This story is set some time after the season two finale, which left Paul Weston in a reasonable place, from which we all hope he can begin to re-build his life.

With the show's future still unknown, I simply couldn't resist dredging Paul's depths a little more, to see what could be brought to the surface ...

Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. On the contrary - they own ME.

Paul Weston is the hungriest man in New York.

He'd fallen asleep in his chair after his last patient had left, hours and hours ago. The day, what remained of it, had slipped out the back way whilst he slept and now his apartment is dark and cold and cavernous and more unfriendly than he could ever remember it feeling since the day he had moved in. Brooklyn moves and pulses around him outside, perfectly in character, but the warmth of the city somehow fails to get through to him.

He glares balefully at the contents of his refrigerator. Unusually, none of the ingredients seem to inspire him towards staggering heights of culinary excellence. Normally he loves to cook but since it has become an everyday necessity rather than a leisure pursuit, his passion has cooled a little. There was a time not so long ago when he adored to busy himself in a kitchen - the activity, the sense of achievement that he got from preparing, say, chowder or a rice pilau from scratch did his heart good (if not his waistline.)

What's worse is that today, Paul Weston really does need a cold beer and lots of stodgy comfort food, especially after his last patient -the chef from the local bistro that Paul had begun to frequent regularly. Not any more. With the chef now on Paul's books, he realises sourly, the bistro is firmly out of bounds. He can't go in there again. The chef had come to Paul's office late this afternoon and he'd been wearing his work clothes; reeking pungently if innocently of garlic, paprika, tarragon, chicken stock and even - Paul closes his eyes to try and better hold the smell down in his mind - raw beef.

The sound of his door chime makes him jump. He is standing in the darkness, illuminated only by the light of his fridge. (If the state of the refrigerator is testament to his ongoing problems in adjusting to life as a singleton, his reaction to the new doorbell is even more so.)

He moves without a great deal of enthusiasm towards his front door.

"Who is it?"

"Pizza delivery!"

"I didn't order pizza."

"No, but I did. And I'm starving. Open the door, Paul!"

For a moment Paul thinks that the woman on the other side of the door is Mia - Mia, who at one time was so intent on regaining control of her therapy sessions that she had turned up one morning with coffee and breakfast - supposedly for the two of them to share together - and had marched through to his kitchen diner like Hitler over-running Poland.

"I didn't order pizza," he says again, but dully, in a daze. For he has realised who the woman on the other side of the door is. It's Laura.

To Be Continued.