Jon was pleased that Alex had accepted his invitation for it was an indication that she was ready to move forward, now he just had to convince her that she wished to move forward with him. He reached for the picnic basket that Tico had delivered earlier and removed the red and white chequered cloth from the top and spread it between them. He then went about removing the food and placing it on the cloth along with the plates, glasses and cutlery that had been provided. Alex looked on as he continued to spread out the lunch fare, carefully opening containers of salads; potato, coleslaw and bean, and unwrapping trays of fresh seafood; lobster, prawns, mussels and crab. There was also fried chicken and fresh bread rolls, a selection of domestic and tropical fruits and to drink, a bottle of chilled champagne, coca cola and beer. She had to admit that she was impressed with his domesticity and wondered if it had come with his brief marriage or if it was something his mother had taught years before. By all accounts his mother was a tough, self sufficient, independent woman and Alex imagined that she would have raised her children to be the same.
On completion of setting up the picnic, Jon looked up to find Alex watching him with interest.
"Why are you staring at me?" he asked.
"Oh I don't know, I just hadn't imagined you to be the domestic type I guess" came her reply.
"Setting up a picnic hardly qualifies. You should see me with a vacuum cleaner" he joked.
Alex smiled at him then, and his heart skipped a beat. It was the first true smile she had given him since he had been back. He picked up the seafood and offered it to her first. She took a small piece of lobster but refused the rest; she selected a drumstick off the plate of chicken before handing the rest to Jon and then offered to serve him some of each of the salads which he gratefully accepted. They ate in companionable silence, neither realising just how hungry they were until they began to eat.
"Am I allowed to offer you some champagne?" Jon was unsure of the local age of consent; at home in the States one had to be twenty-one years of age to drink alcohol.
"I'm eighteen now Jon, my birthday was a few months ago, I'm legal." Alex explained "And yes, thank you, I would love some."
He popped open the bottle of Moet and poured her a tall glass, then watched as she sipped at glass of pale liquid, the bubbles tickling her nose causing it to scrunch up, he found it endearing. Her second taste was not a delicate sip but a long draw.
Alex held the wine in her mouth savouring the flavour before swallowing. "Aahh" she sighed. "I really needed that!"
"Be careful or you'll be needing a bed soon" Jon warned.
"Let's not go there again OK"
"Ali, that's not what I meant. I mean that if you keep guzzling like that you'll pass out. Don't forget that you haven't eaten yet. And I don't know about you but that stuff goes straight to my head."
Jon continued a mischievous grin enhancing his fine features "But then again you know if you do decide to take it there" he said emphasising the last word "I would be more than happy to join you...." He waited a second for her reaction, then seeing the look on her face finished "... OK teasing... just teasing... I know you're involved, and that's ok. And I'm sorry about last night. I know I have no right to be mad; my mind understands that, it's just that my heart is having a hard time catching up."
"Jon, I think I need to clear some things up" She felt for him as he sat there with a sorrowful look on his face "What makes you think I'm ahhh..." Alex couldn't bring herself to use the word 'fuck' as Jon had "dating Rick?"
"You mean you're not?" He was full of hope.
"Answer the question Jon"
"The way he spoke about you for one; he refers to you as 'my Alex' and I guess the occasion when I was comforting you that you moaned his name" that admission actually causing him physical discomfort, as his stomach turned at the thought. "Oh and lets not forget the fact that the two of you are living together and there was always that kiss on the balcony and that private dance"
"OK, so now I will answer your question. No" she emphasised "I am not seeing Rick. I never have and to be honest the thought has never even crossed my mind. I have been teased mercilessly at work by friends who believe that Rick has an interest in me, and I only found out that night on the balcony that it was true when he attempted to kiss me and I stopped him. I told him then and there that there was someone else so what you must have seen was a platonic kiss on the cheek. As for a private dance...I have no idea..." She paused mid sentence "Ohh hang on, yes I do. It was Lanie, she just got a part in a musical and she was showing him what she'd learnt in rehearsal that day. I take it you didn't see her there that night." Jon shook his head no "Listen, Rick is a good friend, and has been a great support that has seen me through some pretty horrific times, especially lately." She considered for a second how it was he came to be there to see everything in the first place.
"Were you stalking me Jon?" She asked a little perturbed but more than slightly amused.
"NO" he started indignantly "Well maybe....ok yeah" he answered before quickly changing the subject. "I know about Abbie, that must have been really tough on you."
"Yeah it was. It still is!" Alex wanted to explain better about Rick. "What I need you to understand Jon, and I can honestly say that I don't know why I need you too after what you've put me through, is that when Abbie was found, it was Rick by my side, it was Rick that held me close, and it Rick that comforted me and talked me through it. So in my nightmares, it's only natural that it's Rick I call for, and I am truly sorry if that upset you, but it isn't something I can control. Jon, the bond that I feel with him is undeniable, but it has never been what I felt for you."
"What you felt or what you feel?"
"Now that, I know we have been over. It doesn't matter anymore what I feel for you Jon. You're married now. The only woman you should have feelings for now is your wife."
"Well that's a problem, because what I do feel in no way resembles what I should feel. I've already told you my heart belongs to you and I think you feel the same. If you had answered just one of my letters, given me the slightest indication that you were interested, I wouldn't be married to Dot now" Jon declared.
"See now that's where I get confused" Alex took another sip of her champagne before continuing "There were no letters Jon. I went to the box every day for six months. I thought that if my parents got them they might hide them from me. I can tell you they weren't so impressed that Mr Rock Star had kept me out all night." She smiled as she recalled that night. "Especially since I was underage and you were so much older. I never got one letter Jon, seriously the hottest man in the world sends me a letter, you think I wouldn't answer it."
"Ya think I'm hot huh?" He interrupted, a huge grin plastered to his face.
"Don't play Mr Modesty with me. You know you're hot" she continued "Hell if you had of sent me a plane ticket I would have been there the next day. Surely you remember Jon that I had no way to contact you. I never got an address or phone number. I didn't even get a photo or an autograph. I had nothing of that night except this." Alex pulled from her pocket the pendant he had given her that night.
"I'm never without it Jon. I haven't worn it these last couple of weeks because I didn't need the extra reminder of our past, but even though I took it off, I couldn't leave it behind. When the tour was announced earlier this year I was ecstatic. It was my opportunity to see you again. I had everything planned. I had front section tickets arranged through work and I still had the sign from the first concert. I was going to hold it up for you and hope that you noticed and called me back so I could see you again. I thought last couple of years had been torture; seeing you, hearing you every day until the announcement was made that you had married and then my world really fell apart. I cried for days, I was a total mess." Alex paused to collect her emotions before she continued. She was on the verge of tears and did not want to show him that vulnerability.
She continued "But I managed to pick myself up and carry on. Now here you come, with your declarations and promises, and throw me right back in time to when I was in your arms on that yacht. Jon I just can't do it anymore, it hurts too much. You asked if it was feel or felt. Well what do you think? We had chemistry then, we still have it now but that won't excuse your marriage vows" As Alex finished hot tears stung the back of her eyes. You promised yourself you wouldn't cry, damn it.
"Alex, listen to me" he reached over and wound her fingers through his "I did write, I swear, but that we will sort out with Doc a bit later, because I gave them to him to send. If I had any idea that you felt that way the plane ticket would've been in your hand. I was so unsure of your feelings Ali, especially when you didn't write back." He paused and took a sip of coke from the can he had just opened. He wanted to retain a clear head for this conversation so he was sticking with the soft stuff.
"You know, back then you were the only girl who ever stopped me from bedding them, and while on that subject, I have to say, your parents, they had every reason to be concerned because, I can tell you this right now, the only thing that was stopping me from making love to you by the end of that night, was your wishes, your age wasn't even a factor anymore." Jon felt his dick stiffen at the memory "If you hadn't stopped me, have no doubt, I would have taken you on the deck of that boat, and I wouldn't have given a fuck who was there to watch. But you see, that's what had me so confused, no one had turned me down till then, and come to think of it, there has been no one since."
"Oh Jon" it came out as a breathy sigh "Please, don't do this to me again. While you went off and had your, what was it again 'hundreds of women and the wife you can't get it up for', I was alone waiting for you." She paused when she saw the confused look on his face and debated whether to continue. An old saying came to mind 'In for a penny, in for a pound', she had come this far there was no reason to hold back now. Maybe if he knew the whole truth he would understand why this had devastated her so.
"There has been no one since you Jon" She finished simply, tears now flowing freely, laying a trail of watery mascara down her cheeks.
Jon stopped to consider her words and contemplated their meaning, carefully constructing his thoughts before speaking. "Ali, are you telling me you're still a virgin? That on this tour you wanted me to be your first."
Alex nodded, unable to speak, the lump that had formed in her throat so large that it strangled the words.
"Awe fuck baby! I've been such an ass" Jon got up and moved over behind her, cradling her between his legs and wrapping her in his arms.
Alex nodded again "Yeah..." was all she managed to squeak out as the smallest hint of a grin touched her lips.