Jon returned to the tour and his life but she was never far from his mind. At first he did his best to forget her as she had asked, but her absence from his mind would last no more than a few hours. Even in sleep she haunted his dreams, her soft skin, those luscious pink lips, her infectious laugh. Her long legs wrapped around him, her breasts pressed into his flesh. More often than not he woke with a screaming hard on and hoped against hope he didn't talk in his sleep. He hadn't even indulged in the sexual favours groupies were only too happy to offer.
Barely a month had past and his resolve to do as she wished was torn to shreds. He couldn't stay away. He contacted her boss at the paper only to be told she had moved on. Her parents were of no help, but then he hadn't expected them to be. Even Lanie, who expressed her regret to him for how things had turned out, would not disclose Alex's location or contact information. Jon was at a loss. She was gone from him once again.
A month after the tours end in 1990 Jon was at his mother and father's house celebrating his 28th birthday. His family were all there, a couple of his childhood friends and of course his wife, all singing Happy Birthday and enjoying good food and company. Once the cake had been cut and while his family continued to celebrate inside, Carol Bongiovi watched her son discretely sneak out the back door.
Jon was sitting on the porch step when he heard the screen door creak, and his mother's voice.
"Jon, please come inside honey, it's far too cold to be sitting out here like this"
"I'm fine ma, I'll be in soon. I just wanted a little time alone" Carol was gravely concerned for her son, never had she seen him so despondent.
Since his return from the tour he had barely spoken, to her or anyone else. She had at first assumed it was just burn out, she had seen that before but this was different somehow. Finally the week before, her daughter-in-law had come to her to express her concern. Jon was apparently having difficulty sleeping, he was drinking too much and was unresponsive to his wife's attentions. Dot was at her wits end and hoped the Bongiovi matriarch would be able to help her. Carol assured her she would try.
"What's wrong honey?"
"It's nothing Ma"
"Jon... I can see something is troubling you. Believe me when I say I have no delusions as to the lifestyle you lead, if you need to talk, I'm here for you. You've always been able to tell me anything, that hasn't changed just because you're a rock star. That's just your job honey not who you are"
The pair sat in silence for long minutes as a war was waged in Jon's head and heart. Did he keep Alex to himself, wrapped up in that magical place in his heart he had reserved for her? Or did he share her with the one person who had always understood him the best, the one who had always managed to give him perspective when he needed it the most.
"Awe geez Mom... I don't know where to begin." He started, and then he couldn't stop. "I met someone Ma. And she's just amazing...beautiful and intelligent and kind and strong and independent and....and" he began to shake his head "....she's not Dot"
"Ohhhh" Jon's mother said quietly. "I thought this funk you were in was about the band and the boys"
"That hasn't helped but no. It's her...I can't get her out of my mind" Jon couldn't bring himself to look at his mom. Instead he kept his head dipped and his face hidden in the long hair that dropped either side, as he fidgeted with this fingers.
"Who is she? Do I know her?"
Jon shook his head "No. No one you know. I just don't know what to do Ma. I made a commitment to Dot, I know that but that was before....well before her." He looked up then, and Carol could see the depths of pain and the unshed tears in her son's eyes.
"How far did this go?" Carol asked.
"We had an amazing week together" A small smile crept onto his face at the thought of the blissful week he and Alex had shared.
"So you..?" Carol asked.
"And how do you feel about this woman?"
"I love her Ma...more than I thought possible. She had me from hello."
"Oh dear. Did she come home with you? Where is she now?"
Once again Jon shook his head. "No idea really, I haven't seen her for a few months. We had an amazing week together and then she ended it, told me I needed to go back to my wife."
"She sounds like a smart woman, though the fact she got involved with you in the first place tends to speak against that...." Carol looked down at her hands in her lap and own wedding band.
"It really wasn't like that Mom. I pursued her.....relentlessly. It started years ago but she was too young then..."
Carol looked up with alarm "How old is she now?"
"Oh Jon" Carol said in dismay "and I suppose she's a fan" Jon nodded in response.
"Oh my dear boy....what were you thinking?"
He looked directly at his mother now, sensing her disapproval. "What was I thinking...I was thinking that she is the most amazing woman I have ever met. That she makes me feel like no one has before, and I don't just mean physically. I was thinking that if I wasn't already married to Dot I would have asked her to marry me. I'm in love with her Mom... It really doesn't matter what I was thinking. When I'm with her emotion just takes over."
"But honey, you are married to Dot. Listen sweetie, marriage isn't always easy. In fact, besides motherhood it's the hardest job I've ever had. And that's just what it is. It's a job. You have to work at it son." Carol put an arm around her son's shoulders and pulled him to her. "Dorothea is a good woman Jon, a strong woman and one that will keep you grounded. She's known you forever and loves you for who, not what, you are. And that is something you will never be sure of again. Don't mess that up, honey."
"But..." Jon started
"No buts Jon. You said it yourself, you made a commitment and no Bongiovi goes back on their word. I think what you need is to get away for a while. Take that fancy new bike you bought, take Dot, and get away for a while, just the two you, have the honeymoon you didn't have. Hopefully you will be able to find what it was that you once had together, and get it back."
Jon nodded sadly. "I hope so ma, I really do, 'cause as things stand now...I just can't see a future for us"
Within a month Jon was back in the studio. He had been approached by the producers of a Young Guns, they wanted to use "Wanted Dead or Alive" as the soundtrack for the sequel they were shooting. Jon instead thought it more appropriate to create a new track for the film, one track turned into more than a dozen and he was soon recording an album. It was yet another way to wind down from the rigours of touring, but enabled him to keep in touch with what had always been so important to him...his music.
With the soundtrack out of the way Jon did as his mother suggested. He and Dot got on the bike and took an extended vacation, the honeymoon they never had, touring the States in an attempt to get back their old magic, and to a degree it worked. Without the pressures and temptations of tour life Jon was able to focus on his wife and remained faithful, at least physically.
Dot was just glad that her attentive husband was back. With only the two of them to concentrate on initially, there were no diversions for his attention, and later she assumed that he was, as always, consumed by his work. What Dot didn't know, was that, while she was sleeping soundly beside him, Jon would often lay awake at night thinking of another woman, another love....Alex.
Dot and Jon settled into a comfortable routine at home. The press were reporting that with two solo albums coming from the band - Richie's having been released shortly after Jon's - that Bon Jovi were through. But it wasn't long before Jon was feeling that old itch again. It appeared the rest of the band was feeling it too...at the end of 1991 Keep the Faith was born. The boys fell into their old routines as if they had never been apart, the break from touring and each other worked wonders...they were back.
By late October 1992 Jon was on top of the world. The new album charted well, a tour was in full swing and he had just received some of the greatest news of his life...he was about to become a father for the first time. But yet something was still missing....
Alex found the first few months after Jon's departure tortuous. With the continued success of the band the tour was highly publicised, and it seemed there was no escaping it...or him. His face taunted her from the covers of magazines, his voice tormented her from the radio and their time together haunted her dreams. Then word came from her boss, Lanie and her family that he was trying to contact her. All had been instructed not to give him any information and they all came through for her and then slowly, oh so slowly as the tour wound down and came to an end, the media saturation waned and the dreams became less frequent.
As a distraction Alex threw herself into her work, even more so than before. The photos of both the concert she had attended and the Lost Week photo shoot had been published internationally and as a result she was highly sought after, receiving offers from both international recording artists and several top shelf publications...Rolling Stone being one of them. At first she turned them all down, but soon reconsidered for although her passion had always been current affairs, it no longer held any appeal. The incident with Abbie had taken a huge toll and she found she could no longer bring herself to work the streets she once loved, so when Rolling Stone became relentless in their pursuit of her, she found it was an offer she couldn't refuse...she would be their Australian staff photographer, covering local artists and events and taking the occasional overseas assignment.
On March 2nd, Alex stood on her balcony, looked to the stars and wished Jon Happy Birthday before stepping out on her first date since coming home. It was time to move on. Rick of course was only too happy to help her. He had been patient when she returned from Queensland, he sensed a profound change in her, but knew nothing of what had bought it about. He offered her friendship and support and he bided his time and waited for her to come to him, and was eventually rewarded. They dated, only casually at first, though the arrangement was much more casual for Alex than Rick who was intent on one day making her his wife.
The next two years were a flurry of activity for Alex. Her new job took her around the world several times over. She travelled to Japan in 1990 to cover Madonna's Blonde Ambition Tour, back at home that same year she toured with Cher during her Australian Leg and photographed Phil Collins, Aerosmith and Motley Crue. She was even hit on by Tommy Lee. In 1991 she returned to Japan for George Michael's Cover to Cover Tour and also worked the tours of AC/DC and Nirvana. She was also astounded and honoured when she was specifically requested to photograph Frank Sinatra. 1992 bought yet more tours and even more artists, Prince, Def Leppard and New Kids on the Block.
Alex's career was on an all time high, and eventually her personal life settled into a nice routine. She dated extensively those first couple of years, both at home and abroad. Rick was the one constant in her life, but it was not perfect - he was not Jon. So she dated others seeking the connection she had felt with him, trying to recapture it time and again, ultimately coming to realise that it would never, could never, happen again. It was upon this realisation that she finally committed to Rick. From mid 1991 the pair became exclusive, though work commitments often kept them separated, she was happy to come home to him when she could, to his home. They each kept their own apartments at Alex's insistence and much to Rick's annoyance but she just wasn't ready for that step just yet, for just as Jon had felt, for her there was always something lacking.