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The Fall

Guest Miranda

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Story Title: The Fall

Story description: Thoughtful.

Type of story: Oneshot.

Main Characters: Roman Harris, Irene Roberts, Rachel Armstrong.

BTTB rating: G

Does story include spoilers: No

Is story being proof read: No

Any warnings: None.

Summary: Roman has a secret admirer.

She tried not to let him see that she was always looking at him, always watching him. The muscles in his arms flexed as he cleaned the tables, tanned and efficient, every little bit of food removed until the surfaces gleamed.

They had got off to a bad start. He just wasn’t good enough to replace his predecessor- so many secrets, a mysterious past, a big No Entry sign hid his previous life before Summer Bay.

But despite all the things she didn’t like about him, she knew she was just making excuses to herself. However reluctant she was, however much she denied it and ignored it, she wanted him.

He’s half my age, she told herself a hundred times a day. Well, not actually half, but at least twenty years younger. Why would he be interested in an old bat like me? she thought another hundred times a day. So many pretty young girls in the bay, without wrinkles, crows feet, bags under their eyes. There was absolutely no point falling for him.

Suddenly, he looked round and she almost gave herself whiplash by turning her head away so sharply.

I’m in the autumn of my life, there is no denying it, she thought miserably. She heard someone at the door of the diner and prepared a welcoming smile.

It was Rachel, with a rounded five months pregnant bump.

‘Hi darl! Look at you! Blooming.’

‘I’ve got the scan pictures!’ Rachel was bubbling with excitement.

‘Aw...’ said Irene, looking at the little creature in the pictures. She remembered her first pregnancy: she had been so happy for those months, until her problems had started again. But she pushed those thoughts away firmly. ‘What can I get you, love?’

‘Er- a smoothie please. Strawberry.’

‘Can I have a look?’ asked Roman, coming over to the table. Irene sped away to get the smoothie, but she couldn’t resist sneaking a look at him scrutinising the scan pictures.

‘Its a miracle, isn’t it?’ he was saying, turning the pictures this way and that. ‘Hugh’s so lucky to have you and a baby on the way.’

His words were like a knife in Irene’s heart, underlining how old and past it she was. She must face it: no more boyfriends in her life, just a slow slide into a lonely retirement.

She got on with loading the dishwasher, washing up the big saucepans and trays.

‘Are you alright?’

She jumped and turned to see Roman staring at her.

‘Fine,’ she snapped, turning back to the washing up.

‘You rushed out so quickly. Rachel’s still waiting for her smoothie.’

‘Oh, Lord. I forgot!’ She hastened to the blender and hurriedly poured out a glassful of the delicious strawberry mixture, spilling some in the rush. She went to take the cup out to Rachel, but Roman was in her way.

‘It alright, calm down. I’ll take it,’ he said placidly.

‘I am calm, you big lump of meat! Just go, I’ve got heaps to do!’ She got away from him as fast as she could.

He was back in minutes, unfortunately.

‘Getting busy out there,’ he observed, gathering the ingredients for omelettes.

‘Oh never mind, I’m sure Mr Superhero can handle it.’ Irene never meant to be so nasty, but somehow he just always provoked her.

‘Yes, just call me Omelette Man. The kitchen is my secret headquarters.’

She laughed sneeringly. ‘Don’t worry, you’ll soon be out front again with all your admirers.’

‘Admirers? They're all teenagers. Bit young for me. ’

She watched his back as he calmly got on with the omelettes. Broad and reliable.

‘I’ve seen a lot in my life. I like women who’ve done the same.’

He glanced over his shoulder at her, and she was still watching him. She looked away shyly, and so did he.


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