“Careful kid!” Roman called out forced to sidestep a young boy moving excitedly into the diner. Turning he balanced the weight of the tray again before he collected the last of the glasses from the table in front of him. He stopped suddenly and looked over at the counter where the young boy was ordering from Colleen. He could have walked past his kids at any time over the past few years and not even known they existed. The thought made him angry. He should have been told, should have had a choice in how his kids were raised. He’d already been denied one child, when Natalie and her family had kept him out of Nicole’s life. He wouldn’t go through that again.
Sighing he cleared the rest of the table and wiped it down with a damp cloth before moving over to the next one.
“Hey Kid.” He called out to the boy who’d bumped him as he moved out of the diner empty handed.
“Yes Sir?” Mike asked stilling and looking over at him.
“Sir?” Roman murmured. “I look that old?”
“Oh no er.. sir.” Mike said alternating his weight from one foot to the other as he stood there.
“Didn’t we have anything to tempt you?” he asked him with a gesture to inside.
“Well, er, no.” Mike muttered quickly, only just stopping himself from adding ‘Sir’ to it. The twins were going to go nuts when he told them he’d met their dad. And there was no mistaking he was their dad. The twins had the same eyes as him, sort of a glow-ly blue.
“Well,” Roman smiled at hearing the unspoken ‘Sir’ and looked over at him. “Maybe there is something we could do for you?”
Mike shook his head quickly.
“Sure?” Roman asked.
Mike sighed as he looked over at the tall man. Very tall. God, that meant that Toby was going to be tall too he thought with a frown, thinking of his brother. And Gabby. What did it mean for his sister? Was she going to tower over her boyfriends? That would be embarrassing. He drifted off in his own thoughts before remembering that Roman had asked him a question.
“Sure, sir.” He murmured politely. “My mother sent me to see if you did takeaways.” He explained.
“Well, not in the general sense.” Roman began to explain.
“Like pizza’s.” Mike interjected.
“Well no.” Roman smiled and glanced at his watch. “What toppings do you want?”
“S..Sir?” Mike stuttered.
“I can knock up a couple of pizzas.” Roman decided.
Mike nodded and looked at his watch.
“Do you have to be somewhere?”
“I should really go back to the van.” Mike told him quickly.
“Are you staying at the Caravan park?” Roman asked him as he moved inside and placed the tray on the top.
“I’m going to get off.” Colleen called out coming out of the kitchen and walking past them. She bustled into her jacket and put a multi-coloured scarf around her neck. “you back here, young man, I told you that we don’t do that kind of thing.”
“It’s alright Colleen, I’ve got this.” Roman said quickly.
He watched her disappear before turning and moving over to the door, closing it and putting up the closed sign before looking back at the boy.
“Now then, pizza.” He smiled and walked past him into the kitchen. Within five minutes he’d made two pizza bases and looked over at Mike. “Toppings?” he asked slowly.
“Well, my mother and sister share vegetarian toppings. “ Mike began,
“And I bet that leaves meat for you?”
Roman smiled at the ‘sir’ and saw the boy flushing. He didn’t say anything as he sorted out the two different toppings and slotted them into the oven to cook.
“Do you want drinks?” he asked.
Mike looked at him and nodded going over to the tall fridge and taking out two tall bottles of fizzy soda.
“Do you think we could get a salad too?” he asked slowly.
“How are you paying for this kid?”
Mike looked at him and slowly coloured as he put his hand in his pocket and took out thirty dollars.
“Is this enough, Sir?” he asked formally.
“Right let’s see.” Roman began going over to the till. He put in the price of the drinks and the takeaway soda and then worked out the cost of the pizzas. He took the notes from Mike and sorted out the change before handing that over to him.
“Thank you, Sir.” Mike said politely glancing at the clock.
“I’ve got to go visit Miles. I can give you a lift if that helps.”
“Er..” Mike hesitated.
Roman turned his attention to the salad. He piled up the takeaway box with lettuce, tomato and onion and placed it in a carrier with the soda bottles before taking the pizzas out of the oven and set about wrapping them in foil to keep warm.
“Ok.” He said to him and handed over the pizzas and the carrier bag.
Mike looked at him and then the food.
“If you are sure about the lift, Sir, I’d appreciate it.”
“Give me two minutes.” He said turning and double checking the kitchen. He began switching off the lights and then moved to the door. “Ok?” he asked.
Mike nodded at him and collected the food before walking through the door waiting just outside as Roman locked up after them and then showed him over to the car, unlocking the back so he could place the food there before opening the passenger side door.
“Are you here for a holiday?” Roman asked as he pulled the car out of the parking lot and on to the road.
“Sort of Sir.” Mike murmured and felt heat in his cheeks at the look that Roman gave him at still being addressed as Sir. He bit his lip and focused on the view out of the front windscreen trying to will the colour from his face. He thought about his mother and Roman meeting and paled immediately. Perhaps he could swing it so they didn’t but then she’d want to know about how he got the food and oh er, crap. Yeah, crap suited this situation.
“You ok?” Roman asked pulling into the driveway to the house.
“Just er hungry.” Mike murmured biting his lip as he lied.
“Ok son.” Roman said slowly.
Mike started at the endearment.
“What caravan are you in?” Roman asked.
“Four.” Mike answered before he could stop himself. He groaned as Roman turned the car and took them straight to the right caravan and turned off the engine. He’d unbuckled his seatbelt and reached for the door handle before Mike could say anything. Turning he saw the door of the caravan opening and he paled even more.
Roman climbed out of the car and moved around the back. He was focused on the food until he noticed a pair of jean covered legs coming out of the van. Looking up his eyes travelled over the figure until he saw her face. Now he knew why he’d cooked the pizza and insisted on giving the kid a lift. Something about him reminded him of Ella. Sucking in a sharp breath he stood and faced her. His past. Something cosmic seemed to swirl between them, as if time were somehow trying to right itself and he dismissed the thought as soon as he had it.
“Ella.” He said slowly, gravely.
“I asked for pizza.” She murmured her hands going to her hips. “Not a chef.”
Roman smiled, and looked to Mike who’d jumped out if the car and was standing transferring his weight from one foot to the other.
“We like to give value for money.” He said eventually. “Are they here too?”
Ella nodded and waved to the van behind her before she walked over to where Roman was standing.
“Come in if you like.” She invited reaching out and picking up the bag. She held it out and Mike somewhat hesitantly took it from her and ran inside before she and Roman picked out the pizzas.
“Is this a good idea?” Roman muttered only realising he’d spoken aloud when Ella glared at him.
She stalked into the caravan and stopped dead at seeing the extra plate that Gabby had placed on the table.
“Here.” She said handing out the pizza and turned to see Roman standing behind her. He too help out the food his mouth hanging open as he looked at his kids.
“So who are you?” he asked Mike.
“I’m Ro… Mike.” Mike murmured. “Michael and Jennies son.”
“Ah.” Roman said not noticing the slip even though Gabby and Toby were giggling.
“Sit down, “ Ella said smirking as Roman obeyed her. He narrowed his eyes as he looked at her before looking over at the twins.
“Which one is which?” he asked and grinned as they laughed at him.
“I’m Toby.” Toby muttered glaring as Mike chuckled.
Gabby swung her long hair back over her shoulder and sat daintily at the table smoothing down her dress and looking at her father. She caught her mum giving her a look and she nodded before reaching for a slice of pizza.
“Ok then.” Ella announced and collapsed into a seat herself. She wondered why she hadn’t packed any emergency vodka for this moment as she took a long drink of the coke.