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One Step At A Time

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1 One Step At A Time on 19th March 2012, 11:39

By
MissAusten
and
Ariel Buttercup

OVER 18 WARNING

This is not part of the RPG Spy Game even though some of the characters from the game will appear and take place at some points in the story but they are just interpretation of MissAusten and me, we do apologize if anyone is offended and think we misinterpreted their character. In that case we just borrowed the idea of the character and never meant to copy the characters.
This is a nice little two girl game for MissAusten and me (Ariel Buttercup), but we will be happy about every reader the story attracts.




The geeks are growing up, but at the end of first book they had to go separate ways. Will they find their way back together? Will Liam safe enough money to buy the one special ring? Are they really the one true love for each other, or are they just the fling of two socially awkward teenagers?

I hope you enjoy the story, we certainly do.

The unsorted soundtrack



Last edited by Ariel Buttercup on 10th January 2013, 18:22; edited 2 times in total


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2 Re: One Step At A Time on 19th March 2012, 11:49

Liam was gone since one day and Jo missed him so much, but she had promised him that she would be alright and she was determined to keep her promise. She walked Teddy, she went to work, bought groceries and enjoyed the last bits of sun. It was dark and she was sitting with a cup of tea in front of the TV, when she wished she could tell Liam about her day, like she used to do. Suddenly she got up took one of her empty notebooks and sat down again. She smiled when she started to write… Dear Liam, today I

Liam was away since nearly three weeks, and Jo not just missed him but she noticed that she didn’t like living alone. She picked up Teddy and walked the few blocks down to Liam’s and Dick’s flat. Surprisingly she saw light in it and rang the bell. Dick opened the door and looked at her. “Hey, um Dick I was wondering. Could I move in here? I can cook, and clean and I won’t touch your things. You won’t even notice that I am even here. Oh and I talk less then Liam does.” Dick looked annoyed at her. “Fine.”…

“Little cousin, I have great news. I’m pregnant.” …

Jo managed to smile and look happy, even though she wasn’t really happy. Her life was not bad, she had a job she really loved, a dog she treasured, and she even started to like Dick. He was weird, but when she was sitting with him in the living room reading while he was cleaning his guns she felt safe and less lonely. Sometimes he even told her that whatever she had cooked was really good. It was Christmas and she had a little hard time to explain where Liam was. She said he was visiting his family in Ireland, but it hurt her to see the pity in the people’s eyes…

Like every day she got up early walked back to her flat and practiced the piano. She was lately composing a lot, it was as if she was putting her feelings into the music. It was a late afternoon in December when Graham invited her to his home. They talked for some time, before Graham asked Jo if she would play something for him. She agreed and for a moment she thought about what to play but all she could play were her new compositions. “Josephine that amazing. There is a benefit concert I’m organizing and two of my acts dropped out. Please, would you be a part of it?”…



Last edited by Ariel Buttercup on 20th March 2012, 12:46; edited 1 time in total


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3 Re: One Step At A Time on 19th March 2012, 13:12

In the past couple of months Liam had more than enough time to think. Well, not that he wasn’t thinking at any other times, he never stopped thinking at all, but being away from Jo for so long and not being able to see her, to talk to her, to hear her voice, made him think about things he usually didn’t think of when he was with her; the future.
Sure, there were moments now and then when he thought about his future, her future, their future, especially since he had planned to propose sometime next year, but he was also very talented in avoiding any serious thoughts about the future.
Not being with Jo, however, made him think almost constantly about it. And not being with her, not seeing her in his cartoon jumpers and boxershorts, not looking into her sleepy doe eyes after she woke up in the morning, not hearing her laugh when he said something stupid… all those things made him realize how much he really loved her. And how much he actually needed her. He never thought he would need anyone like this, but he did. He missed her, he even missed their fights and pointless arguments. He missed every minute he spent with her. And the sad thing was, he didn’t know when he could see her again. But he realized one important thing; not being with her made him appreciate her even more than he ever did. Before, he already appreciated having her in his life, but now he really understood how lucky he was not only to know this wonderful, lovely person, but also to have this person in his life. If he could only see her again…


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4 Re: One Step At A Time on 19th March 2012, 14:01

Jo was nervous she hadn’t been performed in public since the summer concert nearly two years ago. Graham came to her smiling. He knew how much it hurt her to be separated from Liam and not knowing if he was okay.

“Hey girl. How do you feel?” He hugged his favourite student.

“Sick!”

“You will do fine. All those songs you wrote. They are beautiful and I know if Liam would be here he would be thrilled to hear them.”

“But he is not here.” It sounded bitter.

“He is here in your heart. He will always be in your heart. I never played the song I wrote for Catherine in public because I thought the song is for her and not everyone, but I was wrong. I should always have played it. In this song she keeps living. Every time I play it or heard you play it I was back with Catherine. We will always be together in this song. By playing all those songs you wrote for Liam you will always be together. You will see the reflection of your love for my son in the eyes of the audience.” He kissed Jo on the cheek and went on stage to pronounce his special guest.

"Ladies and gentlemen, a very special student of mine is playing her songs discribing the safety place we all have in our minds. She will take you to the journey of green fields. Ladies and gentlemen Lady Jospehine Williams with Journey Of My Leprachaun."

Jo heard the crowd applaud and she went on the stage dropped to a curtsey and sat down behind the grand piano. She closed her eyes and recalled this face with the blue ice like the ocean and the smile that looked like the stars, him. She didn’t need notes to play, she knew each song by heart.

Jo didn’t play any of those songs for the audience, she played them for Liam. Each song was her feeling written in music. She hurried back behind stage while the audience gave her standing ovations. Jo didn’t care, she wanted to take Teddy home and hide her precious world of her books. But Teddy wasn’t where she had left him, Teddy never run off just like that. He was her best friend. “Teddy? Teddy, boy where are you?” Jo collapsed and started crying, she thought she had lost everything. First the boy she loved with all her heart and now her best friend.
In the distance she heard Graham talk he was announcing another special guest, but she didn’t hear who it was or what would happen next. All she knew was that she had lost the boy she loved and she didn’t know how to move him. She had promised Liam that she would not forget him, but if he is not coming back by tonight she would move on and fulfil all their plans. He would always be with her as long she opened Waterfall Downs doors for gifted children. She knew that she would move on but she wasn’t just sure yet. How could she teach children about the world, about love when she had lost her love?
Jo suddenly straightened her back, and got up. She had promised Liam to be strong and never give up, and when she had to do it all alone she would do it. The plans to turn Waterfall Downs in a school were all done, the remodelling would start in summer. And Jo would build a school neither Liam nor she had in their childhood. And she would never say goodbye to Liam and the love for him, she would never forget him. She would never forget the sparkle in his eyes when he told her that she was beautiful.
Jo whipped her tears away and planned on leaving London, for good, when she suddenly recognized the melody.


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5 Re: One Step At A Time on 19th March 2012, 19:40

It’s been almost three and a half months ago when he last saw Jo. He didn’t know when exactly he would be back, but he had promised himself to be back by the end of the year, because he wanted to start the new year with her, and not like last year, where he came shortly after midnight and found her kissing another guy. He knew that the upcoming year was going to be important and so many life-changing events were about to happen. There was just no way he would start the new year trapped in the safehouse, knowing that his girlfriend was somewhere out there, desperately waiting for his return.
And he made it. He really made it right before the new year would start. Graham told him that Jo was a special guest for his benefit concert on New Year’s Eve in London, and Liam did not only want to see her, but also surprise her. He just hoped he wouldn’t be a few minutes late, because every second counted.
Liam was well hidden in the corner where Jo couldn’t see him. He missed the first part of her performance, but when he arrived during the second half and he saw her sitting at the piano, completely lost in thoughts with those sad eyes wandering over the piano keys, his heart almost stopped beating. She looked incredibly gorgeous, just like she looked at the summer concert, and she just looked equally heartbroken. He was fascinated by the way she played the piano, and he was incredibly happy to finally see her, but it also hurt him to see her that sad. At least he knew that he wouldn’t be sad for much longer…
After Jo was done and the people stood up to applaud, she immediately turned away and went into the opposite direction. Graham quickly announced the next guest, and Liam went up to the stage, carrying his guitar. His father smiled at him as he came up the stage, and Liam actually blushed because compared to Graham and Jo, he was a complete amateur when it came to music. He knew he was definitely not the best singer, and he hoped he wouldn’t mess up anything, but as soon as he sat down and started playing, he no longer cared about the hundreds of people watching him- he only cared about Jo hearing that one song that described everything he thought about her.
The same moment Teddy appeared next to his feet, wiggling his tail while looking happily up to him. Liam tried not to get distracted by the dog, although it was very hard to ignore that little fella.

Jo, unlike her puppy, needed a moment to realize what was going on. She slowly got on her feet and turned towards the stage where she saw the one person she had waited so long for. Their eyes met, and Liam tried not to grin too much when he saw her staring at him, he just continued until the song was finished, then got up and walked to her. He had eyes for her and her only, everything else around him didn’t matter.

“You are late.” Her arms were crossed in front of her chest.

“No I’m not I have one minute left of this day to be back.” Liam smirked at her.

“You can be such an idiot.” Jo’s hard face broke into a shy smile. “But you are my idiot!” She jumped into his arms.

“So I guess you missed me a little bit.” Liam chuckled. He closed his eyes for a moment because he wanted to really feel her. Holding her was the most beautiful feeling he knew, and he had missed it so much. He had missed her so much. He knew he wasn’t able to tell her that directly, but he hoped she would know it anyway.

Jo nodded and kissed him, with tears of joy running down her face. “Of course I missed you. I’m staying with Dick, what do you think?”

Liam raised his eyebrows. “Seriously? Did he…was he nice to you? Did he say anything offensive? I know he can come across a bit offensive sometimes, but he doesn’t mean-“

Jo shook her head. “It was fine. Most of the time he didn’t talk much, but he seemed to like the food I cooked.”

“Oh yeah, I’m pretty sure he liked having someone who cleaned and cooked.” He smiled. “Jo?”

“Hm?”

“Before I left…you mentioned this quote by Peter Pan: Never say goodbye, because saying goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting…”

She nodded quietly.

“I hate to tell you this, but your Peter was wrong”, he said. “There is no way I could have forgotten you, not for one second. It was quite the opposite actually, I couldn’t get you out of my mind, I thought about you more than any physics project or the fact that NASA is working on getting people into space…”

Jo laughed, still tears in her eyes. “I’m glad Peter was wrong.”


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6 Re: One Step At A Time on 20th March 2012, 01:49

Jo was holding Liam’s hand and it didn’t look like she was going to let go of it anytime soon. Graham was talking to Liam, but Jo just watched her boyfriend. Her heart was racing, and she had millions of butterflies in her stomach. Liam kissed her and whispered. “Do you wanna get out of here or stay for the after party?”

Jo looked dreamy at Liam.

“Jo? Do you listen?” Liam looked questioning at his girlfriend. Jo blinked very slowly nearly as if she was scared that if she blinks Liam would disappear again.

“Home. Just you and me no one else.” Jo blushed and looked shy at the floor.

Liam chuckled. “You are reading my mind.” He kissed her passionately and pulled her close. He took her hand and pulled her out of the concert hall. They went home. “Liam, I have a question. Please don’t laugh.”

“What is it?” Liam smiled, it has been weeks that someone was in the flat a thin layer of dust was on everything. They would have to clean as the entire flat, but not right now.

“I promise I’m not mad, just tell me did you… um did you sleep with another girl, while you were gone.” It was just a whisper, so shy and embarrassed but she so desperately wanted, needed to know. It really didn’t matter for her if he did as long it was just sex, but it made Jo nervous to think that he had practice while she didn’t had any. “I mean I didn’t and I really wouldn’t be mad. I promise…”

“Jo what the hell do you think? No of course not. Hey look at me. What’s wrong?” Liam lifted her head by her chin.

“I think I’m out of practice.”

Liam chuckled, but stopped right away when he saw the disappointment in Jo’s face. “Sorry I know I promised not to laugh but this just sounded so super cute. I’m sure you are not out of practice.” Liam kissed Jo and pulled her into the bedroom. “Wow you taste so good.” Liam was gently kissing Jo’s neck while his hand moved up the back of her dress to unzip it.
“Liam wait… I mean… um I want you, I do. Just… a little slower. I feel like this my first time.” Jo looked guilty at Liam. “I’m sorry.”

“Oh Jo, don’t worry about it. We can go slow. Can I kiss you and touch you?”

Jo nodded smiling. Liam’s hand found her zipper, and undid it. He didn’t mean it bad but he really, really wanted her. “You are so beautiful.” His hands and lips roaming over Jo’s body, but he was a little too demanding in her opinion.

“Liam, slow down please.” Jo grabbed his hands and pushed them away.

“Jo, please.” Liam looked pleading at his girlfriend. “Okay I guess that was not very arousing for you. I will slow down, I’ll promise.”

“Listen why don’t you sit down on the bed, I… well you’ll see. Just wait here okay.” Jo kissed him, grabbed something from one of her drawers and disappeared in the bathroom.

“Hello Mister, you might wanna turn on the night stand lamp to have a better view.”

Jo smiled flirtatious at her boyfriend and turned on the tape recorder. She was not as clumsy anymore when she was sexy dancing for her boyfriend. She had practiced a lot in the months Liam was gone -not that anyone ever saw her while she did expect Teddy-, it was still not at all like a showgirl, but in Jo’s special cute clumsy way she was dancing for Liam and a little for herself. They wouldn’t get a lot of sleep this night. And Jo didn’t care at all.


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7 Re: One Step At A Time on 21st March 2012, 14:08

The new year had certainly started great- and very active. At first it was a bit strange being back together at their Londoner flat. Jo hadn’t been here for a while, and Liam was used to live alone for the past couple of months, but being together again was an incredibly good feeling. It took them about a week to slowly get used to it again though. Liam had to be very quiet in the morning while Jo was still sleeping, and Jo tried hard not to be too clingy, but they soon got back to their routine, and Jo had to work anyway, although she wished she could be with Liam the entire day. She said if she worked hard enough for the next two months, she might get two weeks off in the spring.
Two weeks after the concert, Graham called Liam and asked him to meet him. Liam didn’t know what it was about, but he went while Jo was at work.
Liam got into the bus and reached the flat about thirty minutes later. The doorman already knew him by now, although he didn’t know that he was Graham’s son. He seemed to guess it though, because he smiled at him weirdly everytime he saw him.

“Thanks for coming”, Graham said while he let Liam in.

“No problem. What’s up?”

“I have something I wanted to give you.”

While Graham went to the bookshelf, Liam’s eyes wandered through the huge flat. The view was great, he could see part of the Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. Graham turned back to him, a little dark blue box in his hand.

Liam frowned. “What’s that?”

“You’ll see.” He smiled as he handed him the box.

Liam raised his eyebrows when he opened the box and saw the diamond ring. “Are you proposing to me?”

Graham chuckled. “No, that was not my intention.”

“Good, because I don’t think Jo would be happy about that…” He looked up at him. “Why are you giving this to me?”

“Because I never had the chance to give it to the person who was meant to have it.”

“What?”

“I bought it for your mother over twenty years ago”, Graham said. “I had it all planned out. I wanted to propose to her, and that same day she told me…well, that you were on the way. And I backed out instead of proposing to her.”

Liam stared at the ring. “It’s mum’s?”

“Yes.”

“You kept it?”

“Yes. And I had planned on keeping it for the rest of my life…and then I met you”, Graham said. “And I know that you want to propose to Jo sometime in the future and already started saving for a ring…so that’s my gift to you.”

Liam didn’t respond immediately. He couldn’t believe that he not only had a ring for Jo, but actually the ring that was supposed to be his mother’s. “That’s…um…that is…thanks…”

“You’re welcome.” Graham smiled. “It’s the right thing to do. This ring was supposed to belong to a very special person, and now it will at last.”

“I really…um…that’s…great…”

“But there’s one thing I have to say. Just because you have a ring now doesn’t mean you should propose to her right away. Wait until the time is right. You’re both still young, you shouldn’t rush anything, and you should be patient and wait for the right time.”

“How will I know when the time is right? I mean, it could be any time, right?”

“You’ll know”, Graham said. “Trust me.”

Liam a last time at the ring, then he closed the box and smiled. “Thank you so much.”


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8 Re: One Step At A Time on 21st March 2012, 21:50

Jo hated now that Liam was back that she had to work five days a week. Five days a week six hours, she didn’t take a lunch break to finish earlier. She was happy that she could start at ten in the morning that way she didn’t had to get up to an insane time. But no matter how much she kind of liked her job, she hated that she had to spend six hours a day without Liam. But Jo worked twice as hard to get a few weeks off in spring, she had her mind set to see this year Ireland not that she was very much looking forward to the flight but she really, really wanted to see from where Liam came. Liam was back since a month and sometimes in the evening or while she was waking up she noticed Liam looking at her weirdly, but Jo was too happy to have him back.
She had got dinner on her way home, she never had to worry that Liam already made dinner, it was her responsibility to make dinner while he was making breakfast.

“Hey honey I am home!” Teddy came happily jumping and bouncing to the door to greet his human girl.

“How was your day sweetheart?” Liam kissed Jo and pulled her passionately close to him. “I missed you.”

Jo giggled. “I missed you too. I have dinner. Fish and chips.”

Liam smiled and let Jo pull him into the living room. “Liam I was thinking. I would love to see Ireland and where you came from and I really want to meet your grandparents I know it is a lot simpler as the way I grew up, but I really want to see all this. Please Liam.” Jo looked at Liam with her pretty doe eyes. “You know that I don’t care if you have money or not, everything what is mine is yours. And I speak enough Irish to talk to your grandparents, I don’t even care that your grandfather doesn’t talk a lot. Please Liam, you know so much about me and sometimes I just feel I know nothing about you. Please Liam.”


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9 Re: One Step At A Time on 23rd March 2012, 08:58

Liam was quiet for a moment. He knew that the day would come that Jo wanted to see his home. He didn’t mind showing her around the country, but he felt embarrassed just thinking about Jo seeing this tiny little farmhouse he grew up and meeting his strange, super religious grandparents who didn’t even speak proper English. He grew up so differently than Jo, and although he didn’t live at his grandparents’ home for long because he and his mum moved a lot, it still was the place he was born and spent the first years of his childhood. He didn’t really know how to explain it to Jo, he didn’t want her to get the feeling that he didn’t want to show her the place he grew up, it was just kind of embarrassing for him when she actually saw how humble he grew up.

“What are you thinking?”, she asked after he didn’t respond.

“Ehm…sure…I can show you…the country…and stuff.”

“But there’s something bothering you, right?”

“No, it’s not that something bothers me, it’s just…”

“We don’t have to go, Liam. If you don’t feel comfortable with-“

“No, it’s fine”, he said. He knew how much she wanted to go, and she was right; he had met her family, also her cousins and uncle in Germany, and she had always let him be part of her life, while he, on the other hand, kept part of his life away from her.

“I know you didn’t grow up in a castle, and I really don’t care how you grew up, you know that, right? It would just mean so much to me to finally see that part of your life, your home and-“

“It’s not my home”, Liam said. “Yes, I grew up there but it’s…um…my ‘home’ was where my mother was, not where I grew up.”

Jo nodded quietly. “Okay.”

“But I can take you, if you want. I don’t mind…”

“Really?” Her eyes lit up.

“Yes, we could go to Dublin first, since it’s most accessible from London, and then spend a couple of days traveling around that area, and then we can travel south, which is the nicest area, of course, because that’s where I’m from.” He grinned. “Although the southern accent is not that easy to understand. I actually have a southern accent, but everytime I had to move to another country my mum told me to try not to speak in that southern Irish accent because there was no way Australians or Americans or any other nation in the world would understand me except the people who come from the south of Ireland.”

“So you don’t only have a normal Irish accent, but actually a southern one too?”

“Yes, although I try to hide it. Graham immediately heard that I’m from the south, I guess you have to be Irish in order to notice something like that right away. Oh, and I know you studied your Irish really hard, and I’m amazed how well you can speak it, but there’s no way you’ll understand my grandparents.”

“What? Why not?”

“My grandma speaks insanely fast-“

“But I can understand-“

“No, trust me. I know your Irish is good, but not even an Irish really understands what that woman is saying. I constantly had to ask her if she could repeat to me what she said, and then she always told me that I need to get my ears fixed.”

Jo chuckled. “So how will I understand her?”

“She can speak English if I ask her nicely.”

“And your grandfather?”

“Oh, forget him all together! During the entire day he says probably two sentences, or just a few random words, and he is almost impossible to understand, because next to having the worst southern accent you can possibly imagine he always mumbles, so there is no way one can understand him. And he won’t speak a word of English. He is really…um…let’s say, patriotic, and like most old Irish folks hates the English, especially after that whole division with Northern Ireland…”

“What if he hates me? I mean, I’m English…and I’m pretty sure I can’t pretend to be Irish because they will notice the fake accent, oh, I could pretend to be American, or maybe-“

“Relax Jo, he’s not going to hate you.” Liam took her hand. It was kind of cute how much she always worried that people didn’t like her. “Just don’t expect a hug from him. In my entire life he has never hugged me, nor spoken more than a few words to me. So don’t take it personally, okay?”

“Okay.” Jo nodded and leaned her head against his shoulder. “Thank you.”

“For what?”

“For taking me.”

“No problem.”

“And now I have to mentally get prepared…”

“For what?”

Jo sighed. “For the nightmare that is yet to come…flying!”


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10 Re: One Step At A Time on 23rd March 2012, 12:49

The time passed quickly and suddenly it was the day of leaving, Ricky had picked up Teddy, their suitcases were ready packed and Jo had a read book about planes and not that she has understood all of it. The two geeks has spent many evening hours sitting cuddled together at the couch and Liam tried to explain that planes are safe and awesome, not that it worked but he tried.
Jo was clingy and in a way glued to Liam and she was crazily nervous. “Liam, can you promise me something?”

“Sure.”

“No statistics about how often planes crash or anything similarly scary. Please?” Jo looked embarrassed at her boyfriend.

Liam didn’t understand the whole being scared of planes but he figured the way Jo was looking right now he looks when a priest is around. “Okay. I try.”

“Thanks that’s all I want.” Jo sipped at her tea trying very hard to sit still in her chair. After endless hours of waiting, at least it felt for Jo like many, many hours.

“Ladies and Gentlemen please sit done we are ready for take-off.” The sexy stewardess said through her microphone.
Jo’s head was rested on her knees. “Don’t stare at the hot stewardess, please.”

“What I am not…” Liam basically had to wipe is mouth because he was drooling, at least in a metaphorical way.

“Liam, I know you. She is super sexy, just as all the other stewardesses and I know you like pretty girls.”

Liam gently rubbed her back, leaned closer to her. “I know you have a maid dress, what if we get you a stewardess outfit? I bet you are hot in it.”

Jo nodded and mumbled. “Okay.” Liam heard that she was crying, but until she let him see her tears he knew she didn’t want him to know.

“Oh my God what is happening? Liam? I can’t do this, I wanna get out. Please Liam!” Jo was still hiding her face in her lap, but she was shivering, trying to force herself to breathe slowly but it didn’t really work.

“It’s is the turbines they got started, just like you start a car’s engine.”

“Liam? I don't wanna die. Can I please sit on your lap? Please I'm begging you.” She looked up crying, very pale, shivering and having a proper panic attack. Just like she had after she was kidnapped.

“Hell yes you can sit on my lap.” He grinned sheepishly at her, but he regretted it right away.

“Liam, not like this. I’m serious Liam. I can’t breathe.” She was climbing on his lap and buried her face in his shoulder.

“You won’t die, we won’t die.” Liam whispered. “The plane is driving to the runway. Liam just explained slowly what was going on. And it was weird, but right now here in the plane he should feel stupid that his girlfriend was acting the way she was. But it was nice, in a way. Jo was so scared and even though there was nothing that Liam could do to change that but she trusted him, as long Liam was there everything would be okay.

“Liam?”

“Yvaine?”

It made Jo smile as usual when he called her Yvaine.

“I’m sorry I’m having a panic attack. Oh that is horrible.”

The plane was gaining speed to set off, Liam held Jo close and then he suddenly started humming. Just loud enough that Jo would hear him, it didn’t take all her fear away but it calmed her down a little bit. Enough that she started to slow down her breathing and stopped crying.

“How much longer is the flight?” Jo mumbled into his chest.

“Well we just took off, so approximately an hour and a half. But I have to say, I like this.”

“What?” Jo looked up, but regretted this move because now she saw that they were already high up in the air. “Oh this is not good.” She moved closer to Liam, if this was even possible.

“What do you mean?” She mumbled.

“Well I like having you in my arm like, holding you and stuff. Even though we are not doing what I picture right now in my mind.” Liam chuckled.

“You are a jerk.” She mumbled. “But yeah it would be nice if we could do this, but Liam I’m sorry I really can’t right now.” Jo looked so guilty at Liam that she felt sorry for herself.


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11 Re: One Step At A Time on 24th March 2012, 09:11

“Don’t worry, I know you have other things to think about right now.” He rubbed her back. “You’re still shivering…”

“I’m getting better”, she mumbled. “As long as I don’t stare out the window, that really freaks me out.”

“Really? But it looks so nice, the sky, the clouds…”

No.” Jo shook her head.

One of the stewardesses appeared next to them. Liam automatically turned his head to her, it was a reflex he couldn’t stop. A woman in a uniform…a very attractive woman in a very figure-hugging uniform…hell yes, that was…

“Miss?”

And she was talking to Jo. Damn.

“I’m really sorry, but for safety reasons everybody has to sit in the seat.” She was friendly, but Jo didn’t care.

“But I’m scared.”

“I’m really sorry about that, Miss, but you have to sit in your seat, for your own safety.”

Jo looked helpless at Liam who just stared at the stewardess.
“Fine!” Jo got up from his lap and sat down next to him in the seat. She crossed her arms, bit her lip and waited until the stewardess was gone.

“Man, those uniforms. I really should fly more often…”,Liam mumbled.

“Seriously?”

“Yeah, I mean, did you see-“

“No, I meant seriously? As in ‘are you seriously thinking of those stupid women in uniforms while I’m dying here?’”

“What? No, no, I wasn’t…um…you know…”

“Yes, I do know. Because I know you well, and I know that you were undressing that women with your eyes.”

“No, I wasn’t. Actually I was thinking of you in that uniform, that’s why I looked at her like that. Well, maybe when I first saw her I was checking her out a bit, but then I could only think of how awesome you would look in that uniform.”

Jo raised an eyebrow. “Really? You thought of me?”

“Yes.”

“And you think I look nice in a stewardess uniform?”

“Hell, yes!”

She giggled. She was still nervous and couldn’t wait to get off the plane, but at least she knew her boyfriend was thinking of her dressed up as a stewardess.

“Can you do me a favour?”, Jo asked. “When we’re in Ireland, can you please not stare at all the pretty girls, it makes me feel really bad, you know…”

Liam chuckled. “You don’t have to worry about that, there are barely any pretty girls anyway. It’s not like in Italy or France…” His thoughts wandered to the gorgeous women in Paris, but when he saw Jo looking scared, and worried and almost hurt at him he quickly stopped thinking of Paris all together. “I promise you not to stare at other women when we’re there.”

“I don’t think you can keep that promise. Not because you don’t want to, but you just can’t. You don’t even notice it anymore, do you?”

Jo had a point. He really didn’t notice how his head automatically turned when an attractive woman passed him. It really was a reflex he couldn’t stop.
“I’ll try Jo, I promise. But…there’s one exception.”

“Oh, is there?” Jo didn’t sound very happy, but Liam grinned.

“Molly Malone! That woman is seriously hot.”

“What?” Jo punched him playfully. “It’s a statue!”

“I know! So when we get to see her, I hope you don’t mind if I check her out.”

Jo shook her head. “Oh, you’re such an idiot.”



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12 Re: One Step At A Time on 24th March 2012, 11:50

When they finally were back on solid ground, Jo nearly kissed the floor. Liam chuckled, when he pulled her into his arms. It felt good to be back, Liam never really cared for his home but seeing Ireland with his girlfriend’s eyes changed this. Jo was so proud that she flew to Dublin, maybe not as proudly and cool as she hoped she would but she stayed on the plane.
The taxi ride from the airport into town Jo was glued to the window, it was open and she loved every bit she saw. The weird thing was, she felt as if she knew the place.

“Liam! I love it here. Why did you ever move away?” It was not yet very warm, but Jo was half hanging out of the taxi’s window.

“First because of my mom and then it kind of just happened, and you know when I had never left Ireland we would never had met.” Liam smiled at his girlfriend.

They stopped at their hotel. As usual when Colin paid it was an insane expensive hotel, the Shelbourne Hotel. They didn’t spend a lot of time in the hotel, they went out and did a city tour. As usual Liam took picture, pictures of Jo kissing Molly Malone and so many others. Jo had forgotten all the panic on the plane. It was the most beautiful sunny day.
It was two days before Liam’s birthday. Jo kept taking Liam’s hand, kissed him once in a while, and was just so crazily glad that he was here.

“Liam, I love you. Thank you for taking me here.” Jo smiled freely at her boyfriend.


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13 Re: One Step At A Time on 25th March 2012, 11:24

They visited as much as possible in the few days they had in Dublin and, of course, went to the famous Temple Bar Pub. Liam was certainly glad that he finally could go to the bar and order something without people asking him to repeat it because they didn’t understand him, as it often happened in England, and Jo enjoyed being among people who talked like her boyfriend, although he was right, even she could hear that his accent was a little different than that of the Dubliners. She also noticed that the Irish were a lot more open, friendly and definitely more down-to-earth than the English, and she liked being surrounded by people who were not as snobby as the people she met in Oxford. No wonder Liam felt out of place everytime he was among her society. It was not only the fact that he grew up very simple, but also among people who were so much friendlier and open-hearted, and not at all as stiff as the people Jo grew up with.
Although Liam seemed very happy the past days to be back among a crowd he knew well and felt comfortable with, he did seem a little absent now and then. Jo wasn’t sure if she just imagined it, but it seemed something was on his mind. They were on their way home from the Temple Bar, and it was astonishingly quiet if she compared it to London.

“Liam?”

“Hm?”

“Do you have a nice time?”

“Sure. Finally people who can understand me”, he said jokingly.

“Yes, I know, it’s just…you do seem a little...is there something on your mind?”

“Not really, no.”

Jo could tell that there was something, but she didn’t want to force him to tell her, so she decided not to ask him. Liam looked at her briefly, he felt kind of bad that he didn’t always let her know what was going on, she really had to feel left out.
“It’s just…I had no idea how much I actually missed this place until I got here.” He left the part out that he actually missed his mum now more than he had in years, because there were so many places that reminded him of her, and it would get only worse when they left Dublin to travel further south. He took Jo’s hand. “I’m really glad you’re here.”

She smiled. “So am I.”

When they got back to the hotel Liam almost immediately fell asleep, although he didn’t want to. He had some plans with Jo, especially since he knew that as soon as they were at his grandparents’ house he wouldn’t even be allowed to touch her, but after that very long day he just kind of passed out on the bed and Jo wanted to let him get some sleep.
The next morning, when the sun floated through the window, Liam woke up and checked his watch. It was eight, and of course, Jo was still asleep. Liam tried to go back to sleep, but he was wide awake. He crossed his arms behind his head and stared at the ceiling. It was Saint Patrick’s Day today, so the city would be very busy, and Jo could finally see how crazy Irish people got on that particular day, it was really funny to watch. It was also his twentieth birthday. He turned his head slowly towards Jo and watched her quietly. She was the most valuable gift he could ever have, and he didn’t know what he would do if she wouldn’t be in his life anymore. After all, she had become his life.


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14 Re: One Step At A Time on 25th March 2012, 12:28

Jo felt the sunshine tingle her nose and she hated it, she was not yet ready to wake up. She closed her eyes even tighter and crinkled her nose, from a distant she thought she heard Liam talk but she ignored him, not in a bad way she was just not ready to talk or listen.
Liam laughed he loved watching Jo wake up. He kissed her gentle on the cheek, which made her open one eye a little bit.

“Oh my God! It is morning. I wanted to get breakfast for you and wake you up with a kiss and…” Jo jumped out of the bed, but the covers were tangled around her and she fell with a loud thump on the floor.

“Jo. Holy Saint Patrick are you okay?” Liam leaned over the edge to check on his girlfriend.

“Ouchy, yeah I think so. Liam?”

Jo looked up with doe eyes from the ground at her boyfriend.

“Yes?” Liam smiled at her.

“Lá breithe sona mo daor.” Jo smiled shyly at Liam. He grinned climbed down the bed and kissed her passionately.

“Wait Liam. I have bad news. I don’t have a present. I am looking since month but I found nothing as cool as the meteroit you gave me. I am so sorry. I could offer you to have sex all day long before we go out and party.”

Liam’s grin grew wide. “Really?” Liam kissed Jo passionately, while his hand wandered under her shirt.Jo moaned, she was still tired but she loved it when Liam touched her. “I love you so much Liam.”

Jo figured that as soon they were at Liam’s grandparents they had to behave less atractived to each other. “I hope you know that you are the best thing that ever happened to me. And I think Wendy and Peter are doing a mistake. They should have worked out a way to stay together.”


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15 Re: One Step At A Time on 26th March 2012, 09:13

The day was pretty perfect. They had breakfast in bed, a rather long shower together, went out to have a picnic in St Stephen’s Green park and spent the rest of the evening in the hotel, doing what they couldn’t be doing as soon as they were at his grandparents’ house.
The next three days they took their time while they travelled down south and visited a few charming little Irish towns on their way. On the third day after they left Dublin they arrived in Cork, which was the closest ‘big city’ to Liam’s home.
“We’ll have to take a cab, there is no other way to get to my grandparents’ house. You can’t reach it by public transport.”

“Is it that deep in the country side?”

“Yepp. Completely cut off from the rest of the world.” Liam and Jo walked out of the train station and got into a cab. While they left the city and drove into the countryside Jo watched the area with excitement. Liam, on the other hand, got very quiet. He hadn’t been here in years, but for some odd reason it felt as if he left just yesterday.

“Oh Liam, it’s so beautiful here!” Jo pressed her nose against the window. She didn’t notice the serious look on his face because she was too fascinated by the gorgeous landscape. “It’s really like I pictured Ireland; green fields, sheep, cows, mountains, tiny cottages here and there…” She turned around and looked at him. “Are you looking forward to see your grandparents?”

“Um…Jo, there’s something you need to understand.” He paused for a moment. “For them I’m more like…ehm…a mistake.”

“A mistake?”

“Their only daughter got pregnant out of wedlock, which, as strict Catholics, is pretty much the worst thing that could have happened to their family, and even though they never said it directly to my face, I always knew they thought of me as an incident that should never have happened. I don’t mind it, because I’m really not close to them, but I just want to make sure that you don’t expect to see any particular bonding between them and me. There never has been, and there never will be”, Liam said. “After my mother died I had to move back to them and lived there for one more year to finish my school, but I was more like a guest than a family member.”

“Are you sure? Maybe they have just a very strange way to show that they care about you. I mean, you have a strange way to show that too, so maybe you guys have that in common and-“

“No.” Liam shook his head. “And it’s totally fine with me, it’s always been like that, so…” He suddenly stopped as they approached the only house in the area. “We’re here.”
The cab stopped in front of the little cottage and Jo’s eyes widened as if she’s never seen anything more spectacular.
“Oh my, it looks like an enchanted cottage just right out of a Grimm fairytale!”

“It’s a plain cottage, there’s absolutely nothing enchanted about it”, Liam mumbled while he got out their bags. “And remember, they have no clue what I did the past few years. I told them I studied in America, and now moved to London to work for the government, but that’s all they know.”
Jo nodded and followed him to the door. Liam knocked on the door, opened it and entered. “Oh man, I most certainly haven’t missed you…”, he said to the huge Jesus figure right next to the door. Jo eyed the inside of the house, it did look very charming, but Liam was right, there were crucifixes and pictures of the Virgin Mary everywhere.

“Mamó? Daideo?” Liam put the bag down. “Anybody there?”

“Lú?” An old, very small woman with white curly hair and pink cheeks came out of the living room. “Féach ar tú, tá tú tar éis fás!” She touched his arm and started to squeeze his cheeks.

“Um… Mamó, would you mind speaking English?” He smiled at his grandmother, then took Jo’s hand. “Mamó, this is Jo.”

Jo smiled shyly. “It’s very nice to meet you, Mrs O’Doherty.”

The old woman looked at Jo. “Shíl mé-“

“English, please”, Liam reminded her.

“Oh, I’m sorry.” Her accent was much stronger than Liam’s. She scrutinized the young girl closely. “What a beautiful young lady.”

Jo blushed.

“I almost worried you brought a boy home, Lú. Because ‘Joe’ is a boy’s name, and I thought you became one of those very strange men who…”

Liam rolled his eyes. He was just glad Ricky wasn’t here, because his grandparents were the most conservative people he knew, and they thought being gay was an illness. “No, as you can see Jo is my girlfriend.”

His grandmother smiled and looked from Jo to Liam and to Jo again while she shook her head. “I never thought that day would come that you would bring a girl home, Lú.”

“Thanks”, Liam replied dryly. “And would you please stop calling me Lú? I’m not five anymore…”

“Is that a short form for Liam?”, Jo asked.

“No, it comes from the Irish, is lú, which means-“

“Small, doesn’t it?” Jo was proud she studied Irish enough to understand some of it.

“Actually it means smallest.”

“And we always called him that because he was just the smallest little boy”, his grandmother said, smiling at Liam as if she was proud of that fact, while he, one the other hand, was kind of embarrassed. “You were so tiny! I thought you would never grow, but you obviously did the past years…And you’ve become so handsome!” She touched his face again. “Your grandfather will not recognize you!” She turned around and looked at Jo. “And you are so pretty! You are from England, aren’t you?”

A shy smile appeared on her face. “Yes, I am.”

“I can’t believe Lú has an English girlfriend. Or any girlfriend…”

“Yes, you mentioned that already…”, Liam mumbled. “So, where is Daideo?”

“He’s in the living room.”

They went into the living room where Liam’s grandfather sat in a big arm chair. He just stared at the bookshelf and didn’t move, not even when his wife started talking to him. Jo had to smile because he looked like a thinner version of Santa Claus with his white beard.

“Hey Daideo, your annoying grandson his here”, Liam said. “How are you?”

The old man looked up and just stared at him. Liam knew he wouldn’t talk, but he still asked him questions. “Look, I brought someone.” He pointed to Jo who smiled shyly. His grandfather turned his head slowly to the young girl and looked at her without any facial expression.
“She’s my girlfriend. I met her in England.”

“And you see, she is not a boy!”, his grandmother shouted in the background. Liam couldn’t believe they thought he would bring a ‘boyfriend’ home. True, he barely wrote them, but when he sent them a postcard he thought he made it clear that he had a girlfriend.

The old man looked at Liam and muttered something in Irish.

“Daideo! That’s not very nice”, Liam said to his grandpa and then turned to Jo who seemed confused.

“What did he say?”

“Don’t worry about it, it’s just the whole England thing…” He smiled. “It’s not like every English person has evil intentions, isn’t that right, Daideo?” He touched his grandfather’s shoulder who only stared at the bookshelves again.

“I’ll make you some tea. Don’t go away!”

Jo looked at Liam. “Why would she think we go away?”

“Because I used to just randomly leave the house without letting them know where I was.” They sat down on the small couch next to the fireplace. Liam took Jo’s hand and squeezed it gently. “Did I tell you how glad I am you’re here?”







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16 Re: One Step At A Time on 26th March 2012, 09:55

Jo smiled she had to withstand the urge to kiss Liam. "Thanks for taking me. I love it here and you grandmother is not that bad."

In Jo's eyes his grandparents loved Liam very much, but she knew Liam and she knew that he had a hard time with feelings. So she went back to absorbing everything of the little cottage, she loved it.

"Will I get the grand tour of the house?" She smiled and kissed him, forgetting where she was.


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17 Re: One Step At A Time on 27th March 2012, 23:40

“Well, I wouldn’t say ‘grand tour’ is the right word, but sure, I can show the rest of the house.” Liam looked for his grandmother who made tea and started to prepare dinner.
“I’ll show Jo the rest of the house.”

“I put towels in the guest room in case you don’t have any.”

The guest room. Liam knew they didn’t have a guest room. The only spare room they had left was his mother’s room. He nodded and was just about to leave the kitchen when she grasped his shirt. “You’ve grown so much…”, she whispered.

“I know, you told me.”

She shook her head and put her hand on his chest. “I mean here.” Her hand rested right where his heart was.
Liam looked at her quietly, but then he smiled a bit uncomfortable. “Um…Mamó, don’t be ridiculous.” He turned away from her and walked to Jo who was waiting for him.
“We have a basement, but it’s really just a storage for food, wood for the fireplace other stuff, so we don’t really need to see that part of the house”, Liam said while they went upstairs where his grandparents’ room, the bathroom, and his mother’s room was, however, he passed this room and went a small staircase up to the attic, which used to be his room when he was little.
Jo’s eyes widened as she looked around. It was similar to his room in London, but it looked even more like an attic, but a comfortable one. His bed was once again right under one window, and a small wooden writing desk under the other window. There was a small telescope and a solar system hung from the ceiling, which, Jo could tell, was built by himself.

“You really like living in attics, don’t you?”

Liam smiled. “Well, yeah…that’s where you get the best view on the stars.”

Jo pointed at a crucifix. “I know they are everywhere in the house, but seriously, in your room?”

“I had to put it up there, otherwise my grandma would think I decline God.” He walked to the small, wooden wardrobe and opened it. “Ah, she is still here!”

Jo crossed her arms as she saw the poster on the inner side of the wardrobe. “I certainly hope you replace this poster with a picture of me.”

Liam closed the wardrobe again, walked to her and put his arm around her. “I will. I just always had this very soft spot for Brigitte Bardot.”

“I know…” Jo rolled her eyes. “So, where am I going to sleep? You said I’m not allowed to sleep in the same room with you, right?”

“Ahm…yes. We have to go downstairs again, to the guestroom…” He turned around and left the room, followed by Jo. He waited for a brief moment in front of the room, then he slowly opened the door. It looked like the small, charming room of a fifteen-year old girl, with a light yellow flower wall, white curtains, and a table with a mirror. Next to the bed was a little nightstand with a few framed pictures of Liam as baby and toddler, as well as some pictures with his mum when he was about six, shortly before they left Ireland. It felt like the time stood still in this room.

“What a pretty room”, Jo said while she looked around. She noticed the pictures on the nightstand and picked one up. A thin layer of dust was on the glass. “Your mother looked so lovely. And you’re just crazily cute as toddler. Well, you’re still crazily cute today…” She looked up with a smile and noticed how serious he looked.

“My grandparents didn’t change a thing in this room, as if they expected her to come back any moment.”

“I’m sorry, if you don’t want me to be here I can-“

“No.” He shook his head and smiled. “You can be here, that’s okay. It’s just…for me it’s weird to be in here. I hope you don’t get scared or anything, sleeping here and stuff…” He glanced over to the little Virgin Mary figure on the table. The same moment his grandmother called that dinner was ready and he actually felt kind of relieved to go downstairs because it was really hard for him to stay in the room for longer than a couple of minutes.
His grandfather already sat at the table and stared at the plate in front of him while Liam pulled a chair back for Jo and then went into the kitchen to see if his grandma needed any more help, but she was already done and just taking off her apron.
“Did you put the bags upstairs, Lú?”

“Yes, I did.”

She looked around the corner to see if Jo was there. The young girl looked shyly at her hands while she tried to speak Irish to Liam’s quiet grandfather, which was really cute.

“She has such a pure face”, his grandmother said. “The soul is reflected in one’s eyes, and there is so much purity in her eyes.”

“Um…I guess…”

“Lú!” She suddenly took his hand and looked him directly in his eyes. “You don’t take that from her, do you hear me?”

“Eh…I…um…I’m not sure what you…”

“You’re a good boy and good boys don’t take away the purity of an innocent girl like her.”

“Ehm…yeah…I know…” He nodded nervously. “Don’t worry, Mamó, everything is okay.” He took a deep breath, left the kitchen and sat down next to Jo who looked happy that she finally had someone who talked to her.
“Liam”, she whispered. “What are your grandparents’ names? I never asked.”

“Bonnie and Clyde”, he whispered back.

“No, be serious!”

“Aideen and Finbar.”

“Seriously?”

“At least they are pronounceable”, he said jokingly but quickly shut up when his grandparents folded their hands. Jo was surprised to see him folding his hands as well, it was the first time she saw him praying. When he noticed her surprised look a cheeky grin appeared on his face and he leaned to her.
“Don’t worry, I’m thinking of you naked while I give thanks to God.”


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18 Re: One Step At A Time on 28th March 2012, 01:37

Jo blushed, lowered her head and listened to the prayer. She didn’t understand all of it Liam’s grandmother Aideen was speaking very quickly Irish.

“Amen.” The old people said in unison and Jo and Liam hurried to answer with “Amen.”

Aideen filled all plates with the traditional Irish stew she had made and gave a big glass of milk to JO and Liam. Liam had cut the bread and handed Jo a buttered slice. It was a simple meal, but Jo liked it a lot. She had to ask for the recipe. Jo smiled she would ask for many Irish recipes hoping that Liam would like it to eat some traditional Irish meals.

“Young girl Lú calls you Joe, but that is not your real name. Isn’t it?” Aideen smiled at Jo.

“Well it is kind of my name. It is a short version of Josephine.” Jo was looking around the room, she felt like Alive must have felt in the Wonderland. She knew that Liam was worried about showing her his humbled home. But she loved it and not just because it was Liam’s home. She would probably never make him understand that she prefers a home like this a lot more then the huge house of Waterfall Downs. Waterfall Downs was a beautiful house, but it was empty, impersonal and cold, but this cottage was the most comfortable place she had ever been.

“Josephine is a beautiful name, Lú you should call her by her real name.” Aideen looked at her grandson nearly as if he had said a bad word. Jo giggled. “It is okay, only my mother calls me Josephine it is a long name and I really like being called Jo.”

Aideen nodded and continued eating in silent.

“You have a lovely house Mrs O’Doherty.”Jo said shy in Irish it made Aideen smile.

“Oh you speak Irish so very well. Lú, you said I have to speak English. Josephine has a wonderful pronunciation. Did you teach her?” Aideen spoke very fast and Jo looked confused at Liam.

“No it wasn’t me who taught her, she learned it by herself and I asked you to speak English because I knew you would speak too fast for Jo to understand. Please Mamó speak English.” Liam looked determined at his grandmother.

“But she speaks so well and you do understand me speaking Irish, don’t you Josephine?”

Jo blushed and didn’t know what to say, she didn’t want to offend Aideen.

“You might if you would speak slower and more clearly. Please Mamó speak English?” Liam moved his leg that his and Jo’s knee were touching under the table. He wished he could take her hand but he wasn’t sure if he could take her hand. It would have been hard not to be close to his girlfriend, this was nearly worse than the time he was hiding.

“Very well, I will speak English, but I will teach you more Irish and also how to cook good Irish meals and Lú how long will you be staying? There are many things she has to see her and we have to go to mass on Sunday.” Aideen was excited.

“A couple of days I guess.” Liam didn’t look to happy about the idea of going to church, but Jo certainly seemed to enjoy being here.

“Good. It is late you should go to bed, we will talk tomorrow more.” Aideen actually shooed Liam and Jo up the stairs. The two teenagers were standing alone in the dark corridor in front of Liam’s mother’s room. “Liam? I know we are not supposed to do anything but, um I do get a good night kiss don’t I?” Jo asked shy, she was a little bit worried of staying alone in his mother’s room.

Liam grinned. “Sure but just a small one. Come here.” He pulled her close and kissed her gentle. “Sleep well, my dearest Yvaine.”
Jo smiled and nodded. “You too see you in the morning. Liam?” Jo said a little louder to call him back from the stairs. He turned around. “I love you Liam.” Jo looked with sparkling eyes at him which made him grinned sheepishly. Jo went into her room, she wanted look a little bit more around but she was too tired.

“Josephine… Josephine”
Jo sat up with sleepy, well she should be sleepy, but was she? Jo rubbed her eyes and then she saw her in the moonlight leaning in the footboard with a very small smile.
“Hello Josephine. I waited a very long time to meet you.”
“Whoa? Are you…?” Jo looked scared at the woman.
“Yes I am. I wanted to thank you.”
“Thank me? For what?”
“For taking care of my little boy. You are doing a very good job. I always knew that he would find a very special person. A girl he would love very dearly. I know he can be difficult and weird sometimes, but he means well.” The woman smiled.
“Yes I know, he is cute when he is all smarty pants and tries to figure out things in a very scientific way that can’t be explained with science.”
The woman laughed. “Yes he always did this.”
The two women smiled at each other.
“Teach him to think of me without being in pain, just like the way when you think of Anne. He will need you just like you need him, and don’t forget this love in moments you don’t see it.”
Jo looked confused at the older woman.
“He chose wisely, and I’m very proud that he chose with his heart and not his brain. Goodbye Josephine.”


Jo woke up suddenly, the sun was shining into her face but she had no idea what time it was. She wondered if Teddy had a good time at Ricky’s and if it was too early to get up, and if she should tell Liam about her dream. She got out of bed and looked at all the pictures and things in the room, not that she snooping around just looking, wait for Liam to come and wake her up. He would be surprised seeing her already awake and dressed.


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19 Re: One Step At A Time on 28th March 2012, 11:55

When Liam woke up, the sun was already floating through the dusty windows of his attic room. He had told his grandmother not to wake them –especially Jo- so early, because his grandparents usually got up around six in the morning, and he knew that Jo would get a heart attack if his grandmother would storm into the room at six in the morning and yell ‘Rise and shine’ in Irish. She did that many times when he still lived here, and that was one of the times he wanted to throw something at her.
Liam yawned and sat up slowly. It was weird to be back in his room. This was where he lived for the first six years of his life, where he learned his first steps and started to build his first gadgets which were something funny like an automatic egg peeler that didn’t properly work, but hey, he was no older than five, so he was just in the progress of learning. When he got up he noticed a book on the table and picked it up. It was the bible he got from his grandparents after he was born. While Liam flipped through a couple of pages he noticed the little sketches he drew in the margins, mainly star constellations and drawings of ideas he had for new inventions. So he did use the bible after all…
Liam put it back and went downstairs to check if Jo was awake, but he assumed she was still asleep. He carefully opened the door and was surprised to find her sitting on the bed, reading a book.

“Hey, you’re awake…”

Jo looked up and smiled. “Yes, I woke up early today and couldn’t fall back to sleep.”

He sat down next to her. “Did you sleep okay?”

“Yes, I did.” She hesitated for a moment because she wasn’t sure if she should tell him about the dream, but his attention was already somewhere else.

“Oh, I remember this!” He pointed at the book she held in her hands.

“I’m sorry, I took it from the bookshelf in this room, I hope you don’t mind.”

“No worries, that’s fine.”

“From the books I found in this room I assume your mum was a scientist as well…”

“Yes, she was. She was definitely not the typical 50s, stay-at-home and apron-wearing housewife”, Liam said. “She was more a tomboy type, and she basically got me interested in science since I was born. Maybe even before. I’m pretty sure she read Galileo’s theories while she was pregnant, that explains why I’m so obsessed with stars.”

Jo chucked. “That would explain so much.”

While he scrutinized her face, the tiny freckles, the doe eyes, he really felt the urge to kiss her, but he just couldn’t do it knowing that his grandma was running around and also because they were in his mum’s room, and it felt weird, too weird, if he started to make out with her here. But he had an idea…

“Lú, are you awake?”, his grandmother shouted through the entire house. “I made breakfast!”

“Yes, we’re coming!” Liam got up and shook his head. “It’s nine in the morning and she gets totally nervous because that is so late!”

Jo giggled and followed him downstairs.

“Hey Daideo.” Liam touched his grandfather’s shoulder who was reading a newspaper. “Don’t you need glasses to read?”
His grandfather mumbled something he couldn’t understand.

“Don’t get started on that!”, Aideen said in the background. “He’s too stubborn to wear them.”

“Why doesn’t that surprise me?” He turned to his grandmother. “Ahm…I hope you don’t mind, but after breakfast I wanted to show Jo the area a bit. It’s her first time in Ireland, and she hasn’t really seen the landscape in the south yet, so I hope you don’t mind if we won’t be home for lunch.”

“Of course that’s fine! You have to show the young lady as much as possible, and I’ll prepare you some lunch you can take with you.”

“Don’t worry about it, just sit down and have breakfast first.”

“Your grandfather and I had breakfast at seven, as always, Lú.”

“Okay…early risers…I see that hasn’t changed.” Liam and Jo sat down at the table while his grandmother disappeared in the kitchen again. He made sure nobody was looking, then he took Jo’s hand under the table. “Guess we finally get some time to ourselves again…” He had a hard time holding back a cheeky grin.


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20 Re: One Step At A Time on 28th March 2012, 12:42

As soon they were out of sight of the cottage Jo took Liam’s hand. She was wearing a light summer dress, it was a warm day with a very gentle breeze. The field started to be a soft green the whole nature was just awakening from a sleep during winter.

“It is so beautiful here. I love it.” Jo smiled, she turned around to Liam and wondered again if she should tell him about her dream. It was weird but she felt as if she was having a dark secret.

“Liam I had a weird dream last night.”

“Dreams are successions of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations that occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. You don’t have to be scared of them.” Liam said in his matter of fact voice.

“I know that, you told me that before. But that is not what I mean. I dreamed about something I never saw before, I… um I talked to someone I never talked to before.”

Liam looked at her curiously. “Really, to whom did you talk in your dream?”

Jo hesitated. “Um… with your mom.”

Liam looked surprised at her. “What?”

“Your mom showed up in her room and she knew my name, and asked me to take care of you. She was so beautiful.” Jo studied Liam’s face, she didn’t want to hurt him or make him jealous that she had dreamed of his mother while he maybe hasn’t.
“Liam, are you okay?”


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21 Re: One Step At A Time on 29th March 2012, 09:38

Of course he was okay. Kind of. Just…why did she have to dream of his mum when he never did? He wanted to at least see her when he was dreaming, but not even that happened. And his own girlfriend got to see her while he didn’t. Was he…jealous? He kind of was, and he knew it was totally ridiculous. His mum was always the one thing he never wanted to share with anyone. When she was alive he made sure that no guy would come near her, even when he was just a little boy, but he always felt like he had to protect her from others, although she was a very strong-minded, independent woman. And after she died he protected her memory, the little things he had left from her, and now, at this very moment, he actually felt jealous that someone else had seen her in a dream, and he felt like he had to protect her again.
But it was not just ‘someone’ he was jealous of, it was Jo, the most important person in his life, and he realized that it was completely ridiculous to be jealous of her. He wished she had met his mum, she would have loved Jo like a daughter. It would be ridiculous if he wouldn’t share the person that used to be the most important person in is life with the person that now was the most important person in his life. He didn’t need to protect his mum anymore, especially not from Jo.

“Liam?” She could see that he was thinking, and she was worried that she did something wrong. “I’m sorry if I-“

“It’s okay”, he said. “I mean…you can’t control your dreams, right? And you shouldn’t apologize for them either. It’s not like you’re telling me that her ghost appeared in front of you and said something about going into the light.” He couldn’t hide the sarcastic undertone.

Jo shook her head. “No, no, it was just a dream. I mean…it felt really real, strangely real, but-“

“There are no such things as ghosts”, he replied monotonously.

“Yeah…um…like I said, it was a dream, nothing more. It was probably just…ehm…with the pictures right next to the bed, and sleeping in her room, and…”

“Jo.” Liam took her hand. “It’s okay. I have dreamed of your mother too…”

“What?” She looked surprised at him. “But not…um…in a..eh…weird way…?”

“What? No! Seriously, Jo!”

“I’m sorry!” She giggled.

“Yeah, you better be! No, it was after I first met your parents and we had those pleasant ‘you’re-going-to-hell-‘ talks, and I dreamed of her sending me to a catholic all boys school so I wouldn’t see you again. She was really mean to me…”

Jo laughed. “You never told me about this.”

“Well…it was a really horrible dream.” His finger wandered over the back of her hand, which tickled her. “But it’s okay…that you dreamed of her. It sounded like a nice dream.”

“It was.”

“I guess I was just a little jealous of you”, he admitted. “Because you got to see her and I didn’t.”

Jo smiled. She thought it was cute how protective he was of his mum.

“Anyway…” He leaned forward and kissed her, and at the same time realized that one whole day at his grandparents’ house with all the crucifixes, Virgin Mary figures and Jesus pictures on the wall really made him want her even more. It was absolutely annoying having her right next to him and not even being allowed to hold her hand in front of his grandparents.
“You have no idea how glad I am that there are no big sad Jesus figures staring at us right now”, he said as he continued kissing her.


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22 Re: One Step At A Time on 29th March 2012, 19:04

Jo giggled. “I never realized that Jesus is intimidating you. You don’t believe in him shouldn’t it then doesn’t matter if he stares at us or not?”

“Jo?”

“Yes?”

“Shut up and kiss me.” Liam grinned at her cheeky. Jo considered being mad at him for saying that she should shut up, but how can she be mad at her boyfriend when he looked at her like this. For a few moments they were standing on the street kissing each other. The time around them stood still and all that matter were the two. Jo felt millions of butterflies in her stomach, she felt so happy. But it scared her a little, because what if this was the peak of their lives together?

“Let’s get a cup of tea to warm up a little.” Liam took Jo’s hand, he saw that something was on her mind but she hoped he wouldn’t ask.

The pub was tiny, but somehow cute. Not many people where in there an old man at the window, a group of women close to the bar and a family with two young children.
Jo let Liam order she had to listen to closely to the people and it got exhausting. Jo sat down at the other window and waited for Liam to return, she watched the kids the parents didn’t really bother that they made a lot of noise and had no table manners at all. Jo smiled the kids were kind of cute.

“Thanks. Aren’t the two cute?” She mumbled when Liam sat down next to her on the bench. He put his arm around her waist and pulled her closer. He noticed how lovely she smelled, a hint of vanilla but mainly she smelled like the meadows. Liam needed a moment to realize that Jo expected an answer of him, so he looked at the two kids. The boys was filthy but not in a cute playing outside all day kind of way, and the girl had a runny nose and snot sticking to her face and her sleeve. He actually didn’t think of them as cute more as dirty, but it didn’t seem to be their fault more the fault of the parents that didn’t care.

“Yeah I guess.” Liam kissed Jo’s cheeks and didn’t take long before his kisses wandered further down her neck. Jo moaned gentle, when suddenly…

“Shut the fucking hell up!” The father of the two children yelled. The little boy and girl went quiet and starred shocked at their father, just as everyone else in the pub. The girl started trembling and then knocked her father’s glass to the ground.

“You idiot. Look what you have done you bastard!” The father slapped his daughter that she fell from the chair and started sobbing. Jo was shivering and moved even closer to Liam.

“Sir there is no need to yell, you are disturbing the other customers. Maybe it is time to leave.”

“Fuck you!” The father pushed his wife out of the pub while his children followed him like kicked puppies.

“That was horrible. How can parents be like that?” Jo mumbled into Liam’s chest. She didn’t like to admit it but those people are reminding her too much of her kidnapping over a year ago.


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23 Re: One Step At A Time on 30th March 2012, 23:04

Liam was actually not surprised seeing the father getting so hard on his children. It was not okay, yes, but he had seen scenes like this before, and almost gotten used to it. Jo, on the other hand, seemed terrified. After they left the pub she held on tightly to his arm.

“I should have said something to those awful parents. The poor kids…” She looked back as they walked away.

“No, you shouldn’t.”

“What?”

“It’s good that you didn’t do anything. It’s the best thing to just stay out of it and-“

“Wait, so you think it’s okay what he did?”

“No, that’s not what I meant”, Liam said. “It’s just…those things happen. This is not Oxford or some posh part of London, it’s the countryside, Jo. The people here are a little…rough.”

“But they shouldn’t yell at their children like this.”

“I know, the guy in there was definitely a douchebag.”

When they got home his grandmother ran into them. “There you are! It is very late, you need to go to bed.”

Liam looked at his watch. “It’s nine.”

“Exactly. You have to get up early tomorrow.”

“Why?”

“It’s Sunday.”

Liam sighed. “Oh right. Sunday mass. Can’t stand the excitement…”

“Nah, do I hear some mocking undertone in your voice, young man?” She slapped his cheek- something she had always done when he was being sarcastic.

“Now you two go to bed and get some rest.” She tousled his hair and smiled at Jo. Liam hoped Jo was okay sleeping in his mum’s room another night. He even offered her to sleep on the couch in the living room so that she could sleep in his room, but she assured him that she was fine.
The next morning they got up early and Jo tried everything to hide the fact that she was tired because she didn’t want to be impolite. It took ages until they got old Granpa O’Doherty out of the house, and Liam started to joke a little, saying something like ‘Hey Daideo, you’re getting faster by the second!’, but Jo punched him in the shoulder to make him shut up.
The church was tiny, and not many young people were there, but Jo immediately noticed a red-haired, freckled girl around sixteen who eyed Liam curiously as they sat down, and didn’t keep her eyes off him. Jo knew it was ridiculous, but she felt a bit jealous and made sure that the girl got the message that he was taken. Jo watched Liam for a moment, he looked nice, with his hair parted to the side and a fine, blue jacket. She knew he was uncomfortable running around like that, but he had to look nice for church. It was actually the first time she saw him in a church. She enjoyed the mass, even though the priest was hard to understand due to his strong southern Irish accent- but she was actually more distracted by seeing Liam opening the bible and reading parts of it. She wasn’t sure if he was really reading it because he seemed strangely absent during the entire mass. Sometime between his hand found her knee, and she almost flinched.
After the mass was over and they were back home, Liam’s grandmother wanted to prepare lunch and Jo asked if she could help.

“That is very kind of you, dear”, she replied while Jo started peeling the potatoes. Liam was busy explaining to his grandfather what he was doing in London (not that he told him the truth) but the old man suddenly asked him and didn’t let go off easily, so Liam had no choice but to sit down next to him and answer his questions.

“I don’t want to be curious, but how did Lú meet such a lovely girl like you?”

Jo smiled shyly. “Well…my cousin introduced us.”

“He is very lucky to have you”, Aideen said.

Jo blushed. “Thanks…”

“He was just always so different than the other children. He never played with children his age, and I was worried that he would get lonely. Especially after our dear Catherine died. He was just fourteen, that’s too young to lose your mother. And she was the only person he had. When he moved back to us he wouldn’t even show a sign of sadness, which really worried me. Lú always suppresses feelings, he doesn’t like other people knowing about what is going on inside of him. And he doesn’t know that I know that…” A weak smiled appeared on the old woman’s face. “When I heard about you I had a very hard time believing it because I know that he doesn’t like to open his heart to others. Especially after his mother’s death he didn’t want to let anybody in because he was scared of losing them again…” She lowered her voice to make sure he didn’t hear it. “He must love you very much…for letting you into his heart.”

Jo held her breath. She didn’t want to cry, but she felt very touched by his grandmother’s words. Aideen came a step closer and touched her shoulder.
“You’re a lovely girl, Josephine. I can tell that you have a good soul. And there’s a light in Lú’s eyes that I haven’t seen in a very, very long time…He must love you indeed…”

“He is the most important person in my life”, Jo said quietly.

“There is one thing you need to know”, she said. “He hides his feelings because he’s scared of losing someone he loves. So if you ever doubt that he loves you…believe me, he does love you, I can see that, he is just afraid of showing it because he doesn’t want to lose you. Josephine, can you promise me something?”

Jo nodded. “Of course.”

“Don’t break his heart.”

She shook her head. “I would never-”

“I know you wouldn’t.” She smiled and started washing the salad. “Anyway…” She cleared her throat. “I hope Lú has proven himself to be a good Catholic.”

“Um…what?”

“He has not…” She paused for a moment. “Touched you, has he? I’m very sorry to ask you this, but I know that boys his age tend to forget true Catholic values and give in to temptation, so if that is the case I need to talk to him, I don’t want him to commit sins and get punished for it after he dies. I most certainly hope my own grandson is well mannered…” She looked at Jo, her eyebrows raised.


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24 Re: One Step At A Time on 31st March 2012, 00:02

Jo turned back at the potatoes, she blushed and had no idea what to say. She didn’t like the idea of lying to Liam’s grandmother but she couldn’t tell her the truth either.

“Um… Mrs O’Doherty, Liam is… he… you don’t need to worry about him. I don’t think you need to talk to him about it. He treats me well mannered.” Jo felt very uncomfortable talking about this with Liam’s grandmother.

Aideen nodded. “Good, but if not don’t hesitate to go and talk with your priest, he will make sure that Liam stays in line.”

“Oh um yes okay.” This was so awkward.

The two geeks spent two more days in the south of Ireland before they started their journey back to London. Aideen made them promise to come very soon again. Jo liked the idea very much.

This time Jo had taking some sedative medication before she went on the plane, it made Jo a little drowsy and chatty. “Liam do you know that you grandparents love you very much. You grandmother knows you better then you think. And she talked with me about you and me living in sin. Oh my little sinner, and I think she thinks that I am a Catholic too I didn’t had the heart to tell her that we live in sin in one flat and further in one bed. And as soon we are back I hope you spend at least a day with me in bed to have lots and lots of sex. Actually let’s not just spend the day in bed, I totally wanna do it on the kitchen table. Do you even realise how much your grandmother loves you? You should plan on visiting very soon again.” Jo was talking without taking a breath between words, but at least she didn’t have another panic attack. “Liam? Next time we fly somewhere I don’t want to take this medication, they make me feel weird. I don’t want to die feeling this weird.”

Liam grinned at her. “If I wouldn’t know it better I would say you are drunk. Come here, try to rest a little bit.” Liam pulled Jo into his arm and his girlfriend leaned against her head against his shoulder. It wasn’t until they were at home and Jo’s active plans changed that she was exhausted from the flight and medication. They had to postpone their kinky activities to the next day. They were cuddled together in the bed, when Jo mumbled already half asleep. “Lorelai’s second child will be born soon. Sometimes I wonder if I ever have children. I think I would like it very much. Maybe one day.”


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25 Re: One Step At A Time on 1st April 2012, 11:58

((this song should play in the background when a certain moment arrives later...))


Geez, Lorelai seriously had to stop making babies! She was not a breeding machine! It bothered Liam a bit, but what freaked him out even more was the fact that Jo always got in a ‘I-want-a-baby’-mood as soon as she saw a baby, and now her cousin had her second child, and Jo was talking about babies again. But before Jo could talk more about this particular subject, she fell asleep, and he kissed her softly on the cheek.

July 20th, 1969

Liam had waited for this day since he could remember. He couldn’t keep his eyes off the TV screen as they watched the first man ever to walk the moon. This was so amazing, and he was absolutely speechless. He didn’t move, he was completely banned to the TV. He always knew that one day NASA got people out in space, and now it finally happened. He couldn’t remember the last time he was so excited about anything. They watched it at Waterfall Downs, and he sat next to Colin who was equally fascinated while Jo got a bit impatient since her two favourite men had only paid attention to the TV the last thirty minutes and didn’t even notice that she asked them if they wanted something to drink. Jo watched Liam quietly, and his eyes were shining like John’s after he held his newly born son Henry in his arms three months ago- only that Liam stared at the TV, not a newly born baby. There was a guy in an astronaut suit hopping around a dry surface, making strange sounds, and Liam looked like he had never seen anything more beautiful. Typical. Jo was sure that she could jump around naked in front of him and he wouldn’t even bother looking away from the screen. Well, of course she wouldn’t do that since her father was in the same room, but she was very tempted to get Liam’s attention. After they were done watching it and both Colin and Liam finally found their speech again, a long conversation about NASA’s improvements and the change of human history began, and Jo started to feel a bit impatient, but she didn’t want to ruin this special moment for either one of them, so she got up and went into the kitchen to get something to drink. It had been warm the entire day, and it was still unusually warm outside although it was already in the evening.

“Jo?” Liam appeared behind her.

“Oh…you noticed that I was gone. Father and you were so distracted, the sky could have fallen down and you two wouldn’t have noticed.”

“I’m sorry.” Liam smiled apologetically.

“Don’t worry, I know this meant a lot to you.”

“Oh yes!” He nodded. “But…um…would you mind going back home now?”

“What? Already?”

“Ehm…yes. If you don’t mind.”

“Ahm…no. That’s okay.” She was a little confused that he already wanted to go home, but she grabbed her jacket and they said goodbye to her parents, then they drove back home. Jo noticed that he drove unusually fast, normally he was a very hesitant driver.
When they got home Jo wanted to take off her jacket, but Liam said she should keep it on because he had a surprise for her. He disappeared quickly in the bathroom, and after he came out again she raised his eyebrows.

“Why are you dressed up like this? Are we going somewhere important? Do I need to get changed too?”

“No, you look perfect”, he said, kissing her on the cheek as he opened the door.

“But why did you get changed? I mean, you never dress like this unless you have to.” Suddenly a grin played around her lips. “Is this some sort of kinky game?”

“What? No!” Liam shook his head. “Just…wait and see.”

When they were outside Liam took Jo’s hand and they walked for a while. She wanted to ask him where they were going, but he seemed a bit absent, even a bit nervous, so she decided not to bombard him with questions, but inside she was dying of curiosity. It was very unusual for Liam to come up with surprises and take her out at night. She had absolutely no idea what was going on, but she assumed it had something to do with his good mood due to the moon landing.
Suddenly she realized where they were heading.
“Kensington Gardens…”, she mumbled, smiling. This was one of her favourite places in London. It was quiet and peaceful, and since it was a clear night they could see the stars. “I wonder why we never went here at this time of the day before. It’s so lovely.”

“I know.” Liam still seemed a bit absent, and Jo wondered if she had done something wrong.

“It’s like we’re the only people here. We have the entire park to ourselves.”

“Yes.” He stopped in front of the Peter Pan statue and Jo giggled.

“Hi Peter, nice to see you again.”

“Jo.”

She almost flinched because of the seriousness in his voice. “Um…yeah?”

Liam stared at her. It looked like he wanted to say something, but couldn’t. “You know how…ehm…Peter and Wendy messed up everything…?”

“Eh...what?”

Liam sighed. “Wendy and Peter messed it up, their relationship, I mean. Because they didn’t work hard enough, they didn’t fight for it. Wendy left Peter, and Peter let her go…”

Jo nodded, looking confused from the statue to Liam. “Yes, I know.”

“I…ehm…I don’t want this to happen to us.”

“I don’t want that either”, Jo replied quietly.
Why was he acting so weird? Was he breaking up with her? But then he wouldn’t have said that…This didn’t make sense. What was going on?

Liam stared at his hands. “Until I met you I thought I didn’t need anyone. Not really. I mean, I liked living with Dick and stuff, but I never felt like I necessarily needed someone. Especially after my mother died I didn’t want anyone. And then…um…well, I met you and I…I don’t want to think that one day I wake up and you’re not there anymore.” He looked up slowly, his heart was almost jumping out of his chest when he looked at Jo. “I don’t want to be like Peter. Sure, there are some advantages if you never have to grow up and don’t have to think of responsibilities, but in the end Peter was alone. Because he lost the only person he ever truly loved…and I should seriously stop making Peter Pan references…” He cleared his throat. “I’m sorry.”

“No, that’s actually really cute…I’m just not quite sure why you’re telling me this.” Jo smiled at him.

“Jo.” Liam looked at her intensely, studied her face as if he worried he could forget how she looked like. “We have to do it differently than Peter and Wendy.”

She nodded. “I agree.”

“You’re…um…you’re not the most important person in my life.”

She looked a bit hurt. So he was breaking up with her…

“No, you’re not the most important person in my life”, he continued. “You are my life. And if I wake up one day and you’re not there…I guess…um…I won’t be alive anymore…” A nervous smile appeared on his face. “I’ll be dead, basically. Because my life left me.”

Jo just stared at him. Was he actually…did he actually tell her his feelings? Was he drunk? Why on earth…what was going on?

And then he got down on one knee.

He is clearly tying his shoes, Jo thought.

And then he got something out of his pocket.

Okay, he’s looking for a tissue…

“Damn, where is it?”, he mumbled while he rummaged through the pocket of his blazer. “Oh, okay…”
He got out a little box.

Wow, he keeps his tissues in a little box…Jo felt how her heart was racing.

“Josephine Yvaine Williams…” Liam took a deep breath and handed her the box. She opened it with trembling hands and looked right at a ring.

“Will you marry me?”




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