"I don't want you here." she spat out at Alex, her voice breaking a bit with emotion.
"I know you don't." Alex told her. She she could tell this just might be a breaking point in their clash of wills.
Stephanie got off the bike, wiping her hands across her face. "She's coming home for us! My mom will be here to take us to her new house."
Alex knew from Mrs. B. that Dorothea was not coming back for the kids. She wanted a new life without reminders of Jon and her life with him. In fact, since Alex had been there with the kids, their mother hadn't called or written.
Alex had received emails from Mr. Jon, as Hattie told her he liked to be called, checking up on the kids and she knew he had called and talked to the boys and to Stephanie. Stephanie had hardly spoken to him the first three times he had called. Hattie handled all the incoming calls so Alex had yet to speak to him.
* * * *
She knew the band had a break coming up and they were planning on heading back to new Jersey, but that was still a week away. Romeo was sitting on the floor watching TV, The boys were at Baseball practice and Stephanie was at a friends house to study, when she heard her cell phone ringing. Alex opened her cell, the caller ID said number blocked.
"Hello?" there was no answer. She started to hang up when she heard Stephanie's voice.
"Miss Alex I need you." Alex could hear the tears in Stephanie's voice.
"Steph, where are you?" She waited frantically for Stephanie to answer.
"I'm in the city." Stephanie's upset was clear with those few words.
Alex nearly dropped the phone. "The City? As in New York City?"
Romeo looked up at the tone in Alex's voice. More that a little shocked, Alex tried to calm down.
"Stephanie, hone, how did you get into the city?" Alex immediately reached for the remote and turned off the TV. She tucked the phone under her chin and went to find Hattie. Romeo followed Alex into the kitchen. Alex heard Stephanie crying on the phone and spoke calmly to her.
"Honey, it's gonna be okay. I just need a minute to get Hattie to help me with Meo."
Alex found Hattie in her room watching her soaps. "Hattie , I need you to watch Meo. There's a small problem with Stephanie and I need to go get her.
Hattie patted the side of the bed and Romeo crawled up beside her. "Where is she Alex?"
Alex turned as she walked out the room. "she's in freaking New York City!" She clutching the phone in her hand, she paused long enough to reassure Hattie. "Don't worry, I'll get her."
"Stephanie, sweetie? You still there?" Alex questioned as she walked to her room to get her purse and car keys. Sobs met her question and using her most soothing voice, Alex tried to get the young girl to call down.
"Honey, you need to tell me where you are so I can come get you right away. You have to calm down and then I'll be there." Alex grabbed a pen and pad by her laptop and jotted down the address where she was. walking quickly down to Hattie's room she gave her the basic information and told her she would call her as soon as she reached Stephanie. Getting into the car she told the still crying young girl, "I'll be there as fast as I can.
Alex drove to the closest Path Station and was able to make the next train into New York City. One train ride and one cab ride and she was pulling up to the townhouse. walking into the foyer she stopped at the security desk.
"Hi, I'm Alex Jones, the nanny for the Bongiovi children. I'm here to pick up Stephanie Bongiovi." the security officer bussed her into the lobby.
the security officer walked her to the bank of elevators, giving her some information Stephanie had not relayed.
"She's on the 12th floor. The people have been complaining that she is banging on the door," he told her. Alex's heart hurt hearing that she could almost see her banging on the door wanting to see her mother. "I tried to tell her that the Bon Jovi's had moved out." Alex just shook her head. The poor girl, she thought, I should have seen this coming.
the ride to the 12th floor was slow. Despite talking with Stephanie on the phone and hearing what the security guard said, Alex wasn't sure what she would find when the doors opened. Stepping out she looked over to the door where the girl was sitting on the floor, her head in her hands, softly crying.
Alex walked over and sat on the floor beside her. "No one is here Steph." Alex said softly as she tentatively touched her hair. what happened next shocked her.
Stephanie turned to her and lowered her head into Alex's lap. "She isn't here! I just knew she would be here." The racking sobs began again and she shook as she cried. Alex caressed her hair and rubbed her back as she offered comfort to the young girl.
"Honey, if I knew the answer as to why she isn't here, you would be the first one I would tell." She rubbed Stephanie's back as she let her cry it all out. People were walking by looking down at them but no one said a word.
Alex got Stephanie to sit up and taking a tissue from her purse she wiped her tears away.
"I bet the boys are missing us right now." she got up off the floor and held her hand out to Stephanie. Not sure if she would take it or not, she smiled as Stephanie reached out to clasp her hand and they headed to the elevator.
As the made their way to the lobby Stephanie it got a worried look on her face and looking over at Alex she asked in a small voice, "I guess you're going to tell dad about my little trip." Alex took a deep breath. "What would you do in my place?"
Stephanie was quiet, thinking before she spoke, "Well I guess I would ground me."
Alex thought on it and then looked over at Steph. "Well, Um, grounding is a thought, but I'm not sure for how long for a trip into the city by yourself." They had reached the lobby and Alex asked the doorman to call a cab.
Giving the driver instructions to take them back to train station, she looked thoughtfully at Steph. "I'll have to think this over." They got to the station and found they had a thirty minute wait for the next train. Alex saw a snack stand and as they walked over she smiled and said to Stephanie, "Nothing a little chocolate won't hurt."
Alex placed her order for hot chocolate and turned to Stephanie. "I don't have any money left," Stephanie said as she lowered her head. Alex touched her shoulder. "This is on me. You can buy the next time." Stephanie looked up a little shocked then smiled. She told the lady she would have the same.
Taking their hot chocolates over to the waiting area, Alex took out her cell and called the house. "Hi, yeah I found her. We're on the way home." she finished her cup and went over to throw it in the trash. "No, not sure when we'll get there, so would you please feed the boys?" Hattie said she would and Alex closed her phone.
As they sat there in silence she wondered how she would tell Stephanie's dad all that happened. How do you tell a father that was miles away across an ocean his 15 year old daughter took a train into the city to find her mother?