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Re: Swear It Again - Henry Cavill. WIP


Ch 79 - Henry

Watching Sophie walk into the courtyard with Liam, rather than Martine and Ashleigh, I wondered what had happened. A glance at Phil suggested he was also in the dark but given his mother-in-law was smiling at the guests as she passed them, it can’t have been anything too serious.

Once she was seated in the front row, Liam took up his position beside his brother and whispered something that soon made the groom lose his frown. The rest of the room was still curious and were whispering and because I was in my row alone, I could do little more than sit there and wait to see what happened next. That was when Sophie turned to me.

“Why don’t you come up here and sit with me handsome; you’re practically family.”

I wasn’t sure what to say to that so I didn’t say anything, instead quickly joining her. Before I had a chance to ask what was going on, the music heralded the start of proceedings. Everyone stood and turned back to wait for the two younger girls to walk in, only to see Ally come in first. It soon became apparent why when a few moments later Lizzie also entered and was flanked on either side by Phil’s daughters. It was a nice touch.

As was to be expected, all eyes were on the bride and her escorts and while I too had watched them come in, my eyes didn’t take long to revert back to Ally. She looked stunning; her dress and the way she wore it accentuated her figure and stirred feelings that I was going to have to address with her in a more appropriate setting. As it was, I suspected that with my luck the day was going to be long and that address was going to have to wait. For now, all I could do was smile and watch as she finally reached her position in front of the celebrant.

~*~*~

The ceremony went off without a hitch; Ally’s daydreaming stalling the ring exchange momentarily aside; and once it was over and congratulations were given, the guests headed into the reception so that the wedding party could take their photos. Sophie suggested I stay but I declined, not being part of the actual wedding party as such, promising to take plenty of others once we were all inside. It was nice to be asked but I didn’t feel it was right.

Grabbing a beer, I mingled with the fairly small crowd of well-wishers who had been able to attend today; 20 or so people in total; happy to just be another of the guests. Thankfully who I was no longer seemed to be of interest to this group so a lot of what we talked about revolved around sports, politics or the upcoming Royal Wedding, leaving me to relax and enjoy the day.

This wasn’t to say that there weren’t the odd questions here or there but these were more about the business or technical side of things than me so I was happy to answer. For all intents and purposes, I was here as a friend to the happy couple, nothing more. It was kind of freeing and knowing it wouldn’t be like this going forward, I planned on enjoying it.

Some forty minutes later the bridal party finally emerged to join us and after another round of cheers, it was time to sit down and start the meal. Because the guest list had been relatively small, the dining room had been set up so that the tables formed a large circle. Ally explained to me as we sat down that this was so the bride and groom could see all their guests, and be seen in turn, with no-one left to feel slighted because they were seated at a back table.

Ally was seated to the left of Phil, with me next then Sophie, leaving Liam to sit on Lizzie’s right, with his folks hemming him in on the other side. The rest of the crowd were told to just pick a seat where they liked, no formal seating pre-arranged. Almost as though it had actually been sorted, people happily took a seat with no need for conferring.

I had to smile at how well it was working out, remembering the last wedding I had been to – Charlie and Kat’s – where there had been several seating issues with family from both sides. It had sorted itself out eventually but the dispute had ruffled a few feathers and put a damper on the day. Maybe there was something to be said for small and intimate.

Before the meals were served, Liam made the toasts and read the emails from absent friends and family before Phil thanked everyone on behalf of himself and his new bride. Not to be outdone, Lizzie herself made a toast that had us laughing, along with a couple of tears as she thanked Ally. It wasn’t hard to miss the bond they shared.

Finally, the meal was served and it was delicious. The whole afternoon turned out perfect and I was grateful that I had been asked to share in it.

~*~*~

Day slowly turned into night as the happy couple and their guests partied away. There was plenty of dancing, drinks and general cheer as everyone circulated and enjoyed the festivities. As much fun as I was having however, I couldn’t wait to be alone with Ally.

Since our very first meeting, I had seen her smile and laugh numerous times but tonight there was something about the way she was enjoying herself that made her more appealing; if that was even possible. I knew I was nowhere near the point where I wanted to commit to anything more serious than what we had and yet, the more time I spent with her the more I could feel the crack in the wall start to grow. Could it be that she was the one who would finally have the wall come down for good?

God only knew but for now, in this moment, I was happy enough to just enjoy her, us, as we were.
It wasn’t quite 10pm when the wait staff made it clear; politely of course; that we were all going to have to leave shortly. When you consider that we had pretty much taken over not only the courtyard but the reception hall for the best of the day, it wasn’t much of a chore to leave. Just before that happened however, Lizzie asked me to share a dance. I had hoped to spend the last dance of the night with Ally but who was I to deny a bride her request on her special day?

As we moved to the music, Lizzie gave me a quick peck on the cheek, followed with a smile. “I’m really happy you’re here Henry; it means a lot to me, and Phil of course.”

“You’re more than welcome. I’m happy to be here; thanks for asking.”

“I hope you know that you weren’t just invited because you were already here to patch things up with Ally. Phil and I genuinely hoped you would be able to make it, although we weren’t sure of your schedule.”

Hearing this meant a lot. “I appreciate that Lizzie, on so many levels.”

“Well, we are family now so that means we need to look out for each other.” She paused momentarily, almost as though she was weighing up the pros and cons of her next thought and whether she should say it out loud. In the end she did.

~*~*~

“You can tell me to butt out if you like and I’m not asking just to be nosy, but how are things between the two of you now? Al’s the happiest I’ve seen her in a very long time; I just hope it’s not all for show, for Phil and me on our wedding day.”

I had no idea how to answer but decided that if she could ask, then the least I could do was tell her the truth. “I don’t believe so. We realize we still have a lot to talk about but I trust that we can get through it. We’ve already talked, quite a bit, and I understand a little bit more now about her concerns. It gives me a place to start so I can try and help her get through those concerns. I suppose as long as we keep the lines of communication open, we will be fine.”

“I hope so too. Wanting a happy ending for her aside, I really believe you are perfect together; despite your different backgrounds, upbringings and work environments. At least you won’t have to fear a clash of egos because one movie career is going better than the other. Believe me, I understand only too well that life isn’t perfect or even easy but if the love is genuinely there, then surely it has a fighting chance. I know the love is there between you – I and everyone else can see it clear as day.”

I smiled. “Oh, the love is most definitely there. I’m just grateful that we started out as friends and didn’t rush into anything else first. It gives us a solid foundation to work from and that can only be in our favour.”

“It certainly is. So long as you both remember that, the next time things get a little hairy, then you should be able to weather the storm. I also want you to remember that I am never going to be so far away that I can’t come and knock both of your heads together if I have to; don’t think I won’t.”

I laughed. “Yes, Mum.”

“Oi, cheeky beggar!” she laughed in return and then gave me a hug as the song came to an end. “Now, I think you had better take our young lady home; she’s not going to last much longer.”

I followed her gaze and spotted Ally sitting over on the side of the room, her head dipped slightly to the right and her eyes closed, her hands folded neatly in her lap. She looked so at peace, despite the noise around her, I didn’t want to disturb her but of course we couldn’t just leave her like that.

Walking over gently to rouse her, I suggested we get going. Stopping only long enough to pick up her shoes and say a proper goodbye to the happy couple, along with a passing goodbye to the other guests, we were soon outside the restaurant and hailing a cab. We barely managed to get back to the hotel before she had the chance to fall asleep completely.

~*~*~

“Wasn’t today just so romantical?” Ally sighed as she walked ahead into our hotel suite. “I mean Paris, a wedding, family and friends. It was perfect.”

“Yes, it was” I had to agree as I closed and locked the door behind me. No sooner had I made it into the centre of the room when she came back and stepped into my arms.

“I’m sooo happy right now. I still can’t quite believe that you’re really here with me but I’m glad you are. Having you with me today just made it all the more special.”

I wrapped my arms around her completely so I could pull her in closer. “There’s nowhere else I would rather be” I confessed, meaning it before I allowed my lips to detain hers. When she giggled as our lips met, I didn’t have to ask why and, in the end, she told me anyway.

“That beard really does tickle. I wonder if there will ever be a time when I don’t think so.”

I let the corners of my mouth rise a little as I answered “All the more reason to keep it then, wouldn’t you agree?” She actually nodded. “Naturally it will have to come off at some point though. I doubt the die-hard Superman fans are going to appreciate or take too kindly to seeing their hero all suited up and still wearing a face full of facial hair.”

“Bugger them; they will just have to get over it.” She laughed some more.

I could only join in with her, knowing full well it was the alcohol and her tiredness talking. Tickle it might but I knew deep down she really wasn’t a fan of the beard. Even so, if it made her happy right here and now then that was all that mattered.

~*~*~

Cuddling in the middle of the room was great and all but I needed to get Ally to bed. I sat her down on the side of the king-sized bed to help her remove her shoes, only to remember she had taken them off a good two hours earlier. Why women put themselves through the torture I’ll never understand. Before removing anything else however, I went over to the bar fridge to grab her a bottle of water, knowing she would need it later. I had barely turned my back and returned, only to find her now laying on her side with her knees tucked up slightly, her eyes closed and the beginning of a soft snore happening.

For half a second, I thought of taking a photo but I didn’t do it, opting instead to take a mental one instead. Not that I was likely to forget any time soon just how adorable she looked right at this minute. I didn’t have the heart to wake her a second time but I knew she wouldn’t want to ruin her dress and despite the serene look on her face, I couldn’t imagine she was too comfortable.

“Sweetheart, let’s get you undressed; then you can go back to sleep.”

“Mm... ok” she murmured, although I suspected she didn’t fully understand me.

Once she was on her feet, swaying ever so slightly, I turned her to undo the zip on her dress. It had flattered her nicely, emphasizing parts of her I was rather fond of and I had made a point of telling her this as we shared our first dance of the day. Easing the straps over her shoulders, I allowed the dress to slip to the floor so that she might step out of it. I had to admit to being a little surprised, if not aroused, at the sight of the lingerie she was wearing.

Having stepped out of her dress she turned back to me. “Why, Mr Cavill; are you trying to take advantage of me in my intoxicated state?” she asked in a bashful, sleepy voice.

“I’m seriously considering it” I replied; and I was.

“Ok then” she smiled as she leant in for a kiss. It was hard not to laugh and even harder to push her away.

“How about we just go to bed and cuddle? We can fool around in the morning when we’ve both had some sleep.”

Without a fight she replied “Ok” before sighing again and stooping to pick up her dress. I went to turn down the bed cover as she draped the dress over the back of the chair by the window. Slipping into the bed, I covered her over as she closed her eyes once more. “Love you” she half whispered.

“Love you too, sweetheart” I answered, kissing her on the temple. By the time I undressed and got in beside her, she was once more softly snoring.

~*~*~

---
"Driver picks the music. Shotgun shuts his cakehole."

19/8/20, 21:07 Link to this post Email HeavenLea27   PM HeavenLea27
 
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Re: Swear It Again - Henry Cavill. WIP


Ch 80 – Ally

Waking the morning after the wedding, my head felt more than a little hazy but thankfully I wasn’t feeling overly hung-over. My mouth however did feel like the bottom of a cocky’s cage, so I decided to get up and go brush my teeth.

Henry was still sound asleep, his breathing deep and slow. I actually lay there a moment and watched him. While I adored looking on him when he was awake, I loved watching him sleep more, so at peace with the world, nothing upsetting him or causing him to frown and putting frown lines onto his beautiful face. As I lay there, I thought about how deeply it was that I loved him already and how close I came to actually screwing it all up with my insecurities. It was enough to make me shudder.

A sudden desire to pee had me up and out of the bed, reluctantly, and surprised to find that I still had my bra and panties on. Normally when sleeping with Henry I did so naked. Clearly, I had been so out of it when we got back to the room last night that I hadn’t had the energy or foresight to disrobe completely.

Again, despite the floor being carpeted, I found myself treading softly across the room and into the ensuite so I wouldn’t wake Henry. I half closed the door as I went about my business and when done, I searched my toiletry bag for my toothbrush. As I added the paste and started to brush, I looked in the mirror and almost snorted out a laugh. My hair was never what you would call neat at the best of times but this morning it was all over the shop, sitting at angles I never thought were possible.

At least when I was done with my teeth, I could take a moment to try and calm it down before I went back out into the room. Moments later with toothbrush mid stroke, Henry entered the ensuite putting paid to that idea.

~*~*~

Removing the toothbrush and trying to remain lady-like as I spat out the bubbly foam from my mouth, I turned to him. “I didn’t wake you, did I? I was trying to be quiet.”

“No, I just missed you is all.” Leaning in he kissed me. “Mmm...minty.” I had to laugh as a little of the paste was now residing on his lower lip, hiding the little freckle that resided there.

As I gently wiped it away, he grabbed my hand and softly kissed away the paste that now sat on my finger instead. Instantly a tingle shot through the finger and into the rest of my arm. God, the things this man could make me feel with the lightest of touches were intoxicating. Putting down the toothbrush – clean teeth no longer a priority – I put my arms around him.

Unlike me, he was completely naked and so the rub of the lace from my underwear on his groin was having an effect. I was a little more than surprised then when he took a step back.

“Can you give me a couple of minutes? I’d like to be minty fresh for you too” he smiled in a devilish way. Before I could respond he added “Oh, and don’t take anything off; I’d like the pleasure of doing that myself.”

I flushed in anticipation, even as I shivered at the very notion. “Don’t be too long or all bets are off” I teased back, before giving him another kiss to let him know just what he was in for.

~*~*~

While I waited for Henry to come back out of the bathroom, I tried to run my fingers through my hair, to make me look a little less like Broomhilda and more like a normal person. I knew he loved my curls but honestly, even he had to admit that my current look was a little too over the top.

I had just opened the curtains and was looking out over the view; the Eiffel Tower in all its cliché-ness not too far from sight; when from behind a pair of arms enveloped me. I snuggled back into their embrace.

“A franc for them” he whispered into my ear.

Scrunching up my shoulder slightly and giggling a little as his voice tickled my ear, I finally answered “I’d like to say that my current thoughts were about something romantic, like the view or being here with you like this, but I was actually thinking about how I seriously need to do something about my hair.”

Henry laughed and I could feel it as it travelled all the way from his core and past his chest. “Well, I did ask...” Rather than follow it up with a new question, he instead bent his head and kissed my neck, moving the strap to my bra so he could then run his lips across my shoulder.

I sighed before finally turning into him, wanting to put my own hands somewhere on his body. The transformation of his body was slow but I was noticing the subtle changes more each day. I couldn’t wait to see the final outcome when he finally stepped into the Superman suit.

~*~*~

Having lowered one strap, he then started on the other, taking as much time and care as he had with the first shoulder.

“You know” he said between each kiss, “I loved the dress you had on yesterday and the way it accentuated your body but I must admit that I like what was underneath a whole lot more. Had I known that you were hiding these delights underneath, I might have whisked you away right after the exchanging of the vows.”

I smiled, suddenly grateful now that Lizzie had insisted I buy the lingerie when I was adamant I wouldn’t need it. “Maybe you should have; at least I would have been less likely to fall asleep on you like I did.”

Stopping his ministrations momentarily, he smiled back. “It had been a long day and you were dead on your feet by the time we got back. Never mind, I’ll be sure to make it worth your while now.” He then kissed me again, no longer being all cute and gentle about it, instead showing me with actions that he was now ready to make up for lost opportunities.

~*~*~

For as much as we could have and wanted to spend the day in bed, we knew it wasn’t possible. Aside from the fact that we had a plane to catch to head home in a few hours, we needed to vacate the room so it could be prepared for the next lot of guests.

After making love we showered and dressed, packed our bags and went to drop them off in Lizzie and Phil’s room. With the newlyweds not able to go on a honeymoon just yet, they had extended their stay in the hotel until Sunday. With the bags taken care of, we all headed down to join the last of the remaining guests for brunch.

The brunch party consisted of Lizzie, Phil, Liam and his partner Jill, Sophie, Phil’s parents Martin and Olivia and of course Henry and me. Everyone looked as tired as I felt but we were all happy and that was what mattered. Over our meal, we talked about the previous day, what we had planned for the rest of this one or other incidental topics.

As an aside while everyone else was deep in conversation about this or that, Sophie offered me an apology of sorts. “I wanted to say sorry for coming on a little strong yesterday; about you and Henry.”

Apart from her comments while we were getting ready, she had all but cornered me at the reception at one point and gave me her thoughts and feelings about my new romance; some of it had been a little intense. I put a hand on hers before replying “No need; what you said really made sense and I appreciate you looking out for me. I promise I am being careful.”

“Perhaps but I didn’t need to be so forthright. It’s just that I really have come to think of you as a daughter and I want the best for you. I expect if things were reversed and Lizzie was in your home town, your mother would do the same for her. It’s what we do. Of course, we don’t always say what we mean to say in the best possible words and it can come off as interference. I trust that Henry’s a good man and he truly loves you but I can’t help but worry a little too.”

I hugged her. “Thank you Sophie, truly; it means the world that you do care enough to be worried. Between you and Lizzie, I almost feel bulletproof.” She shook her head as she gave me a raised eyebrow. “Seriously though, everything is going to be fine. It needs work, naturally enough, but the fact that I’m willing to do that, as is Henry, has to mean it’s the real deal; right?”

“Sure it does, baby.” Giving me a peck on the cheek, she turned back in her seat and pretended to be interested in her scrambled eggs. I suspected it was more because she didn’t want the others to see the tears that had formed in her eyes.

~*~*~

When brunch was finished it was time for us all to part ways. Lizzie and Phil were off to do what newlyweds did – I guessed, at least – the parents were all making their way to their homes in different parts of the UK while Liam and Jill were flying back to Jamaica where they held a scuba diving business.

I half joked to Henry that I was going to go with them, to spend the last week of my holidays baking in the sun and swimming with the fishes, something I couldn’t do in London as it wasn’t warm enough. He was happy enough to agree and almost suggest we do it but then he recalled that he had a meeting booked for first thing Monday so left it.

Our own plane back to London wasn’t due to leave until about 2pm so we decided to leave the happy couple and become all touristy. Naturally, and because it was the closest, we decided on the Eiffel Tower first. The view from the top was worth every minute we had to wait for our turn. Honestly, as stale as it was about the romantic view in the romance capital of the world; especially when looked on when you’re with a lover; it was all true. With only my phone on me, I still managed to grab a few shots, hoping they would do the view justice once downloaded.

As spectacular as the sight from there had been however, and as grateful as I was that we had gone, the time spent waiting our turn to go up meant that we didn’t have any spare to stop in at the Louvre as well, which is what I really wanted to see. I tried not to let on how disappointed I was but of course Henry noticed.

“I promise we will come back and the Louvre will be first port of call” he said as we made our way back to the hotel to get our things. “Maybe we can swing it for a weekend somewhere, before I leave for LA or the end of the school year when you might go home.”

I realized it was a subtle way of asking if I had made up my mind about extending my tenure. The only problem was I didn’t have a definitive response to give him. “That would be great” was all I came back with, taking his hand. Maybe it was time I did start to seriously think about my options.

~*~*~

We made it back to the hotel and after hopping out Henry paid the driver before closing the door behind him. The only problem was I had remembered leaving my handbag on the back seat and turned to put my hand in to grab it, just as the door slammed shut.

“Goddamsonofabitch!” I yelped, wanting very much to say a few other choice words, which would then mean I had to utter the phrase ‘pardon my French’. I was in too much pain to try and be funny at this point so thankfully I managed to keep a fairly civil tongue in my head, despite the pain.

“Ally; !@#$” Henry gushed, not caring so much about his own language. “I’m so sorry sweetheart. I didn’t see your hand. Are you ok?” Realizing it was a stupid question, he added “Of course you’re not. Here, let me take a look.”

By this time the doorman reached us, having finished helping the other guests he had been attending to when we pulled up. Although the initial pain had been sharp and intense, my hand was now starting to throb dully and that was actually hurting me more. In the moments since it had happened, the hand had already started to balloon.

“Madam; we must get you inside. I will have the concierge call the house doctor for you” the kindly man said. He then ushered me inside quickly, leaving Henry to follow behind.

~*~*~

I was given a comfortable seat in the lobby while the doorman rushed off to find someone who could help me. Henry; whose face I could tell had lost all of its color, even under the beard; couldn’t have been more apologetic.

“Jesus; I’m so sorry. I didn’t even see you put your hand there.”

He was trying to be gentle as his fingers touched mine in an effort to feel if they were broken but I winced all the same. “It’s my own fault. I should have said something or at least watched what was happening. I gue...!@#$! Damn...” It was hard to keep my eyes from blurring through the tears.

“Sorry” he apologized once more. “It’s going to hurt but we need to take that ring off. At the rate your hand is swelling, it won’t be able to come off later. I’d hate for them to have to amputate.”
“Not as much as me” I joked. I was in a !@#$ load of pain but I could still see the funny side. At least until he in fact tried to remove the ring.

~*~*~

By the time I was escorted in to see the in-house doctor, my hand was twice it’s normal size and throbbing in a cadence that matched the beating of my heart, which at this point was doing double time. The pain was starting to become a little more than I could bear and for a moment I thought I might actually pass out.

As it turned out; thankfully; the hand wasn’t broken but severely bruised and likely to swell even more. The doctor explained that had I managed to catch the fingertips in the door, instead of the fleshy middle part of my palm, I would indeed now be looking at several broken bones.

Handing me an ice-pack to ease the swelling, he offered “You should go and see your own physician when you get home. The swelling is likely to continue a while longer but it will stop. Keep the ice on it for as long as you can.” He then reached into the draw of his desk, pulling out a small strip with four vacuum sealed pills on it. “Here are a couple of pills to take for the pain; take two now and two in another four or five hours. After that if you still have any discomfort, you can take regular paracetamol.”

“What are these?” I asked, sceptical they came out of his desk drawer like he was handing over a lollipop.

“Paracetamol, with a higher dose of codeine; it might make you a little drowsy, so the usual rules of not operating machinery or drinking alcohol come into play.”

I thanked him and headed out to find Henry anxiously pacing the floor, almost like an expectant father. He really should have come in with me but had insisted he would wait outside. Now, watching him pace actually gave me something to smile about for the first time in a good thirty minutes.

~*~*~

“So?” he cautiously asked, wanting to take my hand but visibly stopping himself.

“Just severe bruising and a lot of swelling. I need to see Doc Carter when we get home but he doesn’t seem to think anything’s broken and that I’ll be ok. I’m also not supposed to operate heavy machinery or drink so I guess we need to find someone else to fly us home” I joked, even if he didn’t laugh.

“It could have been a lot more serious, Al. Honestly, I cannot begin to apologize enough.”

“So, stop. It really was my own fault. At the end of the day, I’ll have something else to remember my first trip to Paris for. Honestly, it’s fine. Now, how about we go and disturb the love-birds upstairs so we can get our things and catch our flight; as much as I’ve loved it here, I have a sudden need to go home.”

I kissed him to show that I was fine and then we slowly made our way upstairs to grab our bags. I could already imagine what Lizzie was going to have to say about all of this.



---
"Driver picks the music. Shotgun shuts his cakehole."

20/8/20, 22:58 Link to this post Email HeavenLea27   PM HeavenLea27
 
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Re: Swear It Again - Henry Cavill. WIP


Ch 81 – Henry

Ally’s injury and subsequent wait to see the in-house doctor meant we missed our flight home by some ten minutes but thankfully there was a train leaving for London an hour later. Rather than wait for a further four more hours for a new flight, we opted to take the train and managed to get home only some forty minutes later that we would have had we caught our initial flight.

I of course fussed over her and apologized most of the trip, which I’m sure ticked her off royally, had she not been a little fuzzy, thanks to the pills she had taken. Mercifully nothing seems to have been broken but a couple of seconds either way of her hand going in or coming out and it would have been so much worse. It was a lousy end to what had been a fantastic couple of days and our first official mini-break as a couple.

The thing that had turned the lousy into shitty was arriving back in London to find a swarm of paparazzi waiting, forcing cameras and recording devices into our faces as we tried to make our exit. The jostling for photos was bad enough but the questions that flew in about our relationship, Gina and whether or not it was true that we had secretly married in Paris did nothing to enhance my mood.

How they even knew to wait for us was a mystery that we would never fully uncover; not that it mattered. The leeches were just lucky that I had to carry both lots of luggage as Ally’s hand was out of commission, or I might have shoved one or two of them out of the way.

Had Ally also not been with me I might have even had a few choice words for them but of course if she hadn’t of been with me, they wouldn’t have been either. As it was, we barely managed to get into a cab and were able to speed off before anything else happened that would be all over the news the next day.

~*~*~

With my place being closer than Ally’s flat, we headed there to spend the night. She was doing her level best to hide it from me but I could tell the medication had worn off and the pain was back, perhaps worse than before. All I wanted to do now was to get her home, get her settled and have a peaceful night.

“Maybe we should stop in at the pharmacy on the way, see if we can’t get you something stronger than the Panadol I have at home.”

“No, it’s ok. I still have the last of the pills the doc gave me. I’d rather not take anything at all if I have to but if I do, I’ll limit it to the Panadol. At least you won’t ever have to worry about me being a junkie.”

I smiled, although it was forced. I hated to see her in pain and so between her hand and the mess we had left behind at the station, my mood was passing annoyed and heading towards down right irritable rather quickly. “Good to know. Just promise that if it gets too much you will tell me. I’m sure the doc back in Paris knew what he was doing but he didn’t even x-ray the hand; something might actually be broken.”

“Maybe; but I promise. I guess it wouldn’t hurt to go and see him in the morning anyway. At least then the swelling will have gone a little, I hope, and they might be able to get a clearer picture. The last thing I need is to make things worse if I don’t get it treated properly. I have enough trouble keeping my class under control with both hands; it’s going to be a nightmare with just one.”

At that I did have to give a genuine smile.

~*~*~

Once we had finally made it home, I made sure Ally took the last of the doctor’s magic pills and told her to go and lie down. There was no point in her sitting up if all they did was make her want to close her eyes. I promised I would wake her in a couple of hours, after I had gone out to get something for dinner. Unusually, she didn’t fight me on this and I was grateful.

Taking myself off to have a shower once she was settled, I had barely finished dressing when my mobile rang. It was Piers.

“Hey Harry, are you home yet?”

I wasn’t in the mood to argue over the name thing, yet again, so I ignored it. “Yeah, we got in about thirty minutes ago.”

“Is there anything you want to tell me little brother?” he joked, obviously in on something I had no knowledge of.

“About anything in particular or you actually asking for wedding details?”

“Only if they’re about yours and Ally’s wedding.”

“Why would they be about ours?” I questioned, until I remembered the scene at the train station earlier, guessing he had somehow heard about it. “Oh; right. No, we didn’t get married; we were there for Ally’s friends Lizzie and Phil who actually tied the knot. Those idiots at the train station clearly got their news from someone who doesn’t know jack !@#$ about what they’re saying or are too !@#$ lazy to fact check.” A feeling at the pit of my stomach started to bubble at the déjà vu.

“Hey, hey, calm down; I was only kidding. I know you would never just elope and not only because Mum would have your hide if you did.” He paused then added “Maggie and I did just hear something on the news though, which is why I’m calling. There was a picture of you and Ally leaving the station, a ring on her finger. There was also a shot of you both dressed up, in the clothes I am guessing you wore to your friends’ wedding.”

So, it would seem that somehow a photo from the wedding reception had been leaked and this, along with the ring that Ally had to move from her right to her left hand, added up to us being married; at least in the eyes of every one else. I was so angry I was starting to feel sick that we had to deal with this, so soon after the last nightmare and yet I knew it was only going to get worse going forward.

“!@#$” I uttered, a little quieter than I wanted. “Honestly, we can’t catch a break. No sooner had we sorted out our stuff over the last time and now this. I wish I could just fly her home to Perth and we could stay there until I needed to be in LA. Most people don’t seem to know where Perth is so that has to be something in our favour, surely.”

“Seriously, Henry, what’s going on? What do you mean last time? I haven’t talked to you in a week or so and it feels like I missed something.”

It sounded like he wasn’t aware of the whole Charlotte/Gina thing so I filled him in, along with the real reason Ally was wearing her grandmother’s Claddagh ring on her left hand. It was a conversation that would in the end solve my problem about what to do to surprise Ally for the upcoming week, and yet on the other hand, it set me off on a path that really should have been avoided.

Had I the brains to just sit and cool down, things might have sorted them selves out in due time but of course I didn’t sit and wait. Why hadn’t I just booked us a room and stayed an extra week in Paris?

~*~*~

With Ally still out of it, I left a note to let her know I was going to get dinner and that I wouldn’t be long. It was a lie but I didn’t want her to really know where I was headed, which was to see my mother so I could find out more about what actually happened the day of the morning tea.

I knew she would have wanted to come along but I didn’t want to put her through the embarrassment of it all again, more so because she would have still been hurting over her hand. Then again, it was more likely that I didn’t want her there because I had a feeling I was probably going to say a few things I didn’t want her to hear. Either way it turned out best she wasn’t with me as Simon and Charlotte showed up not long after I arrived and things quickly got more than a little heated.

Walking in through the back door and into the kitchen, I was soon set upon by Matthew and David, Simon and Charlotte’s boys. I didn’t see them, or even Pier’s twins nearly as often as I saw Andrew but I loved them all dearly. I did have a soft spot for David however, as the youngest of all my nephews.

“Uncle Henry!” Matthew shouted as he ran across the room to grab me, his little brother following not too far behind. I went down on one knee so it was easier to hug them both.

“Hey mate; what you are you doing here? I didn’t see your Dad’s car out the front.”

“That’s ‘cause they’re not here. Grandma’s babysitting David.”

“Oh; and how about you then?” I asked, even if I already knew the answer I was going to get.

“I’m not a baby Uncle Henry; I’m almost eight.”

“So you are; sorry” I agreed, pretending to look contrite. Seriously, some of the things that came out of the kids’ mouth these days just made me want to laugh.

Before I could say anything more, he let me go and then ran into the other room to let his grandparents know that I was here. David however had his arm still around my neck and didn’t look like he was going to let go anytime soon. I held onto him as I stood up.

“I love you Uncle Henry” the four-year-old whispered into my ear as he then laid his head on my shoulder. As tough as I liked to think I was, it made me melt a little.

“Love you too, matey” was all I said as I followed after his brother.

~*~*~

I wasn’t at the house all that long, talking with the folks about the wedding and showing the couple of pictures I had managed to take with my phone when Ally came up. I hadn’t wanted to just leap into the conversation I came around for; especially with the boys still in earshot as they played with their toys on the other side of the room; and so, I had used the wedding as an excuse to put it off. When they asked after her, I explained about her hand, telling them she was fine but that she didn’t come with me as she had to do something for work. My mother, astute as ever, called me on it straight away.

“Henry, it’s not only Saturday but there is still another week to the school break. I know she likes to be prepared but surely whatever it was she had to do could have waited. Or is this more about what happened the last time she was in this house?”

I should have known my flimsy excuse wouldn’t hold water but it wasn’t like I had time to think of anything better. “To be honest, I didn’t even tell her I was coming around. She was resting up her hand, that much is true. I wanted the chance to talk with you first and I’m glad now, knowing that Simon and Charlotte could be back at any time.”

“Don’t you think this needs to be sorted out?” Dad chimed in. “Clearly Ally is important to you and you to her, meaning she will be a big part of your life going forward. Wouldn’t it be better if everyone made nice? At this time in your lives, it’s getting harder to have you all in the same place at the same time. The last thing we need is for there to be something simmering underneath the surface, making things awkward for those times you do see each other.”

“You’re right, Dad; about all of it. I suppose because I had heard Ally’s side of things and a few from Emma, I wanted to hear what Mum’s thoughts were. I also want to hear from Charlotte herself why she said what she did. I’ve never known her to be like this before.”

“I know there’s something else happening that has been bothering her” Mum offered. “This might have played a part in it too.”

“There can’t be any reason that’s good enough to explain it, Mum. Emma told me what she said, not knowing that Ally was listening. Regardless of whether or not Ally heard them or didn’t, the fact that they were even saying those things to start with just makes this worse.”

“I agree. Just promise me that when they get here things will stay civil. This needs to be sorted but you can all at least do it like adults.”

I promised my mother I would try but unfortunately it was a promise I wasn’t going to be able to keep.

~*~*~


---
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Re: Swear It Again - Henry Cavill. WIP


Ch 82

The hour was growing late and my brother and his wife still hadn’t shown up so I decided it was probably time to go. Ally would have to be awake by now and so I chose to leave the drama for another time. Dad had taken the boys out for some ice-cream about forty minutes earlier, hoping to do so before their folks came back and said they couldn’t have any. I think he really just wanted to leave me and Mum to talk, although he did like to spoil the grandkids every bit as much as his wife did, even if he was usually less obvious about it.

No sooner had I hopped off the couch and was about to kiss my mother’s cheek when Simon and Charlotte walked in. My brother greeted me with his usual smile and a hug and although Charlotte also offered me her cheek and gave me a hug, she couldn’t bring herself to look me in the eye. I hated that it was like this now as we had always been friends.

“So, where is this mystery woman of yours Har…Henry?” He gave our mother a ‘sorry’ look after he quickly corrected himself before continuing. “Everyone else in the family seems to have met her but me and I’m still not convinced she’s not someone you just made up.”

“She’s very real. Just ask your wife.” I hadn’t meant to get into it right off the bat but after having a good hour or so to stew on it, it just fell from my lips.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

Before I could answer, his wife stepped in. “Henry, you can’t begin to know how sorry I am for what I said about Ally that day; truly I am. I’m just going through some stuff right now and the night before I had Gina in my ear about you. I realize it’s no excuse but it all bubbled up and I just lashed out, not thinking about the consequences or the fact that someone could be hurt. I never meant what I said; I most certainly never wanted her to hear it.”

“So that makes it ok? What exactly did Gina tell you that would have you say such hateful things?”

Simon; like me; clearly wasn’t in the mood to stand around and watch the woman he loved under siege and so he went on the attack. “Back off, Henry.” The mere fact that he never asked what this was about suggested to me that he did in fact already know.

“No, Simon. I want to know why she said it and exactly what part Gina has to play in this. I’ve heard it from Ally and Emma and now I want to hear it from your wife. I truly care for Ally and I don’t want anything to screw it up for me.”

“Although you’ve barely known her all of five minutes” he half mumbled, even though I heard him clear enough.

While not productive, I shot back “Says the man who eloped three weeks after going out on a first date.”

~*~*~

“Enough!” our mother finally interjected, clearly no longer able to sit back and keep her tongue. I was surprised it had taken her this long to say anything. “Don’t make me bang the two of your heads together, because I will.” Both my brother and I tried not to smile at the image, given how hard at her height it would have been to do so.

“Regardless of what or why something was said, the fact remains that it was said in the first place. Intentional or not, someone has been hurt in the process and this needs to be sorted out. I will not have my family torn apart because of gossip, miscommunication or loyalty to someone who doesn’t deserve it.” She had added that last part, looking at Charlotte, making it clear that she believed Gina responsible for this.

My sister-in-law was looking decidedly unwell at this point and I felt for her but I was still angry. Perhaps the anger was more for Gina than Charlotte but I couldn’t let her off scot-free just yet. I did my level best to rein in some of my ire, however.

“Char, just tell me exactly what Gina said to you that would have you say such hateful things? It’s not like you to sit in judgement over someone without at least meeting them first. You know Gina and I weren’t together anymore; not that we were ever a couple as such anyway. She knew it too and was more than happy to have the arrangement we did. What could possibly have happened to give you the impression that we were actually a couple and that I was cheating on her?”

Charlotte finally took a seat, looking ready to burst into tears. When she explained it to us, I finally understood why.

~*~*~

“Like I said, I have some personal stuff going on with me that I won’t be discussing here.” Simon sat down by his wife and took her hand and that suggested whatever it had been, was serious. Before we could ask, she went on “Anyway, a week ago Gina called me up, upset about how you had just dumped her to be with someone else, without so much as a by your leave.

“She also told me that she had been under the impression that you were serious about her, committed to being together and now couldn’t understand what she had done to upset you so much that you would want to humiliate her like this. At one point she even said that she felt like a whore because you only ever used her for your own needs and then didn’t call until you needed her again.

“It was obvious she had been drinking and while I tried to sympathise, I put it down to her being drunk. I knew you were seeing Ally but never thought she was more than just a running partner. The day after the call from Gina, the magazine article came out and although I was going to ignore it, I read it anyway. Between that and the things I had heard the night before, I suppose I looked at it from her point of view. Gina’s my best friend, Henry; you had to know I would be on her side in something like this.”

I was beyond words, although my mother clearly wasn’t, muttering something very unflattering about Gina that only I was able to hear. Best friends or not, I couldn’t believe anyone, let alone a family member would think this of me, even after having known me for years. I said as much. “Thanks for thinking so highly of me Charlotte; it means a lot.” I did nothing to hide the sarcasm or hurt.

“Henry, I don’t…” Mum tried to get in.

“No, Mum; leave it be. All of this came about because a woman I only ever saw to have sex with decided to get back at me when I told her I was with someone else. I told her we could be friends but everything else was off the table.” My mother openly cringed at the description of my relationship with the woman she hated, but she had to know it was what it was; there was no way to sugar coat it.

“Charlotte, I understand you are friends with her and friendship is very important but this isn’t good enough. You knew; have always known; that Gina and I were never serious and so did she. I have no idea why she said what she did or why she now feels the need to be vindictive about it. Using the lies she told you and some trash in a goddam tabloid to malign someone I truly care for, deeply, just hurts. I…”

I didn’t continue, as much as I would have liked to because Dad walked in with the boys. “I have to go” was all I said. I stopped barely long enough to kiss my mother’s cheek before giving the others half a wave of my hand. Minutes later I was in my car and heading for Gina’s.

~*~*~

“Henry! I knew you’d come around. What took you so damn long; did you forget the way?”

“What the !@#$ did you say to Charlotte?” I had always tried my level best never to swear in front of or at a woman but I was ropable after my visit to the folks and the subsequent trip here hadn’t quelled that anger at all; I wasn’t in the mood for pleasantries.

Her lack of surprise at my question suggested she had been expecting it therefore my visit also. “You had better come in.”

I didn’t want to but this was hardly a conversation for the door step of her flat. Once inside, she closed the door. “Listen; I might have been a little drunk when I spoke to Char and while I can’t recall exactly what I said, I’m guessing I might have embellished a little. Whatever it was I said can’t have been too good, if you’re here now, all grumpy and pouty. How about we go to my room and see if we can’t sort it all out, like we used to?”

What the hell was wrong with her? If my surly look wasn’t enough to show her how truly angry I was, then my tone and lack of politeness surely had to be some kind of hint. She stepped forward to grab me but I stepped back, actually feeling a little repulsed over how little self-respect she seemed to have. This wasn’t the woman I had met and actually become friends with.

“Gina, cut it out. I’m not here for that and you bloody well know it. All I want to know is what you told Charlotte; or more to the point, what the hell possessed you to say anything in the first place.”

“Henry, I...” she tried to begin, the reality of the situation finally registering on her face.

“On second thought, forget it. I don’t want to hear that poison coming out of your mouth. Hearing it second hand from family members was bad enough.” Willing myself to take a moment and calm down, I found I couldn’t do it but I did at least manage to lower my voice a little.

“I thought we were friends. We both knew going in that it was never going to be anything more than having some fun together, sex for sex’ sake and not the gateway to a full-on relationship. We also agreed that the minute either of us started to see someone else seriously, it was over. You were fine with this arrangement; if I remember rightly, you were the one who suggested it. Hell, it’s been months since we were together, even before I met Ally.” I had to stop when the tears started. I never could stand to see a woman cry.

“I was jealous, that’s why!” she started, before I could continue. “I was missing family and friends and came home. I missed you too and sure, I was horny, but I honestly just wanted a mate to talk to and you were the first person I thought of. I just lost out on a job and because you’re in the business, you would get it and help me to not feel so bad.

“When you told me you had found someone else and our arrangement was over, I guess it just tipped me over the edge. I’m not proud of it but I got drunk and so when Charlotte called, I thought I would have a little fun to get back at you, pouring out all of my frustrations to her. Even though I wanted to get back at you, I never thought she would repeat what I said; I mean this is Char we’re talking about. She doesn’t have a mean bone on her body.”

“Maybe so but she’s your best friend; of course she’s going to believe what you say and take your side. Maybe it was because you were so convincing in your vitriol that she felt obliged to share it. Ally inadvertently overhearing it just makes it all worse.” I really needed to leave, before this turned truly ugly.

“Ally is the woman I want to be the mother of my children, so you have to understand this is why I’m so angry.” The shock on her face might have mirrored my own at that statement, had I taken the time to stop and realize what I had said. “We both knew going in it wasn’t serious and never would be but I honestly thought we could at least stay friends at the end. After this, I don’t want to see you again.”

Harsh words maybe and spoken in a fit of anger but I knew I truly meant them. Time might change perspectives and alter things but I couldn’t see us being friends again; not after she deliberately set out to hurt me because she didn’t like what I had to say to her. More than the hurt to me however was the hurt she had caused Ally, using her best friend to do it. Charlotte may well be able to forgive her but I wasn’t going to.
“Henry, for what it’s worth, I truly am sorry. I wish I could take it back.”

“Too late” was all I said as I turned and left.

~*~*~


---
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Re: Swear It Again - Henry Cavill. WIP


Ch 83 - Ally

Waking up and finding the room in total darkness, I had to fight my way through the lingering haze to try and remember where I was. I fumbled for where I normally kept my bedside lamp only to find there wasn’t one. It took a moment or three but I finally remembered I was in Henry’s bed, not my own.

‘Mmm’ I thought to myself; ‘Henry’s bed. I love the way it rolls off the tongue; almost as much as I love being in it.’ Turns out I wasn’t so hazy from sleep that I couldn’t conjure up a naughty thought or two.

Getting off the bed and heading to the hallway, I was a little surprised to find more darkness, along with an eerie kind of silence. Surely Henry couldn’t be sitting in the dark; could he? “Henry?” I called out, feeling along the way until I came across a switch. “Babe, are you here?”

As my eyes adjusted slowly to the sudden brightness, I called out again only to be met by more silence. A vague memory of him saying something about going out to get dinner came to mind so I stopped calling out for him. Instead I went to turn on more lights in my quest to find that Panadol he mentioned, my hand now taking back all of my focus.

~*~*~

It was almost an hour later and he still hadn’t shown up. Calling his mobile only revealed that he had left it behind on the coffee table in the lounge room, next to a note explaining he had gone for dinner. If he was only stepping out to pick up the food, he wouldn’t have needed it but he had been clearly gone quite some time if the house was in darkness, suggesting it had still been light out when he left. Between my hand hurting like a sonofabitch and thinking dark thoughts about why he had been gone so long, I was getting myself into a state for no good reason. To change that, I decided to call Marianne.

I told myself that I was only calling to let her know we were home and also under the pretence of inviting them back to the flat tomorrow night for dinner, so we could talk about Paris and share photos. I was just trying to think of a subtle way of asking if she had heard from her son when she asked me if he had made it home ok.

I really shouldn’t have been overly surprised to learn that he had been to see his folks; he had been away some two weeks after all; but I was surprised to think he had gone without me. Without saying the words, Marianne hinted at what had happened and I realized then what his motivation for leaving me behind had been. It hurt more than my jammed-up hand to think he was now fighting with family because of me.

Almost two full hours after speaking with Henry’s mum, he still hadn’t come home and I had no way of contacting him. Our time in Paris had been so wonderful and we had cleared quite a few things up and were finally back on track. Clearly something changed while I was asleep and now the !@#$ had hit the fan, all because once again, he felt the need to defend me.

My hand was throbbing painfully, the Panadol not even taking the edge off but the nauseas feeling I had wasn’t because of this. It was the knowing that because I hadn’t been adult enough to stand up and confront Charlotte that day of book club that it had come down to this. Henry didn’t need to be involved at all; we could have had it out and either decided to be friends or at the very least be civil in his presence, to keep the peace. My usual run-away and pretend it never happened attitude just amplified something minor to this.

I was finally at the point where I wanted to call his parents again before I started on the calls to hospitals and the police when he walked in, minus any kind of take-out. For the first time since we had met, I couldn’t read the look on his face and that scared the !@#$ out of me.

~*~*~

I wanted to run to him but I didn’t, just standing there, looking at him as he looked back at me. It was mere moments that we looked but it felt like forever. I also got the sense that even though he was looking at me, he wasn’t really seeing me. We were on opposite sides of the room and yet I could feel the rage emanating from him and that was soul crushing. Wherever he had been all this time, it clearly hadn’t made him happy.

I willed myself not to start crying because it would only make things worse. It wasn’t easy but I managed, for the most part. What I couldn’t control however was the tremble in my voice, even if I only managed to utter one word.

“Henry?”

Hearing his name seemed to snap him out of whatever it was that had a hold of him. The scowl was instantly replaced with a look of concern, although the anger was still evident. “Ally; what’s wrong?”

Just like him to worry about me when he was the one in pain. “You tell me” I started, still not able to move my feet and go to him. “Your mother said you left their place two hours ago and now you’re standing there looking like you are ready to choke someone.”

“It’s done now, no need to worry.”

I gave a small smile at the irony of him throwing my own words back at me. “I don’t believe you; just like you never truly believe me when I say the same thing to you.”

He actually returned my smile, briefly, as he finally walked towards me. For the first time ever, I was worried about him being near me, mostly because he was like this and it was all on me. Just before he reached me, I tried once again to find out where he had been.

~*~*~

“What happened at your folks’ place? And why didn’t you tell me you were going there or at least wait for me to come with?”

He reached for my good hand and I flinched instinctively, even as I just as quickly took his instead. As angry as he seemed to be, I sincerely never truly believed he would physically hurt me.

“Honestly? Apart from you needing to rest up with your hand, I didn’t think you would want to go. Not after what happened the last time you went over. I wanted to spare you the trouble of having to make up some excuse not to come with me.”

Did he honestly believe I was that fragile? Clearly my behaviour suggested the answer to that was a big resounding yes. “I would have been a little worried but not enough to say no, or to never want to go again. I adore your parents for one thing but I also understand that I need to stop running from my problems in the hope that they will solve themselves. Doing that is what led us to this nightmare to begin with.”

Leading him over to the sofa we took a seat, the gap between us a little larger than I would have liked. “I agree but between what happened at the airport and then the call from Piers, I let it get to me all over again and I felt this was something I had to do. Charlotte and Simon showed up just as I was leaving and things got pretty heated. I’m glad you weren’t there for that.”

Ignoring for a moment the comment about Piers, I actually gasped. “Oh, god; please tell me you are not now fighting with them both over this?” The nausea ramped up a little at the very notion.

“Not fighting, exactly, just heated words. Having heard from you and Emma what happened, I wanted to hear it directly from Charlotte about happened and why she did it. She tried to explain and I listened but I couldn’t accept her apology. I left pretty much after that.” Seeing the look of abject horror on my face he quickly added “its fine, sweetheart. I’ve spoken to her since then and apologized for my behaviour. I’ll need to do it again in person but for now we’ve made peace, of sorts.”

“So how is it that when you walked in you still looked angry enough to really want to hurt someone? Clearly the drive you took after leaving your folks didn’t help at all.”
He actually physically turned his head away from me as he said the four words I dreaded most, and prayed I would never hear leave his lips. “I was with Gina.”

~*~*~

It was like a slap to the face to hear him say it and reflexively, I dropped his hand so fast he looked back at me in an instant. “For nearly two hours?” I asked, hating that I was so jealous and insecure, not willing to let him even explain before I jumped the gun. Hadn’t it been those exact emotions and reactions that had caused this whole nightmare to begin with?

A flicker of anger crossed his face again and this time I knew it was all for me. His eyes, ever expressive, changed from their regular blue to a deep navy while the normally hazel brown patch in the iris of his left eye was now black. I couldn’t say I blamed him for this reaction, feeling it was thoroughly deserved.

“Do you honestly still doubt that I love you?”

I reached for his hand and thankfully he allowed me to take it. “No. If anything, this shows me how much you do love me. It’s killing me to know that I’m the reason you’re hurting and angry right now. If I had of been adult enough to confront Charlotte, none of this would be an issue now. You most certainly wouldn’t be on the outs or have the need to go and apologize to her.”

For the first time since he walked in, his face softened. “Sweetheart, I am not angry at you; well, maybe a smidge” he tried to smile to soften the blow. I was just grateful he was being honest and not covering up. “I’m not even truly mad at Charlotte, although she was wrong. As misguided as she was, she was only standing up for her friend; her loyalty is one of the things I love about her.

“It’s just unfortunate that this supposed friend manipulated and lied to her for their own selfish reasons. No, I’m truly pissed at Gina, which is why I went to see her. I suppose I just wanted to hear it for myself why she did it and had to drag Char into it as well.”

“And...?”

“And I am not going to repeat the what or why. I do promise you one thing though and that is that she is out of our lives, for good. We might have remained friends once but not after this. It took less than ten minutes but I heard what she had to say and on realizing that she couldn’t even grasp the fact that she was not only wrong, but that she had hurt people in the process, I knew I couldn’t keep her in my life. I left and just drove around, trying to calm down before I came home to you but if anything, the longer I drove, the angrier I got.”

A tear finally escaped, despite my best intentions. “I’m sorry, Henry.”

He cupped my cheek and used a thumb to wipe away the tear. “Don’t be. It’s going to sound odd but maybe this drama was a good thing. For one thing, it showed Gina up for what she really is and we just don’t need someone like that in our lives. Friends don’t do what she did to friends, no matter the motive. Just trust that she is out of our lives and despite what any trashy tabloid drags up in the future, she’s but a memory.”

I hugged him then, holding on almost as though for dear life. In a way, it was. This nightmare was just the wakeup call I needed to stop being a child and learn to deal with my demons. It just sucked that so many others got caught up in it. All I knew was that I loved Henry, more so every day and I wanted him in my life. I needed to pull on the big girl pants and act like it. It wasn’t going to be easy but I was going to do it.

~*~*~

We talked for a good hour or so, both apologizing for things here and there and it felt good to do so. It finally got to a point where although we knew it would have to be talked about again, going forward, so we could work on a plan to avoid the same result, we agreed it had been talked about plenty enough for the day. That was when Henry told me about the call from his brother.

Telling me what Piers had told him, about what he had seen on the TV, I laughed. It was a nervous reaction but it was also ludicrous how the media jumped to the conclusion they did. I hadn’t been quite clear headed when we arrived at the station; the effects of the pills I had taken still working their magic; and so of course finding the paparazzi waiting for us hadn’t fazed me too much. I was even grateful that I had hurt my hand because had I been in my right mind, things might have been a lot worse.

Both of us were famished despite the late hour so as we ate the Italian Henry had ordered in as we watched the late news. Sure enough, there was a repeat of the story that his brother and sister-in-law had seen earlier. I couldn’t believe it.

“Wow; they really do know how to get the wrong end of the stick, don’t they; so much for doing your research.”

“I’m more interested in knowing how they got that photo from the wedding. I’m surprised anyone who was there would have leaked it. You don’t suppose it was that Joey guy, do you?”

I shook my head. “I wouldn’t have thought so but I’ll have a chat to Lizzie in the morning and give her a heads up. It’s done now. Let them think what they want; they’re going to anyway. We both know the truth so that’s all the counts.”

He looked at me, a raised eyebrow thrown my way. “Look at you, suddenly all cool and calm about being photographed.”

“I’m learning” I joked back, only half believing what I had said. As I pinched a bulb of gnocchi from his plate, he laughed.

~*~*~

I thought about waiting till after the weekend to talk with Lizzie; she was on her sort of honeymoon after all; but as it turned out she called me anyway, to see how my hand was. She told me she didn’t know how the photo got out and apologized, promising to look into it for me. I told her not to worry as she was supposed to be enjoying her time with Phil, but of course she looked all the same.

Calling me back nearly an hour later, she had good and bad news. “Well, the good news is that no-one who was there leaked the picture; at least not intentionally. Mitchell’s wife (both good friends to Phil) posted the happy snaps on Facebook, in a private album for only a select few to see. Turns out someone who had access to the folder leaked it, along with the fabricated story. Phil’s going to have a word to them and ask that they be taken down.”

“Tell him thanks but not to worry. It’s out there now and even if you take it down, someone else might have saved it and will spread it anyway. It’s done and that’s it. Please let them know that we don’t blame them for this. Facebook is great for playing Candy Crush but sucks for everything else; like privacy settings” I joked.

“Ok, who are you and where have you stashed the body of my best friend?”

“It’s a long story, I’ll tell you later” I quipped. “Now, seriously and for real; go and honeymoon with Phil. You only have another day and a half before you have to go back to work. We can catch up properly then.”

“Ok. Sorry again, Al. Love you.”

“Love you right back. Now, shoo!” I disconnected the call before she could comment further.

~*~*~


---
"Driver picks the music. Shotgun shuts his cakehole."

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Re: Swear It Again - Henry Cavill. WIP


Ch 84

Give or take a few days, it had been about nine weeks since Henry came into my life and over that time, I thought I had come to have him pegged pretty well. Turns out he still had a trick or two up his sleeve to surprise me. Not long after speaking with Lizzie about the photos, I found out what a sneaky bugger he was.

He suggested that we go for a drive, to get out of the house and leave all the dramas behind us for a while; I was only too happy to agree. It never occurred to me that he would have an ulterior motive so you could imagine my surprise when some forty minutes later he pulled the car into the parking area of the University College Hospital.

“Hmm, this wasn’t quite what I had been picturing as a romantic destination” I said dryly.

Removing the keys from the ignition, he turned to me. “There’s always a first time for everything.” He then leant over to give me a kiss. Once our lips parted, he added “I knew if I suggested we come and get your hand looked at properly, you would have found a way to fob me off.”

“It’s not so bad today; I think a lot of the swelling has gone down.”

“See what I mean?” he asked with a hint of exasperation. “Maybe the swelling has subsided but you also tossed and turned half the night and at one point I heard you whimper. My guess is that the Panadol is just not cutting it. There is no shame in asking for help, Al.”

“I know, it’s just habit to try and soldier through.” Trying to unclip my seatbelt with my left hand proved a little difficult and so with a sheepish look, I allowed Henry to unlock it for me. On a sigh, I went on “I guess seeing as we are already here, we may as well go in. Don’t want it to be a wasted trip.”

Shaking his head, he laughed and hopped out of the car, coming around to open my door for me.

~*~*~

As it turned out, the in-hotel medico back in Paris called it just right. X-rays revealed that while the hand wasn’t broken, there was some severe bruising and while it had lessened, there was still some serious swelling to contend with. My hand was freshly wrapped, I was given a new prescription for an anti-inflammatory that I reluctantly accepted and I was advised to check with my local GP in a week, if things hadn’t improved.

“For the next couple of days” the doctor was saying “try and use the hand as little as possible but once the swelling is reduced enough, you may want to try and move your fingers a little. Not a lot, mind, but just enough to keep the blood flowing. The longer you leave it the harder it will be once the swelling has completely gone.”

“Thanks Doc” I replied, ready to try and flex my fingers now, although I stopped short of doing so when she gave me a look that almost said ‘not now you stupid woman’. Henry, who had been sitting in the exam cubicle with me, grinned at her.

“Don’t worry Doc; I’ll strap her arm down if she tries anything before she’s supposed to.” He then gave her one his patented smiles, causing her to flush a little.

“I’m sure Ally is smart enough to not let it come to that. It’s a shame that something like this has to ruin your honeymoon.”

Clearly she had seen the report on the TV or somewhere else about Henry’s and my supposed nuptials. I was torn between correcting her and just letting it slide when my theoretical husband spoke up. “We aren’t actually married but I can assure you that when the time does come for us to tie the knot, I will be making damned sure there is not a taxi in sight.”

He laughed, I smiled and colored and the doctor quickly replaced her confused look with a smile of her own. Within ten minutes, Henry and I were back out in the car.

~*~*~

After needing help once more with the seatbelt, I sighed. I was doing that a lot lately, I realized. I also realized that despite not wanting to, I had to remove the claddagh from my left ring finger.

“What are you doing sweetheart?”

I was struggling a little and so I held my hand out. “In the spirit of asking for help, can you please take the ring off?”

“Why; surely it’s not because of what the doctor said, is it?”

“It’s not just her. It’s the reporters yesterday and you can just bet it will be someone else tomorrow. It’s easier for me to take it off than to waste time correcting people and telling them it’s not what it looks like. I mean, aside from being on the ring finger, it is a claddagh. Most people associate it with being a wedding ring.”

Even as he took my offered hand, he didn’t remove anything. “I thought we both decided that we weren’t going to let what other people thought or said dictate what happens with us?” I nodded. “Well, the ring stays exactly where it is; at least until your right hand is well enough to put it back there. Bugger anyone else and what they believe is true or not. The ring clearly means something to you or you wouldn’t have been so upset yesterday when I had to remove it.”

I had to concede on that. “Yesterday was the first time I’ve taken it off since my grandmother gave it to me.”

“Well, there you go then. Ally, people are going to talk about this, us, the ring or no ring. The photo is also out there now too, if you remember? Let people talk. There will always be something for them to focus on, real or not and today it’s the ring. Next week some other celebrity will do something and we won’t rate a mention. You and I know the truth and that’s all that matters.”

I smiled at him. He really had a knack for talking me around. I had to learn to do this for myself, or at least not get myself to the point where I needed to talked around at all. Right now though I was grateful to have his input. “So, if I was to suggest that we spend the rest of the afternoon looking over china patterns, you would be ok with that?”

“You better believe it” he joked back before leaning in for yet another kiss.

~*~*~

As we headed to places as yet unknown, I decided to tell Henry about how I got the ring to start with and why it did mean so much to me. Grandma Kate often joked I was her favourite granddaughter, much to my older sisters’ annoyance. She did have two others; Mum’s brother’s girls; but they were estranged from her so Cate, Beth and I were spoilt rotten in lieu. Despite her jokes to the contrary, she claimed to love us all equally but it was soon obvious that perhaps I was a little ahead.

“It might have been because I was the youngest but I couldn’t honestly claim to know the real reason. When she got sick and knew there was no chance of improving, she slowly started to sort out her estate, save leaving it for someone else to do once she was gone. Mum said she also had a very real dislike of lawyers and couldn’t trust them as far as she could spit; which I suppose explained some of the animosity towards my Uncle Doug.

“Anyway, she split everything up evenly; jewellery, money, possessions she wanted kept in the family and her house. Her wedding ring; the claddagh; we all assumed would go to Mum, being the only daughter. Instead it came to me. The day she gave it to me, she explained why she wanted me to have it and not the others; it was because I reminded her of Grandpa Sean. Not so much in looks but in temperament, mannerisms, the way I looked at life. She was right. I adored him and because he was a teacher, that’s what I chose for my life too. He told me stories of his experiences and I loved that he had made a difference to his students. I wanted to be just like him.

“I knew Mum deserved the room and although I accepted it, I planned to give it to her once Grandma Kate was gone and then she could give it back to me when the time came. My grandmother died four days later and I wasn’t able to bring myself to take the ring off. Yesterday was the first time since I was 14 that it’s left my hand.”

Henry didn’t say anything for a moment, concentrating on the merging traffic ahead of us. Finally, there was a break and he was able to look over me, albeit briefly, giving me a smile as he did so.

“You definitely need to keep it on now. You were meant to wear it so don’t let all these external noises take that from you. Once your right hand is healed enough, it can go back to where it belongs. Or better yet, you can just leave it there until your husband can afford to buy a suitable replacement” he added jokingly with a wink. I could only smile at him in return.

~*~*~

Before we headed home again, we called into the supermarket to get a few things for dinner. My hand was well and truly out of commission and we both realized it would be easier to buy a few pre-made items and Henry could light the barbecue back at his place, as opposed to trying to organize a meal one-handed back at my flat. I didn’t want Henry to have to do it all on his own and in all honesty, I actually loved being at his place, so I had no arguments when he suggested the change in plans.

“Another good reason for having it at my place is so that Mum doesn’t suggest we eat at hers. She would be just as inclined to invite the others, along with us, in the hopes of reconciliation.”

By others I knew he was referring mainly to Simon and Charlotte. “I’m going to have to face them at some point, babe. I love you and want to be a part of your life going forward and that is going to mean all of it. I need to make nice with your family. I don’t want or expect you to keep us apart forever.”

He gave me a look so full of love I literally felt my heart flutter. Or it might just have been the medication I had taken some 20 minutes earlier. “I know. It just makes me so happy to hear you say that you want to be a part of my life. I do realize it’s probably a little soon to force the issue. Maybe in a day or two we can revisit the idea.”

“Fair enough” was all I added, not wanting to pressure him into making it all happen now. If it was meant to be, it would be.

~*~*~

Once we had arrived home and put the groceries away; actually, Henry did most of that but I tried to help where I could; he decided to go for a run. The pills I had taken back at the hospital had thankfully taken the edge off the pain but in the process, had taken the edge off my balance as well. I had to pass on his invitation to join him.

“I shouldn’t be gone too long” he said, pausing long enough to kiss me.

“Maybe you can stay home and we can give you a cardio workout that won’t require you to leave the house” I suggested with a wink and what I hoped came out as a sultry voice.

“Believe me, I would love nothing more but I haven’t been running in a few days and if I keep putting it off, it’s going to be harder to pick it up at all. Can I get a raincheck on your suggestion?”

I hugged him tightly. “Lucky for you we live in a country that is renown for nearly always raining” I joked, giving him a kiss that I hoped would inspire him to come home sooner.

~*~*~


---
"Driver picks the music. Shotgun shuts his cakehole."

22/8/20, 22:21 Link to this post Email HeavenLea27   PM HeavenLea27
 
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Re: Swear It Again - Henry Cavill. WIP


Ch 85

Once Henry had gone, I turned on the TV in the vain hope that for once something on there would appeal to me but I was out of luck. I even briefly flirted with the idea of reading but I wasn’t able to concentrate long enough to read more than a page so instead I put some music on.

While I actually did a lot of things left-handed, having my right out of commission was proving to be a bit of a challenge, leaving me with limited options for what I could do to start dinner prep; much to my annoyance.

Fresh is always best but not wanting Henry to have to do all the prep on his own and then have to cook the meat as well, we had agreed on some ready-made items, such as potato and pasta salads. It was a bit of a struggle to even get the cellophane covers off the containers but with some effort; and a few choice curse words; I managed to do so without too much damage – to the food or my hand.

Just as I was in the middle of a search for bowls in which to transfer the pre-prepared food, my favourite INXS song – Don’t Change – came on. I turned up my iPod and started to sing along, as you do, and this was how Henry found me when he walked into the kitchen a minute or so later.

~*~*~

“Don’t stop on my account” he smiled. I had stopped mid lyric once I realized he was there and had been watching me.

“Nah, it’s all good” I answered, embarrassed to have been caught out. “I’m sure your ears don’t need that type of assault.”

He laughed. “You’re not that bad; although, I probably wouldn’t be calling Simon Cowell and asking for a spot on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ any time soon.”

“Hey!” I retorted in mock injury, throwing a tea towel at him before I laughed also. “You’re right of course but when one of your favourite songs comes on, you just have to go with it.”

Grabbing a glass of water, he gulped down half a glass before he said “True. INXS are pretty good. I loved a lot of their earlier stuff, back when I was in school.”

“What’s not to like?” I asked. “Besides, the Farris Brothers are from Perth so you just know they’ve got to be great.”

Henry simply agreed and finished his drink before heading off to shower, stopping long enough to give me another quick kiss.

~*~*~

I had finished the food prep – or what I could at least do one handed – and had serious thoughts about joining Henry in the shower when my mobile pinged to let me know I had a new message. It was from Cate and all it said was ‘Skye; now; we need to talk!’

As was the norm, my mind instantly thought it was bad news but then if it was, she would have called rather than send a text. Either way, I headed towards the lounge and fired up the laptop ready to go. Seven minutes later it finally connected our call.

“Alexandria Louise! What the hell?! Not only have you failed to mention up until now that you are dating THE Henry Cavill, but you secretly got married two days ago? What were you thinking?” Clearly there was no time for pleasantries or nice welcomes.

So, it would seem that news of my supposed nuptials had made it all the way Down Under, although I couldn’t think why. ‘Great, just !@#$ great’ I also thought to myself sarcastically. “Catey, calm down a sec will you. I don’t know how you found out but it’s not true. At least the bit about being married isn’t.”

“But you are dating Henry? How could you not have told me, or anyone else for that matter? This is huge.”

I tried not to laugh at the drama she was making out of this. “Umm, I do seem to recall in letters and past calls mentioning that Henry and I had moved on, beyond being just friends. I mean, I talk about him often enough; it’s not my fault you didn’t get the clues.”

Her facial expressions told me she was having none of that. “Well, ok, maybe you did. You just failed to mention who he was. There was never a mention of a surname; that much I do remember. You only ever alluded to the fact that you couldn’t tell me what he did for a job and now I know why. What’s that all about? Don’t you want us to know what’s happening in your life?”

“Of course I do; it’s not that I don’t, it’s just, well, I don’t know. It wasn’t as though I was keeping him a secret. I just didn’t want to make a big deal out of the fact that I was friends with a celebrity. By the time we became more than friends, I had honestly forgotten you didn’t know exactly who he was. Sorry.”

My eldest sister’s face relaxed a little and eventually a huge grin replaced it. “I seriously can’t believe you’re dating ‘Charles Brandon’. You know I’m a huge Tudors fan, right?”

I laughed. “I do. Perhaps that was the real reason I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want you jumping the next plane and landing on my doorstep so you could be all googly eyes and moony over him.”

“Humph!” was her only response, which just made me laugh harder.

~*~*~

With the matter of my love life and the man in it sorted, Cate asked about my hand next.

“I accidently caught it in the door of a taxi on Friday. Before you ask, its fine; thankfully nothing was broken, there’s just some internal bruising and some swelling. The doctor seems to think I should be ok in a week or so.”

Cate shook her head. “Even after all this time you’re still a klutz” she snickered. “How are you managing to dress with your hand like that? I can’t imagine it would be easy with one hand...oh; never mind.” She had clearly just remembered Henry.

Almost as though he knew that this was his cue to make an entrance, the love of my life appeared in the doorway. “Sweetheart, remind me I need to get some more shampoo tomorrow, can you? I just used the...” He stopped short just as he arrived at the back of the chair I was seated in, having realized what I was doing.

Thanks to the small window at the bottom of the screen that showed my face, I didn’t need to turn around to find out why my sister was sitting at her end, her mouth now as widely open as her eyes. Henry was standing behind me in nothing but a towel but thanks to the height of the back of the chair I was in, it made it seem like he was naked. I wondered if now was as good a time as any to make an introduction, or let him get dressed first.

~*~*~

“Sorry, I didn’t realize you were Skypeing” he said with a smile. “I think I better go and put some trousers on.”

Before he could leave to do just that, my sister said “You don’t have to do that on my account.” I couldn’t believe she had said it. Henry only laughed and told us he would be back in a few. The minute he was gone from view, Cate started in with what I expected was going to be the first of many, many questions; most of them personal.

“You really are seeing him? Oh, god; I can’t believe it. I love Joel but I am so beyond jealous right now. Wait until Bethy finds out. He’s gorgeous, Al!”

It was hard to stop myself from laughing. My sister; 34 years of age, married and with a baby on the way; had reverted to her 15-year-old self in mere moments. I hoped Joel wasn’t anywhere close and even said as much. “I’m guessing Joel isn’t home right now or you wouldn’t be sitting there fangirling. Seriously Catey, he’s just a guy. A great guy to be sure but he is more than the celebrity you think you know.”

“Says the extremely lucky wench who gets to sleep with him! Ugh...sorry, Al; it’s the hormones. You know I’m not usually like this.”

“I know. Maybe you should hold off on telling Beth though – she doesn’t have a filter either and can’t blame what she is likely to say on hormones. I don’t want her saying something that will scare him away.” We both laughed, horrible as it was to say this, at the middle sister knowing all too well how true it was.

~*~*~

When Henry finally came back and took a seat beside me, I was happy to see that he had at least put on a t-shirt and jeans. I was all for seeing him naked; I just wasn’t prepared or happy about sharing him in that state with my sister.

“Sorry for my appearance earlier. I wasn’t aware Ally was chatting with you” he explained, giving Cate a grin.

She returned his smile. “It’s perfectly fine. I don’t mind admitting I quite liked what I saw, so if you feel the need to remove something...”

“Cate!” I gasped, embarrassed and horrified to think she had actually let what she was thinking make its way out of her mouth, hormones or not. This was not what I had imagined first introductions would be like.

My guy of course didn’t bat an eye, seemingly not put out or off by the comment. In fact, he quickly gave the impression that he was relishing it, which just made me cringe even more. “Well, thank you. I guess this means that all the training is starting to pay off.”

“It certainly is. Keep it up” she quipped back. As an afterthought, she added “Can I suggest you lose the beard though? We need to see more of that gorgeous face, not less.”

I literally put my face in my hands and shook my head. It was almost like I was the one interrupting them as a couple. Hormones or not, she was taking things a little far.

“Would I be right in assuming that none of the Miller women like beards?” he jested, giving me a wink. Cate laughed and nodded as I tried to think of a way we could move onto something safer to talk about.

~*~*~

In the end we had spoken for close to forty-five minutes, catching up on all the news here and at home and of course when Joel arrived home, he had to get in on the act as well. I loved my family but honestly, I was more than a little embarrassed by the time the call was finished.

“I like them” Henry said as he got off the couch once the call was over. “I especially like your sister. I can see quite a few similarities between you both and not just in looks. I can’t wait to meet her and Joel in person.”

“I can” I half mumbled, uncomfortable enough to hope that they never met.

“Ally?”

“Hmm, yeah?” I replied as I looked at him.

“You’re not jealous, are you?”

“Jealous; as if. What do I have to be jealous about?” Damn, how did he know?

He smirked that grin of his that he gets when he knows he’s right. At this moment in time I hated that grin. “You are! But why sweetheart; aside from Cate being married and pregnant, you have to know you are the only Miller woman I’m interested in, don’t you?”

I looked at my hand, more for something to look at rather than his face. Honestly, it was pathetic that I could be jealous of my own sister like this, knowing she had only been flirting madly like she had because she knew it irritated me. Oh, and hormones of course. It was laughable really.

“Of course I know. I can’t explain it really. Maybe it’s because she can flirt so comfortably and you were lapping it up, giving as good as you were getting. We might be alike but not when it comes to flirting.”

He put his arm around me and pulled me close. “You daft bugger” he joked good-naturedly. “I do it now and not even realize that I am; it’s second nature I suppose. Comes from running into fans and having to be on all the time. As to Cate, I’m only guessing but I believe she was doing it because she could see how uncomfortable you were. It’s like my brothers calling me Harry. The more I fight it the more they love to do it.”

“Great, now I really feel like a daft bugger” I smiled, although I did feel stupid.

“You’re not but I thought it would be nicer than calling you a pillock.”

I look up at him and gave him a raised eyebrow. “Yes, that would have been far less flattering, so I thank you; I think.” I then asked “You wouldn’t be trying to teach me some English slang, would you?”

“Fair’s fair, love. I’ve picked up more than enough Aussie to get by for when we visit, so I thought I would return the favour.”

I simply kissed him. Mostly to stop talking about my insecurities but also because I loved the fact that he had just implied he wanted to come to Australia with me, like it was the most natural and obvious thing in the world for us to do. Cate and her flirting were soon a lost memory.

~*~*~


---
"Driver picks the music. Shotgun shuts his cakehole."

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Re: Swear It Again - Henry Cavill. WIP


Ch 86

Henry and I were just sitting in the lounge room, talking while we waited for his folks to show up for dinner, when he told me about the surprise he had organized.

“You haven’t really mentioned anything so I’m hoping you have no plans for next week.”

“That’s because I didn’t have anything exciting planned; not that it matters if I did anyway, what with my hand being out of action. I thought I might catch a movie or something but other than that, nothing too important.”

“Great. I have my meeting first thing Monday but after that the week is mine. I’d like to take you away.”

“Again; how did I get so lucky?”

“Paris doesn’t count. Well, it does but it doesn’t. We were both there for other reasons. I want to take you somewhere where it’s just us and we have no set plans to do anything other than relax and enjoy our time together. If I don’t do it next week, we might not get another chance before my training and moving commitments really ramp up. So, what do you say? Up for another trip or did you want to stay home and relax?”

I got out of my chair and went to sit on his lap. “I would go to a West Coast Eagles game, so long as you were with me.” Naturally he didn’t get the reference so I had to explain that I hated this particular football team more than, well, anything. In effect, what I was telling him was that I would follow him to hell and back. He laughed.

“God, I love you. Honestly, some of the things you say and what they mean just blow me away. I don’t think that will ever get old.”

“I’m going to remind you of that when we’re old and gray, in rocking chairs on the porch and you purposefully turn down your hearing aid so you don’t have to listen to me speak anymore.”

He pulled me in close, careful not to knock my hand. “Never going to happen but I love that you are thinking that far ahead and we’re still together; even if I do have to turn my hearing aid down.”

“You better not” I wisecracked before taking his lips with mine.

~*~*~

Before our making out could lead to other things that would embarrass us both; what with his parents being minutes away from arriving and likely to catch us in the act; I reluctantly pulled back. I thought it best to get off his lap also as things were arising there, much like my heartbeat, and that too would have been more than awkward to explain to mixed company.

“So” I asked, trying to re-button the top he had managed to unbutton without my noticing. In the end he had to help me. “Are you going to tell me where we are taking this mystery trip or do I have to guess?”

“No, I want it to be a surprise but you might want to pack a bathing suit. Better yet, forget the suit; let’s make it interesting.”

I colored at the very idea of skinny dipping, even with a man who had seen me naked on more than one occasion already. “Umm, that’s never going to happen Mr Cavill, let me give you the drum. But if I require a bathing suit, does that mean this trip is outside of the UK? The summers here really aren’t much of a summer.”

“Compared to Perth’s I imagine not but we do get some heat here on occasion, I will have you know. As to where, I’m not saying.” Almost as though he remembered something, his face fell slightly for a second or two. “Damn it; I hope I remember to keep the trip secret. Once Mum learns we’re going away, she will do all she can to find out where.”

“Great, I’ll have an ally in my quest then” I joked. He could do little more than give me a quick kiss as, almost as though on cue, the front door bell rang signalling the arrival of our guests.

~*~*~

Barely was she through the door when Marianne pulled me into a hug and without so much as a hello, she instead offered “Welcome to the family sweetheart!”

Crap; she had seen or heard about the reports too, although I shouldn’t have been surprised.

I was returning her hug, not sure where to begin in explaining that her son and I weren’t actually married, when the man himself got in first. “Mum, it’s not true. I thought you knew better than to believe the stuff you see and read about me; more so after what happened with the last article.”

Marianne stepped back and then hugged her son, leaving Colin to welcome me home with a hug of his own. Once she had let him go, she grinned. “Of course I knew it wasn’t true. I’m not completely clueless you know. Besides, I also knew you would never just run off and get married, at least without telling me first. One son eloping without a word was bad enough; I won’t tolerate it from a second.”

There was a story there I needed to ask Henry about but that was for later. Instead I had to stand there and watch him wind his mother up. “I did know and in the spirit of advanced notice, you might want to keep next Saturday free.”

Three sets of eyes fell on him, none more surprised than mine. He had not long finished telling me he was taking me away somewhere and now this? Surely he wasn’t thinking of us eloping, was he? Or did he simply have plans to propose on this so-called vacation? When he broke into a wide smile and his eyes lit up, I realized then he was only pulling his mother’s leg, following on from her comment. I had to admit a part of me was disappointed.

Marianne clearly worked out he was fooling her too as she slapped his arm. “Henry William Dalgleish; do not do that to me! I thought you were being serious there for a minute.”

Henry simply turned to me and with a wink said “I guess I’m in real trouble now.”

I knew what he meant by this; the use of his full name; but his folks didn’t which is why they were now staring at us like we were nuts, as we laughed. It had been an interesting start to the evening.

~*~*~

There was no mention of the incident at her house, or what had happened last night when Henry went over and I was grateful. Perhaps it would come later in the evening but for now, it was like it hadn’t happened.

With Marianne’s help I managed to get the table on the back verandah set up ready for dinner and so when that was done, we sat back and relaxed with drinks while Henry and his dad, deep in conversation, stood near the barbecue as he tended to the meat.

“It really is a primal thing, men bonding over fire” she joked as she took a sip of the wine. It had come from one of the bottles Henry had picked up in Paris.

“It really is” I replied, taking a sip of my own drink; an orange juice, given I was on medication. “Dad’s not a real fan of cooking usually but any mention of a barbecue and he’s all over it. If anyone offers to help or tries to take over, he becomes quite territorial. Mum loves summer because it means she has to cook less, what with the barbecue getting quite the workout. You can almost count the number of proper meals she has to prepare for those three or so months on one hand, one of which is Christmas lunch.”

Marianne laughed. “Maybe I need to talk to Colin about moving down there; I like the idea of cooking less, even if I typically only have to cook for the two of us now. I’d miss my boys and the grandbabies but they could always come and visit.”

“That’s what holidays are for, right?” I laughed.

“Exactly.”

~*~*~

Having pondered the holiday thing for a bit, she then added “Actually, I do quite like that idea. Colin has travelled a bit with the Navy and I have seen places I might not have otherwise but those were mostly around Europe – France, Belgium and Germany. I really want to go somewhere different. Australia is probably as different as it gets.”

“You’re not kidding” I agreed. “At least if you made it to Perth, you would have somewhere to stay. I have no doubt Mum and Dad would love to have you and of course show you the sights. A lot of people tend to go mostly for the eastern states but we do have some wonderful things to offer west of the Nullarbor.”

“Nullarbor?”

“Nullarbor Plain; it’s basically an area of South Australia with nothing around but dirt, kangaroos and maybe one tree. Most Aussies refer to the road between South and Western Australia as the Nullarbor and that’s at least a good 1000 kilometres long. If you drive it, I would be sure to have a good book because there literally is nothing to see out there, other than the dirt. Well, maybe a kangaroo or a wombat but not much else.”

Marianne smiled. “Hmm, maybe I need to revisit the idea.” We both laughed. “Seriously though, it does intrigue me. Kat’s due at any moment and there are no other babies coming that we are aware of...” At this point she looked at me and although I smiled, I shook my head. No babies here. “...so it could very well be doable. Christmas in Australia – it would be nice to not be bundled up beside a fire for a change.”

“I like the bundled up idea. A run of forty degree plus days are not fun, I can assure you; more so when we have the traditional lunch – turkey, hot vegetables, pudding etc. A lot of people tend to go for salad and seafood now as its more climate friendly and the ‘Aussie’ way, apparently, but my folks are old-school the whole way. We might all be dressed in t-shirts, shorts and thongs but we sit down to a formal meal. I’ve actually missed it the last couple of years.”

“Does this mean you will go home this year? Your tenure is up, isn’t it?”

Right at that moment the men joined us, all the meat barbecued to perfection. How was I going to answer her question in a way that might satisfy her and Henry both, if I had no idea yet as to what I wanted to do?

~*~*~

Standing up to get the plates ready, I finally replied “My tenure is up. I know I have to make a decision as to whether or not I stay on another year but I can’t quite bring myself to do that. I don’t want to decide one way and find out it was the wrong choice. Going home, regardless of what choice I make, might only confuse the issue. Talking to my family makes me homesick so I’m sure actually being on home soil again is only going to cloud the issue.”

Henry put his arm around my shoulder and kissed me near my temple. “Lucky for you then that you still have a little breathing space before you have to decide, isn’t it?”

I loved that he was trying to take the pressure off but I also knew that he had to be dying to know what my final decision was going to be. It was only fair, I supposed.
 Hopefully our week away would help clarify a few things for me and make the decision easier.

“Yeah, lucky me” I replied, handing a plate to his mother, who returned my smile. She might have been fishing for a response but for now, it looked like she was ok with letting the matter drop. I hoped so.

To change the subject slightly, I said to Colin as I handed him a plate “Marianne was just saying she wouldn’t mind visiting Australia herself.”

“Was she now?” he replied, giving his wife a look. “I might need to think about that. I’m too old to wrestle with crocodiles and fight off spiders as big as cats.”

Everyone laughed. “You do realize Niki was only pulling your leg when he told you about those creatures, don’t you dear?”

“Of course I do but I’ve also watched the Discovery Channel. He might have been wrong about the size but they can still kill. Isn’t that right Ally?”

I nodded. “I’d like to say no but it is true; we’re quite well known for our wildlife, especially the kind that can cause some serious damage. Having said that though, most of our more dangerous critters live in the bush or out in the deep of the ocean; unless you go looking for and disturb them, you’re normally ok.”

Marianne sighed. “Oh well, there goes my dream of having a hot Christmas Down Under.” We all laughed again.

~*~*~


---
"Driver picks the music. Shotgun shuts his cakehole."

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Re: Swear It Again - Henry Cavill. WIP


Ch 87 – Henry

Dinner with my folks turned out to be an enjoyable evening and although I knew Ally’s hand had to be giving her hell, she ploughed through and hid it well, acting as though everything was fine.

Despite my best efforts, I inadvertently mentioned I was taking her away next week and of course my mother wanted to know where. I could have told her but I did want it to be a surprise for Ally so I kept our destination to myself; after all, what’s the point of a surprise if you know ahead of time what’s happening?

Throughout the meal we discussed the wedding and we shared the photos each of us had taken on our phones. Ally was describing the dresses in more detail; or talking about some of the behind the scenes dramas she and Lizzie had had; and as she did so Mum would look intermittently over at me and smile. I knew what that smile meant, even without her having to say a word.

I had only been joking about getting married next Saturday but with her look she seemed to be questioning as to whether or not it was true. My mentioning taking Ally away clearly only raised her suspicions further. Honestly, I had no plans to elope, or even to pop the question but deep down, part of me was coming to realize that perhaps the day when I would feel like asking wasn’t as far away as it once had been.

~*~*~

I had almost married once and when that fell by the wayside, despite it being a mutual decision, I had been hurt. I swore I was never going to get close enough to another woman that it would make me want to take that leap and until now I had kept to that vow. I had dated several women, some more than once, and of course I had the agreement with Gina but there had never been anyone who even inspired me enough to take them home to meet the family, let alone get me to thinking about marriage, even if it was for a lot further down the track.

Such was the natural progression of my feelings for her I didn’t realize until recently that Ally was slowly but surely turning my resolve; where once I may have fought like crazy to stop the turning, now I was happy to let it slide by. Did this suddenly mean that I wanted to get married? Sure, one day but change in feelings on the matter or not, it wasn’t going to be anytime soon. We were still in our getting to know each other phase and there were still too many variables to think about before we should even consider it.

In a fit of anger, I had told Gina that I wanted Ally to be the mother of my babies and I suppose subconsciously in that moment I had meant it. Having had the chance to think on it some, I realized I still meant it but this too was a topic for down the road. We had to get ourselves to a place where things were great between us before we started to bring kids into the mix; assuming she even wanted them, although I was sure that she did.

‘So, Mum’ I thought to myself as I finished up the last of my wine; ‘you can give me that look all you like but I have no idea what I’m going to do and until I do, you can stay in the dark like the rest of us.’ Hopefully she wouldn’t push the matter.

~*~*~

Lying in bed later that night, we were musing over the past few days. With the wedding talk out of the way, we had not long started talking about dinner when Ally said “I really like your folks.”

With her head lying on my chest she wouldn’t have seen me smile but I did so all the same. I was glad she liked them and I knew they felt the same towards her too and that was half the battle in any relationship. “They like you too.”

She lifted her head. “I’m serious. I was as nervous as anything about meeting them that first time but they made me feel welcome. I don’t mind admitting that I did for a minute think they were just being polite, for your sake, but then each time I’ve interacted with them since then and you haven’t been there, they have been just as friendly.” She stopped a moment before adding “Having said that, I still get the very real impression that if I did anything to hurt you, then everything would change and your mother would have me whacked.”

I laughed, not able to help myself. There had been a cheeky smile on her lips when she said it but her eyes told me she believed every word. The thing of it was that she wasn’t half wrong. Mum was indeed kind and funny and loved people (well, most people) but the minute one of her family was in trouble or had been hurt, all bets were off. I naturally wasn’t going to admit that to Ally.

“Thanks for giving met the visual of my mother sitting at the head of the table, ordering her henchmen out to do her dirty work.”

“What can I say; I’ve always had a vivid imagination, which is probably why I love teaching. In all seriousness though, I believe she would. I would too, if anyone hurt my family. It’s only natural. I know my own mother is the same.” Again, she paused and I could almost see her mind tick over. “Isn’t it funny; both of our mothers married military men and yet I’m scared of them more than their husbands.”

“So, you think my father is a pushover?”

“No, of course I don’t but you yourself have told me stories about growing up and how you and your brothers seemed to be more worried about your mum’s reaction to things, rather than your dad’s.”

“True” I agreed, realizing she was right. “That’s not to say Dad didn’t have his moments though.” I recalled a few times when even Mum’s scariness had nothing on Dad’s when he was royally ticked off. “You’re pretty safe around him though, I reckon.”

“How so?” she asked as she raised herself onto an elbow. The sheet dropped and revealed a breast which was distracting but I did my best to ignore it, for now.

“Dad’s kind of reserved, which I suppose is a military thing but with you, he seems to be opening up more. I’m not saying he’s closed off to others but it usually takes him a while to warm up to people. With you he seemed to be on side from the get go. I find that kind of amazing. Actually, you’re the one who I find amazing.”

Her cheeks flushed a little and she coyly averted her eyes a moment before she offered me a shy smile. “That’s because you make me feel amazing. I am glad your dad likes me too though; I just know my parents are going to love you. We already know one of my sisters does” she added with a cheeky smirk.

“Come here” I coaxed, placing a hand on her uncovered breast. I didn’t want to start anything about how her sister could out-flirt her so I showed her talk time was finished. “That’s enough talk about family” was all I said. There was no further discussion that night.

~*~*~

Sunday was spent leisurely laying around and just enjoying our time together. We were going to head over to her flat so she could organize fresh clothes and supplies to take on our trip but decided to stay in. Instead I would drop her off while I went for my meeting and then pick her up on the way out of town.

Aside from my heading down to the store to get some fresh milk and bread, we didn’t do a great deal, happy to just spend some quality time together without interruptions. When we weren’t making love or cuddled up on the sofa, we did spend some time out in the yard or in the kitchen as Ally tried to teach me how to make lamingtons. Given her hand was out of action I had to do most of the work but I enjoyed it. I know she got a kick out of telling me what to do.

As we worked, she tried her level best to find out where I was taking her but I wouldn’t let on. “Babe, how am I supposed to pack right if I don’t know where you are taking me? Will I need only summer items or perhaps something warm? Will we be going anywhere fancy, and if so, how fancy? What if...”

I silenced her questions with a kiss. “You really are impatient when it comes to being surprised aren’t you?”
“Yes; yes, I am but you love me all the same.”

“I do. In the spirit of getting some peace, I will let you know that you will need mostly summer wear, although a few items to keep you warm wouldn’t be out of place. As to formal wear, I wouldn’t object to you taking the dress you wore in Paris, even if it’s only to wear at home after I order in.”

Her eyes twinkled. “I know you said you liked it but I get the feeling you had more fun with me out of the dress than in it.”

“I did but part of that was because of the unveiling, despite your being under the weather at the time. Maybe this time around you won’t be swaying like a sailor.”

“Maybe” was her only response as she gave me a look. Moments later the lamington batter was but an afterthought.

~*~*~

Later that night while Ally went to take a shower, I called Piers to make sure it was still ok for me to bring her to the family home. I didn’t want to have built up the surprise only to find out he and Maggie weren’t going anywhere after all. We could still have gone but I wanted to be with her one on one, not in a house full of people.

“Hey Harry, I was just thinking about calling you. Are you and Ally still heading up in the morning?”

I was in such a loved-up mood that I ignored the Harry. It was funny how being with Ally did that for me. “We are; in fact, it’s why I’m calling. I’m hoping you and Maggie will be gone by the time we get there.”

“Ouch” my older brother replied, although I could still hear the smile in his voice.

“Don’t get me wrong, I love you guys but I want to be alone with my girl, just the two of us. A week without newspaper articles or journalists reporting nothing but rubbish is just what we need.”

“I want to say I know you feel but I don’t; at least about the media. I do understand the wanting to be alone though; I miss the time Mags and I had before the twins came along. I love them to pieces but sometimes I can’t wait until they are old enough to leave home.”

I laughed. “You and Maggie would end up killing each other out of boredom if you didn’t have ‘trouble’ and ‘mayhem’ to look after” I joked. “You would also miss them.”

“You’re right” he half laughed. “Anyways, we’re leaving at 5am tomorrow to catch the plane so by the time you get here we should be getting ready to soak up the rays in Jamaica.”

“Great. Oh, by the way, I texted your name to Phil to pass on to his brother Liam. He and his wife run a scuba school on the island and I thought you might be interested in lessons. He sent me back a number if you want to take it down.”

“That would be awesome. Hang on a sec while I go and find a pen.”

I heard the receiver being put down and my brother muttering about there never being a pen handy when he needed one. I laughed just as Maggie picked up the phone.

~*~*~

“Hey Henry, how’s things?”

“Great thanks Maggie. How about you; excited for your trip tomorrow?”

“You can’t imagine how much. It’s going to be nice to have a week to just lie around and get some sun, rather than worry about what needs to be packed for the move or wrestle over what needs to be thrown away. I don’t suppose you have any kind of use for a recliner that Noah used on the Ark, do you?”

I knew exactly which chair she meant as it seemed to have been part of the house since forever. Having said that though, I didn’t want to take it and put it in my own place. “Thanks, but I’ll pass. Maybe when and if the house is sold, the new owners will want to take it on.”

“Somehow I doubt that. In fact, we’ll be lucky if it doesn’t drive down the price of the house when potential buyers come to check out the house. I’ll have to see if I can get rid of it when Piers isn’t around. He loves it so much he wants to ship it to Karlberg. I’m sure they will ship us back if he tried.”

I laughed with her as I agreed, although Piers didn’t seem to think it was funny. He must have walked back into the room to hear his wife talking and I could hear him grumble from across the room. “Ok, he’s back so I’ll let you talk again. By the by, I’ve stocked the fridge with some goodies for you and Ally. I expect you won’t be leaving the house too much; at least for the first couple of days.”

“Thanks Maggie” was all I could reply with, not really wanting to confirm her suspicions. “Have a great trip. We’ll expect to see plenty of photos when you get back. Give my love to the boys.”

“Count on it and will do” was her only comeback as she handed the phone back to her husband.

~*~*~

“I’m not sure I like the idea of you conspiring with my wife, little brother.”

“We do it out of love. It’s about time that old chair was given a decent burial.”

“I’ll have you know there is still plenty of life in that old chair, thank you very much. Besides, if it was good enough for Grandpa George, it’s good enough for me.”

“That should tell you right there how old it is Piers; Grandpa George had it when he was a kid so...”

“Never mind that now. Have you got this number or not?” I could hear he was getting a little testy. Clearly, he did love the chair that much.

“Sure” I answered, relaying the number from the text Phil had sent. “Ok, I have to go. Ally’s done with the shower and if she knows I’m talking with you, she will realize where I’m taking her. Have a great time, you deserve it.”

“Thanks Harry and right back at you. Give Ally a hug from us. We’ll probably call in when we get back to London.”

I told him that would be great and after a quick goodbye, managed to hang up the phone just as Ally walked back in the room.

~*~*~

“Anyone interesting on the phone?” she asked as she came in, still towel drying her hair.

“Charlie” I lied, hating that the name rolled off my tongue so easily. “He wanted to borrow my lawnmower while we’re away because his gave up the ghost this morning. He’s trying to do as much around the place as he can now, because when Kat comes home with the baby, he doesn’t want to disturb them more than he has to.”

“He’s going to be a good dad” she smiled. “You can just tell from the way he’s fussing now. I can’t even begin to imagine what he will actually be like when the baby finally gets here.”

“This child is going to be beyond spoilt. His grandmother already has half a room full of items and Charlie is bound to go overboard too. He and Kat have wanted this baby for so long and when it looked like they weren’t going to have any, he was gutted. The minute he found out Kat was pregnant, he bent over backwards to make sure she was ok and not doing anything she shouldn’t be doing.”

“Aww, that’s so adorable, although I’m guessing Kat is fed up with the pampering though. There is a limit to how much smothering someone can take you know.”

I nodded. “Three weeks; that was her limit. She put her foot down and although he relented a little, he’s back to being hyper vigilant, more so because Kat’s due any day now. We joke about it but I know he does it out of love and concern. I can’t blame him really; I suspect I would be the same if it was me.”

Throwing the towel over her shoulder, Ally walked over to me and gave me a hug. “That’s because you’re a good man, Henry.”

It was all she said but I appreciated it, even as I was still feeling guilty about having lied to her about who had called and why. Still, it was for a good reason and so it was ok to fib a little; right?

~*~*~


---
"Driver picks the music. Shotgun shuts his cakehole."

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Re: Swear It Again - Henry Cavill. WIP


Ch 88 – Ally

Monday rolled around quickly and although I normally wasn’t keen for the weekend to zip by, today I didn’t mind so much. Not only because I didn’t have to go to work; which I normally loved anyway; but it was also the day Henry and I were leaving for parts unknown to spend a week together. I was practically giddy with excitement.

Although his meeting wasn’t until 9am, we were both up early so I could be dropped back at the flat before he had to head off to town. He knew it would mean backtracking a little so he could come and pick me up again later but as he said, he wasn’t sure how long the meeting was going to go for and he didn’t want me cooped up in the car waiting for him; more so because we had an eight-hour drive ahead of us.

Pulling up outside the flat, I leant over to give him a kiss. “See you in a bit. Is there anything special you need me to pack, aside from clothes? I can go to the store to pick up whatever we need.”

“It’s fine sweetheart, everything has been organized. Just pack your things and I’ll be back before you know it. If you get stuck with anything, leave it and I’ll help you when I get back. I don’t want you aggravating your injury.”

I smiled. “Trust me; I won’t be doing anything to stop this trip from happening. Now, the sooner you go the sooner you can get back and we get to leave. Do I need to ring ahead and tell them we might be late?”

Shaking his head, he smiled. “Nice try; now, out you go. Love you.”

“Love you too” I answered before leaning over for one more kiss. Moments later I was heading up the stairs and into the building.

~*~*~

It felt strange, being in the flat after a week away. I thought I would have been happy to be back and yet I had been happier back at Henry’s. Perhaps it was because he was there and had we been here after Paris, it might not have felt as weird.

It was eerily quiet and so of course I put some music on, but not before taking some Panadol. I really didn’t want to but my hand was still giving me the !@#$. Of all the bad timing, it had to happen now when I was about to head off on a romantic week. I just hoped there wasn’t anything too out there for us to do, like go rock climbing.

After the music began, I checked the machine for any messages. Despite a week away, there were only three. The first wasn’t anything that needed a follow up and the other two were from my mother. Her first call had a crying woman on it, telling me how distraught she was that I had run off and eloped without so much as a by your leave and threats of being disinherited, among other things. The second call from my mother was an apology, saying she had just spoken with Cate and now had the real story. Not up to speaking with her until after some of the pain in my hand subsided, I went in search of clothes to take away.

I would have loved to have taken the Paris dress (as I would now think of it) with me but it needed to be cleaned and I didn’t want to run the risk of just throwing it into the washing machine. I would just have to save it for when we got home. I did however want to pack the lingerie that Henry had been so fond of and so, after rifling through the bag I had taken to Paris, I grabbed all my underwear and threw it in the machine to wash while I searched through my cupboard.

Knowing my hand was going to make dressing a little bit of a nightmare, I tried to find clothes that would be easy to get off and on without help. No doubt I would have it but if Henry happened to be elsewhere and I needed a change of clothes, I didn’t want to only have clothes that would cause further injury to my hand if I found myself somehow trapped half in or out of something.

Luckily for me I had quite a few items of clothing that would be perfect and I even managed to find something appropriate to be considered formal, while not being too over the top. Hopefully everything I picked would be suitable for wherever we were going.

~*~*~

With a bag packed and ready to be loaded into the car; save the clean underwear that was now currently rumbling around in the dryer; I had a quick look around the flat to see if there was anything I needed to take. I knew Henry said I didn’t need anything special but it was better to take it and not use it, than to find you wanted it later and didn’t have it.

I spotted a pack of cards on the bookshelf and a sudden image of us playing strip poker came to mind, so of course I picked them up, along with the monopoly set and a couple of books. I also plugged in my iPad so it would be charged for the journey. Nothing else jumped out at me and so I decided to return Mum’s call. I imagined her sitting there right next to phone waiting for the call, because it had barely rung once when it was answered.

“Hey Mum, it’s me.”

“Ally; how are you sweetheart? I was just talking about you.”

“Were you really; to who?”

“Bethy; she and Brian are thinking of going away for a week and she wanted to know if we could watch Rufus.” Rufus was my sister’s German shepherd puppy that Brian had given her a few months earlier for her birthday.

“And you thought I might like the job instead?” I asked, curious as to how my name came up in the conversation.

I pictured her shaking her head. “Of course not; but you did rate a mention when I had to decline her offer. We already have Pippin and although Rufus is a puppy, something tells me your dog might end up being a midnight snack. Your sister didn’t think it was fair we could babysit one dog and not the other.”

I didn’t have to imagine what my sister had to say on the matter as I knew her well. What horrified me more was the thought of what her dog might have done to mine had Mum taken on the puppy-sitting job. I missed my little rascal almost as much as I missed the rest of the family and the very thought of something happening to him worried me. They could have been perfectly fine together but I wasn’t willing to test fate which is why I offered a solution.

“Tell Bethy I’ll pay to have him put in a kennel. The last thing I need is a phone call telling me my little man was last night’s appetizer.”

Mum laughed. “It’s fine sweetheart; Catey offered to take him. It’s only for a week or so.”

I literally let out a sigh of relief. I owed my eldest sister big time for this.

~*~*~

With the dog situation settled, Mum started to apologize again for her messages. “I did try to recall it but you know how tech-challenged I am. I’m so sorry I laid all of that guilt on you, sweetheart. I should have known better than to think you would just run away to get married.”

“It’s ok Mum, I get it. I’m just surprised that the news made it all the way down there, and so quickly. Henry was already kind of a big deal here in the UK before he got this role so it’s natural for the media here to be interested. I can’t understand how it made it made it that far south though.”

“Technology baby, technology; you only have to blink and it’s half way across the world in moments. My guess is Henry is bigger down here than you thought. Someone was probably trolling one of those foreign paper sites and saw it.” I nodded, although she couldn’t see me do it. “How are you dealing with it; the intrusion, I mean? I daresay it can’t have been fun having cameras shoved in your face and all those flashes too.”

“Honestly, I was a little out of it, being on pain pills and all; something I’m kind of grateful for now. After the magazine article the week before, the last thing I needed was more attention. But I’m realizing that being with Henry means this is part of my life now. I have to learn to deal with it because the alternative is not something I even want to consider.”

Naturally I then had to explain about the magazine article, which hadn’t quite made it to Australia yet it would seem, even if I did leave out the part about Henry and I having fought over it. Had I mentioned it, I could imagine her on the next plane up here to help fix things.

“I’m so proud to hear you talking like this baby, and not just running away because it’s too hard. It’s clear that Henry is someone very special to you.”

I sighed. “You can’t even begin to know how much, Mum” I replied, a shy smile crossing my lips as I thought about how much I already loved him and how he made me feel.

~*~*~

“So, when do we get to meet this young man of yours?” was her next question. I wondered how long it would take.

“When can you get here?” I retorted with a laugh. “Honestly, I don’t know. He leaves for the US in September to start filming and between now and then, he’s in and out with meetings, training and all manner of other things you don’t realize go on behind the scenes of a movie. Maybe I can find out if he’s going to take time off at Christmas and suggest he come down there with me, even if it’s only for a few days.”

“Tell him he will be made most welcome. I’ll get the spare room ready now, just in case.”

I had to laugh at that. Not only because there was still eight months until Christmas, but at the idea that she wanted to prepare the spare room. She was old fashioned about certain things and I knew she probably didn’t like it but she had to know we were sleeping together. Then again, it was her house and I was more than happy to sleep in separate rooms if it made her happy and meant I could spend the holidays with my family and the man I loved.

Ignoring the spare room comment I asked “So, you’re not upset then that I’ve taken up with an actor? I know you were hoping I’d end up with someone connected to Queen Victoria, even if only remotely.”

“As long as you are happy and he treats you well then the man can be a garbologist. Besides, Cate mentioned he once played a Duke on the Tudors, so that’s close enough for me.”

I smiled wide. “He did. I’m still yet to watch the show myself but to hear Catey tell the story, its well worth it. Maybe she can lend you her copy and you can see for yourself. If you do watch it though, don’t tell me what happens.”

“Baby, you do know it doesn’t have a happy ending, right; especially for the King’s wives?”

“I remember vaguely” I conceded. History had never been one of my favourite subjects, at least until I started doing the family tree. “I mean more in terms of what happens to Henry’s character. I’m not going to start watching it if he gets killed off three episodes into the first season.”

I didn’t need to see my mother’s face to know she was currently rolling her eyes; it was a given. “And you call yourself a teacher” she jested. “Probably a good thing it’s for primary school and not history.” I laughed as I agreed.

~*~*~

“Speaking of school” she added “shouldn’t you be there by now? It’s got to be close to 10am there, right?”

I looked at the time on the DVD player and noted it was closer to 1030. Hopefully that meant that Henry was on his way back here. “No, we still have another week for school holidays. I go back next week for four days then we have Easter. I believe we are also getting the day off for the Royal Wedding, so that should be fun.”

“I keep forgetting the school year up there doesn’t match ours. Then again, most states here are different to each other so... But how exciting about the wedding; will you be going into town to see it live?”

“I don’t think so. You know how I feel about crowds. Besides, Marianne; Henry’s mum; told me Saturday night she is organizing a luncheon and we’ll be having high tea at her place. We’re going to watch it on the big screen there, all dolled up with fancy dresses and fascinators, the whole nine yards.”

“Sounds like it will be fun” she noted and I couldn’t miss the hint of sadness in her voice. I guessed she would have loved to have been a part of the day too.

“It does. I wish you could come up here and be part of it too. I’ll make sure to send lots of photos though and when I go into town, I’ll pick up a bunch of souvenirs. It will be cool to have some to add to the Charlie and Di stuff you have.”

“Thanks baby, I appreciate that.” A moment later she went on “Well, I guess I better let you go. No doubt you have things to do.”

“Funny you should say that” I replied. “Henry’s whisking me away somewhere for a week and he’s due at anytime. I have almost everything done, despite my hand being out of action. A good thing I’m practically ambidextrous.”

“Cate told me about that too; the hand thing, I mean. I hope it’s not more serious than you’re letting on.”

“It’s not, I promise. There’s just some severe swelling and a lot of bruising. I should be fine in a couple of weeks.”

“I hope so. Now, off you go and finish getting ready. I’ll expect a report when you get back about where you went and what you did.” Realizing what she said she quickly added “Well, not about all that you did, just the G rated stuff.”

I laughed. “I knew what you meant Mum. Damn, I miss you.”

“I miss you too baby. Be safe up there and I’ll speak with you soon. Love to everyone up there from all of us down here.”

“And love back to you all too. I’ll call you in a week.”

She said goodbye again before quickly hanging up. I still managed to note the beginning of a sniffle in her tone and knew she would be all weepy now. I had to admit that I was feeling the same. I usually did after talking with someone from home. Missing everyone back there was tending to make the decision about my future lean a bit closer to going home, rather than renewing. And that was when Henry walked in and the swing went right back to dead centre undecided, if not a little the other way.

~*~*~


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"Driver picks the music. Shotgun shuts his cakehole."

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