Alex Ryan stood in his office on the 17th floor of the building in the centre of Los Angeles. He never would have imagined himself living this life. In the USA, in the city, working 9-15 in an office building. There were more people working in this building alone than lived in the entire town of Gungellan. He always hated the city. It just wasn't for him. But now he found it strangely peaceful. He could be lost in amongst all these strangers, and no one paid him much attention. Surrounded by all these people, and he never felt more alone. But he preferred it that way.
He looked back over his life. Growing up on Killarney as Harry Ryan's son. Only Harry Ryan wasn't his father. And it turned out Harry Ryan wasn't even Harry Ryan. And now Harry Ryan was gone. He had found his real father, Bryce, but all those missing years were just too much to fill in. He didn't hate Bryce, but he just couldn't look at him as 'dad'. And although he had forgiven his mother for the lies, he had never forgotten it, and there was no doubt that finding out the truth had shattered their relationship beyond repair.
That place far away in rural Australia was once his home. There were so many painful memories, but in the end it was the good memories that tore his heart and drove him away. So many precious things that were gone. Claire. The future they had lost. If only they had one more day, If only he'd had the chance to ask her to marry him. If only he hadn't waited so long, if only she hadn't gone into town that day, if only. And his precious little girl BOM. No matter who her natural father was, Alex would always consider Charlotte to be his. And when Peter and Julia moved away it was like losing Claire all over again. It wasn't supposed to be this way. BOM should have been his daughter. Claire would have hated this, all of this. Peter taking Charlotte away. But he wasn't her father, there was nothing he could do. He was powerless. He lost them both.
Then Nick, his brother and constant companion throughout his life, had died in a plane crash. Or everyone thought so. Nick had turned up ok, but then moved to Argentina with Tess. Alex wondered to himself if they were still in Argentina? But even though Nick was alright, it was that period when Alex thought he had lost his brother that he really lost the plot. That's when he met Fiona. That's when he made the biggest mistake of his life. Only he was too messed up to realize at the time. Thankfully their marriage was short lived. And it was only after the marriage fell apart that things had got really messy.
He tried not to think about the past, and his life in Australia. He came over here for a new start and changed his name to Marcus Newman. He read it in a book that he picked up at the airport, and decided it was as good as anything. Bryce helped him get this job in an advertising firm. He wasn't very good at it to start with, but he worked hard. He had to. His son was counting on him.
He picked up the photo of his little boy and smiled. That's what made it all worthwhile. That was the reason he kept going on. The hope that his son would have a future, and wouldn't have to live with the mistakes of the past. It was a new life here for them. Ryan was a good little boy. Alex thought to himself it was a good thing he changed his last name, because "Ryan Ryan" would have been too cruel for the poor kid. As much as he wanted to let go of the past, he couldn't quite do it. And when it came to choosing the name for his son, there was only once choice, and Ryan was it. His full name was Ryan Joseph Newman. Everyone called him Joey. Everyone but Alex. To Alex he was always Ryan.
Alex thought of all the things that he always dreamed for his son, for as long as he could remember. Killarney for starters. That was always going to be the empire he left to his son. But that was a million miles away and Alex had given up any claim he once had on the property. And all the things he wanted to teach his son to do, to go fishing, ride horses, shear sheep, drive a tractor, all the things he and Nick had so much fun doing as they were growing up. But little Ryan would know nothing of that life. Alex imagined his childhood would be filled with taking his son to the baseball games, and the cinema, and the beach, and whatever else these city people did for fun. All things that were foreign to Alex. His son was growing up as a city kid. He even had an American accent which Alex had to admit was sort of cute.
But the thing he missed most for Ryan was a mother. That's the one thing he would have moved heaven and earth to give to him. And it was the one thing that just wasn't going to happen.