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Story Title: Broken
Type of story: Long Fic
Main Characters: Roman and Ella Harris, Nicole and Geoff Campbell, Aden and Belle Jefferies, Mike Harris and Danni Harris Gabby and Jacob Smith, Miles Copeland and Leona,

The Children: Georgie, Sophie, Meggy, Sammy, Lily, Liam, August, Fleur. Angel, Robbie, Mira, Taylor. Jennie, Daniella, Kai.

Other Characters: Jacko Thompson, Pete Gillette, James Taylor-Barnes, Charlie, Leah,
BTTB rating: A (L, SC, V)
Genre: Drama and Romance
Does story include spoilers: No
Any warnings: Will warn at beginning of chapter if any (SC, V/D, L)
Summary: Roman and Ella are the golden couple of Summer Bay surviving everything that has been thrown at them but what if finally their love is broken… Can they get back from the point of no return? What secrets are being exposed in Summer Bay? And what secrets are being hidden?

This story follows on from A Summer Bay Wedding 2. Previous stories to this include (in Order): The Beginning, The Lost Letter, A Summer Bay Wedding, The Darkness, Remembrance of Time, Elliot's Return.

Chapter One

Martha Holden knocked on Rachel and Tony’s door. She had the address written down on a slip of paper having not been there for a good few years. Looking around she saw the blue sky fading into darkness as the even drew in and gave an authentic shudder.
“Are you ok Mummy?” Marcus her 5-year-old son asked her.
Martha nodded.
“Just a little cold, how about you?” she murmured giving him a smile.
“I’m ok.” he said putting his thumb into his mouth the way that he always did when he was tired or anxious about anything.
“Really Little Man?” she asked him just as the door opened.
“Martha?” Tony gasped out looking at his former daughter-in-law.
His gaze was dragged down to the boy she had in front of her and he gave a small sound of shock when he saw the bright blue eyes.
“Can we come in?” she asked slowly.
Tony gave a nod and stepped to one side allowing them access to the house. He lifted his hand and pointed to the living room watching as she walked into it.
“Tony who is it?” Rachel asked before walking into the room from the kitchen. She took one look at them before biting her lip.
“Martha.” She greeted after a stunned silence.
“Hello Rachel, sorry to come here so late but well we’ve been travelling all day.” Martha explained.
Rachel gave a nod.
“Would you like a drink?” she asked quickly remembering her manners.
“Perhaps a juice for Marcus?” Martha suggested looking at her son.
He looked up at her and nodded, his thumb firmly stuck in his mouth.
Rachel gave him a smile before heading for the kitchen once more.
“So Marcus is it?” Tony asked looking at the little boy.
Marcus looked up solemnly and nodded.
“Yes.” Martha confirmed. “He’s 5.” She added watching the expression on his face.
“And little Jack?” Tony asked about his grandson, the boy born by artificial insemination after his son’s death.
Martha leaned down and kissed her son’s head before whispering that he should go see Rachel and get his drink. He moved away reluctantly.
“Well you know he was taken into care.” Martha said quietly. “They adopted him out.”
Tony looked at her in shock.
“How could you…” he began to ask.
“It was for the best actually.” Martha told him. “I was ill and he loved his new family. It’s an open adoption so we see him quite often.”
Tony nodded still not liking the idea of his grandson out there somewhere. He should have made more of an effort to stay in touch with her but she cut all ties with the Bay not long after that incident with Roman and Ella. He was brought up short and looked over at the boy once more.
“I hope you aren’t back here to cause trouble.” He muttered thinking of the wedding they had attended that day. He’d never seen Roman look so smitten and that was saying something considering all the years that he and Ella had been together.
“I’m here because the Bay is my home.” She said quietly.
Tony nodded just as Rachel walked back in with Marcus and a tray of drinks. He moved taking the tray from her and placing it on the table.
“Where are you staying Martha?” Rachel asked slowly.
“Nowhere yet, I was hoping to find a caravan free.”
“Not much chance of that. Roman’s family are staying there.” Tony said before he could stop himself.
“Family?” Martha asked. “I didn’t think he was in touch with them.”
“They were here for the wedding.” Rachel told her bluntly. “It was beautiful.”
Martha eased into a seat next to Marcus.
“They got married again?” she asked slowly.
Rachel nodded before handing a beer to Tony and smiling at her husband as he eased into a chair opposite.
“Yes, very romantic.” Tony said grinning as Rachel gave him a gooey look.
“So why are you back?” Rachel asked her, echoing Tony’s question of earlier.
“Just to show Marcus the Bay.” Martha explained.
“She was planning on staying in the Caravan Park.” Tony murmured moving back to an earlier conversation
“Well it’s full. We have a spare room.” Rachel confirmed and watched the slight imperceptible change of expression on her husband’s face that confirmed that’s what he wanted her to say.
“I couldn’t put you to so much trouble.” Martha said leaning forward to place the empty beaker from Marcus’ drink on the table.
“It’s no trouble.” Rachel smiled at the other woman. “As long as you don’t mind sharing.”
Martha looked at her son and saw him putting his thumb once more in his mouth.
“That would be great.” She said slowly.
Tony gave a nod and watched as Rachel led them out of the room and up the stairs. He wailed a couple of moments before he reached for his phone and dialled.
“Hey mate.” He said when the call connected.
“Tony.” Miles greeted him from the other side of the Bay. “Don’t tell me, Rachel wants more wedding cake?”
Tony gave a brief laugh.
“No mate, listen can you get a message to Roman?” he asked quickly keeping an eye out to make sure Martha wasn’t coming back down the stairs.
“Are you kidding?” Miles snorted before he laughed. “Like I would dare interrupt whatever is going on in the honeymoon suite.”
“Martha is back in town.” Tony said quickly.. “And she’s not alone. She has a son.”
Miles frowned as he heard the words and felt himself sober up pretty quickly.
“What are you telling me Tony?” he asked.
“Well Marcus has distinctive blue eyes and is five years old.”
“Five?” Miles repeated and began counting on his fingers. “That would be just about when Ella caught them in bed together.”
“Just about.” Tony confirmed.
“My god is Ella ever going to kill the bitch for this one.” Miles said before he could censor the statement.
“You’re not wrong there.” Tony confirmed. “Gotta go see you late mate.” He added and ended the call.
Rachel walked back into the lounge and looked at Tony before she went over to him and into his arms.
“Ella can’t find out.” she murmured.
“How are you going to stop her?” Tony asked, then eased back as he felt Rachel tremble in his embrace. “Wait?”
“She’s pregnant.” Rachel told him. “And something like this could cause a miscarriage.”
“Oh god.” Tony muttered.
Rachel nodded.

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Chapter 2

Roman rolled over and looked at Ella sitting in a chair by the dressing table. She was wearing a pale cream sating dressing gown and her hair was still full of curls albeit slightly tangled now he thought with a grin remembering how he’d wrapped it around his fingers at some point in the night.

“Wife come back to bed.” He called out.

She looked up and he saw tears on her face causing him to vault out of bed and rush over to her side.

“El?” he murmured kneeling in front of her and taking hold of her hands. “Are you ok? Is it the baby’s? I didn’t hurt you did I?”

She looked at him and shook her head.

“El please.” He gasped out wiping at her tears.

“Sorry I just had a really bad dream.” She said eventually.

“Oh El.” He whispered thinking that it had something to do with Elliot or even Gardy, the two men who had taken her away, against her will, from him before.

She shook her head once more knowing what he was thinking.

“It’s ok it was just a weird dream. I thought something was going to take you away from me. I just felt this evil presence.” She murmured quietly.

“So you got up and started crying over here rather than wake me up?” he growled out feeling strangely left out.

She looked at him.

“I got up and used the bathroom and came over here to brush my hair.” She explained.

“And the tears.” He muttered rubbing a hand over his face.

“Just happened.” She added in a soft whisper.

“El why would you think anything could take me away?” he asked her. “I love you.”

“Uh huh.” She muttered.

“Uh huh what?” he shot back.

“Calling me El again.” She said quietly. “In case I dreamt about Gardy?” She asked him.

A faint tinge of colour touched his cheeks and he gave a nod.

“Love you husband.” She told him.

“Come back to bed, let me hold you.” He murmured standing up smiling at her as she eased off the stool and let him take her over to the bed. She grinned at the tangled covers, blushing just a little at his knowing smile before slipping off the bathrobe and climbing naked in the bed. He climbed in beside her and wrapped his arms around her feeling her head resting on his shoulder as she snuggled against him.

“So where are we going on honeymoon?” she asked him finally.

He gave a laugh before reaching over to the bedside table and picking up an envelope. He kissed the end of her nose and handed it over to her.

She gave a squeal and opened the heavy bond envelope seeing flight tickets to Hawaii.

“Roman?” she said puzzled thinking of not wanting to travel when she was pregnant, or well leave the other children.

“Look at the date.” He said quietly.

She gave him a frown before looking and grinned.

“A year today?” she asked.

He nodded.

“Told you I rearranged it.” he murmured smugly.

She giggled.

“I thought that…” she shrugged.

“I knew you wouldn’t want to leave the kids or do any travelling right now.” He said quietly one hand moving to rest on her bump.

“And you think I’ll leave the babies?” she asked him grinning.

“No, not easily anyway. “ he said with a chuckle. “But the honeymoon is for us.”

She giggled.

“I don’t thing we really need a honeymoon.” She began. “We pretty much know what to do.”

“Well maybe.” He said. “But well I could do with another demonstration.”

Ella giggled once more.

“Again? Really? Aren’t you like tired?”

Roman laughed.

“Does this fell like I’m tired?” he asked guiding her hand down his body.

“That is impressive.” She whispered.

“Now that is a word that every husband likes to hear when describing his…”

She looked him in the eyes and giggled.

“Erection?” she supplied.

He nodded before kissing her.

“Are you tired?” he said slowly.

“You think I’ll get any sleep with that thing poking me?”

“El,” he murmured sounding serious. “Would you like to make love?”

She gave a slow nod.

“Yes please.” She whispered kissing his neck.

He gave a slow moan rolling her over until her was leaning over the top of her.

“I want your hands on me.” He told her.

She smiled up at him and lifted her hand to stroke his face before kissing him slowly.

“Tell me how you want to be touched.” She said against his lips. “I want to please you.”

He eased back and looked at her.

“Ella.” He murmured. “I’m not going anywhere.”

“I know.” She said softly.

He kissed her passionately before running his hands down her body and feeling her touch him in response.

“Yes.” He whispered.

Ella sighed before arching against him as her touched her intimately. He looked deep into her eyes before kissing her as she moved against his hand. He felt her climax begin and smiled as she rubbed herself on his hand. He remembered how she’d touched herself the night before and he groaned against her lips.

“Thinking of anything in particular?” she asked him after a few moments her voice husky.

He nodded and leaned forward to whisper in her ear.

“I’m thinking about you.” He told her.

She looked at him.

“Just me?” she asked.

“In a word yes.” He confirmed. “I’m thinking about you touching yourself in front of me.”

She blushed

“How you ran you hands down your body like this.” He explained demonstrating. “And then touching yourself here.” He added his fingers skimming her sex lightly.

She gave a little gasping moan before he eased on top of her willing luscious body.

“And it really gets me hot thinking about you doing all that for me.” He continued

She wrapped her hands around his neck and leaned up kissing him.

“So you liked your wedding present?” she asked him.

He gave another groan.

“Oh god yes, but I think it’s one of those gifts you should just keep giving me over and over again.”

Ella giggled and then sighed when he eased himself slowly into her.

“Stop giggling.” He whispered.

She looked into his eyes.

“Why?” She asked slowly.

He looked at her and groaned before kissing her. He felt her hands touching him all over and sighed.

“Love you wife.” He said knowing that the words were never enough.

“Love you too husband.” She replied before their lips fused again.

Mike looked at the clutch bags placed on the table in front of him before he moved into the kitchen and poured out a coffee for himself.

“What’s up?” Danni asked walking over to him.

“Just a little confused by the bags.” He explained.

“Yeah matching bags are ok but then you have to sort them out after.” She grinned and reached for a cup pouring out a coffee for herself. He watched as she added milk and sugar to her cup the way she always did and gave another plaintive sigh.

“It’s not decaf.” He told her looking for a reaction.

“After last night that is a bonus.” she grinned. “Whose idea was it to have the tequila shots.”

“Roman’s.” Mike muttered feeling a slight pounding in his own head.

“Figures.” She said with a shrug.

“So which bag is yours?” he asked gesturing to the table.

She looked at him before going over to them and glancing in a couple.

“This one is Meggy’s.” she said putting it to one side. “This one is mine.” She told him after a minute.

He gave another sigh.

“What’s the matter?” she asked him frowning.

He reached for the last bag and handed it to her watching carefully as she opened it.

“Oh my god.” She exclaimed.


“And you thought it was mine?” she said her tone angry.

“Thought or hoped.” He said and shrugged. “I don’t know.”

She shook her head.

“Well I’m not pregnant.” She muttered.

“Danni.” He called her name.

“Mike I thought we talked about this before. You told me that you didn’t really want a baby.”

He could tell from her tone of voice that she was upset.

“Danni, that was when I was screwed up. Yeah, a baby might not be the best decision in the world right now but if it happened I would panic like I did last time.” he tried to explain what was in his head.

“Screwed up?” she asked wrinkling her nose up. “What is that supposed to mean?”

“You know, you been with me at night when I’ve had the dreams. Coming home and trying to fit in.” he said quietly.

“Why didn’t you speak to me?” she asked sounding really hurt.

“Because I haven’t spoken to anyone Danni. Until now. Mum just said that Roman confessed he had similar problems and it made me feel less of a freak. Of course I know I can talk to you but ..” he stopped when Danni stood up and moved over to him sitting herself on his lap.

“We’re not having a baby. I’ve got college and you’ve university and as nice as it is living here do you really want to live with your parents forever?”

He nodded.

“Actually yeah maybe not forever but for a good few years. I enjoy being a brother again.” He confessed.

Danni laughed and leaned over to kiss him.

“Ok then.” She murmured.

“Is it ok though?” he asked.

She nodded looking into his eyes.

“I think its wonderful.” She told him meaning it.

He grinned and stood up carrying her back to their bedroom.

“Mike!” she gasped out.

“Nothing to stop us practising.” He told her kicking the door shut behind them.

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Chapter 3

Roman smiled as Ella fell asleep in the car next to him. He continued driving home thinking of the children and how excited they were yesterday. He pulled the car in the drive and saw the front door open immediately.

“El.” He whispered.

She came slowly awake when he touched her shoulder, grinning as she saw Lily waiting for them still in her bridesmaid dress.

“Ah.” She sighed.

“We’re home.” He said redundantly.

“Yeah I noticed.” She smiled over at him

He leaned forward and unclipped her seatbelt before kissing her.

“Roman seriously leave me alone for five minutes.” She muttered.

He pulled back looking at her before he saw the twinkling light in her eyes.

“Thanks.” He muttered.

“Got you.” She murmured and wrapped her arms around him kissing him back. He eased out of the car and moved around to her side opening the door for her. She climbed out and took hold of his hand as he led her to the house.

“Mama.” Lily cried running over to her.

“Hey babes.” Ella murmured bending down and hugging her daughter.

“Mama hungry.” She murmured. “brek’ast.”

“no babes Mummy and Daddy ate breakfast at the hotel. Is Lily hungry.”

Lily looked at her and nodded.

Roman chuckled before picking up his daughter.

“Has no one fed you babes?” he asked her.

“Jacko.” Lily lisped.

Roman grinned and moved into the house ahead of Ella. He chuckled as he saw Jacko in the kitchen making breakfasts for everyone.

“Hardcore.” He greeted Roman. “Thought this was difficult but well cooking is a piece of cake.”

“No pun intended?” Roman asked. “So you know that Sammy really only likes toast and Lily has either porridge or mashed banana. Sophie eats museli and William likes boiled eggs and soldiers.”

Jacko paled and looked around the kitchen.

“Ok then.” He said after a moment.

“Roman that’s not nice.” Ella said walking over to Jacko. She placed her hand on his arm. “The kids love a fry up. But well, boiled eggs for Liam and Lily.”

Lily nodded solemnly.

She looked up at Jacko and held out her hands to him.

“Pleaseeee.” She lisped smiling at him.

Ella laughed and took hold of one of her daughters’ hands pressing kisses to her fingers.

“I think Uncle Jacko can manage that.” She told her.

Lily smiled and blew a kiss to him.

“How can I resist that heartbreaker.” Jacko muttered

Elle laughed at the look on Roman’s face.

“convent?” she asked him and watched as he nodded.

“If she can flirt her way into Jacko’s stone dead cold heart she’s going straight in a convent “

“Hey!” Jacko protested.

Roman laughed.

“So you and Leah?” he asked watching with satisfaction as Jacko blushed.

“You is as bad as your Mrs.” Jacko said and turned back to the cooker.

“Mummy.” Meggy cried running in from outside.

“Hello my girl.” Ella said moving over to her.

She looked up and saw Sammy holding his rabbit and walked over to him.

“How’s Thumper?” she asked tickling the rabbit behind his ears.

“She’s fine.” Sammy murmured. “We was just looking at them.” he added nodding towards Meggy.

“Have they had carrots today?” Ella said slowly.

“We gave them lettuce and stuff from the fridge.” Meggy explained.

“Biscuits is sleeping out here with them.” Sammy muttered frowning.

“Really?” Ella asked her son.

He nodded.

“So you think they want to be friends Mummy?” Meggy asked her. “Because that’s what I told Sammy.”

Ella hid her smile and looked at her son.

“I think that’s exactly it.” she said with a nod at Meggy.

Sammy smiled and gave his rabbit a kiss before putting her back in the hutch.

“Can you make sure your hands are washed please?” Ella asked them grinning as they ran off into the house.

“Ok?” Roman asked her as she walked in at a slower pace.

“One of the cats is either checking out the rabbits as dinner or wants to be friends.” Ella explained. “I’m feeling a bit rough.” She added.

“The babies?” he said quickly moving to her side.

She nodded.

“Just morning sickness.” She told him equally as quickly.

“You were ok this morning.” He said his arm going around her waist as he eased her inside the house.

“Fried food.” She muttered paling even more as smells from the kitchen reached her.

He guided her to the stairs trying not to smirk as she pushed at his arm and ran up them.

“What you grinning at Hardcore?” Jacko asked him as Roman walked back into the kitchen.

“Yeah, last time I saw you that smug you’d just punched Elliot.” Pete added.

James chuckled.

“Sorry that is need to know.” Roman told them as he collected a bottle of water.

“Is she pregnant again?” Jacko asked looking at the others before looking at Roman. “How many kids do you want?”

“Jacko.” Roman began.

The other man turned and switched off the cooker before turning back around and looking at him.

“What you going to say Hardcore? That it was an accident? She had a bad enough time with William and now what a few months later you’ve knocked her up again?”

Roman stepped back in shock as he looked at the other man before glancing at Pete and James.

“Jacko.” He said again.

“Sorry Mate.” Jacko said quickly. “None of our business.” He added.

He moved around the kitchen collecting plates from the cupboard.

Roman nodded before heading out of the room and up the stairs. He went into their bedroom and over to the en suite his mind still on the conversation downstairs.

“Jacko.” Pete murmured coming over to him.

“Yeah yeah.” Jacko said slowly. “Lets get this served up.”

James and Pete shared a look before they moved once more as a unit serving up the food and taking it over to the table.

“Hey.” Mike called out moving into the dinning room.

“Mum and Dad are home. They are upstairs.” Georgie told him coming over to the table and collecting his breakfast.

“Cool.” Mike grinned at him before collecting food and moving to sit next to him on the sofa.

“Where is Danni?” Sophie asked putting the cushion she had in her lap to one side.

“Taking a shower.” Mike told her. “We have everybody’s bags if that is what you are worried about.”

Sophie nodded.

“I think my phone was in it.” she murmured.

“And let me guess you want to text Angel? Let me eat this and we’ll go over and collect it.”

Sophie grinned at him before standing and walking over the table to get her food.

Martha took hold of Marcus’ hand and led him down the stairs. She saw Tony with the twins and Rachel over at the table with her elder son.

“Morning.” Rachel greeted. “Would you like breakfast?”

She felt Marcus pull on her hand and she looked down at her son and watched as he nodded.

“Hungry are you?” she asked him.

“Yes Mummy.” He told her.

“What would you like? I have cereal or can cook something.”

Marcus tugged her hand again and she bent down to listen to what he wanted as he whispered to her shyly.

“Do you have Rice Crispies?” Martha asked.

Rachel grinned.

“Yes we do.” She confirmed and threw a glance over at Tony who was smirking at her. “Shut up Tony.” Rachel told him.

Martha led her son over to the table and sat him in the chair.

“The Crispies are Rachel’s favourite cereal mate.” Tony explained before coming over to the table and sitting with Marcus.

“Oh I don’t want to …” Marcus muttered.

“It’s ok.” Rachel said as she came out with a bowl and the box of cereal. “I’m happy to share them with you.” She told the little boy giving him a reassuring smile.

He grinned back at her as she placed the bowl in front of him and poured out the cereal in the ceramic bowl. She lifted up the jug of milk and poured that in slowly. He lent forward and listened to the cereal as it began to make noises grinning as he was handed a spoon.

“Can I get you anything?” Rachel asked Martha.

“No thanks.” She said quickly.

“But Mummy you know what the doctors said.” Marcus blurted out.

“Doctors?” Rachel picked up on the word.

“I’ve been a bit under the weather recently.” Martha said slowly. “Thought that a break coming here would do me some good. Didn’t we Marcus?” she said including her son.

He nodded his mouth full of food.

“So where next?” Tony asked her.

“I was wondering if Granddad still had the farm.” Martha said slowly.

“He does. We had Roman’s bucks night out there.” Tony said when he saw that Rachel was not answering. He recognised the light in her eyes and knew that she was somehow trying to figure something out. He would put money on it that it would be about Martha.

“So who is still in the Bay?” Martha asked in the silence that dawned after reference to Roman.

“Irene is still here.” Rachel said slowly. “She’s married to Ella’s Dad.”

Tony glanced at his wife before sipping at his coffee.

“Nic and Geoff live in the old beach house.” He added.

“Aden works at the hospital with me.” Rachel muttered glancing at Martha and then over at Marcus.

“Still married to Belle?” Martha asked.

Rachel nodded.

“And Ruby and Annie came back for the wedding. They are staying with Irene and George for the moment.”

Martha gave a nod as she listened to them.

“Is Miles still at the Caravan Park?” she asked and saw Tony nod. “I can’t believe I’ve been away for so long.” Martha told them.

Rachel looked at her and gave her a slow smile.

“Still you are back now.” Rachel said in a strange tone of voice.

Martha nodded.

“Yes I’m back.” She said touching Marcus’ head. “We’re home.” She added.

Rachel and Tony exchanged a look.

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Chapter 4

Ella eased on to the bed and watched Mike’s concerned expression.

“I’m ok.”

“Aside from the fainting bit. Let me call Dad home form work?” he asked again.

“Mike please. I’m ok. I faint sometimes. It’s nothing.” Ella gave him what she hoped was an unconcerned smile but could tell he remained unconvinced.

“Mother.” He muttered.

“I’m in bed.” She said holding her hand up to stop further comments. “And I’m resting. I’ve eaten loads today and not been sick.”

“TMI.” Mike muttered paling.

Ella gave him a grin.

“Soon be you and Danni.” She told him.

He shot a look at the door and eased over to sit next to her on the bed.

“Mum.” He began.

“What already?” she asked him.

“What? Wait no.” he muttered blushing.

She gave him a look and waited.

“Mum it’s the handbags you got.” he said slowly. “We found a pregnancy test in one of them.”

She gave him a startled look.

“As long as it wasn’t Sophie’s or Meggys.” She murmured.

“Wait no.” Mike muttered quickly. “That’s like yuk They are just kids!”

Ella chuckled.

“So one of my bridesmaids is pregnant, aside from Gabby and Danni.”

Mike nodded.

“Which one do you think it is?” he asked her.

She gave him a look.

“I don’t know Mike but its their business don’t you think.”

He looked abashed and lowered his head.

“But I would bet that it isn’t Nic or Belle.” She added after a moment.

Mike looked up and saw her grin.

“So that leaves Annie and Ruby.” He said.

Ella nodded slowly.

“I wonder who the dad is?” he murmured.

“I think you need to let them sort it out don’t you?” she asked him putting her hand on his.

“Point taken Ma.” He said quickly.

“Now could you pass my handbag? I think it’s in the study downstairs.”

Mike nodded.

“Want anything else while I’m down there?” he murmured.

Ella shook her head and watched him go. She eased back on the pillows arranging them behind herself. She picked up the book on her bedside cabinet and opened it to the page she’d marked and began reading.

“Here you go.” Mike said after a minute. “Lily and William want to come in.”

Ella nodded.

“Time for their nap.” She explained smiling as her children toddled into the room.

“Lily naps.” She announced.

“That so Lily.” Mike grinned at his sister before he lifted her into the bed followed by William.

“How’s you Liam?” Ella asked her son stroking the curls back from his face.

“Sleepy.” He lisped.

“Liam nap?” she asked him.

He gave her a nod before moving close to her side grinning as she lifted the cover and he climbed under head first crawling down into the bed.

Mike chuckled and caught Ella giving him a look.

“I did that too didn’t I?” he asked quickly.

She nodded.

“Mike naps?” Lily asked picking up on the conversation.

“He did when he was little like you and Liam.” Ella explained gently.

Lily giggled and made a kissy face at her big brother.

Mike laughed before leaning down and kissing Lily.

“Have a good naps little girl.” He told her softly before easing away and out of the room.

Ella smiled at her daughter before lifting the cover and letting her climb into the bed too. She heard them muttering to themselves before they settled down to sleep. She eased them up the bed gently putting a pillow beside them to stop them rolling out the other side grinning as Lily hugged her brother protectively even in her sleep.

She watched them a moment before taking out her organiser and making a few notes in it so that she would remember to tell Rachel when she saw her at her next appointment. She glanced at the notes she had put there in the organiser and sighed before putting it away and pulling out her phone.

“Hey is Rachel around?” she asked when the call connected and Tony answered.

“No she’s at the diner with er Leah.” Tony said quickly.

“That’s ok I’ll try her cell phone.” She murmured.

“Ok.” he said glancing at the ceiling.

“Talk to you later.” Ella said slowly and hung up the phone. She looked at her phone and selected Rachel’s other number and hit the call button grimacing as the call went straight to voicemail.

“Hey Rach, its Ella give me a call ok.” she murmured before hanging up. She put the phone to one side and eased down in the bed curling up with her babies and snuggling down. She drifted slowly asleep.

Rachel glared at Martha before she followed the other woman inside the diner. She saw Leah at the counter and knew that Miles had told the other woman that Martha was back with a kid in tow.

“What can I get you?” Leah asked quickly.

“Green tea.” Martha said slowly.

“Coffee for me.” Rachel muttered before walking over to a table at the back. She eased into a seat forcing Martha to sit opposite her out of direct view of the kitchen.

“Its changed a bit.” Martha murmured.

Rachel nodded looking around her.

“It’s changed a few times.” She told her.

“Roman still work here?” Martha asked when Leah brought over the drinks.

Leah cast a look back at the kitchen before looking over at Martha.

“Yes he does.” She confirmed. “Still a busy man.”

Martha reached down and took a sip of her drink before frowning.

“This is a bit cold can I get a top up?” she asked Leah.

“Oh I’m sorry.” Leah exclaimed reaching for the cup.

“Don’t worry about ti I’ll take it over to the kitchen.” Martha announced and sidestepped Leah before either she or Rachel could say anything.

“She’s a …”Leah began quietly.

Rachel reached out and caught hold of Leah’s arm.

“She hasn’t told Tony where his grandson is. We have to…” Rachel stopped looking around anxiously.

“Little Jack?” Leah asked her friend.

Rachel nodded.

“What about the other one she had in tow?” Leah whispered keeping an eye out for Martha.

“Looks like her but he has..” Rachel took a sip of her coffee before finishing. “Blue eyes.”

“God.” Leah whispered before spinning around as she heard conversation behind her.

“Hello Roman.” Martha called out.

Roman moved out of the kitchen and over to the counter. He took in Rachel and Leah sitting a way off before he nodded slowly.

“Martha.” He muttered.

“Can I get some hot water in this?” Martha asked handing her cup over.

“Certainly.” Roman answered taking the cup from her.

“Bit of a surprise finding you still working I thought that you’d be a kept man now with all of Ella’s money.” She said slowly. “I understand she just released another book about a trip to England."

Roman nodded.

“Ella’s money is her own.” He said quietly.

“Oh so it’s a pride thing.” She murmured.

Roman felt the sting of her contempt and shrugged.

“Not really. I spend my money, she spends hers. We spend ours.” He explained slowly. ”At the end of the day it’s not a big deal.”

Martha nodded before accepting the cup back from him.

“Still that wedding must have cost a lot.” She added.

“Just about.” Roman agreed with her. “But worth it to marry my beautiful wife again.” He added and watched as Martha seemed to flinch at the statement.

“Well thanks for this.” She said before moving back to sit at the table with Rachel. Leah smiled cautiously before heading to the kitchen. She looked over at Roman and saw him frown.

“What is that b*tch doing back?” he asked Leah his voice like ice.

“Back to her old ways by the sound of it.” Leah muttered thinking of what Rachel had just told her. A part of her wanted to warn Roman about the child but she couldn’t do that to him and Ella having just danced at their wedding.

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Chapter 5

Roman walked in through the front door with the children. He watched as they moved over to the table and got out their schoolbooks before he headed upstairs. He moved into the bedroom first and found Lily and Liam in bed watching a dvd with Ella beside them. He did a doubletake and moved over to her side.

“El.” He cried out putting his hand on her neck. He felt for her pulse, counting the beats with the tips of his fingers before sighing with relief when she slowly opened her eyes and looked at him.

“Hey there.” he whispered.

“Feel woozy.” She murmured.

“Good job you are in bed then.” He said slowly.

She blinked up at him sighing when she saw him reach for his phone.

“Rachel?” she asked.

He nodded and bit his lip not to tell her about seeing Rachel earlier let alone that Martha was back in town.

“Tried her earlier but got her answer phone.” She murmured.

“Ok I’m going to take the babies out and downstairs and see if we can get a babysitter. I want someone to look at you.”

She nodded before groaning sickly and laying her head back on the pillow her eyes closing.

He leaned forward and pressed a gentle kiss to her lips before picking up the two children and switching off the film.

“Dada!” Lily protested.

“I know but Mama needs sleep.” He murmured hoping that was the reason she was so listless.

Lily looked at him and then peered over his shoulder as he carried her out of the room.

“Want to go see Meggy?” he asked them.

William nodded before putting his thumb in his mouth.

“No thumb babes.” Lily told him quickly.

Roman hid his smile before pressing a kiss on his daughters head and doing likewise with William. He moved into the lounge with them and saw the others watching him.

“Georgie can you go see if there is someone to look after you for a bit?” he asked slowly watching as his son vaulted out of his chair and ran over to the pool house.

“Is Mummy ok?” Meggy asked softly placing her hand on Sammy’s.

“She’s a bit poorly so I want to take her to the hospital to be checked out.” he found himself saying.

“Ok then.” Sophie said. “I can look after everybody if there is a problem.”

“Thank you for the offer Sophie.” Roman said quietly. “Perhaps you’d like to help me by getting everyone a drink?”

She gave a quick nod and moved into the kitchen to fetch drinks. She returned a moment later and gave Sammy his drink first before handing juice to Meggy.

“Juice or Milk?” she asked Lily and William.

“Milk.” Lily said quickly.

Sophie grinned.

“And you Liam?”

“Milk.” Lily answered for him.

“Let Liam answer Babes.” Sophie said sounding eerily like Ella that Roman had to do a double take.

William looked at Lily and gave her a smile.

“Juice.” He lisped.

Lily gave her brother a fierce look before grinning and moving next to him.

“Sammy do you want to put a film on for the little ones?” Roman asked his son softly.

He watched as Sammy nodded and moved over to the cabinet where the films were and picked one out. He was un-surprised when it turned out to be the movie Finding Nemo and grinned at Sammy as he put it on.

“Need a babysitter Darl?” Irene asked walking through the French doors with

Roman nodded with relief.

“I need to take Ella to see Rachel.” He explained and saw the wash of colour over the other woman’s face and frowned. “Anything I should know Irene?” he asked quickly.

“Just that you know who is back so I heard.” She muttered casting a cautious look around.

“She was in the diner earlier.” He confirmed.

“Who Daddy?” Sophie asked.

“Just someone who used to be here a long time ago.” Irene said quickly.

“Do we know her?” Georgie asked. “You know like Annie and Ruby? Because Mummy might like having a few more friends around.”

Roman nodded absentmindedly before moving over to Sophie and kissing the top of her head.

“Help Irene please.” He told her watching as she nodded before he moved out of the room and walked up the stairs. He found Ella in the bathroom and cursed when he heard her being sick.

“El.” He called out softly.

“S’ok.” she muttered.

“Of course you. Can you stand?”

She gave a half groan-half sigh and eased herself up off the floor.

Roman took one look at her and moved over to her side putting his arm around her.

“If you carry me out the kids will get scared.” She whispered. “I’ll walk.”

“Ella please.” He muttered.

“Pass my shoes and my handbag. My phone and organiser need putting in it.” she instructed running cold water from the tap on to a flannel to bath her face.

He returned a moment later handing over her shoes watching as she eased her feet into them.

“I added that book you were reading too.” He told her trying to smile despite the worried frown he had on his face.

“Ok.” she said reaching out to take hold of his hand.

He took her hand in his and led her out of the room and carefully down the stairs.

“Hope you are going to be good.” Ella called out near the door.

Sammy gave a sigh and ran over to her.


“Hey babes.” She said softly hugging him. “See you later ok?” she asked him smiling as he nodded reluctantly. She gave him a quick kiss before easing back and out of the door.

Roman followed taking one look at her before he lifted her up and carried her to his car.

“Foolish woman.” He muttered.

“Yeah but you love me anyway.” She said her voice faint.

He gave her a brief smile before putting her in the car and making sure the seatbelt was fastened securely before he got behind the wheel and set off.

Annie climbed the steps up to the apartment and moved inside. She saw Ruby sitting at the table a cup of something in front of her and scanning the want ads of the newspaper.

“Hey.” She called out.

“Hey yourself. Irene is over at the main house looking after the kids.” Ruby explained.

“Bet she loves that.” Annie grinned moving into the small open plan kitchen and pouring out a drink for herself. “Anything in there?” She asked indicating the paper.

“The Sands is after casual staff.” Ruby muttered tossing her hair over her shoulder.

“I’ll add that to the list.” Annie said with a smile moving to sit at the table with her.

“Well we need something. We’re almost broke.”

“It’s ok for you Ruby you can ask your husband for money.”

Ruby looked up from the newspaper and glared at Annie.

“I told you I want nothing to do with him.” she said fiercely and scowled at Annie.

“Even now?” Annie asked her. “Because you know he’s been calling for you.”

“I don’t care ok Annie. He was a mistake, a stupid mistake. I should never have…”

Annie looked at Ruby.

“Listened to me?” she asked slowly. “Because I’m the one who convince you that you would be mad not to marry him.”

Ruby sighed and rubbed at the bridge of her nose before looking over at her friend.

“Annie it was my choice in the end to marry him.” she told her friend softly. “There is nothing to blame you for. He’s a jerk.”

“A jerk who loves you. I’m sure if Charlie or Irene knew they would be telling you the same things.”

Annie took a drink of her coffee and looked over at the paper.

“Hey what about this one?” she said pointing out a sales position.

“You do know that is in Nic’s shop don’t you?” Ruby asked her.

Annie shook her head.

“Well a job is a job and if you aren’t going to contact Xavier you will need to work.”

“Don’t you think it’s weird that we both married that man?”

“Not so weird.” Annie grinned. “You married him twice!”

Ruby groaned.

“Thanks for pointing that out.” she muttered.

Annie smiled.

“Ruby be honest with me please, we’ve been through a lot.” She began. “Do you miss him?”

Ruby looked up quickly and gave a little gasp.

“Yes I miss him.” she said slowly.

“Seems like you need to think about giving him a call.” Annie said slowly.

Ruby nodded.

“If I do will you stop nagging me Anster?” Ruby asked her.

Annie smiled.

“Of course not. And just wait until Nic finds out, then you’ll know what nagging really is.” Annie murmured laughing at the sudden panicked expression on Ruby’s face.

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Chapter 6

Rachel picked up the patients notes and paled as she read Ella’s name on them. She thought to the phone call she had missed earlier. She’d had no chance to return the call out of earshot of Martha and then got caught up with work.

“Hello.” She called walking into the examination room.

“Rachel.” Roman murmured quickly.

He tried to make eye contact with her but she was reading the notes.

“I understand you started feeling dizzy.” Rachel began.

“No.” Ella muttered causing them to look at her. “I fainted earlier.”

“Ella.” Roman gasped out.

“Sh.” She murmured to him.

“Ok I’m going to start with your blood pressure. Any unusual symptoms such as cramps or spotting?” Rachel asked her.

Ella shook her head.

“Just dizziness and the usual nausea.” She told the other women ignoring the worried look from Roman.

“Ok.” Rachel said again reaching for the electronic blood pressure cuff. She attached it to Ella’s arm and waited before taking the reading.

“It’s a little low.” Rachel confirmed.

“Roman I’m fine stop looking so panicked.” Ella told him grinning.

“I can’t help it.” he said softly leaning down and kissing her briefly. “You’ve been doing so much lately.”

“You mean like get married.” Rachel said quietly.

“Exactly.” Roman muttered ignoring the teasing look Rachel was giving him.

“Come on Mister I want you to wait outside while I chat to my patient.” Rachel told him after a minute.

He gave her a look before easing out of the room reluctantly.

“Ok.” Rachel said again and frowned at herself before she began asking a number of questions. She nodded in places and made notes. “I think you have a virus.” She murmured after a time.

“Probably.” Ella agreed. “Would it be a case of resting up?”

“Yes. I want to do a quick scan before I let you go home.” Rachel told her moving the ultrasound closer to the bed.

Ella lifted frightened eyes to Rachel and gave a little scared moan before the other woman realised.

“Sorry Ella, my head is all over the place. It’s ok.” she said coming around the bed and taking hold of Ella’s hand. “I’ll go get Roman first ok?”

Ella nodded slowly.

“Hey, come on, where has brave Ella gone?” Rachel said softly.

“She’s here somewhere in this pile of goo.” Ella said wiping at her tears. “Sorry it’s just that I’m not so sure we are going to make it through this pregnancy.”

“Ella?” Rachel said with a frown. “You mean the babies?”

Ella looked at her friend and shook her head slowly.

“Not just the babies.” She admitted. “Rachel, I’ve been writing in a diary. It’s in my bedside drawer if…”

“Hold it right there Ella. If I thought for one minute that there was a chance we would lose you..” Rachel’s voice broke.

“I know Rachel. Its just that since the wedding I’ve had reoccurring dreams that something bad is going to happen to my family. I want to make sure that my friends can be there for them.” Ella stated slowly. “Doesn’t mean I’m planning to give up.”

“I should hope not.” Rachel told her wiping at her own eyes. She thought to appearance of Martha on the day of the wedding and connected it immediately to Ella’s feelings.

“Now get that husband of mine in please.” Ella told her pinning a smile on her face.

“Uh huh Mrs Harris, that is so not going to fool him.”

Ella grinned before loosening a couple of the buttons on her blouse showing more cleavage.

“Better distract him then.” She murmured.

Rachel looked at her in shock for a moment before she burst out laughing.

“If that is all it takes no wonder you have so many children.” She murmured and then thought of Marcus the little boy who was staying with her and Tony and sobered. She eased out of the room and walked over to Roman.

“We need to take an ultra sound.” She announced. “Have you told her about Martha?” she asked bluntly.

“What’s to tell Rachel? The woman is back and it doesn’t look like she is planning to play nice.” Roman murmured.

Rachel gave a gasp and looked at him.

“So you don’t know?” she asked him.

Roman gave her a look.

“Don’t know what?” he asked quickly sensing that she was about to say something bad.

“Martha has a son. He’s five and he has blue eyes, just like yours.” She muttered folding her arms across herself defensively.

“B*tch.” Roman muttered.

He pushed a hand through his hair before swearing some more.

“Are you sure?” he asked her. “Of course you’re sure.” He muttered after a moment. “Well that puts paid to my marriage doesn’t it.”

“Roman.” Rachel protested.

“Five?” he asked. “It fits.” He added with a shake of his head.

“What fits Roman? Could this boy be yours?” she asked sound puzzled.

He moved over to a chair and sank on it.

“When Ella lost her memory the first time, before she got ill.” He began finding the words were dragged out of him as he spoke. “It was after she threw me out.”

“Roman what are you saying?” Rachel prompted.

“She came home from her first scan when she was pregnant with Francesca and caught me in bed with Martha.” He bit out. “I have no memory of how I got there or even what happened. We never really dealt with it because there was so much else going on.”

“Oh my god.” Rachel exclaimed. “We need to keep this from Ella.”

“That is going to work isn’t it? My wife is a witch.” Roman said with a bitter laugh.

“Roman I need you to focus here ok. Ella is convinced that something is going to happen to her or the babies. We need to keep her calm and focused. I can’t have her upset.”

Roman nodded and rubbed at his face again.

“Lets go.” He said adopting a neutral expression.

She looked at him before nodding and walking in the room with him.

“Hey.” Ella called out reaching for his hand.

“Hey yourself.” he murmured leaning down and kissing her.

“Are you ok?” she asked slowly.

Roman nodded avoiding making eye contact with Rachel.

“Just worried about you.” He told her.

“I’m fine. Rachel thinks it’s a virus. She’s going to let me go home.”

“Are you sure that you haven’t bullied her into that?” he asked her.

Ella grinned.

“Maybe a little.” She told him her eyes twinkling as she grinned at him.

Roman felt his heart leap in his chest and had to resist the urge to tug her into his arms and hold her.

“Right then.” Rachel said into the silence.

She walked over to the bed and adjusted Ella’s top smearing on the conductive gel before placing the wand over Ella’s stomach.

“You’ve put on weight.” Rachel told her.

“If I wasn’t pregnant I’d be annoyed at that statement.” Ella grinned peering at the screen.

Rachel chuckled and took pity on the other woman moving the screen around and letting Ella see the black and white images.

“There is twin one and twin two. A healthy size.” She murmured.

“Bump and Two.” Roman said pinning a smile on his face.

“Huh?” Rachel asked.

“That is what we call them. Bump is this one because he or she likes to bump on my side and two because he or she is baby number two.” Ella told Rachel smiling up at Roman.

Rachel smiled at them before handing Ella some tissue to clean off the gel.

“Ok then. Plenty of fluids and rest as much as you can.”

Ella nodded and stood from the bed. She took a couple of steps nodding at Roman what she saw his concerned look.

“So far so good.” She told him.

He smiled and led her out of the room.

“Thanks Rachel.” He murmured.

She nodded and watched them go.

“Sure you are ok?” Ella asked him as soon as they were in the car.

He nodded.

“Actually.” He began.

“Hang on that’s my phone.” She interrupted him reaching in her bag. She pulled out her phone and looked at the caller display frowning at the unknown number.

“Hello.” She said slowly after answering the call.

“Hello Ella.” Martha murmured.

Ella looked once more at the phone in shock before disconnecting the call.

“El?” Roman asked, seeing her pale face.

“What did you want to tell me?” she asked Roman her tone like ice.

“Nothing.” He murmured. “Who was on the phone?”

She gave him a look.

“No one. Sales call.” She dismissed.

He gave her a searching look before concentrating on the drive home.

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Chapter 7

Ella waited until she was alone in the bedroom before she got her phone out and hit redial.

“Hello Again Ella.” Martha answered.

“What do you want?” Ella bit out.

“To talk. I said we would have something in common the last time.”

“Spill it because from where I am we have nothing to discuss.”

“So you don’t want to hear about your husband and my cosy little chat this afternoon.” Martha taunted.

“Grow up Martha.” Ella muttered looking at the ceiling and wondering why she had fallen for this trick.

“Oh Ella I am grown up. I have a beautiful son. He’s five and looks just like his dad. The most amazing blue eyes.”

Ella looked at her phone resisting the urge to throw it across the room before placing it once more against her ear.

“How would you know who the father is? You gave it out to anybody who looked at you half decent.” Ella snapped out ashamed of herself for the cheep shot.

“Well because being with Roman is not something I would forget. You know he’s a fantastic lover.” Martha drawled slowly.

Ella resisted the urge to swear and congratulated herself on her restraint.

“What are you after?” she asked instead.

“My little boy to meet his father of course.” Martha declared. “And his brothers and sisters.”

Ella shook her head and hung up the phone before stalking to the wardrobe. She pulled out a bag and threw things into it before grabbing her handbag and moving down the stairs.

“Ella.” Irene called out spotting her near the door. “What ever is it?” she asked seeing the look on the other woman’s face before catching sight of the bag.

Roman moved into the hallway at the concerned voice.

“El?” he asked puzzled. “What..” he began.

“Drop dead.” She hissed at him. “Don’t come near me ever again.”

“Ella my god what is it?” Roman asked before paling and taking a step back.

“Yes that’s right. You know what it is.”

“Martha?” Irene asked before she could stop herself.

“Oh does everyone know?” Ella asked in a saccharine voice.

“Ella calm down. Think of the babies.” Roman put his hand out to his wife.

She glared at him.

“Touch me with that and I will kill you.” She warned him. “Right now all I can think of is drinking vodka and slapping you until I can no longer feel my hand. Get away from me. Go see your whore and bastard child. I want nothing to do with you.” She shouted out pulling open the door and slamming it behind her. She stormed over to her car and climbed behind the wheel gunning the engine as she drove off.

“Now then, does Martha have a child and is it yours?” Irene asked him slowly. “Just wanting to get the facts straight when I tell George that three days after your wedding Ella seems to have walked out on you.”

“Martha has a child.” Roman confirmed.

“Is it yours?” Irene asked him after a moment.

“I don’t know.” He confessed.

“But it could be?” she added another question.

“I don’t know Irene, I don’t know.” He groaned and walked out the door. He saw the red brake lights in the distance and ran down the drive, climbing into the passenger seat of the stopped car.

“Ella.” He said slowly.

“Need to get her to do a DNA test.” She said to him.

“El look at me.” He begged huskily.

“I can’t because if I look at you I’ll cry or hit you.” She muttered.

“I’d rather you hit me than cry. You know I don’t know what happened. I have no memory of getting in bed with her or of you even seeing us together. I can’t explain what happened and now she’s back with her poison.” He said emotionally. “And if that is my son I don’t want her bringing him up.”

“Roman.” Ella said dashing at the tears that had fallen down her face.

“I know you are angry at me right now but please come home and help me, let us face this together.” He said quietly.

“I can’t.” she told him finally turning and looking at him.

“Ella we made vows just a few days ago. We need to honour them.” he pointed out.

“I promised to love and to cherish not to deal with your psycho ex.” Ella muttered angrily.

“I dealt with yours.” He said with a half smile.

She turned to glare at him before a reluctant smile crept on to her face.

“Please Ella. You are my wife and I can’t get through this knowing you are out there somewhere. If you want space I can do that but you and those babies need looking after and I should be the one to do it.”

Ella shook her head before putting the car in gear and turning it around driving back to the house. He took hold of her bag and carried it into the house and upstairs placing it next to the wardrobe turning around to find her behind him. He held out his hand one more time and she looked at it for a moment before putting her hand in his and letting him pull her into his open strong safe arms as she cried.

“It’s going to be ok. I don’t know how but it is.” he promised tears in his own eyes.

“Liar.” She said sniffing.

“You could at least pretend to believe me.” He murmured and took a deep nervous breath before kissing her.

Ella reacted instinctively and lifted her knee hitting him straight in his private parts. He took a gasping breath before clutching himself and groaning.

“No would have worked just as well.” He said as he slid to the floor.

“Be thankful that I don’t follow through with another kick.” Ella hissed and stormed out of the bedroom. She paced down the stairs and into the kitchen looking at Irene trying to rescue dinner.

“Where is Daddy?” Georgie asked quickly giving her a look.

“Contemplating his actions.” Ella murmured a guilty expression on her face.

“I don’t think this pasta can be saved.” Irene muttered trying to distract them.

Ella nodded and picked up the phone handing it to Georgie.

“Pizza?” he asked.

Ella nodded and watched as he moved away to make the call.

“Right in the….?” Irene asked guessing.

Ella looked up and flushed bright red.

“Yes.” She said softly. “I didn’t mean to though.” She added biting her lip.

“Well I’m glad about that because if you meant too I’d probably still be writhing in agony upstairs. And quit it with the lip biting. “ Roman said from behind them.

Ella sighed and moved away so he wouldn’t see the reluctant smile on her face.

“You alright Darl?” Irene asked him.

“Yes I’m fine.” He added in a falsetto voice.

“Will you quit joking about?” Ella snapped turning around and glaring at him.

“What do you want me to do or say Ella?” Roman asked her. “Tell me.”

She glared at him for a moment before she felt the room start spinning and a wave of nausea rush over her.

“Ella.” He cried stepping forward and catching her just as she began to fall.

“S’ok.” she murmured resisting the desire to slap at his hands.

He picked her up in his arms and carried her over to the sofa easing her back onto the deep cushions. He was struck by the thought that she could have been in the car driving when this happened and paled. He flinched when he felt her cool hand touch his face.

“Ok.” she said again.

“El.” He whispered.

“I love you husband.” She whispered tears in her eyes.

“Witch.” He muttered before kissing her. “Stop reading my thoughts.”

She gave him a half grin.

“Where is that Sammy?” she asked quickly.

He ran to her side.

“Here Mummy.” He said quickly. “What can I do?”

“You can sit here and hold my hand until pizza comes.” She told her son.

“Thank you Mummy.” He said quietly climbing up on to the sofa next to her.

Roman gave a quick grin and kissed the top of Sammy’s head before going into the kitchen,

“She ok?” Irene asked.

He nodded.

“It’s just a virus.” He told her quickly seeing her frown ease at the news.

“What were you fighting about?” Sophie asked clearing away her books from the table.

“We’ll tell you in a few days.” Roman found himself saying.

“Pizza will be here in a while.” Georgie announced.

“Have we checked homework?” Ella called out.

“It’s alright they didn’t have any.” Roman answered and heard Meggy give a squeak.

“You better check mine I’ve done it all including my maths.” She told them with a scowl on her face.

Ella giggled and eased up on the sofa patting the seat beside her as Meggy ran over with her books.

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Chapter 8

Roman paused in the doorway of the bedroom before seizing his courage and pushing open the door. He saw Ella already in bed and sighed.

“Downstairs.” She said quietly.


“No I don’t want to share a bed with you right now.” She murmured.

He waited a few minutes and looked at her about to speak when he heard her voice again.

“Or even now before you ask.”

He found himself smiling before heading into the en suite and taking a shower coming out in clean pyjama shorts. He walked over to the bed and climbed in beside her.

“So you don’t respect me?” Ella muttered. “I’ll go sleep downstairs.”

“You are going no where.” He muttered. “We need to talk.”

“I’m tired.” Ella said in a hostile tone of voice.

“So am I El, I was up with the kids this morning and then a double shift before I collected them. “

“Oh poor you. “ Ella snapped out moving to get out of bed.

“Elizabeth Harris.”

“Full name shout? Not that it was you missed out a few of them.” she muttered.

Roman reached over and grabbed hold of her arm dragging her against him.

“Yes well I told you I was tired I didn’t want to be here all night.” He bit out.

“Not funny.” Ella snapped once more trying to elbow him to get free.

“Ella Harris my beautiful fiery wife could you please calm down before I’m forced to subdue you.” Roman asked her quietly.

“That is your answer to everything isn’t it? Violence.” She bit out before remembering what she’d did to him earlier and frowned biting her lip again.

“You better not be biting your lip there because it hasn’t recovered yet.” he said quietly watching the tide of colour on her face.

“Roman Harris.” She muttered.

He rolled her on her back and brushed the hair away from her face.

“Ella I have no idea whether that boy is mine or not but you know that I have to find out don’t you?”

She nodded her eyes huge in her pale face.

“And if he is?” Ella asked him.

“I’ll need to make sure he is ok.” Roman added in the same tone of voice. He knew he was hurting her with each word but had to say them.

“I can’t have him in this house.” Ella said finally.

“Ella.” Roman whispered.

“I know but I can’t see him and be reminded every time what happened. I saw you and her in our bed. Both naked.” She snapped out.

“We have a new bed now.” He said quietly. “And I swear that if..” he stopped at the pained expression on her face.

“I can’t Roman. You know that is one thing I can’t come back from.” She told him.

“You would have forgiven me Leona.” He said after a pause.

“Lee isn’t Martha.” Ella told him simply. “If Lee had been pregnant with your child she would never have taunted me with it. She wouldn’t have rung me to tell me.”

“But it’s the same.” He said slowly. “I potentially slept with Lee whilst we were still married.”

“God Roman, don’t do this. You are lying with me in our bed and all I can see is you and other women. And if you really loved me you …”

“Say it.” he instructed.

“You would have made sure that didn’t happen.” She said instead.

“God Ella are you angry with me because I didn’t remain celebrate in the years we weren’t together? Because you didn’t.”

Ella shook her head tears falling from her eyes.

“Three men Roman. I’ve slept with three men excluding…” her voice broke. “And I was engaged the other times before it went that far. I thought I loved them and I made a commitment. How dare you throw that at me?”

“The same way you throw my past at me.” He said finally before rolling over and climbing out of bed.

He moved over to the wardrobe and pulled on his dressing gown before striding out of the room. He heard her begin to cry and couldn’t head back into the room knowing that there was this gulf between them that could never be crossed.

He strode into the study and began making the bed when he heard footsteps behind him.

“El.” He said softly.

“Come to bed.” She murmured.

He turned then and looked at her.

“Ella.” He began.

“We can’t fail at this first hurdle.” She said quietly. “Not when we’ve been through so much.”

He nodded tiredly and followed her up the stairs and into their room. He shrugged out of his bathrobe and climbed into the bed sighing when Ella got in the other side. He turned to her and took her into his arms before he felt her lips on his.

“God Ella I can’t lose you again.” He moaned.

She sighed and wrapped her arms around his neck kissing him passionately.

“I need you.” He whispered after a time.

Ella eased back and looked in his eyes before nodding slowly.

“Sure?” he asked.

She nodded again, not trusting her voice and kissed him once more feeling his tongue teasing her lips until she sighed and opened her mouth to him. He plundered the depths teasing her as he ran his hands down her body. He touched all the places that were familiar to him before easing off her nightdress and feasting his eyes on her body.

“You are so beautiful.” He whispered before lowering his mouth to her neck and then kissing his way down her body.

Ella gave a little moan her fingers tangling in his hair before she moved.

“Stop. Please god stop.” She moaned finally twisting away from him.

“Ella?” he asked confused.

“I can’t.” she said bitterly. “Because all I can see in my head is you and her. I’m sorry.”

Roman groaned and turned around presenting his back to her.

“I am sorry.” She whispered.

“I know.” He said.


“Ella there isn’t anything you can say right now. We should get some sleep.” He told her and closed his eyes.

She sighed and reached out switching off her light. After a couple of minutes he did the same plunging them into darkness.

Ella waited until she heard his breathing even out before she turned towards him and put her arms around his waist pressing herself close to him. She heard him sigh and relax against her.

“Ella.” He whispered sleepily.

She leaned forward and pressed a kiss to his back.

“Don’t stop.” He told her after a time.

“Were you faking being asleep?” she muttered after a minute.

“Maybe.” He said rolling over and kissing her.

“Sneaky husband.”

He smiled over at her and kissed her.

“Tell me it’s going to be ok?” he begged huskily.

“It’s going to be ok.” she promised him pulling him on top of her.

He gave a slow moan as he felt her legs parting for him. He nudged them further apart before kissing her and running his hands over her body once more. He joined his body with hers feeling her hands on him hearing her gentle cries.

“Tell me you love me.” He begged huskily.

“Love you.” She whispered kissing him. “Love you so much.”

He gave a groan and tore his lips away from hers.

“Please El.” He whispered.

“I can’t.” she murmured tangling her fingers in his hair. “I want to.” She added.

“I need you to come for me.” He said quietly, his jaw clenched.

She moved against him inhaling the raw masculine scent from his skin. She ran her hands down his back and arched against him feeling pleasure tingle through her body. She focused on him on the pleasure he gave her, moaning softly before he captured her lips once more

He thrust deep feeling pleasure threatening to overwhelm him until he felt the surge carry him forward and he collapsed against her spent. He cursed under his breath when he felt her sob against him.

“Please El.” He whispered.

“I need you to move.” She said finally.

He groaned and rolled over covering his eyes with his arm as he felt her get out of the bed. He heard the shower come on and groaned rolling over and burying his head in his pillow.

Ella eased back into the room and climbed in bed next to him. She eased close and kissed the back of his neck.

“Ella.” He muttered. “Stop trying to make me feel better.”

“I’m not.” She denied.

She moved up on her knees and leaned forward kissing her way down his spine, her tongue snaking out to draw teasing circles on his skin. She heard him moan and grinned when he rolled over and captured her head in his hands.

“Witch.” He groaned drawling her head towards his.

“No.” she told him. “I’m in charge.”

Roman laughed softly and released her. he felt the flutter of her breath over his nipple before the gentle tug of her lips and then she suckled him. He gave another moan as her lips trailed fiery kisses down his skin. He felt her breath teasing his sex and he groaned out loud before calling her name as she moved to straddle him.

“Do you want me?” she asked him softly.

“You have the proof.” He pointed out flexing his hips under her.

She giggled before lowering her head and kissing him gently.

“Then take me.” She instructed.

He looked into her eyes before he took hold of her body and rolled them over in the bed driving himself deep in her. He felt her explode with pleasure within a few minutes and groaned low in his throat as he felt a primeval pride.

“There it is.” She whispered kissing him.

“I did notice something was missing earlier.” He commented kissing down her neck.

“You going to talk or make love.” She asked winding her arms around his neck.

“Oh, make love.” He murmured kissing her again.

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Chapter 9

Ella walked into the diner with Lily and William. She moved to the back of the place and sat at a table with the children.

“Dada?” Lily asked.

“Yes your Dada is here.” Ella murmured before taking out some toys to keep the children occupied before taking out her book. She opened it up to the last page she was on and scanned the words not really seeing them as the print danced on the page in front of her.

“Hello.” Leah murmured cautiously as she approached the table.

“Hello.” Ella murmured to her friend. She could tell form Leah’s expression that she knew what was going on.

“What can I get you to drink?” Leah said wiping her hand down her jean clad leg before picking up her pen again and stood with it poised over her notepad.

“I would like a cup of decaff, juice for both kids and an explanation as to why the hell my friends are acting like I’ve grown an extra head.” Ella snapped out.

“Ella.” Leah protested.

“Hey.” Roman murmured cutting across the conversation before walking over to her table. “I didn’t know you were coming to see me today?”

“Thought you could do with some company.” She grinned at him.

“Thank you.” He told her leaning down and kissing her briefly.

“You ok?” Leah asked. “Of course you are ok. But do you know?” she babbled.

Roman looked at Leah before nodding slowly.

“Dada lunch?” Lily asked.

William looked up from his toy and nodded smiling as he rubbed his tummy.

“Hungry little man?” Roman asked his son.

William nodded.

“Mira has started Kindy.” Ella explained.

“Should Lily be at Kindy?” he asked easing into a seat.

“No go Liam.” Lily told him.

Roman laughed.

“Want a coffee Roman?” Leah asked with a smile.

“Yeah.” He said to her watching as she walked away.

“But you will like it Lily.” Roman told her. “Lots of other babies to boss around.”

Lily frowned at him.

“He means play with.” Ella murmured to her daughter. “Shall we go and visit Mira and you can have a look.”

Lily shook her head stubbornly.

“No Liam.”

Roman smiled and reached over taking hold of Ella’s hand feeling her thumb caressing his fingers. He looked up into her eyes and gave her a loving smile.

“We’ll see.” She told her daughter.

“How is Nic?” he asked Ella.

“She’s fine. I’ve invited her over on Sunday. Thought it would be an idea to see everyone.” She said slowly.

“And tell them?” He asked a note entering his voice.

She nodded.

“Better coming from us than random gossip.”

Roman inclined his head briefly before lifting it and looking at her.

“El are you ok?” he asked.

“I have to be don’t I. Got too much going on to let myself get down.” She murmured a bitter note in her voice.

“Why do I get the feeling that this isn’t just about us?” he asked looking puzzled.

El leaned forward and kissed his lips gently before easing back as Leah came over.

“I have cookies for the little ones.” She announced.

“Thanks Leah.” Roman said before the other woman moved back to the kitchen. He frowned because Ella hadn’t automatically say thanks and looked up into her face seeing a frozen stillness about it and half turned his head looking in the doorway. He saw the boy first, a thumb lodged in his mouth and clinging to the hand of his mother Martha. He felt something inside him erupt into live as he looked over at the youngster and didn’t have to look at Ella to know that she was deeply hurt.

“El.” He whispered under his breath.

“So now we know.” She said a note in her voice.

He analysed it looking for clues as to how she was going to take this latest development and could find none, her expression rivalled that of the painting of the Mona Lisa at that point and he felt a flurry of panic that he was losing her.

“You should go speak to Martha. Let the boy see you being friendly.” He heard Ella say.

“El.” He said again.

She gave him a look and smiled slowly sipping at her coffee.

“I’m seeing James later.” She said to him. “And then we are going for a swim in the pool.”

He nodded and smiled in return.

“Me swim.” Lily told him.

“And Liam.” Ella said to her daughter giving her a smile.

Lily nodded frowning as she looked at the book in front of her.

“Cat.” She said looking at the picture.

“Spell out letters Lily show Dada how good you are.” Ella encouraged.

Roman watched as his daughter traced the printed letters.

“C” she said slowly moving her mouth as she spoke. “A” she said making it sound like Aahh. “Tteuh.” she muttered triumphantly and beamed at her Dad.

“El.” He said before lifting Lily on to his lap and kissing her. “Well done baby girl.” He told her proudly.

“Remember that you have a family here.” Ella said to him.

“Is that some kind of blackmail?” he muttered.

“No of course not.” She flinched at the tone he used. “I want you to remember us when you get dragged into that mess.”

Roman sighed at the hurt in her voice.

“Hello am I interrupting?” Martha asked coming over to their table.

“Yes.” Ella said immediately, “But you won’t let that stop you will you?” she asked the other woman with a saccharine smile.

“I thought I would introduce Marcus to you.” She murmured.

“”Well that is a nice offer but you should rethink your strategy here. I’m a b*tch you should corner Roman along he tends to be a bit of a pushover for the helpless routine.” Ella bit out. “Now take you son and get out of my face. Roman will be in touch to discuss DNA tests and access. I’m sure you’ll play nice before we have to get lawyers involved in your mess.” All the time she was speaking she kept and eye on the little boy sitting across the room making sure that he wasn’t paying attention to them.

“My mess?” Martha quoted.

She tossed her long dark hair over her shoulder and glanced at Marcus before looking at Roman.

“Maybe you should have trained your husband not to go off with other women. From the talk around the Bay he lived with someone for a few months. She was pregnant too.” Martha said quickly the words attacking Ella like bullets.

Roman shook his head.

“Forget being nice Ella we’ll just contact the lawyers.” He said trying to get her to look at him.

“Well if you want to go that way I’m just a single mother trying to get some fatherly contact for my son.” Martha said giving out a sob.

“Cut the act you’ll never win an Oscar.” Ella bit out tautly.

She drained her drink and stood up collecting the bits from the table and putting them away in her bag before helping William stand. She lifted Lily to the floor next ignoring their puzzled looks.

“We have to go now I’m meeting someone. I’ll see you at home later.” She told Roman leaning over and kissing him.

He caught hold of her hand and let his thumb trace a circle on the inside of her wrist.

“My turn to cook.” He said softly for want of anything else, too aware of Martha standing nearby.

Ella nodded and turned collecting the children and heading out of the diner. She headed for the beach letting the children run ahead of her.

“Lily paddle?” she asked looking at the waves.

“Not today Lily.” Ella said to her. “We’re here to see someone.”

Lily nodded before looking around the beach. She spotted someone she knew and pointed before running excitedly over to her.

“Want a lift little boy?” Ella asked William as her struggled to keep up.

He nodded and smiled at her as he lifted him into her arms holding him close as she followed her daughter over the sand.

“Hello.” Ella called out easing onto the sand next to her daughter and Amy-Belle.

“Hey.” Amy-Belle said slowly.

“Here is your bag.” Ella handed over the small clutch bag with a gentle smile.

“You know what is inside it.” Amy-belle surmised.

“Have you had a chance to talk to your parents yet?” she asked the young girl.

Amy-belle shook her head.

“I don’t know what to say to them.” she admitted.

“Start with you need them to listen and you have lots to tell them.” Ella suggested. “But you need to tell them Amy-Belle.”

The younger girl shook her head.

“I can’t. Especially now. How do I tell them that I’ve been so stupid as to have a relationship with someone they hate?” she muttered raising her knees and wrapping her arms around herself. “And that I’m pregnant at 17?”

“Just like that.” Ella told her. “They will be more upset if you let this fester inside you until it becomes poison.”

Amy-belle shook her head.

“Does anyone else know?” she asked after a minute.

“Mike and Danni.” Ella said slowly. “Not that the bag is yours just that someone is potentially pregnant.”

“Potentially?” Amy-belle scoffed.

“Tests have been known to be wrong. You need to see a doctor and get tested. Make sure you are ok and get the information you need to make an informed choice.” Ella said gently.

“Will you …” Amy-belle began to ask.

“Your parents are coming over on Sunday. I’ll help you tell them but your Mother needs to be the one to come with you.” Ella said quietly. “I wouldn’t want to hurt her that way.”

Amy-belle looked at her and gave a slow nod.

“I’ll think about telling them.”

Ella gave her a smile before leaning over and kissing her cheek.

“Just remember that nothing is ever as bad as it seems.” She murmured.

“Even if it seems like it?” Amy-belle asked her.

Ella nodded looking over at the young girl seeing much of Belle in her features and just a little bit of Aden. Her long blonde hair was scrapped back from her face and clipped up showing the high cheekbones.

“Even then.” Ella confirmed. “You know where I am if you need me.” She told her standing up and brushing sand off herself. “Come on kids.” She called out to Lily and William. They stood up and started following her back along the beach as she walked to her car. She didn’t see Martha watching her from the beach.

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Chapter 10

Roman walked through the front door carrying a bag of groceries. He walked into the kitchen and placed them on the top before heading out the back. He heard Ella and the babies in the pool and walked over to them.

“Hey.” He called softly.

“Hello.” Ella called out from the side of the pool. “Going to join us?”

He smiled and shook his head.

“Sorry I’ve got to go pick up the children in a bit and you need to get resting.” He told her.

“You came home to nag me?” she muttered.

“Nope.” he murmured. “I came home to check up on you, entirely different.”

Ella smiled reluctantly before lifting William out of the pool. Roman picked you a towel and wrapped his son in it before getting the next read for Lily. She ran over to him giggling before swerving at the last minute and jumping back in the pool.

“Lily Alyssa Harris.” Ella called out swimming over to her daughter. “Time to get out of the pool.”

“No mama.” She said doggy paddling away from her.

“Don’t make me dunk you.” Ella warned trying not to smile.

Lilly looked over her shoulder and giggled dunking herself in the process. She swallowed a mouthful of water before surfacing and coughing. She burst immediately into tears.

“Come on baby girl.” Ella said quickly copping her in her arms and touching her feet to the bottom of the pool. She walked slowly to the side and lifted Lily out into Roman’s waiting arms.

“Dada.” Lily cried out with a hiccup.

“Alright baby girl.” He told her wrapping her tight in a towel.

She clung to him and sobbed.

“I think that Lily girl is tired huh?” Roman soothed her rubbing her back in gentle circles.

She nodded up at him.

“Liam need naps.” She told him quickly.

Roman nodded.

“Yes shall we go into the house and have a sleep?” he suggested.

Lily nodded and pointed over his shoulder to her brother.

“I’ve got him.” Ella said lifting herself out of the pool and pulling on her towelling robe. She carefully lifted William into her arms and moved over to Roman and Lily.

“Dada.” Liam said sweetly.

“What little boy?” Roman said to his son. He was struck by not being there for Marcus and seeing his first steps and hearing his first words and felt a pang of hurt go through him at missing out on all that.

“Sleeps.” Liam lisped.

“Yes babes.” He said distractedly.

Ella moved in front of him and carried William straight upstairs to the bathroom. She filled the bath quickly adding bubble bath and taking off Williams swim pants before putting him in the bath.

“Hey.” Roman murmured moving into the bathroom with Lily. “You move quick.”

“Got to get them bathed and in bed.” She told him.

Roman frowned at her before kneeling down next to her and peeling off Lily’s swimming costume. He lifted her into the bath and reached for the sponge his fingers brushing with Ella’s in the water. She pulled her hand away using the excuse of reaching for the shampoo. She poured a small amount into the palm of her hand before lathering up William’s hair.

“You ok.” Roman said quietly and saw her nod.

He nodded himself before taking the shampoo and washing Lily’s hair.

“Me want curls.” Lily muttered squinting her eyes up.

Ella gave a small laugh before rinsing off William’s hair and lifting him out of the bath. She wrapped him in a fresh towel and carried him through to the nursery. Within minutes she had him in clean pyjamas and had put him in his crib.

Roman moved into the nursery with Lily smiling as he saw Fudge the cat on his daughters’ bed.

“Which nightdress?” he asked his daughter.

Lily looked at him before pointing at her yellow one.

“That one?” he asked her.

“Yes.” She said sweetly. “Pretty.”

Roman chuckled and sat her on the changing table while he put her in clean underwear and added her nightdress. He lifted her over to her bed and tucked her under the covers.

“Close your eyes and have sleeps.” Ella said smiling at her daughter.

She eased out of the nursery and into the bedroom shedding the wet robe and hanging it in the en suite.

“Ella.” Roman called out following her. “Want to tell me what the matter is?”

She took off her swimsuit and left it in the sink before stepping into the shower and switching it on.

“Obviously not then.” Roman growled out.

He turned around and stormed down the stairs heading into the kitchen. He put the groceries away before selecting what he wanted to prepare for their dinner tonight. Within minutes he had the makings of a chicken korma with a vegetarian option for Ella.

He looked up when she came down the stairs watching as she took the swimwear into the laundry and put a wash on.

“Did you think about Marcus just now?” she asked him standing in the doorway.

Roman wanted to lie and say no but he looked into her already hurt looking eyes and slowly nodded.

“Yes I did.” He admitted.

“See it’s creeping in already.” Ella told him folding her arms around herself.

“And what about you?” he shot back stung by her words. “Distancing yourself from me and not speaking to me.”

“What the hell am I doing right now?” Ella muttered.

“Ella.” Roman groaned.

“Yeah exactly.” She grimaced. “I am talking to your Roman but you don’t seem to be listening very well. You want that boy don’t you?”

Roman wanted to deny it. To tell his wife, his pregnant wife that he was happy with them but there was a yearning inside him to know that little boy and include him with the rest of the family.

“Yes.” He said his voice barely above a whisper.

“Then you need to know it will come down to a choice between us.” She told him stepping forward toward him. “As horrible as it sounds I can’t have him in this house, I can’t accept him and I don’t want to know him.”

Roman nodded.

“If he is my son you can’t ask me not to see him at all.” He told her.

She shrugged.

“I don’t intend to. Just have to find some boundaries.”

Roman nodded once more before moving over to her and taking her into his arms. He felt her arms wrap tight around him and he sighed.

“We have to find our other boy too.” She said after a minute.

“Why didn’t they tell you at the hospice that Gabby was a twin?” Roman asked the question that had been puzzling him for ages.

“I don’t know. It’s possible that the nun that took Gabby wasn’t there for the birth of the other baby and didn’t know.” She said with a sigh.

Roman leaned down and kissed her.

“Interesting that we should make three sets of twins.” He said sounding smug.

“Lucky that I don’t remember the birth of the first set otherwise you wouldn’t have had the equipment to make anymore.” Ella told him easing back and looking at him.

He smiled down at her before kissing the end of her nose and then looking at the clock.

“A whole half hour before I have to go get the kids.” He said slowly.

He picked her up in his arms and carried her over to the sofa in the lounge sitting down and placing her carefully on his lap. He kept his arms tight around her as he sank back into the cushions.

“Are we snuggling?” she asked him with a smile.

“Yes.” He answered immediately. “I’ve missed you.”

Ella giggled.

“How could you miss me we had sex four times last night?” she murmured unable to control her blush at the question.

“But we just had five minutes when it got a bit …” he stopped unable to think of a suitable description.

“Uh huh.” Ella muttered glaring at him.

“And anyway it’s making love.” He corrected her kissing her gently on the lips.

“So it is.” She murmured her arms around his neck.

Danni grinned when she saw Mike standing in the parking lot of the campus car park next to her car. She walked quickly over to him tilting her head for his kiss.

“Hello.” She murmured. “What are you doing here?”

“Just thought I would come and see you. Travel home together.”

Danni smiled before fishing the keys out of her pocket and handing them over.

“Oh so I’m driving?” he asked her.

She nodded and watched as he smiled.

“How is mum?” She asked him once they were in the car.

“Ok.” he said quickly. “Why do you ask?”

“I got a weird text of Nic about someone called Martha being back.”

“Sh*t!” Mike exclaimed before he could stop himself.

”Ok not quite the word I thought you’d come out with. Who is she and what is the story?” Danni asked him.

“Just someone who causes trouble.” Mike told her glancing over at her before looking at the road ahead once more.

“There is more isn’t there?” she asked him slowly.

“I don’t the full details. Just that there were a couple of incidents between Martha and the parents.” He muttered changing gear as he moved into the turn off heading towards the Bay.

“Do you think they can handle anything else?” Danni found herself asking. “I mean Mum is pregnant and they just had the wedding and everything.”

“Chris.” Mike added.

“Yeah and finding out Gabby is a twin.” She mumbled.

“You didn’t know that did you?” he asked picking up on a note in her voice.

“No.” she said still sound guilty. “But I feel like I should have done. I read Gabby’s file.”

“How about we go back to the hospice and speak to them? See if they have any more information on you.” Mike suggested slowly.

“Could we?” Danni asked unable to keep the excited note out of her voice.

“I don’t see why not.” He murmured. “I know that you’ve not decided on a date for our wedding because you want to know where you come from first.”

“What if we never find out?” she asked her eyes filling with tears.

“Then it will be a shame.” He said slowly and grinned over at her. “I’ll just have to go find someone else to marry.”

“Hey!” she gasped out hitting his arm.

“Danni” He said softly catching hold of her hand. “I love you and I want to marry you. If you can’t take that step I’m happy just to be with you.”

He lowered his lips to her hand and placed a gentle kiss on it before placing her hand on his knee as he returned his hand to the steering wheel.

“How about we crash the parents tonight and spend some time with them?” he asked her.

“Yes please. And take Gabby over.”

Mike looked puzzled.

“Is there still a problem there?”

“I don’t know.” Danni admitted. “But she hasn’t really spent any time there since she and Jacob moved in.”

Mike gave a slow nod and signalled before pulling into the road that took them to the diner.

“We should take desert.” He murmured. “Mum is having this thing for cheesecake at the moment.”

“And ice cream.” Danni added. “She had the same craving with William.”

Mike chuckled.

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