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Chapter Twelve

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Henry never made it to the school gates before they closed for the night. We missed the security guard by eight minutes and the number the company gave staff to call in case of an emergency was permanently engaged.

I wondered if I should call Mr. Adler, but thought better of it. The poor guy had enough on his plate. The last thing he needed to do was trek halfway over town for me. My car would be secure in there, and Henry promised me a lift back in the morning.

Ever the gentleman.

We stopped off at his parents' house on the way back to collect Mabel, but not before Gene ushered us inside the house for a drink first. I had the hardest time saying no to this family, so happily went along with it, not expecting a spread of delicious food to be waiting on the dinner table. They were having a family get-together like they always seemed to do.

Gene guided me towards the food with a kiss on the cheek. "You guys have a fun night?"

I nodded. "We did. It smells great in here."

Henry passed over a plate before taking one for himself, digging into the roast potatoes like a man who hadn't eaten in months.

"Help yourself while it's still warm. The kids have already eaten, but, us adults have just started," Gene said.

The cod wrapped in Parma ham had my name written on it. And, as soon as it hit my plate, I realised I'd not said hello to anybody sitting around the table. "I didn't get the chance to say hello."

Miles grinned at me with his lip ring showing under the light from across the table. "We won't hold it against you."

I shrugged my shoulders with a grin. "I didn't want to be rude!"

He chuckled along with me. "It's fine."

Sitting to my right, Henry filled my plate with all the different dishes. "You must try mum's cabbage. It's got bits of fried bacon in it."

The fork was between my fingers at bacon. "Oh, let's try it."

"Ah, wait for me," he whispered, taking back the cutlery in my hand to pair the cabbage with the roast chicken.

I let him slip the forkful of food in my mouth, eyes lost on his face when he eagerly waited for my response. "That's so good."

Going back to my plate, he got some for himself. "I know, right? It's next-level stuff."

We were so involved in the food and each other we failed to notice the table watching us. I peeled my eyes from Henry to let them fall on his sister, who to my surprise looked ... somewhat happy. We'd not gotten off to the best start, and I wanted to change that, so I gave her a small smile to which she reciprocated.

Donna went back to eating from her plate before speaking. "I made the cabbage this time. I wanted to learn the recipe from mum because it's always such a hit."

Henry cleared his throat, using the napkin at his side to wipe at his mouth. "You'd never know if you hadn't told us. It's delicious."

She batted at the air. "I had help. Did-" she broke off as if she lost her train of thought before regaining it with the shake of her head. "Did you guys have fun tonight?"

Henry blinked his smoky green eyes, then flicked them towards Donna before finding me. "Yeah, we did."

He was as surprised as me at the potential olive branch his sister was holding out to us. I spoke up. "The plan was to go bowling, but that didn't happen, so we went to the arcades instead."

Donna nodded as if we invested her in the story, which was strange to me, considering she wanted me out of her house the first time we met. "Oh, I bet it was like old times! You know, being a kid."

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