A/N: Yet another chapter! Don't know how good it is but I promise that the story is going to get better! :P But I think this one is cute in its own way! :)

Anyway, hope this one is okay!

Enjoy!

A Thing Of Beauty Is A Joy Forever
Chapter Seven - My Return

It was around five months before I saw Bert again and oh how I had missed him! Of course – as I said before – I absolutely adored my job and the first family I worked for were actually quite lovely; they were the Hudson family, an averaged sized upper-class family and I was hired to take care of three young boys: George (10), Richard (7) and Peter (5). I know that three boys sound like a handful, but I really think they were an easier task, especially in comparison to some of my other families (not that I'm speaking ill of anyone, of course!)

But the boys were lovely, they were just excitable and their parents didn't give them the attention the deserved and desired. I remember that their father was a businessman, but unfortunately, I cannot recall exactly how he made his money and their mother had never desired to be a housewife – she spent most of her time out in the city than in her own home. Still, the boys were sweet and always seemed to make me smile and although I was incredibly sad when I left, there was a flutter of relief in my chest because I knew that I would be returning to Bert.

He was a screever that day and I'll never forget the way my heart began to gallop as I saw his lean frame hunched over his creations. I felt myself smiling uncontrollably. I took a few moments to look at him – perhaps even admire him – I loved the way his face was soft when he drew and how he was so absorbed in the world of his work rather than any hurt he might find in the world. He looked so peaceful and almost innocent – like watching a wild animal flourish in their natural habitat. But I couldn't resist and eventually made my way over to him. I stood in front of him – my shadow casting over his drawings – but he seemed to not notice for a while, until he took in the shape of my silhouette. I heard him whisper, it sounded like…

"Wait…is that…?"

His eyes shot up to me and I'd never seen a smile so big!

"Mary Poppins!" he exclaimed as he hopped to his feet and wrapped his arms around me. The gesture had surprised me since working with such an upper-class family like the Hudson family had made me slightly prudish, but after a split second, after feeling and remembering Bert's soft hold, I melted into him and returned the embrace.

"I've missed you, Bert" I said quietly.

"I've missed you too, Mary" was his reply and he gave me a slight squeeze.

It had only been months, but I can tell you that it felt like it had been a lifetime. I think it's true that you never truly, truly know how lucky you are to have somebody in your life until you are without them. Of course, before I started work I knew how special Bert was and how blessed I was to have him as a friend, but it wasn't until I had been without him for five straight months that I realised just how much of a support he was in my life. Of course, we still wrote to each other whilst I worked, but the bounds of my employment kept me so much further away than school ever did.

Bert eventually pulled out of our embrace and smiled warmly at me.

"Come an' sit down, tell me all about your first family" he said proudly as he led me over to a nearby bench.

"Well, I was assigned to the Hudson family who live in Oxford and I was instructed to take care of Mr and Mrs Hudson's three sons -"

"—Three boys?! Crickets! That must've been an 'andful!" Bert exclaimed.

"You know, I thought it would be that way too - especially since they were the first family in my care - but in all honesty, the boys were fairly well behaved"

"Really?"

"Really. They acted up occasionally – all children do – but they certainly weren't dysfunctional in any way…and that confused me because Mr Hudson spoke of them as if they were the worst children in all of England! He said that they were so badly behaved that they'd gone through over nine nannies in the last three months!"

"Why would 'e say that if it weren't true?"

"I wondered that for a while, but then I realised something: when I was alone with the boys or when I took them on outings, they were as good as gold, the only time they acted up was when their parents were around…I realised then that they only misbehaved as a cry for attention"

"Attention?"

I nodded.

"Their parents barely even acknowledged their presence, Mr Hudson was always working and Mrs Hudson had no interest in being a mother…I know that not all women wish to be housewives, but I believe that once you have children it is your duty to love and care for them…Mr and Mrs Hudson didn't do that and so it left their three boys feeling so neglected…Oh, Bert, it was just heart-breaking!"

"But you fixed it didn't ya, Mary? You made things better?" he tried to soothe me.

"Eventually they realised just how important their children were…but there are so many families out there like them that need support and guidance…"

"An' you'll 'elp them too, Mary…you'll fix every last one"

"I hope so…"

There was a moment of silence. At the time, I was rather disturbed by the neglect the Hudson boys received and unfortunately it was something I got used to seeing…but it never truly stopped hurting.

"Enough about me-" I eventually said, "—what have you been doing with yourself for these last few months?" I asked him.

He smiled and gave a slight shrug.

"Same as usual…a bit of everythin' really…mostly been workin' with the sweeps or been drawin' down 'ere"

"I'm ever so glad you've continued to draw – you really are extremely talented!"

I'll never forget the way he blushed when I said that. He gave a slight giggle.

"Thanks" he replied – his cheeks now crimson, "There's no way I could've given up drawin'…it always makes me think of our little jolly 'olidays" he said sweetly.

I rested my head on his shoulder.

"I really have missed you" I whispered.

"I've missed you too"

Luckily, my next assignment was in London and there were many more jolly holidays to come.

A/N: Did you like that? I think it's cute - like I said, the romance is going to increase over the next few chapter, so fear not!

Anyway, I'd love to hear your thoughts! xxx