."

Joe released her shoulders before he really hurt her.

"And you think that justifies what you did?" he raged. "First of all, the question of marrying you – ever – is absolutely out! After what you pulled, I could never trust you again, ever! Secondly, whether you justified your little stunt as guaranteeing yourself an infant does not erase the fact that you knew I didn’t want to do that."

"Joe, I know we agreed. And, I know you were against it. But, the fact remains that we are not married, therefore you don’t have the right to control what I do with my body."

Joe ran his hands through his blonde hair in frustration. After 6 years – 6 long years with this woman, this is what he gets@

"Fine, Bobbi. You’re right. It is your body and you can do whatever you want with it. Including screwing other guys because this guy wants no part of you. I’m sorry you lost the baby, for what reason I don’t know. Still, it was a life that was lost. That doesn’t change how betrayed I feel. Your apologies won’t work. Now, since you’re back – I want you to go upstairs, get everything of yours that you can get your hands on and I want you out. Go to a hotel, go back to your family in the States – I don’t care! Just get your things and get out!"

Joe stalked away and Bobbi ran after him, frantic. "Joe…you don’t mean it?"

Joe turned around and gave her the most dangerous face he could conjure.

"Try me, woman. Just try me. If you force me to get an attorney involved, then I will. This is my house and we are not married so you don’t have much pull here. So, do yourself a favor, and lets do this quietly and quickly so you can go on and hook yourself up who can give you what you want and so can I."

"You mean that bitch you were practically screwing on the stairs when I got here? Is that who you want?"

Joe never wanted to slap a woman so bad in his life as he wanted to slap Bobbi. "As a matter of fact, yes. Not that its any of your business, but yes."

"Think she’ll be happy with your little plan for a happy family, Joe? Does she know about you?"

"No, she doesn’t know about me, but it doesn’t matter. She can’t have children. Count yourself lucky that you can. But you know Bobbi, even though she can’t, she’s more of a woman than you’ll ever be. Now get your things and get out of my sight or leave and I’ll have your stuff shipped to wherever you are."

Bobbi was sobbing uncontrollably and begging. "Joe…please don’t do this. I’m begging you. What do I have to do to prove to you I was wrong. I…I love you, I.."

"You don’t love me, Bobbi," Joe cut her off. "You love my money and my lifestyle. If you truly loved me, you wouldn’t do what you did. You would accept me as I am and what I was able to give you. But you turned around and did your own thing. It would’ve been less painful if you stuck a dagger between my ribs. There’s nothing you can do or say to prove anything to me."

Bobbi’s countenance quickly changed from pleading and apologetic to vengeful. "Fine, Joe. Fine. You want this to be quick and quiet, well forget it. I’ll make this more difficult that Karla ever did. I’ve been with you a long time and I’ll find what my rights are. I’ll find some kind of common law marriage something or other in this blasted damp country. Get an attorney Joe and see if I care. Mine will be contacting you!"

With that, Bobbi turned and stormed out of the house. The first thing that ran through Joe’s mind, believe it or not, was to change the locks. He pulled out a kitchen chair, sat down and buried his head in his hands. He didn’t even hear the sound of footsteps coming into the kitchen.

"Mate….are you okay?"

Joe looked up to see a very concerned and shaken Phil and Pete standing in the doorway. Joe winced.

"Don’t tell me you heard everything?"

"Well, Pete was behind the glass with the headphones on so he didn’t hear anything. And Nuala is back there vacuuming so she didn’t hear either. But we came out to get something to drink when we were halfway in and heard you and Bobbi screaming at each other," Sav said.

"Oh God," Joe murmured. "I just..I didn’t expect to see her. I was mad as hell and hurt at the same time. I had to get that off my chest. I just had to."

"Joe, you did what you had to do for closeure," Phil assured. "You did the right thing by not giving in. Besides, you have someone else in your life right now that…."

"Abby!" Joe bolted up.

"What?" Sav asked. "Where was she during all this?"

"Bobbi walked in the front door while we were kissing on the stairs. She dug into Abby pretty hard and she left. She was on her way out to go shopping anyway, but I’m not so sure now. I’ve got to find her! She’s got to know that I’m not taking Bobbi back. I’ve got to……"

"Hold on there mate," Sav said as he pulled his cell phone out and dialed his house. "Ello Paige…is Abby there by any chance?"

Sav heard Paiges’ answer, looked to Joe, smiled and nodded his head. Joe answered by grabbing his car keys and leaving. Sav smirked then said into the phone.

"Put on a pot of water for tea darlin’. You’re having more company!"

 

30

Abby sat at Paige’s kitchen table crying her heart out.

"Oh God, Paige…I knew it was too good to be true," Abby sobbed. "I know you told me what Bobbi did to Joe and that he couldn’t possibly take her back, but…they had six years together. We had six days and one incredibly passionate night together. How can that stand up to what they had?"

Paige sat there listening to one of the very few good friends she had torturing herself.

"Abby, I know what they had together," Paige reassured her. "Mind you, her and Joe were together for a few years before I met Rick, but I saw enough. I believe that Joe did love her, but that love can only be tested so far. Bobbi went past that limit with what she did."

"How do you know?" Abby questioned tearfully. "He’s probably making up with her right now."

Just then, the doorbell rang.

"I don’t think so," Paige said smugly as she got up to get the door.

Abby lifted her head and watched Paige walk out to get the door, wondering what she meant. Just then, she felt a small hand patting her leg. She looked down to see little Tyler with a concerned look on his face, trying to console her.

"Oh you precious, darling little boy," she murmured as she picked him up and hugged him tight.

Joe walked in the kitchen and saw Abby hugging Tyler. And heard her heartwrenching words.

"Oh God," she sobbed, "what I wouldn’t do to have a little one like you. It hurts, Tyler , it hurts so much, to want something you can’t have. But whats worse is losing something you thought you had. I thought I had Joe!"

"You still do, lass."

Abby looked up from where her face was buried in Tyler’s little body to see Joe standing there in the kitchen.

"J..J..Joe," she stammered. "W..w..what are you….?"

"I’m here for you, Abby. I had a feeling that shopping wasn’t on your mind when you left. Sav called after I kicked Bobbi out and Paige said you were here."

"You…you kicked her out?"

"Of course. What did you think I’d do?"

"Well, I thought you’d take her back."

Joe walked over and knelt down before her. Abby went to go put Tyler down but he hung onto her with a death grip.

"No! Stay!"

"Okay, honey," Abby whispered as she held him tight and rubbed her hand up and down his back. The tender, motherly instinct caused Joe’s chest to tighten.

"Abby, I can’t take Bobbi back. Not after what she did. You see…..how do I say this….I can’t have children. I had the mumps twice when I was younger and now I’m sterile. My chances of ever fathering a child are slim to none. As hard as its been, I’ve accepted it. I have no choice. Bobbi knew this from the get-go. Recently, we began to talk about adopting and she agreed with it. But then, she takes off for the States for three months, then calls me 6 days ago to tell me she got artificially inseminated."

"Oh my God!" Abby exclaimed.

"Yeah. It was a total slap in the face to me. I could never trust her again. She came back to say that it didn’t take and she’s no longer pregnant. But that doesn’t erase the fact that she went behind my back and betrayed me. I could not live with a woman like that anymore. I told her to get her things and get out for good."

"You…you did?"

"Yes, I did. Oh, she’s gonna blow some smoke about it, but she won’t get far. We’re not married so there’s not much she can do."

Joe took her hand. "Abby, I know we’ve only had six days and one incredible night together, but I feel something special between us. Call me crazy, but ever since we sang together, I felt a connection. It was like a magnet tugging on my heart and pulling me towards you. I know that sounds corny, but I don’t know how else to explain it. When we sang together luv, its like we were one person. I don’t want you to go after a week, Abby. Hell I don’t want you to go at all. I…I’m falling for you, lass. Big time and full time."

Abby let a slow smile spread across her face. "Joe, I…I’m falling for you too. But I thought it was too soon after you broke up with Bobbi. When she showed up today, I…..I thought that what we shared last night would be the last. I was so afraid of going that far with you only to get hurt. You see…I…, Joe…the scar on my stomach….I……"

Joe put a finger to her lips. "Shhh, you don’t have to say it. I know what you’re going to say. I can tell by the way you’re holding Tyler. And, I could tell by the way you held Scott the other day. You were very sad that night. Can I safely assume that you can’t have children either?"

Fresh tears welled up in Abby’s eyes as she bent her head and sobbed anew. She clung to Tyler even as Joe wrapped his arms around her.

"Its okay, luv. Trust me, I understand. But Abby, last night, you were more woman than I could ever have imagined. You have fire and passion strong enough to handle mine. Which is pretty strong, luv. You were so beautiful and sensual. I couldn’t get enough of you. I still can’t. I want you now, Abby, but I don’t think Sav would take too kindly to me shagging you on his kitchen table in front of his kids."

That last line was to make her laugh, and it did. Abby raised her tear stained face and stared into Joe’s. She then felt Tylers chubby little hand on her face.

"No cry."

Abby answered him by hugging him harder. Joe smiled and rubbed Tyler’s curly little head.

"See, better listen to him. He knows. I’d say he’s even smarter than his father!"

"Joe, you guys are so bad the way you back bite one another," she said wiping her face.

"Oh, lass they’re just words, is all. We love each other to death. Its just our way of letting off steam and having fun."

"Well, Mr. Elliott," Abby said. "Now that you’re here and we’ve ironed this matter out, whats next?"

"Hmm, well, I think I should take you back to the house, lock Pete and Phil in the Garage, kick Savage out in his lazy bum, send Nuala home for the day, take you up to bed and make screamin’ mad love to you."

Abby’s eyes widened as she covered Tyler’s ears. "Joe…you shouldn’t talk like that in front of him. He’s still so young."

"Abby, he can barely talk. I don’t think he’ll repeat what I just said to Sav. But what a hoot it would be if he did, huh?"

"You are a naughty boy, Joe."

"Luv, you haven’t even begun to know how bad I can be!" he threatened with a wicked gleam in his eyes and a flash of dimples.

"I believe I owe you a spanking from this morning," Abby mused.

"You better be prepared for the consequences, madam dominatrix," he warned. "My punishments are a lot more severe. But I promise that they’ll leave you panting for more."

"Hmm, well…in that case…I believe that I’ve been bad, sir. Lets see what you have in store."

Joe’s green eyes darkened as he began to get very aroused. He stood up and took a protesting Tyler from her.

"Paige!" he called out.

Paige walked in the kitchen. "Yes?"

"Here, take your son out of here so I can kiss this woman good and proper. I don’t want Sav thinking that I’m carrying on in front of the children."

Paige took Tyler and left the two lovebirds alone. Joe lifted Abby out of the chair to stand in front of him. He wrapped his arms around her and gave her the kiss of a lifetime.

Abby broke the kiss as Joe continued to nibble on her neck. "Um..Joe, I don’t think we should’ve started this here."

"You know," he muttered in between nibbles, "I think it might be a nice housewarming gift for Sav, to christen his kitchen with a good, clean shag!"

"Joe! Stop. C’mon, lets go back to your house. I much prefer the white satin sheets."

"Me too, luv. Me too."

EPILOGUE

ONE YEAR LATER

What a difference a year makes!

Abby Ross-Elliott sat at the vanity in her and Joe’s masterbedroom suite. She just finished dabbing white musk oil, Joe’s favorite, behind her ears. She stood up and checked her appearance. Her short black dress hugged her firm lucious body to perfection. She knew her husband would love it.

Joe Elliott. Her husband of 6 months today. And tonight, Abby had a very special anniversary dinner planned. He had a 3 month break in their current tour to support their ‘X’ album and she was gonna make the best of it. She knew that once these three months were over, both their lives were gonna be crazy.

The most exciting turn of events in her life came when the ballad, "Forever With You", was released. It caused absolute mayhem! Def Leppard was back in the spotlight after a two year absence and, as Joe predicted, everyone wanted to know who ‘Abby Ross’ was.

When it was revealed that she was an unknown singer, not to mention Joe Elliott’s lady love, the phone never stopped ringing. Offers from record companies began pouring in as well as invitations to to be on Letterman and Leno.

Abby was in a spin over all the buzz the record caused. Of course, knowing nothing about the music business at all, she deferred to Joe on everything. Abby agreed to let Joe find her a manager and choose an appropriate record deal for her. Once everything was signed on the dotted line, she and Joe got to work writing songs together.

They shared some of their most intimate moments together when they were writng and discovered things about one another that were never revealed. Most writing sessions ended up with them throwing their pencils down, tearing each others clothes off and making wild love. It was an exhaustive process!

She and Joe fell more deeply in love during this time and there was no denying to Joe that Abby was the one.

One night, she let him read the rest of her poetry journal to which Joe found some gems to turn into songs, which made the song writing process all the more quicker.

After a month of writing lyrics and music for about 8 songs, Pete assembled a group of studio musicians for Abby to go into the studio and record. Joe was by her side the entire time. It was the fastest, easiest recording session that Joe had ever experienced in his life!

The recording process was finished just as Def Leppard were about to embark on their ‘X’ tour. Abby accompanied Joe in the beginning, but had to break away when Pete needed her back to re-record some parts. As soon as she was done, she flew back to Joe’s side.

About 3 months into Def Leppard’s successful tour, Abby’s debut album ‘Torn To Pieces’, was released. It was a record filled with songs about overcoming heartache, pain and love gone wrong. Kind of a cross between Melissa Etheridge and Alannis Morrisette.

As soon as the album was released, people recognized the name instantly and it was snatched off the shelves faster than they could be stocked. Abby left Joe on tour briefly to film the video for her first single, ‘Desperation’, which got major play on VH-1 and MTV.

Then, during a 3 day break in the tour, Abby, Joe and the rest of the band got together and quickly churned out the much anticipated video for ‘Forever with You’. It fueled both the sales of ‘Torn to Pieces’ and ‘X’.

One month later, during a show in New York, Abby’s home state, Joe invited Abby onstage with Def Leppard for the first ever live performance of ‘Forever With You’. The crowd went absolutely wild. It was after the high, energy filled perfomance, that Joe, in front of a crowd of 8,000 people, asked Abby to marry him. Then the crowd went beserk.

Wanting none of the fancy frills of a celebrity wedding, Abby and Joe opted to get married on June 21st, the first day of summer, outside, under a flower strewn gazaebo with just immediately family, friends and band surrounding them.

At one point during the wedding reception, Joe and Abby came upon Sav and Paige. Sav wiped away an imaginary tear and sniffed.

"Oh, whats wrong with you?" Joe said unsympathetically.

"Joe.. sniff sniff….,now that you’re married…is it officially over between us?"

"Don’t start with me on my wedding day, fairy boy," Joe warned. "Then again, I’m too bloody happy to let anything bother me…not even you Sav."

He gave Abby a long, lusty kiss to which Abby broke free and looked at him. "I don’t know, Joe," she said. "I think after all these years that you should get it out of your system. What do you think, Paige?"

Paige looked to Sav then back to Abby. "I think so. Lord knows, they’ve been fighting it for years. C’mon, Joe, why don’t you just shut him up for good."

Joe rolled his eyes, prepping himself for what he was about to do. Then, without warning, he reached for Sav, bent him backwards and gave him a big wet kiss on the mouth.

Just as Viv, Rick and Phil walked in.

"I knew it!" Rick exclaimed. "I just knew it! Took you twenty five years, but I knew you’d give in to your lust for one another. But Joe…on your wedding day? Tacky!"

"Uh…uh..uh, okay," Viv stammered. "Um, guys…I think when the tour resumes, I’ll be, uh..showering alone, thank you."

And, Phil being Phil, spread his arms wide and looked to Joe.

"Aye mate! Where’s mine?"

Joe straightened a very stunned Sav upwards and walked towards Phil. "Oh, you’re gonna get yours, Collen. And..I’m gonna use tongue!"

"Oh no, mate! No…." Phil protested and ran as Joe chased after him.

Meanwhile, Abby and Paige stared at at Sav who had a look on his face like he just ate a lemon.

"Don’t look like that Rick. You’ve been asking for it." Paige asked.

"Um…excuse me ladies," Sav said disgustedly. "I’ve got to go wash my mouth out with soap."

Sav took off for the men’s room as Abby turned to Paige. "Well, I guess I don’t have to worry about Rick trying to steal Joe from me."

The two women shared a laugh over their men before Abby went in search of Joe who finally caught a very reluctant and very disgusted Phil. Just then, Sav came from the bathroom and went up to Joe.

"I’ve had better!"

"Well, maybe I should use tongue on you like I did on Collen!"

"Do that mate," Sav said, "and you’re new bride will be a new widow."

Ahhh, everything was back to normal!

After one highly, passion filled wedding night, she and Joe had to get back on tour with the rest of the band. By now, both her and Def Leppard’s albums had gone multi-platinum. She felt like she was living in someone elses fantasy.

Her manager had contacted her about the demand to do a tour to promote her album but she declined at the moment. She was a newlywed and wanted time with her new husband to finish his tour before she made any hardcore commitments about hers.

Abby grinned as she thought of all that transpired as she walked out of the bedroom. As she did, she ran into Joe coming out of a spare room. Joe’s eyes ran all over her delicious body in that black dress before grinning wickedly.

"Christ woman," he said running his hand up and down her back and bottom. "You get sexier every day."

"Nevermind that, Joe," she said. "What have you been doing in that room?"

"Um, I’ve hidden your anniversary present in there."

"Joe, we’ve been back from tour for 5 days and you’ve been in and out of there ever since. What have you got in there?"

"Well, if I tell you, it won’t be a surprise, will it?"

Abby sighed. "I thought we agreed on no gifts?"

"I know, I know," he said. "But, as soon as the idea came to me, I just couldn’t resist. Trust me, after this, I promise."

"Okay," she agreed as they shared a kiss before descending the stairs.

They agreed to stay in for a quiet anniversary dinner. Abby had set a small, candlelit table for two and Joe had had ordered dinner from a local gourmet place. She wanted to cook something, but he didn’t want her to be bothered.

Suddenly the doorbell rang.

"That’s probably dinner. I’ll get it," Joe said.

Abby started to clear space on the counter when in walked Joe with his attorney. Abby’s brows knitted together.

"Norman? What are you doing here?"

"Well, Joe asked me to come by tonight. There’s some papers you need to sign."

Abby eyed Joe. "Honey, isn’t it a little late to be asking for a pre-nup?"

Joe laughed. "Are you kidding? With the money you’ve made these last several months, you should be asking me for one! Norman, I hit the jackpot and married a rich woman."

Norman chuckled before turning to Abby. "No, these are papers that Joe signed earlier and he asked me to bring them by tonight for you."

"What kind of papers?" Abby asked.

Norman looked to Joe who nodded before turning back to Abby.

"Adoption papers."

Abby felt herself go numb as he heart began to pound. "W..what?"

Just then, Joe and Norman looked towards the archway that led to the front door. In walked Norman’s wife, holding a little bundle wrapped in a snow white blanket.

Abby stared transfixed, disbelieving what was happening. "J..J.Joe….w..w..what?"

"Not what, luv…but who. Our daughter."

Abby looked at Joe with a mixture of shock and joy, tears immediately escaping her eyes. "Joe? Are you serious?"

"As soon as you sign those papers it will be. I already had Norman go over them with a fine-tooth comb and I signed them yesterday. They’re all set luv. Sign them and she’s ours."

Abby took the pen that Norman held out for her. Trusting Joe with her life, she signed her name in the appropriate places and handed the pen back to Norman.

"Congratulations you two," Norman said. "And…happy anniversary!"

Abby looked up with a tear stained face as Norman’s wife walked forward and placed the tiny baby girl in Abby’s arms. Abby had to sit down because she was too shaken to stand. She looked at the tiny sleeping face, the soft flawless skin, button nose and little curved mouth, held her as tight as she could without hurting her and cried.

That was Norman’s signal to leave. He winked at Joe before he and his wife showed themselves out.

Joe turned to his wife and new daughter, filled with such overwhelming joy and satisfaction that he could fill the empty place inside of her. He knelt down on the kitchen floor beside her chair, kissed the baby’s head then raised Abby’s to look in her eyes.

"I know we agreed not to get each other gifts because, with all we have, there isn’t anything we could possible need. We were wrong, luv. We needed her. And…she needs us. She’s only 2 months old. She’s from Scotland. Her and her parents were in a car accident a month ago. Her parents died from head injuries, but she survived in the back in the car seat. The only immediate family she had after that was a grandmother who was sick with cancer and unable to care for her. I had Norman going out of his mind searching for a baby when he came upon their story. The grandmother, although sick, immediately agreed that the baby's welfare was more important and agreed to give her up for adoption."

Abby couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She was torn between crying and laughing. She did both. Suddenly, Joe helped her up.

"Come, luv…there’s something I want you to see."

He led the two of them up the stairs. Abby stopped and handed the baby to Joe. "Joe, I’m shaking too much to carry her up the stairs. Please, take her."

"Of course, luv. That’s what I’m here for. To protect my two ladies."

With the baby nestled in the crook of one arm, he took Abby’s hand and walked up the stairs. He led them to the room that Joe had been coming in and out of the last 5 days. He opened the door and Abby almost collapsed.

The room was done up in a nursery for a baby girl. The walls were awash with seashell pink with little white clouds sponged here and there. A white, lacquer crib sat in the center of the room with a mobile of sleeping angels hanging above it. A matching changing table and dresser were against the other two walls.

"Open the closet, luv."

Abby padded carefully across the new white carpet and opened the closet. Inside, hanging up, were about 3 dozen little outfits. On the floor were packages of diapers, wipes, shampoo, baby bath, bottles, formula and linens. She turned incredulous eyes to Joe.

"While we were on tour, I commissioned all this to be done. Nuala was here everyday while we were gone and kept a sharp eye on everything. Once we got back, I had to keep the room locked but I was in and out trying to put the furniture together without you knowing about it. Nuala bought all the supplies on the floor and my mum bought all those outfits and shipped them here. She’s sooo excited and can’t wait to see her ‘granddaughter’. Oh, by the way, Jewels, Lauren and Anita are at Sav’s house and tomorrow, Paige is having a little baby shower for you."

Abby couldn’t take her tear filled eyes off of her wonderful, wonderful husband. "You did all this?" she barely whispered.

"Yes, I did," Joe said as he shifted the wakening baby in his arms. "We have three months alone with her before I have to go back on tour. We can then take her with us with a nanny, if you’d like. Then, once the tour is over, you’ll probably be doing a short one. Now was the best time and I didn’t want to wait. Hopefully, after your tour is over, we can give her a baby brother."

Abby ran forward and, careful not to disturb the baby, threw her arms around Joe and kissed him passionately. "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!" she whispered tearfully in between kisses.

All of a sudden, the baby opened her eyes and let out a yawn and a soft cooing sound. Abby gasped when she saw her eyes.

"Joe! My God. Look how green they are!"

"I know, just like yours. All the more reason she belongs to us."

"We have to name her."

"Well, she already has a name, but we can change it. Her name is Grace."

"Grace," Abby whispered. "No, I wouldn’t change it. Its perfect. She’s perfect. Lets just skip dinner and stare at her all night. I can’t get over how beautiful she is. Wait until she grows up. Hmmm, I think Tyler and Scott may fight over her."

Joe’s eyes darkened. "My daughter isn’t getting anywhere near those Savage boys, especially if they grow up to be like their father! I’m putting a padlock on her…you know…down there…and she’s not leaving the house until she’s 30!"

"Hmm, by then you’ll be too old to stop her."

"Old? Old?" Joe walked over to the crib and put Grace in it before turning to his gorgeous wife.

"Come here, luv. Let me show you just how old I really am and how soft this new carpet really is!"