Goes Without Saying Pt. 05

byAlwaysraining©

"I'm relieved," David replied with a contented smile.

At that moment a small figure arrived sleepily in the kitchen. At first, David thought Evan would be ecstatic that Celia was back, but he just went over to her and waited to climb onto her knee for a hug. Then David realised that Celia had not been absent for long, and all the angst about her leaving had been firmly kept from Evan, between Siân and himself.

He looked at Celia, a definite mother, as the little child snuggled his head into her neck and she stroked his hair. The little boy sat up.

"Uncle Alex is here!" Evan proclaimed.

"Yes, chicken," Celia told him. "He stayed the night."

That was all Evan wanted to know, and turned his attention, predictably to breakfast. So the peace of that morning, full of love and affection and somewhat indolent after their commitment the night before, was over, and life became busy as David prepared for work, Evan was fed, and Alex rushed downstairs and out, since he did not have a change of clothes or his razor and needed to go home.

His rushing about amused Evan no end, and the little boy giggled as the man scurried about looking for his coat, running upstairs to kiss Siân goodbye, then clattering down and away, with a "Bye all! Bye Evan!" and the door slamming behind him.

The two adults smiled, partly at Alex's display, partly because Evan found it so amusing and partly that all the noise he was making did not wake the slumbering Bethan.

Siân arrived, hair awry, in a longish teeshirt and the occasional flash of knickers. She peered at the two adults, took in Evan sitting at the table, grinned at him and gave a little wave, at which Evan laughed and waved back.

"Slept well?" David asked, heavy with implication and a cheeky smile.

"Eventually," Siân replied.

"A good night, then," asked Celia, aware as were the other two of a little pair of ears in the room.

"Very good!" Siân agreed with some enthusiasm. "Fun!" she added obliquely.

"So did we," said Celia, laying her left hand on the table nonchalantly. Siân's eyes widened.

"Really!" she said, clearly suppressing the obligatory female squeal at the sight of an engagement ring. "Wow, David, you don't hang about, do you?"

"I think I rather hung about over long," he said. "After Alex came and explained, I think the course of events was predictable, don't you?"

"Too right!" agreed Siân meaningfully. "Everyone else could see it."

"Time for me to go," said David. "A little more gently than Alex's departure!"

He went to his office and collected the papers he had brought home, it seemed so long ago. He returned to the kitchen, kissed Evan, who gave him a sloppy one back, then he kissed Siân on her cheek, and Celia rather more lingeringly on her lips.

Evan giggled. "Daddy kissed Aunty Celia!" he shouted. They realised why he thought that amusing: it had never happened in all the months Celia had been there.

"That's right," Siân laughed along with him. "Daddy loves Aunty Celia now, and she loves him."

Evan seemed quite happy about that, and turned his attention back to breakfast. Thankfully, they tacitly agreed, he was not old enough to ask why it had taken so long! That would have taken some explaining.

Celia went with him to the front door. "I wish you didn't have to go to work," she said wistfully. "I'll miss you so much."

"Me too," he said, " but quite a lot of people are relying on me to go to work! We'll have all weekend!"

Celia pulled him to her, arms round his neck, kissed him soundly and at length, and pressed her shapely body tightly against him. "Just to remind you what's waiting for you when you come home," she said seductively.

"You've no idea how much I'm looking forward to that!" he groaned.

"I think I have," she said laughing, as she ground against his growing erection. "Good bye!"

He saw her standing at the door, waving him off, the epitome of a loving wife, and he had a sudden clear vision of Gwen doing the same from that very porch. There was a tug at his heartstrings for her, but it was a happy memory and he was sure, if she was somewhere watching him, that she would be pleased her best friend was taking her place. He felt supremely blessed and thought his children were too.

He walked into the office to see Marissa look up, then look again and smile broadly.

"Morning, Boss," she said glibly. "Something good happened at home, yes?"

David was confounded. "How do you know these things?" he asked. "And Good Morning Marissa!"

"David, you are calm, peaceful. Your face has lost its worry lines. Something good has definitely occurred. Care to share?"

"Alex came round last night, talked some sense into me, cleared up a lot of misunderstandings and sent me round to his place to talk to Celia. As a result of our talk she came home with me, I proposed and she accepted."

"Glory hallelujah!" Marissa shouted with joy. "At last!"

"What d'you mean, 'at last'?"

"David, for months I've been watching you avoiding the fact that you are hopelessly in love with Celia, because, of course, Gwen is still much in your thoughts and rightly so."

"You never said."

"You would never have accepted it; you had to come to it all by yourself. In any case I value my job!"

David smiled. "You are a very wise woman, Marissa, and I'm deeply grateful to you for supporting me over the months, but especially over the last weeks. Any more words of wisdom for me?"

Marissa thought for a moment. Then a smile spread across her face.

"You say you got engaged last night?"

David nodded.

"I cleared your diary for today. I can handle anything that comes up. Go home to your fiancée. You'll want to tell parents and in-laws. Off you go! See you Monday!"

David leaned forward over her desk. "I'm sure HR can handle a sexual harassment case for you," he said, then swooped in and kissed her soundly on her lips. Then, "Why don't you let the outer office know and take the day off yourself? Josie can field any calls; she does when we both have to attend meetings."

She stood and came round the desk. "Thank you Mr Musgrave! Oh, I do like working here! I'll like it better still if I get another kiss."

So he kissed her, gently, and she kissed him back, gently. They both smiled.

"Such depravity!" she said with a laugh, and with that they both left the office.

On his way home, Gwen's family came to David's mind, and he felt a compulsion to be sure of their approval of his engagement. Though he remembered them saying they would be happy if, being so young, he married again, he wondered if they might feel differently when faced with the reality of it. So with a feeling resembling fear. he parked on his drive and phoned the Price's number.

"Hello, Mam," he began. "It's David. I wonder if I could come to visit this weekend with the children? I know it's short notice-"

"Dafydd, Cariad," she laughed, "of course you can come."

"Is it OK if I bring Celia Thompson with me?" He wondered if that would provoke a question from his mother-in-law: he had never brought Celia with him before.

"That will be lovely!" she said, and he could hear the smile in her voice. "We haven't seen her since the wedding, you know, though she was always Gwen's best friend, and she was never at home when we visited you." She paused then added, "Siân won't be here, you... Oh, what am I saying? So daft, me. She's at your house isn't she? Is she coming as well?"

"Not sure," he replied. "I think she may stay over here this weekend."

"Oh. Well, I suppose our loss is Alex's gain, isn't it? Bye!"

David could have sworn there was a giggle from her as she hung up, and he was left wondering how much the Prices had been told of their younger daughter's most recent romantic development. He left the car and entered the house.

"Daddy!" came the cry as soon as he entered the house, and Evan ran to him to be picked up and swung round as he giggled.

There behind Evan was little Beth, crawling at top speed towards him. "Dadda!" she shouted.

David put Evan down and picked up Beth who laughed and gurgled and he swung her round in her turn.

"David?" Celia called from the kitchen. "What's happened?" she said, full of concern as she came into the hallway to hug and kiss him, both of which she did thoroughly.

"My PA has generously given me the day off," he said, coming up for air, and handing a laughing Beth to her, who thought the three-way hug was hilarious. David tousled Evan's hair who'd been watching the pair with interest, though he said nothing.

David became serious. "Darling," he said tentatively. "I want to go and see the Welsh in-laws, now I've got this extra free time. Could we do that this weekend?"

"We?" she asked, picking up the plural pronoun.

"I want to announce our engagement to them first."

"Won't they be upset? I mean, you getting engaged so soon after Gwen's passing?"

"I don't think so," he said. "They have actually suggested that I should look to marry again. I just wonder if the reality will shock them. But, Celia, they're lovely people, and I'm sure they'll love you - Mam said she knew you were Gwen's Best Friend."

Celia did not look convinced, but shrugged then nodded. "OK. Now?"

"Well, as soon as possible. We need to pack. Look love, I know this is sudden and an imposition, but this extra day makes a trip there more comfortable, and we can come home early Sunday and see my folks for lunch. I don't know when we'll get another chance."

She smiled at him. "OK. Kids!" she shouted, "We're all going to Grandma Price in Wales. Evan, go and pick some books to take and some toys for Beth."

With that she made for the stairs. Looking over her shoulder she said, "David, make a pot of tea and get some biscuits out, some to eat, some to take for the journey. And water and Beth's formula for the journey, and bananas." Without waiting for a reply she ran up the stairs to pack.

"Where's Siân?" David asked when she came downstairs with two suitcases. "I wanted to ask her if she wanted to come as well."

"Siân is over at Alex's. She thought we might like some alone time with the children."

"And she gets lots of alone time with Alex!" David said laughing.

"There is that!" grinned Celia.

"Won't she be upset if we don't offer to take her as well?"

"Siân was going to spend the whole weekend with Alex. I just phoned her and told her what we were doing, and she said Alex could come over here instead, and no thanks, she doesn't want to go home!" They both laughed. They'd been doing a lot of laughing since Celia came home

Now the journey to Wales was different for David, but reminiscent of his journey with Siân and the children before Christmas. Usually he had travelled alone with the children and because he set off in the evening, they fell asleep even before he left town. This time it was late morning, and Celia was a revelation.

She sat in the back of the car between the kiddie-seats and played all sorts of games with the children. When Beth went to sleep, Celia read to Evan. David glanced from time to time in his mirror and admired her. He was right, he'd always thought Celia was a natural mother.

Her gentle voice as she read to his son, brought to mind a question. Why had he felt this visit to his ex-in-laws to be so urgent? He really did have a need for his parents-in-law to approve of his intentions and approve of their daughter's successor. He smiled as he realised that he felt no such compulsion to gain his own parents' approval, in their case it was merely a matter of informing them of his and Celia's decision to marry.

As he compared his reaction to each set of parents, he realised he wanted Gwen's parents to see how much their grandchildren loved Celia, and how loving and competent a mother Celia could be. Then he saw another aspect: his in-laws' approval implied Gwen's approval, it was as if Gwen would finally validate his intention to marry Celia through their approval of her.

He would look back on the visit as one of the most successful and contented of his life. As they drew up before the front door, his ex-in-laws came out smiling all over their faces. Celia liberated the children from their kiddie-seats, and Evan was out of the car and into his grandmother's arms in no time flat. Beth was squirming to be taken out, which Celia did, looking a mite apprehensive as she carried the bairn to the child's grandfather on her hip.

"Celia, Annwyl!," Mam said, having put down Evan (who ran into the house looking for other family members), and taken her into an all enveloping hug. "Welcome my lovely. Siân's told us all about you! Gwen used to say you always took care of her."

"I think it was the other way round," said Celia, now completely at ease. "She was always much more mature than I was."

"You looked after each other then!" Mam asserted. "That's how it should be. She wanted you to be Beth's Godmother, you know."

"Yes, she told me that as well."

"Dafydd," Mam admonished him. "Beth's still a little heathen. When-"

"Mam," I said. "I've not been in any-"

"I know, I know," she said, with that loving smile of hers, "but now you've got Celia..."

"Mam, Dad," David said urgently. "Can we sit down? I've got something to ask you."

They went to the living room and sat down.

"I don't think you need to ask permission from us, Dai," Mam said smiling. "I'm sure Celia'll be a wonderful wife to you, and a lovely mother to the kiddies."

David was taken aback. "But Mam... How d'you know? Siân..?"

"Dafydd, bach," Mam said grinning, "not Siân. You ask to bring the kiddies, and Celia at short notice, and she's wearing an engagement ring. But you want to know would Gwen approve isn't it? Of course she would! Celia's her best friend - has been for years and years. Heavens, Cariad, she wanted her to be Beth's Godmother!"

David's look of relief made both parents laugh.

"We're so happy for you Dai," Dad said. "and we're very touched you thought of us. Celia's been a mother to our grandbabbies almost since Gwen left us. It's obvious, Boy, how she is with them. Celia, we couldn't ask for a better mother to them than you. We'd like to adopt you as our daughter-in-law, along with Dafydd's parents."

David looked at Celia and saw tears in her eyes and a huge smile on her face. Mam saw it too.

"Come here, sweetheart," she said, standing and holding out her arms, into which Celia fell. The two women hugged.

"Thank you so much," Celia sobbed. "I was so worried!"

"Cariad, the moment we saw you in the car with them, we knew you were just perfect," Mam laughed. "Taken Dai here long enough to see it, didn't it?"

David made to interrupt.

"I know, I know," Mam said. "We always knew how much you loved our little girl. That was such a comfort - to know how loved she always was."

"I don't know what to say," David said helplessly.

"You don't need to say anything bach," said Dad. "You loved Gwen, you love your children, you brought Celia here for our approval. My, Boy, you've done everything right."

"We're both very happy," said Mam. "Marry her soon, Dafydd. Don't wait; she's waited long enough - years I think!" and she laughed heartily.

The rather emotional conversation had gone over the heads of the two children, who had occupied themselves on the floor, having found the toys thoughtfully put out by their grandparents. Now, however, sensing the adults' conversation was over they demanded attention from Granddad.

"I've put you both in the back bedroom," Mam said, as they climbed to the bedrooms, David carrying the bags. "I hope that's all right?"

"That's perfect, Mam," said Celia, and got a loving look and a nod for the affectionate term. David could see she already felt truly one of the family.

"Well, on my calculation, you've been together about seven years! It'd be daft to put you in separate rooms," Mam said with a knowing look. "You see, I have my spies!"

"Mam, I was a fool to let him go the first time," Celia said penitently, "and Gwen gave me hell for it. I've suffered for that stupidity these last years. Mind you, if I hadn't lost my mind then, I wouldn't be here now."

"I heard from a little bird called Alex that you blamed yourself for Gwen's death and why. I hope you've seen reason since? You're certainly doing everything right now, and as we've told you, we're adopting you as our daughter-in-law."

"Oh Mam, stop it! You'll make me cry again."

"I don't need to say any more about it," Mam said smiling artfully. "But you'd better make sure you treat us as family. Calling me Mam is lovely - shows you've got the idea. You're perfect for Dafydd, and he's perfect for you, and the kiddies are so happy with you, but you need some babies of your own. Don't waste any time, Cariad, clock's ticking!"

David resolved to heed his extra-mother-in-law's advice to his fiancée. It would certainly be no imposition!

"Not everyone has three sets of parents," he remarked with a chuckle on their way home.

"I wonder what Mum will say," Celia mused. "You know I think deep down she liked you."

"You always said she didn't approve of me," said David.

"That's what I thought, but perhaps she didn't approve of us living together for so long unmarried. But you should have heard her when I said we'd broken up. Then when I took Gary home - she really liked Gary! She went on and on about it, how perfect he was. The trouble was by then I already knew I'd messed everything up."

"We'll leave the children with my parents, and go and tell her. If it goes down well, we can take the children the second time. You'll have to find some way to keep the peace between you and your mother if the kids are there."

-

Chapter 24

David's parents, as he expected, accepted David's announcement with equanimity, once he had assured them that Gwen's parents had urged the couple to marry as soon as possible.

His father did take him aside. "You remember years ago when you brought her home for the first time? What I said?"

"You said it went without saying, then you said it anyway. She's still very beautiful, Dad, very sexy, but she's changed radically. She's been through a lot of suffering, and she's learned a lot. She's proved that this time she's back for good.

"Does it go without saying that suffering can bring maturity, Dad? I have it from Alex who's looked after her since we broke up, and that's some years ago, that she realised she made a monumental error in going after the footballer. She's been consistent in wanting me back, but I was married to Gwen and she loved Gwen as much as she loves me. She's been with me since I lost Gwen just to look after the kids. She never made a move on me in all that time and she lives for the kids. So I think we're safe for the future."

"Ok, Son," his father said. "If that's the case, you've got a winner there: good looks and faithful. We'll say no more."

"It'll go without saying, from now on, then?" David said with a grin.

"Yes, it will. I'll never shake off that saying will I?" his father said ruefully.

"No, Dad."

-

Linda Thompson was surprised when Celia arrived with David, and was amazed when she announced to her mother that she was marrying him, and without too much delay.

"Well, I always told you-"

"Yes mother," you always told me I made a mistake breaking with David, over and over again. After we broke up. You were delirious when I brought Gary home at first."

"Hardly delirious, darling," her mother.

"Yes you were!" Celia said becoming heated.

"Celia," said David quietly, and Celia stopped in mid flow.

They had decided on this before they arrived at her parents' house. David had pointed out that Celia always got into a row with her mother, usually within minutes of arriving.

"Celia, darling," David had said seriously. "You don't need to beat your mother in every argument. It isn't that important for you to win, is it?"

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