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‘And you, dear Erin, are an incredible woman. The man who let go of you was a fool.’

Emboldened by kissing her, he took her hand and they walked along the pavement to look at the next window. Leo felt comforted by being with someone he cared about, by not feeling alone as he had done for so long, by being with Erin and her family on this lovely December day.



When they joined her family again, Erin let go of Leo’s hand, not wanting to face questions or curious glances but she did stay close to Leo’s side and they shared regular secret smiles.

‘Shall we go to Hamleys?’ she said.

‘I’d like that,’ Leo replied.

‘Me too.’ Angelina nodded.

‘Well your mum and I still have some gifts to get for you lot, so shall we meet up outside Hamleys in an hour?’ Cain asked.

‘I’ll come with you, Dad,’ Zara said.

They parted ways then Erin, Leo, Paul and Angelina headed for Regent Street and went into Hamleys, agreeing to meet outside later because they all wanted to browse without worrying about losing each other.

‘OK if I tag along with you?’ Leo said.

‘I was hoping you might.’ Erin held out her hand and he took it. They roamed the seven floors, all festively decorated, browsing cuddly toys, Lego, dressing-up clothes, dolls and more. There were demonstrations of the latest trending toys and games and friendly staff on every floor offered assistance and recommendations.

‘It makes you want to be a child again just to enjoy the magic,’ Erin said.

‘Oh I don’t know,’ Leo replied. ‘It feels kind of magical anyway.’

Erin smiled shyly then pointed at a cute teddy bear wearing a faux fur coat with a hood. ‘I’d like to get that for the baby.’

‘It’s very early days, though,’ he said. ‘Not that I want to advise caution but sometimes it’s better to wait until after the first scan.’

‘I know.’ She nodded. ‘But everything will be OK, I’m sure.’

‘I hope so. Paul and Angelina seem very happy about the pregnancy.’

‘It is wonderful news.’ Erin let go of his hand and picked up the bear then ran her hand over its soft head. ‘About the other day… I’m really sorry. I’m not a diva and I’d hate for you to think I was being spoilt or bitter.’

‘Erin, I could never think that about you. I understand why you were upset. And there’s nothing wrong with feeling things.’

‘Thank you for being here and for comforting me. You’ve been through so much yourself and yet you held me and comforted me and it meant a lot.’

‘To me too.’ He took the bear from her and looked at it. ‘How’re you feeling now?’

‘Glad that you’re here. I always… had a crush on you.’

He grinned. ‘I know.’

‘What? How did you know?’

‘The blushing. The shy smiles. The times you ignored me.’

‘I was that obvious, hey?’

‘Yeah but I had a crush on you too. Not when you were much younger, I hasten to add. But as you got older, I could see how pretty you were and we always got on well, didn’t we?’

‘But you never made a move.’