Paul had decided to wait until later that evening when his restaurant had closed, and the customers where all gone, before he showed Alison around the rest of the premises.
After having had the privilege of having a free meal from the kitchen, which she had enjoyed; she was more curious about the place and wanted to find out more
Some of the staff were doing the last of the cleaning up before leaving for the night when she accompanied Paul downstairs as they seen Harvey to the door as he had to go. Giving Alison a goodnight hug and telling her he hoped to see her again soon.
The chairs were being stacked on the tables which were now stripped of the table clothes and had been wiped down and now they were getting ready to mop and brush the dark blue tiled floor
With Harvey gone, Alison now glanced around the restaurant, admiring the décor of the pale blue panels with little mock Victorian style gold gilt lamps around the walls, Paul was informing her he was thinking about getting the place redecorated again when Joe appeared, needing to discuss some business that had came up with Paul.
"It's ok," Alison assured Paul when he looked at her apologetically, "I'll hang around here, maybe help the girls finish clearing up, you go ahead and do what you have to"
"I won't be long, I promise" Paul replied giving her a quick kiss on the cheek and then following Joe out towards the kitchen.
Alison approached one of the young fair haired waitresses who appeared to be around the same age as herself, and was wearily stacking the chairs on the tables, looking too tired to even pay her any attention.
"Excuse me, can I give you a hand with that?" she asked
The waitress stopped what she was doing, as her green eyes assessed Alison a little uncertainly, now that she had got over the surprise of Alison asking in the first place, she was not sure how to respond to her unexpected offer of help.
After all this was her bosses new lady
"Well, you can if you like," she gave a slight shrug and trying to be diplomatic , "but you don't have to do it; I am not sure what Paul will think" she finished warily
"Ack never mind him, I like to make myself useful, and he knows that, so he won't care, and if he does have something to say about it., he will have me to deal with, so don't worry about it" Alison said dismissively
The young woman smiled, seeming to find Alison's statement amusing, and became a little more relaxed around her "Well, if you are sure its ok" she then relented
"Yes, I might as well, after all, its better than standing around twiddling my thumbs till he comes back" Alison said briskly, going around and lifting up one of the chairs to put it up on the table.
As she helped and chatted Alison discovered the waitresses name was Donna, and her other two companions who were brushing and mopping were called Emma and Kirsty
She discovered Donna was wanting to go into the catering business herself one day, whilst Kirsty who had just turned eighteen was working hard to save for her forthcoming wedding the following year, and Emma worked part time, as she was studying at business college and needed the job to help see her through financially.
They had been curious about how she and Paul got together, so she had told them, but had been careful not to mention the incident at the beach.
Instead she skimmed over that part, and told them they had become friends because she lived in the next cottage to where he had been staying, and she had ended up helping him out.
They had laughed and found it funny when she told them about his attempt to light a fire, and how he had forgot how to fix up a fishing pole, so she had ended up assisting him.
Donna, who had worked for Paul the longest for over two years, had then informed Alison that she couldn't believe how down to earth she was compared to his other girlfriends; especially his ex wife Holly, she then revealed that Holly would hardly spare them a second glance, and swanned around with her nose in the air like she was the queen bee, and never would have offered to help clear up with them the way Alison had offered.
By the time Paul came out to find her, worried that she would be mad at him for keeping her hanging around on her own for the last twenty minutes; he found her standing chatting away and laughing with his three waitresses as if she had known them all her life.
It made him stop in his tracks and smile, as he realised this was just typical of her. He recalled how she had been just that bit over familiar with him also on that fateful night that had made him sit up and pay her attention. So he shouldn't be too surprised that she seem to have become best of friends already with half of his staff.
"Hey girls, I hate to break up the party, but we all have homes to go to, and its late" he reminded them as he joined them, his arm sliding around Alison's waist almost possessively as he pulled her against him.
"Ack I was so busy chatting with you all, I have been holding you back from going home, I am sorry" Alison immediately apologised in realisation.
"Don't worry about it," Donna replied easily, "We don't live too far from here anyway, so it won't take us long; besides its been nice talking with you and getting to know you" she smiled
"Same here," Alison replied.
"You girls can go ahead now, I will lock up," Paul then told them, and they finally left, after bidding them both goodnight.
"Sorry if I kept you waiting around too long," Paul apologised to Alison
"Don't be silly, I didn't mind, actually it give me a chance to talk with the girls and get to know your staff a bit. They all seem very nice and friendly, that was once I convinced them you wouldn't get mad because I helped them finish cleaning up for the night" she grinned
"I might have known, you would end up doing something like that," Paul chuckled hugging her to him, "I will let you all off with it this time, as long as they don't make a habit of it," he warned
"Yes sir," she grinned
Paul made sure the premises was locked up and secured before they left, then he and Alison were crossing the road to his car when he heard the female voice call out his name making them stop
Standing next to him, Alison was sure she heard him mutter a swear word under his breath as he caught sight of the slim red head who was walking quickly towards them
"Paul Morratti where have you been hiding yourself?" she demanded as she got closer
"Hello Selina," Paul replied with a tight smile as she casually latched onto his arm
"Well, I heard you had finally got divorced from Holly, I was sure I would see you out celebrating in the clubs now you are available again, I was kindda hoping I would run into you, and we could maybe get together and renew our previous brief acquaintance, seeing you are a free man now" she purred suggestively
Paul shifted uneasily, pulling his arm free from her hold, whilst his other arm went hastily around Alison' shoulder, she had been just standing a little behind him, and Selina had probably not even seen her in the darkness, but Paul was making sure she did now
"Uhh Selina, I would like you to meet Ali," he then said with deliberation
"Oh!" Selina's hazel eyes widened in realisation, and she looked suitably embarrassed
"I am so sorry, I didn't even notice you," she then apologised with an awkward laugh.
"It's ok," Alison replied smiling, she couldn't help but be slightly amused by the situation; she wasn't sure who was more embarrassed Paul or this Selina, who had obvious been on intimate terms with him, judging by the conversation she had just overheard
Selina was now eyeing them both as if sizing up the new situation, "Well I guess that explains why I haven't seen you around, you have obviously been otherwise occupied already" she finished meaningfully
"Yeah, something like that," Paul returned still seeming slightly uneasy
"Well you certainly don't waste time, but that's just typical of you" she chuckled her tone full of insinuation, "Anyway it was nice running into you again, and you too" Selina shot Alison a quick smile, realising Paul was not going out of his way to converse with her further, and finally getting the hint that she wasn't exactly welcome,
"But I had better be on my way now, I am meeting up with some girlfriends, and I don't want to keep them waiting" and giving them a quick wave she turned and hurried back up the street again.
"Sorry about that," Paul apologised still looking uneasy
"So you should be, you didn't even introduce us properly," Alison replied light heartedly, "How well were you acquainted with her anyway?" she then enquired with idle interest
"Um not really that much. She use to work on the production team for the company that does my TV show, and we can ended up together after one of our wrap parties a few years back, but it was just a one night thing" he then hurriedly assured her
"Well she obviously was hoping for something that lasted a bit longer by the sound of it" Alison couldn't help remarking on her observation of Selina's conversation as she now studied Paul's face under the light of the street lamp
"Well she is out of luck, I have no desire to get reacquainted with her or anyone else. I am already spoken for, and I only have time for one girl in my life now, and that is you" he stated squeezing her to him tighter as if to reiterate his statement.
"I am glad to hear that," Alison replied, "Still, its a pity Selina had to rush off like that, but I am wondering how many other of your ex girlfriends I will have a chance to run into now I am in London.. It could prove very insightful"
Paul's expression suddenly took on a look of dismay as the impact of her words started to dawn on him, he obviously had never given it much consideration until now, and seemed horrified that the scenario could have a chance to become a reality.
In the end Alison decided to put him out of his misery unable to contain her mirth at his expression, she burst out laughing
"You are daft at times you know that; don't you realise I am only teasing you?" she said mow wrapping her arms around him.
"You can relax, I am not going to judge you by whatever happened in your past, and I don't care what went on with the other women in your life, that would just be dumb. After all you made me quite aware if the kind of things you got up to before, and how much you regretted most of it, so you can stop fretting," she reassured him
She felt the tension leave his body as she spoke and the look of relief come into his blue eyes, but it was also mixed with slight censure
"Alison Stewart, you are a little Irish minx," he reprimanded her lightly, "you really had me worried there for a while" he then admitted
"Sorry," she apologised, "But I just couldn't resist it" she finished with giggle
"When we get back to my place you are going to have to make it up to me" Paul informed her, his gaze showing his hungry desire as he continued, "And I know exactly how you are going to do it"
The insinuation was not lost on Alison, who just grinned back, and grabbed his hand,
"Well lets not waste anymore time standing around here then," she told him, "And I promise I will do my best to try and make it up to you" and with that she led him towards the car.
A.N: For all those people who want the story to last longer… I am drawing it out as much as possible, but I reckon maybe another four five chapters and it will probably be finished