Jon didn't attempt to see Alex again. He was afraid that if he saw her with that same guy again he could not be held responsible for his actions. An old showbiz saying was "Any publicity is good publicity", Jon was sure that assault didn't count, so he stayed away.
He was in Melbourne now. A week had passed, each day being harder than one before to resist the temptation to see her. The evening prior he had performed the final Australian show. In just three hours time he would be boarding a plane to New Zealand for the two Auckland shows that would complete the Australasian leg of the tour. And now, now he sat in a hotel room waiting for the reporter from Alex's paper to arrive so he could complete his part of the deal that would deliver her to him. His band mates were scattered around the room, each of them in their own silent world. The tour sure had taken a toll this time around.
The mood in the room shifted when there was a knock at the door. An outsider would never have guessed at the tension that had been overwhelming only moments before.
"Come in" Richie called out.
The door opened and Jon imagined that someone was playing a colossal joke on him. "Hi, I'm Rick" Alex's boyfriend proffered a hand. "I'm here representing News Corp. I was told you'd be expecting me"
"Ah yeah....Let's do this. We have a plane to catch." Jon couldn't be sure but he assumed Alex hadn't told her new beau about him. There wasn't the slightest glimmer of recognition in his eyes and he was grateful for it. The last thing he felt like doing was explaining himself.
"Mind if I record this?" Rick asked as he removed a small recorder from his coat pocket and flicked it on, not really waiting for a response. Jon almost felt like saying no just to see how uncomfortable he could make him.
"Course not" Richie answered.
Rick began the interview. His questions were intelligent and insightful, begrudgingly earning Jon's respect. Not one hair question had been asked making this interview a refreshing change from the norm. But while they spoke Jon wondered how he could sway the topic to Alex. Then he had an idea.
"Hey man, wasn't someone from your paper supposed to interview us in Sydney?" Jon asked casually.
"Umm yeah...me. Me and my partner Alex were called out to a pretty horrific job the day before, maybe you saw article...little Abbie"
"That little baby that was abused and murdered?" Asked Tico
"Yeah, that's the one" Rick turned sullen at the thought. "Alex turned up for the photo shoot though right? She said it went well"
"Did she?" Came a snicker from Alec
Jon didn't wait for a reply "So what about the Abbie thing? Why didn't you make it to the show?"
"Um... well... Alex and I had just about finished our shift when we got a final call out...head office heard something on the police scanner and wanted us to investigate. We arrived on the scene only minutes after the first squad cars. No barricades had been set yet and the scene was still open to view." He started. "Anyway it was a child, a two year old little girl that had been raped and murdered, her name, we found out later was Abbie. She had been abducted from her home the afternoon before. As we approached the crowd unaware of what they concealed one of the officers moved away, to start constructing the modesty screens I believe, and Alex and I were confronted with the most gruesome scene. She was in a bad way man, that little girl, she had been tortured, her poor little body mutilated, her head was hanging by the merest of threads, limbs hung from her body at awkward angles." Jon shivered as he felt his blood run cold. Rick continued.
"Anyway, the next day I was a mess. I just couldn't get my head around, ya know, I have a niece about the same age. I kept picturing her face on that poor little body. Alex went to work, that was the day of your last show and we were short staffed but I just couldn't do it. I think Alex might be a fan actually; she went to your first Sydney show as well, it was probably a good thing for her to help take her mind off what happened... if only for a while. Anyway, the boss sent her off for counselling in the morning and she did your show that night. I'm sure the counselling helped some, but damn a scene like that just haunts you. I know for a fact that she's still having nightmares, hell so am I and I don't expect that they'll end anytime soon for either of us." Jon nodded his affirmation. "I've been on the job ten years, and man, I've seen some really fucked up shit, I've been overseas where I've seen famine and war, I've seen riots and humanity gone mad but I tell you," he said shaking his head, "what was done to that poor little kid, it's enough to rip your heart right outta ya chest."
"And I tell ya man, that's one hell of a woman, I tried to get her away from the scene, but you know what she went and did" Rick asked then proceeded to answer his own question. "She shrugged me off and went over to the poor bastard that had found the kid, to console him. She told me later that his pain was worse than hers and that he needed the comfort of others. We've become really close over the past few months working together and yet every day she does something that amazes me."
Jon paid close attention to the emotion in Rick's voice and the admiration in his eyes. It seemed that he had quite strong feelings for Alex, but that didn't mean they were reciprocated. Then again, he doubted she was the type to engage in a casual affair, hadn't she told him as much. Besides why wouldn't she fall for him, he seemed to be kind hearted, had the looks and physique of a Hollywood actor, he was intelligent and witty and most importantly he was free to be with her.
As Rick had spoken a hush fell over the room, finally Jon broke the silence "Thanks for sharing that man. I know that must have been hard for you. Amazing girl! I never would have guessed. She was so professional at the concert but..."
Alec, forever the smart ass, interrupted "Yeah till she reamed out your ass" he laughed.
"She did what?" Rick asked with amused surprise.
"I uh...I must have made a comment she didn't like, so she put me in my place so to speak. It's cool, I've always said I like a strong woman, and considering what you've just told us I'd say strong was an understatement" Jon said concealing the truth while covertly shooting Alec a warning glare, he didn't know much but he did know that Jon had previous knowledge of Alex and that alone would be enough to get a reporter like Rick asking all the right... or wrong questions. "Damn by the time she was finished with me, I felt like I'd gone five rounds with Ali, and she hadn't even laid a finger on me, that tongue of hers sure has some bite." They all chuckled, and at that, the sombre mood of earlier was broken.
"Yep, that's my Alex alright!" Rick replied, not giving any mind to the connotation of the word "my". But Jon sure did. He was now sure she had moved on. As if what he had seen at her apartment was not proof enough. She was involved with Rick. A pang of jealousy gripped him, one he recognised he had no right to feel.
Rick interrupted Jon's thoughts "So back to work, next question, you recently got married, how do you perceive that will affect your fan base?" And with that simple question, Jon realised he had no right to expect anything of her at all.