thank you for the reviews, follows, and favorites! i know it's been awhile, i've been having some major writer's block with this story, but thanks for being patient! hope that you like this update (which is going to be set up a little differently than chapters before, lots of short flashbacks) and it's the last for this story!
We'll Always Be Ok
Alexia waited for Steve to get back from Doris's, having the kids back in the hotel with her. She had settled the girls to watch a movie, giving Jack his bottle as she attempted to get him to sleep. Steve had called to say that he was stopping by the house to make sure everything was ok, but he didn't say much else about what happened with his mom. Sighing, Alexia relaxed back against the chair as she continued to feed Jack, figuring that Steve would explain everything when he got back.
It was later then she realized when Steve got back to the hotel, with Julia and Lucy asleep in one bed and she in the other, Jack in his baby carrier close by. Steve quietly slipped in, leaving the lights off so he didn't wake anyone. Alexia was only half awake, noticing Steve stopping by to check on Jack, then pulling a blanket up over the girls before joining her in bed.
"Mmm, where have you been?" she asked sleepily, her eyes still shut as she felt him shifting closer to her, his lips on her forehead.
"I fixed the floor at the house," he answered quietly. "Changed the locks, that sort of thing."
"Maybe we should build a moat," Alexia grumbled sarcastically as their home security never seemed to be high enough, since this was the second break in. "With alligators."
"No," Steve smiled a little. "Alligators could come up to the house, we would have to go with sharks."
"Right there," Alexia pointed, poking his chest. "That's why I married you." Steve chuckled, taking her hand and kissing the back of it. "What happened with Doris?" she finally asked seriously, slowly blinking her eyes open in the dark to see his silhouette.
"I told her the truth," Steve sighed, touching her hair. "That I have more important things to worry about."
"And how did she take that?" Alexia asked, shifting on her side a little.
"Not well," Steve answered honestly, remembering his mother's eyes brimming with tears. "But, she listened. I had to drive by her place on the way here, all her stuff is gone."
"I'm really sorry Steve," Alexia said softly.
"Don't be," Steve said back. "It's not your fault Lex. She's the one the made it unsafe for you four." He moved so he could be even closer to her now. "You and the kids are the only thing that matter to me. I promise we're ok."
"You always promise that," Alexia said, fading back into sleep. Any time she had been worried or afraid, Steve always promised her that they were going to be ok.
"I'm always right," Steve reminded her.
"That's why I married you," Alexia said which made him smile, her eyes drifting shut as she fell back asleep, feeling Steve pulling her into him before he fell asleep as well.
A few weeks went by and everything was going smoothly. The girls were in school, enjoying it alongside dance and soccer practices. Jack was getting bigger every day, starting to roll from his back to his stomach when he was laying on the floor. It had been weeks, and they hadn't heard a single word from Doris or knew of her whereabouts. Steve had always wanted his mom back, but never like that. And, for his wife and kids to remain safe, he knew it was better if she was as far away from the island as possible. For now, Alexia was home with the girls making dinner while Steve was on his way back from work.
"Mom!" Julia called from the living room as Alexia had been at the stove.
"Mommy!" Lucy shouted at the same time. Their voices sounded urgent.
"Oh my God, mom!"
"What, what?" Alexia said, whipping around the corner out of the kitchen quickly as she thought there was something wrong. She had left the girls in charge of watching Jack as he laid on the floor on a quilt that they had spread out on the floor.
"Look at the baby!"
"Do you see Jack!"
"Oh my God!" Alexia squealed excitedly, seeing what they were talking about. Jack had started crawling for the first time, happily but slowly scooting his way across the floor.
"What's going on?" Steve asked as he rushed into the house, having heard the screaming from outside and having thought something was wrong as well. Seeing Jack making his way across the floor, he grinned ear to ear.
"Hey," he laughed as Jack continued to move across the quilt. "Our little man is mobile."
"Could you get him for me babe?" Alexia asked, heading back into the kitchen. "Dinner's almost ready."
"Sure," Steve nodded, walking by and scooping up his son, Jack squealing with delight as he did. Feeling his phone going of, Steve shifted Jack over to one arm so he could answer.
"Hey Danny," Steve said as he answered, carrying the baby over towards the table. "What's up?"
"You're not going to like this," Danny answered, Steve stomach sinking immediately; he handed Jack off to Alexia who looked at him curiously.
"What is it?"
"They were looking at the security footage from that alley earlier," Danny said, referencing the gruesome crime scene they came upon that morning. "To see if they could get a glimpse of the killer, see if anyone sketchy was at the scene..."
"What did they find?" Steve jumped in.
"You're never going to guess who was there, dressed as a cop," Danny continued.
Steve left in a rush that night, giving Alexia the bare minimum explanation as he ran out, hoping to catch the man ultimately responsible for his father's murder; Wo Fat. All that night, she didn't hear from him but she trusted that he was all right as she put the kids to bed, not easily falling asleep herself. The next morning, she sent the girls off to school like it was just a normal day, taking Jack with her to work so she could drop him off at the daycare. While she was worried about what Steve was up to, it was a fairly routine day in the ER. That was, until they were running a very unexpected patient through the sliding doors.
"What do we have?" Alexia asked, walking alongside the patient as they were pushed through the ER on a stretcher by the EMTs.
"Male victim, late thirties," they answered. She glanced down at him and, while he had been severely burned, she felt she recognized him from some where, a picture or something. "Third degree burns on nearly seventy percent of his body..."
"Get him on IV fluids now," Alexia instructed. "Morphine for the pain, and-" She felt herself being pulled back as they continued to rush the patient off towards the burn unit. "Steve?" He had caught her arm, keeping her from going off with the others, knowing that one of the other doctors would be perfectly fine to take care of this person, though he didn't care what kind of treatment he got.
"Do you know that guy?" she asked in surprised, her eye brows raised. "Oh God, is he with HPD? Is that where I rec-"
"No, no," Steve shook his head, his tone serious. "Lex...that's Wo Fat." Her mouth nearly dropped open.
"You mean," Alexia started in shock. "That's..." She wasn't sure what to say, but Steve nodded. "And you finally..." He nodded again; she became serious too. "Steve, you know the chances of him making it through this type of injury," she said solemnly; he might never even see prison. "It's going to be so touch and go-"
"Good," Steve said back.
Steve and Alexia had just been dating for a few weeks now. The night before at the football game, it wasn't one of the football players that had gotten hurt, but it was one of the cheerleaders. Alexia had been involved in a mount, being the girl the others held up in the air during their cheer. Unfortunately, one of the other girls didn't have a good grip on Alexia's foot and the whole pyramid came tumbling down, causing Alexia to break her wrist.
Steve wanted to go to the emergency room, but she told him not to; he had to stay and finish the game anyway. By the time he was done, he was sure she was already home and in bed so he decided to call her in the morning. She didn't answer, so he figured she must still be sleeping off her injury. That afternoon, he went to grab lunch with a few of his friends, knowing some of the cheerleaders were going to be there; Alexia wasn't with them though. Her best friend Sarah informed him that Alexia didn't leave the emergency room until almost two in the morning, so she was probably still at home resting. That night, Steve decided to surprise her at the small apartment she shared with her mother with flowers.
It was an outdoor apartment complex, the set up reminding him more of a motel. He had picked Alexia up here a few times, but she never invited him in and he was slowly starting to figure out why. Her brother was away at school and her father had passed away. It was just her and her mom, who she didn't have a very good relationship with. These days, according to her friends at least, no one really ever saw Alexia's mother; she sank into an awful depression after Mark died, barely leaving her room let alone the apartment. He parked right outside their apartment door, turning the car off before walking up, flowers in hand. As he got closer to the door though, he could hear screaming.
"Do you even know how embarrassing it was!" he heard shouting; it was Alexia. He had never heard her voice like that before. "They wouldn't let me leave the ER, they made me wait on you! And they just kept calling and calling-"
"Don't you dare take that tone with me, I am your mother."
"Start acting like it!" Alexia screamed back. "Because you couldn't even be bothered to leave your bed long enough to pick me up from the HOSPITAL!"
Steve didn't know what to do. Should he knock? What good would that do? As the fighting continued, about how Megan had no idea what was going on with her daughter, not even seeming to care that her wrist was broken. Slowly, he found himself backing away from the door. If it was him, if he was fighting with either of his parents like that, he wouldn't want anyone else around to witness it; it would probably only make him more upset and he figured she would be the same way. He didn't even make it back to the car though before the apartment door swung open.
"Well, I'm not staying here tonight!" Alexia shouted into the dark apartment, slamming the door shut again. Crossing her arms over herself, she turned back to walk into the night alone, immediately spotting Steve on the sidewalk.
"Oh God," she groaned, immediately feeling her face flush as he set the flowers on the hood of his car.
"I just, um, wanted to see how your wrist was," Steve tried to explain, feeling a bit nervous. He never had to deal with anything like this. The last time his mom even came close to raising her voice at him was because he left his dirty clothes all over his bedroom floor.
"Did you hear that?" Alexia asked; Steve quietly nodded. "The whole thing?"
"I didn't mean to, I just..." He trailed off as she started crying. It didn't matter that he wasn't sure what to do anymore. Instinct told him hug her, to hold her close and let her cry into him.
"I'm sorry," she sniffed as she was crying into his chest. "I'm so embarrassed, I-"
"You can't help it," he promised, pulling back. All he could think to do now was help her, take care of her. "You could crash in the guest room at my house, my parents won't-"
"I don't want to bother your parents," she shook her head quickly.
"I still got my camping stuff in the trunk," Steve said as a bit of a joke, him and his friends having gone on a camping trip the weekend before. "If you're up for that."
"Doesn't sound half bad," Alexia said, wiping the tears off her face; Steve held up his hands.
"I can sleep outside the tent," he offered, managing to make her smile a little as he wiped the last tear off her cheek. "Lex."
"Hm?" she sniffed.
"It's going to be ok," he promised.
Alexia and her roommates, Jill and Emily were all slowly starting to move out of their apartment they had shared while they had been going to University of Maryland. They had just graduated, all going their separate ways. Emily was returning to Pennsylvania for grad school and Jill was moving to Virginia with her boyfriend so she could go to law school. Alexia and Steve weren't moving in together, they were actually moving farther apart as he was going to Washington to work for Naval Intelligence while she was going to Boston.
"Hey babe," Steve said, getting her attention. She was laying on the couch, boxes piled all over the place. She was laying upside down on the couch, her hair laying on the floor, looking extra pathetic as she refused to move anything anymore. "I know I told you to let me move all the heavy stuff, but this would go a lot faster if you'd actually move," he teased her, earning a glare.
"Don't rush it," she complained.
"Lex," he sighed, going to sit on the floor of the living room next to where her head was.
"Why are we doing this?" she complained, throwing her hands up. "Do you know how far away Boston and Washington are from each other?"
"It's 438 miles," he answered. "Seven hours by car, two by plane." He grinned at her. "Probably six days or something if you walked."
"What's it like up there?" she asked, reaching up and touching his head, making him laugh, taking her hand and kissing it.
"It's going to be fine babe," he assured her as he squeezed her hand. "Trust me."
Steve had been home intermittently for the last few weeks. Where he normally was gone for several months, only home for a few weeks, this time it seemed to be that he'd be home a few weeks, only gone a few weeks. This went back and forth for awhile. It was nice that he wasn't gone for so long, Alexia had just had Lucy and Julia was three years old now. Tonight though, he got the dreaded work phone call and he knew that this time he was going to be gone for awhile. One of his friends on his way to get him, he packed his bag, taking it downstairs before returning to the bedroom to wake Alexia.
"Lex, babe," he said, gently shaking her shoulder awake. "Baby."
"Hm?" she asked, sitting up quickly. "Is everything ok? The baby or-"
"No, no," he said quickly, sorry he had startled her awake so suddenly. "They're fine. I just..."
"Oh no," she stopped him, knowing what it was; he was leaving again. "So soon?" He was just home for only two weeks this last time.
"I know," Steve sighed. "I can't help it, I-"
"No, I know," Alexia nodded. As much as she hated it, she never wanted him to feel bad. He kissed her once, telling her he loved her and that he would be home soon. As he left though, heading down the stairs to wait for his ride after looking in on his sleeping daughters, she didn't know what possessed her to get out of bed and follow him though the tears streaming down her face said otherwise.
"Baby, what are you-" he started to ask in concern.
"Please don't leave," she told him. His expression softened, taking her face in his hands as he tried to wipe the tears away. "I know I said I wouldn't do this, I know we said we'd stop having this talk but I can't-"
"Lex, sweetheart, it's ok," he quickly assured her, kissing her once. "Baby, it's all right. I-"
"It's not all right!" she stopped him. "Not when Julia wakes up tomorrow to ask me where you are." Julia was at an age now where, unfortunately, she noticed when he father was away and she missed him like crazy. Each time she asked when daddy was coming home tore at Alexia's heart. "Not when I can't sleep." Her eyes refilled with tears. "It is so hard for us when you're not here," she tried to explain.
"Do you think it's easy for me?" he asked her, snapping more than he meant to; he hated this fight more than anything. "Every time I come home, Lucy doesn't even recognize me, she cries when I pick her up. Do you even know how much that breaks my heart?"
"Then come home!"
"Daddy," they heard Julia saying on the stairs. Alexia quickly turned to the side, wiping the tears off her face as she pulled it back together. "Where you going?"
"Ah, daddy has to work sweetheart," Steve tried to explain and Julia's bottom lip immediately started to quiver. He scooped her up off the stairs, hugging her tight, looking to Alexia as he said it. "It's ok, it's going to be ok," he soothed, rubbing her back.
The girls were upstairs in their rooms, each dealing with their dad moving out in their own way. Lucy sulked around the house sadly, letting it be known to everyone that she was sad while Julia threw a tantrum in her room, throwing things and slamming her door. Steve went out to his car, loading the last of his bags into the trunk. As he shut the trunk, he noticed Alexia coming outside, carrying something.
"You forgot your shirt," Alexia explained, handing him the gray Annapolis shirt she had stolen from him way back when, the one she loved to sleep in.
"Um," Steve said, feeling the tear in his chest as he took it from her hands; he had just signed the divorce papers the day before. "Thanks." She nodded quietly. "Lex."
"Probably not the best time for it," he started to explain. "But, we're going to be ok. You know that?" Alexia sighed, running a hand through her hair.
"You keep saying that," she commented before turning to go back into the house.
"Do you know what this means Lex?" Steve asked her as they were still standing in the hall at the hospital; she looked at him curiously. "That's it."
"What do you mean, that's it?" Alexia asked in confusion. "You still have work, you still have Five-"
"I know," he laughed. "No, I know. But, we're done with him, forever. Everything is fine, I'm not going to be laying awake wondering what his next move is going to be." She smiled at him.
"So, we're going to be ok?" she offered and he only grinned back before kissing her. As long as he had her and his family, nothing could ever be wrong again.
wow. can't believe that's it for this story! thank you all so much for all your amazing support, you have been so wonderful! thank you thank you thank you! and while this is the end of this story, this certainly isn't the end for steve/alexia :) i'll continue posting in 'where we end up' and i'll mention any updates for possible future stories there (maybe one when they were young, before marriage/kids? not for awhile though...) thank you again, i can't explain enough how much your support meant. please let me know what you thought! :)