Sunday, October 19, 2008

Ch. 29

Over the next few days, Trina kept a careful distance from Jon.

She acquainted herself with New Jersey life. She learned where the local stores, shopping malls and theatres were.

She loved it. It reminded her of own hometown. Everything was so close to Jon’s home, yet far enough from him to give him the distance right now he so needed.

His home was beautiful. Although sparse because of his ongoing touring schedule, she loved how open and airy the contemporary designed home was.

Juanita was a joy. It was clear that she cared more about Jon the person and not so much Jon the singer. Each day she learned something new about Jon from her.
Fresh from running errands, Trina went into the kitchen. She watched as Juanita took out two cookie sheets of chocolate chip cookies from the oven.

“Mmmm. Smells great in here.” Trina said as she walked into the kitchen.
“Well darlin, you’re just in time. You may want to take a couple of these before you know who realizes they’re here.”

Trina laughed. “Glad to see that he can eat solid food again.”

Juanita laughed. “I thought I’d have to kill a cow they way he ate that steak the other night. By the way, where were you at dinner?” She asked.

Trina sighed as she sat down at the counter. “I didn’t want to impose. I think I pushed it a few days ago when I talked to him.”

Juanita shook her head in disagreement.
“He told me a little bit about that. To be honest, whatever it was, he needed to hear it.” She said as she took a couple of cookies off of the cookie sheet and placed them onto a plate.

His assistant passed the plate to Trina. Trina picked up one of the cookies and took a bite. The cookie was delicious, chewy, rich. She especially loved how the the chocolate chips melted in her mouth.

“Yum!” Trina yelped.

Juanita smiled proudly as she poured her a glass of milk. She placed it next to Trina’s plate.

“Thank you.” Replied Trina as she took another bit of her cookie.

“He’s not God Trina. You didn’t overstep. In order for things to change, he needs to hear every now and then, a no to go with all the yes’ he hears on a daily basis.” Juanita told her.

“I suggested that he change things after the tour. I told him that maybe Doc didn’t have his best interest at heart.” Trina told her looking sad.

“What was wrong with that? Jon’s got to make changes anyway because of his voice. I would have told him that if I had the opportunity.”

Trina took a sip of her milk. “Yeah?” she asked Juanita.

Juanita nodded her head. “Absolutely.”

“So you don’t think he’s mad at me?” Trina asked

Checking to see if the cookies had cooled down a bit, Juanita began to place the cookies in two large glass cookie jars. She turned to Trina.

“Not at all. Trust me, if he wanted you out. He would have told me so. Well, he would have written it.” Juanita snickered.

Trina felt relieved. “Good. I’m worried that if he continues after this tour at the pace he’s going, he’ll do even more damage to his voice.”

“He will. You’re right.” Juanita told her.

“Think he’ll listen?” Trina asked her.

Juanita nodded her head. “Obie and Paul are in Jon’s office with him now. Maybe they're already trying to make changes.”

Trina continued to eat the cookies as Juanita began to clean up in kitchen.

She couldn’t help but wonder what and if was being said to Jon at that moment.


The three men were in Jon’s office attempting to spread out the remaining dates of the Jersey Syndicate as much as possible.

“No one’s budging Jon. Even the European ones.” Paul told him as he continued to look through the itinerary.

Jon pursed his lips in disgust. He was mad that no one would make any changes to the dates.

The fuckers were eager to add them, but now won’t budge. You’d think I’d made a deal with the devil. Shit! How could they not compromise?’ he thought to himself.

He took another long look at the itinerary with Obie and Paul. He shrugged his shoulders, took the pen and notebook from his side and began to write for several seconds. When he was done he passed it to Paul.

He wrote, ‘Nothing we can do. I’ll just have to be careful.’

Paul passed the notebook back to him.

“Now that we’re done with that. How are you feeling?” Obie asked him.

“You look good.” Paul said.

Jon smiled. He wrote in the notebook and passed it to his friend.

Jon wrote, ‘Feel good. Throat hurts every now and then but I feel so much better.’

“Trina keeping you company?” Obie asked.

Jon nodded his head. He mouthed ‘No.’

“What?” Paul and Obie said together.

Jon put up his hands. He began to write in the notebook again for a few seconds. When he was done he passed it to Obie. The message read,

It was my fault. She gave me some advice and I wasn’t that great to her. I wasn’t mean. Just not that receptive.’

“Why?" asked Obie as he gave the notebook back to him.

Jon wrote back to him.

To change things. Scale things back because of my voice.'

Obie laughed.

“Oh you mean like you were just trying to do now?”

Jon smirked at his longtime friend.

“She’s right. Now tell her she’s right and that you’re sorry.” Obie told him.

Jon put his head down on his desk.

Paul got up from his chair.

“Okay, my cue to leave. I’ll come back in a couple of weeks to check up on you. Try to behave will you?”

Jon looked up and nodded. Paul snickered. “These are going to be some fun weeks. See ya later.”

Jon nodded. He shook his head. He began to write in his noteobok to Obie.

Obie looked concerned as he watched him write. Before Jon passed the noteook to him. He took a deep breath.

“What is it?” Obie asked. Jon passed the notebook to him.

She makes me crazy Obie. I want her to be around; but then I hear Ally in my head telling me not to trust her. I feel all of this doubt, but yet she helps all of you with this crap and I’m so grateful. But that little voice in keeps saying. What if? Why is she really doing is?’

Obie rolled his eyes. “She told you. She cares about you. You’re her friend. Ally’s an idiot. Trina could have sent you, me and everyone else up the river. But she didn’t. Why the hell do you care what Ally thinks?”

Obie passed him the notebook. Jon wrote a message and quickly passed it back to him.

Jon wrote, ‘I don’t care about Ally. I just think I’m thinking about this too much lately. You told me to slow down with Trina and all I do now is wonder about how and what she thinks of me.’

Obie laughed as he passed the notebook back to Jon.
“You now have time to tell her what and why you’re feeling this way. You care about her. Tell her that. Sort all of this crap out and see where all of this goes.”

Jon nodded in agreement.

“Do you want her here?” Obie asked.

Jon nodded his head in approval.
Obie got up. He touched the blank sheet of Jon’s notebook that was across from him.
“Then tell her. Enjoy this time. It’s the longest break we’ve had in a long time. Everyone will be fine. You’ve worked so hard that I think you’ve forgotten that there’s more to life than the music business. All of us want you well and if it turns out that makes you a changed person well then so be it. People who know you, want you back. Find that person again. When you do, talk to Trina.”

Jon smiled at him.

“Don’t thank me. Don’t thank me. I love how you have to listen to me now. I’ll be even happier when John Bongiovi comes back because we have cars to build.”

Jon laughed.

“See ya tomorrow.” Obie said as he walked out. Jon looked at the plain sheet of paper.

Okay. What to write, what to write. What am I going to say to her?’ Jon thought as he took his out his pen and began to write.

‘Trina, the other day when you talked with me about things needing to change, I realized how right you were…’

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ch. 28

A few days later, Jon left the hospital with Juanita and Trina in tow.

Although he would listen to the doctors, he couldn’t help but worry about how all of this would end up.

Maybe it’s time to think of things besides music. Obie’s right. What else should I do? What else can I do?’ he asked himself.

In a rare moment for him, he was sitting on the couch of his media room with absolutely nothing to do.

He appeared well-rested as he was back on a regular sleep schedule. The effects from the steroid injections were also beginning to wear off.

Trina who was adjusting to her surroundings in both New Jersey and in Jon’s home, went into the media room where she saw him sitting there with a pad and pen blankly.

“What’s up?” She asked as she sat down next to him.

He shrugged his shoulders. He began to write in the notebook and passed it along to Trina.

He wrote, ‘Absolutely nothing.’

Trina giggled. “Is that bad?” She asked as she passed him back the notebook. He began to write, he looked up at her, sighed and passed her the book.

He wrote, ‘It is when you have people who are out of a job because they depended on me.’

Trina shook her head.

“I know. But if you’re not healthy or can’t sing a note, how are you going to help them?” She retorted as she passed him the book.

He scribbled out something quickly and passed her the book.

Jon wrote, ‘It wasn’t that bad.’

Trina looked at him in disbelief. She shook her as as she passed the notebook back to him.

“You’re kidding right? You hemorrhaged a vocal cord. You nearly killed yourself on those freaking steroid injections. Maybe you’re still feeling the effects from them after hearing that crap just now. ” Trina said giving him back the notebook.

Jon lifted his eyebrows as he began to write in the notebook. He passed it back to her.

It read, ‘I should have taken a couple of days off like the doctor said. But this? A freaking month of not saying anything? Maybe longer?”

Trina took a deep breath in anticipation for the venom that Jon was about to spew when he heard what she was going to say.

“I’m telling you this as a friend Jon, but this is of your own doing. You controlled this. You decided to go on when you weren’t ready. You helped set these dates up.”

Suddenly Jon’s eyes narrowed. His lips were a straight line. He wrote feverisly in the notebook. He passed it to her. In it he wrote;

'Not all of it! You don’t know what you’re talking about!'

“Then tell me. It’s not like we’ve got anything else better to do. I’d like to help you if I can.” She said as she passed the notebook back to him.

He wrote out of a few words and passed the book back to her.

He wrote, ‘You wouldn’t understand.’ Trina passed the notebook back to him.

“I bet you that I would understand.” She reassured him.

She leaned again the couch in an attempt to relax. “Try me.”

Dear God, I’m at the mercy of my employee. She’s not going to back down is she?’ Jon thought. ‘Great... Not like I have anything going on. Might as well just tell her and let her decide on who’s right or wrong.’ Jon thought.

He began to write about his voice problems beginning with the end of the Slippery tour. He had been touring for over a year. A combination of different time zones, lack of sleep and allergies was torture on his voice.

To manage the swelling of his vocal cords, the guys sang the high notes for him and Jon took steroid injections to bring down the swelling.

He continued to write in the notebook as Trina watched the words spill quickly from his pen to the page.

He wrote about how proud he was of the Slippery tour and how both Doc and his record label wanted to capitalize on the band’s success.

All parties agreed that Bon Jovi would release another album after a brief hiatus. At the time, it wasn’t really a problem for Jon and Richie because they had a ton of song writing ideas they wanted to expand on. But to be honest, they were tired. They should have stopped then, but everyone let them go on because it was in everyone’s best interest for them to write and release their current album on time and without a hitch.

As they started to mix the current album, the tour was already being put together. Granted, the tour started two months after the album was released, but Doc warned them that it’d be a long one due to such high public demand. As Trina read that last part she passed the notebook back to him.

She was upset at Doc and the other people around him who appeared to have very little regard for what was best for Jon and the band. They were being treated as a product. Not people. For someone who gave her an opportunity because he understood what it was like to fight for what he wanted; all of this was a lot to absorb.

“Okay I get it. But you could have set the pace. Why all of the dates? Some venues are going to be getting shows three times when we go back on the road.” She asked.

He smiled as he wrote in thte notebook and passed it back to her.

He wrote, ‘Without the fans. I wouldn’t be doing this. I love them just as much as they love us.’

‘I’ll say this again, without your voice or your health. You couldn’t do this for them. I’m sure Doc and others also saw the bottom line in all of this. But they also should have cared more about all of you instead of fattening their wallets.” she said.

Jon looked sadly at the notebook. He wrote for a bit and gave it to her.

Jon wrote, ’Dot was pressuring me too. She’d tell me people are depending on you. We got the house now. The guys all have houses now. Time to stop demanding what you’re going to do and not do and just go to work.”

Trina passed the notebook to him. “Dot fell more in love with the lifestyle than with you. Hell, you gave her designer clothes, jewelry. She rode in limos and flew in private jets. What lady wouldn’t love that? But at the end of the day Jon, if you don’t have the one thing or the things that have made you who you are; then what the hell are you? “ Trina asked him.

Jon looked at her blankly. She was right. He had let things go so far that he had no idea on how to fix it.

“While you’re on “vacation”. Maybe it’s time to think about running things differently after this tour is over. Your voice will need the break.” Trina suggested.

Jon wrote in the notebook. He passed to her.
He wrote, ‘Not so easy. I wouldn’t even know how to to begin. This tour isn’t over for awhile.’

She passed it back to him.

“Okay. Then maybe you need to start thinking about what you’re going to do after your singing career is over because this album/tour, album/tour thing is going to permanently damage your voice and then you’ll be left with memories of what it was like when.” She said getting up from the couch. Trina turned to him.

“Jon, you can either begin to find out who you are now, or continue to just being a part of machine that doesn’t care how sick or how broken you are. Remember the fighter? Think it’s time for him to make a comeback.” Trina said walking out of the media room.

He looked at the notebook. He wrote to himself ‘She’s right. But it’s easier said than done. I couldn’t tell Doc to stop. He’s helped make me and this band what we are. I just can’t turn my back on him.’

He continued to put his thoughts on paper.
No one’s ever told me what she did before besides Obie. Wonder what she thinks is in it for her?' He wrote.

Jon couldn’t help for a split second to think about what Ally had said about how little they knew about Trina.

Then he took a step back.
She could have told her bosses about all of of this and it would have been front and center in the music section. Think Jon….Think!’

Juanita came into the media room with a tray of soup and tea. She placed it down in front of him and sat down next to him.

“Thought you’be getting hungry.” she told him.

He looked at her for a quick moment. He began to write in the notebook for a minute. He passed it to her. Jon wrote,

How many more days of this? Two? Three?'

“Geez, you’re not counting it down are you? Three days Jonny until you can have solid food.” Juanita laughed as she passed him the notebook back.

He smiled as he rubbed his belly just thinking of his first dinner in a few days.

“I suppose you know what you’d like for your 1st meal?” Juanita teased.

He passed the notebook to her. She let out a huge belly laugh as she read.
‘Steak... Corn on the cob...Mashed potatoes...Salad... More steak... Apple pie.’

“I made two pies because I have a feeling the first is going to go during dinner. Maybe I should make three?” Juanita asked.

Jon nodded his head in approval.

Juanita laughed. “You got it. So, I saw that Trina was here. Keeping you company?”

Jon looked confused. He wrote in the notebook and passed it to her.

It read, ‘What do you think of her?’ Juanita smiled as she gave him back the notebook.

“She’s great. I really like her. She’s a lot like you in so many ways. She doesn’t back down. She loyal. Knows where she’s from.” Juanita said proudly.

Jon smiled.

He wrote in the notebook. He passed it back to her.
He wrote, ‘I like her too. Do you think I did the right thing by hiring her?’

Juanita passed him back the notebook. “Absolutely. Look at your shows. She apparently was a hit on the radio with Richie. People are looking forward to seeing her on the road so that she could add them to her stories and that's more good publicity for all of you.”

Jon took a deep breath and began to write. He passed the notebook to her. He wrote],.
Do you think she’s getting too close? Look at what’s happened.’ Juanita nodded and passed the notebook back to him.

“No. I don’t. This was your idea remember? She was trying out to be a music report for her local paper. You decided that you saw something in her that was even better and gave her an opportunity. Why? Because she’s a great writer. She’s so driven like you to succeed and get it right. That’s a good person. Look at Dot. Fame clouded her so much that she didn’t care if it killed you or not. She wanted what she wanted.” Juanita told him.

Jon nodded his head in approval. Juanita continued.
“Trina could care less about seeing when the next Gucci purse comes out or what label she’s wearing. She could have told everyone about your voice and she didn’t. Now, where the hell is all this coming from with you all of a sudden?"

Jon shrugged his shoulders and nodded.

“She’s a friend Jonny. If she talked to you and gave you some advice, try to consider it as if it were me or anyone else who knows you best.”

Jon looked at her blankly. Juanita got up from the couch and kissed him on the forehead.
“Before you begin to write another novel, I think you need to drink your broth and tea before they get cold.”

Jon snickered.

“Three more days Jonny. And while you’re waiting. Listen. Listen to all of us okay?”

Jon nodded. He picked up the cup of broth and rolled his eyes as he drank it down.

Juanita let out a huge laugh.

“God, there are times like this when I really love job. Today is one of them. ” Juanita laughed all the way out of the room.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ch 27

A couple of hours later, as everyone kept vigil in the waiting room, the doctors came out looking stone-faced.

Carol and John Bongiovi got up and went over to the doctors.

“Well?” John asked. “How did it go ?” he continued.

The doctors appeared to be hesistant as they looked carefully over the small group that was anxiously awaiting word of Jon’s condition.

Trina was a mixture of nerves and concern for Jon.

‘Why are they looking at all of us?’ She thought as she twittled her thumbs.

‘Why don’t they just tell us?’ she thought as she watched the two doctors continue to look at the group.

Something felt wrong to her.

The throat surgeon looked at them all. He smiled grimly.

“We got the edema and drained the fluid off of his vocal cords. He’ll have some swelling for a while but he should be okay for now.” The doctor told them.

“For now?” Carol asked.

“It is again crticial everyone that Jon not talk. We explained it to him before we took him down to surgery and I think he understands he could risk further damage to his cords if he attempts to talk.”

Carol nodded. “For a solid month right Doc?”

The surgeon nodded. “A month is minimum. Maybe a little longer. The good news is that the damage could have been much worse, the edema mainly affected his right vocal cord. So that’s why it’s just good for now that he rests and takes care of himself.”

“I’ll make sure he does that.” Juanita said. “By the way, y’all didn’t give him that notebook and pen yet did you?” she continued

The surgeon snickered. “No. We didn’t. He’s in recovery resting comfortably.” He replied.

“Can we go see him?” Carole asked.

“Sure. But just a couple at a time. The steroid injections also took a toll on him physically, he needs as much rest as possible. ”

“Okay Doc, thanks.” John said. “Carol, why don’t you and Juanita go first.” he told him.

“John, are you sure?” Juanita asked.

“He thinks of you as his second mother. Go, it’s fine Juanita.” John told her.

Escorted by the doctors, Carol and Juanita went into the recovery room where Jon was slept soundly.

The two ladies sat on each side of him.

Juanita smoothed back one of his long, brown strands of hair.

Jon slowly glanced at her. Groggy from the anesthesia, Jon’s eyes began to open, he turned towards Juanita. She smiled warmly at him.

‘Okay, what’s happened?’ Jon thought.

When he attempted to talk, a shearing pain rushed from his larynx up to his throat.

He immediately grabbed his throat.

“Oh no Jonny! Don’t talk darlin. No!” said Juanita.

Carold tapped his arm gently. “She’s right honey. You’ll do more harm to yourself if you speak.”

Jon was still trying to remember what happened as he began to focus on his surroundings.

‘I was trying to apologize…’ He thought as he looked at Carol.

She smiled tenderly at her son.

“You’ve just gotten out of emergency surgery. You’ve hemorrhaged one of your vocal cords.” She told him.

“It’s very important Jonny that you don’t speak. Your voice needs time to heal.” Juanita said softly.

Jon began to remember.
‘The bus…Everyone was so angry with me…I was trying to explain to them…” He touched his throat. Tears welled in his eyes.

Carol kissed his forehead.

“Listen, it’s very important that you do exactly what the doctors are telling you. The steroid injections have also taken a toll on your body. You need a lot of rest.”

Jon looked at her.
‘What if this doesn’t work? What am I going to do if I can’t sing? What about Giants?” he thought to himself.

“In other words. You’re mine for the next few weeks.” Juanita quipped.

Jon turned to her and smirked. Juanita laughed.
"See you’re feeling better already. We’re going to make sure you get some sleep, eat normally…sleep…Anything to get you better.”

Jon smiled weakly. At that moment Obie, John Sr., and Richie came into the recovery room.

“Someone I see is up.” John Sr. said to his son.

“And that’s our cue to leave. Better start stocking up on those spiral notebooks and pens. I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot of writing going on.” Juanita teased.

Jon smiled at her. Juanita winked at him. She gave him a kiss on the forehead.

“Okay baby. I’ll be back. Finish getting some rest.” she told him walking out.

Carol kissed him on the forehead.

“We’ll be back in a little bit.” She told her son. Jon nodded.

Carol followed Juanita out of the room.

“Now. Now. Now. We’re finally at a point where you have no choice but to listen to us.” Obie said.

Jon rolled his eyes.

“You can roll your eyes. But things are going to change Jonny.” Obie told him.

Jon looked defiant.

“Look at me all your want like that and I’ll extend this “safety issue”. You need a break. You’ve been wearing yourself out, not to mention driving all of us up the freaking wall. And I’ll tell you. No one else knows you’re here. Not your fans, the press, no one. Trina and Richie more than did their jobs.”

Jon looked sad as turned to Richie.

“I know you’re sorry man. All we care about right now is you. You need to rest your voice. Giants will be there for us when you’re better. Everything else will be too. The new single’s doing great by the way. No one has a clue man.” Richie reassured him.

Jon smiled at him.

“I can’t wait to hear you perform that new single for everyone at Giants. I hear that it’s doing great son.” John said to him patting him on the shoulder.

‘Why doesn’t anybody get this? What if this surgery didn’t work? What if after all of this I try to sing and I can’t? Jon thought as he shook his his head.

“What?” Obie asked.

Jon shrugged his shoulders in frustration and anger. He was helpless and still too groggy to put up an effective argument. Now wasn’t the time to deal with this.

Richie never had seen Jon like this before. He took a deep breath and turned towards Obie.

“Something’s telling me that this is going to be a long few weeks.” Richie told Obie.

“Good. Maybe our “brother” will realize that there’s more in life than the music. All I’ve seen him do over the last couple of years is write, sing and perform. I know there’s more to him and you than that.” Obie told Richie.

Jon narrowed his yes in anger.

“This is beautiful because for once you can’t talk back. You know I’m right because otherwise you wouldn’t be so pissed off.” Obie said.

Just as Obie said that, Trina knocked on the door.

“Everything okay in here? Jon’s not trying to kill all of you is he?” Trina joked.

Jon rolled his eyes and smiled. He never heard her joke that that. She was quickly becoming more and more a part of their world like it or not. He didn’t know whether to thank her or throw something at her for the way all of this played out. He knew it wasn’t her fault, however, a part of him didn’t want her to see him like that. Things were comfortable between the two of them before, now when she entered, he didn’t know what to think.

Trina smiled at him as she walked into the room.

'I know all of this is my fault. But why now? Why with her here?' he thought.

Trina walked next to the bed and sat down on its foot.

“You scared the shit out of all of us.” she told him.

Jon looked at her blankly.

“I know you were trying to tell us all you were sorry, however, I wanted you to know that everyone in this room loves and care about you. You’re going to be singing and talking and telling us all off in no time. The good news is that you’re fans have no idea that this happened to you so that means you’ll be able to rest without the worry of someone finding out .” she told him.

Even though Obie had told him the same thing only minutes before, Jon for some reason felt better when Trina told him.

He mouthed the words. “Thank you. I’m sorry. “ as he smiled weakly at her.

Trina smiled at him. “Okay. It’s over. Time to get yourself well so that you can make your dream of perfoming at Giants stadium a reality. “

He looked at with a curious look on his face.

Trina nodded.

“Yes. I’m going to help everyone out in getting you better. In fact, I’d thought I’d come and hang out with you and Juanita. Have a feeling Juanita’s going to need the help.” Trina grinned.

Jon smirked. Trina smiled and clapped her hands.

“Good! Then it’s settled. Can’t wait to see your house. It’ll be fun.”

Jon’s eyes widened.

‘They’ve taken over everything.’ Jon thought.

Trina got up and walked towards the door. Obie began to laugh.

“All right. I’m out. Got a both a story and a review to file. Be back later.”

Jon shook his head in disbelief.

Trina smiled. Proud that she finally got Jon to apologize and to acknoweldge that she was helping him, she turned to Obie and winked at him. She patted him on the shoulder as she walked out of the room and into the hall.

How was he going to react to not talking for several weeks? What if the surgery didn’t work? What would he do? This is all he knows.’ she thought to herself.

She forced the doubts from her mind as quickly as they arrived. Everything needed to be positive. Especially for Jon’s sake….