As Labor Day weekend came to an end, they said goodbye to summer and the Hamptons. For Ari, it was both bittersweet and welcoming. Though she enjoyed having Jon and all the kids around for the last two months with nothing to do, it was time to get back to work. Sadly, not the kind that had her rigging stages or sound equipment, instead the kind that took her back to Canada. The last year being on the road with Jon and having Lily had kept her away from Petit Soho. It was time she get back to her responsibilities and give Max that much earned vacation he rightfully deserved. She also had a big empty loft that Luc has been dying to show her and needed to be furnish.
After packing up the Hampton house they dropped the kids off in Manhattan and headed to New Jersey. It was brief visit for her. Jon had some foundation work and last minute rehearsals to do before the next leg of the tour, so she kissed him goodbye and headed home. Interesting word, home... some would say, home is where you hang your hat, or where your heart is. Others consider it one’s place of birth. But for her, no matter what her birth certificate said or her newly acquired drivers license, Montreal would always be home to her. It’s like her brother-in-laws would always say to her, you can take the boys out of New Jersey, but you can’t take the New Jersey out of the boys.
Walking through the front doors of Petite Soho for the first time with her baby girl in her arms was one of the most surreal moments she’s ever had. A moment in her life she never dreamt would ever happen. Anyone and everyone who had been part of her Pette Soho family was there to greet them. To say there were tears was an understatement. Tears of joy for this circle of life moment and what it meant, as well as tears of sadness that Lilly and Sal were not here to take part of it. Thankfully, Cara was there to capture it all.
Another thing she truly missed, her best friend. The two hadn’t seen each other since Lily was born. Sure, Cara was right there by her side for her goddaughter’s grand arrival, but she had to leave shortly after. Jonas was in the middle of his tour and it was Cara’s turn to jet off around the world. Funny how life worked sometimes and it was Cara’s turn at living life on the road.
She didn’t realize how much she had missed the familiarity of being at the bar. From the smell of greasy burgers coming from the kitchen, to watching the neighborhood old timers in a heated discussion on the upcoming Habs season. Most of the afternoon was spent catching up and watching those she called family fawn over her daughter like she was royalty. It was a few hours before the things quieted down enough that she had a chance to steal a few moments away from the party. Using the excuse that it was time for Lily to nurse, she took her daughter and made her way out back, pausing briefly as she stepped out into the yard. This time of the year was always her favorite. The garden and her tree were just starting to show hints of those autumn hues she loved and the lounger she always sat in was in the same spot from the last time she was here. Smiling, she kissed the top of Lily’s head remembering that last time, her impromptu cold winter's night wedding. Letting out a long belated breath she followed the cracked pathway. Bypassing the chair, she dusted off of spot on the ground and took a seat in front of the engraved stone at the base of the tree. Seeing as this was Lily’s first time here, Ariana wanted it to be special, even though she understood Lily wouldn’t remember it.
It didn’t take long for Ari’s old routine to fall into place, spending her mornings in the office handling the day’s deliveries and invoicing and her afternoons behind the bar while Lily napped. Her evenings were spent in the dusty old basement, giving orders to Cara on what boxes she wanted pulled from under the stairs. She was looking through some of her parents old treasures for the new loft. They even managed to stumble upon a couple of boxes full of Ari’s belongings. Things she hadn’t thought about in years or remembered ever packing up. Things like all her old journals she kept while out on the road with her dad. No matter how much Ari pleaded with her friend to just tape up the boxes and shove them back from where they came, she didn’t. Instead, Cara was all too happy to call for one of the busboys to carry them up to the apartment. They spent a few nights curled up on her grandmother’s old couch drinking and flipping through the pages and reminiscing.
When she wasn’t working she was running to the loft or shopping and despite all of her efforts to have the loft fully furnished and liveable for when Jon and the kids arrived on the seventeenth, it did not happen. So instead, they all camped out in the tiny little apartment. Against Jon’s wishes, of course. He wanted to book a suite at the St. James, but she held her ground on that one. That’s right, two adults, one infant, four grown children, and one very large, very active dog. And even though he wouldn't admit it, Jon loved every last minute of it. His children got to see where Ari spent most of her childhood when she wasn’t on the road with Sal. Max and Gabriel kept them busy with stories. Well, only the ones that were shareable to little ears. At night they took them for long walks throughout the city. Stopping every now and then, so Ari could share some of its history. Before too long their time together was over. The kids had to get back to school and Jon to Latin America. As much as he wanted Ari and Lily to go with him, he knew it wasn’t possible with Lily being so little, so he instructed the pilot to take the kids back and return the next day, so he could spend a little more time with them. Besides, it wasn’t like he wouldn’t see or speak with them. Uncle Tony was very good at what he did and had set up private streaming, so that Jon wouldn’t miss those important firsts. The bonus for Ari, she got to watch some of the show as well as helping out whenever they needed her to.
Early one morning while she was sitting at her desk going over the day’s orders, she heard a commotion coming from the kitchen. She couldn’t quite make out the other voices over Gabriel’s, but whatever it was it had Gabriel's apron strings in a twist. Reaching for her empty coffee mug, she went to find out what was going on. Rounding the corner into the kitchen she was stunned to see her in-laws standing in the middle of the kitchen and once she gotten Gabriel to calm down, she learned that Jon had sent them. A secret mission, they said. One they weren’t privy to all the information, or so they claimed. All they said was that they were there to watch Lily and that she had an hour to pack an overnight bag, because a car would be picking her. She tried texting Jon to find out what he was up to. When he didn’t respond, she figured he was in the middle of something or he was ignoring her, she tried Matt and Tony. When neither of the answered she knew the three musketeers were up to something. An hour later, when the car arrived, she wasn’t any closer to knowing what was going on. She repeated her daughter's schedule to Carol & John for the third time and kissed Lily goodbye.
She thought she’d get some answer when she saw Cliff waiting for her at the door of the waiting plane, but he too had turned against her by telling her his lips were sealed. So she took her seat and waited while the crew ran through their pre-flight checklist. It wasn’t until they got the all clear and the plane started rolling along the runway that her phone rang a familiar tune. Tapping accept, she brought the phone to her ear, smiling at the whiskey coated voice coming from the other end….
I never knew how much I loved ya
I never knew how much I cared
Till I wrapped my lovin arms around ya
I give ya fever that's so hard to bear