Alex and Lexi arrived ahead of Caleb and picked up the boys early declining Drew’s offer to stay with them. Alex knew Caleb wanted to be alone with his family upon his return which was delayed due to technical problems with the plane he was on. They elected to stay in a hotel and spend a few days in Monte Vista before flying home. The boys were asleep huddled together in the middle of the bed they were sharing. Catching his smile Lexi said “they look just like you.”
He pulled her close “they do don’t they?” his voice was a little smug with pride. Nibbling on her ear he said in husky voice “when are we going to work on that girl who will look her mama?”
Pushing him away shaking her head at him “not until we’re home and not sharing a room with our kids.”
“Are you sure?” he asked kissing his way down her throat.
Her pulse quickened at his touch as it always did. One of the boys cried out in his sleep bringing her back to reality “I’m sure,” she laughed at his pouty face “what would you say if the boys woke up?”
“Um that we’re wrestling” he mumbled against her lips still intent on getting his way.
Shoving him away she walked away “when we get home. I promise to make the wait worth your while.”
“A little role play?” he asked eagerness in his tone. His thoughts went back to the night she had handcuffed him to the bed….”I’m going to take a shower.”
“Yeah you do that,” her laughter followed him into the bathroom.
Thirty minutes later they were in bed talking softly to each other. Lexi snuggled into him “who do you think our stalker is?” she tried to keep the tremor she felt from her voice.
Kissing her forehead Alex chuckled softly “no one important I’m sure.”
“How can you be so positive?” she demanded looking up at him.
“I’m not,” he said turning serious “all I know for sure is that whoever the guy is it’s not Ron. I can’t think of anyone else who would want to hurt us.”
“It could be a deranged fan,” she said laying her head on his shoulder “I’m just scared of all the unknowns. I don’t want anything happening to you.”
“To me?” he half joked “I’m not the front man anymore,” he protested. A part of him missed the limelight, being center stage. Most days he was able to stamp down the twinge of jealousy he felt watching Caleb doing what he used to do. Be where he still longed to be. Most days he was able to talk himself out of the depression he felt himself slipping into when it got him down. At least he still was able to do what he loved…perform. He was still able to write songs, play music. Caleb was a good guy. Someone he could rely on in a pinch. A team player something Ron never was. Not to mention he was family.
“Do you miss it?” Lexi asked as if sensing his thoughts.
“Yeah sometimes,” he snuggled deeper into the blankets “I probably always will. I enjoyed performing, being center stage. I’m lucky to be able to do what I enjoy though. It could have been a lot worse.”
“I miss watching you perform, hearing you sing,” she closed her eyes as she spoke letting sleep take her.
Early the following morning Alex received a frantic call from Drew. His first instinct was to race right over to the hospital. Lexi looked up from where she was playing with the boys on the floor “is everything alright?” she asked.
Numbly he sat down on the edge of the bed, his body shaking “no it’s not” he managed to say. He looked up with a stricken face. “Caleb’s in the hospital and my nephew has been kidnapped.”
“What?” she cried in astonishment “what happened?” she asked coming to his side.
“Someone broke into their house last night. Beat Caleb up and took Andrew.” He ran his hands through his hair looking at his sons playing together. What if it had been one of them? Drew must be out of her mind with panic “I have to go….”
“Ok” she nodded accepting he would need to be with his sister. She expected nothing less from him. She was thankful that Alex had insisted on getting a hotel room. What would have happened if they had been there?
“I should have been there,” Alex muttered “if I had maybe I could have prevented Andrew’s abduction….”
“Or you could have been hurt,” she cried “I’m glad we weren’t there. What if….what if?” her voice faded into sobs. She kept seeing him lying in a hospital bed beaten, bruised and unconscious. She never wanted to go through that again.
“Lexi sweet heart” his voice low soothing “I know. I know,” he repeated holding her close letting her cry on his shoulder. He knew why she was upset. He just needed to give her time to calm down “I doubt if I had been there it would have made a difference. I have to go though and see if Drew needs anything. Even if it’s only a shoulder to cry on.”
She nodded wiping her eyes dry “I know. Go. Tell her I’m here if she needs anything.”
He looked at her in surprise “you’re not coming with me?”
Pointing towards the two little boys looking up at them in concern “someone has to watch them. We can’t take them to the hospital and they can’t stay here alone.”
“You’re right. I wasn’t thinking,” he laughed at his own mistake. Getting up he finished getting dressed. Kissing Lexi goodbye “I’ll see you later.”
After seeing Drew at the hospital Alex found himself walking aimlessly through the streets of Monte Vista. He couldn’t…he just couldn’t do what she was asking of him. He said he would. How could he say otherwise? Still he couldn’t, not now not ever. His skin crawled at the mere thought of it. Stopping he sat on a bench. He didn’t know where he was or how to get back to his hotel. He leaned forward holding his head in his hands while his thoughts went back to that night. The night his life was turned upside down.
Eventually he wandered around enough to recognize where he was and found his way back to the hotel. Upon letting himself into the room Lexi fell into his arms “I was so worried about you. What took you so long? Was Drew that upset you had to stay all day? Is she alright?” her questions came fast and furious.
“I’m sorry,” he muttered his mind reeling from his inner turmoil and her obvious concern. Looking at the clock “is it that late already?”
Looking at him closer then before she asked again “are you alright?” She didn’t like the blank glassy eyed stare he was giving her.
“I…I…” he swallowed hard burying his face in her shoulder “no I’m not.”
She was shocked at the admission. She expected him to pretend he was alright. She expected to have to pry it out of him. His admission added to her concern. “What happened?” she asked holding him.
He sighed looking in her gentle purple eyes “I have to do something I’m not sure I can do.”
“Then don’t do it,” she told him wiping away his tears wishing she could take the fear from his eyes. She had never seen this vulnerable side of him before not even when Ron was at his worst.
“I can’t. I don’t have a choice” he tried to turn away.
“Tell me,” she entreated him holding him tight “don’t shut me out.”
“Drew wants me to go and see my mother in prison,” Alex spat the words out as if he thought the faster he said them the more distance he could put between them and him.
“What? Why?” she cried “is she crazy?” She had heard the stories of how Patricia had killed his parents. How she had done it in front of him. She couldn’t imagine the pain, the trauma of seeing something like that. Alex hardly ever spoke about it. Whenever it got brought up he’d become silent, withdrawn. He’d have this look of abject pain in his eyes. “You can’t do that.”
“I have to,” he shook his head sitting on the edge of the bed looking shell shocked. “The man that took Andrew is looking for something that heinous bitch took. The prison authorities won’t let anyone but her lawyer and children see her. I’m the only one who can do it.”
Lexi woke up to find Alex thrashing in his sleep. Tossing his head from side to side “no please. Daddy no” he cried in his sleep. Lexi pulled him close holding him while he trembled in her arms. There was no doubt in her mind that he was reliving the moment of his parents death. He moaned in his sleep. “Shhh she can’t hurt you,” she murmured softly.
Listening to him whimper and cry out in his sleep was the first time she realized how much he hurt from losing his parents at such a young age. She never realized the well of pain that he kept bottled up inside him. If she could she would take all his pain from him. She didn’t know how long she stayed awake whispering soothing words to him before he calmed enough to slip into a light uneasy sleep but she laid awake long after. She didn’t know what she could do to help. All she did know was she couldn’t let him go alone to see that woman.
Despite her obvious lack of sleep Lexi woke up first. Maybe it was the boys giggling in the bed next to theirs or it was her concern over her husbands situation but she couldn’t sleep anymore. She got up telling the boys to be quiet while she went out into the hall to make a few phone calls. The first call was too Drew. She waited impatiently for her to answer. When she did Lexi asked “is it absolutely necessary for Alex to see that woman?”
She heard the sharp intake of breath before Drew replied “I’m sorry. I tried everything I could think of to be able to do it myself. They won’t make an exception even for this.”
“Do you have any idea what this is doing to Alex?” Lexi demanded.
“Yes” came Drew’s response “I was there. We all were there. There’s not one of us kids that wasn’t affected in some way by what that woman did.” Lexi heard the barely suppressed sorrow and anger in Drew’s voice. She should have known that Drew knew exactly what she was asking of her brother and the cost it would have on him.
“I’m sorry,” she murmured.
“Don’t be,” Drew told her taking in a deep breath “I’d feel the same way if I were in your shoes. I wouldn’t ask if it weren’t a matter of life or death.”
“I just spent all night holding my normally strong husband while he whimpered like scared little boy in his sleep. I knew he was dreaming about that awful night. I can’t let him face that bitch alone. Do you think they’ll let me in?” She bit her lip waiting for Drew’s reply.
“I don’t know….I never asked,” Drew admitted “I can give you the number to the prison.”
“I would appreciate that” Lexi sighed into the phone. She knew she shouldn’t be angry at Drew but she still was. As much as she understood the necessity of the visit she wanted to protect her husband from having to face it.
The next call was to the prison. It took forever to find someone who could answer her question. Finally she was put through to someone who could. She wasn’t sure if the answer was good or bad. The only thing she was sure of was the fact Alex wasn’t going to be happy with the answer.