Small Warning: There is a shower scene with Dale and Alissa. If it offends anyone, I can remove the picture. This chapter is a concurrent timeline with the previous one. I didn’t have time to add these scenes before Chapter 148 was released. Thanks for sticking with the story! 🙂
Later that evening, the family received the call from Dale that they had been longing to receive. Alissa was with him and safe! He and Alissa would have to remain in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, for a couple of days longer. Alissa had to be interviewed by government representatives, and the government wanted their doctors to examine her to ensure that she was in good health before they permitted her to leave the country.
Alissa had slept through the entire drive to the city. Dale had carried her to their room at the resort where they would be staying until they were able to return home. She’d only awakened when Dale had begun to undress her. She’d awakened with fear in her eyes until she saw Dale.
“Where are we?”
She looked around her and smiled in relief. They were safe. Dale answered her and told her that they would be able to go home in a couple of days. They already had their plane tickets and their passports were in order. She felt groggy and grungy.
They were both so tired that they went straight to bed when they finished showering. They slept peacefully with Dale’s arms wrapped around Alissa tightly. Dale was still sleeping deeply when Alissa awakened the following morning. She knew that he too was probably exhausted from the stress and sleepless nights after she was taken. She quietly rose and then showered and dressed. She felt a deep feeling of relief and contentment. She was going home to her family soon.
Alissa smiled and repeated his words, questioningly, “Allowing me? Ha, I’m almost forty years old, and I don’t need permission. Dale trusts me and respects me just as I do him. That’s one of the reasons why our relationship continues to last and to flourish.”
The contrast between the way Dale treats her and the way Alex treated her during their marriage was really apparent to her. Alex had treated her like a child whereas Dale treated her like his partner. Thinking about it had long ago helped her to realize that her marriage to Alex would probably not have lasted for much longer if Alex wouldn’t change his attitude. Back then she doubted that he would have accepted the need to change.
She looked at Alex, studying him. He was looking at her intently too, thinking that despite the bruises she was still an exceptionally lovely woman.
“I wanted to thank you again for coming for me, Alex. You’ve always been there when I needed you most. That’s one of the reasons why it was so hard for me to understand why things ended the way they did between us. I never ever meant to hurt you, but you did want to hurt me.”
Alex didn’t respond right away. He was trying to get his thoughts together. “I know that what I did to you was inexcusable, Alissa. I’ve thought about that night, and I’m ashamed of what I did to you. You didn’t deserve that. You’re right that I wanted to hurt you that night, and I did hurt you badly. I’m sorry, Alissa. That’s all that I can say.”
Alissa noticed that he was no longer wearing his wedding ring and hoped that meant that he had really moved on now. She hoped that they could be friends again and that he had accepted that they would not have a romantic relationship.
“What are your plans now, Alex? Are you going back undercover?”
“No, that’s over. I blew my cover by coming here, but I was ready for a change anyway. I planned to quit the bureau, but they don’t want to let me go. They said that I’m too good at what I do! I guess that’s a compliment.”
“Yes, it’s a great compliment.”
“I’m going back to Ann Arbor, and I’ll have the same type of position that I had when we were married. I’ll be in charge of a small team of profilers that handle special cases in the states. It’ll involve more traveling this time to assist different police departments and agencies throughout the country. I’m actually looking forward to it.”
“Yeah, I’ll give it my best shot! It’ll feel good to help find missing children and adults and put perverts away for good. Now that I’m a father, I’ve begun to examine myself again, and I know that I need to make some changes. I want Joy to be proud to have me as her father. I want to get to know her, Alissa.”
“Alex, when we thought that you were dead, Dale adopted Joy. After finding out how much it meant to Sharlee having Dale adopt her, we thought it would make it easier for Joy too when we tell her about you.”
“What am I supposed to do, Alissa? I have accepted that you are with Dale and intend to remain with him. I will always be in love with you. I have tried to change that, but I can’t. However, we have a daughter, and I want to be a part of her life! I have the right to be a part of her life. She deserves to have the opportunity to get to know me too!”
Alissa felt tears in her eyes. Why did everything with Alex always have to be so complicated! She looked at him. He was still extremely attractive, but she would never go down that road again. She was happy with Dale and happy with her life. Joy was a happy child, and she didn’t want anything to change that.
“Alex, please give me a little more time to figure this out! We have to do what is best for Joy; and yes, you’re right, she does deserve a chance to get to know you too. It just has to be done in the right way, in a way that will hurt her the least.”
Alissa decided to do some research and also to talk with Sharlee to decide on the best way to tell Joy and introduce Alex to his daughter. Alex agreed. He didn’t want to hurt Joy either. He was going to have a hard time soon talking with his parents and sister.
“Is everything alright?”
Later Alissa told him about her conversation with Alex. She wouldn’t again make the mistake of hiding anything regarding Alex from Dale.
Valerie burst into tears and and flung her arms around his neck! Alex went with his parents into Dale’s office. Leslie hadn’t arrived yet. Dale had told Alex about their parent’s separation and his mother’s change for the worst after believing Alex was dead. He’d told him that his mother blamed Alissa for his death and that his lie about having an affair with Alissa had damaged his parent’s relationship with her. Alex had a lot to explain and to apologize.
Alex’s parents and Leslie were relieved to have him back, but so much damage had resulted that it would be a while before they could completely forgive him. He knew that he had a lot of work to do in restoring their trust in him. He couldn’t even tell them what he’d been doing during the years that he was gone. It was classified information. However, he could tell them about his new position and they were proud of him for accepting the new job.
The first night after Dale and Alissa returned, Skylar had insisted on calling Nana to say goodnight. Of course they hadn’t told her about Alissa’s abduction, but she had asked several times when Nana and Granpop would be back home. Now she was happy that her Nana was back.
She ended with a picture of Faizah and told them that Faizah was a shining example of the courage, resiliency and empathy of most of the people she had encountered there in the Central African Republic.