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The Night After

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   Alex P Keaton walked into the kitchen through the back door of his house, quickly closing it behind him. He anxiously opened a closed his fist loosely, fiddling with his fingers.

   "Hi Alex, how was your date?" His mother, Elyse asked as she worked on cooking dinner.

   "Fine," he said quickly, trying to walk out of the kitchen.

"How's Ellen?" Steven asked, oblivious to his son's rushed behavior.

"Good," Alex replied, leaving the room. He ran up the stairs and into his bedroom, closing the door. Sitting on his bed, he grabbed a pillow. He laid back onto the headboard of the bed. He rubbed his temple with his right hand, willing himself to not show any emotion. "Damnit."

"Alex, dinners ready!" Jennifer exclaimed, knocking on his door.

"Okay!" He called back, unmoving. He heard Jenn's footsteps, and he knew she had gone downstairs.

"Alex!" Steven exclaimed.

"I'm not hungry!" He called back. The family automatically assumed that he was working on homework, and decided to leave him alone. He had done this plenty of times before. Nothing out of the ordinary.

When Alex still hadn't come out of his bedroom after two more hours, they began to worry.

"I'll go check on him," Mallory said, standing up from the couch and heading towards her brother's bedroom. She knocked on the door, waiting impatiently for an answer.

"Yeah?" A forced voice said from the other end of the door. Mallory opened the door slightly, looking inside. She opened it wider and walked in, seeing her brother sitting on his bed.

"Alex?"

"Ellen broke up with me," he said, staring at a spot on the wall. His sister's face fell as she comprehended what he had just said. She shut the door, walking over to his bed. She sat down, facing her brother.

"Oh, Alex," she said quietly, noticing him closing his eyes tightly.

"She got a scholarship in Paris. She left today," he said, not opening his eyes. Mallory sighed.

"I'm so sorry," she said sympathetically. She briefly reached her hand out, before pulling it back, not knowing if he was in the mood for a physical response. "Why didn't you tell us?"

"I don't know. I guess I didn't want to think about it," he said, thinking about the reasons he hadn't brought it up. This was Alex. He couldn't show that he had underlying feelings. Because the moment he did, he wouldn't know when he could stop.

"I'm so sorry," she repeated.

"It's okay," he said, his voice sounding strained. "It's what she wanted. It's a dance scholarship, so she'll be doing what she loves."

"Do you want to talk about it?" She asked. He shook his head, giving her an answer. She stood up, assuming he wanted to be alone. They separated and he stood up, beginning to pace around the bedroom. Mallory watched as he anxiously moved.

"I can't believe this is happening," he said, running his hand through his hair.

"You can't stop this. It's what she wants to do," she said, getting straight to the point he would rather not think about. Her eyes followed him as he walked around the room, picking up random objects and putting them back down as if they each held significance to the problem at hand.

"What does Paris have that I don't?" He asked, in denial. Mallory set her head in her hand.

"It's a great opportunity. She has to take it," she replied. She stood up, assuming he wanted a moment to think. Taking two steps, she heard his breathing become shaky. She turned around and sat against the headboard. "Alex?"

"She left me," he said, and it was the final straw. He sat down next to her, breaking down. He began to sob and she pulled him into her arms. She shushed him, hugging him as tightly as she possibly could.

"It's okay," she said. She held him out at an arms length, wiping his tears with her thumbs. "It's okay."

"What am I going to do without her?" He asked, stray hiccups forcing its way out of his system. Mallory tilted her head.

"You'll learn," she replied. "Do you remember when Jeff and I broke up? You left your interview just to go talk to me and calm me down. I'm going to help you through this, and so is the rest of our family. Just like that."

Alex nodded, and she smiled.

"Do you want me to fill everyone in on what's happening?" She asked.

"No, it's okay. I'll tell them tomorrow. I should get some rest now," Alex said. Mallory looked at the clock, understanding.

"Okay. Call me in if you need anything," she said. He smiled at her and she stood up, leaving the room and walking towards her bedroom.

Alex couldn't sleep. How could he? The love of his life had just left... for good. He looked at the time, seeing that it was three in the morning. He sat up, leaning forwards on his elbows. There was no use in continuing to fall asleep. He then heard the youngest Keaton boy begin to cry. He tossed the blanket off his body, setting his feet on the floor. He walked into Andy's nursery, picking the crying boy up and holding him in his arms.

"Hey, buddy," he said quietly, the baby setting his head against his shoulder. Alex walked around the room, attempting to put Andy back to sleep. "There ya go. I guess we have the same sleep schedule."

Andy let out a small noise, and Alex lightly tapped his back, rubbing circles.

"There," Alex said, setting the boy back in his crib. He leaned down to kiss his head, smiling at his brother. He quietly walked back to his room, shutting the door. Eventually, he heard the door squeak. He looked over to see Mallory holding a tub of ice cream and two spoons.

"I heard you talking to Andy. Thought you could use some company," she said. He smiled at his little sister as she sat in the bed, holding out a spoon for him to take. He gratefully pulled it from her hand as she opened the tub.

"Thanks, Mal," he said.

"Anytime."