Three hours later, he was exactly right. The usual bedlam that followed Christmas gifts was in high swing. Richie, Ava and Stephanie were trying to herd the younger boys into the living room, but they were too interested in torturing Stella.
Thankfully Stella was as good natured as the breeder had promised. Instead of being annoyed by the attention, she basked in the petting and wrestling. Tessa had run upstairs to get a shower in while the dog was occupied.
The gong of the front door echoed ominously. The day was just about to move from crazy to suicidal. He loved his mother, it was ingrained to do so even if she treated him more like a status symbol than a son. He just wished that Tessa didn’t have to feel the brunt of her dismay all the time.
Here we go, holidays 2009 part one. He opened the door. “Merry Christmas, Ma!” Jon leaned in with a warm smile.
“There’s my angel!” Carol Bongiovi came in on a wave of White Shoulders, powder and twinkling gold and diamonds. She pressed air kisses to his cheeks, thrusting her cashmere wrap—new of course—at him. “Don’t you have hired help? Or did that woman talk you out of that too?”
His molars sang as he bit down. “Lottie is with her family, it’s Christmas, Mom.”
“It’s her job, Christmas or not.”
“Call me old fashioned, I just wanted family with me today. Why don’t you go in and see the boys and Steph. They’re in the living room.”
“And your…wife?” Carol asked over her shoulder.
She nearly had to swallow her tongue on that one, he thought sourly. “Tessa is getting a shower in while our newest addition is being entertained.”
Her eyes sharpened. “New addition?”
Jon smiled at his dad, accepting his coat. “You’ll see.” He clasped his dad into a tight hug and stepped back. “Welcome to Bedlam.”
John Sr. lifted the bottle of Johnny Walker Blue label from one of the two bags he carried. “I’ve got my meds.”
“Care to share?”
His father clasped a hand on his shoulder. “I could be persuaded.”
“I bribe well.”
“So I’ve heard.” The squealing laugh followed directly by a bark had his father’s eyebrow raise.
“Oh yeah, we might have to crack that bottle before dinner.”