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You Can’t Find Peace in a Phonebook

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"Hey guys, look at this box I just found," Jennifer said, pulling a box out from a small space in their basement. The basement had become a mess of piles of old toys and objects as they attempted to clean it out.

"That's the box of your baby books," Elyse said, walking over towards her daughter.

   "Can we bring it upstairs and look at them?" Jennifer asked.

   "I don't see why not," Steven said. They grabbed the small box and walked upstairs, sitting around the living room.

   "I was an adorable child," Alex said, looking at a picture of himself as junior mayor.

   "Look at my handprint. I was so small," Mallory said, pointing towards to small, pink handprint with her name written in her mother's handwriting above it.

   "All four of you were adorable," Elyse said, settling any future arguments the group may have about who was cuter.

"Who's this girl holding me?" Andy asked, pointing at a picture. Elyse and Mallory, who were sitting on opposite sides of the boy, looked over. They both looked at each other, not saying a word. Jennifer looked at it from where she was standing behind the couch and immediately stood up straight, not mentioning the image. She then glanced at the page again. Steven glanced at the picture, and then looked away quickly, taking a sip from his coffee mug.

"Let's see Andy," Alex said, moving forwards in his chair and reaching over. Mallory set her hand on top of the book. He gave her a confused look.

"You know, I'm really thirsty. Does anyone want some tea?" Elyse asked, attempting to dodge the situation.

"Why are you guys acting so weird?" Alex asked. He reached over and grabbed the book from Andy, looking at the picture. There, taped to the book, was a picture of Ellen Reed holding his baby brother. Alex gave a bittersweet smile.

"She's just an old friend," he answered. He set the book down on the coffee table and stood up, walking into the kitchen and pouring some orange juice into a glass, sitting on the counter and sipping it.

   "Hey," Jennifer said, walking in and hopping next to him.

   "Hey," he replied.

   "You okay?" She asked. He nodded.

  "Oh yeah. For sure," he replied. "I just... wasn't expecting that."

   "It's been a while since you talked about it," Jennifer said, hinting that it might be a good thing for him to talk it out.

   "There's nothing to talk about. I'm fine. Really," Alex said. Jennifer sighed.

   "Okay," she said, reaching over and hugging him, hopping off the counter. She walked out the door, and Andy walked in.

   "I'm sorry Alex. I didn't know," Andy said. Alex smiled at his younger brother, standing up and lifting Andy up onto the counter.

   "It's okay buddy. Nothing to apologize for," Alex replied.

"What was her name?" Andy asked curiously. Alex leaned his hands onto the counter on opposite side of his brother.

"Ellen," he replied.

"She's very pretty," Andy said, and Alex laughed lightly.

"Yeah, she is, isn't she?" he replied. Andy smiled widely and held his arms out for a hug. Alex hugged the boy and swung him off the counter, setting him on the ground. The two then walked back into the living room, sitting on the couch with the rest of the group. They looked through the baby books without any other incidents, and soon, they were down in the basement finishing their cleaning.

Later that night, Elyse walked into Alex's room to tell him goodnight. When she walked in, she saw him sitting cross legged on his bed, flipping through a book.

"What are you looking at?" She asked. Alex looked up at her and closed the book.

"Just some pictures," he said. She walked over and sat down on the bed with him, moving the book out of his grasp. She opened it up to reveal some pictures of Alex and Ellen. "Just thinking."

"You really did love her," Elyse said. Alex gave a small smile.

   "Yeah," he replied. He cleared his throat, erasing all traces of emotion from his voice. "Goodnight mom."

   "Goodnight Alex," she said, kissing his forehead. She stood up and walked towards the door, before turning around. "You know... it can't be that hard to find a phone number."

   She walked outside and Alex thought about what she had said. Should he try to find Ellen?

"That's ridiculous. She went to Paris," Alex whispered to himself. Brushing the idea off, he stood up and turned the lights off, hopping into his bed and closing his eyes. After what felt like a lifetime, Alex still couldn't sleep.

   'Not this again,' he thought. He sat up in bed and checked the clock near the mattress, seeing that it was nearly one in the morning.

   He sighed to himself, turning on his lamp. With much inner debate, he finally decided that it wouldn't hurt to check a phone book. He quietly moved to the kitchen, pulling the thick book out of a drawer. Sitting down at the kitchen table, he flipped through the pages.

   "Reed," he said to himself, looking through the large book. He found the R's. Then he found the Re's. Nowhere in the book was an Ellen Reed listed. Slightly disappointed, Alex stood up from the chair, walking back to his bedroom. He sat on the bed and stared at the ceiling, upset that he hadn't found anything.

   'What was I expecting? It's been years. She's probably some famous dancer by now,' he thought.

   It wasn't until months later, when Mallory stormed into the living room, seeing Alex sitting on the couch with the newspaper.

   "Alex!" She exclaimed.

   "Mallory!" He mocked. She rolled her eyes, but nevertheless, gave him the information she withheld.

   "There's a phone call for you," she said. Alex gave a confused look, as he was not expecting a call.

   "Who is it?" He asked, standing up.

   "Just go answer it," she replied. He walked into the kitchen and grabbed the phone.

   "Alex P Keaton," he greeted in a professional manner incase it was a business call.

   "Hi Alex," a quiet but familiar voice said across the phone. Alex recognized the voice, but a part of him doubted that it was her.

   "Ellen?" He asked.

   "Yeah," she answered. "It's me."

   "Wow. How are you?" Alex asked, leaning onto the wall and moving the phone cord in between his fingers.

   "I'm good. I have a question for you," she said.

   "Let's hear it," he replied.

   "I'm gonna be in town in a few weeks. I was wondering if you maybe wanted to meet up," Ellen said. Alex smiled.

   "That sounds great," he said.

   "Perfect," she replied.

   The two met up at the old restaurant where they would go on dates. The last time Alex had gone to the restaurant, it had been right after Ellen left. He had gone on a date, attempting to make the other girl look like Ellen.

   "It's great to be back," she said with a smile, looking around. She spotted Alex sitting at a table, and sat in front of him. He smiled widely.

   "Hi," he said.

   "Hi," she replied. After a brief moment of silence where they both looked at each other in shock. This was the real thing. The two got to talking, and found out that the last few years had been good to both of them.

   "I always knew you'd make it," Alex said, smiling widely when he found out that Ellen had toured with a famous ballet company.

   "And I always knew you belonged in the big business world," she replied, referring to the wacky tales he told her of his various jobs.

After they caused some confusion for the owner of the business, seeing his old customers sitting in the same seats as they used to, there once again, the two stood up from their seats.

"I know that it's getting late but umm... my family would really like to see you if you don't have anywhere to be," he said nervously. Ellen gave him a smile.

"Sounds great," she replied. When Alex walked into his living room, he saw his family sitting in various chairs and on the couch. They all looked up to see the oldest Keaton standing in the doorway.

"How'd it go?" They asked.

"It was fine," Alex said, stepping aside. Ellen walked in and the family sat shocked.

"Ellen!" Jennifer yelled. She ran up and hugged the girl. Ellen laughed.

"Jenn, you're so grown up now!" She said, looking at the girls now curled hair.

"Hi Ellen," Mallory said with a wide smile. She walked over and hugged her.

"Hey Mall," she replied. She walked forward and hugged Elyse.

"You look beautiful Ellen," Elyse said. Ellen smiled widely.

"I missed you guys," she said. She hugged Steven, telling him that she had watched one of his newer documentaries recently. She then saw Andy sitting on the couch. She kneeled beside him. "You must be Andy."

"Yes I am," he replied confidently, and she noticed the monogrammed sweater vest he wore, just like Alex.

"You know, I remember when you were really little," she said.

   "I'm sorry I don't remember you," Andy said, and Ellen gave a soft laugh. She smiled.

   "Well now you do," she said, standing up. She the. Turned around to face the rest of the kind family. "Well I should be going. It was great seeing you all again."

   "Will we get to see you before you leave?" Jennifer asked. Ellen nodded.

   "I'll be here for a little while," she replied.

   "I'll walk you out," Alex said. Ellen waved to the group and the two walked outside. "It was great seeing you."

   "I'm glad I came," she said. "Your family's just how I remember them, and Andy's so grown up now. He's you."

   "Yeah, he is," Alex said. Ellen looked down, before stepping towards him.

"Thank you," she said, kissing his cheek. "For everything."