Alex rushed through the back door of her New Jersey home and scooped the phone off the counter just as the answering machine picked up. "Hello...hello, I'm here...hang on." She ran over to the machine and hit the stop button. When the sound of her own message had finally ceased she spoke into the receiver again. "Hello?"
"Hey baby." His voice was low and sexy...hell it was always sexy. The edge of seduction in it would usually have her thighs quivering but not this evening.
"Oh, hey Jon." She replied flatly.
"What's wrong Ali?"
"Nothing...everything...I don't know," she sighed.
If she was being honest, she would admit to herself she knew exactly what was wrong...things just hadn't been right for her since Dot had had the baby. It had hit her harder than she thought it would...and she had promised herself that she would never go through that again. But that meant....and she wasn't ready for that. She wouldn't give him up...she couldn't...not yet. But if there was another child.... She pushed the thought from her mind. It was silly to worry about things that most likely would never happen. Jon had promised her that Jesse was the last.
"What's going on? Why so down?" He asked gently.
"Just a tough day I guess." Alex shrugged irrespective of the fact he couldn't see her, "I'm feeling a little sorry for myself."
"Well I have the perfect antidote for that. I am taking you out." He said cheerily.
"I don't think so, Jon." Alex said glumly.
"What do you mean you don't think so?" He asked. "You're always complaining that we never go anywhere. And now I arrange it so we can and you say no?"
"I'm sorry Jon...I just don't feel like going out. I just came in from the garden...I'm a mess and ... to be honest.... I just couldn't be bothered." Alex dropped onto the stool at the counter and propped her head up with one hand.
"I'd offer to come to you but I know how you feel about me being in that house...I won't do that to you again." He said resigned. "Can we at last meet somewhere on neutral territory? I need to see you baby. Even if it's only for a few minutes."
The desperation in his voice tugged at her heart. "No babe...you know what...just come here. It will be fine. I mean I don't think I could ....you know...but I would love to be able to spend some time with you...just the two of us. Maybe snuggle up and watch a movie or something. Since Jesse was born I've hardly seen you...and soon you'll be gone on tour and..."
He cut her off. "When do you want me there?"
"Come when you're ready. I'm just gonna jump in the shower."
"Want someone to scrub your back?" She could hear the mischief in his voice.
Silence echoed down the line and he could almost see the look of disapproval on her face.
"It was joke, Ali." He chuckled
"No, it wasn't," she said firmly, brokering no argument. "But I can't do that, Jon. Not here. If that's what you're coming for, just forget it."
"I'm sorry baby...that's honestly not it. I just want time with you...no matter how we spend it. I'll be there in twenty."
"I'll leave the back door open." She said quietly and rose from the stool.
"See you soon." He heard the line click and pressed the disconnect button. Thankfully Dorothea had taken the kids to visit with her mother so he didn't have to explain where he was going. He grabbed a jacket from his bedroom. While winter was officially over, the nights still held a bite.
Standing at the door to his garage he considered his options. His lips curved up in a grin as he fingered a set of keys on the rack near the door.
As he pulled out of his driveway and onto Somerset Drive, the sun sank below the horizon behind him, casting an eerie glow as it back lit the dark heavy clouds that were just starting to blow in from the ocean. Just five minutes later he was pulling into her driveway.
As Alex stepped into her pyjama's she heard an engine growl and then die somewhere towards the front of her house. In fact she had heard that engine rumble its progress most of the way down her street. She ran down the hall way to the guest room at the front of the house and peered through the window. There, sitting on her driveway was a Harley Davidson motorcycle, tiny star bursts glittered from the chrome, sparkling under the glow of her security lights. A dark figure was stalking away from the bike and heading for her back yard. She flew down the stairs and met him at the door.
His faded blue jeans were tight, and hugged his thighs - and she was sure his fine ass - to perfection. She followed the line of them down to black scuffed biker boots. The matching jacket hung open to reveal a fitted white T-shirt beneath. The well worn black leather was soft to the touch as she pulled him to her for a welcome kiss.
"Conspicuous much?" She observed as she pulled away from his lips.
He chuckled, and the rumble of it vibrated through her. "Sorry babe. I couldn't help myself. It's been so long since I've taken her out. Do you think I can get her in the garage though? Looks like we're in for one hell of a storm. I didn't realise until I was pulling out of the driveway."
"I'm sure we can squeeze it in." She smiled and leaned up to kiss him again.
He indulged for just a moment before pulling back. "Baby...if you keep that up, I can't be held responsible for what happens."
"Sorry." She replied looking down.
"Hey," he said, tilting her chin up until their eyes met, "It's fine. It's just hard for me to be around you and not...well you know. But really, it's fine. We'll deal. Even if I have to find you a chastity belt." She offered him a tentative smile and his heart lurched. "Now, you go open the garage so I can bring the bike in and then we'll settle in for a movie...maybe order in a pizza. What do you say?"
"Sounds perfect." She gave him one more quick hug and headed for the garage.
Two hours later they were sitting cuddling on the couch. "Ok, are you ready?" Jon asked excitedly. "There." He said pointing at the screen.
"Where? Alex whined, turning away as she suppressed a cheeky smile.
"Oh come on Ali. You must have seen it that time. I was right there." He protested, pointing a little more forcefully. "Right there," he repeated. They were watching Young Guns II and he had spent the last few minutes rewinding and replaying the tape to show her his 'part'. Alex knew exactly when he appeared on the screen. She had watched the film countless times on her own just to see the few brief seconds he was on the screen but the opportunity to tease him was far too good to pass up.
She shrugged noncommittally.
"Fine," he huffed, "one more time. But if you don't see it this time, I swear Ali..."
"You'll act it for me personally? Will you fall for me Jon?" She giggled, covering her heart with both hands and feinting back onto the couch.
"Oh honey, I fell for you the second I saw you...and I haven't stopped falling since." He said, his voice softening. "Now watch." He added a little more sternly.
As the tape began to play, Alex rose from the couch and with barely a glance at the screen pointed to the exact spot that Jon would appear.
"You little brat," he growled, as he launched himself at her and brought her tumbling to the floor beneath him. She just giggled. He brought his mouth down to hers effectively stifling her laughter.
Passion ignited between them and what started out as innocent teasing soon evolved into something much more dangerous. Ali pulled back first. "We have to stop Jon."
Immediately he began to rise off her, though not without tremendous effort. She pulled him down for one last chaste kiss....a thank you for being understanding....and the whole process started again...roaming hands, panting breaths, writhing bodies. And that was when the phone rang.
"Fuck!" he exclaimed when she wriggled out from beneath him, more out of frustration than anger. Jon looked at his watch, 12.54am. "Who the hell calls you at this hour?" he asked, but was sure he didn't really want the answer. He rose and started to leave the room as Alex crawled towards the phone. He wasn't going to stick around for phone sex. Not unless he was on the receiving end.
Alex took a second to get her breath and then answered calmly. "Hello?"
There was a few seconds pause then, "Mum...what...?" Jon immediately halted and spun to face her. There was another pause. "Oh..." It came out on a whoosh of air. Jon watched her face pale as she listened further. "I'll be there as soon as I can." Pause. "No, Mum...I'm coming home. You need me. Da..." her voice cracked, "Daddy needs me. I'll make arrangements as soon as I get off the phone."
When Alex tried to put the phone back in its cradle her hands were shaking so badly she couldn't even manage it. Jon gently took the phone from her hand and put it down on the side table.
"What's going on baby?" He asked.
No answer. Alex just stood there staring off blankly to some far distant place.
He stepped in front of her and tried again. "Ali...baby...what's happened?" He shook her gently.
Her eyes gained focus. "Wh...what?" She said shaking her head as if trying to clear it.
"What's happened at home Alex?" He asked again clearly.
She frowned, "Daddy...there was...he was at the bank. There was a robbery...he..."she looked up at him, puzzlement and disbelief clouding her eyes, "he was shot, Jon. Daddy was shot, just standing there in line..."
"Is he..." Jon started.
"I have to get home. Shit Jon, I need to call the airlines. I need to..." In those few seconds she went from numb to frantic.
Jon grabbed her by the shoulders. "Ali listen to me. How bad is it?"
"They don't know. He hasn't regained consciousness. The bullet hit somewhere near his spine, but they aren't sure of the extent of the damage yet. I need to ring the airlines Jon." She tried to push past him, but he held her firm.
"Let me make a call first," he said pulling out his cell.
"I don't have time for this Jon. I have to get home."
"I know baby, I know. You start packing. I'll organise the rest. Just trust me ok?" He said calmly. He was the voice of reason she needed.
When Alex walked back into the room twenty minutes later, a large duffle in one hand and her purse hanging from her other arm, Jon was perched on the arm of the couch, foot tapping impatiently. He looked up when he heard her enter.
"Ok!" he exclaimed, "Got your keys?" he asked, and nodded when she opened her palm to show him that she did. "Let's go." He took the keys from her hand and grabbed the duffle.
"Where are we going? There is no way you booked a flight at this hour." She said trailing after him towards the garage.
"Yes honey, there is. It's called a private jet and it will be sitting on the tarmac waiting to take off by the time we get there."
"I can't do that Jon. I can't take your plane. Just book me a commercial flight. It will be fine."
"Baby, listen...now isn't the time to be stubborn or proud. I can't give you much and I can't do much for you...but I can do this. Your Dad isn't doing so great right now and you need to be with him. This is the quickest way to get you there, so damn it this is the way you're going." He said sternly.
Alex knew it was a fight she wasn't going to win; even if she could she wasn't sure she wanted to. Besides, Jon was the most infuriatingly stubborn man she had ever known. But she had to try nonetheless. "I have to call Rick." She said. It was a futile attempt and she knew it.
"You can call him from the plane." He put her in the passenger seat of her car.
"What about the paperwork...my visa...?" she asked.
"Sorted." He said simply.
Alex could think of no other line of protest. Once on the road to the airport, Alex once again retreated into a world of her own. Jon looked over at her every couple of minutes, worry deepening the few lines on his face. She was oblivious to his attention, seeing only a blur of lights out the side window as the car sped forward into the night.
They made it to the airport in record time and after a few words to the guard at the boom gate they were directed out onto the runway. Jon pulled the car to a stop before the jet. Bon Jovi was blazoned boldly down the side. He jumped out of the car, grabbed her bags from the trunk and threw the keys to a man standing nearby, just a streak of lightening brightened the night sky. The thunder clap that followed made Alex jump so severely as she exited the car, that she hit her head on the door aperture.
"Park it in the hanger Tony," he instructed. "Thanks." He turned to Alex, "Are you ok baby? That was quite a bump there?"
"I'm fine." Alex dismissed the injury with the wave of her hand. "Where is he taking the car? If he parks it in the hanger, how are you getting home?" Alex asked over her shoulder as she headed for the plane at an almost-run.
Jon was right on her heels. "I'm not." He yelled over a second thunder clap. "I'm coming with you."