Title: Phoenix

Author: E.Helena

Summary: Alex knew that clinging to the hope of him would surely mire her in a life of solitude and unfulfilled dreams.

Disclaimer: The characters belong to Dick Wolf and the actors who bring them to life. No harm intended, no money made.

Archive: Fanfiction - anywhere else, just ask

Feedback: Please! It's always welcome

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Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896–1940), U.S. author.

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Chapter 1 - Phoenix

When had she finally decided it was time to move on?

Alex couldn't seem to pinpoint an exact moment or a singular event that heralded her choice. All she knew was that here, today, a new chapter in her life would begin. And now that the day had arrived, she welcomed it with an eagerness that, not so long ago, she would never have imagined.

For despite its wondrous, rosy glow of promise, today's dawn was tinged with sadness at thoughts of the man she must leave behind. Memories swirled – of tests and trials, successes and triumphs. All that must now be set aside; never to be forgotten, but no longer to determine her future. Alex knew that clinging to the hope of him would surely mire her in a life of solitude and unfulfilled dreams.

"It's almost time. Are you sure you don't want me to stay?"

Alex shook off her melancholy and turned to face the other woman. She gave her a crooked but sincere smile. "No, I'm fine. I'd just like a couple of minutes alone."

Doris Eames raised a hand to Alex's cheek and caressed her blush with a thumb that trembled slightly. "No regrets?"

She met her mother's intense hazel gaze and paused to seriously consider the question. Any regrets, Alex old girl? Are you sure you've made the right choice? Her soft smile widened into a happy grin. "Plenty. But not about this."

Her mother nodded, reassured by her daughter's sincerity. "He's a wonderful man, Alexandra," she said softly.

Was there ever anything more penetrating than a mother's eyes on her daughter's wedding day? "I know, mom," Alex closed her eyes and leaned into her mother's cool touch. It meant so much to her that both her parents saw the goodness in him. "I'm very lucky."

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She stood alone in the anteroom, acutely aware of her mother's caution about having only a few minutes remaining before the ceremony. Alex studied her reflection in the full-length mirror and decided that she and her sister had compromised well on her wedding outfit. Given her age and the fact that this was her second marriage, Alex refused to even consider a gown. Disappointed but determined, Jen insisted that she had to wear something more elegant than an off-white suit. The champagne-colored satin of the cocktail length sheath brought out warm tones in Alex's skin. With her hair swept up in a French twist, the strand of her mother's pearls was beautifully displayed at her throat. An added plus to the dress was the fitted lace demi-jacket that would remain in place while in the chapel, but could be removed at the reception dinner if the restaurant proved to be too warm.

Alex was appreciating the overall effect when movement caught her eye and she refocused her gaze to a spot behind her right shoulder.

"You look… beautiful."

The soft voice and gentle words made her blush with a combination of embarrassment and happiness. His compliments always had the power to make her feel like she was fifteen again.

She met the reflection of his eyes and found comfort in their familiarity. "I wasn't sure you'd be here today."

"Neither was I," he allowed her to deflect his compliment. "But you wanted it, so here I am."

She really should have expected this. He'd always had a hard time denying her when he knew it was something she truly wanted. Alex sometimes worried that he too often gave in to her desires at the expense of his own. "Are you okay with this?"

His smile was sad, and for a moment she thought her heart would break. "Just be happy, Alex. It's all I've ever wanted for you."

The muted strains of Pachelbel's Canon seeped through the thick wooden door, and Alex closed her eyes to let the familiar beauty wash over her. She had chosen this song as the prelude to her procession down the short aisle of the chapel. The time had come.

She took a deep breath and placed a hand over her abdomen to try and still the butterflies fluttering within. "I won't be able to help it," she sighed.

"Good bye, Alex."

"Good bye?" her eyes snapped open and searched his in the mirror. "You're not going away… are you?"

"For a while." He gave her a half-hearted shrug. "And, who knows? You may decide you don't want me around anymore."

Alex's heart now melted for the grown man who could always sulk like a little boy when in need of reassurance. "That will never happen," she replied firmly.

"Okay," he smiled and nodded agreement, although Alex sensed an air of skepticism. "I'll be here if you need me."

The door creaked open and her attention was drawn to her father, so handsome and dignified in his dark charcoal suit and dove gray tie. "C'mon, baby girl," his eyes were bright with excitement. "The groom's getting antsy."

Alex looked back to the mirror. Once again, hers was the only reflection in the glass. 'We'll talk again, Joe…' She turned away and took her father's hand. 'But right now, Bobby is waiting.'

End

A/N – 'Lex Talionis' is being… patient. In the meantime, I really appreciate everyone's feedback and encouragement for the one-shots and drabbles I have been writing – I find them extremely helpful! Also, you can take this story as supernatural or not, your choice. My mom passed away many years ago at a too-young age – I still have conversations with her :-) One final note... I've really resisted using family member names when the show's writers have yet to provide us with that information. These were my choices, subject to change if we ever find out the truth :-)