Song I listened to for this chapter: Say (All I Need) by OneRepublic. (yep they are one of my favorite bands.)
Alice finishes with her shower and sighs in contentment. She can’t believe this is now her shower also. She steps out into the toasty warm bathroom and wraps herself in the robe that David has left her. She towel dries her hair and then hears a knock on the door.
She smiles; only David would knock on his own bathroom door. “Come on in.”
David opens the door and smiles at the vision of Alice in nothing but a robe. He tells her, “I already took one cold shower and seeing you there like that is not helpin’ matters.” He comes up to her and sees that she is looking for something, so he asks, “What you need, luv?”
Alice looks at him and says, “A comb or a brush.”
She indicates her hair and David grins. “I will take care of that if you can help me out by getting dressed.”
Alice laughs and nods. David turns around, grabs some clothes he has outside the door and hands them to her. He looks at her, remembering she has nothing but a robe on and groans. He pulls her to him and tells her, “I love you, Alice. But unless you want to see how sturdy this vanity is, I better go finish getting dressed.”
Alice laughs at him and gently pushes him out the door. Before closing the door, she tells him, “I prefer a comb, David!”
She turns, sees that he has grabbed some jeans, a light long sleeved shirt and a sweatshirt that she had cajoled him into getting yesterday. There is also some nice underwear that matched but weren’t lacy or anything racy like she thought he would have picked. Looking at them makes her smile – she has to support her Steelers! But, all in all, they are the perfect clothes to have to deal with a mess.
Before she can get upset, she tells herself, Deal with it when you get there.
She gets dressed and feeling funny, knocks on the bathroom door. She hears David call out to her and she goes in. He has made the bed while she was in the shower and is dressed similar to her in jeans and a sweatshirt. He is sitting on the bed with a comb in hand and pats the spot in front of him. She smiles, moves to the bed and sits in the indicated place.
David takes the comb and softly begins on her hair. He loves Alice’s hair and is glad to have the chance to be able to touch it and have his fingers running through it.
David asks her, “So I take it the shower gods were happy with your worship?”
Alice chuckles as she closes her eyes, enjoying him combing her hair, as she tells him, “They were most gratified. I told them any shower like that needed to be worshiped.”
David shakes his head grinning at her. “That’s good. We wouldn’t want them upset with us, would we?”
Alice also grins while she relaxes even more at the soothing feeling of him playing with her hair. She says, “Nope, they may take the hot water away. You may survive on cold water showers, but I need the hot water.”
David notes her reaction to him messing with her hair and groans, telling her, “I most definitely need us off of this conversation. Picturing you in a hot steamy shower is not helping matters. I give up – you win!”
Alice smirks, enjoying the fact that she can make this man feel this way about her. It is completely exhilarating.
David smiles to himself. He will do whatever is needed to make Alice more comfortable with the fact that she is desirable.
David continues to pull the comb through her hair and asks, “Alice, are you going to be okay with going over there today?”
By this time, Alice has relaxed completely and is practically goo under his talented hands. Answering him, she says, “As long as you are there and I can leave if it gets too bad.”
David puts the comb down when finished and folds her in his arms. “We can leave whenever you want, luv. If you just want to go through and find what you want to be delivered here we can. It’s up to you.” He has made some calls. Sam and Scott had told him the most offensive stuff was removed yesterday and that while it is not in the best shape, it is not as bad as it was before. They also assured him that they will all be there.
Alice sighs and tells him, “The sooner we go the sooner we can get this over with. The waiting is now getting to me.” David nods and they both get up and head downstairs after Alice slips on her tennis shoes.
They walk into the kitchen and he hands her the tea he’d made for her while she showered and asks what she would like to eat.
Alice thinks and then mischievously asks, “Do you have English Muffins?”
David grins and tells her, “Actually, I happen to like those, so yes. You want an egg or anything with it?”
Alice holds her hand to her mouth in horror and says, “Egg? Put an egg on an English muffin? Such blasphemy!”
David raises his hands in defeat, saying, “Oi! I’m sorry! English boy here.”
Alice grins at him. She watches as he puts the muffins in the toaster, hands her the butter and answering his raised eyebrow, she asks, “Apple Butter?”
At his puzzled expression, she stares at him. “You’ve been living here how long and you don’t know what apple butter is? I will order some later from Soergel’s.”
David remarks back to her, “And you call me blasphemous…”
He hands her the muffins and they eat quickly while finishing their tea. Alice thinks for a second and asks David, “Do you have a thermos? I didn’t have the heat on in the house, so it may be cold.”
David nods, goes and makes them a thermos of tea with honey already added to it. He holds out his hand and once she takes it, he leads her to the garage. He flips on the lights and she stares. It is full of cars and trucks. She sees the Jaguar and the Corvette from yesterday among many others. He leads her to a SUV and helps her get in the passenger side. He walks around, gets in the other side and turns the key already waiting in the ignition.
David looks at her and comments, “I thought this would be better for what we have planned today.” He hits the button for the garage door and exits while making sure he hits the button to close up not just the garage, but the house also.
Alice smiles and tells him, “You just want to show off your toys to me. David, I am already impressed, there is no need to pull out your toys. I am pretty sure from what I felt this morning, you don’t need to worry about your size.”
David laughs and takes her hand in his as he maneuvers down the driveway. “No, there are no worries on that end, luv. I am sure I will be able to meet your… needs.”
Alice grins at him. She watches him, noticing he is a conscientious driver that checks everything. When they come up to the guard shack, he slows and rolls the window down. He softly talks with them; mostly letting them know there may be some trucks with deliveries later, and to not let them up without him being there. They agree and he also offhandedly remarks that they need to change Alice to a resident status. The guard nods and opens the gate for him. David leans back, rolls the window up and takes her hand in his once again as he goes through the gate.
David asks, “Where am I going?”
Alice looks at him and asks where they were.
David glances at her when he realizes she has no idea where they really were. “Outside Sewickly Heights.”
Alice answers him, “Highland Park.”
David nods, squeezes her hand and then turns the car in the proper direction. Alice stares out the window and wonders what she is going to find once they arrive. She gets lost in thought until she feels David squeeze her hand again. She glances to him.
David is making sure no one is following them and when he notices no tail, he glances over to see Alice staring out the window with a worried look on her face. He guesses she is worried on what was waiting for her at her home.
He tightens his hand around hers to gain her attention and when she looks at him, he tells her, “Sam, Leigh, Scott and I will all be there. We will help, luv.”
Alice nods at him and glances out the window.
David frowns at his inability to make her feel better and asks her, “Well, since we will be living together, we need to cover some very important details, luv.”
Alice turns to him, asking, “Like what?”
David is relieved when he receives the verbal response and says, “Like what kind of pizza do you like and what do you like on top?”
Alice stares at him and chuckles. “Pizza is important?”
David glances at her like she is nuts. “Pizza is the best thing here in the States!”
Alice shakes her head. “I like Frank’s Pizza in Ambridge the best. I do either cheese or green peppers and onions.”
David chuckles. “Not 4th Street pizza?” At the face she makes to him, he nods and comments, “Well I can live with that. At least no anchovies. Dead pickled fish would have been a deal breaker.”
Alice laughs. “This coming from someone who commented he was an English boy? Don’t you eat beans with your breakfast?”
David shudders and comments, “That is one thing I have always hated – beans. Me mum tried to make me eat them and I flat out refused.”
Alice laughs harder at his expression. They continue to talk back and forth as David drives them into the city.
Eventually, the laughter dies out as they pull down Alice’s street. She directs him to the yellow house and he pulls in. Alice sees that her friend’s vehicles were already there among others and she stares at the house. She can see a lot of the windows had been broken.
David glances at her face, worried. He leans over the console and lightly grips her chin to face him. “Alice, if you don’t want to do this no one will blame you.”
Alice nods, stares into his warm chocolate brown eyes in order to ground herself and takes a deep breath. “I need to, David.”
He nods and asks her to wait. She agrees and he gets out of the SUV. David checks out the area as he makes his way to her side and opens her door. He helps her out and laces her fingers through his. He shuts the door and they make their way to her front door. He feels her grip his hand harder when she sees that someone had kicked their way through the solid door. But she doesn’t falter and they make their way inside. Only then does Alice stop dead while staring.
David looks and sees the devastation the bloody scum lickers had wrought on what should have been a comfortable room done in a light green and white. He pulls Alice into his arms and holds her quietly, reminding her silently that she is not alone and that he is there for her. Plus, it allows him to show his anger but also relief that Alice was not there when they did this.
“Alice!” They both jump at the voice. David doesn’t even see Leigh as she shoots across the room and collides with Alice, hugging her tightly. If it hadn’t been for David behind Alice, they would have both gone flying. Sam and Scott follow the ball of energy into the room at a more sedate pace. They both stand close and David has a flash of insight while looking at them. He smiles and says, “Leigh, while I don’t mind the hug, can we please not squish my girlfriend in the middle?”
As he suspects, Leigh screams and, more importantly, releases the two of them.
“Is it true?” She demands of Alice.
Alice smiles and nods. Leigh screams again, jumps up and down in place, completely excited. The four of them all break out into laughter at her antics. David watches her, enjoying her smile. Leigh had seen Alice’s face upon entering the house and has done what she can to make her best friend laugh again.
Leigh grabs Alice’s hand and pulls her towards the back saying that they have put what can be easily saved back there since it can be sealed up. Sam goes with them and David watches the girls walk off.
David looks over at Scott and tells him, “Jack sent her flowers both yesterday and today at the house. I didn’t know any better yesterday and allowed them into the house; today, the guards documented them and destroyed them.”
Scott’s face goes hard. “Did Alice see them?”
David moves where he can see Alice and nods, “She thought at first they were from me. When she realized who they were from, she was upset. I calmed her down and she told me everything.”
Scott glances at the girls, watches as Alice getting upset but still handling it well. Scott is also watching Sam as he says, “Everything?”
David catches his glance and nods. “Everything. The blooming arse wipe messed with her royally. But I am working with it. She admitted this morning she loved me.”
Scott looks at David shocked. “Wow. I didn’t see that coming for awhile yet.”
David smiles. “And she agreed to move in with me permanently. I was working on making sure until this was all solved, but I cannot tell you how happy it made me. We know it’s going to be work, but she is willing to do it.” He glances at Scott and tells him, “I told her how I felt the first day.”
Scott closes his mouth, looks at the girls but sees they are involved with Alice and doesn’t notice him. “Smart move, man. Honesty is going to go far with her after Jack.” He shakes his head, “I never would have seen this. I mean, she knows you care, you stuck by her in the hospital through her withdrawal, but for her to admit her feelings… you’re working magic, son.” He claps David on the back, moves forward and stands by Sam while Alice stands there looking at the small amount of stuff that they deemed salvageable.
Alice can’t believe the destruction and how little is able to be easily saved. She feels David wrap his arms around her as he tells her softly, “I am so sorry, luv. But seeing all this makes me relieved that you were not here.” He turns her to face him, looking her in the face and the relief on his face makes her blink. “So very glad you were not here, Alice.” And he pulls her closer to him, needing to reassure both of them that she is okay.
Alice realizes that he is right but… this is all she has left of her parents. And it is all just trash now except three measly pieces of furniture and a handful of pictures. She can’t help it; she breaks down in the safety of his arms.
David holds her to him, feeling absolutely helpless as his woman breaks. He looks at her friends and sees the same feelings mirrored in their faces. Scott holds Sam as she has tears falling down her face while watching her friend and Leigh stands there also, her tears falling quietly.
Leigh can’t help herself and breaking the stillness she rushes over to Alice and hugs her. Scott and Sam quickly follow. Alice is cocooned not only in David’s loving embrace, but by her friends as well.
After a little while she calms down and tries to explain. “This is all I have of my family.” David holds her tighter and closes his eyes against the pain in her voice.
Sam speaks up and tells Alice, “We just found these that can be taken now. There are others that can be fixed, Alice.”
Alice looks up and takes a deep breath; she stares at David’s face as he looks down at her. She nods at his look and he reaches up a hand while wiping away her tears. She takes the minute he offered her and gathers herself together.
Alice then turns to her friends and says, “Right. Well, I guess we need to see what else can be saved.” She then starts up the stairs to her bedroom. David glances at them, then follows her.
Sam watches the two and comments, “She admitted it to herself and him.”
Leigh nods and shares a smile between the two of them. “She might finally be able to get over Jack.”
Scott winces and Leigh catches it and turns to him, snapping, “Out with it, buster!”
Scott sighs and tells them, “Jack has been sending bouquets to Hatter’s place. The first one she saw and she told Hatter about Jack. The second was disposed of at the gate house.”
Sam and Leigh’s faces turn hard. Leigh sputters, “That… that…”
Scott supplies her with Hatter’s words, “Blooming arse wipe? At least, that’s what Hatter called him.”
Leigh stops and laughs. “Yep, that sums it up well. I imagine after listening to him after Alice’s treatments, raving over who put her in there, that he came up with other colorful terminology also.”
Sam grins remembering his rants when Alice couldn’t hear him. “He definitely has the benefit of living in England to, umm, let’s just say, expand his vocabulary.” She then cocks her head to the side. “And yet he treats Alice so well. So many contradictions wrapped up in him.”
Scott looks down at her, glad he finally has the sense to see what has been in front of him all along. “Are you worried about Alice?”
“Hmm,” Sam looks up at him and shakes her head. “No, not where Hatter is concerned. He loves her very much and will treat her well. No, I am worried about her and how she will handle them being together once everything has calmed down.”
With dismay, Alice surveys the room that had always been her safe hide away. She knows they have tried to clean it up, but she can smell what had been done in there.
David is livid. He knew they had cleaned up the physical proof of what had been done, but it still reeked. No wonder Leigh told him nothing would be able to be used. Even if she hadn’t, he would have gotten Alice a new wardrobe the second he had found out. That some man, or with as bad as the smell is, many men would do that in here, bothered him and made him absolutely furious. He watches Alice and sees her set her shoulders with grim determination.
Alice decides that enough is enough. She will get what she can out of there, then once they are done, she will have the house gutted and redone from the ground up. She turns and asks David if he can move her bed.
David nods and helps her move it off to the side. He then sees a piece of the floor that is a little off color than the rest of the room.
Alice kneels down, probes with her fingers gently on the baseboard and comments to him, “Sam and Leigh never knew about this. They wondered why I picked this room instead of the one across the hall which is bigger and had a bathroom to it.”
She finds the clasp and pulls on it.
The floor drops some and then moves to the side. In the cubby hole is a box. Alice stares at it, relieved to see it there and unharmed. Remembering how heavy it had been when she first put it in, she turns to David. “It may be too heavy, but if you can lift it, it needs to come with us.”
David nods, drops down to the floor and works to lift the box. He manages it barely with the room he has and brings it out of the cubby hole while placing it gently on the floor. Alice watches him and tells him softly, “Thank you.”
David looks over at her and tells her, “You don’t have to thank me, Alice.” He is angry and she lifts her head to meet his eyes. He realizes she is over the grief and has now transitioned into anger. She studies his face and nods, realizing he feels the same as her.
She stands up and, looking over the room, realizes that nothing else was really irreplaceable. The only things that mattered are in the box, as well as the fact that she is alive and has a place now with a loved one. She still goes over the house with David, Sam, Leigh and Scott. The four of them decide what can be kept. She indicates the items she will like at the house and the rest is too destroyed by various means to keep.
When they are finished Alice is sick to her stomach and wants to go home and sit under scalding water. She feels dirty. David carries out the box that is to go home with them tonight and makes sure the rest will be delivered to the house tomorrow.
He then sees the exhausted faces of her friends and asks them softly, “Are you able to make it home? If not, the SUV will hold all of us and you can stay either at the house or in one of the guest houses.”
Scott tells him, “I will make sure they get home. Take care of her.”
David nods and gets in the driver’s seat. Alice is lightly sleeping in the passenger seat already. He can still see the look of disgust on her face and is happy that the SUV is quiet while running so she can get at least a little peace. He thinks for a second, then rolls down his window and asks Leigh what Alice likes to use for shampoo and stuff.
Leigh gasps and tells him to hold on. She runs to her car and comes back with an overnight bag that she hands to him. “I bought her stuff yesterday and forgot to give it to you earlier. I packed all her things.”
David nods, relieved he can take Alice straight home. “Thanks Leigh.”
She nods and tells him, “Thanks for taking care of her, Hatter.” She walks away.
David watches her get into her car, thinking over the amazing friends Alice has and then drives away to their home.
He keeps glancing at the mirrors, mindful of Alice’s earlier thoughts, but sees no one following them. He doesn’t think they would; they probably got their kicks off while watching her at her house, he thinks.
Glancing at Alice sleeping restlessly, he calls up to the house cams on the in-dash screen. When he sees that all is fine, he turns on the lights and the fire in the bathroom. He knows he needs a shower and looking at Alice, he knows she needs to scrub off what has happened at her house from her, both in mind and body.
He drives up to the gate, rolls down the window for the guard but indicates Alice and the guard nods. He continues with his checks silently. He waves them through and David nods his thanks. He has no issues since the normal way in can be duplicated electronically if someone tried it within five minutes of him; he has them check the cars.
He drives up the long driveway and is relieved to see the house lit up and looking warm and inviting. Checking the dash again, he sees no signs of any forced entry. He opens the garage and pulls in, the garage doors automatically closing behind him.
Looking at Alice, he decides to put the box in the safe room hidden in the den and then come back for her. He flips a button on the wall as he passes it and the lights dim, but as he walks through to his den he watches her on the monitors. He puts the box in the safe room and goes back for Alice. He opens her door, unbuckles her and softly tells her, “Alice, we’re home, luv.”
When she doesn’t answer, he decides to just carry her to their room. He picks up the overnight bag from Leigh, picks up Alice, closes the car door with his foot and carries her up to their room while hitting all the buttons he can reach in order to seal the house. He doesn’t really want to leave her side if possible tonight.
As he carries her up the stairs, she wakes up and looks at him. “David?”
“Shh Alice. I’m taking us up to our room.” David concentrates on making it up the stairs. He is as exhausted as if he had been mixing for hours and it is 5am instead of only being 7pm.
Alice feels like she is going to be ill and tells him, “David, I need to shower. I don’t feel good.”
David looks down at her, realizes she is slipping into shock from the harrowing day. He hurries her to their bathroom. He is glad he had turned on the fireplace since it shares a wall with the bedroom when it is fully lit. He has lowered the steel guard so that both rooms will be warm for them and it is welcome as he carries her through. He puts her down so that he can start the shower and hears her dry heave into the toilet. David comes in and holds her hair for her as she is sick.
Alice sits down, completely exhausted. She had been unable to eat anything once at her house and she gasps while shivering. David picks her up and comments as he undresses her quickly, “This was not the way I imagined me seeing you for the first, luv.”
Alice smiles weakly at him but feels awful. She can barely stand and David realizes this quickly. He swears to himself and quickly strips as he holds her up. He picks her up, walks them both in the shower. He closes his eyes in appreciation of the hot water, but he can feel her still shivering.
David puts her down and tries to rub warmth into her as he turns up the temperature. He flips a switch and steam comes out with the water. He holds her to him, desperate to warm her up.
After five minutes, he feels her finally relax. David relaxes with her and they slump down to the ground as the water beats down on them. He pulls her into his arms tightly. She shivers every once in a while, but it is nowhere as bad it was earlier.
David sits there holding her, realizing how angry he is at the people who did this. But at the same time, he is amazed at Alice’s strength. She fell apart once, but she pulled herself together and held it in until now, where only he can see it. He feels humbled at the trust she has in him. He holds her close as the water pours over them, helping cleanse the memories.
Alice slowly becomes aware of warmth and David holding her. She raises her head, realizes he has her in the shower and is holding her close while keeping her warm. She can barely see the walls through the steam. She looks up at him and sees him watching her.
David reaches down, kisses her softly and then asks, “Better, luv?”
She nods, realizing he is in there with her and they are both naked. She glances at him and blushes.
David smirks at her glance. He knows she is feeling better with that little glance and the blush. He reaches up with one hand, pulls her face up to him and kisses her passionately. He breaks the kiss and tells her again, “When you are ready, luv. I am not pushing for anything at all, just needed to be sure you were alright. The shower gods may have drowned you without me here, since you wouldn’t have been able to acknowledge them. And I couldn’t let that happen until at least you have lived here for a little bit; makes me look bad if I lose my girlfriend in a couple of days of us being together and my housemate of less than 24 hours.”
Alice smiles at him and says softly, “We can’t have that, can we?” And then she reaches up and pulls him down to her in order to finish the kiss he had started earlier. He moans into her mouth and when the kiss ends, he kisses down her chin and up to her ear as she sits there panting in his arms. “Alice.”
He pulls back and looks at her to make sure she knows what she is doing. Alice looks back at him and tells him, “I need you, David. I need to feel that there is love and good in this fucked up world of ours.”
David stares at her and realizes she had recognized that smell in her room. He holds her closer and whispers, “I’m so sorry, baby. I am so, so sorry.”
He holds her as she breaks again and sobs. “Who the hell does that sort of sick shit?” David can only hold her since he doesn’t have an answer for her. He has seen some messed up stuff in his life, but today certainly took the cake. He holds her, kisses her, tells her he loves her and he agrees with her over and over. While at the same time he knows, if he ever catches who had done it, they likely would not live through it. Not after watching Alice like this.
Alice calms down, looks up at David through her eyelashes and takes in his look. She understands him and agrees with it.
Then thinking about where they were, she leans away and takes him in completely. She likes what she sees; she really likes what she sees. He is lean and wiry, but he has muscles in all the right places. She looks up and sees him smirk as he asks her, “Like what you see, luv?”
She smirks back, knowing he has looked her over as well. “Mmm, oh yes. Did you like what you see?”
David moans and looks at her through his hair hanging in his eyes. “Alice, I am trying to behave and you are not helping matters at all.” He straightens and tells her while staring in her eyes, “I love what I see and I want to taste you, feel you, hear you under me. I want to claim you as mine and hear you cry my name out as I make you come. I want you to hear me call out your name as I come inside you and make you mine. Is that clear enough, luv, on how I feel right now?” He stares down at her with his desire and lust making his eyes dark and she feels him stirring under her.
Alice is completely turned on and gasps, “David!” as she kisses him. He tightens his hold on her as he kisses her fiercely. When they break for air, he tells her, “Are you sure, Alice? Are you absolutely sure you want me right now?”
Alice stares at him. She can feel how badly he wants her and she asks him, “How?” How can he keep making sure she knew it was purely her choice?
David looks at her and tells her softly, “Because I love you. Because I don’t want you to ever regret it. Because I want to romance you and not have this be because of something somebody else did. Because I want you to want me for the right reasons. But, with all that said, if you really want me, I will make you scream with pleasure before I finish with you.” He looks at her and gently says, “We have all the time in the world to do this, Alice. There is no need to rush it and every reason to build up to it as we have started to. The only difference now is that we may be more comfortable with each other’s bodies and may move quicker. I am not joking when I say I want you.”
Alice realizes she really has found a diamond in the rough. She leans her head down on his chest and realizes he is right. She wants him now not for love, but for something else. And she wants all the same things he wants.
David calms down, knowing she has come to her senses. He leans his head on hers. “I do want you, Alice.”
Alice replies wearily, “I know David and I want you. But I want you like you said; I want it all from you, what I never have had in the past. The romance, the love, what we have been doing.”
David kisses her head and says, “You know that never ends right? Even after we get married and have kids, I will still be worshiping you and loving you. But the act should be part of that, not what this would have been. But I would have done it for you and spent the rest of time proving that I love you.”
Alice sighs, looks up at him and whispers, “I love you. I love the fact you did this for me.”
David stares down at her. He then sighs, noticing the look on her face and tells her softly, “We need to get out and get us to bed. This has been quite a day and I am looking forward to just tumbling into sleep with you in my arms.”
Alice nods sleepily. David carefully stands up with her still in his arms and hits the all stop button. He sets Alice down and moves out of the shower to grab them both towels. He wraps one around him. David sees her sway with exhaustion and helps her dry off, walking with her to the bedroom. He guides her to the bed and then goes to find something for her to wear. He is too tired to search through the bags they had yet to unpack, so he grabs a shirt and some boxers of his for her to wear, and a pair of boxers and lounge pants for himself. He changes quickly and comes back to help Alice. Once she is dressed, she falls back to the bed and he tucks her in.
Alice reaches for him as he leaves and murmurs, “David?”
He shushes her and dropping a quick kiss on her forehead, telling her, “I need to make sure security is set and I’ll be right here.”
David goes downstairs, sends a quick message to the guard shack that no one is to contact them until he wakes in the morning. He then switches on the security. Owing to his own unease at what has been done to Alice’s place, he flips a switch. He can see the shades pulling down and the extra security cameras turn on. He nods once the security light comes on showing the premises are safe. He puts the lights on a 30 second timer and moves back to their room.
The lights turn off before he gets there, but the moonlight coming through the window shows him Alice in their bed and he smiles. He crawls into bed and before he can completely settle, Alice turns, slides into his arms and sighs. He looks down, sees her fall back asleep and that is his last memory as he falls asleep while holding her tightly to him, unwilling to ever let her go.