The phone rang twice before Mallory rushed through the kitchen and answered it.

"Hello?" Mallory asked and then paused. She took a deep breath. "ALEX!" Steven, Elyse and Alex ran into the kitchen. Mallory smiled. "Phone." She handed him the phone and walked out of the kitchen.

"Hello?" Alex asked. It was quiet on the other end of the line for several minutes before Alex heard a soft female voice that he couldn't believe.

"Hi Alex." She said. He grasped the phone.

"Ellen? Is that you?" Alex asked. He looked over at his mom and dad. "Everybody, it's Ellen!" Alex exclaimed. He could hear her giggle. He loved that. He missed that about Ellen.

"Aren't you going to ask why I called all the way from Paris?" She asked.

"Oh yes. Why did I receive this honor?" Alex questioned.

"I'm coming to the United States to visit my parents and I thought I could stop by and see you and your family." Ellen replied.

"Ellen, you left me. Are you sure you want to come here?" Alex asked and Ellen laughed.

"Of course I do. I didn't leave you Alex. We both agreed it would be hard to stay together while I was in Paris and that it was okay for us to see other people." Ellen said.

"I didn't agree to that. I figured that's what you wanted Ellen." Alex thought, but didn't say anything verbally.

"I'm not trying to bring anything up between us Alex. I just want to see your mom and dad, talk to Mallory and Jennifer, and play with Andy. I haven't seen him in quite some time now." Ellen continued.

"And me, Ellen?" Alex asked and Ellen laughed.

"Of course I want to see you Alex. I've missed you." Ellen stated.

"I've missed you too Ellen." Alex's mind rang out, but once again nothing came out of his mouth.

"Well…" Ellen said after an awkward pause. "I will be leaving for the United States in just a few days. When would be good for me to come over?" Alex looked over at his parents and pulled on the collar of his shirt.

"Ellen wants to come over while she's in the United States. What would be a good day for her to come over mom?" Alex asked quietly. Elyse looked at him suspiciously and then shrugged.

"It's up to Ellen and her parents Alex. Ellen was here so much before that she just became part of our family so it's not a hardship to have her here." Elyse replied. Alex turned his back away from his parents.

"Mom says she doesn't care Ellen. It's up to your schedule." He responded. She sighed into the phone. Alex could tell it wasn't a bored sigh, it was a thinking sigh.

"Hmmm. I'm flying in on Friday; I can come over on Monday night. How's that?" Ellen asked.

"That'd be great!" Alex exclaimed trying not to sound too excited.

"Well, I better go for now Alex. These calls are pretty expensive. But I will be at your house Monday night at seven thirty." Ellen stated and Alex nodded a lot.

"Sounds great."

"See you then Alex." Ellen said quietly and then hung up the phone. It took Alex a few minutes before he hung up the phone.

"Are you okay Alex?" Elyse asked him. Alex whirled around to face her.

"Oh I've never been better mom! I can't believe it. Ellen is coming back! Ellen is coming back to me." Alex hollered excitedly.

"Is that what she said Alex?" Steven asked.

"Alex, we're worried about you. Ellen has been in Paris for several months now. We don't want you to get your hopes up about anything." Elyse said.

"What could I get my hopes up about?" Alex asked in a high pitched voice. "My girlfriend is coming home and she wants to come see me."

"Alex," Steven continued slowly, "she isn't your girlfriend remember? You broke it off so you could date other people?" Alex laughed.

"Oh that? We're going to change all that when Ellen gets back. She wants me. I could tell on the phone." Alex stated and walked out of the room with a big smile on his face. Elyse held on tight to Steven.

"What's going to happen Steven? He's convinced that Ellen wants to be with him again and it sounds like she's just coming for a visit. She's homesick. But she still doesn't want to be with Alex." Elyse stated. Steven hugged her tightly.

"That might be the case Elyse; but he's not going to listen to us. He's going to have to hear it from her." Steven replied.

[

"Alex, would you quit jumping around?" Jennifer asked on Monday afternoon. She was working on a school project and Alex kept getting in her way. "How can I possibly finish this project for Wednesday if you keep tearing it apart?" Alex looked down at his little sister who was sitting on the couch.

"I'm sorry Jen. But in less than half an hour Ellen is going to walk through that door, I'll kiss her and it'll be like nothing ever happened." Alex replied. Mallory walked down the stairs.

"Yeah right Alex." Mallory stated.

"What are you talking about Mallory?" Alex questioned. Mallory walked over and sat next to Jennifer.

"Ellen has been in Paris for months, I'm sure she has somebody better by now." She shrugged.

"Oh I don't think so. She wants me. She needs me." Alex responded. Both Jennifer and Mallory nodded.

"That's exactly the prize I want to find in a cracker jacks box." Jennifer said and looked at Mallory. "Mal, can you help me get my project in the kitchen and away from Alex?"

"Sure." They stood up and walked out of the room. Alex sat on the couch and stared at the door. Then after about a minute he jumped up and rushed over to the door, opened it and looked out. While he was outside, Elyse and Steven came in from the kitchen. When he came back in he saw them standing there watching him.

"I was just looking to see if Ellen was here yet." Alex said. Elyse looked like she had been crying.

"Alex, I don't think that Ellen will be coming tonight." Steven stated. Alex looked at him.

"Don't say that. You all have been negative since I got the call. You can't take this from me. She promised she would come by. Ellen has never been one to break a promise. Not to me." Alex said. At this time he was growing frantic. He looked at his watch. "It's 9:45, she's only two hours late. You know how artists are on their own time." Alex laughed but it was only half-heartedly.

"Alex," Elyse said tearfully and quietly, "we got a call from Ellen's parents. She won't be coming over."

"What? Then let me go see her. Give me the car keys." Alex stuck out his hand.

"If only it were that easy Alex." Steven said. He had his arm around Elyse as she just shook and cried.

"For months Ellen has been in Paris and I can't get to her, but now that she's only three miles away I should be able to get to her. Now why isn't it that simple? What aren't you telling me?" Alex looked at his parents.

"Alex, coming home from the airport on Friday Ellen was in a car accident." Steven started to say.

"No, no, you can't say that. She didn't die." Alex said almost hollering on the verge of tears.

"No, she hasn't died Alex. She's in a coma. She hasn't woken up since she went into the coma." Steven finished. Alex fell on the couch.

"You can't be serious. You aren't serious! This isn't going to happen! This can't happen to me! To Ellen! To us!" Alex exclaimed. He ran over and slammed his body into the door. "We were supposed to be together!"

"Alex-" Elyse started to say.

"We were supposed to be together." Alex said as his body slid down the door into a mess on the floor. Elyse started crying as she saw her son because she knew there was nothing she could do to help him.

"Alex." Steven said trying to get Alex's attention. Alex jumped up. He started becoming frantic.

"Ellen can't come to me; well I'll go to her. It's all my fault. She wouldn't be in this mess if she hadn't been coming home to see me." Alex exclaimed.

"Alex." Elyse said.

"Let me have the keys." Alex stuck out his hand.

"This time I'm going to have to say no Alex. I can't let you go out there and get yourself killed. We'll go to the hospital tomorrow. You won't be any help to Ellen or her family when you are worked up like this." Steven said firmly.

"Fine! You never wanted me and Ellen to be together anyway. Well, I'm going to go whether you like it or not." Alex exclaimed. He opened the door, rushed out and slammed it behind him going out into the dark night.