Jon joined the rest of the band on the smaller jet to Brisbane the next morning but when their plane took off for the Europe a few hours later, it was short one passenger. He wasn't leaving her behind again. Instead he had made arrangements for the private charter continue on to Sydney and on to Europe later that night. By midday he was knocking on her door.
Noise could be heard coming from inside the apartment so he knew she was there. He heard footsteps approach and the key turn in the lock. "Thank God" he uttered.
The door swung wide. "Jon what are you doing here, where's Al?"
Jon pushed past Lanie at the door. "Don't play innocent with me Lanie. I know she's here. ALEX...ALI.... C'mon I know you're here...we can sort this out...don't do this to me again"
"Jon...I'm telling you she's not here. You're worrying me now....last I heard she was with you. She rang a couple of days ago telling me how happy she was, how amazing you were and that she would be home this morning some time. I thought you were her. Where is she Jon? If you've hurt her again I'll....."
"So she really isn't here." Jon asked already knowing the answer because he had been searching the apartment while Lanie spoke.
"No and I haven't heard anything either."
"Where else would she go?"
"Geez Jon, I don't know..."
"C'mon Lanie you must know. You're her best friend. I need to find her, I can't let her go again."
"Maybe her Mum and Dad's..." Lanie offered tentatively, wondering if she had said too much. But he just looked so desperate.
Lanie scribbled the address on a piece of paper, and was rewarded with a kiss on the cheek and he was gone.
At Tony and Sophia Belle's house the phone receiver sat off the cradle, had it not been they would have received one of the many calls Lanie had tried to make to warn them of their impending visitor. Their daughter had arrived on their doorstep during the night, the very early hour and puffy bloodshot eyes alerting them to her distress. Sophia had folded her daughter into her arms and held her close waiting for the tears to come but they never did. It seemed her daughter had already exhausted them but that she was glad nevertheless for the comfort of her mother's arms making no attempt to remove herself from them. Tony had stood by protectively. He knew not what had caused her distress but was resolved to sorting out whatever or whoever it was.
Sophia had led Alex to her bedroom, though she had never slept in this house, her mother had arranged all of her belongings as they had been in their old house before the move and Alex welcomed the sense of familiarity. She lay on the bed in her mother's arms until she finally fell asleep around dawn. The only words she spoke were "If he comes I'm not here and you don't know where I am."
Sophia had tried to question her daughter but Alex's lips had remained resolutely closed. She had always been a stubborn child, a trait she had unfortunately inherited from herself, one that had exacerbated many an argument over the years. She knew that in waiting her daughter would finally come to her but that pushing at this emotional time would only serve to drive her away.
In the early afternoon the knock on the door Alex had dreaded finally came. She was locked in her room sitting cross legged on her bed, her childhood friend Big Ted clutched firmly to her chest. Sophia was busying herself in the kitchen preparing the evening meal and Tony, who had decided to work from home so he could be near his daughter, was holed up in their home office attending to some phone calls that could not be postponed.
Alex's heart started to thump at the sound and she listened intently for the exchange downstairs.
"Can I help you?" Tony asked as he opened the front door to find a long haired youth....no not a youth a man...this guy had to be in his twenties. Immediately he was unimpressed.
"Hello Mr Belle. I'm Jon, I was wondering if I could see Alex please?" As he spoke he ran a hand through his hair and immediately realised his mistake when Tony's attention was drawn to his wedding band. Fuck why didn't I take it off. Great first impression.
"She's not here." Tony said as he made to close the door but a cowboy booted foot prevented him from doing so. Was that an American accent?
"I think she is sir and I'm sorry to be forward but I really need to see her." Jon pushed on the door and it slipped from Tony's grasp and swung wide.
Sophia, who had heard the ruckus, made her way into the foyer stood in awe of the young man who graced her doorstep. Could it be... no impossible.
Tony became aware of his wife presence and beckoned her over. "Honey this is Jon, he's here to see Alex"
"Oh I know who he is." She would reserve the pleasantries until she knew his intent.
"You do, I haven't heard Alex mention any Jon."
"Have you not looked at her walls at all over the last few years dear" Sophie was a little exasperated by her husband's lack of attention to details. "This is Jon Bon Jovi, you know the one from the posters, he sings that 'Prayer' song you don't mind."
"Oh...Ohhhh. Well rock star or not, no long haired lout will be sniffing around my little girl, especially not one that's considerably older and married to boot." Alex's father moved to stand before Jon effectively barring his entry.
"I'm sorry son we can't help you. I really think it's best that you leave." Sophia said, diplomatically echoing her husband's sentiments.
"Please sir, ma'am, just tell me if she's here. Tell me that she's ok. I only want to talk to her but at the very least I need to know she is safe."
"I can assure you that she isn't here and even if she were you wouldn't have an icebergs hope in hell of seeing her so I suggest you just get on your bike and scram. You won't get any satisfaction here."
"I'm not leaving until I talk to her. I know you must know where she is."
Upstairs Alex listened intently. She had fled the resort unsure of her resolve to tell him goodbye, but here, with the support of her family, she felt strong enough to face him. Slowly she descended the stairs and still clutching her bear and flopped down on the second last step. Jon pushed past Tony and knelt on the hard tile floor before her. She looked so young and innocent, sitting there with her childhood toy but her eyes expressed the pain she felt.
"Alex honey go back upstairs I can handle this" Tony said as he came up behind Jon ready to physically extract him from the house.
"No Daddy, it's OK. I need to do this. He needs to hear this from me or he won't leave." She said, her tear streaked face breaking her father's heart as he stood by helpless.
"Jon, you need to leave. We have been through this. There is no future for us. I would never settle for what you can offer me Jon. I deserve better. If you were free, I am sure that we could have had something truly amazing......"
"But Ali it is amazing...."
"NO Jon! What it is... is tragic" she paused and swallowed down the huge lump that had formed in her throat.
"Now please leave and don't bother me or my family again"
"You don't mean that Ali. I know you don't. Please baby we need to talk some more. I'm not gonna lose you again. It hurt too much the first time" Jon pleaded.
Tony and Sophia stood by dazed and confused, looking at each other with a puzzled expresion..the first time?
"When was the first time?" Alex heard her father's whisper and glanced across to see her mother's shrug. "She's barely eighteen" her dad continued.
"Shhh Tony" Her mothered hushed.
"You never had me to begin with. I will always cherish our time together but I got from you what I wanted, what I needed and now it's over. So you need to walk out that door, back to your life... and your wife, and never look back."
Tony placed his hand on Jon's shoulder. He couldn't help feeling a little sorry for this poor man who had fallen so hard for his daughter's charms. "OK son, it's time for you to leave."
Jon rose but dropped a card on the bottom step at Alex's feet. "I fly out at midnight tonight on a private charter, I have a show tomorrow in Portugal, the boys have already left this morning. If you change your mind and want to talk that's where you'll find me." He bent down to kiss her on the top of the head but was distressed and taken aback when she shrunk away from him. He cupped the side of her face with his hand and leaned in, whispering in her ear "I love you." Before backing away and walking out the door.
Jon anxiously waited out the day at the hotel. He didn't leave his room for fear that he would miss her call. He was restless and distracted. He took a brief shower for fear he's miss her call and he called reception several times to check if there were any messages, and on the one occasion that there was his heart raced until he discovered it was from Doc urging him to "Get your fucking ass on that plane immediately". Never had an addiction grabbed him so hard, for she was an addiction and just as he had sung in his song there was no cure.
Come 11.45 p.m. Jon was at the airport on the tarmac ready to board. He had been whisked through security and customs as was customary for him. He turned again to look at the terminal, nothing. He made his way to the boarding ramp and began to ascend the stairs. He was half way up the stairs when he felt a set of eyes on him. He turned towards the terminal for one last look, was it ...no it couldn't be. He took the remaining steps two at a time til he stood on the landing where he could get a better view but there was no-one in sight. Jon boarded the plane and was in his seat, but a niggling voice in his head kept telling him NO! GO BACK!
Jon jumped out of his seat, ran down the aisle, past the startled flight attendant and flew down the stairs and across the tarmac. He breached security when he ran up the service stairs to the closest aerobridge and set alarms wailing as he burst through the door to the terminal. He ran through the building to where he thought had seen her last....but she was gone. He remained there for a long moment, running his fingers through his hair as he spun around searching her out in the near empty terminal. Nothing. He crouched low his hands still threaded in his hair his elbows resting on his knees, his eyes focused on a dirty patch of dried up chewing gum on the carpet. When he raised them, noticed an abandoned child's toy propped against the terminal window. He went to retrieve it; it may belong to a child on the plane after all. It was a well worn teddy bear, her teddy bear...a note hung from his neck... 'Something to remember me by'. As if he could ever forget.....