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Coming Home

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51 Re: Coming Home on 22nd March 2014, 16:56

Alfie just stared at the box as if he had never seen anything so weird in his life. Well, he probably hadn’t.
“You will wait for me, right?”, Jill asked, having both arms still wrapped tightly around his leg.

“Why is there hair in this box?”

“Can’t you see? It’s my hair!”

“I know it’s your hair, I’m not stupid, but why the hell did you give me your hair?”

Ricky had to laugh. “Oh, Alfie, that’s what the fair maidens used to do back in the days. They gave hair to the man of their interest so he could keep it and think of his maiden.”

“Exactly!”, Jill squeaked.

Alfie looked annoyed. “I know that, but I still don’t get why this thing…”- he looked down at Jill now- “gave me her hair.”

“Because you’re my boyfriend!”, the little redhead shouted.

“I’m most certainly not.”

“Yes, you are, and you’re going to marry me.”

“You’re not even a woman. And if you were one, I would not marry you because I can’t stand women.”

Ricky already worried that Alfie’s harshness would hurt Jill, but the little girl just started to giggle.
“Oh, you’re so funny!”

Alfie rolled his eyes and looked at Ricky. “She thinks I’m joking all the time, doesn’t she?”

Ricky nodded. “Yepp.”

“Ehm, guys…”, James appeared behind them.

“James!” Jill shouted. “You’re going to marry Janey and I’m going to marry Fi!”

“Don’t call me that”, Alfie grumbled.

“But Fi-“

“No.”

James smiled at the little girl briefly, then he turned to the other two. “I don’t want to interrupt anything, but did you see that your grandmother is here, Alfie?”

“Do I look like I’m blind? Of course I saw her!”

“Well, if you stay here, at this precise spot, she will find you in about a minute, because she is very close to you guys. I just wanted to give you a warning…”

“Oh, shit”, Alfie mumbled as he tried to remove Jill from his leg. “Ricky, you take the thing and get as far away from the dragon as possible. James, you’ll come with me, I need you as distraction.”

“Ehm…okay…”

“Fi?”

“What?!” He looked annoyed at Jill.

“Did you like my present?”

Ricky, James and the little girl were looking at Alfie now, waiting for an answer. Ricky shook his head very slowly to signal his boyfriend not to say anything mean to Jill. Alfie had to really hold back any sarcastic remarks, but after a deep breath he answered with a very dry voice: “Sure.”
Jill’s entire face lit up and she was about to run to him again and cling to his legs, but he was already dragging James away and disappearing in the crowd. Ricky put his hands on the little one’s shoulder.
“Come along Jill, let’s get something to drink, okay?”

“Okay.”

“And Alfie absolutely loved your present, I can tell.”

Jill’s blue eyes widened and a cheeky grin crossed her face. “He’s totally going to marry me!”


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52 Re: Coming Home on 25th March 2014, 19:16

Ricky finally got the drink he needed so badly since he had seen that Lady Eleanor is at the Christmas Eve Party.

“Auntie Ricky, what is this?”

“Um this is red wine, you can have this, here this is some punch for you.” Ricky handed Jill a cup of spiced fruit punch while he down two glasses of red wine quickly. So it was not surprising that Ricky was rather tipsy.

“Mr Butcher?” Lady Eleanor appeared out of nowhere.

“Oh my God!” Ricky looked with glassy eyes at the older woman.

“No, I am Duchess Eleanor Jackson of Oxfordshire not the dear Lord in heaven.” Eleanor scrutinised Ricky and then looked at Jill. “Did you finally marry? It was about time that you reproduce, well in a way. I do not think the lower class should reproduce.”

“Oh no this wonderful young lady is Lady Josephine’s daughter…”

“Yes I’m my mummies not Auntie Ricky’s. You are an odd women, like my grandmother. Um her name is Grandmother Lady something important.”

“I know who Lady Josephine Williams is.” Eleanor said strictly.

“O’Doherty.” Ricky murmured.

“Speak up, I thought you are a man of knowledge and not a vagabond.”

“Her name is Lady Josephine O’Doherty, she took Liam’s surname when they married.” He poured himself the fourth glass of red wine.

“How dare you to talk to me like this? I am the Duchess of Oxfordshire! Watch your manners.” Eleanor snapped at Ricky.

Ricky gulped down his wine and refilled his glass right away.

“I was meaning to talk to you Mr-“ Lady Eleanor emphasised very oddly Ricky’s commoners title “-Butcher. What are your intentions? The people are talking, why are you and he so close. He is in the right age to marry and it is time that he produces some heirs since his sister is only producing more girls, as if the world needs more of her kind.”

Lady Eleanor spoke so harsh and in her typical cold voice that Ricky just muttered, by now he had finished the bottle of wine.

“You know what granny? You look like my Grandmother. My Grandmother has blockage! Blockage is when you go to the loo and push and push but no poop is coming out. I told her she needs to drink more orange juice that helps with that, it makes the poop soft and slither out of your bottom hole. Do you make a poop every day? I make two one before lunch and one before I go to bed.” Jill asked in her very cute cocky way and two year old baby language.

“Jill, sssshhh. You can’t say things like this to this woman.” Ricky whispered, just that his whispering voice was quite loud.

“But Auntie, I thought someone needs to tell her. She looks like a dragon that can spit fire. Does your bottom hole hurt?”

Eleanor looked with big shocked eyes at this little pervert girl. Normally Eleanor has this face of stone but this girl doing toilet talk with her was too much even for her.

“It helps if you put some Vaseline on your bottom hole.”

“What are you talking about? Young Lady you eared yourself a mouth-washing with soap. If this would be my house I would find one of the servants to spank you really hard. Your mother is a Lady and that makes you a Lady and no Lady speaks like you. This is a disgrace of these halls. Your disgusting peasant father is rubbing up on you. You are a filthy little thing!”

“Excuse me. I just took a bath this afternoon! My daddy even washed my hair. Auntie here smell my armpit does it smell okay?” Jill lifted her arm and looked expecting at Ricky.

“Oh my word… Jill please stop. I am so sorry Sir. I do not anything, and I do not want people to talk or Alfie to marry.” Ricky tried to drag Jill away but the little girl was surprisingly strong.

“Why does Fi has to marry he has Auntie Ricky to cook for him.” Jill snapped.

“Jillian Saoirse Catherine O’Doherty, be quiet now. Oh shit I am so dizzy.” Ricky moaned.

“This was a mistake, this party was as atrocious as I thought all those years.” Lady Eleanor stormed very unlady-like out of the salon and called for her driver.

“She was a mean Lady. I don’t like her. Auntie Ricky why is she so mean? Does she has real bad blockage?” Jill was holding Ricky’s hand, Ricky walked a little bit funny in her eyes so she decided to find another grown up at ask for help.
 
“Oh man I feel funny, where is Alfie?” Ricky slurred.

“I find him for you. Auntie you are funny, what is wrong with you?” Jill giggled, Auntie Ricky was weird and funny after his red juice he had drunk.


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53 Re: Coming Home on 27th March 2014, 17:18

Ricky sat down on a chair, he was too dizzy to stand or walk. “Okay, do that. Find him for me, okay?” He laughed for no apparent reason and Jill giggled too, only the little girl didn’t understand why Auntie Ricky behaved so funny. Jill turned away to look for Alfie, and luckily she didn’t have to look long since he had finally come out of hiding now that his grandmother had left.

“Fi!”

Alfie rolled his eyes when he saw the little girl. “Not you again”, he grumbled and deliberately turned away from her. Jill clung to his legs.
“Fi, you have to come with me.”

“I don’t want to come with you. Go bother someone else.”

“No, Auntie Ricky needs your help. He had some grape juice or something and now he’s all funny and dizzy and stuff.”

“What?” Alfie turned to Jill now, trying to figure out if she was just joking.

“Yes, come quickly, Auntie Ricky is so funny!” She giggled, and this time Alfie actually followed her instead of ignoring her.

“Oh, there you are!” Ricky grinned widely as his boyfriend showed up next to him. “Looking all cute in that jumper. So handsome…”

“Okay, what did you have to drink?”, Alfie asked serious and concerned, he knew that Ricky couldn’t hold any liquor.

“Just a little wine. Really, just a glass or two. Or three. Or something like that…”

Alfie sighed.

“Your grandmother…she just…you know…she’s freaking scary, and now she even heard that I’m cooking for you and stuff and I think she knows…you know…us…together and stuff.”

“Jesus, Ricky, you know not to touch any alcohol, you get drunk just by looking at it.”

“What does drunk mean?”, Jill asked.

“Nothing!” Alfie didn’t pay attention to her, he focused on his boy who obviously was in very good spirits and way too talkative. “Okay, let’s get away from the others before you tell some of the parents the colour of your underwear.”

Ricky and Jill giggled, but Alfie was not amused. He carefully helped up Ricky who was too dizzy to walk on his own.
“Go, play with something”, Alfie hissed at Jill who followed them.

“But Fi-“

That same moment Scotty appeared, and Jill smiled widely. “Mr Scotty, sir!” She ran to him and hugged his leg. “Can we play lacrosse? Please?”

The older man laughed. “Not in here, I’m afraid, but if your parents don’t mind we can get you your jacket and go outside. We should try to find Sarah too.”

“Yes!”

“Hey there, Scotty!” Ricky giggled as he greeted the older man.

“Oh, hello Ricky. You seem…chipper.”

“You look super cute in that jumper, Scotty”, Ricky said, which made Alfie frown.

“Ehm…thank you?” Scotty sounded a bit irritated, but then he realised what was going on.

“You’re generally really cute for an older man, if I may say so”, Ricky giggled. “I bet you were quite the catch when you were younger.”

Scotty looked a bit uncomfortable, he didn’t know how to respond to that and the young Lord Jackson certainly looked annoyed.

“Come on, Ricky, you need some fresh air”, Alfie mumbled.

“Okey dokey”, he chuckled. “Bye Scotty, nice seeing you again.”

Scotty didn’t have the chance to say anything else because Alfie already pulled Ricky out of the room, and then they went on the terrace so Ricky could clear his head.
“Where is your jacket?”, Alfie asked.

“Dunno…” Ricky shrugged his shoulders. “Did I even come with a jacket?”

“Of course you did, you always have a jacket with you, even when it’s 35 degrees”, Alfie replied sarcastically.

“I’m not cold now, I don’t need a jacket.”

“You’re always cold, you just don’t notice it because you’re drunk”, Alfie said as he took off his jumper. He had a shirt underneath, that was enough for him. He put his jumper carefully over Ricky, who wore two jumpers now.

“My hair is messy”, Ricky mumbled as Alfie put his jumper over him. “And you’re going to be cold.”

“I’m fine.”

Ricky watched his boyfriend quietly for a moment. “God, it looks so hot when you take off your jumper. I’m so turned on right now.”

Alfie raised an eyebrow. That was a very rare thing for Ricky to say. His shy, bashful little schoolboy would usually blush if he said something like that, but since that schoolboy of his was drunk, he was obviously more confident too, and he sat very close to Alfie now, grinning at him first, then he kissed him. Alfie was actually the one who had to push him away.
“There are people everywhere”, he reminded him.

“Like you ever care about that.”

“I usually don’t, but if you want to be safe, we can’t do that, okay? And besides, you’re drunk, so it feels wrong anyway.”

“Alfie?”

“Hm?”

Ricky looked adoring at him like a little puppy looked at his master. “I want you to take me home, and then I want you to make love to me.” His hand wandered over Alfie’s chest. “Pretty, please?”

For a moment there Alfie was really tempted, but then he shook his head. “Not tonight, penguin. You’re drunk, it wouldn’t be right.”

“Okay…” Ricky looked a bit disappointed. “I like it, you know. I really liked it when you make love to me. I’m usually too embarrassed to admit it and I often think that I should be ashamed for having those feelings, it’s not moral and stuff, but it feels so good and it makes me so happy.”

Alfie tried not to grin because his usually super shy boyfriend just admitted that he liked having sex with him, and he was strangely turned on by that but he also knew that Ricky was insanely drunk, and he didn’t want to take advantage of that.
“Well, I’m glad you like it.”

Ricky still looked like a lovesick puppy. “Totally. I really, really, really like it. So much. And I like you so, so much. No, I love you, you’re so…oh God…you know? And then…well…I love you and I love you making love to me, and I love chocolate milk and you and love making with you and…ehm…I could really need some chocolate milk now.”

Alfie gently ran his fingers through Ricky’s hair. “I don’t think you should have anything to drink at all for the rest of the night, except water. So we will get you some wat-“

“I think I have to go to the bathroom.”

“Okay, let’s-“

It was already too late, Ricky leaned forward and threw up.

“There we go”, Alfie mumbled, gently rubbing Ricky’s back. “You just can’t hold any liquor, I warned you.”

“I’m so sorry”, Ricky yammered between throwing up. “I’m a horrible person!”

“No, you’re not. You’re just drunk. It’s okay, don’t worry, it’s going to be fine”, Alfie said gently while he got out a tissue and helped cleaning his boyfriend. “Let’s get out of here, what do you think?”

Ricky nodded weakly. “But I have to clean up, I did such a mess, I have to clean, I-“

Alfie shook his head. “That’s not your job, the cleaning staff gets paid for this shit. And Ricky?”

“Yes?”

“Next time we’re invited somewhere, you’re just going to stick to chocolate milk from the start, okay? No wine anymore.”

“Got it.”




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SPN: Georgina (Georgie) Gilmore
SG: The Kid
LaL: Willow
PA: Skadi
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54 Re: Coming Home on 29th March 2014, 21:15

It was the morning after the Chrsitmas Eve Party at Waterfall Down. Jo was still deep asleep. She had to kiss Eleanor's ass quite a lot to make sure the woman at least saw that the party was not like any other high society party.

____________
"Dear Lady Eleanor, please let me speak. The celebrations of the eve of Christ's birth was always s dear to my father and his family. But he learned from his mother that not just us the priviledged had the right to celebrate this day, back when in the house of Waterfall Downs had many more servants all of them and their families were invited. And I do believe that on this day we should share what we have with the one less fortunate. And today that Waterfall Downs is a school, we that is Liam and I feel that we reach by far more people and is it not so important to keep Britain a Christian country? So many studets that start here that never heard of the Lord and with the free festivities like this we can show them that the Lord in Heaven is not the revengeful God some think. Please lady Eleanor, I know this is not the festivity you would enjoy but I never wanted you to feel excluded. May I invite you to a calm cup of tea and a tour of Waterfall Downs Acadamy so you can see what wonderful world we are doing here. I mean the 'Arthur Jackson Foundatio' is part of the Foundations that are supporting Waterfall Downs Academy. It would be an honour to show you around."


"Very well I will not leave with grief, but I will see about the invitation to tea. I think I had quite enough of this place. Good Evening, Lady Williams." Eleanor marshed with as much grace as her old body made it possible out of the front door and left in her car. This was one of the most horrible evenings she had in a while.

Liam hugged Jo from behind. "Are you alright?"

"I will be in a little bit. Where are the girls?"

"I think Jane fell asleep on my father's lap and Jill is with James they ran into Henry so I assume they are up to some mischief."

"Perfect!" Jo dragged Liam upstairs into her English classroom. Liam got the idea what she planned when somehow he suddenly had her knickers in his hands while she was sitting on her desk with her dress open that Liam had a nice view on her boobs.

"Really? It is Christmas." Liam grinned cheeky while he fondled Jo at her private parts.

"Oh yes especially because it is Christmas." 


Meanwhile on the other side of Oxford


Ricky had his chocolate milk, had showered and was now lying in the giant bed of Alfie and him. Alfie was lying next to him already thinking Ricky was asleep when suddenly his boyfriends soft and small hand shyly entered his PJ trousers.

"Whoa Ricky. I thought we talked about this?" Not that Alfie didn't want to sleep with his boyfriend but sleeping with Ricky while he was drunk just seemed so wrong. 

"I know what you said, but I'm feeling better. I'm not dizzy anymore, although I have this little problem." Ricky pushed the duvet down and Alfie saw what Ricky was talking about, the buldge at Ricky's PJ pants. "I know exactly what we are doing, so let me show you something."

Ricky pulled down Alfie's pants and without hesitation gave him a blowjob, which was enough to arouse Alfie deeply.
_____________

So on the morning of Christmas Day Jo and Ricky on seperate ends of Oxford were lying in bed still alseep but remembering the sweet sex they had with their partners.
Alfie was watching Ricky sleep while Liam had a small breakfast with Jane who was already awake. Both men were waiting for their partner to wake up. Alfie could not make himself breakfast so he waited for Ricky to make him something to eat. 
Liam and Jane were having a piece of toast and read the newspaper, Jane red the weather and Liam the rest. It was a slow morning. Jill would wake up first remembering that it was Christmas morning and then Jo would follow.


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55 Re: Coming Home on 7th April 2014, 17:07

„How are the news, Princess?“, Liam asked, a grin crossing his face as he watched his daughter `reading’ the newspaper.

“Very interesting”, Jane answered matter-of-factly. “There will be sun today, and rain tomorrow, I think.”

“I see. Did you like the Christmas party last night?”

“Yes, Daddy. Edward told me that he invented a new song on the piano which he will play for me, and Daideo said that Edward, me and him will have a music day soon, which I really like.”

Liam smiled. “That sounds very nice.”

“Hey, I want to eat too!” A sleepy Jill had just entered the room, her hair all messy and he pyjama top stuck in her PJ bottoms. She rubbed her eyes and looked at her sister’s toast. She was about to grab it when Liam lifted her up and shook his head.

“Don’t do that, Cupcake, that’s Jane’s. You’ll have your own toast in a minute, okay?”

“Okay.”

Liam sat her down next to Jane who looked sceptically at her sister’s messy hair. Liam could tell that it bugged her, so he distracted his older daughter quickly and kept talking about the music day that Graham wanted to have with her and Edward, that would keep her busy while Jill needed a moment to wake up. Her dad poured her a cup with orange juice, put a slice of toast on her plate and prepared the coffee for Jo, who would get up soon- well, she would most definitely get up at the smell of coffee.

On the other side of Oxford

Ricky had no idea what time it was when he woke up, but the sun was already up and tickled his nose. He opened his eyes slowly and noticed Alfie next to him, who was reading. Ricky watched him for a moment quietly, he loved watching Alfie read, it was super hot, but then Alfie noticed that he was awake and turned his head to Ricky.
“Hey.” Alfie smirked as he noticed Ricky’s messy bed hair, which he loved just as much as Ricky loved watching him read.

“Hey…” Ricky started to blush, both because of the way Alfie grinned and also because the memory of last night came back to his mind.

“How are you feeling?”

“Better”, Ricky mumbled. “I’m sorry I got drunk last night, I really just wanted to have one glass but then I saw your grandmother and she freaked me out and-“

“You don’t have to apologise”, Alfie interrupted him as his hand wandered gently through Ricky’s already messy hair. “Besides, we had quite the night yesterday.” His grin grew bigger.

Ricky turned completely red now and buried his face between the pillows. “Oh man…”

His boyfriend was incredibly turned on again, but he didn’t want to intimidate Ricky too much or pressure him in any way.
“Do you want part of your Christmas present?”, he asked instead.

“What?” Ricky peaked out from under a pillow. “Is it…ehm…here?”

“You mean right here, in bed?”

Ricky nodded, still flushed cheeks.

“Do you want it to be here in bed?”, Alfie asked teasingly.

“Ehm…eh…”

Alfie took the pillow away from Ricky, who looked incredibly embarrassed but smiled nervously as well. Alfie chuckled. “No worries, the present I’m talking about doesn’t fit into the bed. Well, technically is does, but it wouldn’t be comfortable with it in the bed.”

Ricky raised an eyebrow. “What is it?”

Alfie turned away and got something out of his nightstand, then he dropped a pair of keys in front of Ricky. Ricky took the keys, which were car keys, but not the ones that belonged to his Mini. No, these keys belonged to a Mini, but a new one.
“You got me another car?”

“Yepp.”

Ricky stared at his boyfriend. “Why? My car is fine, it’s not even two years old.”

“Exactly.”

“Exactly what?”

“It’s almost two years old, which makes it old and used.”

“Old and used? Are you joking?”

“Don’t you like your present?”

“No, of course I like it but I just-“

“It’s not the same colour as your old one”, Alfie said. “It’s a Sapphire blue or Bleu de France or something like that.”

Ricky stared at his boyfriend for a moment, then he started laughing.

“What?” Alfie looked irritated. “What’s so funny?”

“I’m sorry, but you just sounded incredibly girly.”

“Oh, shut up!” Alfie bent down and kissed Ricky gently.

“Thank you”, Ricky mumbled, his cheeks still flushed. “I love your present.”

“No problem”, Alfie replied. “So, what was that about the present in bed? Is there any such thing?” He looked cheekily at Ricky, who smiled nervously.

“I guess I owe you something”, he said, kissed Alfie briefly, then he leaned back into the pillows while Alfie began kissing his neck.


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56 Re: Coming Home on 11th April 2014, 23:51

At Waterfall Downs

Jo rolled over and got a whiff of coffee, in the distance she heard breakfast clattering and muffled talking. And then suddenly it came back to Jo, it was Christmas Morning. For a moment neither of her family saw her standing in the door frame watching them.

“Mummy!” Jane grinned. “There will be sun today, and rain tomorrow, I think.”

“Good morning Munchkins. Hey.” Jo whispered and kissed Liam, Liam grinned and pulled her closer.

“Hey Beautiful.” Liam kissed his wife passionately.

“Oh you made me coffee that is so nice.”

“Mummy! That is daddy’s toast.” Jill giggled.

“Oops. I’m sorry daddy.” Jo giggled too. “You want to make me a toast?”

“Oh yes!” Both Jill and Jane shouted excited. Liam put in two slices of toast in the toaster and handed both Jane and Jill a children knife to butter Jo’s toast.

“So how about we go out and build a snowman after breakfast. It is just us in the house. All students are at home.” Jo slowly was waking up.

“Yay! Janey do you want to build a snowman?” Jill was awake by now, she had a glass of orange juice, a cup of chocolate milk and two slices of toast and some cereals.

“Oh, we certainly can do that.” Jane had a lot less to eat, though she was awake since hours.
Liam smiled and helped both girls not to drown Jo’s toast in butter. He kissed Jo on the cheek. “Did you sleep okay?”

“Yes I slept quite nice. Liam? I’ve got a present for you and girls, Santa has left some presents for you in the living room under the Christmas tree.”

“Ooooh. Aaaaah. Yippie!” Jane and Jill ran off to see what Santa had gotten for them.

“You have a present for me?” Liam grinned, like a little boy.

“Of course silly.” Jo climbed on Liam’s lap and handed him a small box.

“This is it? It’s a small box.” Liam looked nearly disappointed at the green box.

“Hey!”

Liam kissed Jo, he liked holding his wife so close. And then he unwrapped the present. “Whoa that is beautiful.” Liam was holding a key ring in his hand on one side were Jane and Jill this summer at the house in Brighton and on the other Jo. Liam had taken both pictures but Jo had found an artist who turned a small version of it in a key ring.

“Do you like it?” Jo whispered.

“I love it! That way I have my three girls always with me.”

“Mommy! Look what Santa got us.” The twins were holding dresses, shirts and some toys in their arms, nothing over the top and still they loved it.

“Oh what nice presents.” Jo smiled at her daughters.

“Here we have presents too.” Jill shouted in her usual loud voice.
Jill gave her dad the long shaped present wrapped in orange juice stained toilet paper. “It’s a ewy-iver.” Jill shouted.

Liam looked at his daughter a little bit confused, he wasn’t sure if this was a present or a piece of rubbish until he pulled off the toilet paper. “Oh, a screwdriver. Thank you Jill. That is awesome.”
Jill beamed widely and watched her mother unwrap her present. It was a drawing of the family the first she did and it looked even quite nice. “Jill this is a lovely present. I will get a frame for it and we put up at the wall.”

Liam knew right away Jane’s present it was perfectly wrapped and he was surprised how precise and thought the small frame with gypsum and her little hand imprint in it and written underneath ‘I love you Daddy.’ “Oh Jane that is a lovely present! I will put it in my lab so when I see it I always think of my little Princess.”

Meanwhile Jo unwrapped the star candle from Jane. “Because daddy calls you Yvaine.”

“That is lovely. Thank you so much. So shall we all get dressed and go outside? Teddy needs to do his business.” Jo got up and kissed both her girls. She loved that they have learned that Christmas was not just to get presents but also to give, both girls were smiling even wider than they had been when they showed their parents their presents form Santa and Jo was so happy that Jane and Jill had received the most wonderful gift. The gift of giving.

About half an hour later all four O’Dohertys were dressed in winter suits.

“Mummy, can you help me make a snow angel?” Jill threw herself in the snow and rolled around, but forgot quickly her first plan when Teddy started jumping around her.
Meanwhile Liam and started to build a snowman, he had made a snowball and showed her how to roll it over the floor and turn it into a large snowball. Jane was making the small head while Liam made the large bottom ball. Jane’s head-ball took quite a while she kept picking out small bits of dirt and anything not snow. Jo was watching Jill and Teddy, she knew Teddy was very gentle with the girls but he was still a dog and might accidently hurt her.

“This is a good snowball, it will be perfect for the head.”

“But I want to make a baby snowman.” Jane looked a little sad at her dad.

“Oh, I see. Sure you make the baby and I make the big daddy and maybe when mummy and Jill and done rolling in the snow they make the mummy.”

“We need two babies just like Jilly and me.” Jane’s OCD was kicking in and she started rubbing the snowball to be a perfect round ball.

“It’s okay Princess. We can fix the roundness of the ball when her put it together. Here help me roll the big ball a little bit more.”

It was so hard for Jane to let go of her snowball and help her dad, but she did it. Jo and Jill started to build a more abstract snowman which turned into a snow-dog. So their family was a daddy snowman, a baby snowman and a snowman dog. Jill came back with some stones for eyes and sticks for noses. And then it happened. Jane started screaming when Jill put the stones into the snow-baby’s head to make eyes.

“No! No! Wrong! Dirty! Make go away!”

Jo got really worried, Jane never had such a bad OCD attack like this, the normally so gentle girl was pushing her sister roughly away and tried to get every little bit that was not white snow off the snow-baby.

“Jane, darling. It’s okay. Jill just wanted to give the snow-baby eyes. Come here.” Jo pulled her daughter into a tight hug without hurting her and started humming. It was a song she had written and played several times for Jane and it worked Jane calmed down, at least enough to stop screaming. But Jill didn’t understand she knew her sister liked things to be clean and tidy and a certain way but she never got pushed by her.


“Jilly sowwy! So sowwy! Vant snowy baby looky eyes. Sowwy. Janey sowwy!” Jill was so lost she didn’t understand Jane’s outburst, in her little head she thought Jane hated her. The little girl started crying.


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57 Re: Coming Home on 13th April 2014, 12:26

Liam didn’t hesitate a moment, he quickly rushed to his younger daughter who was completely lost and confused by what just happened. Jill knew that Jane liked it clean, but she didn’t understand that her sister’s OCD could sometimes get out of control like this, and she had certainly never been pushed by her. Jane was always the quiet and calm one, she was almost unrecognisable with her screaming and pushing, it had scared all of them, but particularly Jill who didn’t really understand what was going on.

Liam pulled Jill close while Jo tried to calm Jane down.
“It’s okay, Cupcake”, Liam said gently as he lifted his daughter up. “Jane is not mad at you.”

“She hates me!”

“No, Jill, you know that’s not true. Jane could never hate you.”

“But she pushed me. I didn’t want to make her hate me, please make her stop.”

“Jill, honey, calm down.” Liam kissed her gently. “Jane could never hate you, she loves you so much. You know how Mummy and I explained to you that Jane has something that makes her upset when things get dirty?”

Jill nodded, tears still streaming over her face.

“And that is what just happened. I know you didn’t mean anything bad when you gave the snowbaby eyes, but in Jane’s eyes she saw it as dirt on the snowbaby’s face, and that dirt made her really upset. Look…” Liam turned to his wife and Jane. “The dirt makes your sister really upset but she was not upset about you, do you hear me? It was the dirt that made Jane upset.”

Jill stopped crying as she watched her sister, who was completely pale while Jo was holding her tight and quietly hummed a melody.
“Daddy, let me down”, Jill demanded.

“Okay.” Liam carefully put her down and the little girl immediately walked over to her sister. Jane looked almost terrified at her as Jill came closer, but it was also extreme guilt that was reflected on Jane’s troubled face. Jill didn’t say anything at first, she stopped in front of her mum and sister, then she spread her arms and pulled Jane into a hug.
“I love you, Janey”, she said.

Jo could feel how Jane started to get less tense as her sister hugged her.

“I’m sorry if I made a mess”, Jill continued. “The mess is stupid! We don’t want it!”

A smile crossed both of Jo’s and Liam’s faces while they watched their daughters.

“We can clean the face of the snowbaby, okay?”

Jane didn’t say anything at first, but then she nodded. Jill took a step back and took her sister’s hand.
“Okay, let’s make a new face.”

Jane finally smiled, it was just a shy smile, but still, it mattered a lot. Teddy followed the girls while they collected snow for a new head. Meanwhile Liam put his arm around his wife, watching the two little gingers having fun. Although Jill was a wild little troublemaker, she was also the one person who knew exactly what her sister needed and did exactly the right thing for Jane to smile again.


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58 Re: Coming Home on 15th April 2014, 00:46

A few weeks after Christmas -maybe like three or four- Dan was alone with his little brothers now since five days. John had gone to Europe’s mainland for to pick up some horses for the stud farm, no not alone as if Lorelai would John let drive the large truck to pick up seven horses and drive about 1000 miles. And Lorelai got a mission order so Dan was watching Edward and Henry, Edward was easy to watch, Henry well as long Dan knew where his little brother was and away from danger Dan was okay with that. Dan was always worried when he was alone but he knew that everything they needed was there and in the end his uncles were there, and Cedric.

So here he was watching his little brothers, Edward had his music class today and Henry had Nursery. And Dan had driven them to all of this. Lorelai had gotten him a small car for this purpose, he was a good driver and Lorelai trusted him even in winter. Dan had made pizza for dinner, he was not the best cook but good enough for his brothers. The three boys were sitting in the living room, Edward was right now learning to play the Cello so he was practising, while Henry was playing with his cars on the floor and Dan was reading. The fire was burning in the fireplace and it was a nice evening, when suddenly a loud and desperate and weird knock at the back door.

“Okay, stay here. I’ll check who it is.” Dan put his book aside and smiled encouraging at Edward who looked a little scared.

The knock repeated, now it seemed whoever it was wanted to break in the door. “Who is it?” Dan tried to sound confident and strong.

“It’s me, Mutti. Open the door.” Lorelai sounded so weird. Dan quickly unlocked the door and stepped aside to let Lorelai in. It took him a second to see that something was wrong, very wrong.

“Mutti are you okay?”

“No. Get some clean towels and boil some water and get my first aid kid from my office. Where are the boys?” Lorelai’s normally so strong voice was so weak, so fragile.

“In the living room, I need to tell them that everything is okay.”

“Do that and then do the other things I’ve asked you to do.” Lorelai was leaning against the kitchen counter and started peeling off bandages from her waist, bloody and dirty bandages.

“Hey Edward, Henry Mutti is home but… um… she is hurt but will be okay. Please stay here.” Dan tried to calm his brother’s down, Edward was about to stay put but Henry already ran into the kitchen and freaked out when he saw his pale, bloody mother. Dan quickly ran and got all the other things and went back in the kitchen. Henry was sitting on the floor silently crying, Edward was holding his brother. He was scared too but he also knew that his Mutti would be fine, she just had to be.

“I was in Russia, it was meant to be a simple mission, just gathering information. But it all went wrong, there were children and then shooting, I got hit but I could not go to the hospital neither in Russia nor anywhere else. Give me the forceps, I need to take out the bullet.” Lorelai explained quietly to Dan. Dan was starring at the hole in his mother’s stomach, a slow but steady flow of blood was running from it.

“Wait you are doing what?” Dan suddenly realised what Lorelai wanted to do.

“The bullet is still in there, I can feel it. I need to get it out and stitch the wound.”

“Whoa! Can we not call someone, Opa or your brothers? A doctor?” Dan tried to argue with his mother.

“Dan how am I supposed to explain that I have the bullet of a Russian mafia gun in my stomach? Now the forceps, Dan.”

Dan had no choice than hand Lorelai the forceps. Dan felt disgusted when Lorelai pushed the forceps into the bleeding on in her stomach and tried to get the bullet out of her body. It took some time and then she had it, but then suddenly Lorelai went sheet pale, the blood stream increased and Dan realised that this is going sour.

“Mutti?”

“Shit!” Lorelai’s eyes rolled into the back of her head and she lost consciousness, her lifeless body slid down the kitchen cupboard and was a pathetic pile on the floor. Henry was screaming and Edward just kept repeating. “She will be okay, she will be okay…”


Dan had to made a decision, he had to do something or his so much loved Mutti would bleed out on the kitchen floor with his two little brothers watching. Lorelai had taught him first aid, he knew he had to stop the bleeding, he had to apply pressure to the wound. This was messed up, like really badly messed up.


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59 Re: Coming Home on 20th April 2014, 15:52

Dan’s hands were shaking as he rummaged through the first aid kit to find more bandages. He was in fact shaking so much that the first aid kit fell to the floor.
“Shit!” He didn’t bother picking up everything, he just grabbed as much bandage as he could find and pressed them onto the wound. Henry was still crying in the background, which put even more pressure on Dan, he was incredibly tense right now.
“Edward, can you and Henry please leave? It’s important!” Dan didn’t mean to shout but he was too nervous to be polite.

Edward tried to pull Henry away, but his little brother refused to move.

“Henry, if you want me to help Mutti, you have to go!”, Dan shouted over his shoulder while he grabbed another pile of bandages. “Do you understand me? I need it to be quiet so I can fix Mutti, and then she will be fine.” He had to tell that to himself because he honestly had no idea whether his mum would be fine or not.

Henry finally moved, although he was still hysterically crying, but Edward finally managed to pull him up and go upstairs with him into their play room, where he would try to distract his little brother. Edward was incredibly scared but he was also a very mature young boy and knew how to react in difficult situations.
Meanwhile Dan thought he was going to lose it. All this blood, and his unconscious mother on the floor. He felt dizzy and sick but he couldn’t give up, he couldn’t let his mother die just because he was too nervous and dizzy.
“It’s all good”, he mumbled. “It’s going to be fine, you’ll be fine, you…” He could feel tears coming. “I’m not going to let you die, you can’t die. You’re my hero, you can’t die.” He saw the blood soaking through the bandages. This couldn’t be it. After all that Lorelai had done for him, he couldn’t just watch her bleed to death. He needed to pull himself together.
His eyes wandered over the things that had fallen out of the first aid kit. Among them were needle and string, and a blue tube thingy that looked like it contained some sort of ointment. In case of severe bleeding was written on the tube. Dan knew that Lorelai had a few things that were not usually in the possession of ‘normal people’ in ‘normal households’. The first aid kit that she owned was for her specific kind of job, which not everyone had. He didn’t know what that tube really was, but he grabbed it and poured some strange white liquid out that almost looked like toothpaste. He carefully applied it on the wound, which made his stomach turn upside down as he touched it, but he pulled himself together as best as he could. After he had spread the ointment on the wound, he took the needle and tried to stich it up. He almost had to gag as he tried to sew the wound, he had never done anything like this and felt really sick, but he took a couple of deep breaths and managed to close the wound. The bloody bandages were lying all over the floor but he couldn’t care less right now. He carefully lifted up his mother, which was not easy for him to do because he wasn’t the tallest and strongest, but in that moment he put all his strength together to carry her to the closest couch.
Lorelai was still pale like the wall and looked completely lifeless, but Dan could see her breathing. It was a very low, almost not visible breathing, but at least she was breathing. He kept his eyes on the wound, which strangely looked a lot better ever since he had put the ointment on it. It seemed to work better than any other ointment he had ever seen, the team of people who worked for the Mission Force seemed to know what they were doing.
Dan grabbed Lorelai’s hand and didn’t let go. “Please come back”, Dan begged. “Please come back to us, Mutti, we really need you here. You have to watch Edward become one of the greatest Musicians in the world, and giving concerts, and ruling the world. And you have to watch Henry graduating from school, because he will make it, even if he’s all over the place, but yes, he will graduate and find himself a nice girl and have a lovely family, and you have to be there to see it. Please, Mutti, you have to stay with me, okay? Come back to us, we all need you.” Dan tried really hard not to fall apart right now.


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60 Re: Coming Home on 24th April 2014, 23:44

Dan didn’t know how long he was sitting there with Lorelai on the couch and he wasn’t sure when Edward and Henry came back downstairs but his two little brothers were curled up against him. Lorelai’s breathing was still flat and her pulse just a very faint thumbing at her wrist.

“She will be fine.” Dan mumbled over and over.

“Stop mumbling, I thought I taught you to speak up?” Lorelai murmured as she tried to sit up. “Shit this hurt.”

“MUTTI!” Dan yelled and hugged her tightly.

“Hey, I’m not deaf. I got shot but not in the ear. Stop shouting.” Lorelai looked down at herself, “Did you got Henry to sew this together?”

Henry started hysterically sobbing again and Edward hugged him even tighter.

“No it was me. Sorry.” Now that Lorelai was awake, Dan started sobbing too.

“I’m okay kiddo. Stop crying like a baby, I’m okay. Did you find the stuff to stop the bleeding?” Lorelai pulled Dan in a hug and kissed him on the cheek.

“Yes, and it stopped the bleeding but I’m not good in sewing so your stomach does not look pretty.”

“It looks perfect. It will me remember forever that my oldest son saved my life. Hey Henry come here, Mutti is fine see?” With Dan’s and Edward’s help she pulled Henry onto her lap and kissed him, she traced with Henry’s little finger along the wound just above her left hip bone.
The little boy calmed down a little bit and now that their Mutti was awake again Lorelai made Dan get something to eat for them all. Henry fell asleep very quickly, and Lorelai was too weak to carry him upstairs.

“He can sleep in my bed tonight, and so can Edward and you Dan. Do you mind carrying Henry upstairs? Just make sure he goes to the toilet before you put him down.” Lorelai said quietly, she was rather weak and hadn’t eaten a lot but some.

“Sure. Try to eat something, please.” Dan carried up Henry and made him go to toilet before he put the little boy into the large parental bed.

Not long after Edward decided he wanted to go to bed too but not in his parents. “I want to sleep my in bed. I told Mutti, she said it is okay.”

“Sure. Do you need anything?” Dan looked at his little brother.

“No I’m okay. Good night.” Edward hugged Dan and went into his room.

“Dan?” Lorelai called from downstairs.

“I’m coming.” Dan hurried downstairs, and met Lorelai at the stairs. “Whoa, you need to lie down.”

“Well help me upstairs.”

Lorelai tried to walk up the stairs but Dan just scooped her up and carried her upstairs, it was hard but a lot easier than helping her to drag herself up the stairs. “No Edward’s room.”

“But…?”

“You’ll see.” Lorelai had this look in her eyes, the look she had when she knew something that no one else knew.

They were standing outside Edward’s bedroom and then suddenly Dan heard it. Edward was heavily sobbing, all this time he was so strong and hadn’t cried but now alone in his room he cried his heart out. Just a few moments and then he sat up and said very strictly. “Stop this. You got to take care of them, you need to be strong and not cry like a baby!”

But he couldn’t stop himself, he kept sobbing. Lorelai waited a little bit longer and then very slowly walking into the room, after she had knocked and Edward had said ‘Come in’. “Hey kiddo.”
Lorelai climbed into his bed and pulled him into her arms. “This was pretty scary tonight, huh.”
Edward nodded into her chest.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you. I didn’t know where else to go and I knew I would be safe here. I knew my boys would look after me. I knew it would all be okay, I’m so sorry I scared you.”

“There was so much blood. I thought you died.” Edward whispered.

“I know, so did I. I was walking in the darkness and didn’t know the way but then I heard you three called me and then I knew the way.” Lorelai whispered back.

“I’m glad you did. Can I sleep with you, Henry and Dan in the big bed?”

“Of course, but you got to help me. I’m not so good in walking right now.”

“Mutti you are so little.” Edward looked surprised at his mother who he pretty much saw the very first time without her high heels in his life.

“Yeah I know stop mocking me.” Lorelai grinned as they walked down the corridor to the parent’s bedroom.

A little bit later Dan had cleaned up the kitchen and both little boys were asleep in the middle of the bed Lorelai heard quiet sobbing.

“You know I am really scared that you graduate this summer. You will be all grown up and go to University. Did you hear back from the universities yet?”

“Mutti I’m home for another six months.” Dan chuckled and Lorelai was glad that that he was laughing again.

“I’m sorry I scared you. Thanks for saving me. You did a really good job.”

“You gonna have a horrible scar.”

“I will wear it with pride. And I was serious I am scared when you leave for University.”

“Why because you know that you can’t come bleeding to death?”

“No, because you will be out there alone. I will worry about you.”

“I will be fine. And I will come home at least once a month. And yes I heard back from Universities. And I would like to talk to you and dad about it, I think I would like to go to Chelmsford to Anglia Ruskin University. I want to be a teacher, I want to teach children. I want to become like Missis Jo and Liam. And I hope you will stop coming home bleeding to death. Though I worry what will be with the boys when I go to University.”

“It will all be fine. Try to catch some sleep. My biggest little boy.” Lorelai wrapped her arm around the little boys and took Dan’s hand. “We all need some sleep and your dad should be back tomorrow.”

“That will be good. I’m glad he will be back we need him.” Dan kissed Lorelai’s hand. He sighed deeply. He was not ready to admit that he was scared starting university, going away from the very home he just got, he wasn’t sure what would happen with him and Caleb, he was just scared of this huge change. “Ich liebe dich Mutti! Always!”


“I love you too. I love you too.” Lorelai mumbled, she was just glad to be home.


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61 Re: Coming Home on 27th April 2014, 16:55

The shock of Lorelai’s accident finally seemed to get better. It had been two weeks, and since then John was back home, and all four of Lorelai’s men took great care of her. Well, at least they tried to take care of her but she was a stubborn woman and wanted to do everything by herself, she didn’t like feeling helpless. However, all of them wanted her to take it easy, and even little Henry made sure his Mutti would lie on the couch and rest a bit rather that run around in her heels all day long. Lorelai saw how much her boys cared about her, and after the first days of complaining that she was fine and that she could go back to work, she actually sort of enjoyed being served by her men, she sure felt like a queen. Jo and Liam had heard about the accident as well and kept checking on her almost every day until Lorelai told them to stay at home and focus on their work, and she finally got them to not come around anymore, but they still called her every day. After two weeks, things slowly got back to normal again, and Lorelai was back on her feet, running the estate like she always did. But still, her boys kept checking that she was okay.
Meanwhile in Waterfall Downs Jo and Liam had to take care of a few organisational things and new changes for the new year. School had just started again after a nice Christmas break, and now it was back to work and back to organising things, among them finding a new help in the kitchen. They always had their main cook, who everyone loved because she was amazing, but they also had two helps in the kitchen since the school was growing bigger and Jo knew that their cook couldn’t do it all alone, that’s why they had two other kitchen helpers next to the cook. One of the helpers just left for maternity leave so they needed to find a replacement. Usually Jo was in charge for these kind of things. Liam and Jo had an equal amount of work to do, but Jo was more running the interviews, replacements and direct talk to teachers while Liam was taking care of things such as calling an electric if they needed one, making sure everything was working and in place, or making appointments with handymen. If things got broken, he was always the one taking care of it, calling people if needed, while Jo took care of the staff. They were the perfect team.

It was just lunch break, and Liam met up his wife in the cafeteria.
“How is my beautiful?” He kissed her on the cheek.

She smiled. “Busy.”

“Ah, but you love that.”

“I do”, she chuckled. “I miss all the buzz during our holidays. It’s always so quiet and empty when almost everyone is gone. So I’m glad the new term has started, even if that means being busy.”

“One of pipes in the younger boys’ bathroom broke, but it’s taken care of, I already called the plumber, he will come in about an hour.”

“That’s good”, Jo said as she sat down with Liam. “And I have the interviews later.”

“How many are you interviewing?”

“I think it’s about seven, so let’s hope we’ll find someone who can help in the kitchen.”

They quickly ate their lunch, they didn’t have much time today because Liam had to get back to class and Jo had to go to her office where she would receive the people for the interview. The first five were not really successful. Two ladies who came from somewhere in Eastern Europe, who barely spoke a word of English and who wouldn’t understand if the cook gave any orders, so they would obviously not be very helpful. Then there was a guy who seemed a bit peculiar, he was already in his fourties, didn’t seem very clean and Jo didn’t have a good feeling about him working around the children. Then the fourth person was, as she called it, an ‘Irish traveller’, and as much as Jo loved the Irish, she did not really want an ‘Irish traveller’ girl who had just turned eighteen working close with the children, because that girl seemed incredibly immature and more concerned about the five pounds of makeup on her face than the actual work that she would do in Waterfall Downs. After that came a woman who seemed good at first, but that changed as the interview went on because she was incredibly bossy and demanding and wanted to argue about her payment. So, after five not so successful interviews and a slight headache, Jo greeted the sixth person entering her office, a young man named Sebastian. He seemed okay, at least much better than the five who came before him, and he had working experience. Jo could tell that he didn’t want to work at the school because of his love for children but simply because he needed a job, but since he wouldn’t be hired to be a teacher and would just work in the kitchen and help the cook, that was okay, as long as he wouldn’t be mean to any of the students.
While Jo was interviewing Sebastian, she had the weird feeling that she knew him. She was sure she had never seen him before, it was very weird, but there was something that reminded her of someone, but she couldn’t point it out. He was lower class, so it was very unlikely that Jo had met him at any social gatherings when she was younger, but still, he seemed a bit familiar, and so far the best choice out of the people she interviewed. After Sebastian she had one more interview, but that was definitely not a success either, since the man she was interviewing had lied about his age and was actually not in his thirties, as he had claimed, but in his sixties and deaf in one ear. Jo usually liked to give people chance, but normal school days were busy and chaotic and she knew that an elderly man with a hearing disability wouldn’t be helpful in the kitchen at all.

After this day was over, Jo crashed on the couch and took a deep breath while Liam and the twins sat the table for dinner.
“Mummy, are you okay?”, Jill asked as she ran into the living room to check on her mum. “You look tired.”

“Oh, I am. It was a very long, exhausting day”, Jo said, pulling Jill close so that she could kiss her. “But now I get to see you, and Jane and Daddy, and that makes everything better.” She got up and joined her family in the kitchen, where Liam and Jane got out glasses.

“Were you successful today?” As Liam turned around, he realised that his question was unnecessary. His wife looked like she was hit by a bus. “Oh, I see.”

“Yeah, it was quite the fun I had.”

“Oh, come here.” He pulled her into a hug and kissed her. “Did you at least find someone?”

“Besides the two Ukrainian, the deaf old man and the Irish traveller, you mean?”, she asked cynically. “Yes, I did. I think you won’t see him playing with the kids or anything, but that’s not in his job description anyway. As long as he does his job in the kitchen and doesn’t annoy our cook, it should be fine. Do you by any chance know a Sebastian Smith?”

Liam thought for a second. “I’m not sure. Smith is the most common last name in the English speaking world, so I don’t know. Why?”

“It’s really weird, I know I haven’t met him but he kind of…I don’t know, seems familiar.”

“Maybe you’ve met him before but you can’t remember.”

“Maybe.” Jo shrugged her shoulders. “Anyway, enough talk about school for tonight. I just want to think of my family.” She smiled and looked down at the twins, who were playing with Teddy.


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62 Re: Coming Home on 1st May 2014, 00:29

Sebastian was not the best help but the cook was a very strict woman and she wasn’t too much of a lady not to hit her staff with her large wooden spoon. Sebastian was very often the one being hit. It was a few weeks that he was working at Waterfall Downs.

“Hello anybody here?” Jill shouted she came through the back door from outside into the kitchen.

“What the bloody hell do you want?” Sebastian snapped at the little ginger she was in her warm winter sport clothes, she was playing lacrosse with Sarah and the rest of the team.

“I just want a snack. Mrs Cook always makes me a snack after training. Please.” Jill looked expecting at Sebastian, he was the only one in right now. Mrs Cook -her name wasn’t Cook but since Jo could remember she always called the woman that cooked for them Cook- and now everyone just called the heartily woman Mrs Cook.

“Go away!” Sebastian shoved Jill back into the cold.

“But I’m hungry. I need a snack. I was running.” Jill looked hurt at the large man.

“You are a bloody brat seriously go away or I make you go away.”

“You are not really a nice man. I will tell my mummy that.” Jill got back in the kitchen and managed to get passed Sebastian when he grabbed her jacket at the back.

“You bloody bitch you will do no such thing!” Sebastian started shaking Jill very harshly. “You fucking sicko will not tell your shit head mother. This job is shit and the pay is too low but I’m not going to lose this job.”

“Hey! I thought I taught you the lesson not to pick on little ones?” Alfie yelled. He yanked Jill out of Sebastian’s hands and pushed her behind one of the counters and then punched Sebastian hard in the face. “You fucking bastard!”

Jill started quietly crying while Alfie shoved Sebastian into the wall. “What the fuck are you doing here?”

“Work. And this dipshit is bugging me.” Sebastian spat at Alfie.

“You do not work here! You do not close to anyone I care!”

“Why is this dipshit yours?”

Alfie didn’t answer with words; he just punched him again and again very hard in the face.

“Alfie!” Jo shriek from the door. Jill didn’t move and just stared at Alfie punching Sebastian again and again.  “Alfie stop it! Stop it.”

“No! This fucking bastard should be dead. He is a fucking ass! Why is he here? He should not be around children. He hurt the little one. He shook her like a snow-globe.” Other people might look crazy in a moment like this but Alfie looked pure terrifying. Jo wanted to back away and run but something held her back. Very carefully she touched Alfie’s arm and was surprised how muscular he was. “Alfie please stop. If you don’t I have to call the police this is still a school.”
For a while Alfie starred at Jo but then let Sebastian slide down the wall and turn into a pile of misery.

“You should not have hired this asshole! He will cause nothing but trouble.”

“I understand and so far it was okay Mrs Cook kept him in line. Sebastian, go home clean yourself up and I expect you back tomorrow. I assume I not need to tell you that this gentleman is Lord Alfred Jackson.”

Sebastian jumped as much as he could with a bloody nose and a swollen eye and ran out. Jo wasn’t so sure if would be back for work tomorrow. Jo went and picked up Jill.


“Mummy Fi saved me! He saved me, from the evil man.” Jill stopped sobbing and snuggled into her mother’s chest. Jo looked surprised at Alfie over Jill’s head. “You protected her? I thought you don’t like her?” Jo never expected Alfie to actually care enough for Jill to protect her.


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63 Re: Coming Home on 2nd May 2014, 19:43

Originally, Alfie had planned to visit Liam because he was plain bored. Ricky had a long day at university and Alfie hadn’t gone to London today but by twelve o’clock he noticed how bored he actually was and he knew that Ricky wouldn’t come home until later this evening. When Alfie got bored, he used to go to certain establishments where he would be busy sleeping with a few prostitutes to kill time, but he was doing that less and less nowadays. He still occasionally went, but not as regularly as he used to. He could still go to the gentleman’s club but he didn’t feel like seeing some of the other spoilt, rich sons who would come up to talk to him, and in the end he would only end up shagging one or two, and then he would feel bad, because nowadays he actually felt guilty when he slept with other men besides Ricky- which Alfie would never, ever admit, but it was true.
So, he decided to pay Liam a visit and maybe check if he could catch up with James as well, although he figured that both of them were busy, but he didn’t care, he just left the flat and called his driver to drive him to Waterfall Downs.
The moment Alfie had entered the school and saw a few super perky, geeky, weird students giggling stupidly in the hallway, he realised how much he could not stand kids, and school, and how he really cared for a drink right now, so he went straight to the kitchen, and that was when he saw someone who he never wanted to see again. Out of all idiotic, stupid sons of bitches, Jo had picked the worst to work here, but Jo obviously had no idea who that guy really was, so far the cook had kept him under control. So, as Alfie entered the kitchen, he saw Sebastian shouting at the ginger thing, and then he actually shook her, and that was when Alfie lost it. This little girl usually annoyed the hell out of him with her clinginess and her loud, squeaky voice but boy, did he get furious when he saw Sebastian hurting the little one! Alfie had no idea where that actually came from, but he suddenly felt this strong wave of protectiveness coming over him and that was the moment he lost it, grabbed the little girl to get her into safety and then started to punch the hell out of Sebastian- again. Alfie didn’t know what it was about this guy, but he just got so furious. Until the point where Alfie had beaten up Sebastian the first time a while ago, he had never punched anyone, he was ‘too upper class’ for that. He used to have a group of people who did that job for him if someone annoyed him but he was never involved into a fight himself until Sebastian came along. It was weird, because Alfie’s actual archenemy used to be Victor, but in the entire time they knew each other -which was since kindergarten- Alfie had not once punched Victor. And there he was, getting in a fight with this Sebastian guy for a second time. Something about this guy just drove him completely mad, especially seeing him hurting people Alfie cared about.
When Jo suddenly appeared, Alfie had no intention to stop. Just like in the situation where he defended Ricky, he didn’t notice what was going on around him, he couldn’t stop himself, not even when he had blood all across his hands. He didn’t really pay attention to Jo’s shouting, he just continued, but when Jo very carefully touched him he suddenly stopped. It was Jo’s soft hand that reminded him of Ricky, and for a second he felt like Ricky was there, watching him scared and terrified, with the same fear in his eyes that he had when Alfie had beaten up Sebastian the first time. Ricky had never looked so terrified at him, and it hurt Alfie that his boy was scared of him. So, when he felt Jo’s hand he was reminded of that moment, and he finally stopped.
Sebastian fled as quickly as possible, though Alfie was far from done yet but Jo and the little girl kept him back.

“You protected her?”, Jo asked. Her voice finally reached him. “I thought you didn’t like her?”

Alfie looked at the little girl whose cheeks were wet from tears, but she had stopped crying and was tightly snuggled against her mother and watched him with her big blue eyes that were so much like her father’s. Not that Alfie really paid attention to that, but of course he had noticed that she had Liam’s eyes.

“Should I have let this jerk hurt her or what do you suggest?”, he snapped back, he was still not calm at all.

“No, I just…I…” Her glance fell on his bloody hands. She had never seen Alfie like that, it was scary, but on the other hand he did it to protect Jill. “Thank you.”

“Why the hell is he working here? What the hell possessed you to hire this son of a bitch?”

“Alfie, calm down, please.” Jo could see that he was still mad and she knew that he was unpredictable right now. “We needed a new help in the kitchen, and as I said, our cook kept him in place the past weeks, so I didn’t notice any particularly bad behaviour or anything like that. I didn’t know him, you see? You seemed to know him, though…” She looked questioning at Alfie.

“I don’t really know this jerk”, Alfie huffed. “He’s just a bloody douchebag who shouldn’t be around the human race. He already hurt Ricky, so he will do it again and-“

“Wait, he’s the one who hurt Ricky?” Jo looked shocked.

“Just fire this son of a bitch, he is not coming back here, he should be freaking strangled and castrated and –“

“Alfie, please.” Jo tried to sound gentle but she knew that she usually didn’t have the greatest effect on him, she wasn’t Ricky. Even Liam and James would have been better to calm him down right now, but they weren’t here at the moment so it was her job to make sure that Alfie wouldn’t turn into Hulk.

“Mummy, put me down.” Jill had finally gotten over her shook and started to wiggle in her mum’s arms until she carefully put her down. Jill walked straight to Alfie, took off the scarf she was wearing, grabbed his hand and tried to wipe off the blood of his hands. Jo held her breath while she watched her daughter and Alfie, she worried that he would get even more furious and push her away, but he was just standing there and watching her.
“I have to clean you up, Fi”, Jill said. “You have bigger hands than my Daddy, they are very strong.” She had wiped off most of the blood, dropped the scarf and then hugged him.
“Thank you for saving me, Fi.” She looked up at him, still hugging him tightly. “You are the bestest man in the whole, wide world.”

Alfie needed a moment to reply, he just stared at the little ginger girl without any expression on his face. Jo was incredibly tense because just a second ago Alfie looked like he would seriously kill someone but he very slowly seemed to calm down, at least a little.
“Your mother should buy you a dictionary”, he said after a long silence. “ ‘Bestest’ is not a word.” He said it in his usual dry, sarcastic voice, which gave Jo great relief because she knew that he wouldn’t shout at Jill or push her away.

Jill giggled. “You’re so funny, Fi.”

Alfie rolled his eyes. “Can I get some scotch now? That was the actual reason I came to this damn kitchen in the first place, and I could really use some.”


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64 Re: Coming Home on 8th May 2014, 00:17

“Daddy may I come in?”

“Jo. Of course. Oh it has been a while that you have visited me here. Can I offer you a cup of tea?” Colin smiled at his daughter, he liked how she looked a nice pair of blue jeans, comfortable but warm winter boots and a cute light green jumper under her warm red winter coat. She looked beautiful.

“No thank you I just quickly stopped by, Liam took the girls into the book store. They complained they don’t have enough books to read.”

Colin laughed, “That sounds like your daughters.”

“I was thinking and wanted to talk to you. Do you know Mr Scott Chadwick?” Jo sat down and looked at her father.  Colin swallowed and tried to find words.

“Um… yes I do.”

Jo looked at her father, he seemed nervous.

“How do you know him? I mean he is very involved in the scholarship at Waterfall Downs.”

“Oh he is more involved than just the Waterfall Downs scholarship program.”

“Daddy, you are very weird right now. And I feel like I’ve known him before.”

“You do. You met him when you were a little girl. He is an old friend of mine, but he had some… problems and vanished for a while. He is chairman of The Better Life Foundation.”

“Daddy is he homosexual?” Jo asked, surprisingly boldly.

“Jo your husband is making you quite bold.” Colin took a sip of his tea. “Yes he is, is that a problem?”

“What? No! I told you about Ricky and Alfie.” Jo looked determined and a little stubborn. Colin grinned.

“Yes I know about your friend Ricky and Alfie. I’m glad you don’t mind their relationship.”

“If he is your friend and he came back, did you and Scotty catch up?”

“No unfortunately not yet. I think I remind him of the bad times. We both need some more time.”

“I see. Daddy do you mind that Scotty is homosexual, and also Ricky?” Jo looked at her dad.

“No I never cared that Scotty loves men or that Ricky is in a relationship with young Alfie. I pray and you know I don’t pray often only for the important things that one day no one cares if a couple are two men, to women or a man and a woman all that people see is that the two people love each other.”

“Me too. And I think Ricky and Alfie are a very good couple. Ricky is showing Alfie that it is okay to feel.”

“I know I’m noticing that the young Lord Alfie Jackson is friendlier, he still drinks too much and he also has not the right reputation.”

“Yes, I agree. Ricky said he has fewer affairs.” Jo got up and went around to hug her dad. “Can I ask Scotty how you know Scotty. Very politely.”

“Of course, I know you will be polite about it. So what is the plan for today?”

“We are going with the girls for the first time to the cinema.”

“Oh how wonderful, what are you going to see?”

“The new Robin Hood movie.” Jo grinned and looked on her watch. “But I got to go now or Liam and the girls buy the entire book store.”

“Oh of course. Please kiss the girls from me and give Liam my best wishes. I hope you have a wonderful day. Don’t eat too much candy.” Colin hugged his daughter tightly, he loved her so much and he loved to see her so happy. Jo kissed her dad on the cheek. She loved him so much.

“Please send Mother my love.” Colin hugged his daughter again and then Jo hurried out of the office to meet Liam outside.

“Mummy look! New books!” Jill screamed from across the street which she was about to cross.
“JILLIAN SAOIRSE CATHERINE O’DOHERTY. You’ve got to be kidding me!” Liam yelled at his nearly three year old daughter. Jill jumped backwards and looked scared at her dad. Liam took a deep breath, crouched down and pulled her in his arm. “I’m sorry I yelled at you but you cannot cross the street by yourself. And you know that.”

Jill cried briefly but nodded. “Sowwy daddy. I forgot.”

Jo was not ignoring him or on purpose not saying anything but she also didn’t want to intervene with Liam’s punishment for something Jill had done wrongly. Jo took Jane’s hand. “Munchkin did you like the book shop?”

“Yes mummy. Where is grandfather?” Jane looked a little worried at her dad.

“Oh I just had to talk to him. He wanted me to kiss you.” Jo hugged her daughter and kissed her on the cheek.

“Oh I see. I want to see him again.” Jane whispered.

“I will tell him that. Are you ready for the cinema?” Jo asked as they walked closer to Liam and Jill.

“Yes.” Liam kissed his wife. “Is Colin okay?”

“Yes daddy is fine. I just had to talk with him about Scotty Chadwick. I tell you later. Everything is okay here?” Jo liked that Liam took her hand while Jill and Jane were walking in front of them holding hands too.

“Yes sorry. I didn’t mean to yell at Jill but she wanted to cross the street by herself.” Liam kissed Jo again. “So I think we went a little bit crazy in the book store. Have a look at this.” Liam pulled out Pride and Prejudice. “I know you don’t have this version yet.”

“Oh thank you Liam!” Jo hugged Liam tightly. Even such a little thing like a book Jo knew so well made her so happy. Liam grinned at his wife.

“I’m glad we are going to the cinema, but are you sure the girls are old enough.”

“It’s fine. We are watching a Disney movie. Robin Hood, I’ve read reviews about it, it is nice for children. And Robin Hood is a fox so you will like this Fuechschen.” Jo grinned at him and took the hand from Jill while Liam took Jane’s hand to cross the street.

“Yay! A movie! Mummy I want popcorn!” Jill was bouncing up and down.

“Yes you may but only salted you are hyper enough without sugar.” Jo laughed.

“Good afternoon.” The cinema staff greeted the O’Dohertys. “How can I help you?”

“We need two adult and two children tickets. A medium sweet popcorn and a salted popcorn, a small lemonade for those two and a large Coca Cola for us and whatever those two chose for sweets.” Jo ordered very politely.

“Certainly. First time at the cinema?” The young girl behind the counter asks.

Jo laughed. “Yes, I hope they like it.”

“I’m sure they will. Here you go these are your tickets and all your snacks.”

“Mummy I want to help carry.” Jill took the lemonade cup and carried it very carefully with two hands.


“Don’t squeeze it. Hey I think we should go in screen first and then I take the girls to toilet I just don’t want the food in the bathrooms.” Jo carried some of the snacks and the tickets while Liam carried most of the stuff.


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65 Re: Coming Home on 9th May 2014, 23:16

After the four went into the screen to find their seats and put down all their drinks and snacks, Jo took both girls’ hands and went with them to the bathroom while Liam was watching their food and bags. Jill never had an issue going to public bathrooms but Jane started to act weird and pressed herself into a corner.
“Jane, munchkin, are you coming?”, Jo asked gently.

Jane watched a woman, who just walked into the bathroom. She didn’t like it here, and she didn’t like the strangers around her.

“Jane, please.”

The little girl shook her head. Jo sighed, she knew that Jane could be very difficult when she acted like that and that it was hard to convince her, so after Jo made sure Jill had used the bathroom, she took her girls and went back into the cinema screen. The film wouldn’t start until another ten minutes, so they still had enough time.
“Liam, we have a problem.”

“What’s that?”

“Jane doesn’t want to go to the bathroom. She just stood in the corner and refused to move, and she looked really unhappy and about to cry if I had forced her too much.”

Liam looked at Jane who was hiding behind her mother. “Is that true, Princess?”

The little girl didn’t answer.

“Should I try?”

Jo nodded. “She really has to go to the bathroom before the film starts, otherwise she will have to go in the middle of the film, and then she won’t get up because she doesn’t want to miss anything.”

“Okay.” Liam got up and lifted up his little girl. Jo usually didn’t like that he carried her too much rather than letting her walk, he carried Jane all the time, but right now she didn’t say anything because she just wanted Jane to go to the bathroom. While Liam and Jane left the screen, Jo and Jill made themselves comfortable in the seats. Liam had taken the girls’ blankets along, and of course Jane’s Duckling and Jill’s stuffed kangaroo.
Liam obviously had to go to the men’s toilet with his daughter, so before he opened the door, he said to her: “Princess, you might want to close your eyes.”

“Why?”

“There might be other men, but since I’m a man too, I’m not allowed on the lady’s toilet, you see?”

“Are the other men evil?”

“Oh no, but it might be best if you close your eyes. Trust me.”

She nodded and closed her eyes, then they went inside. Luckily, there was only one other man who didn’t pay attention to them, and they quickly went into the toilet cabin so that Liam could lock the door behind them.
“You can open your eyes again”, he said.

“Daddy, no!” Jane pointed at the toilet. “Dirty!”

“I see.” Liam sighed, then he grabbed the toilet paper and quickly cleaned the toilet seat before he lifted up Jane. It was definitely difficult to go to a public toilet with a little girl that had OCD, but for some reason Jane was most of the time very calm when her Daddy was around, and she finally went to the toilet.

“We need to wash our hands”, she said while he pulled up her tights.

“Of course.”

She was a little impatient right now, he could tell that she desperately wanted to wash her hands. They left the cabin and another man was standing there, but Liam blocked Jane’s view and directed her right towards the sinks. They needed at least three minutes to wash their hands because Jane was very, very thorough, but after she felt like her hands were all clean, a shy smile appeared on her face and she hung on to her dad.
“Ready”, she said.

“I’m very proud of you, Princess.”

She looked shyly at her dad, then they left the men’s bathroom and went back into the screen.

“Janey, Janey!”, Jill shouted. “Quick, the film starts soon!”

“Jill, we don’t shout in the cinema”, her mother reminded her.

“Sowwy.”

“And?” Jo looked at her husband.

“All done”, he replied.

“Really?”

“Yepp, she did fine.”

“I’m glad.” Jo smiled at Jane and kissed her on the cheek while she helped her to get on her seat. Then she tucked her into her blanket and handed her Duckling.

“You know what?” Liam looked at Jo. “Almost three years ago, we were in this exact same screen when your water broke.”

Jo grinned. “I know. I recognised the screen immediately.”

They both looked at their daughters now, incredibly happy to have such wonderful, little girls.


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66 Re: Coming Home on 16th May 2014, 00:12

Jo was surprised that both girls as soon the light went off got nervous. Liam pulled Jill on his laps and Jo pulled Jane on hers and the two adults moved onto the seats of the girls next to each other. Jo leaned her head against Liam’s shoulder.

“Spider, snakes and a lizard's head. If I tattletale, I'll die till I'm dead.” Jill repeated a little bit too loud.

“Jill not so loud.” Liam whispered.

“Oopsey. You godda take oat two daddy.” Jill whispered quieter.

Liam sighed. “I am taking the oath, not oat. Oats are for breakfast.”

“Oh yes. I see. Look a sour peach, I like those.” Jill giggled.


Robin Hood says in disguise as a stork. “I'm gonna win that Golden Arrow, and then I'm goin' to present meself to Maid Marian.”
“Listen, Scissorbill. If you shoot half as well as you blabbermouth, you're better than Robin Hood.” Sheriff of Nottingham snarls.
“Robin Hood, he says? Wowee! I'm tip-top, alright, but I'm not as good as he is.” Robin says as he shoots a perfect bullseye.


“Ui!” Jill mumbled. Liam chuckled it was hilarious to watch Jill watch the movie she had so many comments to so many things.


Robin Hood after just swinging her to safety, he takes Maid Marian’s hand. “Marian, my love, will you marry me?”
Marian answered happy. “Oh, darling, I thought you'd never ask me!” She moves behind Robin Hood so he can continue to fight the Sheriff's men, as she giggles. “But you could have chosen a more romantic setting!”
Robin Hood is enjoying the fighting. “For our honeymoon: London! Normandy!”
“Yes!”
“Sunny Spain?”
Marian laughs. “Why not?”


Jane sighed deeply, she was completely quiet and absorbed into the movie. Her big blue were fixed on the screen and she only ate very slowly the sweets.
Jo grinned she saw that Jane really liked this movie. It was the right movie for the twins to watch.

“Watch out Robin!” Jill shouted at the screen.

“Jill.” Liam pulled his daughter back on his lap, loudly laughing. He laughed loud his daughter was really a handful, he laughter her so much even when she was wild and loud.

Jill was so hyper after the movie she was running around and shooting her imaginary bow and arrow. “For the poor.” 
And Jane was holding her daddy’s hand.

“Did you like the movie Jane?” Jo asked.

“Yes I did like it. Can we see it again, please?” Jane whispered with a dreamy look.

Jo laughed. “I thought so.”

Liam looked at his wife, he knew that there was something going he just as usual had no clue what it was.


 
With Edward’s and Liam’s birthdays and the big Saint Patrick’s day celebration’s at Waterfall Downs Academy Jo had been so busy that it was more than overdue for the fortnightly tea with Ricky.

“Jo-o-o-o-o!” Ricky squealed already sitting at their corner, the staff laughed Ricky was just too funny.

“Hello Ricky. Oh it is so good to see you!” Jo hugged Ricky tightly.

“I took the liberty of ordering well confirming our usual order. The menu sounds amazing. How are you? How is Liam, How are the girls. Oh I wish you could bring them along once, I think Jane would like it.” Ricky was always very talk active when he was alone with Jo.

“I am fine, having time to settle down a little bit now after March. Liam is good too he enjoyed his birthday even though we are still trying to figure out what Jill’s present is. She built it with Frieda, it is made of clay, and there are feathers, grass, sticks, stones, earth and several colour blobs and it is the shape of… um yeah no idea what it looks like. At the moment Liam is having it as art display on his desk in his classroom. And the girls are very good. We just went for the first time to the movies with them and they loved it. Jill is such a little commentator when it comes to movies and Jane is well she is in love with Robin Hood. And you are right Jane would love to join us. Maybe next time they can come along.” Jill took a sip of her tea.

“Jo, I was wondering something. Your father is an older gentleman right?” Ricky looked shy at Jo.

Jo looked a little bit confused at Ricky. “Yes, why?”

“Well he is just a few years younger than Lord Arthur Jackson, right?”

“Yes, actually I remember daddy mention a few times that he was really good friends with Lord Jackson. But Ricky you do know that Lord Jackson passed away many years ago.”

“I know. It’s just that Alfie is so secretive about his past I was wondering if you know anything about him.”

“Well I met him when I was a very little girl. I remember once daddy took me and we went to meet his friend Arthur and there was another man and your boyfriend Alfie. He was a funny boy and he explained me some words in a book.”

“Oh so you met Arthur? I mean you also have to tell me about little Alfie but lets concentrate on Arthur. Can you tell me anything about him?”

“No not really, I really good remember the library in the house and that there was another friend of Arthur. Arthur, the other man -I’m sorry I can’t even remember his name I think it was something with S- and daddy seemed really good friends and they watched us while we were reading.”

Ricky looked sad at his sandwich. “I see. That is a shame.”

“I’m sorry I couldn’t be of more help.” Jo was about to suggest that Ricky should talk to Colin when she realised Ricky would not go to Colin himself. She would talk to her father that Colin would bump accidently on campus into Ricky. “I think Alfie doesn’t like to talk about his grandfather because he really meant a lot to him. I remember how his mother and father were with him on social occasions and also how his grandfather was. He was a very loving and friendly man. Oh Ricky maybe James knows something about him. I mean James knew him since he was a wee lad. I’m sure he can tell you something about Arthur.”

“That might be an idea. Do you think I can call him?”

“Of course. I will tell him tonight at dinner, he is having dinner with me, Liam and the girls.”

“Thank you.” Ricky smiled again and then started talking about his class after some while he said. “Jo don’t tell anyone but in September I will start to work on my PhD, I’ve saved some money and can use my classes and go to a few classes and then I can work on a PhD in literature. But no one knows. I’m scared to tell people, I mean some people still see me as the worker class boy.”

“That is amazing Ricky.” Jo smiled widely at her best friend, she still remember how they met like it was yesterday. “I’m very of proud of you! Very! You accomplished so much and that without anyone's help. Not everyone can say that. You deserve a PhD.” This was perfect Jo knew that her father was involved in the young postgraduate support program that was reaching through all colleges that way Colin could even have a reason to see Ricky, to make sure he was coping with the workload he took on.

“Jill is so funny she started to pick up big words and use them randomly, she told me earlier that James is coming for dinner because she mulipied -as in multiplied- him into the menu.”

Ricky laughed. “Oh Jill, maybe she will go into politics.”

“Maybe at the moment she is very much into helping the poor by robbing the rich, though she is not a very good archer, she is too impatient.”

“I can imagine that.”


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67 Re: Coming Home on 17th May 2014, 22:01

The day after Jo had met Ricky for tea, she went to her father and told him about her conversation with Ricky, and that Ricky still had so many questions about Alfie’s family that she wasn’t able to answer, so she asked if Colin would mind to accidentally walk into Ricky on campus in the next couple of days, since Ricky was way too shy to come up to Colin himself and ask him. Colin, of course, had no problem with that at all, he liked Ricky a lot and wouldn’t mind answering his questions. So, after Jo told him Ricky’s schedule- yes, Jo knew Ricky’s schedule by heart, he was her best friend in the whole, wide world, after all- Colin went to university the next day, when he knew that Ricky would have his last class in the afternoon.
Ricky just came out of the Language and Literature department when Colin walked around the corner with a newspaper under his arm.
“Oh, hello, Ricky”, he said friendly.

Ricky looked up, he was a little lost in thoughts and hadn’t expected anyone to approach him, but when he saw Colin, he smiled. “Hello. It’s nice to see you here, Colin. Did you give a guest lecture?”

The older man shook his head. “No, I just paid a few of my former colleagues a brief visit and was on the way to get some tea. Say, what are you doing right now? Do you have any plans?”

“For right now? No, I was just about to go home, but I don’t have plans.” Luckily, Alfie was in London today, so Ricky knew his boyfriend wouldn’t wait for him at home, staring non-stop at the clock. “Why?”

“I was just wondering if you would like to join me for tea. I know a lovely, little place not far from here, it’s quite a secret gem, so there won’t be huge crowds of student”, Colin said. “I mean, not that I have anything against students, but I’m sure you will agree with me that, after a long day of being surrounded by students, you’d like to have tea without some of your students sitting next to you and listening to your conversation.”

Ricky nodded. “Absolutely. I love my students, but I would also like to separate my work place with my private life.”

“Would you care to join me then?”

Ricky smiled. “I’d love to, thanks.”

The two men went to a small, cute coffee and tea shop that was attached to a café, where they found a nice seat next to the window, away from other people.

“So, how’s life as a professor? I always loved it, that’s why I just can’t fully retire and keep coming back for at least a few guest lectures”, Colin said while he took a sip of his tea.

Ricky smiled. “I couldn’t agree more, I really love it.”

“And you worked hard for it, especially considering where you came from. You really had to work for it, I’m very impressed by what you managed to do.”

Ricky blushed, he was always shy with compliments. “Thank you. I just don’t want social status to define my life or hold me back.”

“You’re absolutely right about that”, Colin nodded in agreement. He watched the young man for a moment quietly, then he cleared his throat. “Jo mentioned that you’re currently researching a subject where I might be able to offer a little help…”

“Oh.” Ricky looked a little awkward. “Ehm…I don’t want to bother you with anything, so –“

“Oh, no worries, you don’t bother me at all. I’m glad if I can be of assistance. So from what I understood, you already went to a couple of libraries, trying to find out a little more about your ‘family-in-law’?” Colin smiled friendly at Ricky, so that the younger man knew that Colin didn’t judge him for his relationship with Alfie. Ricky was obviously still shy about the fact that someone as important as Lord Colin Williams knew about him and Alfie, but he also knew that Colin was very different than any other upper class man. He was just a really good person, and Ricky didn’t feel judged by him, which made it easier for him to talk about his private life. At least part of it, he obviously didn’t give out every little detail to Colin.

Ricky nodded shyly. “I think you can say that.”

“And knowing Alfie, I assume he doesn’t say much about his family.”

Ricky shook his head.

“Well, I understand that it doesn’t feel nice to be left with so many questions about a person that you’re supposed to know.”

“It sometimes…it’s a little frustrating, to be honest. It feels like he has a huge wall up all the time and I get to be left out a lot. I just feel that after all these years he knows everything about me and I barely know the minimum about him.”

Colin nodded. “I know what you mean. I used to have a friend who always had that wall up, and even though I knew him all my life and we grew up together, I could never claim that I completely knew him. I knew him better than most people, like you probably know Alfie better than most, but still, there always was this wall…”

Ricky nodded. “That’s how I feel.”

Colin took another sip. “I start to think that Alfie inherited that whole ‘put-up-a-wall’ act from my friend. After all, they do share the same DNA…” A brief smile crossed his face.

Ricky looked at the older man. “Oh, were you talking about Alfie’s grandfather?”

“I was indeed. Arthur was actually really talented in keeping people out. You thought you knew him, but as I mentioned, he had this giant wall up, especially when it came to his family and private life.”

“Was he scared of letting people in?”

Colin didn’t answer immediately, he needed a moment to think. “I think he was more scared of his own heart, and that’s why he had that wall up, so that others wouldn’t see it. You see, there has never been a Jackson like him before, with this very special, pure, good heart that he had, and being part of the Jackson family but at the same time having such a good, caring personality doesn’t go well at all, so that’s why Arthur was sometimes scared of his own heart. He was simply too good of a person to be a Jackson, but on the other hand everyone expected him to act like a real Jackson, which meant to be a cruel, heatless, cold and especially ruthless person, and by all means, Arthur was the complete opposite of that.”

Ricky watched Colin quietly for a moment. “I think with Alfie it’s less about his personality and more something with his family. I don’t know what it is, I know he doesn’t like them, but sometimes…I don’t know, I just feel like he’s almost afraid of sharing things about his past. He doesn’t have any childhood pictures at home or anything like that. So I went to the library to read a little, but obviously the library has only a certain amount of documents and information, never enough, and I then I also remembered people saying something about a curse… I think when I was younger I heard it before, everyone seems to know about the Jackson curse but I’m not sure what it is, probably because the lower class had nothing to do with the Jacksons and we don’t know that much about their history. But this curse keeps coming up, whether in documents or in conversations…”

“And you want to know what it is?”

Ricky nodded. “I feel like I’m the only one who doesn’t know what it is, which is really sad, considering that I’m Alfie’s-“ He was very careful with choosing his words, even in front of Colin. He couldn’t just throw around the word ‘boyfriend’ so carelessly. “That I’m close to him, and I’m apparently the only one who doesn’t know what the Jackson curse is.”

Colin chuckled. “Don’t worry, Ricky, I’m sure you’re not the only one but it’s completely understandable that you want to know, and it’s good that you’re asking me, although I’m not a Jackson, but my family and theirs always had close ties and Arthur was my best friend, so I do know a little more about that family than others. So, the Jackson curse is more a myth, really. There has never been real proof or official documents about it but it also doesn’t seem to be completely made up because there were too many incidents that only supported the thesis.”

“What exactly is that thesis?”, Ricky asked. “Who was cursed exactly?”

“Okay, so I don’t know how much about this part is really true, but apparently it started sometime in the 16th Century, when a male Jackson member had raped the daughter of the town’s ‘witch’. Now, I’m a scientist so I can’t consider myself a firm believer of magic and witchcraft and those things, but apparently this woman had cursed not only this Jackson boy but his entire family, for a lifetime. From what I read and heard about it, her curse particularly involved all Jackson men of the future. She wanted to put an end to the Jackson family, so her curse supposedly ensured that there would never be more than one boy per generation. If that boy had younger brothers, they would always die before they would reach their teenager years. There could be many girls, that didn’t matter, but only one boy in every generation could live.”

“I don’t quite understand… If this lady wanted to put an end to the Jacksons, why did she not curse them with something like infertility, so that no children at all could be born in the future?”

“Oh, that’s not all”, Colin said. “So, this witch or whatever she was, wanted to make sure the family would suffer for a while before it would finally end. She wanted long suffering first, and all those boys in each generation were doomed to unhappiness, which took place in various forms. There were many psychological illnesses among the men, depression, forced marriages and other sorts of things that would make their life miserable. So each boy, in every generation, was destined for an unhappy life. She wanted all Jackson men to suffer before the family would finally die out.”

“That is horrible”, Ricky mumbled. “And are there records or anything about that?”

“Well, if you get your hands on the Jackson family tree and birth certificates and these things, you will actually see that this story wasn’t completely made up. Ever since this ‘curse’ had been cast upon them, the following generations dealt with countless male stillborn babies, miscarriages and the deaths of their sons. If they had more than one boy, the others died under strange circumstances.”

“Did Alfie have a brother?”

“No, as far I know he was the only boy, and it stayed like that. I mean, I don’t know about his father’s illegitimate children. Arthur had a younger brother who died just a few days after he was born. And after Arthur’s son Broderick was born, Eleanor had two more miscarriages, both would have been boys. Oh, and all the boys are ‘marked’ by the curse. Apparently for the past hundreds of years, every Jackson boy has that one birthmark, right on the ankle. It’s rather small, but they are identical on each one of the men, and apparently this birthmark is the sign of the curse.”

Ricky knew immediately which birthmark Colin was referring to, he had seen it on Alfie before.

Colin continued: “So, as you can see, ever since that curse, there was not one generation with more than one boy. It was always just this one boy who would survive, and this one boy who would be unhappy for the rest of his life. Many were unhappy because they battled severe illnesses, whether physical or mental. Others were unhappy because they couldn’t choose whom to love. Obviously most of them were forced to marry a woman they didn’t love, simply because she came from a good family, and both parties would be unhappy for the rest of their lives.”

Ricky’s tea had gotten completely cold, he was way too focused on what Colin told him. It was hard to know what to believe and what not, but Ricky always tended to be a believer, and he just started to realise that his boyfriend might have been cursed long before he was even born. That Alfie’s destiny was already firmly decided, and it wouldn’t look bright…

“And then there were the other incidents…”, Colin mumbled, more to himself than to Ricky. He didn’t intend to think out loud, it had accidently slipped out.

“What incidents?”

“Oh, ehm…” The older man seemed almost a little uncomfortable but he couldn’t take his words back, Ricky had already heard them and was waiting for an answer. Colin looked around, making sure nobody was listening, then he lowered his voice. “You have to promise me that this stays between us, okay? I know it concerns Alfie’s family but you should not go up to him and tell him about this. I’m not even supposed to know about it and in theory I don’t have actual proof, but like I said, since I’ve been very close with Arthur I do know more about the family than others. More than the Jacksons would even admit to know…”

Ricky looked worried, he was almost scared of what Colin knew but on the other hand he wanted to know what it was. “I promise this stays between us”, he assured him.

Colin hesitated for a moment, then he nodded. “Like I said”, he continued with a lowered voice so that only Ricky could hear him. “The Jackson boys were destined for miserable lives, and it often started from a very early age on, when they were nothing more but young children who weren’t aware of anything yet. One might think that a family like them had many enemies, but the real source of danger often came from within the family, like the curse or…or the women.” Colin paused for a moment, leaving Ricky in confusion.

“The women?”

“The mothers, to be more precise.” Colin’s eyes wandered through the café again, checking if really nobody was eavesdropping. “Nobody knows about this, Ricky, and it’s important it stays like this.”

“I promise.”

“Good.” The older man knew that he could trust Ricky. “There have been incidents of abuses, especially concerning the boys, and by abuse I don’t mean a father hitting his son, which was nothing unusual in these families. No, I mean the mothers being inappropriate with their sons.”

Ricky held his breath, he actually felt sick now.

“There are no official records about this either, but there definitely have been incidents in the past. Those women are just as equally unhappy as their husbands. Even though they are most of the time just married into the family and not real Jacksons, they have to live with these cursed men who are often incredibly ill-tempered, bad-behaved and cold-hearted and don’t care about their wives, and many of these wives let out their frustration on their sons. It is usually the women, not the men. In the Jackson family there are apparently no incidents of fathers being inappropriate with their daughters, it’s always been the mothers with their sons, which confirms once again the curse that is directed towards the men of the family. Of course I’m not saying that every mother in every generation of the Jacksons abused her son, that would be a wrong statement, but there certainly have been cases. That’s why their sons often have a particularly strange relationship with their mothers when they are older, or generally a strange relationship to women…”

Okay, now Ricky started to feel really sick. He was actually too shocked to say anything, he just stared at Colin as the older man continued talking. Strange relationship to women…that sounded too familiar.
Colin cleared his throat. “Arthur never said anything to me about this subject but he…he…” Colin actually struggled to find the right words. He took a deep breath. “Even when I was just a little boy I always thought there was something strange about his mother. He would never talk about her, and if someone brought her up in a conversation he acted very strange. I was five years younger than him, so it probably seemed like I was immature but I did understand a lot more than most people around me, and even when I was little I already noticed how his mother always had her hands on his shoulders, constantly touched his hair and cheeks and kept kissing him, and not in a warm, loving mother-kind of way. She was quite possessive over him, and she kept saying what a beautiful child he was. It’s very hard to explain, but the way she said these things to him and the way she acted around him…it was not the way a typical, caring mother acted. There was something very, very peculiar about Lady Constance Jackson, especially the way she treated her son.” He paused, and for a moment the two men didn’t say anything, then Colin cleared his throat again. “She still behaved like that when he was a teenager.”

“When he was a teenager?”, Ricky repeated, completely shocked.

Colin nodded. “She didn’t just act weird during Arthur’s childhood. I mean, yes, I think I have never seen anyone like Arthur, he really was the most beautiful boy and young man I ever came across, and I’m saying that as a man who usually appreciates the beauty of women, so everyone who saw him thought he was very, very good-looking but it was different when Lady Constance said it. I remember that one time, I was about ten, so he must have been fifteen, and he was a grown, young man, not a little boy anymore, but I remember how his mother was patting his hair and said something like ‘I wish you wouldn’t have to marry soon, I’d like to keep you a little longer.’ It was just weird. Who says that to their 15-year old son? It seemed like his mother was jealous of the girls his age. She did always act weird around Eleanor, I remember that as well, like a jealous ex-girlfriend.” Colin shook his head.
“It was just really, really strange, Constance’s relationship with her son. Arthur not once said anything about it, and I know that I might have gotten a wrong impression and say something that is not true at all, but I do know that there have been incidents before, and it sounds horrible but I really wouldn’t be surprised if Arthur, too, had been one of those incidents. His problem was that he was a very obedient son, he wanted to please everyone and that made him an easy target for his mother. She knew he would be quiet, he always was.” Colin looked at Ricky, realising that those facts about the curse and continuous deaths and child abuse in the family of his boyfriend were a lot to digest.
Ricky looked very pale, almost frozen. He needed a while before he could finally say something.

“I’m sorry I put so much information on you, that wasn’t really my intention. I know you wanted to know about the curse but I probably said too much”, Colin apologised.

“No.” The young man shook his head. “I’m really thankful that you’re so honest with me and took the time to tell me about it. It is quite a lot to digest, but I’m glad I’m not left in the dark anymore.”

“And this conversation will stay between us, alright?”

Ricky nodded. “Can I ask you something?” There was shyness but also fear in his voice.

“Of course.”

“You’ve seen first-hand how Arthur’s mother was around her son. Has…is…” Ricky had a really hard time finding the right words. “Did you ever notice any similar patterns between her and Alfie’s mother? I mean, how she acts or acted around Alfie?”

Colin didn’t answer immediately, he had to be careful with the words he chose since this was such a delicate and controversial subject. “Similarities not so much, no. Charlotte was always very different around Alfie than Constance was with Arthur. Constance seemed to be almost obsessed with Arthur’s physical appearance while Charlotte seemed to be mostly annoyed and impatient with Alfie, like many overworked mothers who don’t know how to deal with their sons. I mean, Alfie really was a handful, he was impossible to discipline because he listened to nobody except his grandfather, and even Arthur had to be strict with him sometimes. So yes, Charlotte was more yelling at Alfie than touching his cheeks and telling him how beautiful he was.”

Ricky nodded quietly. “Okay.”

“I really can’t tell you. I didn’t know Alfie as much as I knew Arthur, I really don’t know much about his relationship with his mother. I know that Eleanor never put a hand on her son, but Charlotte…I really don’t know. She doesn’t seem the type, but yet again…you never know when it comes to this family, you really don’t. They have so many skeletons in their closet, I know that for sure.”

“Thank you”, Ricky said. “I really appreciate that you took time for me.”

Colin smiled. “You’re welcome.”

Ricky stayed polite and drank his tea that was cold by now, but on the inside an enormous storm of thoughts and mixed emotions took over, he had a really hard time suppressing them.


_________________


SPN: Georgina (Georgie) Gilmore
SG: The Kid
LaL: Willow
PA: Skadi
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68 Re: Coming Home on 20th May 2014, 02:05

After Colin had met with young Mr Butcher he had to see someone else. When he walked through the aisles he realised that he was actually sad that he saw some of his friends here.


I am getting old. Colin chuckled a little. He knew his way around very well and very quickly arrived at his destination. He went into the mausoleum and sat down. So many Jackson’s were buried here and he barely cared for any of them. He thought it was incredible sad that the wives and daughters were barely mentioned in small corners of the tombs.

“Hello Arthur.” Colin sat down on the marble bench across Arthur Jackson’s tomb stone. In the past years since Arthur has passed away Colin came often and even though some people thought of him as odd because when he was at the mausoleum he talked with Arthur as if he was still with him, as if Arthur never left and was sitting with him in the mausoleum for a chat. “I haven’t been here a while. I’m sorry for that. Today I… I met with your grandson’s boyfriend. Ricky he is a charming young man, I told you that he is from the lower class but he worked his way up and is now teaching at the university. He is quite a curious one and apparently your Alfie is just like you, very secretive about his family, about his past. I might have done a mistake, but I told him more about the curse even the more secretive side of it. I know you never really told me but I knew. I’m sorry couldn’t help you, or protect Alfie. I did not tell Ricky that I do think that Alfie experienced similar things, at least while he was younger. Oh Arthur, I miss you my friend. But a good thing is happening too, Scotty is back from his hiding place in France. He is very active in the Waterfall Downs Foundation, I have to admit I never would have believed if anyone would have told me that my little girl, my bookworm is becoming the co-headmistress of a school for gifted children. He looks good, and being at Waterfall Downs Academy with the children; he looks at least ten years younger.” Colin went quiet for a while and just looked at the tomb.

“I miss you so much, Arthur. Do you remember the day I was for the very first time invited at the Chadwick’s for tea and you showed up? I miss those days when Scotty took us two upper class boys fishing, when I met Scotty for the very first time. I taught Jo that everyone is free to love, and she fell in love with an Irish country boy and her best friend is in love with your grandson. And when Jo asked me if Scotty is homosexual and I confirmed it she just smiled nodded and said ‘I see’. Not for a second did she worry that Scotty should not spend time with all her children.” Colin chuckled. “My little Jill is really fond of him, he is teaching her to play lacrosse and she loves it.”

Colin sighed deeply. “You know I thought it would get easier but even after all those years I still miss you so much. I am an old man and I still wonder what your advice for me would be. I just wish I could help Alfie, I wish he would come to me. I wish he would have trusted me all those years ago. I wish I had fought harder for him. Elizabeth was so against me spending time with him. I was not supposed to get involved but I wanted to get him out. But Elizabeth had this really bad episode and I tried so hard to keep it from Jo and until Elizabeth was better it was too late and the scandal it would have caused to get Alfie out… I am so sorry Arthur, I let you down. And no matter how many years pass I will never stop apologising for that. I am sorry, I did not stir up the scandal to safe your boy! But he really has now found someone he loves. I see it Alfie has this huge wall up and he is hiding behind it but when he looks at Ricky, oh dear I see you again. The young man learning to fish and head over heels in love with Scotty. You don’t need to worry; Ricky is breaking your grandson’s tough shell every day a little bit more. You are right he is a good one, he is a special one.” Colin got up slowly. “I will always miss you my friend, always!”


Colin touched his best friend’s tomb stone, for a second he wished with all his heart that it was not true and this was not the last resting place of Arthur Jackson or simply not the Arthur Jackson. “See you next time, my friend, my brother!”


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69 Re: Coming Home on 22nd May 2014, 20:12

It was Friday evening when Ricky came home from a very long and stressful day, though it was a nice day as well, his class had given group presentations and they did a fantastic job, and afterwards they had a great class discussion. It was around six o’clock when Ricky opened the door, put down his bag and hung up his coat. He picked up his bag from the floor and walked into the living room. He just wanted to get changed, have dinner and then relax the rest of the evening on the couch, but his boyfriend seemed to have other plans…
“Hi-“ Ricky couldn’t finish greeting Alfie because the older boy pulled him close and kissed him passionately. Ricky started to blush. “That is quite a welcome.”

“You were gone too long. You could have left earlier.” Alfie sounded a bit impatient.

“No, I couldn’t. I can’t just walk out of my classes whenever I feel like it, Alfie. I hope you understand that-”

Alfie didn’t give him any more chance to talk, he continued kissing him and slowly pushed him towards the coach.

“I have to get changed”, Ricky said between the kisses.

“No, you don’t.” Alfie pushed him onto the couch, pulling Ricky’s jumper over his head. “I’ll just take your clothes off anyway.”

“Ehm-“ Ricky wanted to say something but his boyfriend didn’t give him the chance, he continued kissing him, not as gently as he usual did, and unzipped Ricky’s trousers. “Alfie, stop.”
Alfie didn’t stop, he kept kissing him a little forcefully until Ricky turned his head away. “Alfie, please.”

“What?” Alfie finally stopped, but he sounded annoyed.

“I had a very long day, I just want to come home peacefully and not get pushed right onto the couch. You’re very pushy today.”

Alfie rolled his eyes. “We haven’t done it yesterday because you had a headache, so I left you alone, but now you just sound like an old woman. First headaches, then long exhausting days…what’s next? Your hip replacement hinders you from having sex?”

Ricky sat up. “You’re being unfair.”

“You’re the one acting like an 80-year old.”

“Just because I didn’t throw myself at you yesterday? Can’t you go one stupid day without sex?”

“Well, it’s not like you’re giving me a choice.”

“I’m serious about this, Alfie. It really concerns me. I think you have a serious problem.”

He laughed dryly. “That’s bullshit. I don’t have a problem.”

“I think you do”, Ricky said. “I think you can barely survive a day without sex, which worries me. Look how tense you are right now, just because we haven’t done it yesterday, and now you’re incredibly edgy, it makes me really uncomfortable.”

“So what are you saying?”

“I think that you’re sitting in one boat with alcoholics and drug addicts, only that your addiction is sex. Seriously, you behave completely like an addict. If alcoholics don’t have a drink in one whole day, they get restless and nervous and crave it like crazy, and you’re acting exactly like that.”

“That’s ridiculous. I like sex, so what? That makes me an addict or what?”

“No, what makes you an addict is the fact that you get incredibly nervous and weird and irritating if you go through a day without sex, and you behave like an alcoholic whose drink has been taken away from you. I’m damn serious about this, Alfie. I’m not saying this to tease you or anything, it really worries me. I have watched this for a long time and your behaviour today only proved to me that I think I’m not that wrong.”

Alfie shook his head. “I don’t have a problem, you’re just being ridiculous.”

“And you’re in denial, which most addicts are.”

“I’m not an addict, Ricky. Come on!”

“Fine. Then prove me wrong.” Ricky looked challenging at his boyfriend. “If you’re really not an addict, then I bet you can manage to go a week without sex.”

Alfie hesitated for a moment, but then he shrugged his shoulders indifferently. “Sure. That’s not a problem for me.”

“Great. So it’s Friday now, seven o’clock, and you are not allowed to sleep with anyone, including me, until next week Friday, seven o’clock. No sex. Not even…eh…you know…” Ricky started to blush, he had a hard time saying that certain m-word. “Eh…no pleasuring yourself either.”

“Are you kidding me? I can’t even masturbate?”

“You’re the one claiming that you’re not a sex addict, so you have to prove that to me, which means you can’t do anything sexual until Friday next week, do you understand?”

Alfie shook his head and got up. “I still think it’s ridiculous. I’m not an addict.”

“You have your chance to prove it to me.”

“I will.”

“Good.”

“Good.”

Six hours later

Alfie lay wide awake while Ricky slept peacefully next to him. He was allowed to hold him and to cuddle, but right now he knew it was best if he didn’t touch him otherwise his pants would go mental. This sucked. This really, really sucked.

Two days later

Alfie was going insane. He couldn’t even bare to look at Ricky anymore. If he saw just a tiny bit of skin, like the day before, when part of Ricky’s back was exposed while he bent down to pick something up, Alfie just wanted to rip his clothes off. He had to shower during different times because there was no way he could see Ricky in the shower and keep it together.
So, it was the night of the third day without sex, and Alfie was watching Ricky sleep. He wanted to hold him, but right now every little touch would send him over the edge. He started to wonder if maybe Ricky did have a point after all…but then he shook his head, that was just absurd. He wasn’t an addict.
It was in the middle of the night when Alfie was overcome by this massive urge, and as much as he tried to ignore it, he just couldn’t. He moved a little closer to Ricky, who had his back turned to him, and then very carefully pulled down Ricky’s pyjama bottoms. It didn’t take long until Ricky woke up.

“What the hell?!” He was suddenly wide awake, turning to Alfie. “Were you…were you just trying to enter me?”

“No...”

“No?” Ricky’s voice got higher as he quickly pulled his pyjama bottoms up. “What the hell is wrong with you? I was sleeping! And you just…you…”

“I just wanted to put it in a little, that hardly counts”, Alfie replied dryly.

Ricky looked shocked at him, he didn’t even have words right now. “You’re sick. I don’t even recognise you right now.” He pushed the blanket aside and got up.

“Where are you going?”

“In my room, and I will lock the door! I never thought I would say this, but I’m not feeling safe sleeping to you right now.”

“Ricky-“

But Ricky didn’t hesitate any longer, he stormed downstairs, into his room, and locked the door behind him quickly, then he curled up in the bed, deep under the blanket like a little scared kitten, while he tried really hard not to cry. It’s been only three days and Alfie was already behaving like the biggest jerk in the world, which frightened Ricky.


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70 Re: Coming Home on 30th May 2014, 00:14

Liam didn’t really mean to sleep but it had gotten up earlier to work in his lab on a gadget and since they had guest for dinner he knew he couldn’t work on it after classes. When he came upstairs and wanted to play with his daughters but in the end he fell asleep on the couch.

“Psst.” Jill giggled as she and her sister sitting were sitting on the couch with their daddy.

“Is this enough?” Jane asked and waited for Jill to look at her work.

“More ‘ed stuff.” Jill looked approving at Jane’s work.

“All right.” Jane nodded and continued her work. “How is you doing?”

“All done, look!” Jill showed Jane her work.

“Oh dear you did not stay in the lines.” Jane looked a little bit sad.

“Will Daddy like it anyway?” Suddenly Jill looked very sad too.

“Will Daddy like what?” Liam mumbled and opened his eyes slowly.

“Look.” Jill squealed but it was not Liam who saw the result of his daughters’, it was Jo that came in the living room and she burst into laughter.

“Girls, what did you do to your Daddy?” Jo actually started crying of laughter. “Here Liam have a look.”

Jo took the small mirror from the wall and handed it to Liam who suddenly noticed that his fingernails were red; the same red Jo sometimes wore. “What the he-heck?”

“We made you preddy!” Jill squealed excitedly bouncing a little next to Liam on the couch. Liam was having lipstick, rouge, and other colourful stuff in his face. He looked more like a creepy clown than Jo ever would look with makeup. “You like?”

Jane looked a little shy at her dad and then at her mummy, Jo was wearing makeup too but by far not that much. She just wore a little light pink eye shadow and mascara, not like her Daddy. But Liam was over his first shock looked at both girls and grinned widely.

“I think I look amazing. Do you think Ricky and Alfie will like it, Jo?” Liam had started laughing too, while Jo was sitting on the floor and couldn’t stop laughing or breathe.

“Mummy you sick?” Jill climbed over Liam, went to her mommy and put her hand on Jo’s shoulder. Liam grinned he loved seeing Jill with her serious face.

“No, Cupcake mommy is not sick she is just laughing. I look a little bit funny.” Liam kissed Jane, left a lipstick mark on her cheek and helped Jo up. “Don’t you think I am pretty?” Liam grinned cheeky.

Suddenly a knock at the front door made Teddy bark loudly and all four O’Doherty’s startled. “Oh that is Danny-Boy, Danny!” Jill jumped up and ran to the door.

“Jill wait do not open this door!” Liam jumped up and ran after his daughter to the door but Jill already opened it and there was Dan one of their best students.

“Professor?” Dan -who saw Jo and Liam as Mr and Mrs Bear from Little Women- looked a little bit confused at Liam.

“Yeah guess what don’t fall asleep in this house or you wake up like this. Come in we are all in the living room.” Jill pulled at Dan’s hand to show him a toy she had new both her grandfathers spoilt them way too much, like grandfathers should.
Liam chuckled and followed them, Jo had calmed down and helped Jane to tidy away the small boxes with makeup Colin had got for the girls which they had tried out on daddy first. Seeing Liam made her giggle again.

“Can you get this off my face and nails?” Liam asked her, he touched her hand gentle.

“Did you see your toe nails?” Jo whispered.

Liam looked down at his bare feet and noticed for the first time that he had pink toe nails. “Holy Saint Patrick! Man! This better get off!”

“Soap will get the makeup off and I get nail polish remover for your nails. You have time to take a shower.”

“Thanks. Dan are you sure you can take the girls to Lorelai’s? I mean it is a mile you have to walk.” Liam was still wearing the makeup and somehow it made it even scarier.

“I know it is a mile and I will be fine. I’ve got my bike and Mutti is all set Henry and Edward were so excited this morning they both have set up the guest beds for the girls. I will be fine. Jane and Jill are good girls and we are away from big streets so perfectly safe.” Dan looked as serious as he could at the grotesque coloured Liam.

“I want you to call when you get home! No detours straight to Lorelai’s.” Liam didn’t sound like he was joking and Dan understood, he loved those little red heads like his own little brothers.

“I understand. Anything else?” Dan looked serious at Liam.

“Yes. Have fun!” Liam grinned. “I have to shower now or Ricky and Alfie will see me butt naked. Come here girls say goodbye to your daddy.” Liam pulled his daughters into a hug. “Be good Cupcake, listen to the grownups! Princess, try not to freak out if it is a little bit messy and things are not exactly right. I love you and I see you on Sunday okay?”

“We love you daddy. I think you very preddy.” Jill patted Liam’s face and smudged the makeup even more.

“Yes you are the moistest pretty man.” Jane smiled and kissed Liam on the cheek. “I make sure Jilly is a good girl.”

“I know you will.” Liam whispered, kissed all three of his girls and went in the shower.

“Missis Jo, I promise I will be careful.” Dan took the girls backpacks and both girls kissed Jo.

“I know you will Dan. Just don’t forget to call or Liam will drive over like a maniac. Have a wonderful time girls.”

“Bye mummy.” Jo’s twins waved their hands and went with Dan.


A little bit later

“I have my husband back how nice.” Jo joked as Liam came dressed in nothing but a towel into the kitchen.

“Please tell me Alfie and Ricky are not here yet?” Liam grinned took a piece of pepper from the salad bowl and looked at Jo.

“No not yet, come here sit down and let me help to remove the nail polish.” For a while the two were quietly cleaning Liam’s nails.
Jo was wearing a simple cream cotton summer dress. Liam watched her for a while, the afternoon sun was shining through the many sunlight and gave her a golden glow.

“You are so lovely!” Liam suddenly said softly.

Jo looked up with her large innocent doe eye, “Oh. Thanks.” Liam was scrubbing his fingernails while Jo did his toe nails, it took some time but in the end Liam’s nails where back to normal. Jo put all the used cotton balls in the bin and turned around cheeky grinning. “You know even if we consider that you need five minutes to get dressed and that Ricky is always ten minutes early that leaves us twenty five minutes.”

“Twenty five minutes for what?” Liam looked confused at his wife, and then she suddenly took off her knickers, unbuttoned her dress and took off her bra. “A little ride cowboy.”

“Holy Saint Patrick!” Liam murmured as Jo with ease slip aside his towel and mounted him. “Jo, do we really have time for this?”

Jo nodded and kissed Liam seductively, she was still shy and when she was on top as she was right now she did things slower to make sure that Liam had time to adjust her touch, not that he had to his Little Lad was standing like he was supposed to. Liam loved that Jo moaned deeply in pleasure every time he entered her even after all those years.

Liam was perfectly in time pulling on his jeans when the door bell went.

“I’m coming.” Jo called friendly while she checked a third time if she looked presentable.

“Hello Ricky.” Jo hugged her friend tightly. “Are you alright? You look a little pale.”

“I am fine. Do you mind if I go and make me a cup of tea?” Ricky whispered.

“Sure.” Jo let Ricky go in the kitchen -Ricky knew his way around her kitchen- to make himself a cup of tea and say hello to Liam while Jo hugged Alfie at the front door. Usually Alfie just endured her embrace but today he pulled her tightly and breathed in deeply as if he enjoyed her closeness.

“Hello Alfie.”

“Good afternoon Josephine.” Alfie cleared his throat and walked in the flat. “Are the little red headed brats here?”

“Alfie!” Liam’s eyes sparkled a little dangerous just to make sure Alfie could not really call his precious little ginger girls, which Alfie knew. Jo wondered what was going on with Alfie and Ricky. It was the way Alfie was holding himself, it was not the strong way he uses to and he seemed to have partly tried to really offend the twins.

“No they are at a sleepover at Lorelai’s.” Jo answered.

“A sleepover with Lorelai Von Gruensee, nice!” Alfie murmured.

The dinner itself was boring they talked about books, classes, pupils and students, a little politics and the weather; it got interesting again when they moved from the kitchen to the living room to have dessert.

“Oh dear I am so sorry Alfie, I thought you are sitting on the armchair.” Jo mumbled embarrassed as she sat down accidently on Alfie’s lap but to everyone’s surprise Alfie pushed Jo back down on his lap and moaned in delight, when Jo suddenly went pale. “ALFRED!? Is… are… oh… dear Lord!” Jo jumped up and Alfie’s trousers or more the bulge in his crotch gave away why Jo was so startled.

“Seriously? Seriously Alfie? Jo?” Ricky starred shocked at his boyfriend, he could not believe that it was Jo that caused his package to rise. “And you are telling me you have no problem?” Ricky got up and walked away. Jo followed him but not before she signalled to talk to Alfie. Liam sighed and waited the two were alone.

“I thought you don’t like girls? Especially my wife?” Liam was jealous but that the fact that Jo had reacted so shocked reassured him a little. Normally he knew that Alfie would never do anything with Jo but then Alfie had seen Jo in her bathing suit and didn’t… well it didn’t arouse him and suddenly Liam’s best friend got aroused by his wife. Alfie turned around and looked at Liam and the longer he did the weirder Alfie looked.

“You know Liam, you will never know for sure if you are not actually homosexual until you slept with a man. How about I give you a blowjob?”

Now it was Liam’s turn to stare! “You must be joking!”

“I am not. Let me fuck you!” Alfie moved closer to Liam and undid his belt and pushed his trousers down.

“No! Alfie seriously what the hell is wrong with you?”

Alfie didn’t answer but leaned into Liam to kiss him while his hand was resting on Liam’s crotch. Liam didn’t know what to do to stop Alfie, all he could think of was the old cliché he poured his glass of white wine at Alfie’s face. The wine was tripping from his face but it seemed to work, Alfie’s look was clearer again. “That was a waste of a good glass of wine.”

“Well I think it did exactly what I needed it for.” Liam got up and continued where Jo had left off to set the table for dessert and got the coffee pot from the kitchen to put it on the pot warmer.


Meanwhile in Jane’s bedroom, Ricky was sitting in the rocking share he needed some innocence.

“Ricky it was not such a big deal. I mean I felt uncomfortable but I can deal with it.”

“It is not that. I confronted Alfie four days ago that I think he has a problem and is addicted to…” Ricky looked around Jane’s princess room. “… you know. And he got all angry but in the end I think I am right I have not made love with him since last Wednesday and he acts like a crazy dog surrounded by female dogs in heat.”

“Oh dear. Is he so intense?” Jo asked calmly.

“Yes it is really bad.” Ricky whispered.

“I don’t want to say you are wrong or prude but you are a little shy when it comes to sex. I mean you get nervous as soon I mention the word sex and I am well I am more sexual than you are. I mean Liam and I just had sex before you and Alfie came, because he aroused me by being dressed in just a towel. Does this make me in your eyes too sexual as well? Because I have urges and enjoy sleeping with my husband.” Jo asked, she sounded friendly and not judging or in any way sexy but Ricky blushed as if she had described her quickie with Liam in every little detail.

“Oh dear Jo, no never. I would never think of you that way. Alfie is just different. You do not rub yourself on a door frame because you are so horny and cannot make love to Liam or… you know… touch yourself. Not that I imply that you do. Alfie does not even try to see the point I am trying to make.” Ricky sighed deeply. “I nearly hope he fails and makes love to someone else.”

“He does not make love to anyone other than you but I also think he will not sleep with anyone else. Come on lets go back I made Flan.” Jo took Ricky’s hand and pulled him out of the rocking chair.

“If Alfie would just behave like a human being.”

“We will make sure he does.” Come on I got a nice and then we will enjoy the evening and I make sure not to get too close to Alfie.”

“Great my boyfriend sounds like a wild beast now.” Ricky giggled when the two entered the living room.

“Liam you look like you’ve seen a ghost.” Jo sat down close to Liam and took his hand. “Is everything alright?”


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71 Re: Coming Home on 1st June 2014, 16:42

Liam couldn’t believe how Alfie acted. Yes, he was used to Alfie being a bit of a pervert and of course Alfie had hit on him now and then but he had never crossed the line like this, never. He always made sure Liam knew that he wouldn’t try anything serious, even though he thought Liam was attractive and he was definitely his type, but at the end of the day his friendship with Liam mattered more to him, that’s why he had never overstepped the line until today.
Liam didn’t know what the hell was wrong with Alfie, he could tell that something was going on, it was not normal for Alfie to be so forceful on him, not like that. There was either something bothering his friend or something was just really, really wrong. Maybe he and Ricky had a fight? Liam didn’t know since Alfie hadn’t said anything but he hoped Jo knew what was going on and could give him an explanation.

“Liam?” Jo’s voice finally reached him. “Are you okay?”

Liam looked at his wife who sat next to him. He nodded. “Yepp.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

“Where is Alfie?” Ricky noticed that his boyfriend was gone. Just looking at Liam and how confused and he disturbed he looked made Ricky fear the worst and he prayed Alfie hadn’t done anything inappropriate with him.

“He’s in the bathroom, cleaning up”, Liam replied. “He spilled wine.”

Ricky sighed quietly. “Thank you so much for the dinner, Jo, it was lovely, but I think we should go now.”

“But you haven’t had dessert yet.”

“I’m very sorry. Maybe we can repeat that another time? You know, when things are…less tense”, Ricky said quietly. “Right now I just…I think it’s best for everyone if we just leave.”

“I understand.” She got up and hugged Ricky tightly. “Take care, okay? And please call me in case things…you know, get worse. Don’t be shy, just call.”

Ricky nodded. “Thanks.” He smiled weakly at her, then he turned to Liam. “Bye, Liam.”

Liam seemed a little absent. “Bye.”

In that same moment Alfie came out of the bathroom. He still had stains on his shirt but at least his face was clean and there was no more wine in his hair either.
“What did I miss?”

Ricky looked almost coldly at him. “We’re going home.”

“We are?”

“Yes. Come along.” Ricky didn’t even ask nicely, and on the entire way home he didn’t say one word to Alfie. When they got home, Ricky got changed in the guest bedroom downstairs and he would spend another night in his room, away from Alfie.

“You’re still not coming upstairs?”, Alfie asked. He had been waiting for Ricky to come out of the bathroom and for a moment he felt this strong urge again because he saw Ricky in his pyjamas but Alfie knew he had to keep it together, he had messed up enough today.

“Certainly not.”

“Is it that bad?”

“You don’t see it, do you? You’re so unpredictable, it scares me. I don’t even dare to ask you what happened between you and Liam.”

“Nothing.”

“I don’t want to know, and I don’t even know what to believe anymore.” Ricky shook his head. “You know, deep, deep down I actually thought you will make it. I thought ‘hey, a week is nothing! Of course he can make it…’ Boy, was I wrong.”

“I haven’t slept with anyone, okay?”

“That might be but the way you behave…it’s just…you’re unrecognisable and it scares me, it does.” Ricky turned away, went into his room and locked the door behind him.

Alfie hated himself for scaring Ricky. He hated the way Ricky had looked at him those past days. He didn’t want to be that person.
“I’ll behave”, Alfie said through the door. “I will behave for the remaining days, I promise.”

“You’re bad in keeping promises”, Ricky replied from the other side of the door.

“I’ll show you, Ricky. I mean it.”

Ricky didn’t answer anymore, he lay down in bed and turned the light off, trying to recall how it felt to be held in Alfie’s arms, to fall asleep in his arms and feeling safe. It was only four days ago but it felt like an eternity.
The next three days, Alfie really tried to get it together. He couldn’t stop masturbating even though Ricky had asked him not to do that, but better masturbating than leaving it out on Ricky, so he waited until Ricky was gone and that’s how he managed to pass the remaining three days until the week of no sex was officially over. That Friday Ricky had another long day at work while Alfie was waiting impatiently at home, constantly staring at the clock.

“Do you remember Professor Chapman?”, Ricky asked as he came into the flat. “You had him too but he retired soon after you graduated. He came back today as guest lecturer, it was really nice to-“ He couldn’t finish his sentence because his boyfriend already put his arms around him, pulled him close and started kissing him a little too passionately, there was nothing gentle about it. That same moment Ricky could feel the bulge in Alfie’s trousers.
“God, you smell so good”, Alfie mumbled between the kisses while his hand ran through Ricky’s hair, he had missed touching his penguin’s soft hair. He was too lazy to go upstairs so he pushed Ricky into the bedroom downstairs.

“Alfie, wait.”

Alfie stopped for a moment. “The week is over, Ricky. I didn’t sleep with anyone, so I proved that I have no problem. I really have to fuck…make love to you, don’t do this to me now. I waited an entire week, okay? I can’t wait any longer.”

Ricky looked at the floor. Alfie was so edgy that Ricky didn’t really want to be intimate with him right now but on the other hand he knew he couldn’t do this to him. The week was over and Ricky knew he couldn’t just say no, so although he didn’t want to sleep with him, he gave in and let him push him onto the bed. Alfie literally ripped off Ricky’s clothes within seconds and he didn’t even see that Ricky flinched, he was so blind with urge that he didn’t notice these things. What followed after that had nothing to do with making love. For the first time since they were together, Alfie was not as gentle to him as he normally was, he was almost a little rough. Yes, he wasn’t as rough with him as with others but still, he was unusually rough with Ricky this time and didn’t even notice it. There was nothing gentle and caring about it, Ricky literally felt like one of the countless maids that Alfie shagged, that was it. He did not make love to him, he shagged him.
Afterwards Alfie got up to get himself a drink while Ricky stayed in bed and didn’t move. He didn’t look at Alfie, he just stared into an empty space.
“If you have plans this weekend, cancel them”, Alfie said as he was walking out of the room. “We’re going to have a busy weekend ahead of us.”

Ricky didn’t respond. While Alfie got himself a drink, Ricky sat alone in bed, already feeling slightly sore and the weekend had just begun. He should have send Alfie to a few prostitutes first so he could release all his pressure before they could be intimate again, but now it was too late. Yes, Alfie had technically succeeded because he hadn’t slept with anyone an entire week but he still lost because of the way he had acted throughout that week and the way he just acted with him this evening. Now Ricky knew for sure that his boyfriend had a serious problem, and worst of all, Alfie still didn’t see it.


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72 Re: Coming Home on 8th June 2014, 01:15

Ricky got up and for the very first time walked naked through the flat upstairs to the bedroom he shared with his boyfriend. He knew that Alfie would be back with his drink very soon so he didn’t have a lot of time. He picked up the phone and locked himself in the bathroom, a very long bath with his special rose and honey salts would help his sore… body.

Alfie came back in the guest bedroom and found it empty which was so different to the first time in bath. “What the fuck? Ricky?”

There was no answer but Alfie heard the water heating system. Alfie took his drink and was again surprised to find the bathroom door locked. “Oh-ho I like the idea for a second round in the bathtub.”

“No!” Ricky took a while but then opened the door. “No! There will be no love making in the bathtub or anywhere. Here I got you a weekend at your usual establishment you can stay there until Sunday evening and I booked some days with Jo in a spa, I will not tell you where I will go but I will be back on Sunday and then maybe after you took a very long shower you and I can maybe cuddle.”

“Why, this bullshit? I proved that I was right and you weren’t.” Alfie looked nearly annoyed at Ricky.

“You are seriously asking me why? Seriously? You shagged me like you shagged a waitress you don’t even know their name. Today after all those years with me you managed to take it from me. Maybe you should have let Sofiya rape me at least then society would see it too that I lost my virginity. Just go shag yourself unconscious and on Sunday night you can cuddle me to fall asleep. Please go Alfie before I actually start not to like you.” Ricky was crying he couldn’t hold back the tears anymore. Alfie starred at him confused.

“I don’t understand, I mean… I… no I didn’t shag you, I would never…” Alfie was a little bit speechless.

“Just go Alfie, please? I can’t take a second round.” Ricky pulled his powder blue fluffy bathing rope tighter around himself. “You hurt me.” It was a barely audible whisper. And it was that whisper what got Alfie, he nodded leaned forward and very gentle kissed Ricky but didn’t touch him he couldn’t, he had hurt his Lover Boy. “I see you on Sunday, I will miss you.”

Ricky did not have to ask Alfie another time, Alfie picked up a few fresh clothes and left the flat. It broke Ricky’s heart to send Alfie away but he could not stand through a round two, three or more. Jo was a little bit nervous to leave Liam with the twins alone until Sunday but at the same time she heard in Ricky’s voice that he needed her. “Sure, we can go to Brighton stay either at our house or at the spa?”

“Please let us stay at the spa.” Ricky was so close to tears, “Can we leave tonight?”

“Oh, um yes I think so. Um you said you need a little bit before you would be ready to leave. So let me talk to Liam and I call you back in half an hour?”

“Yes please do.”

Jo hung up and went to Liam. “Hey Handsome, um something is up with Ricky, he said he had sent Alfie to this whorehouse until Sunday and he wants to get away. I think something happened.” Jo was quiet for a moment and considered bringing it up it was not a topic they often talked about. “I think Alfie forced himself onto Ricky, He sounded really hurt and upset. I think he needs a little bit time away; like I needed when… a few years ago.”

Jo felt Liam tense under her arms, he didn’t like talking about the time when he tried to force himself onto his own wife. “You will be gone until Sunday?”

“Is that okay?” Jo looked at Liam, she was not asking for permission like a 50’s housewife but like an equal partner.

“Sure. James asked if he and I can go running on Sunday but I’m sure we can rearrange it and involve the girls. Don’t worry we will be fine, though the girls will be sad that you left while they were asleep. But we will be fine.”  Liam kissed his wife. “Please take Teddy, I just don’t want you to be alone or I will worry.”

“Sure, it will be good for Ricky. I go call Ricky and pack. Are you okay if we take our car?” Jo climbed on Liam’s lap, now that she knew she would spend two nights away from her husband and family.

“As if I use it while you are gone.” Liam chuckled and pulled Jo close to him. “Is Ricky okay?”

“I think so. Mmh I will miss you, I don’t like sleeping without you next to me.” Jo whispered and kissed Liam.

“Me neither, give me the excuse to have a slumber party with the girls.” Liam kissed her back. “Go on you need to pack a few things and pick up Ricky, I don’t want to send you away but I also don’t want you to drive too late.” Liam kissed Jo one more time, he looked at her so beautiful brown eyes and thought about the one time he just wanted to force himself onto her and as so often he asked himself how he could have done that to her. “You are so lovely.”

Jo smiled. “Okay. Are you going to help me pack?”

Jo and Ricky arrived at nearly midnight in the spa, the spa Jo went since she was a little girl so no one complained when she booked two connected rooms arriving late at night. They had a nice suit with a small living room connecting the two bedrooms, during the drive Ricky was quiet and now that they arrived in Brighton they had some hot chocolate waiting and they cuddled up together on the couch and watched movies all night long. Ricky still didn’t talk but he calmed down.
It was a wonderful bright day so they had their breakfast in the garden.

“We have a full program. We start with a swim and aqua gymnastics, afterwards a sauna visit, a body scrub, a facial, in between a light lunch and a manicure and pedicure and then we have a nice dinner…”

“He shagged me. Alfie shagged me like he does every other person, I think it must have felt like this if Sofiya had raped me. I’m sore and really hurt and Alfie doesn’t see that he has a problem.” Ricky didn’t look up from his plate of granola, yogurt and fruit.
Jo looked up from their program and searched for words, but she knew there were none.

“I’m sorry I should have not taken you away from your family. Did you call them yet?”

“I called Liam last night when we arrived, but no net yet this morning. Jill is still asleep and I like to call once because Jill might get jealous if she hears that Jane got a private call. Okay so we skip the exercise and just take a long soak in the hot tub.” Jo hugged him tightly. “Don’t worry Liam will have a blast with the twins, and James will join them today so they will have fun and I know they will be well fed. And I’m sure Alfie will realise that he did a mistake, you really sent him to the whorehouse?”

“Yeah, I felt so dirty.” Ricky still didn’t look up.

“Okay so time for a soak?” Jo smiled friendly at him. “And maybe when you are a good boy I read to you a nice book.”

“I’m not nearly three like your daughter, I can read myself.” Ricky laughed while he and Jo went to the pool area. “But I would love to talk to you about my class, one of my students had this amazing book and…”

Jo and Ricky talked, a lot about Alfie, how he hurt Ricky, how he is not even trying to understand Ricky’s point, how Ricky has his moments when he actually feels alone even though being with Alfie. It helped Ricky to talk, it helped him a lot.


Meanwhile at Oxford

“Daddy where is mummy?” Jill looked with messy hair and barely opened eyes at her dad. “Chocolate milk?”

Liam had to bite his lip so he didn’t start laughing. “That is ‘Chocolate milk, please’.”

Jill looked with the dramatic look of a two year old at him, sighed deeply, tousled her hair out of her face and said in a very theatrical voice. “Chocolate milk, pleeeeaaaaseee?”

“Better Cupcake. I already made it when I heard you on the toilet. I thought it feels like a chocolate milk morning. And your mummy is with Uncle Ricky.”

“Who?” Jill climbed on her chair and pulled slowly her cup towards her.

“Uncle Ricky, you know your mummy’s best friend.” Liam helped her a little with the cup.

“Oh, Auntie Ricky. Why?”

“She, I mean he was feeling a little bit down I think he had a difficult week in his classes, so your mummy suggested to go on a little trip.”

“I see. Me toast… please.” Jill was not even close to being proper awake and Liam loved his little girl like this.

“Hello-oh. Do you know that your front door was not locked?” James came in carrying a basket. “My mum sent me some Scottish things and I thought I share it with my favourite half Scottish lassie and my two favourite quarter Scottish lassies.” James grinned when he saw Jane ‘reading’ the financial part of the newspaper while Jill was holding her eyes open with her fingers and Liam had a hard time stopping himself from laughing out loud.


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73 Re: Coming Home on 11th June 2014, 21:13

„James!“ Jill jumped up and ran to him to greet him while Jane was very shy and blushed, but she smiled happily as she saw James coming in.
“What do you have for us?” Jill looked curiously at the box that he put on the floor. Jane got up as well and stood next to her sister.

“Go ahead and open it.”

Jill didn’t hesitate one second longer, she opened the box and her pretty blue eyes grew big in excitement. “Oh, look, Daddy!” She held up some traditional Scottish sweets, like shortbread, fudge and tones of cookies, all baked by James’ mother.

“That looks very good”, Liam said.

“The cookies are from an old family recipe, my mother is really good at baking and I thought you would all like them.”

“What do you say to James?”, Liam asked his little daughters.

“Thank you, James”, the twins answered, Jill already stuffing a cookie in her mouth.

“You’re very welcome.”

“And thank your mother from us”, Liam added.

“I will. But I can tell that one Scottish lassie is missing…”

“Mummy is away with Auntie Ricky”, Jill mumbled while chewing on her cookie.

“Cupcake, you have to swallow your food first before you speak”, her dad reminded her.

“Sowwy.”

James grinned. He loved the twins, they were freaking adorable. He generally loved children but the twins were just the cutest little redheads. “Ah, I see. What are your Mummy and Auntie Ricky doing?”

“A field trip.”

Liam chuckled. “Not quite, Cupcake.” He turned to James, now lowering his voice a little so that the twins wouldn’t necessarily listen to their conversation. “I don’t know the exact details but things have been a bit bad between Alfie and Ricky, and last night it apparently got out of hand and Ricky wasn’t feeling well, so Jo took him to a spa over the weekend. They will be back by Sunday evening.”

James sighed. “What did Alfie do this time?”

“Not sure. Jo said he might have been…a little forceful. You know Alfie, he can be quite-“

“An arse”, James replied dryly. “Yepp, I’m aware of that. I know him since I was seven.” He shook his head while his eyes wandered to the twins who were busy unpacking the parcel. “I thought he got better…”

“He did, but he still has his moments”, Liam said, sitting down next to his daughters.

“Look, Daddy, a Scottish scarf.” Jane held up a beautiful tartan scarf.

“My mum made that too”, James said.

“Your mum is Wonder Woman”, Liam chuckled as Jane and Jill put on their new scarves.

That same moment they heard a loud knock at the door.
“Is that Mummy?”, Jane asked.

“I don’t know, Princess. Mummy said she wouldn’t be back until tomorrow. You’ll wait here, I’ll be right back.” He walked out of the living room and opened the door. It was Alfie, who looked really tired and exhausted, with dark shadows under his eyes.

“Hey”, he mumbled. “Can I come in?”

“That depends on your mood.”

Alfie rolled his eyes. “I’m not particularly cheerful right now, if that’s what you mean.”

“Yeah, sorry, but both my daughters are here. Of course you can come in but I don’t want you to let your frustration out on the girls.”

“Don’t worry, I already let my frustration out on other girls last night”, he grumbled.

Liam raised an eyebrow but then he made room for him to come in.

“Fi!”, Jill squeaked excitedly as she saw Alfie walking into the living room. She was about to run to him and cling to his legs when Liam caught her and lifted her up.

“Not today, Cupcake. Alfie isn’t feeling so well.”

“Is he sick?” Jill looked very worried.

“No, he’s not sick but he’s also not feeling well. How about we do some colouring in your play room, girls? Would you like that?”

The twins nodded. “Yes!”

He looked over to James, signalling him to check on Alfie while he would distract the girls for a bit. He could see that Alfie was troubled right now and he didn’t want Jane and Jill to listen to their conversation. “If you guys are hungry, just go into the kitchen, we have plenty of food”, Liam offered as he took both his girls out of the living room.

Alfie dropped a bag of clothes on the floor and sat down on the couch, trying to ignore James’ judging look. “What?”, he asked annoyed. “I really don’t need you looking at me like this.”

James still scrutinised him sceptically. “What happened?”

Alfie didn’t make eye contact with him, he was actually too ashamed because James knew him better than anyone and James knew very well that he screwed up. He hated, hated, hated himself so much for what happened last night. He had felt physically sick after he realised that he hurt Ricky. He actually hurt Ricky, and this time physically. He was often a douchebag towards Ricky and hurt him mentally by saying insensitive things, but he had never hurt him physically- until last night. Just because he had this bloody stupid urge that he couldn’t suppress, he hurt the one person he cared most about. And Ricky’s fragile, sad face… It was killing Alfie, but it had already been too late. He hated himself so much for the fact that he couldn’t control himself, not even in front of Ricky, and that he had actually fucked him like he fucked any other meaningless person. He wasn’t aware of it while he was doing it but when Ricky mentioned it, he realised that Ricky was not exaggerating. Alfie hadn’t even really kissed Ricky, he had just shagged him like some random maid in his parents’ house. He had scared and hurt the one person who meant the world to him, he hurt his penguin and broke him. Alfie always thought the entire world was a threat to Ricky and that everything out there could hurt his boy, but now he realised that it was him, not the world, no, him who hurt his boy the most. He hated himself so much right now, he had no words for it.
The rest of last night he had spent in the whorehouse Ricky had sent him to and let off some steam, but this morning he couldn’t stay there any longer. He had to get out of that environment.

“I seriously messed up”, he mumbled, still not looking at James.

James shook his head. “Please don’t tell me you hurt Ricky. He’s the best thing that happened to you after your grandfather died, you can’t treat this boy like that, Alfie. He’s such a good-hearted, caring person, you can’t do that to him.”

“This is exactly why I…why I didn’t want to become attached to anyone in the first place. I’m not supposed to be close to anyone, I just mess up and hurt people. All the time.”

“Okay, whatever you did, you have to come clean about it and you better move your ass and apologise to Ricky.” James was a lot shorter than Alfie and sure as hell not as muscular, but right now nobody should mess with him, especially not Alfie. “I’m seriously tired of your bullshit. You find this one good person in your life, who loves you for who you are and who does everything for you to be happy, and you’re an ungrateful asshole who doesn’t appreciate how lucky he is to have someone as good as Ricky. I don’t know what happened between you two, but you better make sure you don’t lose this boy. You’ve become very messed up ever since Arthur died and I watched you becoming more and more of a dickhead, but hey, I thought it was your way of dealing with your grandfather’s death, so I didn’t say much, but then finally, after all these years, I see you again and see how changed you are and how you start to become a little more like you used to be before your grandfather died, and it was all thanks to this one very special and incredibly unique boy, and I swear to God, Alfie, if you let this boy go because you acted like a complete shithead, I’m going to seriously kick you so hard that you won’t be able to sit down anymore.”

Alfie didn’t say anything but James could tell that he felt really guilty, which was exactly the emotion James wanted to see. He wanted Alfie to feel crappy about what he did, because that proved that Alfie actually cared and wasn’t just an indifferent jerk like he normally was with others.

“So, I heard Ricky comes back tomorrow. You will go to him and apologise, got it? And I don’t mean your usual crappy way of apologising, I mean a real, honest apology. That is the least thing you owe him. You better don’t lose this boy.” James got really frustrated because he was so incredibly glad when he saw all these positive changes that had occurred in Alfie ever since he got together with Ricky, and for him to challenge all of this really pissed James off. He cared so much about Alfie, of course he wanted him to become that person again that he used to be when he was younger. He wanted Alfie to find happiness and be the young man his grandfather always wanted him to be, but Alfie was sometimes his own greatest obstacle and it annoyed James so much.
“I’m getting hot”, James mumbled and pulled his jumper over his head, so he was only wearing a t-shirt now. “Seriously, dude, you’re giving me heat waves here. You’re going to be the death of me, I’m not joking.”


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74 Re: Coming Home on 12th June 2014, 23:00

“Is it safe to come back in the room with two toddlers?” Liam poked his head in the door. James grinned, suddenly he had a wonderful idea.

“Oh yes it is, see Uncle Fi here…”

“James?!” Alfie growled. But James just continued to grin.

“See Uncle Alfie here decided to spend the day with us, Alfie we planned to go jogging but with the girls here I think they would have more fun to go in the pool. Well Jill will like it and you can sit with Jane at the side, I’m sure she will let you pick the book and I will double check that it is suitable for a little beautiful lassie.” Both Liam and Alfie starred at James as if he just came in the room wearing one of Jo’s dresses -maybe even her wedding dress-. “Lassies?” James called and both twins showed up behind their dad. “There you are, my beautiful wee lassies. You know what we are going to have a special weekend, Uncle Alfie will stay here. We gonna have a lot of fun. Jane you will take Alfie to the library and I promised that he can pick a book he wants to read to you while your daddy, Jill and I are playing in the pool and I think you should pick a book too. And don’t worry Uncle Alfie will be very nice to you, and if not you tell me and I kick his… tushy.” James just continued grinning. “Let’s take all of this outside and have a picnic.”

“James Andrew McAlister what are you talking about?” Alfie growled.

“Yeah, James what are you doing?” Liam whispered as he picked up Jane who looked a little nervous.

“Well Alfie is all alone until tomorrow evening and he doesn’t like being alone so he will stay here. We are having a sleepover pyjama party. Come on Jill, I’ll help you get your bathing suit on, your daddy will help Jane and then we meet in ten minutes outside. Alfie will take out the food and then go back with Jane to get a book and he will behave because he has some making-good to do. So troops lots go.”

“Yay!” Jill screamed and ran in her room and started to pull at the drawer in which her bathing suits and things were. “Jamesy, Jamesy! Help!”

James looked at Alfie. “You got to do this, for the man you love. You got to be the man Uncle Arthur always knew you can be and it starts right here!” He looked one last time at Alfie and then followed Jill.

“What is this all about?” Liam looked at Alfie. Alfie sighed.

“Never mind.” Alfie looked annoyed away and for a moment and sighed deeply again. “Fine, what shit do I have to take downstairs? You should really have servants for that.”

“First of all watch your language and second we do not have servants to do such little things as carry some food downstairs. You just need to take the basket and we get some fruit and drinks from the big school kitchen. Come on Jane let us change you in your bathing suit and also sun cream.” Liam kissed Jane and went with her in the second nursery. “Hey James?”

“Yes Liam?”

“Can you also apply some sun cream, Jo does not want the girls to go outside without it?” Liam called from Jane’s room.

“Sure no problem.”

Not even fifteen minutes later did Liam and James brought down two little girls to the pool, they were both wearing their bathing suits, small slippers and their bathing rope Jo had gotten them to wear outside at the pool. Alfie was sitting there already waiting he had gotten a book about French architecture.

“What took you so long?” He snarled while Jane was clinging to her dad. “I’ve got a book.” Alfie held up the book and to Liam surprise Jane was interested in it.

“We had to change and put sun cream on. Alfie listen I don’t want you to scare Jane. If you don’t want to sit out here with her I can stay here with her.”

Alfie looked at the hiding Jane and heard James speech in his head again. “No-o. It will be fine. I mean she doesn’t drool and knows how to use the toilet?”

“I do not drool and I know how to go to the bathroom, but I don’t need to go I went before I came outside.” Jane whispered. “What is the book you have?”

Liam starred surprised at his daughter, he had not expect Jane to sit with Alfie. Very slowly she went to Alfie and sat down in some distance but she sat with him in the shade. “It’s about French architecture.”

“A-chi-tech-sure?” Jane repeated very slowly and determined at Alfie.

“Architecture.” Alfie found himself repeating the word.

“A-chi-tec-sure.”

“Better.”

“What does this mean?” Jane looked with her big blue eyes at Alfie, and suddenly it hit him, this girl was less clingy like the other that called him Fi and more quiet, a fact he liked.

“Architecture is both the process and the product of planning, designing, and constructing buildings and other physical structures.” Alfie answered very calmly.

Liam was shocked and slowly went to the pool, where James and Jill wear already in. Jill had her armbands. “Hello Daddy. You coming in?”

Liam grinned nodded and jumped into the pool with a perfect dive which made Jill giggle. “My daddy is so great.” Jill told James, who laughed.

“He sure is.”

The three men spend most of Saturday outside and to Liam’s surprised Alfie really stayed with them and really went into one of the guest rooms. He and Liam had spent up a long, Liam was grading some papers while Alfie read a book. To Alfie’s surprise he slept better in the guest bedroom than at home, at least here he missed Ricky somehow less or was just less reminded of him.

Lorelai picked up the twins and went with them to church, she went most Sundays with her three boys and husband. Liam spent time in his office and planned some lessons while Alfie spent all day in the library. He had lunch with the twins, Liam and all the other pupils, teacher and staff. Alfie never had spent a normal day at Waterfall Downs Academy, and it was odd.

It was early evening and not yet dinner time when Jo pulled the car in the parking area and went upstairs with Ricky.

“Mummy! You came back!” Jill ran to her mother and hugged her tightly.

“Of course, what did you think?” Jo grinned and picked up her daughter.

“Alfie what are you doing here?” Ricky looked past Jo and Jill and saw Alfie stand in the hallway. Waterfall Downs was the last place Ricky expected Alfie to be.


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75 Re: Coming Home on 15th June 2014, 22:41

That same moment little Jane appeared next to Alfie and smiled at Ricky. Usually Jill was the one so obsessed with Alfie but this weekend Jane actually bonded with him for the very first time and she was no longer scared by him. Still a little intimidated, yes, but not scared.
“Uncle Alfie and I read loads of books”, Jane said. “And he explained a lot to me.”

Ricky and Jo looked surprised from Jane to Alfie who didn’t say anything.

“And Daddy, Jamesy and Fi had a pyjama party with us!”, Jill squeaked. “It was so great!”

“Wait, you spent last night here?”, Ricky asked Alfie.

“Yes, he did”, Jill answered in Alfie’s place. “And yesterday Daddy, Jamesy and I swam in the pool and Fi and Jane read a book.”

“That sounds like fun”, Jo said, still very surprised that Alfie had spent time not only with her family but also in Waterfall Downs.

“It was really great”, Liam said while greeting his wife and pulling her into a tight hug. “The girls were so excited that James and Alfie were staying overnight, weren’t you?”

“Yes!”, Jill shouted while her sister nodded in agreement. They were very happy that they got to have their three favourite men around them. They had their Daddy of course, then Jill had her beloved Fi and Jane had her James, so they couldn’t have been more excited.

“I’m tired”, Alfie mumbled, looking down at Jane. “This one keeps bombarding me with questions. And not to mention little Beasty over here…” His eyes wandered to Jill, whom Alfie nicknamed Beasty a while ago. Jill had to giggle every time he called her Beasty.

“You did good.” Liam turned around and smiled encouragingly at his best friend. “You answered all of Jane’s questions and you didn’t throw Jill out of the window.”
The twins giggled while Alfie just rolled his eyes.

“Do you guys want to stay for dinner?”, Jo asked.

“No.” Ricky shook his head, still looking at Alfie. “I think we just go home.”

Alfie looked surprised at him, he kind of expected Ricky to still hate him and to keep his distance from him, but Ricky didn’t seem angry.

“Okay.” Jo hugged Ricky tightly. “I enjoyed my weekend with you.”

He smiled at her. “So did I.” Then he turned to Liam. “Bye Liam, see you soon.”

“Bye Ricky.”

Ricky looked at his boyfriend again. “Are you coming?”

“You sure?”

Ricky nodded.

“Bye Fi!” Jill hugged his leg tightly and even Jane hugged him.

The drive back to their flat was quiet, both didn’t say anything and Alfie was really glad when they finally reached the flat. When they entered the flat, Alfie went into the kitchen to get himself a glass of milk- yes, no alcohol, just milk.

“Did Liam tell you to come to Waterfall Downs?” Ricky appeared behind him. He still looked broken and Alfie could barely look at him because all he had to think of was the fact that he had hurt this boy so much.

“No, he didn’t. I went to the whorehouse on the first night but I…I couldn’t stay there any longer so I went to Liam and well, I decided to stay there for a bit.”

“Please look at me.”

Alfie just stared at the wall behind Ricky but not at Ricky himself.

“Alfie, look at me, please.”

He shook his head. “I can’t.”

Ricky walked to him and held his face with both his hands so that Alfie had no chance to look away anymore.
“I don’t hate you, okay?”, Ricky whispered gently. “You hurt me, you really did, and you…you just made me feel so cheap and actually dirty, I have never felt like this before but the fact that you spent most of the weekend at Waterfall Downs with Liam, James and the twins and not with countless prostitutes shows me that you’re not all bad and that you’re willing to improve.”

Alfie still hated himself beyond words for what he did. He loved it so much when he could be gentle to Ricky, and when they made love and how Ricky was still like a virgin every single time, and he hated himself so much for taking that away from him.
“I have a problem.” There it was. He finally admitted it, to Ricky and to himself. “I realised that when I hurt you. You were right...”

Ricky planted a gentle kiss on Alfie’s forehead. “I guess we will have to work on it then. Together.” He lowered his hands and smiled at Alfie. “The fact that you admitted it is already a big step forward.”

Alfie wanted to tell him why sex had become such a crucial part in his life. He wanted to tell him that after his grandfather died, the hole inside his heart had become so big that it was unbearable and he was literally absorbed from within by this huge emptiness for a couple of years until he found something that made him feel at least a little alive, and that was sex. It was meaningless and never really filled the emptiness, but at least it gave him the illusion that he did not feel empty all the time, and it soon became an addiction because he was so scared of being consumed by that emptiness that had spread through his entire body when the person he loved most had left him.
Alfie opened his mouth but he couldn’t say any of this, so he carefully pulled Ricky into his arms and kissed him so gently like that very first time they had been intimate together, and as he looked down at his boy, his shy, blushing boy, he saw all the innocence returning to his face, this beautiful innocence that he loved so much. It was back again.


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