Welcome to Edge of a Broken Heart, my first foray into the world of Bon Jovi Fan Fiction.

The start of the story can be found here and it can be navigated by using the menu to the left or by selecting newer post or older post at the bottom of each chapter.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Chapter 46

"Jon," Alex's voice was a soft sigh in his ear. Her body was entwined around his after a night of exhausting love making, her softness pressed up against his back, her legs would around his. "Jon...it's time to get up."

"Mmm...." he moaned, "not yet baby. ...too early. Let's stay in bed today Ali, ok?" He mumbled in his sleep induced disoriented state.

So much for waking him gently "C'mon Rock Star...get your lazy ass off my couch. Believe it or not, some of us have to work for a living."

It was no longer Alex's voice infiltrating the fog in his brain. This was a voice he couldn't place. He struggled to open his eyes but the bright morning light that flooded the room blinded him. He sat up rubbing the heels of his hands into his eyes. He opened his eyes til they were barely slits and looked towards the voice through protective lashes.

"Alex?" Her back was to him; her long auburn hair cascaded down her back. She wore a simple white blouse and a pencil slim calf length khaki skirt. She was bent over the coffee table, there was a heavy thump as she dropped what was in her hand.

"It's Annie," she said coolly, "you're worse off than I thought."

His eyes were slowly adjusting to the light. He could now see her a little more clearly. He could also see what had thudded onto the table. A black pistol in a leather holster sat on a stack of magazines as if it belonged there.

"What the fuck..." he shot up and pressed himself into the back of the couch, putting as much distance between him and the weapon as possible. He was wide awake now, his eyes scanning the room for further signs of danger and coming back to rest on the gun within seconds.

"Take it easy rock star," Annie grinned. "I'm a cop... a profiler actually...but a cop nevertheless. The badge is beside the gun on the table...see for yourself." She was heading to her little kitchen to pour her guest a cup of coffee. She was hoping to grab a coffee at the shop on the corner on her way out but it didn't look like Romeo over on her couch would make it that far.

Jon looked near the gun and sure enough there sat a shiny badge in a leather flip wallet. Now that was unexpected. The events of the previous evening began to come back to him, and a rare warmth crept its way up to his cheeks. If he remembered correctly his behaviour had been less than stellar.

Annie reappeared then with a mug of steaming black coffee. "You look like you need this, but make it quick. You're making me late." She said in a clipped no nonsense tone. Must be a cop thing he thought. "Oh... I almost forgot," she said as she disappeared into the other room.

"Thanks," he called after her. "Yesterday was kinda rough for me."

"Yeah, I gathered. You talk in your sleep you know." Her voice was muffled by the wall but clear enough.

Jon groaned.

Annie was walking back into the room again. This time his car keys were in her hand. "I think you may need these. I'll walk you back. Work is just around the block from there." She held out her hand for the coffee mug. "Sorry...you're outta time. I have to be at work in an hour and I need breakfast. We can get you another caffeine hit at the dinner up the road. And if you like you can get a bit of what's bothering you off your chest." At the first sign of his protestation she held up a hand, "only if you want to. I'm a good listener. I have to be...it's essential to the job."

Jon pulled on his boots, they had been discarded the evening before at the foot of the couch. "Do I have time for a bathroom stop?"

She let out an exasperated breath and pointed the way. "Make it quick!"

"Sure thing." He shot over his shoulder as he disappeared into her bathroom.

It was a shame he was so screwed up. She was sure he would be a spectacular lay. Unfortunately that wasn't meant to be. Well not in the immediate future anyway – but she certainly saw the potential in the situation.

Fifteen minutes later they were sitting over steaming cups of coffee in a corner booth at the diner down the block. Before he'd emerged from the bathroom back at the apartment Annie had slipped a jacket on, and now he could see that it concealed her gun holster from the telling bulge over her ribcage.

"I gotta say, I never would have picked it," he said nodding towards the hidden weapon, "you being a cop I mean."

She smiled wryly, "Yeah well it wouldn't be the first time I've been underestimated."

"Oh honey...you misunderstand me. I don't underestimate you. I am sure you are more than capable. You handled me last night like a pro. I just would have picked you more as one that dispensed justice rather than one that enforced it. You know a lawyer or something." He explained.

"Yeah well, I guess the old adage is right then huh? Can't judge a book by its cover."

"I guess so." He took a long draw of his coffee, his intense azure eyes never leaving her. "So tell me...what does profiling involve? I'm not sure I've heard of it before."

"A lot of psych work actually. It's a method of determining likely suspects by analysing the details of a crime. It works best with serial offenders where we can analyse the characteristics of several crime scenes, to form a more comprehensive evaluation." Annie was slightly uncomfortable under his concentrated gaze, very telling considering the situations she had found herself in the past. There was very little left her disconcerted these days. The depravity of humankind was absolutely astounding.

The waitress appeared at the end of the table with their breakfast, two identical plates containing two eggs over easy, a short stack of pancakes, bacon and grilled tomato. For a while there was only silence as they devoured their meals. Annie spoke first.

"I didn't think you'd be able to manage breakfast after the state you were in last night."

Jon chucked, "Years of touring I guess."

Annie watched as he sat steering his food around his plate with his fork. "Oh for Christ sake Bon Jovi....spit it out."

"I ah...I just hope I wasn't too....um...inappropriate last night."

"Nothing I couldn't handle." She smiled gently at the look of chagrin on his face. "It was a tough day huh?"

"The worst."

"Who was she?"

Immediately his eyes shot up to meet hers. "How much did I say?"

"Not much...just that you watched your 'problem' marry someone else. But like I said earlier...you talk in your sleep." She studied him carefully. The signs of his discomfort were clear. "I assume the 'problem's name is Alex." He winced. "Listen Jon...this is none of my business...tell me to butt out if you like...but I really do think you need to talk about this - if not to me, to a friend...to someone. If you keep trying to bottle this up you're going to do yourself some serious damage. From what I've seen you're not far from a full meltdown now."

"I've lived through worse," he said quietly, looking down again.

"Have you?"

There was a long moment before he spoke, but when he did, his tone was resigned, his voice shaky. "No, I haven't." He shook his head, and she thought she could see a tear in the corner of his eye.

Annie didn't know what was drawing her to this stranger. The waves of pain emanating from him were tangible. She knew that kind of pain...knew what it could do if it wasn't resolved. It could change a person from the inside out...turn them cold, unfeeling. She didn't want to see that happen to him. She just hoped it wasn't too late.

"Talk to me Jon. We can head back to the apartment if you like."

"No Annie, you have to work."

"It can wait. I'm not working a case at the moment. It's just paperwork... and I hate paperwork so you'd be doing me a favour." She prompted.

"I don't know."

"You can trust me Jon." He looked at her closely. In that instant he felt instinctively he could trust her with his very life...this complete stranger.

"Let's go...before I change my mind."

He took her hand this time as they strolled back to her apartment. She did not pull away. There was nothing sexual in the gesture; he merely needed the comfort of a human touch.

She let them into the apartment and went straight to the phone. "Hey Dave...it's Annie...I don't think I'm gonna get in there today. I have some personal shit I need to take care of." She waited for Dave to finish speaking, "No problem...look if anything urgent comes up call me on my cell. I won't be far away." There was another short pause, "Yeah ok, I'll see you then."

She turned to look at Jon then who was still frozen in place before the door. "Is there someone you need to call?"

"Yeah I guess..." He wondered why no one had called him as he patted his pockets in search of his own cell phone. Then he remembered when he left home yesterday he hadn't wanted anyone to call him. "May I?" he asked gesturing to the phone.

"Of course...unless you're calling Australia that is," she joked. His grimace was not lost on her. Hmm Australian huh? Curious! "There's an extension in the bedroom. Go make your call in there. I'm just going to take the trash out and give you a little privacy."

"There's no need. Believe me...this will be a short call." He replied though he did appreciate her discretion.

"Regardless...this trash needs to go down. Go make your call. I'll be back in a second."

"Thanks!" Jon walked stiffly in the direction of the room Annie had retrieved his keys from only an hour earlier. He couldn't help but grin as he entered. The room was a total contradiction to her personality. Decorated in delicate pastels, in shades of green, blue and lilac...it was a tranquil retreat he supposed, from the rigours of her career. He sat on the edge of the bed, taking care not to mess the pretty pale teal comforter, and picked up the phone.

He hesitated as his finger hovered over the buttons that would connect him to home. This wouldn't be pretty. He punched in the number... the line was picked up immediately.

"Hello?" He could hear the anxiousness in his wife's voice, and immediately felt remorse for putting it there.

"Hey Dottie"

"Oh Jon," her sigh of relief was palpable, "Thank God your ok. Where have you been? Where are you?"

His voice was shaky as he spoke, "I uh...I'm with a friend. I just needed some time out. Sorry I worried you baby."

"A friend huh?" She sounded suspicious now, her voice was cooler. "When will you be home?"

"I'll be home this afternoon. I'm just sorting a few things out, and then I'll be there." He twisted the phone cord around his finger. He knew what conclusion Dot had come to...she wasn't too far off the mark. "Dottie...I promise it's not what you're thinking."

"Ok Jon...just come home...ok?. Stephie had a rough night...she wants her daddy." Oh great the guilt card.

"Alright...I won't be long. See you soon." He said and placed the receiver back on the base.

When Jon looked up Annie was standing in the doorway. "Everything ok?"

"Yeah fine. She's pretty used to it by now I guess - me not being there. I never am really." It was the story of his life.

She walked over to him and held out a hand, "C'mon...let's talk," she said as she led him back to the lounge.

Jon watched the beam of sunlight, that streamed in through the window retreat across the floor as the sun rose higher in the sky, until finally it disappeared altogether. He had been talking for hours, all that time Annie sat and listened patiently, asking a question occasionally but usually just letting him go. He hadn't realised exactly how much he was holding inside, the resentment and the anger - mainly directed towards Dot - and to his surprise a measure of rejection. Of course that was all Alex, and totally absurd. She had never been his...but then as Annie explained, that didn't matter. He had always belonged to Alex.

When Jon finally left Annie's apartment four hours later he felt like a weight had been lifted from his shoulders. He had told her everything...the whole sordid story. With her help, he recognised now, what he was doing was mourning...mourning for the love he lost when Alex said I do. And he understood that it was something that would take time. A bond of love that had endured seven years, no matter how infrequently it was requited - a fact that actually spoke to its strength - could not be forgotten over night.

Just minutes into her conversation with Jon, Annie had begun to see him in a whole new light. Obviously she knew he was in pain, but she never would have...could have guessed at how deeply that pain ran. His public persona was that of a confident, sexy, self assured and intelligent man. One who held the world in the palm of his hand...he could have anything or anyone one he wanted. Well not anyone...he couldn't have the only one he really wanted and that had affected him more than he was willing to admit. Even to himself.

"Jon," she said softly as she showed him out.

They were standing in her doorway. He paused and leaned against the frame. She couldn't help admiring him...she had never seen that kind of beauty up close...it was surreal.


"I think you know you can trust me. I mean you wouldn't be here if you didn't right?"


"Look...it strikes me that you're a very private person, and I know I'm not much more than a stranger to you, but if you ever need someone to talk to, someone who isn't going to sell your soul, or judge you...someone who will just listen....I'm here." She pulled out one of her business cards and a pen from her purse on the hall table, scrawled a number on the back and handed it to him. "Call me...anytime..."

"Thanks..... again." He leaned in and placed a gentle kiss on her forehead and with a promise to stay in touch, and one he intended to keep at that – he really liked Annie, she was easy to be around – he walked out of her apartment and headed home.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Chapter 45

Alex went through the motions of the reception mechanically. She sat beside her new husband as they were toasted. She kissed him as glasses tingled. She cut the cake and laughed as he smeared a piece of it into her mouth. She danced the waltz with him and then her father, with tears in her eyes. It had been a very long day but she finally had a few minutes to herself.

A sharp rap on the door startled Alex back to the present. "Are you ok honey? Are you ready yet?" Rick's voice came from the other side.

"I'm fine Rick. I just need a few minutes." Alex sat exhausted and alone in her hotel room, while the reception continued in the function room downstairs. She had come up here to get changed out of her wedding gown in preparation of leaving. Rick had done the same...his room was a short walk up the hall. "I'll meet you down stairs sweetie," she called through the closed door, "I want the dress to be a surprise," she added. It seemed like a feeble excuse for stalling but he seemed to buy it.

"Ok then. I'll see you downstairs Mrs Carlisle." She winced at the sound of the name, despite his obvious pleasure in using it.

Robotically she rose and began to pull on her going away dress. A simple champagne coloured sheath that emphasised her curves. She had all but torn her wedding gown from her body the moment she had walked in the door, the veil was long gone - it had been the first thing to go as soon as the photos were done. The dress had been strangling her all day, not physically, but emotionally. She no longer had any desire to be associated with what it symbolised.

A clear vision of bright azure eyes agonised with pain burned into her memory and her attention turned to her purse which lay dormant on the dresser. She remembered what it contained but wasn't sure she had the strength to hear whatever he was trying to say. It was of little consequence now anyway. Her decision had been made.

She fussed with her hair, removing the pins that held it in place – they were starting to give her a headache – shaking it out and letting its fullness cascade down her back. She inspected her appearance in the mirror and touched up her makeup, there were more photos to be taken. Again her attention was drawn to her inoffensive purse, she glared at it...it seemed to beckon to her.

Finally morbid curiosity outweighed her self control and she snatched the CD from its concealment. With a shaking hand she tentatively placed it in the player. Her finger hovered over the play button for what seemed an eternity and then moved over to the eject button. She was just about to exert the pressure required to remove the CD when, almost involuntarily, her hand darted back towards the play button and pressed it firmly in one fluid movement.

Alex hadn't known what to expect, but being that he was a songwriter she had assumed he would express himself in song...she wasn't disappointed. It started acoustic...a single guitar. A tear formed in her eye the moment she heard his voice...it was as if he was speaking to her rather than singing.

Today you'll pick up all the pieces

And get on with your life

All I can hope is that you're happy

'Cause today you're someone else's wife

The accompanying instruments started up then and she wondered absently if he had done this all himself - she knew he was capable - or if he had called in the band to help him.

Right now I wish that I could turn back

And beg the hands of time

For the days that I remember (oh baby)

The days when you were mine

And if I never said I love you

It's cause the words got in the way

Now all I do is say I'm sorry

Sorry I missed your wedding day

I'll bet you looked good at the altar

I'll bet he knew the words to say

And the angels smiled when you walked down the aisle

You both knelt down to pray

As he put his ring on your finger

I know there's just one thing left to say

All I can do is say I'm sorry

Sorry I missed your wedding day

So Sorry

A guitar solo told her that he had the help of at least one other. It was really no surprise to her that Richie would have a hand in this. Jon's voice became more forceful now, the pain was evident...palpable as he continued to sing.

You won't be walking through the door anymore

You won't be sleeping in this bed anymore

Though I swear I see your shadow waltz across my floor

And I don't know if I can take it

Should we ever meet again

Cause I know that we'll be strangers

When he introduces friends

I tried to make it to the church now baby

A broken heart got in the way

All I can do is tell you I'm sorry

Sorry I missed your wedding day

I really hope you're happy baby

Though it's killing me to say

All I can do is say I'm sorry

Sorry I missed you're wedding day

Sorry I missed you're wedding

I'm sorry I missed you're wedding day

I'm sorry I missed you're wedding day

I'm sorry I missed you're wedding day...

Alex sat paralysed by pain. Fresh tears coursed down her cheeks. She wrapped her arms around her body in an attempt pull herself together, and rocked gently in her seat. Her head started to spin, she felt nauseous. She leant forward and braced her head between her knees. She had barely moved from this position when her mother came to find her half an hour later.

Sophia had had noticed her daughters absence from the ballroom and immediately sensed a problem. She rode the elevator to Alex's room alone and used her keycard to slip quietly inside. What she found disturbed her deeply.

Her daughter sat alone in a form of catatonia, staring at her own image in the mirror but clearly not seeing. Music she had never heard before – but from an all too familiar artist - filled the room. On listening to the lyrics she quickly determined that it was the source of the problem. She pressed the stop button and an oppressing silence filled the room. It took a few moments but eventually Alex realized the music had ceased and turned her attention towards the player.

"Mum...I didn't hear you come in. I was just... I was getting changed. I...," her thoughts were scattered.

"Alex honey..." Sophia said gently, "Rick is waiting for you downstairs. If you don't go down now he's going to know something is wrong. I've stalled him as long as I can, sweetheart. I'm sure this isn't how you want to start married life."

The word married sparked a wave of panic in Alex. "Oh Mum...," she wailed, "What have I done?"

"Look at me Alex," Sophia tilted her daughters face up until their eyes met, "now is not the time for self pity. That time is long past. You have had plenty of opportunities to back out of this but you chose to see it through. This is not the time to surrender that conviction honey. Your husband is waiting downstairs for you to join him and say good night to your guests. He's a good man Alex. I know he's not Jon," she watched her daughter wince at the mere mention of his name, "but he has done right by you. I know what I said at the church, but what is done is done. Now it's time for you to step up and live your choice."

"He was there Mum."

"Who? Jon?"

Alex nodded, "I saw him leave when I was saying my vows...and again on the street as we were leaving." Her brow creased, "He looked so sad Mum... I've...I've never seen him sad...not like that. And that song..."

"Now is not the time to be thinking of him Alex. This is your wedding night. It belongs to you and Rick. Now you need to pull yourself together and get on with it. What happens afterwards happens, but honey...you can't walk away from him now...not tonight. You can't do that to him. He doesn't deserve it." Sophia said sternly.

"I know...I know." Alex replied resigned. She let out a deep sigh and rose from her seat before the mirror, pausing to take a look at her reflection. "Do you think you can do something with this?" She pointed to her own face, and attempted a smile for her mother, that wasn't quite convincing enough.

"Of course we can...but it's hard to improve on perfection."

When Alex reappeared downstairs there wasn't a person in the room her doubted her performance as the ecstatic bride. She threw her bouquet and posed for a photo with Lanie who had caught it. And she blushed as Rick dived beneath her dress to strip the garter from her thigh and toss it to the wrestling bachelors. She left the reception wrapped in her husband's arms, and when they were finally alone, had made love to him dutifully, even enthusiastically - all the while wishing he was Jon.

It was now several hours after she had seen him sneak out of the church...since she had sat and listened to him pouring his heart out in song on that damned CD. Here rocking back and forth on the floor of the shower in the Honeymoon Suite of the Waldorf Astoria, curled into a tight ball with her arms wrapped around legs that were pulled tightly up to her chest, Alex finally let go. Her husband lay sleeping in their consummate bed just meters away, the gentle rhythm of his snoring, the only noise to infiltrate her peace.

The tears began, slowly at first but soon they had developed into coursing streams, disguised only by the stream of hot water that cascaded over her body. They were tears of mourning for the life that was forever lost to her. For the pain she endured and the pain she had caused...would no doubt cause again. So much pain...to so many. Too many. She looked inside herself and did not like what she found there. She barely recognised this person she had become. This was not who she wanted to be.

Again she wondered how her life had come to this. She sat like that for a long time before admitting to herself what must be done. She would go on her honeymoon, she would smile and be happy and be the dutiful wife and once they got home she would talk to Rick about her reservations and suggest a separation with a view to divorce. She didn't see how she could live the lie any longer than that.

It was with that steely resolve that Alex climbed out of the shower, dried herself in one of the plush white hotel towels and padded back into the bedroom to climb into bed with her soon to be ex-husband. She would make the next few weeks the best of his life... and then she would release him from this fallacy of a marriage.

As for Jon, well she was under no illusion as to the outcome of that situation either. She understood now the impossibility of his circumstances, unfortunately though, that did not change them. He would forever be what she wanted, but could never be what she needed. He could never be hers.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Chapter 44

As soon as he was clear of the door he ran. He ran out of the church grounds and up the street. Startled pedestrians stared after him as pushed past them in his haste. Finally he made it to the anonymous safety of his car. He slid in behind the wheel and with a shaking hand extracted his last cigarette from the pack of Marlboro Lights - it was a recently acquired habit. He placed it between his lips, held his silver lighter to the end and took a deep calming draw - it didn't help. He was shaking furiously.

Jon leaned forward and rested his head on the cool hard leather of the steering wheel. He clenched his eyes tightly shut, but behind his lids all he saw were images of her. Images that alternated between her laughing and happy on the beach years before, her lying dishevelled and contented in bed just days before, and finally her today, ready to walk down the aisle, a deep sadness evident in her eyes behind the smiling mask. He sat like this for an imperceptible amount of time.

Knowing he was in no shape to drive yet, Jon desperately scanned the surrounding area, until he spotted what he was looking for. There, just a little further up the road, hung a bright neon sign...McKinney's Tavern flashed bright green even in the stark daylight. It beckoned him. He reached across to the passenger seat where his baseball cap and sunglasses lay discarded. He

As he opened his car door and stepped out, a ruckus drew his attention up the road. Tin cans trailed behind a white sedan decorated with streamers and shaving foam. He watched in horror as the car drew ever nearer, he was frozen in place – unable to move, unable to flee. Unable to avert his view from this nightmare, his eyes locked on hers as the car passed. A multitude of emotion was conveyed in those few short seconds before she was gone – sorrow, love, pain, regret....

The blood drained from his face...he felt ill, physically ill. He ran around to the other side of the car, and, leaning on the hood heavily with one hand, retched into the gutter. When the contents of his stomach had been purged, he straightened up and headed for the bar ignoring the curious stares of bystanders.

McKinney's was exactly what he hoped it would be – dark and deserted, with the exception of a couple of regulars, moulded to their stools at the far end of the rustic timber bar. Jon slumped onto a stool midway down the bar, and nodded once to the two men when they acknowledged his presence.

"What'll it be?" A robust man in a stained white shirt, gaping open around his distended stomach asked him.

"A bottle of Jack and a glass."

The bar tender raised an eyebrow but didn't comment. He pulled a bottle of Jack from the shelf behind him and placed it on the bar along with a glass. Three hundred dollar bills had already been placed there.

"That's too much." He protested.

"Keep it."

The bar tender shrugged, placed one of the bills in the register and pocketed the other two.

Jon filled the glass and downed the amber liquid in one swallow, embracing the burn as it blazed a trail to his stomach. Before it had hit bottom the glass was full again and tilted to his lips. He repeated the process several times before he let the glass sit idly on the bar. Resting his head in one hand he sat absentmindedly running his finger around the rim of the glass. He still couldn't believe that she went through with it. Up until the moment he had seen them driving away in the car, Rick by her side, there had been a chance. But now...all hope was lost.

He could hardly have expected anything more. He could never give her the life she deserved, but that knowledge didn't lessen the hurt. The memories of her assaulted him; the pain of loss consumed him. It was over.


The young woman sat alone in a corner booth observing the familiar stranger. He hadn't noticed her when he came in but she was used to that – she was usually spent the better part of her days blending into the background. It was often a requirement of her job. She had been watching him since he walked in and was becoming concerned with the way he was drinking, glass after glass until the bottle was almost empty. His liver would hate him in the morning, she thought with an amused grin. She had been getting ready to intercede, to distract him – she knew what alcohol could do to a person, to a family – but it seemed he knew his limits and stopped.

It was driving her crazy now. She knew she hadn't seen him in the bar before. She didn't think she knew him from work or the local area but he looked so damned familiar. The dark glasses and the cap didn't help either. It seemed silly to be wearing them inside... unless – the thought slowly dawned on her - unless he was hiding from someone... everyone. Her train of thought changed course then, he wasn't someone she knew...he was someone she'd seen. Images of celebrities flickered through her head to no avail; it just wasn't going to happen. She had been drinking herself. Nowhere near as much as him, just a couple to take the edge off - it had been a rough day – but still it was enough to cloud her thought process. Tenacious as she was, she couldn't let it go. She got up and sauntered over to the bar.

"Mind if I sit?" She asked him.

"Free country." He replied without so much as a glance in her direction, his gaze fixed on the glass now cradled between his hands.

The hour was getting late, and people were starting to file into the bar now that the work day was done. Someone put some coins in the old jukebox in the corner and music began to play. It was a classic, The Stones "Beast of Burden". She tapped her foot in time with the music keeping perfect rhythm and hummed along with the tune in perfect pitch.

"Hey Annie" The bar tender greeted her. "What tears you away from the booth."

She shot a telling look in her neighbour's direction, looking discretely from him to the bottle before answering. "Oh just got a little bored, thought I'd come have a chat. How're you doin' Joe?"

"Good, good."

"Family ok?" She asked him as he wiped the bar down with a worn gray dish rag.

"Yep, all good! Katie's off to college this year. Can you believe that?"

"Wow...time sure flies."

"Sure does honey." He smiled gently at her. "I'd better get back to it before these thugs jump the bar. I'll catch up with you later."

Annie glanced furtively at her neighbour through her auburn curls and watched him wince as a new song began to play. So he only likes the classics. She peeked again...damn but he was fine. Shoulder length blond hair peeked out from below his cap. The faintest hint of stubble was evident on his chin and emphasised the cleft there. He had olive skin, a strong jaw, a straight well proportioned nose and a wide set mouth. She couldn't see the eyes behind the glasses, but found herself hoping they would be blue...she had a thing for blue eyes.

The song playing on the jukebox slowly filtered into her brain. The voice was familiar...the song not so much. It was just another puzzle to play on her mind, one more she couldn't handle. The stranger sitting next to her was enough of a challenge.

You want commitment

Take a look into these eyes

They burn with fire

Until the end of time

And I would do anything

I'd beg I'd steal I'd die

To have you in these arms tonight...

She listened intently but couldn't get it. "Hey Joe, who sings this?" She yelled down the bar.

Joe shrugged in response.

"Bon Jovi" Came a soft voice from beside her.

"Oh, thanks. I hate it when shit like that plays on your mind. I could have been up half the night trying to figure it out."

"No problem." He said dismissively. He hadn't looked up once.

"Can I buy you a drink?" She offered. The question was an excuse to look at him fully, to try and engage him in conversation.

"I'm good." He indicated the bottle before him, again he didn't look up.

"Having a rough day?" She asked.

"Look miss," he turned towards her then and paused for a moment as he appraised her, "I don't mean to be rude but I'm in no mood for idle chit chat." His words were a little slurred with the effects of the alcohol.

"Sorry." Annie said quietly. He stared at her a moment longer then his gaze returned to the bar. That extra moment however had triggered the brain spark. "Hey...you're him...you're that Bon Jovi guy."

It obviously came out a little louder than he would have liked. "SHHH," he frowned at her.

"Sorry," she replied with an apologetic little shrug, "I guess you don't get to be anonymous much."

"Nope," he said, exhaling sharply.

She watched as he fished his car keys from his pocket and got off the stool, weaving where he stood.

"I hope you're not planning on driving home?" She looked at him appalled.


She snatched the keys from his hand.

"Hey. Give 'em back."

"No way are you driving in that state."

"I'm fine. Now... give... me... my... keys!" Each word was clear and defined.

"Uh uh, that's not gonna happen." She insisted. "I'll take you home."

He raised an eyebrow at that. "Mine or yours?"

Maybe she was just the distraction he needed. Maybe she was the perfect substitute. For all her differences, she was close enough in appearance. The hair, even the figure, but that's where the similarities ended.

"I don't care. As long as you're not driving."

"Fine then. Take me home."

"Let's go." She indicated towards the door with her head.

As he moved away from the bar his head started to spin.

The woman lifted his arm and ducked under it, wrapping hers securely around his waist to steady him. "C'mon rock star...let's get you outta here."

He stumbled a bit as they walked but she kept a firm grasp on him as she led him out into the crisp evening air. The cool blast sobered him a little but not enough to keep him from weaving as he walked. They had gone a couple hundred yards before he realised they were going in the wrong direction.

"Hey...Annie is it?"

She nodded in affirmation.

"I think my cars back thatta way." He was almost sure...

"That's ok. We're here."

"We're where?"

"Home...my home." She gestured towards a large and imposing block of apartments before them. Annie had had a couple of drinks herself and while she knew she wasn't over the limit, she preferred not to drive with alcohol in her system. Too often she had seen the tragedy it caused.

"Oh... ok?" This was good. At least he could make a quick escape when he was done with her.

She leaned him against the wall, obviously not confident in his ability to stand. He watched as she punched a security code into the pad near the door, waited for the lock to click and then pushed firmly on the door to open it. She held the door wide for him.

"After you." She made a sweeping gesture with her arm to usher him inside.

He feigned a stumble – he liked the feeling of her body against his - and she caught him again before he could fall.

He offered her a sheepish grin. "Thanks...good thing I didn't drive huh?"

"Yep." Oh my God...look at that smile and he smells sooo good, she thought to herself. It had obviously been way too long since she'd had a man in her life. What would a quick no strings roll in the hay hurt? She was under no illusions that it would be anything more than that...the ring on his finger screamed to her that it wouldn't. No, not like this. She couldn't, wouldn't be a diversion for him.

They stood in the foyer and waited for the elevator to arrive. Her body felt soft and warm pressed against his side, and he felt his body respond in anticipation. He let his hand fall forward, in a decidedly teenage move, to hover over her breast. She looked up at him quirking one eyebrow, but did not attempt to move it. This was good...it meant it wouldn't take much to have her. No promises, no lies...just an easy screw. That's what he needed - a quick fuck without the complications. It had been so long since he'd indulged like that...just the thought was making him hard.

They rode the elevator in silence. Her apartment was not large but it was comfortable and tidy. An eclectic assortment of furniture was scattered about the living area. Two well worn soft black leather lounges dominated the space sitting opposite each other separated by a glass coffee table. All sat on a large rectangular black and grey rug. On the third side of the rug sat a single armchair that matched the lounges. It looked out to a view of the city through a large ceiling height arched window. Old classic movie posters adorned two walls. Hundreds of books lined one other along with a fairly substantial music collection – both records and CD's.

"May I?" He asked as he eyed them appreciatively.

"Go ahead...you sure you can make it without falling over?" She teased.

"I don't know. Maybe you should help me." He wasn't ready to lose the warmth of her just yet.

She walked him over to the large built in bookcase that housed her pride and joy. "There you go...now just be sure to lean and you'll be fine. I'm gonna go fix us some coffee. Strong and black?"

"Thanks," he nodded.

Her collection was impressive except for one thing...not one of his records was there... but that was ok. Not everyone was a fan and for the purposes of this evenings 'entertainment' that was definitely a good thing. At least he would be able to walk away without repercussions. It had been so long since he'd done this sort of thing he'd almost forgotten the risks it posed - overzealous fans, stalkers – he'd seen it all.

He smiled to himself as he selected a CD and placed it in the sophisticated sound system. She obviously enjoyed her music; the stereo was almost as good as his. His friend's voice sounded true and clear from the speakers.

"I can't believe it." He said teasingly as she re-entered the room, two mugs of steaming liquid in her hands.

"What's that?"

"You didn't even know our song, or recognise me, but you have Richie's album." He said a little chagrined.

"And?" She asked.

"He's our guitarist." He said pointedly.

"Oh," she shrugged, "What can I say... I know what I like. I heard it playing in the store so I bought it. He's very talented. You're lucky to have him."

"Yeah I know...and the best brother a guy could have." Jon smiled affectionately.

"He's your brother?" Her eyebrows furrowed in confusion.

"In every sense but the biological...they all are."

"Must be nice." She said placing the coffee's on the table, offering him a perfect view of her rounded ass.

"It is."

"Oh... I love this song." She swayed seductively in time to the music as Richie's smooth sexy voice filled the room.

Jon joined her pulling her close, the coffees left forgotten as they danced. He sang in harmony with the CD as the song approached the chorus.

Hey pretty mama I'm just trying to be polite
I wanna make you feel the rhythm of the river tonight
And when the story is over
You'll be satisfied

Honey, honey, honey don't you understand
To make you feel like a woman
Makes me feel like a man

His breath was warm on her ear and neck, his body hard as it pressed up against her. It would be so easy to give in, to stop thinking and just feel. They swayed slowly in time with the music as his hand drifted up and down the length of her spine. She could feel the length of his cock incessantly nudging the soft flesh of her belly. She rested her head lightly on his shoulder.

He pulled away for a moment and looked into her eyes. His, no longer clouded with alcohol, were now bright with passion. His mouth came down on hers, his lips urgent and demanding as his tongue sought to tangle with hers. God it felt good, they both thought, this feeling of reckless abandon. Annie knew if she didn't stop it now she wouldn't stop it at all, it took all her will to pull back from him.

"Jon...Jon..." She placed her hand flat on his chest to push him away as he struggled to hold her to him, "stop."

"What's wrong? Why are we stopping?" Jon asked as he tried to pull her back closer to him.

"I don't want to do this."

"Are you serious? You don't want this?" He said gesturing to himself.

"Very serious! I don't want it."

Fuck...I just can't win for losing. And then it dawned on him... "Ahhh...I get it. You're not into guys..." He grinned crookedly.

Typical, Annie thought shaking her head, you say no and they assume you're a lesbian. "Oh no honey...I'm very much into guys. Just not drunk fools!"

"I am not!" Jon replied indignantly.

"What...drunk or a fool?" her tone softened then, "Listen you are drunk. I don't think you're a fool but I do think you're hurting...and Jon...this...you sleeping with me...it won't erase that. You'll just feel like a bigger ass in the morning.

"Go home to your wife...talk to her...make love to her, instead of trying to fix your problems with a stranger."

"That wouldn't solve a thing." Jon said sadly, he wished it was that easy.

"How do you know 'til you try?"

"Because my wife isn't the problem. I just watched the problem marry someone else." He slumped into the nearest chair, flopped his head back and rubbed his thumb and forefinger across his closed eyes as they began to burn.

"Ohhh...I...oh" Annie was lost for words, it was a strange sensation for her, she always knew what to say. She could see it now, the torture of loss in his eyes – those crystal pools of blue. Annie sat on the arm of the lounge beside him and placed a tentative hand on his shoulder, he didn't stir. "Do you want to talk about it?"

The only response Annie received was a gentle snore – he had passed out the second he had laid his head back. She pulled the worn old ottoman out of the corner and slid it under his legs. She then fetched a blanket from the closet and laid it gently over him. He couldn't come to too much harm here and the gun in her closet assured her that she wouldn't come to harm either.

Locking the door and removing the keys, Annie headed into her bedroom, flicking off the lights in the lounge room as she passed. It wasn't late at all but it had been a big week and now, without the prospect of something more interesting to occupy her, she suddenly felt exhausted. She dug Jon's keys out of her pockets and placed them in her bed side drawer along with her own before stripping down to her underwear and collapsing on to the bed. Just as Jon had done only minutes before, Annie fell into a fitful slumber the second her head hit the pillow.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Chapter 43


It wouldn't be long now until her father would come and fetch her to walk her down the aisle. There had been people fussing around her all day until finally, exasperated by the attention, she'd asked for half an hour of privacy to gather her thoughts. Now here she sat alone, as requested, and was rapidly realising that asking to be alone had been a huge mistake, because the second she was alone she had begun to think of him. No, not the him she should have been thinking of, not her very soon to be husband....the other him, the love of her life. Alex pulled the note from her purse and read it again for the thousandth time, trying to find something in his words that should prevent her from what she was about to do, and again she was disappointed.



I am so very sorry about last night. Please believe me when I say that what happened was never my intent when I came here. But having said that when you asked last night what I wanted, I meant what I said - I wish last night could have lasted forever, it was one of the best nights of my life, second only to that magical night on the beach. But I know I can never give you what you need. I honestly hope he can. Please...be happy baby!

You will always have a piece of my heart.


She was sitting at the dressing table in the bride's room at the quaint little chapel Rick had chosen for their nuptials. He had been so very good to her, organizing everything while she had continued to work Рfirst with Bruce and then on a series of expos̩s for Rolling Stone. All she had really had to do was find her dress and turn up ready on the day. Well she was wearing the dress and she was there, but was she ready?

Considering the reflection in the mirror she wondered how it had come to this. Marrying one man – a good, kind, wonderful, loving man, a man that she did love – but in love with another. She folded the tattered piece of hotel stationery and placed it securely in her purse.

Picking up the lip pencil she lined her lips then filled them in with blood red lipstick – it matched her nails – not exactly traditional for a bride but very effective against her pale skin and the ivory gown. Her hair was a mass of dark glossy curls, half of which had been expertly and artistically piled atop her head by one of New York's foremost celebrity stylists – her good friend Serge – and sat behind a dazzling diamond and pearl tiara, a generous gift from Bruce and Patti.

Was it really only three days ago that she had been lying blissfully in his arms? It seemed so much longer. That night as she drifted off to sleep curled into him, she had decided that she would call off the wedding; it was the right thing to do. But then when she woke, he was gone and in his place was that note. That was it! No goodbyes. No "I love you's." No "Please don't do it's", just a short pitiful "sorry".

The days following had been torturous as she teetered back and forth about what was right - to marry Rick or not. Until she had seen Jon again, she had been confident that it was the right thing to do, but now she wasn't so sure. Rick had always known of her feelings for another man, she had been honest about that much from the start - though she had never divulged his identity - but he claimed that didn't matter, that she had chosen him to spend her life with and that was good enough. Alex wondered what she had done in life to deserve this wonderful man. It was the obligation of this knowledge - in the absence of a sign from Jon - that brought her here today.

After their night together, and on finding Jon's note, Alex had made a deal with herself, if...and only if, he gave her some kind of sign that he wanted her - any kind of sign would do - she would call off the wedding... but that sign hadn't come. So here she was, just minutes away from marriage, absolutely terrified that she was doing the wrong thing, but couldn't see that she had any other option – it would be cruel to back out now. She loved Rick – she would do her very best to make him happy. He deserved that.

A sharp tap on the door startled her. "Yes," she called out.

The door opened a crack and her mother poked her head in.

"Honey, the photographer wants to photograph you before the boys get here, he asked for you out front in the garden." Her mother informed her tentatively.

She could see the uncertainty on her daughters face reflected in the mirror and could guess at the cause. She knew Alex had never really gotten over the rock star. It was never discussed again after he had left that day all those years before, but every now and again, a song of theirs would come on the radio, or they would pass a magazine rack and he would be smiling from a front cover, and Sophia would see Alex flinch as an unknown memory assaulted her. She had never quite understood how her daughter had remained a fan in spite of it all – it seemed...masochistic to her. She also wondered how she had managed to keep it from Rick all this time.

"Sure Mum." Alex stood and walked towards the door.

"Oh honey...don't forget your flowers." Sophia said as she scooped the bouquet off the bench.

"Thanks Mum" Alex smiled at her mother but it didn't quite touch her eyes.

"Are you sure about this honey?" Sophia gently gripped her daughters arm and held her back in the foyer for a moment. "You don't seem...well I'm just not sure this...well he really...is what you truly want."

Her mother had always been so perceptive. "He loves me Mum. He's good to me. He treats me like a princess. What more could I ask for?"

"I love Rick honey. I know he is good to you. He is every mother's dream for their daughter...stable, hard working, kind, loving and absolutely gorgeous on top of all that. But still...I am just not sure he is good for you. I just don't think that you ever got over..."

"Don't Mum... please!" Alex begged, "Not today. Please not today...I can't think about that."

"Listen to me sweetie" Alex made to interrupt but Sophie stopped her, "No, honey... listen...please!" she begged. "I should have told you about this a long time ago but...well I just didn't know how to explain it without you taking it the wrong way. I'm not sure I can now."

"What Mum?" Alex asked softy.

"I once had a 'Jon' in my life too." As was usual Alex flinched as her mother said the name. "We were young and wildly in love but just like with you and Jon there were...obstacles...and just like you're doing now I made the sensible choice...the safe choice. But honey I'm not sure that's the right choice for you. Don't get me wrong sweetie...I have had a good life with your father and I have you...I could never regret that but honey...there has always been something missing, that special spark that makes things exciting and fun – the spark I see in your eyes when you see a picture of him or when you hear his voice on the radio, even through the pain it causes, that spark is still there. Now I can't believe I am going to say this – it's such an irrational thing for a mother to say – but I would rather you be Jon's mistress and be happy than be Rick's wife and be miserable for the rest of your life."

"Mum, are you miserable?"

"No, of course not Ali, that didn't come out right. I could never be miserable as your mum, and I honestly love your father so much... It's just once you know what that kind of love and passion feels like, nothing else ever really measures up. And I know you, Ali…I know that you'll never truly be satisfied. You'll always wonder what if…

"It will be fine mum." Alex took her mother in a deep embrace. "I will be fine."

"You may think now that you can make it work, and knowing you I am sure you are probably right but sweetheart, do you really want to go through life with a love that's less than perfect?"

"Is there such a thing as a perfect love mum? Jon isn't an option for me...he never has been. He has a wife, and now he has a child and he has made it perfectly clear to me that I am not worth risking either for. I would never want him to... even if he did love me enough. He belongs with his family, free from the risks an affair with me would entail. So that being said, is it wrong of me to try to grasp the little happiness Rick can offer me?"

"No honey, of course not... not if you think it's enough." Sophia said sadly.

"It has to be."

Silence fell for a long moment, and Jon who was standing hidden in the shadows of the stairwell to the gallery imagined that Sophia had taken Alex in her arms to comfort her.

When Sophia spoke again her voice was tinged with concern "Alex honey, what will you do if he shows up? I know Rick invited him, I saw the name when I posted the invites out."

"He won't!" Alex said confidently. "It's over. We've said our goodbyes. It was never even a possibility for us." Sophia did not know about her 'encounter' with Jon a few days before, though it seemed in light of this new information, it wouldn't have shocked her if she did. No one knew...not even Lanie...Alex was far too embarrassed to share that story with anyone – the weakness it showed. "We better get out there. I want to get back in before Rick gets here. It's bad luck if he sees me in my dress before the ceremony."

Sophia followed her daughter out of the door to the yard and closed it behind her.

When the foyer was clear, Jon emerged...he had heard it all. He wondered how – after everything he had said to Alex – that she still thought so little of his feelings for her. With the exception of his child she was the most important thing in the world to him... how could she not see that? He thought he had made it clear. He moved quickly into the bride's room and placed the CD on the center of the bench in plain sight for her to see, then went back to his hiding place in the stairwell. He had never intended to stay but he was trapped now until everyone was inside...he had cut the timing too fine. He had procrastinated about dropping off the CD all morning and it had made him late. He had only just managed to sneak into the church without being found out and was trying to figure out how to get the CD to her without being seen when her mother came to collect her for the photo's. Perfect! He had thought.

The door opened again a few minutes later and he could hear the crystal sound of Lanie's laughter echo in from outside as she headed for the door. He waited out of sight until he heard the door close again. He could hear a muffled conversation nearby, but it sounded as though the foyer was empty. He craned his neck around the corner...he was right....the foyer was clear. Across the small space the door to the bride's room stood ajar. He could see Lanie – stunning in a gold satin sheath – and then she moved aside and he caught his first glimpse of an angel.

Jon could only see her profile...but it was enough. There was no way he could leave now. Instead of walking out the front door as he knew he should, he moved in the opposite direction and slid unnoticed into the chapel. Large stone pillars supported the roof and provided him with the perfect hiding spot. He moved into the shadows, feeling somewhat like a fugitive and waited for the ceremony to begin.

In the bride's room Alex once again sat alone. Thankfully, Sophia had picked up on her daughter's mood and had managed to talk an excited and enthusiastic Lanie from the room .

Lost in thought she absently picked up her bouquet. The florist truly had done a spectacular job. It was simple and elegant – a bound bunch of long stemmed white Calla Lilies, tied with white satin ribbon.

A gentle tap on the door signalled it was time. She rose from her seat and took one long last look at the single girl in the mirror. Within the hour she would be Mrs Richard Carlisle. Well technically she wouldn't – they had discussed it and Alex had chosen to keep her maiden name – but she would be his wife. A wave of anxiety gripped her, she braced herself on the bench, closed her eyes and dropped her head, and forced herself to take several deep breaths...she could do this. She couldn't back out now. She couldn't do that to Rick.

When her eyes opened, she noticed something she hadn't seen before. A CD in a plain white case sat in the middle of the bench, typed across the top was her name. She wondered how she could have missed it before, and then remembered that was where the flowers had been. How strange! The music should have been out in the chapel already. It must have been left behind. She picked up the lone disc and opened the case. There on the inner sleeve was a familiar messy scrawl.

Sorry I couldn't make it to the church baby. This is for your ears only, my gift to you. Remember...Be Happy!


The door edged open. "Princess... it's time!" Tony Belle stood proud at the door, looking very distinguished in a black tuxedo.

Alex quickly slipped the disc into her purse and left it behind to take her father's arm as he led her into the foyer.

She looked up into his glassy eyes. "I love you Daddy."

"I love you too Princess...you've done me proud, I can't believe my little girl is all grown up and getting married." A tear welled in the corner of his eye.

"Oh Daddy..." She smiled at him gently, placed her palm on the side of his face and wiped the tear away with the pad of her thumb, "I will always be your little girl. No one could ever take your place in my heart."

"I know sweetie." He smiled an awkward kind of smile back, he was trying to be happy for her but he couldn't quite still the feeling of discontent. "Ready?"

"I hope so." NO!! Her mind screamed.

As if in self-defense, her mind started to shut down and she became numb. She knew there was no turning back the moment she took that first step down the aisle. The closed double doors were about to open, and should symbolize the start of a brilliant new chapter in her life. Instead, she felt like in some ways the best chapter in the book was ending. As the first strains of Pachelbel's Canon began to filter through her mind, she realized Lanie was adjusting her train. Closing her eyes, she willed herself to stop trembling, and managed a weak smile for her best friend as she quickly lifted her veil and kissed her on the cheek. "Here we go babe" she whispered excitedly as the doors opened and she began her slow walk before the bride, down the aisle.

Jon stood in his dark corner only yards from the door. The music began, the doors opened and Lanie stepped through, looking absolutely stunning – her now black hair in an intricate up do was a stark contrast to the pale dress – she looked like a goddess. At least that's what he thought... until he got his first real look at Alex. If he stepped forward from the shadows he could have touched her – he was that close.

She looked...well... she looked unbelievably, mind numbingly gorgeous – the way the gown clung to every curve as though it were sewn on in place, the way her subtle make up accentuated her fine features and the deep red of her lipstick enhanced her luscious lips, the way her silky mane of auburn curls cascaded down her back - but beyond that...behind the veil she looked...sad. A small smile was fixed in place, but it didn't belong there. It didn't match the sorrow in her eyes, or the single tear that dropped silently down her cheek.

Pain gripped him. How could he stand by and watch her do this? It was obvious it wasn't what she wanted, but then he couldn't give her what she did. He'd already caused her enough pain...if it weren't for him and the games he had played, she would have been blissfully unaware of what was possible...she could have truly loved Rick. But here...now...as things stood and after the discussion with her mother, he couldn't believe that she would go through with it. Even now, as she glided down the aisle to meet Rick on her father's arm, he could not believe that she would commit to him.

Jon couldn't tear himself away from the scene unfolding before him. He had to see it through. Like a train wreck...he was riveted. He had to stay and see her flee the church in tears. The ceremony commenced. When the minister asked if any one objected to the union, he took an involuntary step forward. He opened his mouth to speak...he wanted to speak...but nothing came out.

And then it was upon him. The vows were being said and she was still standing there...calm, serene, resigned. Something within him snapped...no broke...he realised it was his heart. She was really doing it...she was marrying him. That was it... it was over.

He couldn't bear to be there anymore...he couldn't watch the train wreck after all. He needed to escape. He felt the bile rise in his throat... he had to make it outside...and quickly. He rushed silently to the door and slipped quietly outside unnoticed....or so he thought.

From the corner of her eye, she saw him leave the church. He had come after all. She closed her eyes and tried to concentrate on the task at hand, but the image of his anguished face as he fled infiltrated her brain. The pain there was so...real...so palpable. She realised someone was calling her name.

"Alex...Alex" It was Rick.

"Alex are you ok?" He whispered, "You look ill."

"Do I? No I'm..." What was she? Overwhelmed, devastated, heartbroken? No just broken – all of her, heart and soul completely destroyed. "Fine... Just a little overwhelmed." At least she could use that adjective safely.

"Shall we continue?" The minister asked.

Rick nodded. He was eager for the ceremony to be over...he couldn't wait for this gorgeous woman to be his wife so he could finally disregard this feeling of foreboding he had had all morning.

"Do you Alex take Rick to be your husband.......?" The minister continued but Alex tuned him out.

Alex stood there like a deer caught in the headlights. She had only seconds to decide her future. Did she say 'I do'...or did she follow the man she loved out the door? Would he be there waiting for her if she did? She doubted that...but then...that look on his face...

"Well?" Rick asked expectantly.

Alex looked into Rick's smiling face. With every second that ticked by she could see the insecurity deepen in his eyes and it hurt her to imagine the pain she would cause him if she were to leave. Could she really do what she was considering?