"And it's lovely to see you again too Ricky," Alicia replied with a dry smile, seeming unperturbed by Ricardo's fierce glare, but then she never was fazed by his temper, unlike me.

"You still haven't answered my question," Ricardo said coldly, his jaw clenched in anger.

And I found myself standing in between them, the tension making my head suddenly hurt.

I really had enough excitement for one day, and this was the last thing I needed

Alicia seem to decide to back down first, her shoulders sagging as she let out a long resigning sigh.

"Look Ricky, I didn't come here to cause trouble and make things difficult, I just want to try and make peace with you, so we can both over what happened in the past, then we can move on like two adults should do," she then told him,

"And I thought that well, now you were married with a child of your own and everything, you might have matured enough to be reasonable, but perhaps I was wrong," she eyed him almost challengingly

"Surely you didn't expect me to welcome you with open arms," Ricardo retorted "Because that is not going to happen"

"No, I don't expect that, but I thought at least, after all this time you would have put the past behind you enough to no longer be quite so mad at me," she told him

"So what is you have come her for? To beg my forgiveness, to say you are sorry for the way you just walked out on us all, me especially?" he drawled tauntingly

"If that's what you want me to do.. Yes," she stated, "Only as I was saying to Melanie before you came in; my parents thought I should try and make some sort of peace with you. It's the only way they will let me come back and visit them here now and again.. They don't want you getting upset if you see me around, and falling out with them over it"

"I see," Ricardo replied tersely

"If you don't want to do it for me, at least do it for them," Alicia then pleaded

I could see Ricardo was struggling now, he was very fond of Alicia's parents, but at the same time he didn't want to appear to give in so easy, his pride was still smarting over what she had done to him in the past.

She walked over to him looking directly into his eyes, so he could see her sincerity

"Look, I understand your anger at me…and I am sorry for the way I treated you in the past, I regret it, if I hurt you. But it wasn't easy coming here tonight… So if you can find it in that stubborn heart of yours to forgive me just a little, I would be very grateful, just so I know it has not been a waste of time even trying," she told him quietly

"You are asking a lot," he told her curtly

"I know," she shot him a faint smile, "But I still had to try anyway.. Perhaps I should give you time to think it over" she then suggested

"Perhaps you should.. But I am not promising anything," Ricardo replied

Alicia just nodded, "Fine, I guess that's the best I am going to get for now.. I should go," she then realised

"Yes, I think that is a good idea," Ricardo agreed. His voice still tight

"Right!" she forced herself to smile despite the tense awkward atmosphere that surrounded us, and now looked across at me

"It's been good seeing you again Mel, take care."

She moved towards the door, and Ricardo stepped aside to let her leave. As she did so, she then glanced round at him in after thought "Oh congratulations on the triple somersault tonight, you were just great" she smiled.

His expression remained neutral and he didn't reply, then she turned towards the door again and was gone.

Ricardo was just staring at the caravan door after she closed it after her, I could see his jaw clench again, his expression a little grim..

Tentatively I went over to him, daring to speak "Are you alright?"

He now looked around at me as if just suddenly realising I was there,

"Yes I am fine, why shouldn't I be?" he replied a little curtly, as if offended slightly by my concern,

But then rubbed a hand wearily over his face, "I am tired. It's been a long day let's just go to bed," he then said

And I decided it was best to just comply, I realised whatever was going on in his head, he obviously was not ready to deal with the problem of Alicia just yet.

If course I wasn't really surprised that Ricardo was very restless that night as he lay beside me, but I sensed he was not in the mood for talking about it, so I pretended to be asleep even though my mind was also busy was going over all that had happened, especially with Alicia turning up

Exhausted, I finally did doze over for a little while only to wake up and find he was no longer next to me in the bed.

It was after three a.m. in the morning. A little concerned I got up to go and see if he was alright, wrapping my nightgown around me to go in search of him

I noticed the caravan door was slightly open, going over to investiage I found Ricardo sitting on the step looking up at the cloudy night sky, seeming lost in thought It didn't take much to discern what it was about.

"Hey," I greeted him, making him aware of my presence, so that he looked around at me

"I guess both of us are having trouble with sleeping tonight, even though we are tired," I then sighed

"I guess so," Ricardo replied

"Do you mind if I join you?" I then asked.

At first I thought he was going to tell me he preferred to be alone, but then after a moment's hesitation, he shifted over slightly

"If you really want to; go ahead, but I am not great company at the moment," he then warned

"That's ok," I replied, and shifted myself so I was sitting next to him, we were squashed together on the small step but that was ok because our body heat kept us that little bit warmer from the cold night air around us.

"It's been quite a night," I then casually remarked after a while, breaking the silence between us

"Yeah," was his only response and silence fell between us again

But my curiosity finally got the better of me, as I glanced at his profile, "Have you made up your mind what you are going to do about Alicia?"

"I don't really see why I have to do anything," he replied tightly

"But still, isn't her unexpected visit the reason why you are sitting out here, and not lying in bed sleeping," I pointed out gently

"Maybe," he shrugged and the silence resumed again, as if he didn't want to talk about her,

But I suddenly realised that I did

"I don't know about you, but her showing up again, has certainly brought some memories back to me that I would rather forget, especially the night she informed you that she was leaving the circus, I remember it all too clearly, though it is a little weird thinking back on it now"

He glanced around at me now, "Why is that?"

"Don't you remember?" I then said in surprise, "My Grandfather's caravan was almost next to hers, and you came steaming out of Alicia's, very angry afterwards, and discovered me at the door of my caravan and then started ranting at me, and accusing me of listening in and being nosy,"

Ricardo's eyes narrowed slightly, looking into the darkness in front of him, as if he was trying to recall it, "Oh yeah I think I vaguely remember," he replied shifting a little beside me

Even reminding him about it now, I still felt my face burn at the humiliating memory. "I was so frightened of you back then, and I remember just turning and running back into the caravan to hide. I use to do that a lot when you were around, trying to avoid you," I also reminded him sheepishly

"Yes, and it really wasn't that long ago either, when I think about it," he then mused, his eyes now resting on me and scouring my face intently, "But you don't want to run away from me anymore do you, Mouse?" he teased softly, using his old nickname for me.

Despite that, my heart felt like it was doing flipflops in my chest, because I knew he was was hinting at our new found intimacy, and now I couldn't quite meet his eye, making him chuckle and shake his head.

"Y'know, I use to find that shy awkwardness of yours really irritating," he then said, "But for some reason now; and I am not even sure why …it kindda turns me on," he confessed in his forthright manner

This only caused my face to burn even more, much to his amusement, "I bet you are sorry you came out here and sat with me" he then grinned

"Not really, I am finding it very enlightening actually," I replied recovering, and suddenly not feeling so tongue tied because he was in good humour again, even if it was at my expense

He now reached out to gently push a stray strand of my hair away from my face with his hand, with a slight smile, as his eyes searched my face "You are a funny little thing, do you know that," he then murmured, "I don't think I will ever figure you out, or what is going on in that head of yours,"

"Is that a bad thing?"I asked warily

"No," he shook his head, "far from it.. It's intriguing at times"

I couldn't help laughing a little at that, "I never thought of myself as intriguing,"

"Neither did I at first," Ricardo admitted with a small twisted smile, "So now we both have been enlightened"

" I guess so," I smiled back, then I dared myself to continue in a careful tone getting back on the main subject,

"I think Alicia would like you to enlighten her on your feelings where she is concerned"

"I bet she would," Ricardo replied suddenly looking a little grim at the mention of Alicia's name

"I mean it is understandable seeing her again would upset you," I then jumped in quickly, "when you think about it, you were in a long term relationship with her, and if she hadn't left the circus, you would probably be married to her by now, " I then pointed out philosophically

"Do you think so? Ricardo asked

"Well yes," I replied surprised he hadn't realised this himself, "You were always classed as the perfect couple, and everyone expected you to marry eventually"

"Everyone, apart from Alicia," Ricardo pointed out dryly, as he stared into space in front of him

"I guess that it must be hard for you, if you still care about her," I then said quietly looking down at my fidgeting fingers he looked round at me then, and I could feel his dark eyes regarding me

"You think I still care about her?" he asked with open curiosity, then pausing momentarily he continued almost casually,

"And if I did, then where exactly does that leave you?" His dark eyes resting on me intently, awaiting my reply with great interest

I found myself shrugging, unable to look into his face, "Does it really matter? after all you were more or less forced to marry me, so its not like we were in love or anything" I then pointed out

"No we were not," he agreed with a nod of his head looking thoughtful, as he continued to regard me

Then I felt his hand come under my chin, forcing me to look round at him, his expression deadly seriousness

"Actually, once I got over shock of the seeing Alicia again and the first anger faded, I am realising she doesn't really mean anything to me anymore. and espicially after this little conversation tonight, I know whatever feelings I had for her; they is well and truly gone. " he then informed me

"Really?" I couldn't hide the slight surprise in my tone

"Yes," Ricardo stated emphatically, looking a little retrospective, "She was right about one thing, too much has happened since then, and when I look at her; I just see an outsider, because that is what she is to me now,"

He then shrugged dismissively as he continued in a more careless tone, "So I don't care if she wants to come visit her parents, it won't bother me in the least, it has nothing to do with me anymore."

"I-I see," I replied, imagining that Alicia would be glad to know that at least

"Do you?" Ricardo queried softly with a small smile, closing in on me a little further, I could feel his warm breath on my face, His hand came up to now caress my cheek as he spoke his dark eyes boring into me with a fierce intensity

"Do you really understand that being my wife and the mother of my child, makes you very important to me?"

I couldn't reply, a strange yearning that seem to be swelling up in my heart, at the signifigance words, and the way he was looking at me, suddenly became so overwhelming, that I thought it was going to burst.

I felt his lips gently at first on mine, which only seem to increase the yearning inside me, and I responded to the feel of his mouth as it became long lingering kiss in which we were discovering our feelings for each other, in a whole new way; fanning the flames that welled up somewhere from deep within me as the kiss became more passionate, and I felt myself drowning in the sweetness of it

Finally Ricardo decided to release my mouth with a small contented sigh, his dark eyes smouldering, reflecting my own desire as he looked at me, "C'mon, I think we should go back to bed now" he suggested quietly, but full of meaning at the same time.

Then taking my hand, he helped me up to my feet, slipping his arm around my waist as and we went into the caravan still cloaked in an intimacy that promised to finish what we had just started...


Our daughter Maria was born just over nine months later, and instantly became the apple of her father's eye, and good company for little George.So I had my hands full once again with two small chuildren to care for, but despite this I enjoyed motherhood. and Ricardo continued concentrating on his trapeze act, now back to his full form.

It was four years since my Grandfather's death, and we had decided to go and visit his graveside where he was buried with my grandmother, and leave some flowers

Ricardo held five month old Maria in his arms, as George helped me put the flowers in the vase.

It was a rather solemn moment, and I found myself thinking about my Grandfather, and how he had brought about my marriage to Ricardo, recalling at the time, how I had felt dispair at the thought of having to spend the rest of my life with him of all people.

Funnily enough, I couldn't imagine my life without him now

Somehow despite our shaky beginning, it had worked out, and I don't think neither of us really figured out how it had happened,

It made me wonder if my Grandfather had known something that we didn't at the time.

I had been so scared and uncertain about my future after my Grandfather died and I was left in Ricardo's care

But as we left the graveyard along with our children later that afternoon, and felt the firm grasp of his hand in mine, I knew whatever had happened between us in the past, my future with him, was never more secure

The End


A.N: I have been toying with maybe doing a sequel to this.. maybe about their children when they have grown up a bit and how they deal with circus life

but it is only some vague ideas at the momen with no real plot.. so I will see how it goes.. thanks everyone for the lovely reviews I really enjoyed writing this story and the characters.

I think I am going to have trouble topping it now with anything else I write