Keep It In The Family – Episode 38

“I’m going to try to explain, though every time I’ve rehearsed it in my head it’s sounded ridiculous,” Rob told Alice. “When I came back from overseas, I wanted to settle down. I’d seen so many find happiness with a partner, get married, have kids, and it made me so envious. Moving around as much as I did, I never felt I had a real home, and I wanted one.“And then I met you.”He sat even further forward, elbows on knees, hands clasped under his chin, staring at her as if willing her to understand something that he barely understood himself. Alice found she was holding her breath and made herself let it out slowly.“You were everything I’d dreamed of. Honestly. It sounds melodramatic, but if I’d written a detailed description of the woman I wanted to marry, you were it.”Alice had been determined not to interrupt his ten minutes but she couldn’t help it.“So what happened? I don’t understand.”He shook his head.“Me neither, not really. The best I can come up with is that you were the first woman I met after I came back home. And you were perfect. But I was worried that I just wanted you to be perfect because I wanted to find someone. It was as if I couldn’t trust my instincts because they’d never been tested. Does that make any sense?”And oddly enough, it did. Alice remembered a conversation she’d had with Rosie, about Adam, and how right he was for the business if only he would follow his instinct and believe what others already knew about him.She felt the guard she had put up around her heart wilting a little.“Your ten minutes are up,” she said.He looked stricken and stood up.“Oh, well. I’d better go, then.”She held up her hand.“But I’m prepared to give you a little more time. Do you fancy a coffee? And we can talk about this some more.”He was grinning like a schoolboy as he sank back into the sofa.“Coffee would be great, thanks.”The spell in the kitchen gave her a moment to examine her feelings.Her heart was pounding, her blood fizzing. She was beyond happy to see him. So much for putting him out of her mind! But when she carried the tray back in, she was a vision of composure.He jumped to his feet again.“Here, let me take that.”By the time he left three hours later having watched the movie with her and passed her tissues at the weepy bits they had come to something of an understanding.“So we’re not just picking up where we left off,” she told him sternly. “We’re starting over and we’ll see how things go, OK?”“OK,” he agreed cheerfully. “First things first, then . . . Would you have dinner with me on Saturday night? I know a nice little Italian restaurant.”She raised an eyebrow and he laughed.“Another nice little Italian restaurant. I don’t think I dare go back to that one where all the waiters saw you wipe the floor with me. At least not until we’re married.”She wagged a warning finger at him.“Now let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I don’t want you going into a tailspin again.”He moved closer to her and stroked her cheek with a finger.“That’s not going to happen. I missed you, Alice, and I want to be with you. I’m not going to risk losing you again.”She opened the door and as he passed he dropped a tender kiss on her lips.“Goodnight, Alice. I’m sorry I hurt you and I’ll do my best to make it up to you if it takes me the rest of my life.”As she closed the door behind him she was smiling.


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