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Elliot's Return

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Story Title: Elliot's Return

Type of story: Long Fic

Main Characters: Roman, Ella, Elliot Gillen, Geoff and Nicole, Aden and Belle.

BTTB rating: A

Genre: Drama,

Does story include spoilers: No

Any warnings: Violence, Language Sexual Content.

Summary: Elliot has been released on parole. He knows the full story of what happened to his brother and it's only a matter of time before he takes everything away from Roman Harris....

Elliot moved around the house. It was empty of furnishings and without curtains at the windows. The pale painted walls made it seem larger than it was. His footsteps echoed around the house.

“As you know it has three bedrooms, established gardens, is close to schools.” The estate agent was telling him. “Kitchen and Bathroom were completely modernised only recently with all new pipe work.”

“Tell me again why the owners are selling?” he asked running his finger along the kitchen counter.

“There was a recent bereavement in the family I believe and they wished to move away. Nothing sinister I assure you.” She murmured uneasily.

Elliot smiled slowly, his dark eyes still cold.

“Tell me again about the price? Are they willing to come down to the offer I made?” he asked his tone of voice changing once again.

The agent looked at him and was tempted to lie and say no but the owners had told her they wanted to shot of the house as soon as possible. She felt a stirring of unease about this showing and couldn’t quite work out why.

“They have accepted your offer.” She told him and saw him smile with cold malice.

“Perfect.” He said coldly.

He walked form the kitchen and into the lounge and looked up the stairs.

“I’ll take it.” he said.

She nodded and rang her office to let them know, moving back into the kitchen to make the call.

Elliot moved to the large window and then made his way up the stairs. He moved slowly form room to room taking his time to see the little things that had been missed when the former owners had moved out. He could tell that there was a little boy and a little girl. The rooms painted with pink and blue. He went into the main bedroom and looked out of the window and onto Summer Bay. He wondered if Roman knew he was out and what he was doing now. It was a sad thing that the other man had lost his wife in a tragic accident. He remembered driving along that road many times in his old Kombi. That curve was deadly. He knew that there was a safety rail there now. And the warning signs had been renewed. Just a pity that it was too late.

He turned and went into the pink painted bedroom.

“Have you seen enough?” he asked.

She nodded and they moved down the stairs.

He held out his hand at the bottom of the steps and she put her hand into his.

“If you would like to come back to the office now they have made a start on the paperwork.” The agent told him.

“Certainly.” He said.

He saw the estate agents puzzled glance.

“Oh I’m sorry, did I forget to introduce my wife.” He murmured a strange expression on his face. “This is Beth.”

“Hello.” Beth murmured.

“Sorry.” The agent said walking quickly forward. “It’s just that you seem familiar. Are you from around here?” she asked.

Beth looked over at her husband.

“I don’t think so.” She said.

The agent did a slow double take before lowering her gaze.

“I see congratulations are in order.” She murmured, after wracking her brain for something to say.

“Yes,” Beth murmured, pressing her hand on her pregnant stomach. “Only 3 months to go.” She said softly.

“Well this is a lovely place to settle.” The agent told her.

“I get that feeling.” Beth murmured with a look to her husband. “He’s been wanting to move to Summer Bay for ages.”

Elliot nodded.

“Yes I just thought it was time.” he said.

The agent examined the statement and although it sounded innocent she still felt a glimmer of unease.

“Well shall we go?” she asked them finally.

Elliot nodded and let Beth preceded him into the car. He closed the door and moved around the front.

“We’ll meet you at the office.” He called and set off.

He turned to Beth in the car and smiled at her.

“Well do you like it?” he asked her.

She nodded.

“I feel so at home here. Like I’ve been here before.” She murmured.

He grinned.

“Well I’m sure you’ve been to lots of places Beth.” He said and reached for her hand.

“I just wish I could remember.” She murmured.

“The hospital I took you too after the accident said that amnesia is quite common after a bad blow to the head. You have to give it patience.”

She shook her head.

“How would you feel if you can’t remember anything? I can’t even remember going to the hospital let alone us.” She groaned. “I can’t remember begin married or anything.”

He smiled slowly as he pulled up outside the estate agents.

“I’m sure that once we are settled it will all come back to you.” He promised his tone cold and distant.

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Chapter 1

Roman dropped the children off at school and made his way to the diner. He drove past his old house and then past where his daughter Nicole used to live with her husband Geoff and two children, they now lived with him. He saw a van parked outside it, the back open and boxes being carried into it. Another sign that life was moving on, he supposed. He continued to the diner and went inside.

“Morning Darl!” Irene murmured to him.

“Hello.” He said. “How’s George?”

She smiled at him.

“Not too bad. Still not himself.” Irene said softly. “ How are the kids doing?” she added.

“Sammy is a mess still, the others seemed to have accepted it.” he murmured.

He began preparing the set meals and moved through the routine of the day. She watched him with a concerned eye.

“When are you going to start accepting it?” she asked him and saw him freeze. “I don’t mean to keep going on about this Darl but she is gone, we had the funeral.”

Roman shook his head.

“It’s not as simple as that.” He finally admitted.

She moved over to the door and locked it turning the sign to read closed. He watched her and sank down on the sofa with a sigh. Turning she moved and went into the kitchen before coming out with two cups of coffee. She placed one in front of him and sat opposite him.

“Spill it Darl.” She instructed him.

“I still feel her.” he said the words aloud for the first time in the 6 months since he had been told she was gone. He spoke of his beautiful wife, Ella. Of all the things she’d faced in the past few years to lose her in a senseless traffic accident seemed like fate was laughing at him.

“That’s natural. I never saw anybody as in love as you two.” She murmured.

“It’s more than that. I see her everywhere. Just today…” he began.

“Today?” she asked him.

He took a drink of the coffee before continuing.

“New people are moving into Nic’s old place and for a moment I thought I saw her standing at the window as I drove past the house.”

Irene nodded.

“It seems to me that you might need a complete break from here.” She murmured.

He shook his head.

“I can’t go. Sammy needs me and they have school. I’m trying to keep things as normal as possible for them.” he said softly his gaze drawn to the other woman’s sympathetic expression..

Irene looked at him and placed her hand on top of his.

“Roman it seems to me that you need to focus on you for a time. Did you know you still talk about her in the present tense most of the time? If you can’t accept it, how is everyone else going to? Nic seems very depressed.”

He nodded.

“She’s a mess. Crying a lot. The pregnancy is taking it out of her.” he admitted referring to the pregnancy that had been confirmed just prior to his wife’s accident. “I can’t do anything to bring her out of it. Geoff is gone most of the time.” He added.

Geoff had taken on more responsibility with the church and was travelling more round other districts. It was also his way of earning more money.

“Well I can’t say I envy you trying to keep all that together. When do you do your grieving?” she asked a certain look in her eye.

“We need to get to work.” He murmured, not answering the question and stood up.

She nodded and gathered their used cups to the kitchen before going to the door and opening it.

The morning rush started and he focused on the day.

Elliot walked hand in hand with Beth along the beach. He headed them towards the diner.

“Where are we going?” she asked him.

“I thought we could go for a drink.” He murmured, a certain look in his eye.

She recognised his tone of voice and knew better than to argue with him. He walked through the open door and pulled on her hand when she showed a strange reluctance. All talk stopped.

Colleen turned towards him and then caught sight of her. She dropped the tray she was carrying and a clatter of plates fell to the floor smashing making the only sound in the place.

Elliot walked over to a table and sat down and Beth followed him slowly feeling everyone looking at her.

She leaned over the table and whispered to him.

“I don’t like this.”

He smiled that cold calculating smile.

“It’s all ok Beth, everything is according to plan.”

She tried to smile but felt too tense for her facial muscles to relax into the familiar expression.

“Oh my word!” Irene exclaimed at seeing them.

Roman came out of the kitchen and looked over at what everyone was starring at. He saw Elliot smiling at him with a small evil little grin and he almost shuddered. He felt his head beating faster and then she looked up and their eyes met.

“El?” he asked his voice incredulous.

She looked blankly at him as he moved over to the table.

“Sorry Hardcore.” Elliot stood and blocked the path between them. “I should have let you know I was out. I understand you did a bit of time yourself. Not as much as me though.”

“What is this Elliot?” he asked his gaze shooting past him to the woman sitting behind him. She almost cowed when Elliot turned his gaze on her.

“Let me introduce my wife Beth.” Elliot murmured. “And as you can see we are expecting our first child.”

He looked at her.

“El.” He said to her.

She looked up at him before standing.

“I’m sorry you have me confused with someone else. My name is Beth.” She said in El’s voice, with El’s mouth and El’s eyes looking at him like two big deep pools of blue in her pale face. The hair had grown and he looked down at her left hand expecting the platinum rings to be in place but instead there was a plain gold band. He caught sight of bruises on her wrist and almost swore.

She looked to where his gaze was focused and pulled at her sleeve to cover the marks.

“Playing another sick game Elliot?” Roman asked finally, backing up a step. He folded his arms across his chest and looked at the other man. Prison had changed him, he was stronger with the pale complexion of someone who had spent a lot of time indoors. There was a new coldness about him. It was this that convinced Roman that he had to bide his time, and see just where Elliot took this game.

“We just came for some coffee Hardcore.” Elliot murmured sitting back at the table.

“Fine I’ll get you coffee.” He said softly.

Roman turned and moved back to the kitchen and made two coffees. He took them over to the table and placed them in front of them. He had made them both white and waited to see what the response was.

She looked at it and he saw a glimmer of distaste roll across her features before she took a sip. She looked up at him and expected to see a neutral expression instead his gaze was on her like a hungry man may look at a sandwich. She flushed and looked away taking another drink of the coffee. He smiled slowly and moved away back into the kitchen.

“Is it her?” Irene asked.

“Yes.” He said quickly.

“So what are you going to do you can’t let her leave with him.” Irene muttered.

“I can’t stop him except with violence and that won’t do anyone any good. Besides when she looked at me there was no recognition in her face. She doesn’t know me.”

Irene nodded slowly.

“I better go and rescue Colleen.”

Roman nodded looking thoughtful.

“Excuse me.” Beth murmured to her when she went out.

“Yes Darl?” Irene forced herself to act normal, when all she wanted was to go over to her and hug her.

“Do you have a toilet here I can use?” she asked.

Irene nodded to her.

“Through that door Darl.” She told her.

Beth looked at Elliot for a second before heading through the indicated door. Once inside she pulled out a pen from her pocket and scrawled a note on tissue paper before flushing the toilet and moving away. She opened the door and caught Irene’s eye as she dropped the tissue to the floor. Irene nodded and she smiled briefly as she moved back to Elliot’s side.

He looked at her as she sat down and finished her coffee.

“I think we should go. Are you ready?” he asked but she knew it wasn’t a question. She put her half-finished coffee to one side and stood again. The baby kicked inside her and she pressed a hand to her stomach.

Elliot grinned and walked around the table. He put his hand on her belly and looked over to where Roman was standing and smiled his cold little smile.

“My baby sure does like to kick.” He said loudly.

It was all Roman could do not to react, not to flinch at the pronouncement and certainly all he could do not to rush over to the other man and drag his hands off her.

She looked at him for a second before focusing her gaze back on Elliot and moving with him outside.

They watched them go before Irene rushed over and picked up the tissue. She read the printed words before taking it to Roman.

“Hardcore?? You look as though you know me?? Meet later to talk?? Sand dunes @ 4 ? Beth” he read and groaned.

“That wasn’t a ghost was it?” Irene asked.

He shook his head.

“No that was El but I don’t know what he’s done to her.” Roman swore. “I intend to find out though.” He promised.

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Chapter 2

“Were you followed?” She asked him as soon as she saw him.

Roman shook his head.

“El.” He murmured and saw her shake her head.

“It’s Beth. “ she murmured in reply.

She was looking around and making sure there was no one who could see them before she sat down on the sand.

She wrapped her arms around herself and he caught sight of more, fresh, bruises on her arm.

“Beth.” He said trying out the name.

“Do you know me?” she asked.

“You’re my wife.” He said.

She shook her head,

“I can’t be. I’m married to Elliot.” She told him and he felt his heart beat faster. “I’m having his baby.” She whispered placing her hand protectively on her stomach.

“Ok.” Roman said to her.

She looked up at him and his intense gaze captured the focus of her eyes. She was struck by the naked desire in them, the hunger and more.

“Your name is Elizabeth Harris. You are my wife. We thought you had died in a car accident six months ago.” He whispered. “And I’ve spent every moment of the last six months convinced you were still alive.”

She gasped at the naked passion of his voice.

“So what is Elliot to you?” she asked.

She cast a nervous glance over the beach and checked her watch.

“He wants to hurt me.” Roman said bluntly.

He looked at her, she had lost weight and they were dark smudges under her eyes. The hair was pulled back into a simple band at the back of her head. He looked down at her belly and flinched.

“What?” she said catching the unbidden movement.

“You have four children who need you.” He said instead of the phrase that was on his mind.

“I can’t remember.” She said.

He looked up and moved swiftly catching hold of her arm and swearing when she flinched from his touch. He moved and pushed up her sleeve seeing the bruises that were all the way up her arm.

“El” he said and she flinched from the name.

“I’m not her. I wish I were because you love her but I’m no ok. I’m Beth Gillen. Elliot is my husband.” Her voice rose hysterically.

“Beth.” He said instead and hated the name on his lips. “Is he hurting you?” he forced calmness in his voice.

“No.” she said but her eyes automatically looked down.

“Ok.” he said quietly. “But if he were to hurt you I want you to come to me. I’ll get you somewhere safe ok.” he promised.

She looked at him and single tear escaped and ran down her cheek. She dashed it away.

“He will find me and anyway I can’t leave him he is the father of my baby.”

She suddenly pressed a hand to her belly as the baby kicked. Without thinking he pressed his hand there too. She raised a shocked glance at him. He pressed gently and felt her wince away from his touch.

His eyes met hers and she looked hurriedly away.

He lifted the smock top she was wearing before she could stop him and he saw the pale yellowing bruises still on her belly.

“He doesn’t mean to do it he loses his temper because I can’t remember him.” she explained.

“Beth you can’t let this keep happening, He is hurting you and it’s not right,” Roman said to her trying to keep the anger out of his voice.

She looked at her watch.

“Tell me about her.” she said suddenly.

“El is beautiful. We’ve been through some awful things but we know as long as we have each other we can make it through anything.” He began.

He sat next to her as close as possible and saw her looking around again.

“She smiles at silly things. Loves to sing to loud music when she is doing the housework. She makes the kids do their homework as soon as they come home from school and they have tasks around the house. But she loves us all.” His voice took on the dreamy quality it always had when he thought about her. “She is a wonderful photographer. The house is filled with snaps of us all.”

She sat beside him and smiled.

“She sounds lovely. I wish I were her.” she said sadly.

He turned his head and for a second their eyes met before he pressed his lips to hers.

She pushed at him.

“I’m Beth Gillen I am not her. ok.” she said angrily.

He reached into his pocket and pulled out a photo and put it in her hand. She looked at it seeing them with children. She gasped.

“You may be Beth Gillen at the moment. “ he told her.” But you are also my Ella and I warn you I want her back.”

She shook her head and stood up running away from him. He saw her drop the photo and he swore.

Elliot was sitting and waiting for her.

“Did you have a nice little reunion?” he asked.

“I don’t know what you mean.” Beth replied. “I’ve been for a walk on the beach. Do you want me to start on dinner now?” she asked changing the subject.

“I know you’ve seen him.” he told her standing up and moving towards her.

She sighed.

“Elliot I haven’t seen anyone I’ve been for a walk on the beach.” She said. “And why would it be a reunion?” she asked sounding puzzled.

He stood looking at her checking her face for signs she was lying to him. He must have seen none because for the first time he didn’t hit her. He turned on his heel and stormed out of the house.

She waited until she was sure he was gone before she raced up the stairs. She began a search of the house for anything that would give her a clue as to who she was. She collapsed on the bed with a sigh and lay back against the pillows a pair of platinum rings clutched tightly in her hand.

The same rings the person in the photograph was wearing.

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Chapter 3

Roman sat with Aden, Belle and Nic. He’d explained the situation to them and Nic was the one who took it hardest. Aden had had to physically restrain her from going to the other house.

“It’s all my fault.” She said again.

Roman knelt in front of his daughter and looked at her.

“What is your fault Nic?” he asked gently.

“I told El that we were going ahead with the abortion and she begged me not to and I got mad at her and hung up the phone. She texted me to say that she was coming home to talk to me.” She looked up. “If I hadn’t have shouted at her the accident wouldn’t have happened.”

“Nic she’s alive.” Roman told her softly. “Focus on that ok.”

She shook her head and moved clumsily off the sofa.

“I can’t.” she said. “I mess everything up.”

Roman looked over at Aden and saw the concerned look on the other man.

“You may as well know Geoff and I are getting a divorce.” She announced.

“Nic.” Belle murmured

She stood up and moved over to her to put her arm around her shoulders. Nic shrugged it off.

“Told you I mess everything up. You need to stay away from me.” She declared and moved away.

Roman stood and came over to her.

“Ok Nic, I’m going to slap you if you carry on like this. You are pregnant and should be focusing on the new baby. As for you and Geoff if you stopped being selfish for five minutes you’d notice that he doesn’t want a divorce any more than you do.” He paused. “And if El did die in that accident she would be ashamed that you aren’t taking more care of yourself.”

Nic flinched and looked away from him.

“Come on Nic.” Belle said putting her arm back round the other girl’s shoulders. She led her to the sofa and they sat down.

Roman left them too it and moved into the kitchen. He poured out some coffee for himself and drank it down. Aden joined him after a moment.

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

“At the moment. Nothing!” he said self-mockingly. “I can’t even tell the children because they will want to see her and she can’t remember them, let alone the hold he has over her.”

“And if they see her in the diner or around the bay?” he asked.

Roman shook his head.

“I’ll have to deal with that when or even if it happens.” He said.

He had the sudden image of the photo she’d dropped earlier and he hadn’t picked up. He picked up his keys and moved toward the front door.

“I won’t be long.” He called out.

He drove quickly, checking that he wasn’t followed using his defensive driving skills. He was going to call Jacko in the morning and ask for help, something that didn’t come easily to him. He had a feeling this was going to get worse, and if what Elliot did before he knew the other man had the capacity to kill.

He ran along the sand and to the dunes. He saw a figure crouched low in amongst them and swore softly.

“Are you looking for this?” she asked sitting up and holding out the photo.

He saw her wipe tears from her eyes and then he saw more bruises on her, this time a black eye.

“I’m going to kill.” He growled before he could stop himself.

She flinched from his tone and he swore again coming over to her and kneeling before her.

“It’s ok.” he said softly.

She held out her hand and he saw the two rings.

“I guess I’m her.” she said. “But I don’t remember.”

“El.” He said and she looked at him blankly.

“I don’t know her.” she murmured. “And you love her so I wish I did. because I would do anything to be loved like that.”

He pressed a kiss to her lips.

“I have to go back.” She murmured.

“You can’t.” he denied.

“I can’t come to you because I’m not her. I can’t slot into that life.”

He nodded.

“As much as I want you to I don’t think you will be safe, I want to take you to a friend’s place.”

She shook at his words, fear coursing through her.

“I won’t ever be safe.” She denied.

“I’ll protect you I promise.” He said.

“And do you always keep your promises?” she asked him.

He felt a shudder run through him at her words.

“Yes.” He said simply.

She nodded finally after a long pause and he helped her stand up. He put his arm around her waist and only then noticed that she wasn’t wearing shoes. He looked around to see if they had been dropped somewhere.

“What?” she asked catching his glance.


She flushed a dark red.

“I had to leave without them.” she said quietly.

He resisted the urge to swear again but promised himself that he would hit the other man a few times just for that alone.

“Ok. “ he said.

He turned to her and picked her up.

“Stop.” She cried out. “I’m too heavy.”

“Its ok. I’ve got you.” He told her. “You’re safe now.” He added.

He carried her to his car and put her in the back. She caught hold of his hand and gave it a squeeze. He tried to keep the smile off his face but he couldn’t and he caught her worried glance.

“It’s ok.” he told her.

She nodded as though she believed him.

He drove her to Miles’ place keeping a check on the rear view mirror making they weren’t followed. He came round to the back of the car and picked her up again carrying her to the door where he let her stand with reluctance.

He knocked and walked in.

“Hey.” He called out.

Miles came out of the kitchen and walked over to him.

“Roman what brings you out tonight? I’ve run out of whisky.” Miles murmured.

“Don’t freak ok.” he said and stood to one side.

Miles looked past him.

“Oh my god.” He screeched, like a girl.

He dropped his cup and it smashed on the floor.

“It’s ok.” Roman said at the same time she said “I’ll go.”

“No.” Roman muttered coming over to her.

He glanced at the fragments of the cup and picked her up again carrying her to the sofa where he sat her down.

Miles moved and sat looking at her.

“El?” he said softly.

She shook her head and looked to Roman.

He took a couple bottles of water out of the fridge and a beer coming over to them. He handed the drinks out, with the beer for Miles.

“She can’t remember.” He began to explain. “We need to keep her safe.”

“You mean like before?” he asked Roman.

“Before?” she asked catching that.

Roman sat on the coffee table in front of her and took a drink of water.

“You hit your head and suffered some memory loss.” He explained. “But your memory came back. It took a few months though.”

She looked at him and then Miles.

“Are you sure I’m her?” she asked them.

Roman took another slow drink.

“When I bought you coffee earlier what was wrong with it?” he asked.

“You put milk in it.” she said without thinking.

“But you drank it.” he said.

“Elliot wouldn’t like it if I made a fuss.” She murmured.

“But Elliot should know you drink your coffee black if he were your husband.” Roman pointed out.

She began shaking.

“You said he wants to hurt you.” She began.

He nodded.

“Is that why he did this?” she asked a tear falling down her face.

He nodded again.

“Then I should go back to him.” she murmured. “I should tell you what he is planning on doing and warn you.”

“Yup that is El.” Miles said sitting back on the sofa and crossing one leg over another.

She looked at him.

Roman grinned for the first time in ages.

“I have to go. The others will be wondering where I am.” He said. “Do you want me to get you some clothes or something?” he asked.

She flinched and looked down at the ill fitting smock and the denim skirt.

“I want to say no but I can’t stay in these can I?” she said softly.

He chuckled.

“I’ll bring you some things. Is there anything you want collecting form Elliot’s?” he murmured softly.

She shook her head,

“I want nothing.” She said with a hint of hardness in her voice.

“Ok.” he said. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” He leaned over and pressed a kiss to the top of her head, before standing up and beginning to move toward the door.

“Wait .” she called out to him.

She stood and dragged off the gold band on her finger. She gave it to him.

“Get rid of that for me.” She said.

He nodded and tucked it away in his pocket.

“Beth.” He murmured. “Miles is a very good friend of ours so if you need to talk to someone he will help.”

She half smiled.

“I wish I could let you call me El. She sounds amazing.”

He grinned.

“You are.” He said and gave into temptation and kissed her.

She pulled away slowly and watched him walk out the door, Miles following. After a moment she placed her fingers to her lips and felt herself smile.

“I take it this is Mark’s brother?” Miles asked.

Roman nodded.

“I’ll look after her.” Miles promised him.

Roman smiled at him.

“I know you will. I’ll have Jacko here tomorrow.” He said and Miles grinned.

“Great just as my alcoholism was going away.” He grouched.

“Yeah, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that. You drink too much.” Roman said a glint in his eye.

“That is so funny because I only seem to drink when you are around.” Miles shook his head.

“Are you saying I drive you to drink?” Roman said quickly.

“I wasn’t going to but look at the evidence. One is just never enough when you are around.”

Roman grinned.

“I presume you mean bottles.”

Miles nodded.

“Of course. I’ve stopped using glasses it saves time and washing up.”

Roman laughed and went over to his car. He waved at Miles as he drove off. The other man closed the door and set the security alarm, it had been unused since the time before when Gardy was in the Bay. Who said Roman didn’t make life interesting? He thought with a grin. He turned and saw that she had lain down on the sofa and he pulled a throw over her. She stirred briefly before falling back asleep.

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Chapter 4

Roman came over early. He knocked and Miles opened the door for him.

“Morning!” Miles muttered drinking coffee out of a cup with an audible gasp.

“Hey.” Roman called out. “Is she awake?” he asked.

Miles nodded moving to one side he let Roman in.

She was sitting at the table a bowl of breakfast cereal in front of her mostly untouched. She drank some juice and looked up when she heard his voice.

“Hey.” He said to her.

He walked to her side and placed a bag by her chair. She looked inside and saw clothes and shoes. All had tags still on them.

“I thought you might be a bit more comfortable in new things.” He explained.

She nodded gratefully and saw him smile.

“Ok you need to stop that. You are making me uncomfortable.” She told him.

“What?” he asked.

“The smile.”

He grinned.

“Sorry you’ll have to put up with it. I can’t help that I am happy you are here.”

She shook her head.

“Supposing I never remember being her and I don’t want to be with you.” She pointed out.

“Being alive somewhere is better than being gone forever.” he said with poetic logic.

She had to smile at him despite trying not to.

“Do you two want to get a room already?” Miles asked them and they both turned at to him at that comment and blushed.

“Miles where is my coffee?” Roman asked.

The other man chuckled and moved into the kitchen with Roman following behind him.

“Why are you making her eat breakfast?” He asked him.

“Just checking its her.” Miles shrugged. “She hasn’t thrown it at me so I’m not sure yet.”

“Try asking her if she wants pizza.” Roman said with a chuckle. “Jacko will be here this afternoon. Are you ok to stay with her until then?”

Miles nodded.

“What are you going to do?” he asked him.

“Everything as normal.” He said quoting an old conversation. “Elliot will make his move soon enough.”

Miles nodded some more and handed the coffee to Roman.

“And El?” he asked.

“I spoke to Rachel last night and she suggest hypnotherapy.” He murmured and cast a glance over at El or Beth as she preferred right now. “Tap into her memories of the last day she was in the Bay. It could be the kidnapping by Elliot may be the trigger point.”

“Reliving the experience of Gardy?” he asked him and saw Roman flinch.

“Yes.” He said bluntly.

He drained the coffee and placed the cup in the sink before he moved over to the table. He knelt down by her chair and saw her struggling with the breakfast cereal.

“Hey.” He said softly.

“I don’t like this.” She said quickly.

“What?” he murmured.

“Secret conversations in the kitchen and well this.” She muttered tapping the bowl with her spoon.

“Would you prefer Pizza?” he asked and her eyes lit up.

He grinned some more and placed a kiss on her lips.

“Stop it ok.” she said and pushed him in temper. He fell back onto his behind and she gasped.

“Are you ok?” she asked quickly moving over to him.

He looked at her and chuckled.

“Yes I’m fine. You didn’t even dent my pride.” He pointed out.

She looked at him and slapped his arm.

“Now that is El.” Miles said from his vantage point by the kitchen.

“I’m not her ok.” she muttered to them.

Roman grinned.

“I’ll get you pizza and a dvd later.” He said and comically wiped the smile from his face.

“You!” she muttered and stood up picking up the bag of clothes she stormed out of the room. They heard the bedroom door slam and Roman grinned at Miles.

“That is her.” Miles agreed.

Roman was still grinning as he stood up.

“I’ll see you later.” He murmured and let himself out.

Elliot strolled into the police station and walked up to the counter.

“What can I do for you sir?” the constable in charge murmured to him.

“It’s ok I’ll take care of this.” Charlie said walking over to the counter.

“Well well if it isn’t Constable Buckton.” He muttered.

She looked at him.

“Elliot Gillen.” She replied in an even tone of voice. Roman had already phoned her to let her know the situation so she looked at him with distaste.

“I want to report that my wife may have married me bigamously.” He said slyly.

“Really and what would make you think that?” she asked.

“Well I get to Summer Bay and I find out that in fact she appears to have been married before.” He presented her with two marriage certificates.

“You’ll need to investigate of course.” He said smugly.

“I will indeed. And I thank you as a concerned citizen for bringing this to our attention.” She murmured.

“You’ll have to arrest her of course. Only at the moment I believe that she is with Roman Harris.”

He told her.

She looked at him and felt a shudder of revulsion run through her.

“Sir,” she said formally. “I have told you I will investigate this matter.” She looked him over and shuddered again.

He grinned.

“Then can I expect an arrest in this matter?” he asked her.

She looked at the two certificates.

“If this is correct I’m sure then that we will do our duty. Now is that all sir?” she asked him.

He grinned and put his sunglasses back on.

“For now.” He murmured and turned leaving the station.

She moved into her office and pulled out her phone to make a couple of calls.

Geoff walked into the house. Nic was standing in the kitchen a cup in her hands and she was starring off into the distance. Roman had called him the previous night and told him about the situation.

“Nic.” He said softly.

She turned and looked at him. A smile played on her lips before she looked away.

“Hello.” She said calmly.

“Is there any coffee? I could do with a cup.”

She moved over to the pot and put her hand on the side of it.

“It’s cold. I’ll make fresh.” She murmured.

He was about to tell her not to bother when he paused and looked at her. She’d put her hair up and was wearing make up. He liked the dress she was wearing that made her look sexy and pregnant at the same time.

“Thanks.” He said instead.

She nodded before looking at him.

“You look tired.” She commented.

He nodded.

“I am. I don’t like all this travelling.” He confessed.

“We can survive without the extra money.” She told him honestly.

“I have to provide for my family.” He pointed out the issue of his pride had been a button that she had pushed to make him leave when she was depressed.

“And you do. But well we are a partnership aren’t we?” she said ignoring the fact that they had thrown the divorce word round a few weeks ago.

“Yes.” He said to her banking down on the hope that went through him.

“Then let us work together ok?” she murmured. “I can take in sowing. And go back full time when y maternity leave is over. I’ve spoken to my Dad and he is going to accept rent off us for staying here.”

“Sounds as though you’ve sorted it al out.” He said a trace of his old bitterness in his voice.

“Geoff we didn’t fail. We were just unlucky with interest rates. We’re lucky because we had this to fall back too. But we’ve got the money from the sale of the house. We can move again if you want.”

He accepted the cup she held out to him and looked at her.

“Nic.” He murmured.

She smiled at him.

“I’m your wife and I’m sorry, ok. I’m sorry I didn’t listen or understand.”

“Nic I love you ok and yes this has been hard for me but it’s not as simple as all that.”

She looked crestfallen for a moment.

“Of course it isn’t I should have known.” She told him. “Excuse me.” She murmured and made to move past him.

He caught hold of her arm.

“Are you giving up already?” he asked her.

She looked at him and after a long moment of looking into his eyes she shook her head.

“I was planning on seducing you but the blimp look isn’t that sexy.” She murmured softly.

He grinned.

“You want to bet on that.” He said and dragged her hand to a part of his anatomy.

“Geoff?” she asked him.

He grinned some more.

“Knowing that I did this to you is incredibly sexy.” He told her. “Let alone investigating all those positions all over again.”

She giggled.

“Well then.” She said and moved to the stairs.

He placed his half-drunk coffee on the top and raced with her up the stairs to their bedroom. He doubled checked the door was locked before he took off his clothes. He saw her standing there and she took the dress off to reveal he wearing a bra and a pair of ridiculous lace briefs and moaned. He moved over to her and began kissing her and playing with her beautiful breasts. She moaned against his lips.

“Do you mind if I make long slow love to you?” he asked.

“Mind?” she replied. “I think I’ll kill you if you stopped.”

He laughed and kissed her some more.

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Chapter 5

Roman wiped down the counter tops and moved to the door to close up the diner. He stepped back when he saw Elliot outside. Opening the door he stood in the doorway and looked at the other man.

“Hardcore.” Elliot greeted him.

“Elliot.” He replied softly.

“Seems my wife is missing. Would you have anything to do with that?” he asked.

Roman shook his head.

“Careless of you to lose her.” he murmured.

“I heard about your wife. Now that was a real shame her dying like that. Still accidents happen all the time.” he said with menace.

“They seem to yes. You ought to be careful you wouldn’t want to get into an accident would you?” Roman asked him.

Elliot shook his head.

“Be seeing you real soon, Hardcore.” He said stepping away and back into the darkening shadows.

Roman watched him walk off a curious expression on his face. He finished closing the diner before going to his car. He drove to the Summer Bay house making sure he wasn’t followed. He knocked on the door twice before Jacko opened it.

“Mate.” He greeted.

“Hardcore!” Jacko murmured. “She’s certainly different.” Was his first comment.

“I know.” He nodded and moved inside.

Jacko went to close the door checking that there was no one lurking in the bushes.

“Will you stop talking about me like I’m not here.” She grumbled from the kitchen.

“Or maybe not.” Jacko said.

Roman laughed at the expression on her face.

“I have pizza and a dvd. I thought we could take them upstairs and spend some time together?” he asked.

She nodded and then looked away quickly.

He tried not to let that simple look fill him with happiness but it did. He moved with her to the stairs and they made their way to the bedroom. He placed the pizza box to one side while her fiddled with the dvd. She came over and helped him put the film on. Her body close to his. He felt the instant attraction flaring up just like before and he took a sighing breath.

“Are you ok?” she asked him.

He grinned.

“Yes.” He said simply.

She looked at him and smiled.

He leaned forward and kissed her briefly, despite every instinct telling him to deepen the kiss he pulled back and moved to the bed. She glared at him and folded her arms across herself.

“Stop doing that.” She grumbled.

“Why don’t you like it?” he asked her.

She nodded.

“No.” she said.

“Ok then.” He moved the pillows on the bed and sat on it.

“Do you think this is a good idea?” she asked after a minute.

“It’s the best idea I’ve had all day.” He said with a cheeky grin. “Apart from kissing you just now. That was the other great idea I had.”

“Well don’t get any more like that.” She said to him and eased on to the bed.

He held out the pizza box to her and she opened it inhaling the spicy aroma. She picked up a slice and took a bite.

“This is good.” She murmured blissfully and saw him grin at her.

He pressed the button on the remote and started the film. She looked puzzled as the screen lit up.

“Finding Nemo?” she asked him.

He nodded.

“It was the first film I found on the shelf.” He said honestly.

He and the kids watched it all the time. Sammy would sometimes play it in his room with the sound off when he went to bed saying that it was like Mummy saying goodnight to him. He smiled as he thought of his son and couldn’t wait to tell him that his Mummy was back.

She looked at him and smiled.

“What is that look for?” he asked coming back to the present.

“You looked happy.” She murmured.

He grinned.

“I am.” He said looking into her eyes.

He heard her breath catch as she looked at him. He lifted the pizza box away and pulled her into his arms, his lips meeting with hers. She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him back.

“Woah.” She said pulling back.

“It’s ok.” he whispered.

She shook her head.

“I can’t.” she murmured. “You expect me to be her and there is this.” She placed a hand on her stomach.

He put his hand on top of hers and pressed a very gentle kiss to her lips.

“We have been through a lot of things and this.” He paused. “This is a gift.”

She blinked back tears.

“Even though Elliot is the father.”

He gave her a look that melted the ice she had encased her heart in and she leant forward and kissed him. After a time he eased back and looked into her eyes.

“Pizza.” He reminded her, despite wanting the kisses to continue.

She smiled and reached for the box. He kept one arm around her and felt her snuggled into his side. They watched the film and he felt her relax into him until she eventually fell asleep. He eased her down until she was lying on the bed and he placed a cover over her, switching off the film and taking away the pizza box. He took a last look at her before leaving the room.

Danni completed her homework and came out of her room. She saw Sophie and Georgie sitting on the sofa watching some horror movie and went over to the table picking up the remote and switching off the tv.

“What did you do that for?” Sophie muttered.

“Because that is way too gory and you need to get to bed.” She muttered at them. “Where is Roman anyway?”

Georgie shrugged.

“Some secret mission. Probably drinking with Miles again.” He said with another shrug.

“Well get to bed.” She told them.

“No.” Sophie muttered. “You can’t tell me what to do.”

“Yes I can, I’m older than you and you know Roman wouldn’t like it, you being up late.”

“Like he actually cares?” Sophie said bitterly. “Any excuse to go see Miles.”

“Sophie Bed. Same to you Georgie.” Danni told them putting her hands on her hips.

“Go to hell.” Sophie said standing up and reaching round Danni for the remote.

Danni moved over to the bookshelf and put it on the top out of reach and glared at them.

“Bed now.” She ordered and the two skulked off. She waited for a long moment before going up the stairs and into Sophie and Meggy’s room. Meggy was already in bed apparently asleep. She went over to Sophie and pulled up the blankets.

“I know.” Danni began softly. “That I wasn’t her real daughter but I miss her too. And anytime you need to talk about her I’m here.”

Sophie closed her eyes as tears eased out the corner of them unbidden.

“Daddy won’t talk about her.” she said at last.

“That is only because he misses her so much. It’s not because he wants to forget her.” Danni said easing on to the bed beside her.

Meggy sat up and climbed out of bed. She lay the other side of Sophie putting her arms around her neck.

“I have an idea.” Danni murmured. “How about we go to their room and climb in bed and sleep in there tonight.” She suggested.

“But what about Daddy?” Meggy asked.

“He can sleep with us if he wants.” Danni told her.

They climbed out of bed and moved to the boys room.

“Come on sleepy Sammy.” Danni said softly.

He blinked and looked at her.

“Mummy?” he asked softly.

“Sorry sweetie it’s just Danni.” She said and kissed him. “We’re going to go sleep in their room so we cam have a big cuddle together.” She murmured.

Sophie explained to Georgie and he got out of bed.

Sammy nodded and lifted his arms up.

She smiled and picked him up out of bed carrying him through to the bedroom. She tucked him in with El’s travel bear. Before climbing in next to him. The others climbed in too and she clicked off the light.

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Chapter 6

Mike pulled up outside the house on his black super bike. He peeled the helmet off and kicked the stand. Climbing off he lifted his leg over the bike and stood up. He saw Sophie first and he picked his sister up and spun her round.

“Hey girlie!” he called out to her.

She glared at him.

“I ain’t a girl!” she muttered and stepped back looking at him.

“Mike.” Georgie called. “Where is your uniform solider?” he asked giving his older brother a salute.

“I’m on leave kiddo.” He grinned.

He walked into the house and saw Roman standing in the kitchen.

“Nice bike.” He said quietly.

Mike nodded at the other man.

“Any chance of a coffee?” he asked Danni.

She looked at him before stuttering something and moving away into the kitchen. Mike smiled and bent down to speak to Meggy and Sammy before looking at Roman.

“We can’t talk here.” Roman said quickly.

Mike nodded.

“The study.” He said taking the cup form Danni and moving into the study with Roman.

“It is good to see you.” Roman began.

“Forget the crap. I want to know about Mum.”

“Mike please we are family.” Roman murmured.

He shook his head at the older man’s words.

“We stopped being family when she allegedly died.“ Mike denied the other man’s claims.

Roman shook his head and moved away to look out of the window.

“Elliot Gillen pitched up claimed she was his wife. She has no memory. I’m taking her to see Rachel today.” Roman told him. “She’s at Miles place.”

Mike nodded and looked at him.

“What does Elliot want? Oh let me guess he’s pissed at you. Once more someone is hurting my mother because of you. If what you’ve put her through isn’t bad enough.” Mike sneered at him before turning toward the door. He had his hand on the door handle when he turned back and caught the look of pain across the other man’s features it did nothing to soften his attitude.

“I’m going to go see her as soon as the kids have gone.” He stated.

“Fine.” Roman agreed and moved to the door.

Mike pulled the door open and walked in front of him and went to see the children.

“Mike how long are you staying?” Sammy asked him quickly.

“A long time.” he told his brother. “I’m here for a month.”

“That’s weeks.” Sammy said.

Mike nodded.

“So you can show me all those new chess moves you’ve learnt can’t you.” He told his brother with a grin.

Sammy went over to him and put his arms around his neck.

“I’ve missed you.” Sammy told him.

“Missed you too kiddo.” Mike told him and hugged his baby brother.

“Any chance of a lift to school?” Danni asked him, eyeing up the muscle bound brother and the fast black bike.

Mike grinned.

“None.” He told her. “I’ve got stuff to do this morning.”

Danni looked at him crestfallen.

He chuckled at her expression and she turned around and stormed up the stairs and into the bedroom. He heard the door bang and chuckled some more. Nic came down the stairs and looked at him.

“Hello.” She said cautiously.

“Princess.” He greeted and saw her flinch.

She turned and busied herself with the children before getting everything ready to take them to school.

“Come on Danni.” She called.

“So Roman doesn’t even do that.” Mike commented drinking the coffee.

She glared at him.

“Shut up.” She hissed keeping her voice low to stop the children overhearing.

He looked at her.

“Aren’t you just the picture of perfect parenting.” He sneered to her.

She turned and stood up straighter despite her back hurting her.

“Keep your opinions to yourself.” she said softly and moved the children to the car.

He watched them go with Danni skulking out past him.

Roman put his hand on his shoulder.

“Don’t take it out on my daughter.” He warned.

Mike spun around fast and looked at the other man.

“Take your hands off me.” He snarled losing his temper.

“Or what?” he asked him. “You’ll hit me again?”

Mike looked into Roman’s eyes and saw ice in them.

“Because this time I’m sober and I will forget you are her son.” Roman told him his voice like ice.

“Do you think you could beat me one on one? Your are the other side of 40 and I work out every day.” He told him.

“You really want to do this?” Roman asked him.

After a long moment when they were looking into each other’s eyes Mike took a step back forcing himself to calm down.

“You aren’t worth it.” he decided. “And I want to see Mum.”

Roman narrowed his eyes for a moment before he nodded and grabbed the keys. He led them to his car and drove to Miles place. Climbing out he checked there was no one about he knocked on the door twice. Jacko answered it like before.

“Hey.” He greeted him and then looked past his shoulder to see Mike.

“Hey.” Mike greeted and moved past them both into the house. He saw her standing at the kitchen counter. She turned and looked at him.

“Hello.” Mike said softly.

She smiled and took a step towards him, then in slow motion she dropped the cup she had been drinking out of and paled. The cup smashed into pieces on the floor.

“Mike?” she said to him.

“Yes.” He said to her.

“Where is Jennie?” she asked and turned towards Roman.

“Ella?” Roman murmured softly, his voice very quiet in the already quiet room.

She turned away.

“No this is wrong.” she stated.

She stepped forward her bare feet on the broken shards of china and saw Roman moving towards her. She looked down and looked at Mike again and then she collapsed in a dead faint.

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Chapter 7

Roman rushed forward and caught Ella before she sank to the floor. He cradled her in his arms before carrying her over to the sofa and laying her down. Mike had to stand back and watch as Roman looked after her. He grimaced when he saw him kiss her softly before stroking her hair back from her face.

“Can someone collect her shoes please?” Roman asked. “I’m going to take her to the hospital.” He turned and looked at Mike. “Do you want to come?” he asked him.

“I think it will be better if I stay here.” Mike told him.

Roman nodded and took the shoes from Jacko and placed them on to her feet, making sure she hadn’t cut herself on the shards of china from earlier. He carried the still limp form to his car and laid her on the back seat. He pulled up a blanket all the way over her and climbed behind the wheel and set off.

She woke just as he parked at the hospital. Rachel had directed him to use one of the rear entrances and he did so.

“What happened?” she asked groggily.

“You fainted. “ he told her and walked around the car to open the back door. He helped her to sit up and waited a moment until she felt better before helping her out of the car.

“Now Rachel is expecting us and she will give you a full exam ok?” he told her softly.

She looked at him.

“Do I know her?” she asked him.

He nodded.

“You are good friends. You used to have lunch once a week.” He murmured. “Howa re you felling?” he asked.

“Not as nervous as I was a few minutes ago, thank you.” She said softly. “What happened back there?”

He smiled.

“You remembered something.” He told her. “Other than that I can’t tell you. Now do you want me to hold your hand or put my arm around you?”

She looked up at him.

“Arm.” She said softly and blushed at his smile.

He pressed a kiss to her head and put his arm around her as he guided her to the lifts. He pressed the button and waited, feeling her lean into him. He banked down on the pleasure he felt at that gentle show of trust.

They got off the lift and made their way to the room Rachel had told him to take her too. This was a different part of the hospital than normal to offer some security for them. He sat her down on the chair and moved back into the corridor to fetch her some water walking back in the same time as Rachel.

“Hello.” She said to her. “I’m Rachel.” She introduced herself.

“Hey.” Ella murmured.

Roman handed her the beaker of water and she took a sip.

“She fainted this morning. Roughly after a snippet of memory came back.” Roman told her quickly.

“Ok. Can I get you on to the examination bed through her. We’ll give you a physical first ok?” Rachel murmured.

Ella looked at him and opened her mouth to say something.

“It’s ok.” he say softly. “Rachel will do a full exam you might need me to wait here?”

Ella nodded.

“Not too far away?” she asked him.

Roman smiled and stroked her hair away from her face.

“I’ll be just out here. You can call me if you need to ok.” he promised.

She moved with Rachel into the other room and got up on the bed.

“What would you like me to call you?” Rachel asked her.

“Ella.” She said.

“Ok Ella.” Rachel said softly. “I’ve been your doctor for some time ok. Do you remember when you got pregnant?”

She shook her head.

“When did you last see a doctor?” she murmured.

“I don’t know. Elliot said he took me to a doctor but I don’t remember.” Her voice rose hysterically.

“Ella its ok.” Roman murmured coming into the room and putting his arms round her and holding her.

“Sorry I’m a bit of a wuss.” She said shakily.

Roman smiled.

“Only you can call yourself that.” He told her.

“Why?” she asked puzzled.

“Well for one thing you’d kill anyone else who did it and for another you’ve been through so much and been so brave.” Roman said softly.

She chuckled briefly.

“OK?” Rachel asked.

She nodded and Roman gave her a quick kiss before moving back into the other room and giving her privacy.

Rachel examined her before reaching for the ultrasound.

Ella looked over at it and sat up pulling away from Rachel.

“Roman.” She called out panicked.

He came rushing in.

“Hey.” He said looking at her face seeing tears falling down her face.

“Not again.” She said to him. “Please no.” she muttered.

“Ok.” Roman murmured keeping his tone even. He guessed that her fear came from when she found out that they had lost Francesca. His gaze went to Rachel and she nodded encouragement to him.

“Ella.” He said quietly, cutting through her panic. “We need to do this to make sure the baby is ok.” he kissed her again.

“What if..” she began.

“It will be ok.” Roman said making his voice stay calm despite the rush of panic he felt at her last words.

Her eyes met his.

“I won’t leave your side I’ll be here but we need to do a scan. You’ll have a nice picture of our baby.” He told her.

“Our baby?” she asked him.

He nodded.

“Our lovely miracle baby.” He whispered and kissed her.

She melted into his embrace for a long moment before looking at Rachel and nodded.

She placed gel over her stomach and moved the wand over it taking the picture of her baby.

“Hey, do you want to know the sex?” Rachel asked keeping her focused.

“No.” Ella told her.

Rachel grinned and turned the screen around and let her see the baby on the screen.

“Here you go?” she murmured.

Ella clutched Roman’s hand tighter digging her nails into his hand. Rachel caught sight of him wincing and unsuccessfully hid a smile.

“Is everything ok?” Ella asked finally.

Rachel nodded but cast a look at Roman.

“I’ve got some pictures for you.” Rachel told her. “And I would say that you are between 24 and 28 weeks pregnant.”

Ella sat up and was handed some tissue to clean off the gel.

“Everything is ok?” she asked again.

Rachel caught hold of her free hand.

“The baby is fine Ella.” She told her gently. “Strong healthy heartbeat and a good size, ok.”

Ella looked at Roman and burst into tears.

“I’m sorry.” She gasped. “I don’t know why I’m so upset.”

He held her again and stroked her hair.

“It is ok. Look,” he began holding the scan for her to look at. “We have a lovely baby.”

She looked at it and smiled.

“Our baby?” she asked again.

He nodded.

“And if you are ready I would like to take you to see our other baby’s.”

She shook her head.

“I’m not ready yet.” She muttered.

He grinned.

He helped her move back into the other room and settled her down into the chair.

“Rachel has said that sometimes hypnosis helps with memory loss.” He began.

“Will that help me?” she asked her.

Rachel smiled.

“I don’t know. I need to ask you some questions which you may find upsetting but if you can try and stay calm for me.”

Ella nodded her understanding and looked for Roman.

He’d moved to the other side of the room.

“Its ok. Roman and I have talked about this and he’s going to be here but we want you to remember on your own. At any time you can say stop, ok?” Rachel told her.

She dragged her frightened gaze back to Rachel and nodded.

“Can you tell me what your earliest memory is?” Rachel murmured.

“Waking up with Elliot in the room. He called me Beth.” She said.

“Ok and how did that make you feel?” Rachel asked.

“Confused.” She murmured. “It didn’t feel right.”

“And how were you with Elliot?” She asked catching sight of Roman unable to stop the momentary angry expression flitting across his handsome features.

“He wasn’t demonstrative.“ she said.

“Were you expecting him to be?” Rachel asked.

“He said we were married.” Ella shrugged.

“OK, when did you find out you were pregnant?”

“Not for a while. I was ill and he couldn’t work out why and then ..”She stopped and looked at Roman. “He wasn’t happy. It meant he had to wait before coming here. He wanted me to be showing so that he could make you suffer some more.” She shuddered.

Rachel leaned over and took hold of her hand bringing her focus back to her.

“I’ve seen bruises.” She began.

Ella looked at the tiled floor.

“He hit me.” She said in a quiet voice.

“Ok.” Rachel said to her. “You are doing great Ella.”

She looked up at the use of the name.

“I want to hypnotise you.” Rachel said. “I think that the memories are buried just below the surface.”

Ella looked at Roman. He kept his expression neutral despite his wanting to do anything that will have his Ella back.

“Ok.” she said.

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Chapter 8

“You are nice and relaxed. We are going back to the your last day. You woke up.”

“Yes.” Ella said blushing.

Rachel looked over at Roman and saw him smiling.

“What did you do?” Rachel asked her.

“Took a shower and got dressed.” She murmured.

She was sitting in the chair her eyes closed, her body relaxed.

“And then?” she asked Ella.

“Went downstairs. His phone was on the top by the kettle.” She murmured. “He’d left me coffee.” She grinned.

“Then what happened?” Rachel said. “You are in your kitchen.”

“Nic phoned. She was upset.”

Rachel looked at Roman and he nodded.

“And?” she prodded her.

“I told her to come to dinner so that we could talk to them. I went to text him and remembered his phone was still there so I took it to the diner.”

Roman smiled as he remembered the text with the extra kisses. He still had it saved on his phone along with others she’d sent.

“Then what?” Rachel murmured. “Remember that you are safe and relaxed. You are looking on that day like it is a movie.”

“I drove home from the mall. Nic texted me. I had music on. There was a car behind me.” Ella said quietly. “It bumped my car and I spun on the road, I hit my head on the windscreen.” She said touching her head as though it had just happened. “I can’t remember anything else.”

“Ok moving forward. What was next?”

She moaned softly under her breath.

“Dark.” Ella told her. “It was dark.”

She began to get agitated.

Rachel looked at Roman and he shook his head.

“Ok we are going to stop it there for now. I’m going to count to three and when you wake up you will remember.” Rachel began in her calm easy tone. “There is nothing bad about the memories. They are your memories.”

Ella took a deep breath and released it slowly.

“One. You can feel yourself waking up as though you have been in deep sleep. Two. You are rested and relaxed. Three. You are awake.” Rachel brought Ella out of the hypnotised state.

“What is your name?” she asked her.

“El Harris. “ she replied looking round for Roman.

“Hey.” He murmured.

She smiled at him.

“Can I see my babies now?” she asked quickly.

He nodded.

“Ella how much do you remember?” Rachel asked.

“Making up.” She said looking at Roman with a blush. “ The children teasing us about kissing. Talking to Nic.”

She looked up.

“I was driving then….” She stopped and frowned.

“After you were driving?” Rachel asked calmly.

“Being elsewhere.” She said pulling back into the chair and folding her arms across herself.

“Ok Ella.” Rachel told her.

Roman came and sat with her.

“Ok?” he asked.

She nodded.

“I want to go home.” She told him huskily.

Roman looked to Rachel and she nodded.

“We need to find those memories ok El, “ she told her.

Ella nodded.

“I understand.” She said.

Roman held out his hand and she took it standing up. She pressed a hand to her stomach.

“How..” she began to ask.

Roman smiled at her.

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

“How soon can we find out who is the father?” she asked bluntly.

“A DNA test after the baby is born.” Rachel said quickly earning a questioning look from Roman.

“Ok.” she murmured disappointment lining her voice.

Roman grinned at the look on her face and put his arm around her.

“Come on lets go see your children.” He told her and kissed her gently. They bid Rachel goodbye, thank her for her help before he led her out and to the elevators and down to the ground floor and the exit.

He settled her in the car and drove them home. She fell asleep on the way home and he carried out of the car and into the house. He went straight to their bedroom and laid her on the bed. She stirred briefly when the cover was placed over her. He placed a kiss on to her head before leaving her to sleep.

The chidden rushed in and went to the table pulling out schoolbooks.

“No homework tonight.” Roman called to them coming out of the kitchen.

“What?” Sophie said.

“I thought we could talk.” He began.

Meggy looked at Georgie and Sophie in turn before shrugging.

He handed them all drinks and put a plate of chocolate bars out on the coffee table before sitting with them.

Sammy looked worried and put his thumb in his mouth.

“Come on.” He said sitting on the sofa. He lifted Sammy on to his lap and waited for the others to sit with him.

“Now can you remember that Mummy lost her memory before.” He asked them.

Sammy looked at him with his big eyes.

“Daddy?” he asked hopefully.

“Mummy had an accident and died.” Sophie said folding her arms across herself.

“There was an accident and we did think that Mummy was dead. We were all very sad but the thing is the accident made Mummy lose her memory for a long time. “ He told them softly.

Sammy pulled off his lap and ran up the stairs before Roman could stop him. He followed his son into the bedroom and saw him start crying.

Ella sat up woken up by the swing of the door opening.

“Mummy?” He asked questioning it was really her.

She nodded and opened her arms.

He looked from one to the other parent before shaking his head.

“They said you weren’t coming back.” He told her.

“I know sweetie, but Mummy had a bad hit on the head and they thought I was dead and I couldn’t remember anything.” She explained.

He screwed up his face as he tried to make sense of it.

“You won’t go away again?” he asked after a minute.

She shook her head.

He climbed on the bed and out his arms round her.

He began to cry as he held her. Roman moved to one side and let the others into the room. She patted the bed and they came to her.

“Where have you been Mummy?” Meggy asked her.

“I don’t know sweetie it’s all funny in my head. “ she murmured.

She gave them all hugs and kisses.

“I love you and Mummy is so sorry for being gone so long.” She told them.

She asked them questions about school and what they were doing and about the cats. Roman came over and pressed a kiss to her before leaving her to catch up.

He went into the study and closed the door before ringing Rachel.

“Roman.” She said. “I thought you’d call.”

“What aren’t you telling me?” He asked her quickly.

“She should have been monitored.” Rachel began.

“Yes.” He murmured. “But what has got you so worried?” he asked.

“The placenta is covering the cervix. If she had given birth naturally then there is the strong possibility that she would have died.” She said with a sigh. “We also took some blood for testing, both the blood count and STDs.”

“I’m going to kill him.” Roman replied feeling his blood boil..

“He might not have known.” She tried to pacify Roman. “But the other thing is you need to abstain.”

“No he knew. He was going to taunt me with her before he let her die. Because that is the sick game he likes playing.” Roman said bitterly remembering the time Elliot had kidnapped Nicole. “Don’t worry Rachel.” He added.

“We need to do some follow up appointments.” Rachel was saying and he pulled himself back to the present.

“I know. I’ll speak to you tomorrow. Thanks Rachel.” He said closing the connection.

He went back up the stairs and into the bedroom. She looked up at him and smiled.

“Hey.” He murmured. “Are we going to have pizza for dinner?” he asked.

“I think that is a really dumb question dad.” Sophie told him.

He chuckled.

“Are we all ok?” he asked looking round them.

“I think we need some time and lots of cuddles.” El told him.

“Well apart from that obviously.” He grinned. “And we still need to tell Danni.”

“Knock knock.” Nic called from the doorway.

“Come in.” El called.

Angel and Robbie ran in and squealed with excitement.

Ella gave them hugs and kisses.

“Come on my daughter.” El said to Nic and held her hand out to her.

Nic eased to the bed and perched on the edge. She held back for a few minutes before she burst into tears.

“Oh no she’s at it again” Sophie said dramatically.

“No need to be cheeky. Is your homework done?” El asked her daughter.

“But daddy said that I didn’t have to do it today.” She stuttered.

“Yeah, but Mummy is back!” she said and kissed her daughter as she pouted.

“I think that is Mummy speak for leave them alone for a bit. “ Roman told his kids and, he gulped, grandkids.

They moved off the bed and reluctantly out of the room.

Ella moved back onto the pillows and looked at Nic.

“Spill it.” she said, quoting Irene.

“I just got all guilty because the day of your accident we argued.” Nic told her wiping her eyes.

“Silly girl.” El grinned at her and put her arms round her.

Nic started crying again.

“I’ve missed you so much.” She sobbed.

After a time the other girl pulled herself together and sat up.

“Are you ok my daughter?” Ella asked her.

Nic nodded wiping her tears away.

They stood up and moved to the door. Nic went through it while Ella looked around the room. She went to the wardrobe door and opened it seeing all her clothes still hanging up.

“I couldn't do it.” Roman said from behind her.

She spun around and looked at him.

“It’s all the same.” She murmured and looked at him.

“I couldn’t say goodbye. I tried. I focused on the kids and when they were in bed I would go to see Miles and get drunk just to get some sleep.” He confessed. “The kids started to hate me.”

She moved over to him.

“I love you.” She told him.

“Oh god El, I’ve missed you so much.” He gasped and put his arms round her at last.

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Chapter 9

Mike walked into the bar, his seventh of the evening and sat on a stool at the bar. He looked over and saw Elliot sitting the other side of the bar. He took out his phone and snapped a photo sending it to Jacko with the location. He ordered himself a beer and waited.

Jacko walked in with Roman a half-hour later.

“See Hardcore.” Jacko began. “I told you the no good SOB would be here.”

Mike looked up at that and cursed loudly. He drained his beer and starred them down.

Roman walked over to Mike and put his hand on the other man’s shoulder.

“Don’t you think you’ve had enough?” he asked him.

“Why don’t you get out of my face?” Mike muttered to him.

He gestured to the barman for another drink.

Out the corner of his eye Roman caught a small gesture from Jacko and half smiled before clearing all expression from his face.

“I’ve had just about as much from you as I can stand.” Roman snarled his anger not far from being genuine.

“Just leave me alone I don’t have to have anything to do with you anymore!” Mike growled at Roman angrily.

“That is where you are wrong. I’m still your stepfather.” Roman said to him, knowing that would trigger a reaction.

Mike stood up and grabbed hold of Roman by his T-shirt pushing the other man back against the far wall. He starred into his eyes and swore at him.

Roman put his hands on to Mike’s wrists and squeezed pushing them and him away.

“Make it good because this is the last free shot you get.” He said softly to Mike.

Mike grinned and swung, his fist connecting with the side of Roman’s face. The sound of the punch reverberated through the bar.

“Take it outside!” the barman called to them.

Jacko made a show of dragging Roman away.

“Let the idiot drink himself stupid Hardcore.” He muttered.

“Don’t bother coming home drunk again!” Roman snarled at Mike, letting Jacko guide him outside.

“Tell you what I won’t bother coming home I would think you’d like that!” Mike shouted at him before he turned back to the bar and ordered a shot of whisky.

Roman swore before he let himself be led out by Jacko.

Elliot watched the scene with interest before making his way to sit with Mike.

“So that was interesting.” He said starting up the conversation.

“What’s it to you?” Mike muttered downing the whisky.

“Just curious what your problem is with the old man. I used to know him a time ago.” Elliot murmured.

“He’s my stepfather.” Mike spat out. “Thinks he can control my life. Why?”

“Well you aren’t going to believe this but I have a score to settle with him.” Elliot grinned.

“Sounds intriguing,” Mike murmured.

He stood up and pulled out a couple of bank notes and placed them on the bar to pay for his drinks.

“Good luck with whatever you have planned! He’s a SOB!” Mike muttered turning towards the exit.

“Hey kid, why don’t you stay with me tonight? Maybe we can swap stories over a bottle” Elliot suggested.

“Any other time I would love too but I’ve got a skirt waiting for me!” Mike grinned. “Here!” he said writing his number on a piece of paper. “Give me a call tomorrow. “ He murmured and walked out.

He gunned up his bike and pulled on his helmet before setting off.

“Mission accomplished.” He said into his headset to a listening Jacko.

“Hardcore.” Jacko murmured handing him an ice pack.

Roman placed it on the side off his face and grimaced at the cold.

“When did I get so soft?” he asked Jacko.

“Don’t ask me mate, it’s probably all this soft living you doing.” Jacko grinned.

They were sitting on the sofa drinking a couple of cold ones when Mike walked in through the back. He took a look at Roman and failed to hide the grin on his face.

“Laugh it up son!” Roman told him.

Ella stood in the doorway woken up by the commotion.

“Does someone want to tell me what is going on?” she asked her hands on her hips.

“No!” all three chorused and then looked at each other and chuckled before Roman groaned.

“Why have you got an ice pack on your face?” she asked him.

Roman looked at her.

“No reason.” He murmured.

Mike was a fraction too late trying to hide his snigger.

Ella turned to her son and caught him by his ear lobe twisting it between her fingers.

“Do not think I am stupid enough to fall for the act you two have put on the past two days. Now sit down and start talking or so help me Roman Michael Addison Harris I will rip off your ear!”

“It’s not Harris.” Roman told her. “He changed his name back.”

She let go of him and took a step back folding her arms and looking at him.

“Talk!” she barked out the order to him.

Jacko made to stand up and caught Ella glaring at him and sat back down.

“Mum.” Mike began.

He looked over at Roman who shrugged his shoulders at him.

“You are on your own.” He told Mike and winced putting the ice pack back on his swollen jaw.

“When you had your accident your hero husband fell apart.” Mike told her, using the term Hero Husband as an insult.

“And what did you expect?” she asked him.

Her arms were still folded and it was clear she was still furious but she gave Roman a look that melted his heart. He grinned and then winced at the pain.

“I expected him to take care of the kids at least.” Mike sneered. ”Not getting off his face every night.”

“Well I’m sure your understanding and support was invaluable to him during that time. I can’t wait until you are married Roman Michael Addison and then we will laugh at you when you struggle with life.” She gave him another of her famous looks and then turned to Jacko.

“Now I suggest you tell me what is going on before I get mad.” She said to him.

Jacko looked at the other two.

“I’m not going to ask again.” She began to tap her foot on the floor.

“Fine.” He said with a sigh. “Girlie, I’ve been trained to resist interrogation but you is got it down to a fine art.” He turned and gave Roman a sympathetic glance and saw the other man grin.

“We’re trying to find out what Elliot is up to.” Roman said filling her in.

She turned and looked at each off them before walking out of the room and upstairs without commenting. They waited for the slam of the bedroom door and winced when it didn’t happen.

“She is your wife.” Jacko told Roman.

“Hey.” He muttered. “I’ve already been punched tonight.”

They looked at Mike who was rubbing his ear.

“Nope. Just because I’m in the SAS doesn’t mean anything.” He said.

“Yeah, have you told her that yet?” Roman asked him, Mike having completed his specialist training without telling them and then he was accepted into the specialist unit just before the report of El’s accident.

Mike shook his head.

“It’s right up there on the list trust me, next to; I decked her husband when he was mourning by her graveside.”

Roman chuckled.

“Wuss.” He murmured.

“Hey!” Mike grinned.

After a pause he looked at Roman.

“I changed my name because of joining the SAS. I had a hard time dealing with all those records by the other Roman Harris.” He confessed. “I just let you think it was because I was so PO’d with you.”

Roman looked at him.

“It hurt Mike when I thought I’d lost you.” He said. “But losing El hurt a hell of a lot more and I know I didn’t deal with it well.” Roman paused and took a drink of his beer before continuing. “I had the crazy feeling that she wasn’t gone.”

“Not so crazy after all Hardcore.” Jacko murmured.

“I don’t know about that.” Mike grinned. “You didn’t see him reciting poetry at her graveside.”

“Wordsworth?” Jacko asked with a grin.

Mike nodded.

Jacko laughed.

“Ok, clue me in.” Mike asked him.

“You’re mother gave him the book.” Jacko grinned. “Wrote something special in it.”

“Jacko.” Roman grumbled.

Mike looked at Roman.

“You really “ he stopped. “Love her.” he finished with new understanding.

“If you two were drunk I’d confess that she is my soul mate. That when she had the twins and nearly died I dreamt I was with her. That she called to me when Gardy had her. That each time we’ve split up something always brings us back together. But you’re not drunk and I’ve got my wife back, and she is upstairs so I’m going to go to bed and hold her in my arms.” He stood dropping the ice pack on Jacko’s outstretched hand.

Mike watched him go and waited until he was out of the room before turning to Jacko.

“What are the chances of him making it into the bed and not sleeping in the spare room?” he asked the other man.

Jacko laughed.

“I’m bloody furious.” She told him as he climbed into bed behind her and snuggling into his arms.

“I know.” Roman told her.

“Just so long as you do know.” She whispered, closing her eyes.

“El?” he asked.

“Yeah?” she replied.

“I love you.” He murmured. “I love you so much.”

She chuckled.

“Still mad at you.” She said softly. “But I love you too.”

He kissed the back of her neck and sighed closing his eyes.

He heard someone walking into the room and grinned before he lifted the covers to let Sammy climb into the bed with them. Travel bear was clutched in his arms.

“Good job this is a big bed!” El murmured.

Roman chuckled.

“Good job we have that rule that they don’t sleep with us.” She added after a moment.

Sammy chuckled.

“I’m not sleeping I’m cuddling.” He told her.

She put her arm around him and pulled him close to her.

“So you are Sammy.” She said and yawned. “When is Daddy going to tell me that you did this a lot while I was gone?”

“What is you definition of a lot?” Roman asked defensively.

Sammy giggled.

“Right no more talking!” El muttered kissing her son. “Sleep!” she instructed.

Roman pressed another kiss to the back of her neck before his eyes drifted shut.

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