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Remembrance of Time

Guest TelephotoMarigold

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Story Title: Remembrance of Time

Type of story: Long Fic

Main Characters: Roman and Ella, Geoff and Nicole Aden and Belle, Martha, (Brett, Amy-Belle Angel, Georgie Sophie Megan, Tyler, Robbie) (& Sam :P )

BTTB rating: A

Genre: Drama, Romance

Does story include spoilers: No

Any warnings: Sexual Content violence, language

Summary: This story is set five years after the end of The Darkness - Roman and Ella are separated in the process of divorce. What happened? And can they find their way back?

For Louise - Happy Birthday :lol: ,

Chapter One

Roman Harris tried to drive his car despite the fact he was in the process of getting drunk. Realising it was so not a good idea about two seconds after he got behind the wheel of his car he pulled over to the side of the road and got out walking the rest of the way and finishing the bottle. It was Southern Comfort. Something he didn’t normally drink and was vile. Well compared to his normal drink of straight whisky. He knew he was drinking too much, in fact he hadn’t gone to work in days, hadn’t eaten, hadn’t done anything except drink.

He walked for an hour never realising just how far away the house was from his new place. Hell, he hadn’t even bothered to unpack, convinced that she wouldn’t let things end like this.

End? Who the hell wanted things to end. He didn’t. He certainly didn’t. She was his wife and he was going to prove it to her. He groaned. They had been to hell and back twice but always fought to be together. They had grown closer since. He stopped his train of thought he couldn’t go there. He’d failed her.

But they were one. They were soul mates. Soul mates did not get a divorce.

He banged on the door unaware it was now 2am in the morning. The security lights came on and eventually the door opened.

“Oh my God” she groaned. “I might have known it was you.” She hissed at him folding her arms across herself. His glance went down to her breasts and he looked at the lace night-gown covering them. His body leaped in urgent arousal. See, he told himself, if they were really getting divorced then he would be in a place where he didn’t want her, his drunken mind reasoned.

“Yes it’s me.” He said quickly.

“Go home.” She muttered.

“I am home.” He said, unaware of just how loudly he was actually talking.

She shook her head.

“Keep your voice down.” She told him in a fierce whisper. “If you wake the kids I will hit you. They do not want to see you in this state again. I swear Roman Harris this is the last time I will get a Restraining Order against you.”

He groaned and from out of nowhere he found himself pushing her against the wall behind her. His hands holding her against her will, one leg forcing hers open. He heard her cry out but the sound came from a long way away. His hands were everywhere and he didn’t notice when the strap of her nightdress ripped. He yanked at the material in an effort to look and touch her beautiful breasts. He moaned low in his throat, his lips on her with a bruising force.

He stopped.

He looked at what he’d done. She was trembling, her hair falling out of the band she’d put it in. Already bruises were appearing on her wrists where he’d forced her hands against the wall. Her lips were swollen and tears were falling from her eyes. He looked down and saw she was trying to cover herself up. He noticed marks on her thighs before she dragged the nightdress down.

Filled with self-disgust at what he’d tried to do he turned and went outside. He bent low and retched. His body shaking he threw up.

He jumped when he felt her hand on his back.

She handed him a bottle of water and he took a grateful drink.

“Ella.” He began.

“sh its ok.” she said rubbing his back.

He turned his head and looked at her, she had pulled on one of his jumpers over the nightdress. Folding up the sleeves so it didn’t dwarf her.

“No its not.” He said and turning he threw up again.

“Come on Roman you’re making yourself worse. Stand up.” She instructed.

He did so reluctantly taking a long drink of the water.

She led him into the house and onto the sofa. He lay back feeling like death. How could he have done that to her. Been no better than an animal. She came back a moment later with a cold flannel and wiped his face. He was shivering with shock but he didn’t care.

He caught her hand.

“Are you ok?” he asked realising his lips were trembling.

“Roman shush.” She said. She pulled his hand and led him upstairs to their bedroom and into the ensuite. “Take your clothes off you are going into shock and you need to get warm.”

“Don’t matter are you ok?” he said quickly.

“Yes I’m ok.” she answered.

She leaned up and kissed him passionately.

“See. “ she said softly. “Now strip”

He stripped off. She had to help him with the fastening of his jeans because his hands were shaking.

He stopped her from removing his boxers. And walking into the shower still wearing them.

“I’ve seen you naked before you know. “ she grinned.

“No.” he said. “I just attacked…..” he stopped “I’m an animal.” He groaned turning away from her.

She pulled off the jumper and night –dress and climbed in the shower with him. She put her arms around his waist and leant her head against his back.

“Roman Harris. You are not. You stopped and look at you terrified to touch me now. You are in shock and that tells me you aren’t an animal because an animal wouldn’t have cared about me, wouldn’t have been so affected and wouldn’t have stopped.”

Roman sighed.

“But I still hurt you.” He said. “I still forced myself on you.”

She laughed.

“Because you were angry, and upset and had been drinking, from the looks of you I would guess you haven’t stopped drinking since I kicked you out. And on top of that I threatened you with a restringing order.” She took a breath. “Roman stop beating yourself up. It happened. Its over.”

He moaned.

“I can’t I hurt you I put my hands on you and I would have forced you.”

She giggled.

“Ella.” He said.

“Well” she muttered. “Might not have been much force involved after another few minutes,” she confessed.

He sighed.

“I still hurt you. I still used force to get what I wanted.”

“Yes you did, you caveman and then you threw up. Now since I’ve known you I have never known you to throw up from drinking. Of course then there was the bit where you went into shock. Now I have to say you are the first man to kiss me who has needed medical treatment.”

She stepped out of the shower and pulled on her bathrobe and wrapped a towel around her wet hair. She turned off the shower and handed him a large towel. He dried himself quickly and stripped off the wet boxers casting a shy glance at her. She went into the bedroom and found his bathrobe and brought it to him.

“Thank you” he said softly.

“We need to talk Roman. You can’t keep doing this you have to accept that I want a divorce.” She told him.

He walked into the bedroom and was going to sit on the bed when he changed his mind and went down the stairs to sit back on the sofa. She followed.

“Ella I can’t give you up.” He said. “It really is that simple. We have been through too much together and you are my soul mate.” He added softly.

She stood up and began pacing.

Finally she turned to him.

“Maybe you should have remembered that before I found you in bed with Martha.” She muttered.

He looked down at the floor.

“I don’t remember how that happened.” He said.

“Stop it. I’m tired of you lying to me. Just admit you were sleeping with her and we can move on.” She sighed and turning went into the kitchen and began making a coffee.

His cat came up to him and he stroked him for a moment before going into the kitchen. Ella looked up at him and turned away. She didn’t see the cupboard door was still open and walked straight into it. The sound of the impact took him by surprise and he watched in horror and she sank to the floor. He caught her before she collapsed completely and looked at the cut and spreading bruise on her head.

She was unconscious in his arms and he picked her up and lay her on the sofa.

Running up the sitars he grabbed his phone from his jeans pocket and dialled.

Aden came over inside the twenty minutes he said it would take him and walked straight in. He took in the fact they were both wearing bathrobes and put two and two together. He smirked for a brief time before bending down checking on Ella. Pulse and breathing was ok. He opened her eyes and shined a miniature flashlight in them, noting that the pupils were responsive to light.

“I need to get her to hospital.” Aden said to him. “I need you to come with me. I can’t drive and take her at the same time.

Roman nodded.

“I phoned Nic after you and she’s coming over just in case.” Roman said his voice shaken.

“Why don’t you go get dressed?” Aden suggested. “And pack a bag for Ella.”

Roman nodded slowly walking up the stairs. How could he say to Aden he wasn’t sure that he had any clothes still here. He opened his wardrobe and they were still there hanging up and he grinned taking that as a good sign. He dressed quickly grabbing his wallet and keys form his other jeans stuffing the clothes quickly in the laundry basket. He found a holdall and yanked some of her clothes into it before running back downstairs.

He found Nic just arriving and he smiled at her. He was thankful that they hadn’t got around to telling anyone about the split it saved awkward questions. Aden drove them to hospital and Ella was wheeled away on a trolley for a CT scan. She was admitted and placed in a room.

“Aden.” Roman said when the other man was finally able to come and see him.

“She hasn’t woken up. The CT scan showed there was no bleeding so its just a case of waiting until she wakes up.” Aden said softly. “And the baby is fine.”

Roman looked at him.

“Baby?” he said.

Aden grinned.

“She hadn’t told you?” he said. “Oops.”

“Wait” Roman began. “How far along is she?” he asked.

“She is 10 weeks. She had her first scan.” He paused and opened the folder he had in front of him. “On July 11th” he said.

Roman nodded slowly.

She had rushed home to tell him and then found him in bed with Martha and he still couldn’t remember how it happened. Too much of a coincidence, though.

“Aden I need a favour.” Roman began. “Can you find out if Martha was in the hospital on the day Ella had her scan. I don’t want the details just if she had an appointment.”

“Roman I can’t. If she was here, it’s a matter of doctor patient confidentiality. I can’t break it.” Aden groaned.

In a calm tone of voice Roman turned round to his son and told Aden everything.

Aden listened and then nodded. He stood and walked over to the nurses station and pulled up her records. A quick check revealed no appointments listed but then he looked and repeat prescription for the anti-anxiety medication Martha was on was filled on July 11th.

He looked at Roman and nodded before closing down the records and going back over to him.

“How does it help though Roman? You were still in bed with her.” Aden said.

“I don’t know but it gives me something to work on. I actually thought I loved that woman at one stage, how bizarre is that?” he muttered.

They both looked up as they heard a low moan coming form the room Ella was in. Roman went in the room first and looked at her as she slowly woke up.

“Hey.” He said softly.

“Hey” she said. “Feel sick.”

Roman took the glass from her bedside cabinet and allowed her a few sips of water.

“What happened? Why aren’t you wearing your uniform?” she asked.

Roman shot a look at Aden.

“Ella what day is it?” he asked her.

She looked at him.

“Its…” she began. “I don’t know.” She murmured,

“You got a knock on the head and you are still woozy from, its ok.” Aden told her trying to stem her panic. “What is the last thing you remember?” he asked.

She grinned and looked at Roman.

“You told me you were going to Afghanistan. You were picked up I remember. Did they change their minds?” she asked.

“Ella.“ Roman said softly.

He looked at Aden in horror.

“I bet they did. Anyway, I know I should have told you before you left and I know you’ll hate me for this but I’m pregnant.“ she announced. “I know what Rachel said and I didn’t plan it but I’m happy.” She smiled at him.

Roman smiled at her and looked across at Aden again.

“That’s probably why I gave you a hard time about going. Did you go or are you one leave?” she said and then looked at them. “Why am I the only one talking?” she asked.

Roman smiled at her.

“Probably because we can’t get a word in.” he said. “And you know I can’t tell you anything.”

“Right you need to rest and I have to get your husband to fill out some boring paperwork. We’ll be back soon.” Aden told her.

He led a shaken Roman out and down the corridor.

“She can’t remember the last 7 years?” Roman asked. “She can’t remember the children?”

Aden nodded.

“She can’t remember Gardy either.”

Roman looked at him.

“No. And what do we tell her when she looks into a mirror and sees the scars he left on her body?” he muttered.

“Roman sit down and take a minute ok. I need to call the consultant.” Aden told him.

He walked over to a chair and sank into it.

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Chapter 2

“So let me get this straight. You were caught in bed with Martha but you don’t know how it happened. Ella kicked you out and wants a divorce. You went round to talk to her at 2am in the morning and she ended up in hospital with amnesia after hitting her head accidentally.” Nic said to him.

Roman nodded.

“Aden said she had other bruises on her.” Nic added.

Roman looked away too ashamed of his own behaviour to even try and defend what had happened.

“And I can’t go and see her because she expects me to be pregnant with Angel.” Nic added finally.

She folded her arms across her chest and looked out the back at the children playing in the garden.

“Nic.” Geoff said softly. “This isn’t about Roman this is about Ella.” He reminded her.

Nic looked at him and sighed.

“Have they determined whether the amnesia is Post Traumatic or Dissociative?” Geoff asked him.

“The consultant is there now and doing some tests. Her earliest memory is of me leaving for Afghanistan.” Roman told him, once more impressed by Geoff. The other man had continued his studies over the years and was now a qualified therapist along with Pastor of the church.

Nic smoothed down the folds of her dress and came and sat next to Geoff putting her hand in his. She smiled at him and they shared a look.

“Dad,” Nic said bringing his attention back to them.

Roman looked up.

“Why would Martha do that?” She asked him.

“I don’t know Nic. I’ve had nothing to do with her since that scene in the Diner with Ella years ago. I think she lost a lot of friends over that.” He said, knowing that Leah hadn’t spoken to her since.

“So it would be revenge.” Nic said.

Roman looked over at her.

“It could well be.” He conceded.

“Why would she focus on you as the object of her obsession?” Geoff asked.

“Because I loved her. I was there for her when Jack died and when she went through in-vitro.” Roman rubbed his hand over his face.

“But that was like ages ago.” Nic protested. “Surely she wouldn’t be that mental now would she?”

Roman shrugged.

“I don’t know Nicole. I just know that the thought of sleeping with any other woman except Ella turns me off so I know I wouldn’t have been in bed with her for sex.” He said bluntly, feeling anger go through him.

Nic laughed.

“So if we were to show you pictures of naked women you wouldn’t react!” she said scathingly.

Roman pinned her with his intense blue gaze.

“Of course I would react, I’m married not dead Nicole. But I’m telling you I only want to be with El I only want to make love to her.” he said to her.

“I think you are overlooking something with regards to Martha. Aside form Jack, she has only had relationships with people who have let her down. Now she’s been through a lot with the problems with her son and trying again with in-vitro. It is obvious that her obsession with you is more about reliving a time in her life when everything was simple.” Geoff paused and looked at Nic. He’d had a hard time not chuckling at Roman’s married not dead remark and quite frankly he didn’t want to sleep on the sofa anytime soon.

“And in you she had someone she could depend on. In her eyes you were in love with her during your relationship with Charlie so why not now?” Geoff added.

Roman looked at him for a moment.

“Ok, so I apparently love Martha, and instead of going after her when she is single I marry El and I have five kids with her.” Roman muttered. “The woman obviously doesn’t get the hint.”

Nic looked at him.

“Five kids?” she said picking up on that bit. “I presume you are talking about Mike.”

Roman nodded quickly, forgetting for a moment that he hadn’t wanted to reveal that Ella was pregnant again.

Geoff picked up on the tension and stood walking over to the window to look out at the children.

“So what is the difference between them?” Nic asked.

Geoff looked at her.

“Well Traumatic amnesia is as a result of head injury.” He began to explain.

“They did a Cat scan and found no bleeding.” Roman put in.

Geoff nodded.

“Could still be some residual swelling as a result of the head injury.” He said to him. “But I would put my money on the Dissociative Amnesia.” He said. “It ties in with the period of memory loss.”

Roman nodded.

“S’cuse me.” Nic said.

Geoff looked at her.

“Well Dissociative Amnesia covers repressed memory.” He said to her. “And Ella can’t remember anything beyond Roman leaving for Afghanistan.”

Nic stood up.

“Gardy.” She said.

Geoff nodded.

She looked at her Dad.

“So she won’t know he’s dead and cant hurt us anymore.” She said to him.

Roman found himself absentmindedly touching the scar from his gunshot wound that he had received the night they had finally got rid of Gardy.

“Can’t he Nic?” Roman asked softly. “He is always with us.”

Roman looked down.

“Dad?” Nic questioned softly.

He looked up at her and she almost flinched at the raw pain in his expression.

“I know you’ve been through some bad stuff Nic and it makes me appreciate how strong my lovely daughter is but you have no idea of how much pain Ella has gone through. Even now sometimes I catch a haunted look in her eyes.” He said to her. “And what did I do? I went round there, drunk out of my mind, and tried to do what Gardy did. And when I looked at her and realised what I was doing I threw up. I was sick to my stomach.” He paused taking a deep breath. “No I didn’t hit her or cause the injury but I may as well be responsible.”

Nic blinked back tears.

“Ok Dad can you say that again I stopped listening after you called me lovely.” She said.

He gave a startled bark of laughter.

She went over to him and put her arms around him.

“The difference is Dad, you did that out of passion and when you knew what you were doing you stopped. He did that out of hate and his pathetic need for control. You have to know he wouldn’t have stopped there don’t you?” she said softly. “Geoff and I have talked about this. I have a very wise husband you know, and we worked out that if you hadn’t have got Ella back Gardy would have killed her because she would have fought him too much.”

Roman nodded.

“I know, but Nic, I’m sorry it doesn’t excuse trying to use force to get Ella to ..” he trailed off when his phone rang. A quick look at the caller display revealed that Aden was calling so he stood up and walked a little way off and answered it.

He turned back to them when the call finished.

“I have to go back to the hospital.” He said.

Nic went over to him and put her arms around him.

“The kids will be fine here.” She told him before he could ask.

He nodded.

“How did I get a lovely daughter like you?” he murmured.

She chuckled.

“You were just lucky. Now go make sure my mum is ok.” she told him. She walked him out through the front door and saw Geoff waiting for her, his arms open. She ran to him and felt his strong arms around her. She sighed and pressed herself against him.

“And I got lucky when I found you.” She told Geoff and heard him chuckle.

“Play your cards right Princess and you’ll get very lucky tonight.” He whispered to her.

She looked up at him and grinned.

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Chapter 3

He sat by her bed and waited as Aden and the consultant walked back in.

“Ok Elizabeth.” The consultant began.

She looked at him.

“Sorry. My name is Ella.” She interrupted not seeing Roman flinch.

The consultant looked up.

“Ella.” He said softly.

She nodded as though congratulating him on catching on so quickly and Roman and Aden had to hide the fact they were grinning.

“Ok, you got a bad knock to the head and unfortunately it’s resulted in some memory loss.” He confirmed.

She nodded.

“How much is missing?” she asked him.

He paused and looked at her as though he was taken aback by her calmness.

“A period of 7 years to be exact.” He said.

She nodded and took hold of Roman’s hand. He smiled encouragingly at her.

“Are we still married?” she asked.

He grinned.

“Yes we are.” He said softly, looking into her eyes.

They heard the consultant cough and turned to look at him.

“Now we are going to release you. But and I can’t stress this enough we need you to focus on your memory and not have other people fill in the blanks for you.”

She grinned before sitting up straighter in the bed.

“Fine.” She said.

Roman recognised the tone of voice and sat back in the chair waiting for the next bit.

“So is this temporary or long term.”

“We believe it is temporary.” He told her.

“So the CAT scan was clear for signs of trauma and you believe this is Dissociative.”

She told him.

He flinched and looked at Aden who was grinning.

“Dr. Jefferies a word if you please.”

“Excuse me.” Ella began. “But I believe that you haven’t given me an answer yet.”

He turned and met her gaze unflinchingly.

“I have reviewed your Cat scan and can find no medical cause for the amnesia.” He finally said.

“Thank you.” She said softly. “Now when can I go home?”

“In a little while.” He confirmed and walked out of the room without saying anything further.

“Ok how did you know that?” Roman asked her.

She shrugged.

“Like I’m going to remember.” she grinned.

“Uh huh.” He said smiling at her and knew that in normal circumstances he probably would have told her he loved her after that.

She looked at him.

“Are you going to tell me about the children or should I just guess?” she asked.

He did a double take.

“Children?” he asked.

“I have a caesarean scar amongst others.” She said simply. “Or is that what I am blocking out?”

He looked down.

“I don’t know if I can tell you.”

She grinned.

“Fine, lend me your wallet.” She instructed.

He reached into his back pocket.

“I may not carry pictures around with me you know.”

“I’m a photographer. If there aren’t hundreds of photos of our kids around then I’m a very poor photographer.”

He chuckled.

“I need to know.” She told him softly. “If I’m going to see them soon I don’t want to upset them by not remembering.”

“How do you know we have more than one?” he asked.

She smiled.

“Because I suggested Children and you didn’t deny it.”

He laughed.

Moving closed he passed over his wallet.

“Twins Sophie and Georgie aged 7, Megan aged 6 and Samuel aged 4.” He said to her.

“Meggy not Megan.” She told him. “And Sam.”

He tried not to grin at the snippet of memory she had just revealed but something must have shown on his face because she looked at him and smiled.

“I remembered?” she asked her face shining with happiness.

He couldn’t help but nod.

She pressed her hand to her belly.

“I’m pregnant too aren’t I?” she grinned even wider.

He nodded again, not trusting his voice.

“Why the big gap?” she asked. “Did we decide not to have any more children?” she asked.

“El.” He said.

“And why do you keep calling me El?” she said. “Is it something to do with why I’m not remembering stuff? Because when I correct people and tell them to call me Ella you act all strange.”

He laughed.

She looked at him suddenly.

“Oh my God, Mike must be grown up.” She said. “What does he do? Where is he?”

He chuckled.

“He’s at university.” He told her.

She nodded.

Aden walked back into the room and glared at her his arms folded across his chest.

She looked at him.

“Sorry.” She said with a chuckle.

“Very sincere.” Aden muttered.

“I’m very sorry.” She tried again but spoiled it with another laugh.

“At what time did you decide to make him look like an idiot?” Aden asked unable to stop his smirk.

“About the time he called me Elizabeth. He should have at least asked you what I prefer to be called. I mean the Elizabeth part may be why I’m suffering amnesia.”

“About that.” Roman began interrupting. ”I’ve been calling you El for a long time.” Which was true, he rationalised. “So everyone has copied me.” He added. Almost true he told himself.

“Ok but I prefer Ella.” She said and saw Aden wince. “Ok you are acting weird every time I say Ella.” She said and watched as both of them looked at each other and look extremely guilty.

“Sorry it’s just we are used to calling you that.” Roman said.

She sighed and looked at her hands for a time before looking up, her eyes meeting with Roman’s.

“So that’s why Meggy confesses to everything.” Roman muttered meeting her gaze.

Aden started at mention of one of the children.

She sighed.

“Don’t fuss.” She said to Aden. “And you are going to tell me what I want to know.” She added looking at Roman.

Roman looked up in appeal at Aden.

“Visiting times are over.” Aden said without conviction.

Roman nodded gratefully.

“Yeah, busy got stuff to do.” Roman said.

She looked at the pair of them.

“Don’t think I’ve finished this conversation you pair of cowards.” She told them.

Roman grinned at Aden as he stood up.

“Keep her in for a few more days?” he suggested.

“No chance.” Aden muttered. “I’m not that brave.”

Ella laughed.

They moved to the door.

“Excuse me don’t you think your forgotten something.” She said.

“Not as much as you.” Aden quipped.

She glared at him.

Roman walked cautiously to the bed and kissed her briefly on the lips.

She looked at him puzzled.

“Are you sure we are still married because you don’t kiss like it.” she said.

He looked over at Aden for a second before kissing her how he wanted to kiss her and hoped that he wouldn’t regret it later when she remembered she hated him.

She sighed.

“Much better.” She told him.

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Chapter 4

Ella sat with the children in the lounge.

“Now then I need some help. “ she began. “Mummy has had a bump on the head and it’s made me forget stuff.” She told them and grinned. “The silly doctors say that I’m not allowed to be told stuff I have to remember it on my own.”

The children looked solemn. She had a vague feeling that they only looked like this when they were trying to get away with something.

“Do you understand what Mummy has said?” Roman asked them and they nodded.

“Now I know you are called Gregory.” She said and tickled Georgie who fell on the floor laughing.

She looked at Sophie.

“You are called Spot.” She told her.

“Don’t be silly that is a dogs name.” Sophie told her.

“We have a dog too?” Ella asked looking around.

Sam laughed at her.

Meggy grinned.

“No Mummy but you were going to get us one.” She said with a sideways glance at her Dad who tried not to laugh.

“I was?” Ella asked with a grin. “It was a big dog too wasn’t it? With big chocolate eyes and a long curly green tail and orange spots all over him. I remember. Well Mustard as soon as we find one like that you can have a rhinoceros.”

Meggy laughed.

“My name isn’t..” she began and put her hand over her mouth.

Ella grinned at her.

“And you are called …. No don’t tell me let me guess… Frank?” she said to Sam.

“Mummy do you really not remember us?” Sophie asked quickly.

“Well Sophie I remember your names and that you are my special children and that I love you.” Ella said to her. “And I missed you very much while the doctors made me better.”

Sophie looked at her and put her arms round her neck giving her a quick hug.

“I love you too mummy.” She said.

“Sam?” Ella asked quickly. “Do you understand Mummy and Daddy?” she asked him.

He nodded and put his thumb in his mouth.

“No thumb babes.” She said to him and took his thumb out of his mouth and giving him a kiss.

He looked at her.

“You do remember.” He said.

She grinned.

“Some things.” She agreed nodding.

“I don’t want a re-nos- per-puss” he said to her with a frown.

“It’s alright Sammy, Mummy was joking.” Sophie said to him putting her arm.

Ella laughed again.

“Only you can call him Sammy.” She said remembering.

Sophie and Sam grinned at her.

“See I’m getting better.” She said and grinned at them all.

She yawned suddenly.

“I think Mummy needs a rest. Are you going to help her upstairs? See if she can guess which is Mummy’s Bedroom.” Roman said to them.

She grinned at him and stood slowly. Meggy came over and held her hand.

“You are the best Mummy.” She said to her with a sigh.

“Thank you Meggy.” She said softly, not puzzled by Meggy’s pronouncement.

Roman kissed her slowly.

“I’m going to make dinner and feed the hoard.” He told her. “Anything you fancy?” he asked and then flushed after the look she gave him. “Aside from that.” He added.

She chuckled.

“Pizza?” she said.

He shook his head.

“Real food?” she asked.

He nodded.

She looked at the children.

“Spaghetti?” she asked.

He groaned.

“Yeh!” Meggy grinned. “Ghetti!”

“Is there a problem?” she asked.

Sophie looked at her and smiled.

“I don’t like tomato sauce.” Georgie told her.

“I don’t like mushrooms.” Meggy said with a chuckle.

“I don’t like stringy ghettii.” Sophie said her line.

“I don’t like cheese.” Sam said grinning at her.

“Let’s have Pizza instead?” Ella said dragging up the line from the grey fog inside her head.

Roman laughed.

“Ok what just happened?” she asked him.

“We can’t tell you you’ll have to remember.” Roman told her.

He looked at the children and smiled over at them.

“Show mummy upstairs please and I’ll cook dinner.” He said.

Sophie nodded and rounded up the others leading them to the stairs.

Ella looked at him and stepped forward.

“I got them to say that stuff didn’t I?” She asked. “So we could order Pizza?”

He smiled.

“Not saying.” He grinned.

“Oh, this is going to be so frustrating.” She muttered.

He laughed.

“I thought it was going to be fun myself.” He kissed her before he could stop himself and watched as she went upstairs catching up with the children.

“Nic sit down please.” Geoff said to her.

She looked at him and finally sat on the sofa beside him.

“Sorry.” She began. “Was I pacing?”

He nodded.

“Your Dad loves her Nic, he’ll do anything for her.” Geoff told her softly.

“I know that. I’m upset that just when things seem to be ok something else happens. But I guess that is life in Summer Bay.” She added the last with a grin.

He reached for her hand.

She looked deep into his eyes.

“Geoff don’t you dare.” She told him.

He chuckled.

“Dare what Nicole Campbell?” he asked.

“Make everything all right.” She said and watched as he laughed.

“Isn’t that my job Princess?”

She leant into him, feeling his strong body against hers and the familiar thrill from being that close to him went through her. She sighed softly and felt him tense beside her. She looked deep into his eyes and almost moaned aloud, she grinned with how easily they turned each other on, even after eight years of marriage.

“Why do you think she can’t remember? Is it because of what happened with Gardy?” Nic asked him.

Geoff shrugged.

“I can’t say Nic.” He told her gently. “But it would seem likely.”

She nodded.

“I didn’t realise that she still had problems with it. I know it was terrible but it has been so long.” Nic told him, her eyes filling with tears.

“Sometimes something so bad never goes away.” Geoff told her. “I don’t think there are actually that many people who know the full extent of what she went through.”

Nic pulled away form him and stood to start pacing again.

“My dad knows.” She said to him. “She told him everything.”

He looked at her.

“The husband is usually the last person to be told.” He said quoting statistics.

She smiled at him.

“That means something though doesn’t it?” she asked and saw him nod.

“It means that they are able to deal with a lot of tough things Nic.” He said.

She chuckled and sat back down.

“I can’t help worrying. These are my parents.” She told him.

He laughed out loud and saw her blush.

“Nic.” He said softly.

She leaned over and kissed him.

“I have to go and collect Robbie and Angel form Belle's.” she told him grinning.

He looked at his watch.

“I’m sure they can hang on another hour.” He told her.

“An hour?” she asked raising an eyebrow at him.

He chuckled.

“Well maybe a bit longer.” He said.

She laughed and leaned over to kiss him. He framed her face in his hands prolonging the kiss feeling her moan against his lips.

“Tell me would you like…” he began to ask.

She nodded before he finished the sentence.

He chuckled and stood, pulling her to her feet before he lifted her over his shoulder and carried her up the stairs.

“Oh god.” She moaned.

He laughed and lowered her to her feet inside their bedroom.

“You really do love this don’t you?” he asked her.

She nodded.

“I can’t tell you how much feeling your strength turns me on.” She told him.

He stepped forward and kissed her, his tongue darting into her mouth when her lips parted. She moaned louder her breath coming in frantic pants.

“I guess you do like Princess.” He whispered to her. He led them over to the bed taking off his T shirt to reveal his taught abs and pecs. She ran her hands over his chest and down his stomach undoing the fastening on his jeans, before teasing him with gentle finger touches around his belly button. She slid her hands back up his body loving the way he responded to her touch.

He lowered his head and whispered in her ear.

“I only want to make love to you.”

She smiled and looked at him.

“I know. I only want you.” She moaned against his lips. “Only you.”

They took off each other clothes kissing and stroking where they revealed until they were frantic with need.

“Oh God I love you.” She moaned arching her body against his.

He chuckled and then all laughter stopped as he eased into her slowly. Their eyes locked. Geoff breathed out unaware that he had been holding his breath.

“Perfect.” He said to her.

She grinned moving against him finding her rhythm.

He groaned as he kissed her again and again.

They moved together in a familiar rhythm but it felt so new.

“Hey.” Roman said softly pushing her hair back from her face.

She looked at him sleepily.

“How long?” she asked.

He grinned.

“The children have eaten and I have put them to bed. But they would like you to go say goodnight.” He said.

“Why didn’t you wake me earlier?” she grumbled.

He grinned.

“Because you wouldn’t wake up, you …”

“Slapped you?” she muttered the memory returning. “Do I do that a lot?”

He shook his head.

“No I don’t or no you aren’t going to tell me?” she asked.

“One of those.” He said. “Come on lets go see the children then if you are really lucky I may have ordered Pizza.”

She sat up and grinned.

“Really, you aren’t just saying that to get me out of bed?” she asked.

She turned and put her feet on the floor and stood up. She felt herself going dizzy for a minute but Roman caught hold of her arms and she lent against him.

“Ok, that was weird.” She said. “The floor’s cold and I heard you ask me if I wanted slippers.”

He looked at her.

“Really?” he said.

She nodded.

“Yes. You laughed and said would I like you to fetch me some slippers.” She looked at him. “It was a memory wasn’t it?” she asked him.

He nodded and felt awful that he almost didn’t want her to remember because she would relive the pain of it all over again.

She grinned.

“I’m getting it back aren’t I?” she said.

“El. “ he said and caught her look. “La.” He added and she giggled. “I know you want to remember everything but please don’t force it. “

She looked at him and saw how serious his face was.

“Is this got anything to do with why you are sleeping in another bedroom? Was it terrible?”

“You know I can’t answer those questions Ella. “ he moved away restlessly. “As to why I sleep in another room well it started when you were pregnant with Sam.” He said truthfully. It did start then although it stopped after Sam was born.

She pressed a hand to her belly.

“Is this baby yours?” she asked.

He looked at her quickly.

“It had better bloody be mine.” He growled before he could stop himself.

She laughed.

“I didn’t realise how jealous you got.”

He shook his head.

“and possessive, over protective and downright nasty if I don’t get my coffee in the morning.”

“Now those qualities I actually remember about you.” She walked over to him and kissed him, wrapping her arms around his neck and moulding her body close to him. He responded pressing her against him before sanity eased slowly into his consciousness and he realised how close to a bed they were and how much pain she would physically cause him if he slept with her before her memory returned.

“Ella.” He whispered. “Pizza.”

She chuckled before making her way to the children’s rooms.

He waited a moment before he could join her.

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Chapter 5

Martha sat down in the diner and waited for Roman to come out of the kitchen.

“She’s still there Darl.” Irene told him.

“I don’t suppose you can distract her while I sneak out of here.” He suggested hopefully.

She chuckled.

“You know something I shouldn’t have asked for your lasagne recipe I should have had some self defence training off you.” Irene said.

Roman looked at her and had a mental image of her and Colleen dressed in low vis clothing and carrying machine guns. He blinked but the image didn’t immediately go away.

“How about we trip the fire alarm and get everyone out and you sneak out the back?” Irene suggested.

“Good idea aside from the sprinklers would probably come on and we’d all get wet and I do not want to see her in a wet t shirt thank you very much.” He muttered.

Irene looked at him and laughed.

He turned his attention back to his cooking and turned the burgers.

“Er Darl, I think its about to get worse, El has just come in.” Irene told him and heard him swear.

He turned around and looked at her.

“I’ll take over here you go and see to her before that Martha gets her claws into her.” She told him.

He walked out and looked at El first before Martha grabbed his attention. He stepped over to Ella and pulled her quickly into his arms and kissed her. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Martha pause.

“Hey you.” He said to her.

“Hey.” She said, looking at him and being slightly puzzled by the passionate greeting, “Nic is looking after Sam and the others are at school.” She told him before he could ask.

He grinned.

“I know you wouldn’t just leave them at home.” He said.

She smiled slowly.

“Of course.” she said quickly.

He chuckled.

“How did we end up with five cats by the way?” she asked.

“Like I can tell you but it wasn’t my fault.” He said defensively.

She laughed.

“Have you got time to have a drink with me?” she asked. “I’ve spent the morning nosing around the house and I’m really bored. Somebody said they would buy Sammy a lot of sweets if he didn’t tell me anything.”

He chuckled.

“I have no idea who that would have been.” He murmured.

“Well he said to tell you he would like some chocolate too.” She passed on the message from their son.

“What do you want to drink?” he asked her.

“Could I get an orange juice and lemonade in a tall glass?” she asked softly and went to sit at the sofa. “What is it?” she said.

“Nothing.” He answered.

“Do I not like orange juice or something?”

He shook his head.

“Not saying.”

“It’s not my normal drink though is it? But I just want something long and cool to drink I walked here from Nic’s and I’m thirsty.” She explained.

“You mad woman it’s a long way to walk especially in your condition.” He said and cursed himself when he saw Irene looking at him from the kitchen.

She grinned at him.

“I felt really good today.”

He shook his head and went into the kitchen and got her the drink she wanted and a coffee for himself.

“Hello Ella.” Martha said walking over to her.

“Hello.” Ella said cautiously, although she wasn’t sure why she was feeling so uneasy.

“How are you?” she asked her.

“I’m fine Martha.” She said softly.

“I heard that you had to spend a day in hospital recently I hope it was nothing serious.”

Ella shook her head.

“I can’t believe you are trying to be nice to me Martha. I don’t know why but I feel the need to slap you.” Ella said standing up.

“Don’t be like that.” Martha said. “We can be civil can’t we? After all I’m going to be a part of your children’s lives.”

Ella looked at her.

“I’ve given you a chance.” She said to her. “Stay away form me, stay away from my family and leave my husband alone. You are deranged and you need help.”

Martha laughed.

“Leave him alone? You told me to keep him when you found us in bed together.” Martha told her.

Ella looked at her for a moment and then at Roman who had come out of the kitchen.

She read the truth in his face but she raised her hand and hit Martha across the face as hard as she could.

“I said stay away from my family. Take your trash somewhere else. “ She told Martha and started to walk away.

Martha grabbed her arm and pulled her.

“Roman is mine. He loved me before you turned up. We were having a baby together.” She hissed.

Ella pulled away.

“Forget your crap Martha I’m not interested in your psycho-drama. You touch my husband again or come near my children and I’ll make you regret it.” she threatened clearly. “Roman can we take our drinks to the beach please I need the fresh air.”

He nodded and watched her move outside. He turned to Irene who was grinning.

She handed him the drinks in take away cups and he went out and caught up with Ella.

She looked at him for a long moment.

“I want you to get tested for stuff and you’ll stay sleeping in the spare room. I take it that wasn’t what caused my amnesia?” she asked him.

He looked out at the sea.

She looked at him when he didn’t say anything.

“I’ll do what ever you want Ella, but I swear I didn’t have sex with her.”

She nodded listening.

“So last time I found out I wasn’t so amenable?” she asked.

He nodded and sat on the sand.

She sat next to him.

“I can’t proof it but I know that I didn’t have sex with her.” he said softly unable to look at her.

“Why are you so certain?”

“Because I love you El and yes, I can get turned on by other women but it is nothing compared to what I feel and experience when I’m with you.” He looked at her then. “You turn me on with just a look. You make me moan with pleasure when you caress me, even after being married all this time, being with you is so new. I never know how we are going to make love or even where I just know that you’ll look at me and it will be wonderful even if it’s a quick few minutes or all night.”

She sighed.

“So presumably I found you in bed with her and you didn’t run after me and stop me.”

He nodded.

“Did you remember that or..” he trailed off.

She shook her head.

“No I don’t remember that or I would have *****-slapped her harder.” she said with relish. “But I can’t think of any situation like that where you wouldn’t have come after me and it doesn’t feel right.”

She paled.

“What?” he asked quickly.

She stood up and ran a little way off and bent over and threw up.

“Ella?” he asked concerned coming over to her.

She wiped her mouth.

“I kissed someone,” she said.

He nodded.

“What happened?” she asked.

“I can’t tell you but it was just a kiss. There was a good reason too.” He told her leading her away.

“You forgave me?” she asked.

He looked at her.

“Eventually, it was difficult for me, but later I found out some new information which completed the picture and all the pain and anger and jealously fell away.” He said softly. “Come on let me take you inside and get you freshened up.”

She nodded.

“We do still love each other don’t we?” she said to him.

“El I love you and I would die if anything happened to you.” He told her gently. “But I don’t want those words back from you until your memory returns.” He added.

“Why?” She paled again. “Its really bad isn’t it.”

He smiled slowly.

“No not because it might be bad but because I need you to know everything about us first.” He grinned. “We are together El, and you and the children, all of our children Mike, Nic and Aden included, are the most important things in this world to me but I need you to be ok with us and if we force a relationship when you can only remember some of it that wouldn’t be fair on you.”

She sighed and nodded.

“Can I think them?” she asked eventually.

He chuckled.

“As long as you don’t do your thinking aloud.” He told her.

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Chapter 6

Roman picked up the children from school and took them home. He found Sam in the lounge watching tv.

“Where is Mummy?” he asked his youngest son.

He looked up from the tv.

“She’s upstairs.” He said and then looked back at the tv.

Roman grinned.

He turned to the others.

“Homework please.” He said and heard Meggy sigh.

He grinned as he went up the stairs and into their bedroom. He found Ella on the bed and looked at her. She had her organiser in front of her and was looking at it.

“El.” He said.

She looked at him with a raised eyebrow.

“Ella.” He corrected.

She grinned.

“Are you cheating?” he asked her sitting next to her on the bed.

She looked at him.

“Yes.” She said. “But only because you bribed Sam.”

He chuckled.

“So what have you worked out?” he asked.

“I did an assignment last month and I apparently do one or two every month. I have hotels booked.” She looked at him and bit her lip.

“El?” he asked softly.

She reached into her bedside cabinet and pulled out her birth control tablets.

“I stopped taking them.” she said.

He looked at her.

“Because we slipped up and you got pregnant.”

She shook her head and skipped through some pages and showed him.

“I mark when I start them see. “ she pointed out.

She handed him the organiser and he looked through several pages.

“I did it deliberately.” She looked down at her hands.

“Ok.” he said.

“Ok?” she asked.

He nodded.

“El we will find out why when you get your memory back.”

She looked at him.

“There’s more.” She said quickly before she lost her nerve.

“What hun?” he asked.

She looked him in the eyes.

“I met someone. And I kept meeting him. Around the same time. “

Roman flinched.

“Are you saying that….” He stopped and looked at her.

“I don’t know do I? “ she muttered “but its there in black and white. I have no idea who that man is but I met with him several times and now I’m pregnant.”

He stood up form the bed and dropped the organiser like it was dirt and he had to get his hands clean.

“I think it’s too soon to start thinking about this stuff. The children are downstairs.”

She looked at him, seeing his clenched jaw and the look in his eye.

“Roman.” She said softly.

“El, don’t ok.” he backed away from her.

“I’m sorry I didn’t mean to hurt you.” She said quickly.

He flinched.

“No not like that. I meant with the organiser. Like you said its too early to say …” she stopped talking.

He moved quickly, more quickly than she expected and kissed her hard.

“I love you so much but I swear if you’ve been unfaithful I can’t come back from that.” He said against her lips. “And I know that is a double standard after expecting you to believe nothing happened between me and Martha but I can’t do it again.”

She looked in his eyes.

“Roman.” She said and smiled at him, that special smile that was his alone and he felt like a knife went into his heart.

“Again?” she asked. “You said it was a kiss and you got over it.”

“It was just a kiss and I did get over it but it hurt me for a long time. It hurt us.” He said finally and sank down to sit beside her.

She moved and put her arms around him.

“I love you.” She said softly and kissed him.

“I asked you not to say those words El.”

She sighed.

“I know but I think you needed to hear them. It’s what I feel. I can’t imagine not feeling it.”

He looked at her.

“El.” He said, her name a sigh on his lips.

“Roman I love you.” She said again and kissed him.

He put his arms around her and pulled her close to him and sat like that for a long time.

“I have to feed the kids.” He said and eased off the bed.

She stood up and took hold of his hand.

He found himself looking at their hands and trying to remember the last time they had done that. He couldn't think it was like a grey fog had entered his head and robbed him of his memories but he knew this was just shock at imagining her with another man.

He sighed.

She moved closer to him and he could feel the heat from her body, her perfume invaded his senses.

“El.” He said softly.

She rested her head on his shoulder.

“I don’t know what to say to you. How could I be so mad at you about Martha if I’d been in the wrong. And you know what sex means to me.” She said. “It’s giving my body in love.”

“El please. We need to put this away.”

He led them down the stairs and she put a smile on her face when she saw the children.

“Have you done your homework?” she asked them and then looked at Roman.

“Yes you normally ask them.” he smiled.

She grinned.

“Right what have you got let me look?” she murmured.

She sat on the sofa and Meggy came over to her first and she went through her spellings. It was Sophie’s turn next and she read through the story she had to write.

“What do you think of it Sophie?” she asked her.

Sophie grinned.

“It’s ok. I think I can do better.”

“How?” Ella asked her daughter and stroked her hair away from her face.

“Well this sentence. If I put it like this.” She went on to reword the long rambling sentence and broke it up. She added some extra detail.

“I think that is really good. Why don’t you go and write that out now.” Ella suggested to her.

Sophie smiled and moved back to the table.

Georgie sat next to her then and held out his maths folder.

Ella grinned.

“I’m sure Daddy does the maths homework.” She told him.

Roman looked over at them and grinned.

“I do indeed.” He said.

Georgie grinned.

“Just testing.” He said to her.

She leaned over and kissed him.

He put it to one side and pulled out his reading book.

She smiled at him as he began to read. She made him sound out a couple of the words but his voice was confident as he spoke.

“That was great.” She told him smiling at him.

He grinned.

“Ok guys. Dinner is nearly done. Can I have you go wash your hands please.” Roman called from the kitchen.

She watched as their children went up the stairs together before walking into the kitchen. She put her arms around his waist and pressed her face against his back.

“How are you doing mister?” she asked him.

“I’m fine.” He said putting his hands on top of hers.

She sighed.

He moved his arm and led her around so that he could hold her.

“Ella.” He said softly. “I know we can get through this.”

“Even if this baby..”

“Don’t say it.” he interrupted.

“It ..” she began.

He lent down and kissed her cutting off her words.

“I love you El.”

She ginned.

“And you would die if anything happened to me.” She said softly.

She looked up at him and pulled away walking into the lounge.

“This was different.” She muttered looking around the room.

He followed her.

“Tell me.” He said softly.

She knelt down next to the place they used to have the playpen.

“We were crying.” She said. “We had been crying for a long time.”

She looked up at him and tears poured down her face.

“It hurts.” She said.

She wrapped her arms around herself and rocked back and forth on her knees. She looked at him.

“I can’t its too hard.”

“This is a good memory.” He whispered sitting on the floor next to her.

She shook her head.

“No it’s so sad. Sophie won’t stop crying and I’m so sad.” She told him. “You’ve gone and it hurts so much. I don’t know how to get it back.”

He pressed a kiss to her lips.

“Don’t.” she said.

“Don’t what.” He asked her, remembering what he said.

“Don’t seduce me.” She looked at him puzzled.

“A couple of kisses can seduce you.” He said.

“Damn your good.” She added.

She put her hand to her head.

“Ella?” he said.

“Headache.” She said.

He stood and fetched some pain pills and a glass of water and brought them back to her.

She took them and drank all the water. He looked at her for a long moment and picked her up and carried her up the stairs and laid her on the bed. Sophie followed him.

“Can you close the curtains please Sophie?” he asked her.

She nodded and moved round the bed to the window and pulled the curtains shut.

Roman took off her shoes and pulled a cover over her. He pressed a kiss to the top of her head.

“Get some sleep.” He told her.

He held out his hand to Sophie and they left Ella asleep.

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Chapter 7

Ella tossed and turned for ages. Finally she moved back the covers and put her feet timidly on the floor. She opened the bedroom door and padded down the hall. She paused outside his door and a shudder ran through her. She opened the door and pushed it open quickly before she could change her mind. She moved over to the bed and climbed into it with him.

“Ella.” He said without opening his eyes.

“Were you expecting someone else?” she asked.

He chuckled.

“If I say yes are you going to hit me.” He murmured.

She muttered something.

“Was that a yes or no?” he grinned at her and rolled over on to his back. “What’s the matter?” he asked her.

“I’m cold.” She told him.

“I know that your feet are like blocks of ice.” He grumbled.

“Sh.” She muttered.

He climbed out of bed.

“What?” she asked.

He pulled back the covers and bent down to her.

“If you are using me as a hot water bottle it’s going to be in my own bed.” He muttered.

She looked at him puzzled.

He picked her up out of the bed and carried her down the hall and sat her on the bed. He reached into the dresser drawer and pulled out a pair of socks and handed them to her.

“Bed socks?” she mumbled.

“It was either bed socks or we got a divorce.” He told her with a grin.

She looked at him.

“And I wear these hideous things?” she said frowning at them.

He nodded.

She pulled them on and sighed when her feet started warming up immediately.

He chuckled at her.

“Now under the covers.” He instructed.

She sighed and climbed under the covers and grinned when he got in beside her.

He sighed and plumped his pillows before settling down. She snuggled up to him and he put his arm around her holding her against his side.

“Uh huh.” She said to him. “Now have you missed me or the bed.”

“Well.” He said pretending to consider his answer,

She muttered something and turned her back to him. He moved too and spooned her.

“Warm enough?” he said softly.

“Yes thank you.” She said sleepily.

“Love you El.” He murmured.

She grinned and fell asleep.

He stayed awake for a long time thinking about her lying like this with another man and he felt some very violent feelings.

Nic and Geoff dropped Angel and Robbie off at school and saw Roman with the children.

“Hey.” He called over to them.

“Dad.” Nic said quickly.

“You ok Nic?” he asked picking up on a vibe.

“Can we visit El?” she asked.

“Yes why are you asking?” he grinned at her.

“I think I may have upset her the last time she was over.” Nic confessed pulling on a stray strand of hair.

“What’s up Nic?” he asked his daughter. “Shall we go to the diner and get a coffee?” he asked her.

She looked at Geoff and he nodded.

They climbed into their cars and drove to the diner. Roman got there first and waited for the others before he went inside. They sat at a table and ordered coffee and took a drink before they started talking again.

“Ok Nic” Roman said gently.

She looked at him and he saw the shine of tears in her eyes.

“When she came over with Sam she was wearing shorts.” Nic told him.

He looked a t her.

“You commented?” He asked.

She nodded.

Since the attack Ella had worn clothes that covered her up. The exception was when she was with him or at home.

Geoff took hold of Nic’s hand.

“It’s ok.” Roman told her. “What exactly did you say?”

“Just that it was good to see her in shorts but she gave me this look you know.” Nic sighed. “And then I realised that she couldn’t remember the attack so it wasn’t a good sign.”

Roman took a drink of his coffee.

“Anything else?” he asked keeping his voice neutral.

She looked at Geoff.

“She saw a picture of us at a BBQ that I have on my mantel piece.” Nic told him.

Roman looked up at that.

“What kind of picture?” he asked.

“With her Dad in it.” she told him quietly.

He swore.

“Dad I’m sorry.” She said to him quickly.

He smiled slowly.

“It’s ok Nic.” He told her. “She knows that something has happened.” He tried to pacify his daughter but he was mentally kicking himself. He should have warned everybody about pictures and stuff. But then on the other hand he should have taken her organiser out of her handbag.

Geoff looked at his watch.

“Nic you have to go you’ll be late for work.” He commented.

She smiled slowly.

“Dad.” She said.

He smiled at her.

“It’s ok Nic and yes she would love a visit but be warned she’s very sneaky.” He told his daughter.

She nodded.

“I had noticed that before.” She said.

Nic stood up took a last drink of coffee before kissing Geoff and making her way out of the diner to go to work.

“She’s gone.” Geoff said.

Roman looked at him.

“You can talk now.” He added after a moment of silence.

Roman grinned.

“El might have been having an affair.” Roman said after a moment. The words burst from him, he hadn’t intended on telling anyone.

Geoff nodded.

“What is the evidence?” he asked him.

“She was looking in her organiser a few days ago and came across this name. She had been meeting him. Around the time she got pregnant.” He said.

He drained his coffee before he was able to look up.

“Thats tough.” Geoff said finally.

“Tough?” Roman asked.

He felt himself get mad before he saw the look on his son-in-law’s face.

“It’s crippling.” He admitted.

Geoff nodded.

“And how is Ella coping with finding that out?” he asked.

Roman shook his head.

“We don’t talk about it. Every time she remembers something she gets a migraine.” He shook his head. “She’s going to see a counsellor next week to start trying to cope with this stuff.”

“And what about you Roman? Who are you talking to?” Geoff asked softly.

Roman raised an eyebrow.

“You.” He replied quickly.

Geoff chuckled.

“I won’t even start telling you things like conflict of interest and professional ethics.” He grinned.

Roman grinned before standing and getting himself a refill. He looked at Geoff who nodded and poured out a refill for him before he sat back down.

“You could of course, track this person down and go and see them yourself.” Geoff suggested.

Roman shook his head.

“If I did I would be tempted to do more than have a friendly chat about how well they know my wife.” He confessed.

“I don’t want to say this but I think it is worth you thinking about.” Geoff began. “The first time she found out about Martha she wanted a divorce.”

Roman nodded.

“Trust me I’ve been thinking about that too.” He said quickly.

“And the second time when she couldn’t remember the hypothetical other man.”

“She was different.” Roman nodded. “Calmer. And didn’t even mention divorce.”

Geoff looked at him.

“My wife is having an affair.” Roman said and buried his face in his hands.

Geoff put his hand on the other man’s shoulder.

“I’m sorry Roman.” He said after a minute.

Roman looked up.

“I don’t know what to do Geoff.”

“Roman you forgave her over Aden.” He pointed out.

He shook his head.

“Because if I hadn’t have found forgiveness for them both I would have torn my family apart.” He confessed.

Geoff grinned.

“And nothing to do with loving both of them.”

Roman grinned but it quickly faded.

“It was different. “ he admitted. “She was lonely and needed someone and she got attached to my son.”

“Next best thing.” Geoff grinned.

Roman looked at him.

“No because that would just class Aden as just a substitute but she saw something in him that she needed.” He took a long look at Geoff. “No.” he added.

“You’ve been married a long time. People need different things.” Geoff said softly.

Roman shook his head.

“No.” he said again.

“People look at something and decide that the grass is greener.” Geoff added.

Roman picked up his cup and drank the dregs.

“So my wife has decided that she wants something different. Am I supposed to let her go.” He looked at Geoff.

“No. “ Geoff told him. “I haven’t cheated on your daughter. I came close once I have to admit but I would be an idiot. Not just because Nic would kill me or because whatever was left after she finished killing me you and Aden would pulverise.”

Roman grinned.

“As to letting her go. You will need to decide that together.” Geoff advised. “But don’t do anything rash until you have the full facts.”

Roman nodded as he looked at his watch.

“I need to get back. Ella is having a scan this morning.” He said.

Geoff looked at him.

“You think….” He started saying.

“I don’t know what to think. We had decided on no more children. And she stopped taking the pill behind my back.”

Geoff’s breath hissed out between his teeth.

“I’m sorry Roman.” He said, remembering how it was when Meggy was expected.

“Yeah well. I have to go.” Roman said and stood up.

He walked out of the diner and into his car. Pulling out of the car park he headed home.

He found Ella in the garden. She was weeding one of the borders. She had her music on turned up and didn’t hear him approach.

“Hey.” He called out.

“Oh.” She gasped. “You gave me a fright.” She grinned at him.

He smiled slowly.

“You ok?” she said softly standing up and stretching.

He saw that she was wearing pink hot pants and a white bikini top in an effort to get some sun. He grinned, as he looked her up and down.

“Finished?” she asked after a moment.

He nodded.

She chuckled.

“I’ll go get a shower then.” She said to him and started heading into the house.

He caught hold of her hand and pulled her towards him.

“In a minute.” he said to her and kissed her.

She wound her arms around his neck and kissed him back.

“I need a shower.” She murmured after a moment.

He nodded.

“Me too.” He grinned. “A cold one.”

She smiled and took his hand leading him the house and slowly up the stairs. She turned midway and leaned against him kissing him again.

“El.” He groaned against her lips.

“Do you want me?” she asked.

“Oh yes.” He answered seeing the look in her eyes. “But it would be a bad thing if we make love right now.”

She grinned.

“Right now?” she asked. “I was thinking in a couple of minutes when we got to the bedroom.”

“Since when did we need a bed?” he asked and was struck that maybe she went with someone else for the excitement.

“We don’t but I like to be comfortable.” She smiled slowly and then looked at him.

“Roman?” she asked.

He shook his head.

“I’m sorry El, but I think it would be a bad idea for us to make love before you get your memory back.”

She looked down at the floor.

“You mean before you find out if I’ve been unfaithful or not.”

“Ella it isn’t that.” He said but he knew he was lying.

She nodded.

“I need a shower. I’ll be ready soon.” She told him and he knew that she had known he was lying to her. He nodded and let her go.

He waited for her in the lounge after turning off her music and putting away the gardening tools.

She came down a while after dressed in a long cotton dress, her still wet hair pinned up. He smiled at her and walked over to the door. He opened it and let her move out ahead of him. She didn’t look him in the eye and he could have cursed.

He pulled the door shut and then opened the car door for her. She climbed in and he shut the door. She didn’t say her usual thank you and he missed the simple words. He climbed behind the wheel and they set off.

“Ella.” He said, not knowing what to say next.

“It’s ok.” she told him. “We just need to set some boundaries.”

“Such as?” he felt himself forced to ask.

“Well no kissing and I think you should move back into the spare room.” She told him. She pulled out the organiser and was looking into it.

He glanced at her.

“Fine.” He said quickly. “You better get the spare covers out of the wardrobe.”

She smiled briefly.

“Don’t worry I won’t bother you again.” She said.

He swore.

“Ella.” He began.

They had pulled up outside the hospital and she vaulted out of the car.

He watched her moving ahead of him and he swore some more. Getting out himself he locked the car and followed her.

They waited to be called sitting in chairs next to each other but could have well have been on opposite sides of the hospital. Neither of them broke the silence.

“Ella would you like to come through.” Rachel called.

She stood up as the same time he did.

“No.” she said. “You don’t need to come with me.” She walked into the exam room and he stood still shocked by how bad things seemed in such a short space of time. He stood there looking at the door for a long moment and was shocked when it opened.

“Ella said would you like to come in for the scan.” Rachel murmured.

He grinned and nodded stepping forward and into the room. He saw Ella lying on the bed and he smiled at her.

“Hey.” She said softly.

His smile broadened into a grin and he went and held her hand.

Rachel moved round the bed and pulled up the ultra sound. She squeezed some gel onto Ella’s stomach and moved the wand over it. She paused and looked at the screen and smiled.

“Well.” She said.

She clicked on the audio and they heard the heartbeat.

“That sounds funny.” Ella said after a moment.

“Echo -ey?” Rachel asked.

She nodded.

Ella looked up.

“No.” she muttered.

Rachel grinned.

“Twins?” Roman asked. “Again?”

Rachel looked at him

“Triplets.” She said.

Ella sat up.

“Rachel Holden.” She muttered.

“Sorry I couldn’t help it.” she laughed at them.

She adjusted the sonogram and they heard a normal heartbeat.

She turned the monitor round.

“Here is your baby.” She said to them. “Singular.”

Roman narrowed his eyes and looked at the screen and he heard Ella laugh.

“Don’t worry I can’t see it either.” She grinned at him.

Rachel pointed out the baby.

“I have it now.” Roman said softly.

He looked at Ella and saw the look on her face and felt his heart start pounding, albeit not as hard as when Rachel had them almost convinced it was another multiple birth.

“I love you El.” He said, unable to keep the words back.

She grinned wider.

He helped her up and handed her some tissue to clean the gel off. She kept hold of his hand and he grinned at that too.

They stood up and she adjusted her clothes and discarded the tissue in the bin before collecting her handbag.

“Here you go.” Rachel said and handed her two copies of the scan.

She smiled and looked at Roman.

“Did I give you the book?” she asked puzzled.

“What book?”

She looked at the scans.

“I don’t know.” She said after a minute.

“It’s ok.” he said. “We’ll have a look when we get home.”

She nodded.

“First though I think we should go out to lunch.” He suggested and saw her nod. “Thanks Rachel.” He said and led Ella out.

She climbed in the car and he drove them to the diner.

“What would you like?” he asked her.

She smiled at him and took hold of his hand across the table.

“Ice cream.” She grinned. “But I’ll be good and have a salad.”

He chuckled.

He lifted her hand and placed a kiss on to it before standing and going into the kitchen.

“Hey Roman.” Leah said softly.

“Hi.” He replied.

“She looks happy.” Leah commented.

Roman looked over at her and saw the light behind her she was smiling and she had that look on her face she got when she was pregnant. He smiled when he looked at her.

“She does doesn’t she.” He grinned.

“Oh my god Roman Harris.” Leah began. “Is she pregnant?”

He shook his head, knowing that Ella would want it kept quiet for a bit longer.

She looked at him and grinned.

“So what do you want to eat?” she asked grinning at him. ”I’ll get it you go and sit with your lovely un-pregnant wife.”

“Salad for her and I’ll have a sandwich. Tuna I think.” He murmured. “Thanks Leah.” He poured out a couple glasses of juice and took them over to the table.

“I think Leah just guessed. “ he told her.

Ella grinned at him.

“Not surprised you haven’t stopped smiling for the past ten minutes. Either you are happy about the baby or just plain relieved that Rachel was joking about the triplets.”

“Oh a bit of both.” He said and leaned across the table and kissed her.

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Chapter 8

Ella went ahead of him and into the house. She started looking in the drawers in the cabinet in the lounge pulling them out off the runners and putting them on the floor.

“El what are we looking for?” Roman asked gently.

“I don’t know but I have to find it.” she muttered moving onto the next cabinet. She picked all the books off the shelves and dropped them on the floor.

“Ella.” He said in stronger, louder tone of voice.

She stopped and looked at him.

“Roman it’s important. I have to find it.”

“I can see that but you are destroying the house hun.”

She looked down at the floor and took a step back.

“It’s not here anyway.” She said and moved away.

She ran up the stairs and into their bedroom.

He looked at the books spread on the floor and the drawers she had pulled out and he swore before moving up the stairs and following her into their bedroom.

”Ella.” He said moving towards her.

She shook her head at him.

“Roman go away I need to find it. Don’t stop me.” She opened the wardrobe and pulled out all the storage boxes and emptied them on the bed.

“Ella.” He said again and caught hold of her arms.

She pulled at them trying to get free.

“Let me go.” She said to him.

He shook her gently trying to get her to focus.

“Ella.” He said again softly.

She closed her eyes as a memory came into her head and then she opened them. The room was dark she was on a mattress. She was crying. She felt his weight pressing on her and she couldn’t get free. She couldn’t breath. Her breath hissed out of her mouth and she tugged at her arms. Then panic overwhelmed her and she tried moving, pulling, and trying to hit him or push him. Trying to stop him. She just had to stop him. She felt his hand connecting with her face and her head went back. She bit her lip not to scream but then there was a flash of silver across her eyes and she felt something-cold press against her flesh. It slashed across her stomach and she screamed begging. Stop. Please No

She closed her eyes again, seeing only the dark room and screamed before she fainted.

Roman swore and picked her up in his arms. He laid her on the bed moving stuff out of the way and fetched a wash cloth wiping her face gently. She came round with a sick moan.

“I don’t have to ask if it were bad anymore.” She croaked. “My head.” she added with a groan.

“sh don’t try and talk.” He whispered.

He stood and quickly closed the curtains and went to get a glass of water from the kitchen with her tablets.

She drank a sip of water and took the tablets swallowing them down with more water.

“Roman.” She said.

“Don’t talk.” He said to her pressing his lips to her forehead.

She shook her head.

“Hold me.” She told him.

He smiled sadly.

“You’re here with me and it’s ok. We love each other and we got through it.” he told her, moving things back into the storage box so he could lay on the bed with her. She moved into his arms and held him close pressing her head against his chest so she could hear his heartbeat. The strong rhythm kept her focused on the here and now and she soon drifted off to sleep.

He waited until she was deep asleep before he cautiously put his hand in his pocket and pulled out his phone. He texted Leah to let her know he wouldn’t make in and then texted Nic and asked her to collect the children. Nic texted him back and said she would go and get Sam too and he smiled.

Ella stirred and he heard her moan in her sleep. He hoped that it was because of the headache and not another dream. He could only imagine what dreams she was having and he hated himself for the chain of events that brought them here.

He sighed and closed his eyes feeling suddenly very tired himself. When he awoke she was looking at him.

“How’s the head?” he asked softly.

“It’s sore but I’m ok. It was bad wasn’t it?” she asked him.

He nodded.

“But we got through it. Please focus on that,”

She smiled.

“Explains why Nic was freaked to see me in shorts I suppose.” She said easing off the bed. “I still need to find it.”

“What?” he asked her.

“I don’t know but I need to find it. It’s really important.” She told him.

“Ok, on one condition.” He said softly.

“That I don’t tear down the house?” she asked him.

He grinned.

“Something like that.”

“What time is it? Shouldn’t we get the kids? And won’t Sammy be finished?”

“Its half 4 and Nic has the hoard. She picked up Sam at lunchtime.” He told her and watched as the worried look disappeared off her face.

“Ok.” she said with a sigh.

He eased off the bed and stood up and stretched. He picked up the storage box and put the things back in it in a better order before putting the lid on and putting it away. He lifted down the next one and placed it on the bed for her to look through.

She pulled out a photo album first and flicked through the pages.

“How long has my Dad and Irene been married?” she asked idly, looking at a wedding picture of them before closing the album and putting it back in the box.

She went through the rest of the box until she found it. She pulled it out and looked at it. It was a hardback notebook with a piece of yellow ribbon tied around it. He moved the box and sat next to her. She took a breath and then handed it to him.

“It’s yours.” She said with a grin.

He looked at her puzzled and then opened the book. It was a diary. She had recorded being pregnant with the twins in it. He looked at the handwriting and traced his finger along it. Turning the front page he saw a scan taped in there. He took a deep breath. More pages turned and he saw a single entry he read it aloud.

“Woke at 3am this morning because the babies were kicking. You are so not having sex with me again and ouch that was my kidney….” He smiled and kissed her.

She looked at him, her eyes shinning.

“I don’t know why I didn’t give this to you but I wrote in it all the time because I was trying to share the twins with you.”

He nodded.

“Bad stuff got in the way.” He explained.

“I gather that.” She reached out and stroked his face.

“Hey, I’m supposed to comfort you.” He grinned.

“Well if you want to stroke me.” She looked at him and blushed.

“What?” he asked a grin on his face.

“I just realised what I said.” She muttered.

“Uh huh.” He grinned at her. “They do say that an orgasm gets rid of a headache.” He chuckled as she went a darker shade of red and reached for her hand.

She tugged it from his grasp and went to move away from him.

He reached out and pulled her back to bed. He kissed her.

“We agreed no sex.” She muttered.

“I won’t have sex with you El, but I will make very slow love to you.” He smiled at her.

She frowned.

“I have a headache.“ She said truthfully.

He lifted her on the bed and pushed up the dress she was wearing. He pressed kisses to the inside of her ankles and chuckled when she moaned. His lips moved up her legs and he parted her thighs and kissed them.

“Roman.” She moaned lying back on the pillows.

He knelt between her legs.

“If you want me to stop I will.” He said running his hands along her legs.

“I know.” She gasped. “I don’t want you to stop.” She gasped. “I want you inside me.” She moaned and blushed when he smiled at her.

He kissed her lips gently and stroked her arms and along her belly.

Standing up he eased out of his clothes before moving back to the bed and taking off her clothes. He kissed her all over. Along her spine and back up to her neck. He pulled the grips out of her hair and it tumbled down. He spread it over the pillow. And eased back to take in the picture of her lying there waiting for him to love her. He moaned unable to prevent the possessive feelings that ran though him.

“Ella, I love you.” He said.

He eased her legs apart and moved between them. He eased slowly into her body feeling her sheath him in silken heat. She wrapped her legs and arms around him and moved slowly meeting each thrust until it built into wave after wave of pleasure.

She moaned a name as she reached the pinnacle.

And his heart broke because it wasn’t his.

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Chapter 9

Miles met Roman on the bench at the lookout.

“Ok.” he said. “What was so urgent that you got me here a this time of night.”

“I had to wait until El was asleep.” Roman muttered.

Miles sat next to him on the table and looked out at the stars in the night sky.

“Well?” he asked him.

Roman shrugged.

“Ella is having an affair.” He said his voice flat.

“Are you sure?” Mile asked him.

He nodded.

“So what are you going to do?” Miles asked him.

Roman looked up and the pain of the last few days was reflected in his eyes.

“I want to go kill him.” he said bitterly.

“And Ella.” Miles asked looking in his face.

He saw the conflict wash across his features and Roman smiled grimly.

“I can’t give her up.” He said. “But I can’t see her unhappy.” He paused wishing he could drown himself in whisky. “Miles help me.” He said finally.

“Roman I don’t have any answers for you. It hurts and sometimes you have to step back even though every instinct tells you not to.” Miles said softly. “But you know this Roman. It’s why you are here. You’ve come to work things out for yourself.”

Roman smiled.

“I needed confirmation.”

Miles chuckled.

“Do you have a name?”

Roman handed over a business card.

“That’s him,” he said softly. “I took the card out of her organiser.” He murmured.

Roman groaned.

“She’s pregnant.” He muttered after a moment.

“God.” Miles exclaimed. “Is it..?” he began to ask then stopped himself.

Roman grinned.

“I don’t know. She stopped taking the pill and of course she has no idea why.” He rubbed his face with his hands and tried to focus.

“If I were in your shoes I would check out this person. Obviously, if I were really in your shoes I could probably kill this person and get away with it but I suppose that isn’t really a good thing to point out to you right now is it?” Miles grinned.

Roman looked at him.

“Yeah that’s what I thought.” Miles said grinning some more.

“If she is having an affair I might get violent.” Roman said softly his voice like ice. “But dammit Miles why?”

He stood up and paced.

“We were happy. She was working. Accepted Mike joining the army. Had found peace with her dad.” He groaned. “We were happy.” He said again.

“Roman.” Miles said softly.

“We had the children, everything she ever wanted. She didn’t need to go elsewhere. If she was unhappy in any way she could have come and told me. We could have worked through it.” Roman looked at Miles. “Why would she hurt me like this?” he asked finally.

“Roman.” Miles said again.

He looked at him.

“I can’t say why she would do this. But.” Miles stopped. “Maybe it isn’t what you think.”

Roman groaned.

“She called me by his name.” He said finally in a small hurt voice. “I know I’ve done some things that have hurt her but this is.” He stopped.

Miles went over to Roman and led him back to sit down.

“Are you sure she is having an affair? Could there not be any other explanation?” Miles asked him.

“Is there something you know?”

Miles shook his head.

“No Roman. I just never would have thought she would do this.”

Roman let out a short bark of laughter.

“Neither would I. Funny thing is it isn’t the first time is it though? There was that thing with Aden.”

“Which she came and told you about. And we all know the reason why don’t we?”

Roman nodded.

“I suppose so.” He muttered. Then sighed.

“Miles I can’t deal with this.” He said after a long pause.

“You have too, you have no choice.” Miles said to him. “What are you going to do about him?”

“Nothing.” He muttered.

Miles nodded and put the business card in his pocket.

“Go home Roman.” He told him. “Be with your wife.”

“While she’s still my wife you mean.” He said bitterly and looked over at Miles.

“Keep thinking like and you’ll push her away.”

“I know. I just can’t get my head round this.” he murmured sadly.

He looked up as Miles stood up.

“I need to get some sleep even if you don’t. “Miles said with a grin. “Go home Roman.”

He nodded and went to his car. Miles watched him go then pulled out the business card and looked at it for a time with a thoughtful expression on his face.

Roman climbed the stairs quietly and went through to the spare room. He paused at the door before turning around and going to their room. He striped off his clothes and climbed into bed with her naked.

She turned in her sleep and moved towards him. He smiled and pushed her hair back from her face. It was tousled from sleep just the way he liked it. Almost as though they had spent the entire night making love. He had sometimes brushed the tangles from her hair and it had become so erotically charged that he had lifted her up and made love to her all over again. He remembered every time they made love, every kiss, and every touch.

She mumbled something and he pressed his lips to hers. She blinked up at his coming awake.

“Hey.” She said wrapping her arms around him. “Now who’s like a block of ice?” She grinned at him.

“El hold me.” He said suddenly.

She pressed kisses along his jaw.

“What is the matter?” she asked him.

“I just got lonely for you.” He said against her lips.

She smiled.

“Would you like to make love?” she asked him.

He smiled.

“Yes, of course.”

She chuckled.

“It was a stupid question wasn’t it.”

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Chapter 10

“You get back to bed.” Ella said quickly,

Roman looked at her and grinned.

“I’m fine.” He said.

“Tell me that one again without the sneezing and the coughing.” She muttered

“Daddy is in trouble.” Sophie said in a loud stage whisper.

Sam laughed.

Ella glared at her children.

“I need to see breakfast cleared up you lot before you are in trouble.” She said to them with a grin on her face.

Roman chuckled and then spoiled the effect by sneezing again.

Ella gave him the look that told him he was going to bed whether he liked it or not and he headed back upstairs.

Sammy looked at her.

“Is Daddy really sick?” he asked.

“He has a cold sweetie and we need him to stay in bed before he gives it to everyone.”

“I’m in bed.” He shouted from the stairs.

Meggy laughed.

“I can’t hear the covers fluffing.” she said to him.

Ella grinned.

“Now is all your homework done?” she asked them and saw a collective of nods.

“Good. I’m going to take you to school today and won’t that be fun because Mummy can’t remember where it is.”

Meggy chuckled.

“It’s next door to the diner.” She said quickly.

“Mummy may not remember sweetie but she ain’t stoopid.” Ella said to her daughter and kissed the top of her head. “I’m going to take this drink to Daddy. Georgie your turn to clear the table please.”

She turned and took a drink of hot lemon to her husband.

He was in bed sitting up against the pillows.

“Hey mister.” She grinned at him and handed him the cup of hot lemon and honey.

He smiled at her.

“So where did you go the other night?” she asked him.

He shook his head.

“Secret huh?” she asked and he nodded.

She put her hand on his head and felt for a temperature.

“I’ll bring you back some tablets. Do you want anything to eat?” she asked him.

“No thanks.” He said.

“Ok hun I’m taking the kids to school.” She walked out and left him to it.

He waited a minute before picking up his phone and dialling Miles.

“Roman.” The other man greeted him.

“I need to see him.” Roman confessed.

“Ok.” Miles said cautiously “But you don’t sound ok?”

“I have a cold.” Roman said and sneezed a few times.

“Er… yes I can hear that.” Miles laughed.

“Mate. I can still kill you remember.”

“I thought germ warfare was against the terms of the Geneva Convention.” Miles murmured.

Roman laughed and then spent a few minutes coughing.

“Well you aren’t going anywhere at the moment.” Miles told him. ”And don’t even think about getting out of bed.”

“God you sound just like my wife.”

Miles laughed and hung up on him.

“And now you are just like my wife.” Roman muttered looking at his phone. He put it on the bedside cabinet and snuggled down under the covers and waited for his wife to come home. He drifted off to sleep.

Ella came back in with a couple of shopping bags. She took them through to the kitchen and then went back to the car for the next lot. Sorting through the bags she took some bits upstairs and went into their bedroom to see Roman. She saw he was asleep and she pulled the covers more snugly over him. He sighed when he flet her hand on his forehead.

“Hey.” He said quietly.

“I have sweets for your throat, tablets and some very nice soft tissues. Plus a number of magazines to keep you amused for a while.” She grinned at him. “I’m going to go do some cleaning downstairs. Will it bother you too much if I have the vacuum going?” she asked him.

He shook his head.

She leaned over and kissed him.

“I love you.” She said and saw his mouth twitch into a small smile.

She went downstairs and put all the shopping away before washing up and putting all the pots away. She moved into the lounge and tidied the cushions before dusting the shelves and bringing out the vacuum.

A photo she hadn’t noticed before caught her attention. She picked it up thinking it was a picture of her brother but it looked wrong. She stroked the frame and as realisation came as to who it was she felt anger go through her. She turned and threw the photo as hard as she could against the wall.

Roman rushed downstairs and saw her standing there.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” she said quietly.

“El.” He murmured.

She looked at him.

“My son.” She said. “I will never forgive you.”

She turned and walked out of the door. He couldn’t think of a single thing to say to her to stop her from going.

He stood for a moment as another coughing fit went through him before he went back up the stairs and picked up his phone. He dialled Mike’s number and as expected it went through to voicemail. He left a brief succinct message about something hitting the fan and he should put in for leave and get home. Then he rang George.

“Roman, I was just thinking about you guys.” George said answering the phone on the first ring. “How is my daughter doing?”

“Well much as I hate doing this to you” Roman began. “Your daughter just found out about Mike and well it wasn’t a good scene.”

George chuckled.

“You are still alive so she took it better than I thought she would.” He told him.

“Don’t make me laugh.” Roman finally managed to say after coughing for a bit.

“I would have gone after her but well I’ve turned into a wuss.”

George chuckled again.

“Maybe I should get you recalled to get you fit again.”

Roman dropped the phone as another coughing fit wracked his frame. He picked it up and heard George still laughing.

“Yeah you can laugh you don’t live with her.” Roman muttered. “I might accept your offer if she doesn’t calm down this side of next year.”

“Irene says that we’ll be home in two days. She’s booked our flights.” George told him.

“Thanks George. But you do know that she doesn’t remember you and her making up.”

“I know nor does she remember the other stuff. We’ve been briefed by Nic.”

Roman chuckled and only just stopped himself from coughing again.

“See you soon son.” George said hanging up.

Roman clicked his phone shut and climbed back to bed. He would get a bit of rest then clean up the glass from the photo frame. He had put it in a drawer and must have absentmindedly put it back on the shelf when he’d tidied up the other night.

Ella drove for a couple of hours back and forth until she came across an old diner and got out of the car stretching her legs. She texted Roman and reminded him about Sammy, surprised that he hadn’t tried to get in touch with her. He replied with she needed to be back to pick up the others when school finished because he couldn’t drive.

She groaned at her sneaky husband. Not only had he let her stew but he had also made sure she couldn’t stay out longer. She treated herself to a coffee and told the baby to keep quiet about the caffeine and she would treat him or her to anything they wanted.

She sipped the coffee when her phone beeped again and she looked at the display.

“Dad?” she said cautiously.

“Yes princess. We made up after the twins were born.” He told her. “We are coming to see you tomorrow and thought we should warn you.”

“We?” she asked. “Oh, Irene.” She said quickly.

“Yes that is right. You were my best man at the wedding.” He told her. “I’m sorry you don’t remember that day because it was pretty special.”

“I can imagine.” She said and felt a smile on her face.

“Anyway we can talk properly tomorrow. “ he said. “I just wanted to make sure you’d be ok with us descending on you.”

“Wait.” She said. “Do you stay with us?”

He grinned at the note of panic in her voice.

“Yes we have the attic room.” He confirmed. “It’s not a problem is it?”

“What about the beach house?” she muttered. “Oh why do things keep changing around here. I suppose you know that Mike is in the army.”

She heard him laughed and bit back a swearword.

“Princess you drove him to the recruiting office because he was so scared of upsetting you by telling you he wanted to go in the army.”

She chuckled.

“I hate you.” She said.

“Me too.” He replied.

“You forgot to call me Princess.” She added with a grin.

“No I didn’t I’m saving them up for when I see you that way I get full embarrassment value out of them.”

She giggled.

“See you soon daddy.” She told him.

He hung up the phone and she downed the last of the coffee before getting back in the car and heading home. Stopping by the shops to pick up more food and flowers and Irene’s favourite chocolates. Although how she knew which ones they were she couldn’t say.

She got to the house and dumped the shopping bags into the kitchen before racing back out to go pick the kids up. She turned back around and picked up the broken frame and swept up the broken glass. She thought it was quiet and went up the stairs. Roman was fast asleep. She chuckled before panicking about Sammy. She went over to him and shook him awake.

“With Nic.” He mumbled without opening his eyes before she could even ask him. “But nice of you to be concerned.”

She glared at him and turned around slamming the door on the way out. He rolled over in bed and tried to stand up, which seemed like a good idea when he thought of it but after going dizzy he laid back down.

She shepherded the kids out of the car and got them sitting at the table with drinks before she told them that their Granddad was coming.

They looked at each other before they spoke.

“You do know who he is?” Sophie asked her.

“I think he’s my dad.” Ella told her daughter. “But maybe you are my dad and he’s my daughter.”

“Mummy that is so not funny.”

Ella grinned at her.

“Neither is distracting me when you wre supposed to be doing your homework. Oh and tonight I’m cooking.”

“Pizza.” Meggy said.

She looked at her other daughter and smiled.

“And salad.” She told them and saw them frown.

Georgie smiled.

“What?" he said at Meggy’s frown. “I like salad.” He defended.

“Homework.” Ella told her children.

She heard a knock at the door and went to open it.

“Nic?” she said, “You knock?”

“not usually but you weren’t happy to see me the other day.”

“Don’t be silly. You mean the shorts thing don’t you? Already over it.” She gave Nic a hug and pressed a kiss to her cheek. "Thank you for picking up Sammy.”

“Well it’s on my way home so I may as well keep doing it.”

“Only if you are ok with it.” Ella said.

“Where is Dad?” she asked.

“Asleep if he knows what is good for him. He has an awful cold.” She grinned and moved back to the kitchen and poured out a drink for Sammy handing him the cup. Before putting the kettle on to make a drink for them.

“My Dad is coming tomorrow so I have to see to the bedroom.” She told Nic.

“This is so annoying not know what I can mention and what I can’t.” Nic grumbled.

“Hey see it from my side. I have no idea who half the people are in this room.”

“Hey!” Sophie muttered.

She grinned at her daughter.

“Look you were like not born yet.” Ella grinned at her.

“This is the kind of thing I’m going to have to go talk to Uncle Geoff about.” Georgie told her.

“Geoff who?” Ella asked her son.

He was just about to say something when he saw the look on her face.

“Mother.” He said.

She went over to him and kissed him and then did likewise with all the children.

“And just in case you were worried I do love you all, now get on with your homework.” She grinned at them.

Sammy looked at her and she lifted him onto her lap while she read him a book.

Nic grinned at her and went into the kitchen and made them drinks.

“So do you want a hand cleaning?” she asked her.

“No thanks unless you are getting married again.”

“Oh so that you remember.” Nic grumbled.

“Cleanest I ever saw the house. Your Dad was so proud of you.” Ella said.

She placed a kiss on the top of Sammy’s head and sat him on the sofa with the book and standing she went over to Nic and took the drink from her.

“El.” Nic said softly.

“Don’t worry yourself. Nic. It’s ok.” she stroked the other girls arm and saw her give a slow smile. “Now who is ready to do some cleaning?” she asked and her kids looked at each other as if to debate whether Homework was better than cleaning.

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