A New Life in New York
Faithfully (Journey) - Part One
“How long will we be gone?” Finn asked. He was sitting on our bed as Harry and I packed the last of our things. The house had been crazy today as we celebrated the girls’ fifth birthday a couple weeks early. They were busy playing with their new toys and hanging out with their oldest sister while Harry and I finished packing and spent a little time with Finn.
“We will be able to come back for short visits to see everyone but we won’t be home for a while,” I answered.
“What about school?”
“Mommy and I found a tutor for you to finish the school year and she has some exciting plans for summer too,” Harry replied. “You get a teacher just for you and your sisters. That’s awesome, right?”
“So I don’t have to go to school?”
“You’ll still be in school. You just won’t go to your same school until we are home again which won’t be until next school year,” I said. Trying to explain to a seven-year-old that we were becoming nomads, pulling he and his sisters out of school and wouldn’t spend more than a handful of nights in the same city was confusing despite the fact that we’d gone on tour before.
This time was different though. This time wasn’t just a couple of weeks in the summer and radio shows over the holidays. This time it wasn’t me staying home with the three tiny humans while they were in school and jet-setting to see Harry when we could. This time he didn’t want to be away from his family for so long. This time we had a bus that would fit all of our kids, all of their things, and the most magnificent person who would be doing double duty as tutor and nanny.
“Are you excited?” Harry was nervous about this. He had been hesitant to agree to a world tour that took us away from New York for so long. His fans understood why he hadn’t done a full-scale world tour. He had a family he wanted to be home for. But his new album was too good to sit on. When he’d played it for me last fall I told him he needed to play this for the masses and encouraged him to schedule a world tour. He fought me, hard, our life wasn’t really in the ideal place to pick up our family and go on the road, but it was going to work. I was going to make sure of that.
“Yeah!” Finn excitedly answered. I watched Harry relax and the smile that still made me weak in the knees spread across his face. Finn was our challenge on the road. While he loved being in school and thrived in an environment when he was learning, school had been a bit of a struggle this year because he was bored. He wasn’t being challenged enough in his classes which was causing him to act out. My sweet, kind and caring little boy had been a handful for his teacher, thankfully she understood why and worked with him to give him more, which helped, a lot. I was being optimistic about life on the road. Having a tutor for the kids that didn’t just stop teaching them when the school year ended would likely be the best decision we’d made as parents, or at least I was hoping it would be. Finn would get individualized attention and things that challenged him, the girls would get a head start on learning before starting kindergarten this fall.
“We are gonna have so much fun, Finny.” Harry flopped down on the bed next to Finn, clearly deciding that spending time packing right now wasn’t important. “We get to go a lot of really incredible places. Mommy and I are so excited about taking all of you on the road.”
“All of us?”
“Of course all of us,” I answered. “What do you think? We are just taking you and leaving the girls?” I laughed loudly. Louder than I intended, which caused the crying I’d been trying to avoid happening.
“Shh, Mommy!” Finn said.
“Mommy was too loud, wasn’t she? She woke up the baby.” Harry stood from the bed walking towards the bassinet that was in the corner of the room. “Hey there, little one. Did your Mommy wake you up?” I watched as he bent down and laid kisses all over the chubby cheeks that I loved so much. “Oh my sweet Kennedy Anne, I’m sorry Mommy was being loud. You were so happy napping over here and she ruined it” I stuck my tongue out at him as he started to bounce her up and down a little as they danced around the bedroom.
“Finn, we are all going,” I said, now speaking quietly as Harry tried to coax our littlest back into the blissful napping state she’d been in. “Daddy got a special tour bus for us this time. There’s enough space for all of us, even Kennedy. And there’s going to be space for your new teacher to do lessons with you. You are going to have so much fun. Your teacher, Daddy and I are going to take you places while you learn about them.”
“Really? Like the Declaration of Independence?!” My kid was a nerd, what could I say. He loved history, I blame that I listened to the Hamilton soundtrack so much when he was little.
“Yup! The Declaration of Independence. The Washington Monument. The Liberty Bell.”
“And Parliament, Big Ben, the London Eye. Finny because this is a world tour you get to learn about more than American History.” Harry was always trying to teach the kids about more than just American History. When Finn read a book about the Revolutionary War, Harry was trying to tell him about how the British weren’t all that bad.
“Okay,” Finn replied, he knew he needed to appease Harry. “But we can still go to the Smithsonian though, right Mom? You promised next time we were in DC that we would go."
“Of course!” Harry rolled his eyes. “Daddy, you don’t have to go with us. We can go by ourselves. You can have a day with your girls while Finny and I go to the Smithsonian. We’d even take Kennedy with us so you don’t have to worry about her all day. That would be fun, right, Finny?”
“Yeah, it would. But it would be more fun if Daddy came.” I watched as my oldest expertly pouted at my husband who by now had decided that laying down with our youngest on his chest was the best way to coax her back to sleep. Harry glanced at me before looking back at Finn. He was able to get anyone wrapped around his finger almost instantly. He had dark hair, dimples, and green eyes that matched mine hidden behind his glasses. It was like looking at a tiny kid dressed as Harry Potter when he was in his school uniform. No one could say no to Harry Potter.
“I would love to come with.” Finn turned to high five me and I couldn't help but laugh. “You are such a terrible influence on him.”
“Me? I did nothing wrong there. Why would you think I did something wrong?” Instinctively I pouted at him and pulled out the puppy dog eyes.
“Oh really, nothing? You’re just raising our son to learn that pouting and manipulation get you anything you want.”
“I recall a few times recently where someone pouted at me to get what they want.”
“That didn’t take much effort on my part. I’m wondering if I’m going to be able to pull the same off tonight,” Harry said.
“We have a full house tonight. So your wishes are unlikely.”
“It’s never stopped you before. And we always have a full house.” He was being honest. We had our four kids living with us along with my oldest stepdaughter who currently doubled as a live-in nanny while she worked on her first screenplay. We often had my two other step-kids around, Harry’s family and friends visiting from England, and one of my family members roaming around the place. As much as this penthouse was huge by New York standards the idea of moving to the house in the Hamptons had crossed my mind more than once since finding out I was pregnant. Harry’s work on this album had been what kept us in the city.
“We aren’t going to get a night alone for months, are we?” I asked.
“Probably not.” This time he pouted at me. “Finny, we are going to need you to go get your pajamas on. We have to go to bed early tonight, we have a long day tomorrow.”
“Okay,” Finn said, sounding a bit disappointed.
“We will be in to tuck you in bed in a few minutes.” I gave him a kiss and he took off. I heard the girls as they came running up the stairs with Elizabeth behind them.
“Go tell Mommy and Daddy goodnight,” Elizabeth called. I watched as the girls came running in and jumped onto the bed next to Harry. They gave him kisses before placing soft kisses on Kennedy. They jumped into my arms together to hug me.
“Is Sissy tucking you in?” I asked.
“Sissy is tucking them in,” Elizabeth replied.
“Thank you,” Harry answered. I watched as the girls followed Elizabeth out of the room and Harry stood up to start trying to get Kennedy back into bed. “How are you feeling?”
“Tired. You know that Kennedy didn’t sleep much last night so neither did I.”
“You could’ve let me take her a couple of times.” He laid her down before coming over to where I was standing and kissed me. “Shared duties, remember?”
“I know. I just wanted you to get some sleep. Tomorrow is a big day.”
“Yes, but today was a big day for you. You threw an incredible birthday party for our girls today.”
“You helped,” I replied.
“It’s hard to believe that we will have two five-year-olds on our hands in basically a matter of days.”
“I know. Aren’t they supposed to still be in diapers? Wait…scratch that. No more diapers. We have enough with Kennedy. But honestly, today reminded me of the first time we did the joint birthday party. So many kids, so much sugar, and at the end of the night two happy girls passed out in Grey’s big bed.”
“Having you here for her birthdays makes everything perfect,” Harry said. “You’re a wonderful mother to all four of our kids.”
“And you’re a wonderful father to all four of them as well. And you really have gotten the hang of it with the older kids too. Elizabeth, Rebecca and Jameson love you as much as the rest of us.”
“I always dreamed of having a big family. Never quite imagined that this was how I would get one, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.” He kissed my forehead before releasing me from his arms. “Oh, Jameson told me that he’s bringing the new girl he’s seeing with him to the show tomorrow night.”
“Really?” I asked. “He has been so shy about this. He really seems to like her.”
“Yeah, he does. He’s been asking me a lot of questions about how to handle the whole meeting of the parents. Evidently, he’s taking her to brunch with his Mum tomorrow and then she’s going to meet the rest of us tomorrow night. I promised to have you and his sisters on your best behaviors.”
“That was stupid.” I laughed. “I need to make sure she’s not going to hurt my Jamo.”
“Jameson is a smart young man, he can make that decision for himself. You need to go easy on him. This is the first girl he’s liked enough to introduce everyone to. And you know what it is like to have your family judge your decisions.” He was right. I did know that. As much as my parents had learned to love Greyson they were very nervous about me dating a much older man when I first met him, it took a while but they eventually got past that. They were also slightly hesitant when I started dating Harry. They only knew what the internet told them about him, which was a lot about the models he’d dated when he was younger. The first time they met him they were instantly in love with him the way pretty much every human was when they met him.
“You’re right. I do know how that feels. I’ll be on my best behavior and I’ll work on his sisters.”
“The girls are asleep,” Elizabeth said as she walked into our room. She slumped into one of the chairs in our bedroom. “What am I gonna do without all of you? I’m so used to tucking the munchkins in bed at night. I’m going to miss all of you.” I was fearing that this would happen. Elizabeth had been with us for long enough and since graduating had become a huge part of the kids’ daily lives. Here we were packing up to leave and she’d be in New York, living in the penthouse alone.
“You’ll have fun, work on your screenplay, spend time with friends.”
“My friends all work insane hours, are still in school or don’t even live in the city anymore. I barely see anyone except Rebecca and we all know she won’t last in the city long. She keeps talking about going back to London or trying out Los Angeles.” Harry being the gracious person that he is, allowed my stepchildren to stay in any of his houses whenever they wanted. Rebecca was trying to decide what she wanted to do with her life after having finished college in December. She’d been applying for jobs all over the world, but with a focus in New York, Los Angeles, and London. Harry told Rebecca she was welcome to live in any of our houses until she decided where she wanted to be permanently and get her own place, the way he always said that still gave me butterflies. It’s not as if these children needed free room and board, their trust funds would keep them taken care of their entire life without ever working a day. But the way he explained it was that he was a husband first and a father second, that his wife loved these kids so he loved these kids. That meant that he would give them whatever he could, including free room and board in multi-million dollar properties around the world.
“She has mentioned LA a lot. She told me today that she’s craving warm weather and a change of scenery and might be at the house in LA by the time tour gets there,” Harry said.
“I’m going to become a shut-in. That’s what I’ll do,” Elizabeth replied. She wasn’t usually someone who acted like this but she hadn’t been dealt an easy hand in life. Losing her Dad when she was young was hard on her. She wasn’t living up to the expectations her Mother set for her so their relationship was strained. I had feared that her living with us and being part of our family in such a huge way didn’t help their situation. Her Mother had never been very good at maintaining relationships, which left the kids seeing my relationship with Harry as the only stable thing they’d seen since their Dad died.
“You will not. Don’t think like that.” I went over and sat on the arm of the chair she was in and started to stroke her hair.
“Come with us,” Harry blurted out.
“What?” Elizabeth and I both said simultaneously.
“Come with us. The kids will miss you like crazy. There’s space for you in our bus, you can work on your screenplay anywhere. Maybe this will provide you with some good inspiration. That’s always worked for me, I write some of my best songs when I’m off on an adventure.” I smiled as the memories of him up late at night writing and playing guitar while we were on our honeymoon. Most of his newest album was written during that trip.
“You mean it?” she asked.
“Yeah, what would life be like if our crazy family wasn’t complete. In fact, call your sister. Tell her that if it’s a change of scenery she needs then she can have a new one every few days.”
“Serious? You’re willing to put up with both of us?!” Elizabeth asked.
“Yup. In fact, I even told Jamo that if he wanted to tag along when his semester is over he’s welcome to.” I looked at my husband with wide eyes. He’d invited all three of my stepchildren to come along on tour with us on top of our four kids. Had he lost his mind completely?
“You’re the best,” Elizabeth said as she jumped up out of the chair to hug Harry. “I have all three of the kids in bed already. You can go give goodnight kisses and I’m taking Kennedy tonight.”
“What?” Harry asked.
“You two have had a long day today and have a big day tomorrow. I’m taking Kennedy. Enjoy each other’s company for a little bit. Go out for drinks if you want or just stay trapped in here. I’ve got the kids covered.”
“You’re the best.” I hugged her before Harry and I headed down the hall to Finn’s room to give goodnight kisses and tuck him in. We’d moved him into what used to be Elizabeth’s room so that all of the girls were on one end of the hall. Then we went to tuck in the girls who were already passed out from their sugar coma and to say goodnight to Elizabeth and Kennedy who were snuggled up in the rocking chair.
“What are we gonna do with ourselves?” Harry asked.
“I don’t know about you but I’m tired.” I fell face first onto the bed. Within seconds I felt Harry’s hands on my shoulders as he started to give me a massage. I moaned into my pillow as he straddled my body. “Are you trying to turn me on?”
“Is it working?”
“Maybe.” He lifted my hair up, exposing the side of my neck. His lips connected with the skin beneath my ear.
“Is it working now?” His voice had transitioned from the normal way he sounds, this cheery British accent that made me smile to this husky, sexy, growl that made me weak in the knees and putty in his hands. I turned beneath him, his legs still straddling my body. My hands moved to the back of his head, playing with his hair before I pulled him down and kissed him. It was one of those kisses that when it’s over you feel like you’ve just come up for air after nearly drowning.
“Does that answer your question?”
“Completely.” I started to unbutton the shirt he’d worn today as his lips moved down to my collarbone. He navigated his lips across my skin like the most skilled of drivers on the trickiest road on Earth.
I loved him.
I loved the way he kissed me.
I loved the way his skin felt against mine.
I loved the way our bodies fit together when we were sleeping.
Sleeping. That sounded like a wonderful idea. I loved sleeping. All I wanted to do was sleep. So much so that I just yawned, despite my best efforts to contain it and unfortunately, it wasn’t a silent yawn.
“Am I boring you, beautiful?”
“No, not at all. You know that there are few things I love more than your lips against mine.” He smiled as he bent down to kiss me. “Mmmm. Yup. I love your lips, but…”
“There’s a but? I’m trying to pleasure you and there’s a but that I’m wishing had two t’s but I’m positive only has one.”
“It does only have one.” I mouthed out ‘sorry’ silently.
“What is your but?”
“But, I’m utterly fucking exhausted.” He started to laugh. “Your kids have run me ragged the last few days.”
“I like how when you’re tired or they are being a pain in the ass that they are my kids.”
“They are your kids when they are misbehaving,” I replied. “And on top of YOUR kids exhausting me, I’ve been packing for two adults and four children, two of which are five-year-old fashion divas thanks to Daddy all while Daddy has been off playing rockstar.” He rolled his eyes at me. “I just need to sleep. Like I want to put on a movie that I’ve watched 10 million times, pass out in my favorite old t-shirt of yours, and snuggle next to you.”
“And drool on me.”
“Yup, I definitely do that too.”
“So you seriously don’t wanna fuck?” Add to the list of things I love, when he swears. It’s hot. I don’t get to hear it enough. I get to hear the kid safe swear word replacements.
“Oh I do, but I can’t. I literally have no energy. Like I’m gonna need you to change me into that ratty old t-shirt of yours because I can’t move.” He started to laugh before placing a soft kiss against my lips and climbing out of bed. He undid my jeans and pulled them off.
“This is the least sexy experience of undressing you ever,” he said before pulling my oversized sweater that I’d thrown on after the birthday party over my head.
“Name a time that was less sexy than this?”
“The first time we went out after I had Kennedy. I drank like I used to when I was on the road as part of the press corps. I threw up all over myself and you had to undress me.”
“That was really bad. But that night you had sexy underwear on so at least I got a show.”
“So do you.” He winked at me.
“Oh, I’m well aware.” He walked to the closet with the clothes he’d just taken off of me, leaving me to take my bra off. I heard the clothes hit the laundry hamper before he appeared out of the closet without his shirt and just in the jeans he’d worn today. He tossed me the t-shirt he knew I wanted to wear before I threw my bra at him. It hit him in the face and I couldn’t help but laugh. I may have laughed a little too hard as I watched him frown at me curling up into their fetal position laughing. “You’re naked and laughing at your bra hitting me in the face. It’s moments like this that I question why I married you?”
“Because when I do suck I do it so well.”
“You have a very good point. Laugh away.” I pulled the t-shirt on before crawling up to the head of the bed. I crawled under the covers, fluffed my pillows and snuggled in. Harry walked out of the closet and into the bathroom in a pair of cotton pants he liked sleeping in. They hung low on his hips showing off his chest full of tattoos and that he wasn’t wearing any underwear beneath them. He crawled over me to his side of the bed, stopping above me to kiss me. Once snuggled in beneath the blankets as well he pulled me into him, my head resting over his chest.
“So are you ready for tomorrow?” I asked as I yawned again.
“Yeah, rehearsals have been going great. It’s been nice to have the band back together. We’ve been having a lot of fun, the new songs are sounding great with the full band, and the setlist Mitch and I have put together is fucking awesome.”
“Are you excited?”
“I am, but I’m nervous.”
“About what?” I rolled over onto my stomach so my chin rested on his chest and I could look him in the eyes.
“The two of us trying to tackle four kids under seven all while trying to make sure the three kids over 21 don’t get arrested or lost in a foreign country.”
“The four kids under seven will be fine. We’ve got traveling with them down to an art. The three kids over 21 will be the challenge. But ya know what? They will manage to find their way around. They are smart and know how to travel and if they decide to be dumb and get arrested they will get to deal with my wrath. But we shouldn’t worry about it, Becks lived abroad for four years and never managed to get arrested or lost. Plus are both pros at traveling because of work. This is going to be the greatest family vacation imaginable and we get the whole family.”
“We do. It will be fun. I did talk to their mother about this before I brought it up to you or any of the kids.”
“Seriously?” I asked.
“Yeah, if she had a problem with me taking the kids on the road I would’ve respected that. I know that there’s been a struggle before. We are financially capable of giving a lot to the kids and despite it no longer being your responsibility to do that and that it’s never been mine we do it because we love the kids. She’s sometimes felt insecure, like we are trying to buy the affection of her children. I also know that she and Lilibet have been in a bad place for quite a while. Her decision to move in with us when she was in school and stay with us after school has been something her mother has struggled with.”
“It is true. I’m glad that you asked but also they’ve come with us before.”
“Yes but always for a short visit on tour or a family vacation. This goes from March to July for the girls and May to July for Jamo. It’s longer than normal and not just a trip where they are covering dates on the west coast. We are taking them to North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. We are turning her kids into world travelers and not with her.”
“You’re such a sweet and caring person. I am so lucky I found you.” I leaned up to give him a kiss and almost immediately after I rested my head back on his chest I fell asleep.
NotesFirst, let me start by apologizing for being MIA. It's been a busy and challenging few months in my life in every manner. Personal, professional, emotional, physical. Needless to say I need a vacation or a break or a few days where I do literally nothing. That is my plan for this weekend. We have a heat advisory here in Iowa from tomorrow afternoon to Sunday night with actual temps from 95-100 and heat index ranges from 100-105 or more ALL WEEKEND LONG. I don't do heat. Especially when it doesn't even cool down at night so I'm camping out in my very cold, basement bedroom for the weekend with the TV show GREEK on my AppleTV and my laptop.
Now to the update. I really hope you like it! I wanted to do a jump forward so I could show all of you the plan I have in my head for Harry and Janie in the future and that plan was a wedding and their family growing. Hello, little baby Kennedy! I was so excited to write them as a family on tour but I also wanted to explain where they were at first so this is the first part of a multiple part series. I'm thinking three parts but it could be more or less, I don't quite know yet.
I can't wait to hear what you think. Comment away. Like away. Send me some love. I've been feeling in slump with my writing lately. I'm hopeful that you are all still enjoying what I'm writing because it's still fun for me to write, it's just been a struggle because of outside forces but the spark hit this week and I think I'm potentially getting to the point where I trust my writing skills enough to write my first complete fiction (not fanfic) in my life. Which is exciting, scary and intimidating all at once.