ONLY YOUR HEART

a sequel to Johnny's Angel
by Cheryl B.

Angel's day of taping on the "Sha Na Na" TV show was finished. After hugging the other guys, all of them offering kind yet sincere compliments on her performance, she was chatting with Johnny alone in the hallway.

"Hey, Angel," he said, "we've got kind of a ritual around here. After we wrap a show, we head across the street to a little bar to blow off some steam and play some pool. "Would you like to join us?"

Angel smiled. "Oh, I don't want to intrude on your boy's night out, I'm sure it's a pretty special time for you all."

"Oh, no," Johnny insisted, "We always ask the guest to join us. And besides..." he whispered with a soft kiss, "It wouldn't be any fun without you. Please come?" He had the most comically pathetic look of pleading on his face that Angel couldn't help but laugh and accept immediately, as if anyone could refuse him anything...

"Great!" he exclaimed happily. "Just let me go take a quick shower and change, and I'll meet you in a few minutes right here OK?"

With an affirmative nod, she watched him disappear into his dressing room, then went to the guest dressing room to wash off her stage makeup and redo it naturally, dab on a bit of perfume and change into jeans and a rose pink twin sweater set. She decided to leave her hair as it was, as undoing her teased-and-sprayed beehive at that moment and making it look presentable would just take too much time. Angel grabbed her purse and headed back out to have a seat in the hallway.

She'd only been waiting about ten minutes when Johnny returned. His hair was washed free of grease, a shining halo of soft, black curls around his beautiful face. He wore black jeans, a hunter green t-shirt and a black leather jacket.

"You look beautiful," he told her sweetly as he kissed her cheek. "Are you ready?"

"Ready!" Angel smiled.

Johnny put his arm around her and walked her across the street to VJ's, a funky little dive that she wouldn't have ever dared set foot in otherwise, but somehow she felt absolutely safe in Johnny's strong presence. Besides, the place closed down for their regular wrap parties, with only the cast and crew, the guest star and their dates invited.

Angel sipped a club soda with lime as she watched Johnny play pool with Santini. Smiling and lost in thought, she didn't even notice someone walking up beside her.

"Angel?"

"Oh!" she exclaimed as Pam Myers, who played Ginger, grinned at her. She was much softer-looking than the cute but brassy Ginger, in jeans, white t-shirt and a tapestry vest, softer makeup and without the blonde bouffant wig. "Sorry," Angel replied, " I was somewhere else there for a minute, I guess!"

With a knowing grin, Pam smiled. "I can only imagine where your mind was at! I saw you and Johnny backstage after the show. Seems like you two are hitting it off pretty well, huh?"

Angel blushed and smiled. "Oh, I don't know about that. He's been very sweet to me, but I'm sure I'm just another girl to him." She looked at him wistfully, easily ahead of Santini in the game.

"Hey, don't sell yourself short, OK?," Pam replied with a smile, "You're the one he kissed, afer all. I can tell he thinks you're something special."

"I hope you're right," Angel sighed. "I just don't want to make a fool of myself." She looked at Pam. "How do you do it?"

"What, make a fool of myself? It's a gift, I guess!!" Pam laughed.

Angel rolled her eyes and giggled. "No, no, I mean..." she paused to make sure Johnny was still wrapped up in his game and not overhearing their conversation, "Being near him all the time, working with him every day. Doesn't it drive you crazy? How do you handle it?"

"Lots of cold showers and going to confession every evening!" Pam replied with a hearty laugh. "Seriously, though, I'll admit that it really was hard at first. I mean, it's not just his looks, he has this way of making a girl feel beautiful and special. I can't lie, I love every minute of it! But after a while, after I really got to know him, we became such good friends that we're like brother and sister now."

"But I'll tell you, kid," she continued, "The lady he gives his heart to is going to be one very lucky girl. Johnny really is a sweet guy. And he likes you, so just enjoy it and quit worrying so much, alright? Your only foolishness would be not to give it a chance."

"I'll try, and, thanks for the advice!" Angel grinned as Pam made her exit, seeing Johnny coming over to where she stood.

"So, did you see me slaughter Santini?" Johnny asked in the same adorably cocky macho way he employed on the show, as he sipped a bottle of beer.

"Oh yes, you were very brutal, tough guy" Angel teased him with a giggle. "Is your male ego stroked enough now?"

"Well, you could always tell me how good-looking I am," he grinned.

"Oooh, tough and modest too, what a man!" she laughed, finishing her club soda.

Johnny grinned. "Why don't you put your money where your smart mouth is and play me a game of pool?"

"Well, I would, but I hate to see a grown man cry/" Angel teased.

"That's it," he exclaimed with a determined smile, "Rack 'em up, baby, you're going to eat those words!"

She laughed. "Actually, I don't play. But I'll give it a try."

"Oh, OK, well then just do your best," he said as he proceeded to break, "You'll learn as you go along." He got a couple more shots in before Angel took over... and cleared the table without giving him another chance. Jocko and Bowzer watched with unmasked glee, and made no small effort in rubbing his humiliation in his face.

"What?" Johnny exclaimed with a confused grin. "I thought you said you didn't play?"

"Oh, I don't play," she replied oh-so-sweetly, "I take pool very seriously!"

Johnny tried so hard to act tough, but couldn't help but break down and laugh. "I've been hustled by a beautiful pool shark! You're deceitful and devious - I like that in a woman!"

Angel came close and kissed him. "So what do I get for winning the game?"

He smiled at her. "How about a date, say, tomorrow night? On one condition, though - no pool!"

"You're on!" Angel laughed.

"Great!" he smiled. "But before we go, just one more thing..." Johnny went to the jukebox, putting in a coin and punching some buttons. "May I have this dance?" He took her hand with a tender smile.

As the romantic strains of The Five Satins' "In The Still Of The Night" began, Johnny took Angel into his arms and held her close, singing along softly in her ear as they danced together. Soon, they found themselves melted together in a tender kiss, and as the song ended, he touched her face softly with a smile and drove her home with plans to pick her up the next evening at 7.

Late the next afternoon, Angel took a long, warm shower, powdered and lotioned and perfumed, and did her makeup and hair. Without a clue as to where they were going, she decided on a long, black, scoop-necked jersey knit dress with black tights, black suede ankle boots and silver hoop earrings. It was dressy enough for a nice dinner, but un-fussy enough for a less formal date.

As she headed to the kitchen for a drink of water, the doorbell rang. Johnny looked stunning in black wool trousers and a black silk shirt - the epitome of male casual elegance. She caught her breath as he handed her a single, perfect red rose and came in, gently kissing her pink cheek. Angel motioned for him to have a seat on the plump beige sofa as she put the flower in a bud vase, setting it on the coffee table.

"Can I get you something to drink?" she asked. "I've got soda and juice, or I could make coffee. I've also got a bottle of wine."

Johnny smiled at her, patting the seat beside him. "All I need is you, come sit with me!" Angel happily obliged, but her mood changed to concern when he closed his eyes and sighed heavily.

"Are you ok, Johnny?" she asked.

Taking her hand and gently kissing her fingertips, he looked at her, trying to feign a lighthearted smile, but none too successfully. "Sure, I'm great, really. It's nothing."

"Johnny," Angel said with kind firmness in her voice, "you're not fooling me. What is it? You look awfully tired."

"Yeah," he confessed. "This is the tough time of our year, killing ourselves to tape a year's worth of shows in a couple months time, before heading out on the road for our usual summer tour. We're on the go every single minute, with barely enough time to breathe, it seems."

He grimaced and rolled his eyes with a sheepish grin. "Wow, that was a great impression of a whining rock star, wasn't it? Wanna hear it again?"

Angel giggled. "You weren't whining... much" she said with a gleam in her eye. "You were being honest, and I'm glad. Now, let me be honest with you."

"Of course," he replied, intrigued.

"You look like you would love nothing better right now than to kick back and relax at home all evening..."

"Oh believe me, there are other things I'd rather be doing," he replied with a twinkle in his eye as he pulled her close for a kiss.

She shook her head with a laugh, imagining that when he was 90 and on his deathbed, he'd still somehow find the strength in his very last breath to shamelessly flirt with his nurse.

"Yeah, yeah, Romeo, you didn't let me finish."

"Okay, so finish already!" he laughed heartily.

"As I was saying, you're obviously exhausted, so instead of having to go to all the trouble to go out, why don't we just stay here, order in a pizza, kick off our shoes and just watch TV?"

He looked at her with a tender smile. "Oh Angel, no. I'm ok, and I don't want to disappoint you with such a boring first date."

"Johnny," she said, "I can't see how sharing you with a restaurant full of people could be any better than a quiet evening at home, just you and me. Believe me," she insisted sweetly, "It doesn't sound boring in the least, it sounds like heaven."

Johnny sighed again. "Oh god, I can't lie... it sounds like heaven to me, too. I really am just absolutely exhausted." He smiled warmly. "Thank you for being so sweet and understanding." He looked as if a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders, knowing he'd found a rare treasure.

He leaned in and kissed her, gently and sweetly. After several long, glorious moments, she smiled and pulled away just a bit.

"I'd better call for the pizza," she said.

"In a minute..." Johnny whispered, taking her mouth again, longer and deeper this time, pulling her close,as she surrendered to his sweetly demanding kisses that she wanted to go on forever.

Finally, the pizza was ordered and delivered shortly afterward. Johnny insisted on paying, and Angel went to the kitchen for plates and a bottle of wine with two glasses.

Johnny turned on the television, and they ate the sausage and pepperoni pizza and sipped chianti while laughing at the night's lineup of sitcoms. When they finished the pizza, Johnny polishing off most of it himself, they kicked off their shoes and he smiled at her, slipping his arm around her as she rested her head on his shoulder and cuddled close, curled up with her legs tucked under herself.

The evening flew by, both of them thoroughly enjoying the simple pleasures of a quiet night together just watching TV and snuggling on the sofa. As the fourth show ended, Angel looked up at him, and saw that he was sound asleep.

With a tender look in her eyes, she carefully arose and laid him back softly onto the sofa so he was lying down. She lifted his legs up onto the couch, and covered him with a blanket with a sweet kiss to his forehead. "To sleep, perchance to dream..." she whispered as she touched his cheek.

After fixing a cup of herb tea, Angel curled up in her easy chair, wrapped a blanket around herself, and sipped the warm elixir. She smiled at the sight of Johnny sleeping there, looking so much like an adorable, innocent little boy that she could feel her heart melting.

"Hey baby," she heard, as she rubbed her eyes and looked into the face of an angel. "Wake up, little Susie," Johnny grinned, holding out a cup to her, "Looks like we both fell asleep." Light streamed through the window, and she knew it was morning.

"Oh dear, I guess so," she yawned. "Thank you for making coffee." Angel sipped it with a smile after he stirred cream and sugar into her steaming cup.

He kissed her softly. "Thank you for tucking me in last night, that was so sweet. But you should have woken me up so I could have gone home and let you go to bed instead of intruding on your kind hospitality."

"It was no intrusion," she said, "You were sleeping so soundly I didn't have the heart to wake you. It was very nice, actually. I felt safe when you were here, and I enjoyed last night so much."

"Me too," he whispered, taking her into his arms with a deep kiss.

She smiled at him, then the realization struck her. "Oh no, I've just woken up and I'm such a mess! Let me go brush my hair..."

Johnny touched her arm. "Don't go, baby," he insisted softly, "You look beautiful to me." And with that, he took Angel into his arms and they slow danced in the warm morning sunlight, luxuriously groggy with romance and the haze of early morning.

He sang softly in her ear. "Sweeten my coffee with a morning kiss, soften my dreams with your sigh..." Johnny kissed her again, sweeter and warmer than the coffee that she could taste on his tongue.

"Can I see you again tomorrow... I mean, tonight?" Johnny asked when they finally broke apart. "I've got a little party to go to tonight, and I'd love you to be there with me."

Disappointment colored her features, the radiance of a moment ago fading just a bit. "Oh, Johnny, I'm so sorry. I'd love to, but I've got a gig tonight that I can't get out of. But I'd rather be there with you."

He could tell how sincere she was, and tenderly smiled. "I understand, baby. I'll give you a call, OK? And have a great show!"

The tear she'd been fighting won its struggle for freedom, running down her flushed cheek. "I'll try, but I'll be thinking of you every minute."

Johnny gently dabbed away her tear with his thumb. "It's alright, please don't cry. Hey..." He lifted her head up to look at him. "I'm not going anywhere. I *will* call you, Angel."

Angel smiled, still disappointed but feeling better. "Thank you, and have fun at the party."

"Not a chance without you," he said. "But I'll console myself with the thought of our next date. And I'll make up for the pizza and TV, it'll be a much better evening, I promise. A special night that you'll never forget."

She looked into his warm brown eyes and smiled softly. "I'll never forget last night," she replied. "It was perfect, every moment of it."

"Then I guess I'd really better think of something really good," he grinned as he stood at the door to leave. "I'll see you soon, baby, knock 'em dead tonight."

And with a last, lovely kiss, he was gone. And Angel missed him already.

The rest of the day was a heavy-hearted blur for Angel, who could only think of Johnny and how she'd rather be at that stupid, boring party with him than singing at the club.

She felt silly, as he'd promised to see her again soon, but her heart longed for him, and even the thought of her music, which normally made her so happy, couldn't soothe that aching loneliness within her.

Later that evening, she headed to The Starlight Room, an elegant little nightclub. She skipped her usual early arrival for rehearsal - she would be doing the same familiar numbers as she'd been doing in her act for weeks, and besides her heart just wasn't in it. Not tonight.

Suddenly Mike, the owner, came up to her with a big, hearty grin. "Hey, Angel, glad you're here. Looks like we're going to have a full house tonight, better be prepared!" He walked away before she could ask any questions, and so she went backstage to dress for the show.

Angel soon emerged in a midnight blue cocktail dress, her auburn hair shining and curled. She looked out and saw only about five people there so far, the promised crowds nowhere in sight. She sang her first number, and as she was about to launch into the next song, she looked up to see a large group of people walking in.

Her heart skipped a beat to see Johnny leading the pack, followed by the rest of the Sha Na Na guys, along with the producer, head writer and several others she didn't recognize.

He was wearing navy trousers with a white shirt, unbuttoned at the neck, and carried a large bouquet of red roses. The group took over the reserved five tables in front, and Johnny sat right in front of her with a huge smile on his face as she gathered her composure and launched into her signature song, her first hit, "Only Your Heart," her eyes affixed to Johnny throughout the whole song.

Diamonds, they may sparkle
Like the stars in the sky.
A rose, so sweet and lovely,
Though it fades by and by.
A romantic rendezvous
Thrills with breathtaking sights,
But there's just one gift
That I wish for tonight.

Only your heart.
So faithful and true.
Only your heart
When I'm lonely and blue.
My darling, since that sweet day
When we promised 'I do.'
It's only your heart
That I'll ever ask of you.

Whenever we're together,
Darling, I want nothing more
Than to stay right here in heaven
In your arms forevermore.
No gift that you could offer
Could ever bring such sweet bliss
As the joy your love gives me
With each tender kiss.

Only your heart.
So faithful and true.
Only your heart
When I'm lonely and blue.
My darling, since that sweet day
When we promised 'I do.'
It's only your heart
That I'll ever ask of you.

As she looked at Johnny, smiling up at her with pride, she finished her set and went on break. She went down to greet him with a tight embrace, and he led her to a quiet corner table so they could talk. He handed her the roses, which she accepted with a kiss to his freshly shaved, softly scented cheek. A waiter brought two glasses of white wine.

"Thank you, Johnny," Angel said, sipping her drink with a puzzled look, "but what are you doing here? What happened to your party?"

"This is it!" he grinned. "I did a little sleuthing and found out where you were singing, and convinced everybody to bring our little get- together here instead of our usual hangout. I just had to see you."

He continued. "At least a couple of times every season, we all go out to celebrate and to discuss the show - give our opinions on how we've been doing, ideas for future shows, that sort of thing. This was the most fun these meetings have ever been, believe me. You were wonderful, and they definitely want you to guest again next season."

She kissed him warmly. "Thank you so much, Johnny. Not for the compliments, but for keeping your promise."

"To see you again?" Johnny asked.

"No," Angel replied. "To make our second date a very special and memorable one." She smiled. "Although I still have a real fondness for quiet evenings with pizza and TV."

"Is this a date?" he laughed. "I mean, you're working and all. It hardly seems right."

"Hey," she grinned, "I'm all dressed up, we're at a fancy place, you brought flowers... I'd say this is definitely a date!"

With another kiss, Angel took the stage again for her second act, and this time, she felt deeply every word of every love song she sang. And she just knew, somehow, that date number three was going to be even better.

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