Once again Jon returned to his life, and the rigours of touring began. In May the band took a week long break from the tour as Jon and his wife welcomed a beautiful baby daughter, Stephanie Rose Bongiovi. It was a life changing event for him, as is the birth of any child for a parent and he found himself wanting to be at home for the first time since meeting Alex. But the tour called and just three days later the band was playing to a sell out crowd in Japan, and Dot was at home alone.
After Japan the band had a week of touring, Jon spent it getting to know his daughter. He was captivated by the little bundle and in awe of the love he felt for this tiny new person in his life. The next two months of the tour were spent stateside so Jon was able to make it home frequently to see the new love of his life. He spent what time he could with his family, the company jet on constant standby to fly him home when he could spare the time, for he knew the European leg was coming up. Dot and little Stephanie would join the tour occasionally but tour life was hard on an adult let alone on an infant, so weeks would go by before Jon would see his family.
The tour continued, the cities blurred, one hotel room looked like another, and Europe blended into Asia. They had been there a little over a week before Jon looked out of his hotel room window and realised exactly where they were, recognising the bright lights and city skyline of Singapore. An excitement clenched him, next stop Australia. He realised then that even the birth of his daughter had not eclipsed his feelings for Alex. He had thought that with Stephanie's arrival he may finally be able to get past his feeling for this woman he had tried so hard to forget, but it was not the case, he wanted her just as bad as he ever did.
After the Singapore show wrapped they had flown through the night, and while the band stopped in Perth to prepare for the first show, Jon was on the first flight to Sydney to convince Alex to join the tour after all. On her doorstep at Midday Jon tentatively pressed the doorbell. The intercom clicked and the door swung open, he was going to see her at last.
He caught the elevator to her floor and took a deep breath as he knocked on her door. It seemed like an eternity until he heard the key in the lock, every second ticking over in his head. The door opened a crack.
"Ali honey, finally. I thought I'd never see you again." Jon moved forward a step.
"Hi Jon" came the sad reply as the door swung open further to reveal Lanie.
"Oh Fuck, not again"
"Nice to see you too" Lanie gestured for him to come inside but he didn't budge.
"Where is she?"
"Out of town"
"She asked me not to tell you that, just that I be here should you turn up. She's moved on Jon. She's happy and successful and doesn't need this kind of aggravation. It very nearly killed her last time."
"I don't know what you're talking about. I'm only here to offer her a job" Jon said defensively.
"Yeah and pigs fly. Who are you trying to kid Jon? We both know why you're here. Now listen to me, she finally has some semblance of joy in her life. Let her be. Let her forget you once and for all. She doesn't need your phone calls, she doesn't need your letters and most certainly doesn't need you turning up on her door step unannounced." She replied angrily. "Now I can only assume that you received her refusal letter" Jon nodded "Well then that should be all you need to know. Now I don't know about you but I've got better things to do with my day than standing around here arguing with you, so if you don't mind I'd like to get on with them."
"Ok fine I'll go for now, but as for giving up on her, letting her go...that will never happen. Just let her know that I was here. Can you do that? Please!" At Lanie's nod of affirmation Jon turned and left.
"Over my dead body" Lanie whispered softly as she closed the door.
Alex had fled Australia to join Bryan Adam's US tour just hours before Bon Jovi flew in. She was taking no chances in seeing Jon, and although she really didn't expect him on her door step, especially now after the birth of his child, she was prepared if he did. Rick thankfully, who still knew nothing of her relationship with the rock star, was in the United Kingdom doing a series of articles on the IRA, so she had arranged for Lanie to stay at the flat in case he showed up.
She had been with Bryan for several weeks now, for her the tours end was in sight, only days away and Christmas was fast approaching. Alex had never experienced a white Christmas so she had decided she would stay on in the US after the assignment was over. Rick was also flying in on the first available flight, which appeared to be early on the 25th.
Alex had been enjoying the tour immensely. Bryan shared her love of photography, so when he was not rehearsing, several hours would be spent discussing the finer points of technique and what inspired them. She had managed to capture the essence of the musician very early on, the duration of the tour was a bonus, the chance to get creative and just have fun.
It was these later photographs that captured the attention of a very famous New Jersey native. Alex was laying on the bed in her hotel room, a book in her hands was getting very little attention as her eyes began to drift closed until the phone at her bedside rang and startled her. She moved too quickly to pick it up and dropped the receiver in the process. When she finally managed to retrieve it from the floor and place it on her ear an unfamiliar male voice could be heard.
"Miss Belle, Miss Belle, are you ok?... Miss Belle" the stranger repeated.
"Yes, sorry! I dropped the phone. This is Alex Belle" she replied.
"I usually get that reaction after I give my name, not before. That's a refreshing change" the man joked. "My name is Bruce, Bruce Springsteen....would it be egotistical of me to presume you know my work?"
"Ahhh...yes and no... Oh shit...I mean no and yes." Alex blundered her way through her response. "I mean no, definitely not egotistical...I mean you're a legend and yes I am familiar with it. Who isn't?"
"Well, thanks Alex, is it ok if I call you Alex?" He continued on, not waiting for her response. "I wish to procure your services Alex. I've seen the work you have been doing with Bryan and I was totally amazed at the way you managed to capture the essence of the man on film. I'd like you to do the same for me."
"Mr. Springsteen..." Alex started.
"Please, call me Bruce"
"Mr. ...Bruce, it would be a great honour but I'm afraid my schedule is looking rather tight for the next few months. I doubt I'd be able to squeeze in the time it would take for me to get to know you well enough to get that kind of result. I've been pretty much living in Bryans pocket for the better part of two months now."
"What are you plans for the holiday season?"
"Well, I'll be spending it here actually. My boyfriend is coming over so we can have a white Christmas together. Why?"
"If, I'm not out of line asking you to work the holiday's I'd like you to come and stay here with me and the family. We have a guest house out back and you would be more than welcome to have your friend stay with you. It would give you the opportunity to get to see the real me and it will get me the photos I require on time." Bruce offered. "Now I know that working over the holidays is a big ask but..."
"Mr. Springsteen, I'd love to. When did you want me there?"
"It's Bruce, and as soon as Bryan can spare you." She could almost hear the smile on his face.
"Well, I wrap here on Friday, would Monday morning be too soon? Oh and where is there? Where exactly do you live?"
"Monday is fine honey, and as for the where, my assistant will contact you with details in the morning."
"Can you at least give me a state so I know how far I have to go?" Alex was grinning at Bruce's guarded answer given that in a few short days she would be living with him.
"The Garden State honey"
"New Jersey, we live in New Jersey. See you here Monday Alex. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to it" Alex sat stunned. She had just agreed to move into Jon's backyard. She heard the beep, beep, beep of a disconnected line and placed the receiver back on the cradle. What on earth was I thinking?