When it was morning, I woke with Ben’s arms still around me. I wriggled free, creeping downstairs, but what I found there, I didn’t quite expect. “Whoa, Alice.” I called, pulling my robe tighter around me, “what’re you doing here? Where’s your father, where’s Alex?” I asked, she simply hugged her bear tighter, handing me a letter. I read through it and shook my head, Alex... I can’t look after her... I have too much to deal with...
“Auntie Gemme, please look after me. Daddy said it would just be for a little while.” I sighed, wrapping my arms around her I lifted her up, “of course I will sweetie.” I couldn’t say no to her, but a little while would be too long.
I put her down and told her, “You know where the cookies are?” She nodded, “go help yourself. I’ll be back in a little while.” She bounded off and I grabbed my clothes and Ben’s and ran off upstairs. “Christ, Ben, Ben... wake up.”
He stirred slightly, his eyes flickering open as I shook him lightly, “Uh?"
"When you go downstairs, make sure you're dressed."
"You woke me up to tell me that?"
"Yeah, I don't want you parading round naked.
"I wasn't gonna," he protested.
"Okay, well, go back to sleep then. I'm sorry I woke you." I murmured, rising from the bed and dressing again.
"S'alright," he mumbled, closing his eyes again.
I reached over, kissing him swiftly. "Love you."
He smiled, “I love you too.” I nodded and disappeared back downstairs.
“Come on, Alice. Go unpack your things.” She nodded and bounded upstairs. She knew her room, I also trusted her to put her stuff away properly. But, how am I meant to look after her? I wanted to go to Africa with Ben, but I can’t leave her. I sighed, brushing a hand through my hair. Damn it Alex, if I ever see you again. You’re dead.
A couple of hours later I was sat in the kitchen eating breakfast with Alice when Ben came downstairs. “Good morning.” I smiled as I buttered another piece of toast, “join us.” I offered and Alice nodded.
“Yeah, join us Benny!” She grinned. I told her all about Ben before he came downstairs, I should have told Ben about her though.
"Name's Ben, not Benny," he grunted, getting a drink of water, oh yes, he doesn’t do mornings.
"You don't mind when I call you it." I sighed. "Come on Alice, go play upstairs, we need to talk." I smiled, pulling out her chair and ushering upstairs where she skipped off immediately.
"What do we need to talk about?" he asked, sitting down.
"Alice, Alex dumped her here, I don't where he's gone but I can't leave her." I explained as I stacked up the plates.
"So you want me to help look after her?"
"No, I would never ask you that. But, I won't be able to go to Africa with you. I'm sorry." I sighed, washing up the plates, I really wanted to go.
"I was gonna say, I'm not exactly the best role model," he laughed, "sucks you can't come though."
"I know, but I love her too much to kick her out. I love you too much to just let you go alone." I sighed; finishing the washing I turned to face him. "I'm sorry."
"Bring her with us?"
"Do you really think...? I mean, I'm a hindrance enough without her coming along too."
"You're not a hindrance, don't be stupid. Anyways kids love that kinda thing, don't they? Long holidays 'n' stuff," I guess she’d love it, what with all the animals and everything.
"I'm on about you. I don't know how you stand with kids."
"I don't mind. I can deal with kids. Like I said, though, I'm not the best role model in the world," well, you won’t be drinking, or having drugs... as for sex, I guess we’d have to keep that to a minimum.
"No, what's with the 'Benny' issue?"
"You know I prefer being called Ben. People, specifically Cancer, call me Benny to annoy me."
"It took me ages to teach her to call me Gemme instead of Gem-Gem." I laughed, "She’s not trying to annoy you. She's only five." I pointed out; I understand why he doesn’t like it though.
He smiled, nodding slightly, "I guess. Still, even for a five year old it's not hard to remember to call me Ben," he laughed and shrugged.
"I'll tell her. Well, she loves chocolate, hates Jam and loves stories. It's not hard to get on her good side, but when she's upset she cries for hours." I filled him in. "But she's a great kid, really smart. I think you'll like her." I smiled, looking at him as I explained what she was like.
"I'll remember not to upset her then," he muttered.
"She's not like me; she's really hard to upset." I smiled, walking over to him and sitting on his lap. "I'm sorry about all of this."
He put his arms around my waist and kissed me on the cheek. "It's okay."
I kissed his lips softly. "I'll make it up to you, somehow." I promised.
"You don't need to," he smiled.
"Oh, I do. I owe you a lot for this, I'll pay. Don't worry about that."
"How do you owe me anything, Gemme? I had planned to spend a year or two travelling alone anyways."
"For bringing Alice along."
"Its fine," he smiled.
"I guess I'll be there for those lonely nights hmm?" I whispered in his ear.
"If you want to be," he murmured.
"What do you mean 'if I want to be'?”
"I don't expect you to hang around just for me."
"Where's this coming from?" He shrugged and I looked at him for a moment, trying to think of something I could say that wouldn’t make me choke. My brow furrowed, "I'll stay with you. I'm not hanging around anywhere, because I love you."
"Good," he kissed me softly on the lips.
I kissed him back passionately before pulling back, staring into his eyes. "I won't let you go so easily.” I smiled, it was easier to say that, I think I’ve gotten over Luca! I hope so...