Hannah looked at the dress hung up on her wardrobe. She had chosen it with Liam when they had been together. It was the same shade of green as the dress she had worn the night Liam had told her he was on drugs. She reached up and stroked the taffeta material and sighed. Liam. She couldn’t stop thinking about him. His eyes, his mouth, the way he smiled, the way he understood what she was thinking. Her connection with him was so strong.
When Luke arrived Hannah had put in just about enough makeup to cover up her blotchy eyes but Luke still noticed. He hugged her gently.
“It’ll be fine. Don’t worry about it.”
As he led her downstairs Hannah gasped. Her dad was standing by the door, waiting. He hadn’t got up out of the fireside seat since her mother had left, he hadn’t gone to see his mates, and he hadn’t even got up to make a cup of tea. Hannah had been in charge of the meals. He managed to muster a weak smile as Hannah approached the front door.
“You have fun, alright? I want this to be the best night of your life.” Hannah had to stifle a small sob as she hugged her father. She felt a soft hand on her back and pulled away, into Luke’s comforting arms.
As she turned to walk through the door she saw her father stiffen. She followed his gaze down the garden path to the gate and let out a quick gasp.
“Mum?” she whispered. She wanted to run to her, to hold her close, but her legs were frozen to the spot. It seemed that Louise’s were too. For five minutes they stood, just staring, until Louise made the first move. She walked slowly up the garden path, never taking her eyes off her daughter. At the last moment, just before Louise had reached the front steps, Hannah unfroze. She ran out of Luke’s arms and flung herself into her mothers. The two of them stood there, Hannah crying into her mothers shoulder and Louise whispering to her daughter, “It’s alright sweetie, I’m back. I’ll never leave you again,” over and over.
As Hannah stood there she felt someone approach from behind. An arm wrapped around Hannah’s shoulders and gently squeezed. She looked up and saw her father. He wasn’t holding her mother, but he was looking at her, and Hannah saw the longing and the love he still had for her mother.