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Twist and Shift

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June 2015

“You came!” Victoria cried, running out of the front door of Keepers Cottage towards him. Robert caught her in his arms easily, lifting her off her feet as he hugged his little sister to his chest. “I didn't think you were going to come,” she continued as he let her down to the ground.

“Course I'm gonna come Vic, can't miss my little sisters wedding can I?” Robert grinned. “Now,” he looked at his watch, “There's a couple of hours before it starts, yeah?” Vic nodded, and he continued. “So, if you could point me in the direction of your future husband...”

“Why?” Victoria asked, suspiciously. “What are you going to do?”

“Nothing!” Robert protested. “Well, just a little quiet word about what will happen if he hurts you, got to do my brotherly duty after all haven't I?” He laughed. “So long as I approve, he'll be in one piece for the wedding, I promise.” He tried to look sincere, palm flat against his chest, over his heart.

Vic narrowed her eyes at him. “His Mum and step-dad own Butlers Farm, so he's up there.” She told him. Robert dropped a kiss in her hair and turned on his heel, heading back to his car. “I mean it Robert! Don't hurt him!” Robert waved a hand back at her, getting in his car. As he did, he noticed a dark-haired man walking down the street. An attractive dark-haired man, with a beard, dressed all in black and with a german shepherd at his heels. Robert watched through his windscreen as the man turned sharply, heading around the back of the Woolpack.

Putting him firmly to the back of his mind, Robert started his car. Eyeing up the locals would have to wait for now; he had a potential future brother in law to interrogate.

*

Robert pulled up outside Keepers Cottage, turning the engine off on his white Audi R8, he relaxed into the seat. The interrogation had gone well; Adam, his future brother in law had not flinched at any of the questions Robert had fired at him, had looked at him unwaveringly when Robert had directly threatened his child-producing potential, even raising one eyebrow in challenge.

Robert approved. Even though on the outside Adam seemed like a bit of a lad, and a bit of a muppet (not that he would ever say that to Vic's face oh definitely not), his heart was in the right place and Robert was fairly confident his sister was in safe hands.

If not, well, Adam would be getting castrated with a pair of rusty bolt cutters. Painful, but effective, of that Robert was certain.

Clambering out of the Audi, silently cursing his height, bad knee and wondering for the thousandth time why he didn't just get a higher car (then remembering why he loved the Audi so much and promptly forgetting all about that idea), Robert was turning to head towards Vic's front door when he saw him again.

The mysterious bearded man from before, complete with german shepherd dog. Robert watched as the man came out from between the pub and the cottages next door, dog obediently trotting beside him, no lead in sight. The man glanced up and down the street quickly before pulling his hood up, scratching the dogs ear and heading off down towards the church at a brisk pace. He didn't seem to have noticed Robert, who was very appreciative of the view. Mr. Gorgeous Bearded Man had a very nice arse, shown off very nicely by well fitted grey joggers. Robert tilted his head, allowing himself to imagine for a moment

Less than a moment it turned out, as he was interrupted by his sister. Wrapped in a fluffy dressing gown, make-up done and hair partly pinned up, she'd obviously done a runner from whoever was helping her get ready for her big day (Diane was one obvious candidate, but who else would be there Robert had no clue).

“What are you doing out here?” He asked, frowning. “You should be getting ready, come on, back inside.” He tried to steer her gently back towards her front door but she was having none of it, digging her heels in and refusing to be moved. “What?” He asked. “If you're worried about Adam I promise, he's in one piece.”

“Oh it wasn't that,” she said with a casual hand wave. “Moira texted me, I know he's fine. Moira's his mum by the way, in case you didn't know.”

Robert hadn't. “Thanks,” he said honestly. “I wasn't actually planning on hurting him, you know,” he said.

“Oh, I know. That's fine, but it's not what I came out here for!” She replied, a grin on her face. “Saw you hanging around out here, with that look on your face,” her grin grew ever wider. “You seen someone you like? Who? Boy, girl?” She kept grinning. Robert had come out to her first, tested the waters and he was so glad he did. His little sisters support meant the world to him, and her visits to London, where he was currently living had only increased in frequency, her way of letting him know she loved him no matter what, and he had her complete support.

He appreciated it, even if he had never said as much but as much as he loved her, her obsession with getting him into a steady relationship was more than a little overwhelming.

“No-one!” He tried. Vic raised an eyebrow at him, not believing him one little bit. He sighed, then pointed at the bearded man's retreating back, almost at the turn for the church now. As Robert watched, a villager crossed the road to keep out of the man's way, eyeing him with suspicion. Robert frowned.

Vic had clocked who he was talking about, and gasped, hands to her mouth. “No, no, definitely not!” She said firmly.

Robert looked at her in confusion. “Er... what's wrong with him, exactly?”

“Just stay well away from him, Robert! Promise me!” Vic was serious, all traces of laughter from seconds before gone.

“Okay...” Robert said. “Can I ask why?”

Victoria looked between him and down the street, where the other man had just disappeared out of sight. “Can't you just trust me?” She asked, almost pleading with him.

“Sure I can,” he started, watching as she breathed a sigh of relief. “If you give me a good reason to listen.”

Her face fell, then hardened. “He's dangerous, okay Robert? Just promise me you'll stay well away from him.” She watched his face carefully, but had to break away after hearing her name called from inside the house. “I mean it Rob, he's not safe to be around. Please, don't go there.” With that, she ducked inside, out of sight. Robert frowned, curiosity overtaking his thoughts. Hearing his own name called from the house he walked away, but not before making a promise to himself.

He was going to find out who this mysterious man was, and just why Victoria had branded him dangerous.