Disclaimer:Doc Martin is the property of Buffalo Pictures. I own nothing except my over active imagination.

Happy Ever After – The Real World

Follows on from 'Beauty and The BeastHappy Ever After?

Chapter 1

As I stepped in through the front door, I was glad to leave the cold, dark, miserable December evening behind me. The house was warm and welcoming, and I could hear Louisa upstairs with James Henry. He was laughing and giggling as she played with him.

'Round and round the garden like a teddy bear, one step, two step, tickle you under there!' I heard her chanting to him.

"I'm back," I called out as I made my way up the stairs.

"So, how did it go?"" Louisa asked, looking up at me as I reached the doorway to the nursery. I could see James was having his nappy changed as part of his bedtime routine, and I was glad I had got back in time to see him before he went to bed.

"Lot to think about. We'll talk later. How's he been today?" I went over and felt his forehead to see if he was in any way feverish. There were a lot of viruses doing the rounds as was usual at this time of year, but he seemed fine as he smiled up at me happily. At least now that Louisa was on holiday from school for the Christmas break, she could concentrate on being at home and looking after our baby. Roger Fenn's wife Maureen was a reasonable enough child minder I supposed, she had clearly been the best choice from the list of the local registered child minders, but I was still happiest when James was being looked after by his mother.

"He's just fine and dandy, aren't you my handsome little man, hmm," Louisa cooed as she held our son up to nuzzle his neck and blow raspberries, a game which clearly he loved as he chuckled and grinned and showed off his new little bottom front tooth. She then proceeded to dress him in a bright red all in one nightsuit with the words 'My First Christmas' emblazoned across the front, and then passed him over to me to hold as she disposed of the soiled nappy. It was just a week before Christmas, so I supposed that was why Louisa felt the need to dress him in such garments.

I held him close and marvelled yet again at how comforting it was to hold him, a feeling that he seemed to reciprocate as he happily snuggled into my chest, so that I could feel his soft blonde baby hair just under my chin. Instinctively I patted his back and gently rocked him – where these instincts had come from I knew not, as my parents had certainly never shown the slightest sign of them towards me. But there was no doubt that James Henry and I were relaxed and comfortable in each others company in a way that I had never experienced with anyone else in my life before, and it meant the world to me. If someone had told me a year ago that I would feel this way about a small baby I would have scoffed and told them not to be so ridiculous, but it was true. I loved him and I loved his mother more than I would ever had dreamed possible, which was why I had given up my plans to return to London to stay in this ridiculous Cornish backwater.

"Right, I'll just feed him, and hopefully he'll go down for the evening, and you can tell me all about how it went today. And then I can give you the list of jobs I need you to do this weekend please Martin," Louisa informed me.

"I do hope you aren't expecting me to undertake any kind of activity associated with putting up ridiculous Christmas decorations. I think I've made my feelings on the matter perfectly clear," I grumbled. I couldn't think of anything worse, it all seemed such a waste of time and effort to me.

"Oh bah humbug, don't be such an old scrooge! This is James Henry's first Christmas, as well as our first Christmas together, so I want it to be really special," Louisa said as she came over to kiss me, having worked out by now that I found it very hard to refuse her anything if she used her feminine charms on me. Even as she hugged me while I held the baby, I could feel myself responding to her touch. I covered up my feelings in my usual way.

"Hmm. Commercialised load of old tosh, all this Christmas nonsense," I muttered as I handed James back to her for his feed. I watched as she sat with him in the rocking chair next to his cot, undid her blouse and nursing bra so that our son could feed. Clearly he was blissfully happy as he suckled contentedly, his little fingers exploring the soft skin of his mother's breast as he gazed up at her, while she smiled down at him and gently stroked his cheek. It was such a perfect picture, and I knew that I would do anything to make my family happy, whatever I might say. And of course I realised that Louisa knew this perfectly well too.

xXx

It hadn't taken long for news to spread in medical circles that despite conquering his blood phobia, Martin Ellingham had decided to stay down in Cornwall instead of returning to London. Almost immediately Truro hospital contacted him and practically begged him to head up their Vascular Surgical team. So we discussed moving to Truro as it was not really feasible for Martin to commute there every day, but I think Martin was reluctant to rock the boat by putting any kind of pressure on me to move from the village if I wasn't keen, not after it had taken us so long to finally get to this point. So he turned the job offer down, and I felt terribly guilty because I knew that Martin was desperate to be a surgeon again, having finally overcome his phobia

But I just felt that Portwenn was where I belonged, and that it was a good place to raise a family. I also felt that having fought so hard to get the Headship, I couldn't mess the school about again, having resigned and then retracted my resignation.

But it seemed that Truro Hospital really wanted Martin on any terms, because they suggested that he go over to discuss various options with them, to find out what he would be prepared to work, and see if they could find some common ground. He had initially been reluctant to go, I think because he was fearful that I would be upset. But I urged him to go, to find out what they had in mind, because I was very aware that Martin had made a huge sacrifice by not returning to London, and I didn't want him to become resentful at being tied down with us as a rural GP, rather than becoming a surgeon once more.

Of course now I was dying to find out what they had suggested, so as soon as I had managed to settle James, I hurried downstairs with the baby listener, and found Martin in the kitchen where he was just finishing off the meal I had prepared for us to share on his return.

I went over to kiss and hug him again. I was trying to encourage him to be more relaxed and demonstrative towards me, having seen how he loved holding and cuddling our baby. It was evident to me that underneath all those many protective layers that Martin had built around himself, deep down, very deep down, there beat the heart of a sensitive and loving man, and I was determined to see more of that side of him.

As I now snuggled against his chest where just a short while ago James had been, I was happy to feel Martin put his arms around me to return the hug. Definitely making progress, I thought to myself.

"Come on then, spill. What did they say? What have they suggested? Come on, tell me!"

To be Continued.