When I got there, the cottage was lit with candles. Rory was waiting in the kitchen. He gave me a cup of tea and said, "Relax. They're being looked after."
"I know," I said, "But I can't help worrying. Do you think she'd call us if he started coughing or something? Would she know that could be bad?"
"Emma, love," he said, "She knows more about babies than we do."
I nodded and drank some tea. That helped. So did being with him, finally getting a chance to be alone with him. "They'll be fine." I said, "At least Ana got Patrick to take the bottle."
"Yes, she was great." he said.
"Better than I was. He wouldn't do it for me."
"You were anxious. He was picking up on that." said Rory.
"I often worry about what I do to the kids, worrying so much."
"Do you worry about worrying about worrying?" he said.
He was smiling at me. I tried to be annoyed, but being annoyed with Rory is hard work and I didn't have the energy.
"Scrambled egg?" he said.
"Smooth talker!" I said. I love his scrambled egg. It tastes of a lifetime of cosy kitchens.
As I watched him cooking and drank my tea, I tried not to imagine all the things that could go wrong with the children. "Does Bryony have her kiwi?" I said.
"Bryony has so many toys with her, she should have hired a coach."
"They're fine." I said, "I know they're fine."
"Call Ana." he said.
"She'll think I don't trust her." I said.
"I think she's waiting for you to call." he said.
"I do trust her." I said.
"Demonstrably." he said.
"I do, it's just that they might be anxious, being away from me. We should have done it gradually."
"Over fifteen years, perhaps?" he said, "Emma, they're not anxious kids. Somehow they missed your family's panic gene."
"Maybe I should just go back and reassure them." I said.
"Your egg will get cold. Call Ana. Ask her if they're upset."
"And if they are, we can go back?"
"At speed, on the first flying pig we can catch." he said.
I called Ana.
"Hello, Emma." she said.
"How did you know it was me?" I said.
"A lucky guess." she said.
"How are they?" I said.
"They're fine. Frances is asleep, Patrick's nearly asleep and Bryony is playing with the girls."
"And Patrick's breathing well?" I said.
"Emma, if he stopped, I wouldn't say he was fine, would I?"
Suddenly, I heard Bryony shout, "Hello, Mummy!"
"Are you being good for Aunty Ana?" I said.
"I'm being lovely!" she said.
"And you're happy?" I said.
"Course I am!" she said, "We got chocolate!"
"I'll be back first thing in the morning." I said.
"Are you being good?" she said.
"I'll clean my teeth and everything." I said.
"And you're not sad because we're not there, are you?" she said.
"I'll be fine. Daddy will look after me."
"Tell him to give you a cuggle." she said, "That always helps. And if you need me, phone me up and I'll get Aunty Ana to bring me."
"I love you." I said, "Goodnight."
"Night night!" she said.
She put the phone down. I did the same. "What did Bryony say?" said Rory.
"You've got to cuddle me." I said.
"Well, if I must, I must." he said.
The food was lovely and afterwards, we sat on the settee and Rory took my feet onto his lap and massaged them as he told me that he loved me and was proud of me and still couldn't believe that he had a wife as wonderful as me.
We kissed and cuddled and some clothes got lost along the way and pretty soon the foot rub turned into a full body massage with ylang ylang oil.
"Are you trying to seduce me?" I said.
"Do you want me to be?" he asked, smiling.
"If you're not, I may have to sue." I said.
"Well, faced with the threat of legal action ... " he said and suddenly the massage became a lot less innocent.
"Before things go any further," I said, "I just want you to know that I respect you as a person. I'm not just after your body."
"Understood." he said.
"But I want your body and I want it now." I said.
He laughed. "I love you, Emma!"
"Talk's cheap." I said, laughing too.
We'd made love twice before either of us summoned up the self-control to make it upstairs. When we got there, we resumed our activities and made up for our celibacy since the birth of the twins.
Afterwards, he held me in his arms, stroking my face with his fingers and said, "Was that okay?"
"Best ever." I said, "I am in love with you, Rory, more in love than ever."
"I feel the same way about you." he said.
"I'm glad the body didn't put you off." I said, aware that I don't look great.
"Your body's perfect." he said, "Everything about you is perfect."
I just snuggled up to him and breathed in his lovely scent and whispered his name and he kissed me and we fell asleep, close and contented.
When I woke this morning, he kissed me again and whispered, "Good morning, gorgeous! What would you like for breakfast?"
I told him and he blushed, grinned and obliged. Eventually, very eventually, there was some bacon too.