(pre-show, but written post season 4 finale viewing)
He had always been there. As far back as Alex could remember, Richard had always been there. Unchanging, constant, she liked that about him. When she had been a child, she had regarded him with awe. Her father was the most important man on the island besides Jacob but Richard was important too.
Sometimes when Dad and Richard had one of their intense conversations, she'd seen Dad defer to Richard. Something he never did to anyone else, ever. Richard was the one to teach her how to walk barefoot through the jungle without leaving a trail. Watching him glide through the greenery without getting a mark on him or leaving a sign he had ever been there made her breath come a little bit faster.
When she became a teenager, the awe was still there but so was something new. Interest. Dad liked to talk at her about purpose and reason and destiny. All Alex knew was that she didn't like doing fight training with Tom, he was mean. Lots of Dad's people were plain mean. Colleen, Sabine and Harper would glare at her like they wanted to eat her sometimes. Richard wasn't mean and didn't glare. The problem was he wasn't around a lot of the time.
He spent swathes of time off-island. Dad didn't like having the off-island places talked about. He said it was bad and full of stupid people. Even the people on the island who'd been born off-island didn't talk about it. At least not in front of her.
All she knew of off-island was from the things Richard brought her back. Books and sometimes magazines. She liked the books but she couldn't understand the magazines. She knew what the words meant, they just made no sense to her. One time he brought her back a magazine called French Vogue. She couldn't read it as it was all in French. But the pictures were nice to look at. She stared at the type, trying to puzzle out the meaning. When Dad saw the magazine he got an angry look on his face. She saw him later talking to Richard, who looked pleased. That was the first time she wondered if Richard even liked her father.
Her conflict with her father got really bad at one point, so one day Dad took her on a trek across the island and showed her a wrecked, rusty old van that had bones inside. She knew who those bones were, she'd heard the stories for years. Finally seeing what was left of her grandfather was nasty but what scared her was the look on her father's face. Then he ordered her to trek back across the island with him and then he took her to the pit. Everyone knew about the pit. No-one went there but everyone knew about it. He spent a long time staring down at the skeletons, gloating.
"It wasn't just me you know." He said "Richard was there too. You don't know him at all Alex."
Her father then stood there looking smugly at her. It was then Alex knew she hated him. They went back home after that. When next she saw Richard, she couldn't suppress a frisson of fear. Ben was satisfied. Alex hated him even more and then came they day when she saw Karl looking at her with interest. Karl was nice. She wondered what Ben would make of Karl but decided she didn't care. He'd broken her childish crush on Richard on purpose. She'd show him. See what he made of her and Karl.
Karl was safe and obtainable. He made her happy. One day when she and Karl were hanging out she saw Richard looking at them in pity. She brushed aside the instinctual fear and smiled at Karl. She just knew they'd be so happy together.