Sarah leaned back in her chair and watched as Howie, Kevin, AJ, and Jon talked to the band. They were going over the schedule and the type of music to be played at each show. The band was asking questions as well trying to get acquainted with Sarah’s music.
While she was sitting there, Richie joined her but didn’t say a word. Sarah looked over at him and realized he was upset.
“Good morning, Mr. Sambora,” she greeted cheerfully hoping to snap him out of his mood.
“Morning,” was all he mumbled. Then to Jon, “Maybe they should play the music instead of talking about it.”
Jon quickly caught onto Richie’s mood. “They’re going to practice. We just wanted to give them an idea of the music.”
Seeing Richie didn’t like the answer, Sarah spoke up quickly. “Let’s do ‘Underneath Your Clothes’,” and she jumped up to join the others.
“That’s a good choice,” said Jon. “It’s slow and Sarah’s first single.”
“And something I’m going to do no matter where I play.”
Kevin pulled the music for the song and handed it to Laddie while Sarah took her mike.
Howie went to her and took her by the waist giving her a kiss. “It’s going to be perfect, ‘Angel’,” he whispered.
“I know. These guys are good. It’s just a matter of us getting to know each other.” Sarah glanced over Howie’s shoulder to see Richie still simmering. “’D’, Richie’s upset about something. He almost went off on Jon.”
“That’s why you decided to go ahead and practice before the guys could run through the music?”
“Yeah. I’ll talk to Richie later…see if it’ll help.”
“Focus on your music. If Richie wants to talk to you, he’ll come to you.” Seeing his wife about to protest, he put his finger on her lips. “I’m SERIOUS, Sarah. You need to stay out of it until he asks you.”
“Okay! Okay!” she conceded. “I promise not to butt in.”
“Thank you. Now do what you do best, ‘Angel’,” smiled Howie.
“I thought I was supposed to practice my music, not love you.”
“Second best thing then,” laughed Howie as he gave her another quick kiss.
“Okay, guys! Let’s play some music,” said Sarah after Howie was with the others.
For the next four hours, Sarah and her band practiced her music. Things started out a little rocky but as they got to know each other and the music better, things smoothed out. Richie’s foul mood didn’t help in the beginning either but that too seemed to smooth over.
As they finished the last of the songs from Sarah’s CD, a pizza delivery guy entered the studio and Jon called, “Lunch. Let’s go.”
Sarah turned to her band, “That was awesome guys.”
At the same time, Richie caught Howie and asked quietly, “Do you mind if I borrow Sarah for lunch?”
“No, I don’t mind.”
Richie grabbed a pizza box and as Sarah approached, he said, “Grab a couple drinks and come with me.”
Sarah looked at Howie who nodded ‘okay’ and followed Richie.
Two rooms over where there was a piano and guitar, Richie set the pizza on the piano and took a drink from Sarah. He was quiet as he got himself a slice of pizza and took a seat on the couch.
Sarah did the same and they ate in silence.
Finally, Richie said, “Let’s work on some music.”
“Okay.” Sarah looked at him dubiously. She knew something was eating at him but he wasn’t quite ready to open up. “Do you have something in mind?”
Richie picked up the guitar and began strumming as Sarah watched his fingers move nimbly across the strings. The melody he played was soft, sort of romantic, and she closed her eyes trying to get a feel for it.
Suddenly, the music stopped and Richie said, “Heather accused me of having an affair.”
“A reporter got pictures of us in Nashville and sent them to her.” Richie looked at Sarah who was stunned. Setting his guitar down, he reached out to take her hands. “Don’t worry. The pictures won’t go anywhere.”
“I’m not worried about that. Did you tell her there wasn’t anything going on?”
“I tried, but she was pissed and wouldn’t listen. You don’t know how lucky you are to be able to travel with Howie when he’s on tour. It’s put a strain on our marriage.”
“She knew what you did when you got married.”
“Yeah, she did but no one really understands until they’re in it.”
“Why don’t you go home then…spend some time with her and Ava?”
“You’re helping me. GO HOME! Jon’s here and can take care of anything.”
“We have the show to do and rehearsal for it.”
“You aren’t going to be much good if you’re grouchy,” show Sarah.
Richie laughed, “I was pretty bad, wasn’t I?”
“I’ve seen worse with Kevin but yeah, you were pretty bad.”
“I’m sorry, baby,” apologized Richie.
“It’s okay. I’m just glad you felt comfortable talking to me.”
“Of course I felt comfortable.” Looking at his watch, he said, “We’d better head back before Howie starts looking for you.”
“He won’t come looking for me. Why don’t you send Heather some flowers?”
There was a knock on the door and Howie stuck his head in. “’Angel’, Ilse is here with the twins.”
“Is something wrong?”
“Not with the twins but Ilse isn’t feeling well.”
“Stay put. Dwayne’s hunger and this room is quiet.”
“I’ll let you have some privacy,” offered Richie.
“Don’t go,” said Sarah. “We can talk more while I’m feeding the twins.”
“Are you sure?”
“Positive. Howie, what are we going to do after I’ve fed them?”
“Stay here so you can keep practicing with your band. You’ve got too many commitments to not get this right. There are enough people here to help out. I’m going to take Ilse back to the hotel and get her something for her cold. Then I’ll come back here.”
“I’ll be back in a minute.”
“Not going anywhere, ‘D’.” The door closed and Sarah took Richie’s hand. “Is there anything else I can do to help?”
“You’ve done enough, Sarah. Thank you for listening.”
“It’s the least I can do after all you’ve done for me.”
“Listening to my problems is not necessary. When you hit it big, that will be all the ‘thank you’ I’ll need.” Leaning to her, he gave her a kiss on the cheek. “You’re a good friend.”
Howie returned with the twins and Sarah got comfortable on the couch before he handed Dwayne to her. He hung around long enough to make sure everything was okay then headed back to the hotel with Ilse.
Chapter 107 Index