AN: My previous account was deleted without my knowledge, so most of my other stories disappeared. As my previous readers already know, my old USB drive broke, which meant I had to retype this story from Ch.8 onwards. However, losing my other account meant that Ch.1-7 couldn't be recovered. I will be retyping them from memory. I think this'll be a good thing in the long run, though. It means I can embellish them a bit more, adding some new dialogue. I appreciate any patience you can give me. Thanks.
Tommy paced back-and-forth across the hotel room, mumbling under his breath with his thumbs hooked into his pockets. Eventually, his roommate made a noise of frustration and looked up from the magazine he'd been reading.
Nick said, "Would ya sit down? That's really buggin' me, man."
"Oh, yeah? Is it buggin' you? Well, here's a newsflash. I don't give a-hic."
The guitarist definitely had a few too many in him. Nick shook his head, trying to refocus his attention on his reading. His hoped for that were proved in vain, because Tommy continued to pace. Clearly, it wasn't going to stop, until its cause was worked out and dealt with. Folding the page he'd been on, he put the magazine aside and cleared his throat.
Then, he said, "A'right. I'll bite. What's goin' on?"
"That's a load, and you know it."
Tommy sighed, breaking their eye-contact. Something big had been weighing on him for the past couple of days. He knew he couldn't keep it hidden forever. His friend was right.
He turned fully around and said, "A'right. Here it is. I got a letta' last week from one of my aunts. It was about my dad."
"What more is there to know about him? He's been gone for almost seventeen years."
"In related news, the sun rose dis mornin', and the sky is blue. Anyway, she said he'd been engaged to some broad, shortly before he died. Without tellin' me or my brotha'!"
"Uh-huh. And dat ain't all. Apparently, dis woman got pregnant. Turns out, I got a little sista'."
Nick didn't know what to say. This was such an ironic situation, given Tommy's history with women. The urge to laugh was overwhelming, but thankfully brief. The guitarist then strode over to his duffle bag, where it sat on his borrowed bag.
"I need a cig."
He kept trying to light it, but couldn't because of his slightly-shaky hands. Nick decided to help him out, taking his own lighter from his pocket.
Tommy resumed pacing, the nicotine fumes failing to soothe his frayed nerves. Nick didn't know what to say. He was torn between curiosity, and his own growing anxiety.
He settled for asking the most basic of questions: "So, what's her name?"
"Theresa. Look, what the hell am I gonna do, Nicky? What am I gonna do?!"
"Well, you could calm down, for a start."
Tommy gave him the finger.
He made a "tsk" noise and said, "Come on, man. I'm serious. You gotta be stronger than this. She's gonna need ya."
"Hey, I know dat, a'right? I've arranged for her to meet us here, tomorrow mornin'."
"Betta' now, than lata'."
"How are we gonna explain this to Frankie and Bob?"
"I'll drop the bomb at breakfast. Big news is betta' taken on a full stomach."
The next morning was pretty tense. After eating, the guys had all taken their glasses of orange juice into the hotel's lobby.
As he sipped his, Crewe said, "That's some story, baby."
Tommy shot back, "No kiddin', Sherlock."
"Lighten up, Tomooch. Ya think she's not feelin' just as scared as you are?"
"Who says I'm scared?"
Frankie rolled his eyes at his friend's reply. He was the voice of reason a lot of the time. Whether the guitarist wanted to listen or not was his own choice.
He continued, "Look, all I'm sayin' is that she's probably worried about how we'll react to her. Just stay calm. Let her know she can be safe with us."
Us. The corner of Tommy's mouth twitched up. He knew he couldn't be a part of his sister's life, without her also being part of his. His bandmates were included in that. They were a package deal.
Then, Bob chimed in: "So, what was her name again?"
"Theresa. Theresa Elizabeth Korso."
"What does she look like?"
"My aunt said she's 'round 5'8, fair skin, light green eyes, and with dark hair like mine."
"Well, that narrows things down."
Tommy shot him a look.
To that, he responded, "Seriously. There's got to be at least three other girls in this room, matching that description. How are you going to know which one is her?"
"I'll know. A photo came with the letta'. I've been keepin' it in my wallet."
Crewe walked over and asked if he could see the picture. The girl in it, and the rottweiler she was hugging, stared directly at the camera. The dog's "smile" seemed to match hers. He didn't know it, but the object of his curiosity was just outside the hotel's front door. A teenager placed her shaking hand on the handle. Theresa wondered if her brother would like her. She hoped he'd be impressed with her life and her ambitions. An urge to roll her eyes suddenly went through her. Her accomplishments were nothing against his. How does one compete with being the guitarist for the latest hit rock band? She'd seen his group on American Bandstand recently, which only served to make her more nervous about this meeting. She'd been sick with a cold at the time, and the bouncy nature of "Sherry" lifted her spirits. She remembered the proud tears, prickling at the corners of her eyes. She felt them now, too, but she quickly wiped them away. It wouldn't do for Tommy to see her like this. With a final silent prayer, she walked into the hotel.
Crewe heard a soft ding, which signaled that a new patron had just walked in. Looking over his shoulder, he spotted the very person they'd all been most excited to meet. She looked as sweet and all-American as apple pie in her yellow t-shirt, dark jeans, and sneakers. There was very little makeup, from what he could tell. Her hair was down, but pinned back, and a yin-yang pendant hung around her neck.
He lightly tapped Tommy's shoulder to get his attention and whispered, "Hey...look."
The guitarist did just that, turning completely around. He was surprised at the knot he felt in his stomach. He hadn't been responsible for another person in years, not since he and his brother were kids. How was he going to handle it this time?
From behind him, Bob asked, "Is it her?"
Slightly breathless, he replied, "Yeah...it's her."
She offered a small, tentative smile at him, as she began walking forward. This was it. The twelve feet between them seemed to stretch on forever. She was positive he could hear the pounding of her heart. The man he stood beside wore a sky-blue polo shirt, khaki dress pants, and dark brown shoes. When she finally reached them, she was almost too nervous to meet their eyes directly.
Clearing his throat, Tommy said, "It's nice to finally meet ya, sweetheart."
"Yeah. Um...you, too. I've been looking forward to this for a while."
Deciding to take the safe route, she stuck out her left hand. She was surprised, however, when he pushed it down and shook his head.
"Unh-unh. Dis ain't no business deal. Come here."
He pulled her into a hug. She froze for less than half a second, before wrapping her arms around him. She was too distracted to look over his shoulder and see the rest of the guys. The smell of his cologne was nearly overpowering, but she didn't mind. She hoped he wouldn't care, that her silent tears were soaking into his leather jacket. He seemed to sense what she was feeling.
Rubbing soothing circles into her upper back, he whispered, "It's a'right. It's a'right."
When he felt she'd calmed down enough, he took a couple of steps to the side, and he proceeded to introduce her to everyone. The man in the polo shirt went first, reaching for her hand.
"Charmed to make your acquaintance, mon cherie", and he kissed her knuckles before finishing, "Call me Crewe."
She smiled at the wink he made, as he pulled away. Nick was next. As he shook her hand, the first word that came to her mind to describe him was "teeth". She admired his confidence, how he didn't seem to care about his prominent overbite. He flopped backwards onto a nearby sofa, reaching for a nearly-empty glass of orange juice and giving her a short, silent toast. Bob, the tallest in the group, seemed even more shy than her. He gave a soft, awkward chuckle as he stood up, hooking his left thumb into his pants pocket. His almond-shaped eyes reminded her of Bambi. His personality, though, reminded her of a beagle puppy: all sweetness and eagerness to please. She was giggling over a joke he made, when another hand crossed in front of her face.
The slight jingling of a chain was followed by a new voice: "Hiya. I'm Frankie Valli."
Their eyes met. In that instant, Theresa's world stopped. An old soul radiated out from behind his boyish features. His eyes were a rich sable, with scattered flecks of a still-lighter shade of brown. They were like chocolate and caramel swirled together. His bottom lip was slightly bigger than his top one, giving him a rosebud-like pout. And his hair-she could see the tiny curls, plastered down by gel along his hairline. An electric sizzle went down her spine, strange tingles racing along her nerves. What the hell was wrong with her? She didn't know it, but she wasn't the only one feeling this way. For the first time since he'd met his wife, Mary, Frankie felt his heart skip a beat. He loved the speckles of yellow and brown in her pale jade eyes, as well as the strawberries-and-cream tone of her skin. He wondered if her hair was as silky as it looked. His eyes trailed along the black cord of her necklace, down to where the yin-yang charm sat between her breasts. He snapped himself out of the daze, when his hand finally closed around hers. He forced himself to remake eye-contact. This girl was gentleness and innocence, personified. What the heck was she doing with them? All this happened in a matter of seconds.
Clearing his throat, he stood up and asked, "So, uh...you want a drink or somethin'?"
Theresa noted that Frankie was roughly an inch-and-a-half shorter than her, not that it mattered. Her smile grew the tiniest bit at the sound of his windchime-like voice. She felt like she'd heard it many years ago, but she couldn't peg why or where. She tucked a stray lock of hair behind her ear, shyly glancing at the ground.
She told him, "Sure. A root-beer sounds nice."
"You got it."
He motioned over a lady from room-service and ordered the drink. After the woman left, Theresa took her wallet from her back pocket.
"Let me give you the money for that."
He waved her off, saying, "Nah. Don't worry about it. My treat."
"Yeah. Why not?"
"And speakin' of treats", Tommy said from behind her, "-ya gotta feel dis couch. It don't rub a person the wrong way."
She looked over her shoulder, meeting her brother's eyes. He patted a spot beside him. She sighed over how right he was about the cushions. She felt comfortable enough, both inside and out, to lean back as he put his arm around her. She'd only been around these guys a couple of minutes, and she already couldn't imagine her life without them. While she was drinking her soda, she explained some things about her life, including the fact that most of her friends called her Rees. She didn't know that as she chatted away, Frankie was still observing her. He loved the sound of her laugh, unable to surpress the smile it provoked from him. But inside, he was scared out of his mind. He could tell that, judging by the kiss Tommy placed on Theresa's temple, the guitarist would turn anyone who hurt his sister into a walking bruise. Best to play it cool. As he sat back down, he listened as Bob asked where the girl was from.
He said, "You've got an accent, but I can tell you're not a Jersey girl."
She giggled and replied, "I'm from Massachusetts, actually."
"Ah, but you ain't a Boston girl, eitha'", Tommy said, "-'cos ya don' say 'yaaad' and 'caaa' and a half-dozen otha' things."
"Yeah. I'm from Salem."
Then, Crewe chimed in: "Ooh. Does that mean you're a little witchy?"
"I can be", she replied with a wink.
A laugh was followed by, "I like her. She's feisty."
"Of course, she is. She's my sista', ain't she", Tommy asked, as he placed another kiss to her temple.
The next several hours were the best of Theresa's life. She couldn't believe how quickly and easily all the guys had accepted her into their circle. It was everything she'd been missing, since her mother died. She didn't want to talk about that yet, though. This was a happy day. Around sunset, Nick surprised her by announcing they were taking her out to dinner, to what he described as "a great Italian restaurant nearby". When they got there, she ordered chicken marsala.
Frankie told her, "My mom's pretty good at makin' that. She says it's one of her top five favorite meals."
"Nice. What's her name, by the way? I should've asked by now."
"Renee. My pop's Anthony."
When the wine came around, Theresa was a bit shocked when Tommy offered her a sip from his glass. From the other side, of course. She couldn't see her facial expression, but it was apparently enough to make him chuckle.
He told her, "Relax, a'right? I know you ain't legal yet. I just didn't want ya to totally miss out. Red wine's good for the heart and blood. And besides, kids younga' than you in Italy drink it with dinna' every night."
"Would I lie to ya?"
Nick choked on his own wine as he stifled a laugh, which earned him a light smack on his arm from across the table. When Theresa's own drink arrived, a cherry Coke, the guys all raised their glasses.
Crewe said, "A toast to our seasonette."
Confused, Theresa asked, "Excuse me?"
"He's right", Tommy told her, "You're one of us now."
She looked to Nick, who smirked and said, "Buckle up, kiddo. It's gonna be a wild ride."
She seemed to get thoughtful for a moment. Then, she smiled as she clinked her glass against theirs.
She told them, "You know what? I wouldn't have it any other way."
AN: My mom was born in 1957. She was just becoming aware of the world around her (about 5yrs old), right as these guys got famous. That's also the same age she introduced ME to their music. I have early memories of her, singing "Sherry" & "Oh, What A Night" as she scrubbed my back in the tub. So, yeah, Frankie & co. have kind of always been part of the family. (giggle) You can imagine how happy we both were, when the film version came out. It's got a firm place in my "Whenever I feel down, I watch this" list of movies. I did turn to writing that world during a difficult time last year: my mom's hospital stay for recovery from quadruple-bypass surgery. I can't even begin to describe how much relaxation it gave me. Anyway...Chapter 2 will feature Theresa's seventeenth birthday. We'll get more of a hint of her & Frankie's secret feelings towards each other. I look forward to your opinions.