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[FM15] Raising Cain

The story of a failed young manager's attempt to resurrect his career ... and his life.
Started on 1 September 2015 by tenthreeleader
Latest Reply on 12 August 2016 by zappo137
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Now that's a turnaround to be proud of!
1
The team is playing brilliantly. Couldn't be more pleased.
___

They were fifth.

That was little short of amazing.

When Kyle Cain had arrived at Oxford United in November, the team was 22nd in the table with relegation worries. Thirty matches later, Oxford had won twenty, drawn five and lost five and now had advantage in a playoff tie against Luton Town.

The Hatters had finished sixth, with 75 points and 22 wins. Fourth-placed Shrewsbury, on 80 points, would face seventh-placed Accrington Stanley, on 74.

Luton had a good side, one that played Oxford to a 1-1 standstill at the Kassam in February. It was that match which started a stretch of relatively poor play by the Us, in fact, and as such they were a club which bore close watching.

On the reverse side, Exeter City managed to stay up on goal difference thanks to a last-day 2-2 draw with Dag and Red, while rivals Carlisle lost 2-1 at home to Hartlepool – and got themselves relegated – in a way you had to experience to truly appreciate.

Carlisle led 1-0 with four minutes to play at Brunton Park and was set to retain its place in League Two, until referee Keith Hill sent off midfielder Brad Potts for a second bookable offense within a six-minute span in the 86th minute. Now playing against ten men, Hartlepool’s veteran striker Marlon Harewood leveled in the 88th minute.

Even that scoreline would have kept Carlisle up, but Hartlepool’s Lewis Hawkins then connected on a thirty-yard thunderbastard in the first minute of added time to make it 2-1.

That kept the Grecians in the Football League on goal difference and made it a bit difficult for Mr. Hill to get off the pitch at the end of the match.

Kyle heard about the ending, said a kind word about Lee Sinnott’s doomed club, and then had a lot of good things to say about his own team’s second half. The press had questions for the players about what he had said at the interval.

Clarke answered. “He gave us an honest opinion,” the captain said, “and the lads agreed with it.”

The trip home, as a result, was much happier than it otherwise might have been, and work began straightaway to prepare for the first leg of the playoff tie at Kenilworth Road.

The cities were close together – less than fifty airline miles – so travel was not going to be a problem. Kyle could concentrate on a very specific match plan for Luton without worrying about going on the road until the morning of the match.

Maddison was named the league’s Player of the Month for April and that was a good thing, but he paid tribute to the Oxford fans afterward and that was a great thing. Having a loan player praise support that wasn’t truly his own was little short of extraordinary.

So Kyle ran a happy ship while preparing for Luton, as one might have expected.

Eales also welcomed Kyle to the monthly board meeting the Monday after the Newport match, and had some news for him.

“Getting into the playoff might well help us break even for the season,” Eales began. “Right now we are under water by about £100,000 for the year, but a good home gate and, hopefully, Wembley, will help quite a bit. Do you think that’s possible?”

“If Miss Moore does her job, the first is possible,” he responded. “If I do my job, the second is possible. Right now I think we are playing as well as anyone.”

“Results are bearing that out,” Eales noted. “Obviously, we are thrilled with the finish and the chance to win promotion. Understand that we are very pleased with your work.”

Kyle could do little but say thank you in response, but the veiled words about finances placed a bit of pressure on the manager. The chance was there to put Oxford United on a much better financial footing by advancing to the final.

It was funny to him, in a way, that with two weeks’ worth of good work he could do more for the club than Moore could do in two months. That made him feel good.

“And Kyle, I want you to know that we have had discussions with Miss Moore at board level about the same issues,” Eales said. “There are certain targets we have set for her that we need to see hit. I believe this might answer a few questions you may have been asking yourself recently.”

“That might,” Kyle responded diplomatically, “but then the commercial department is not my area of concern.”

Eales gave Kyle a sideways smile, as did Managing Director Mark Ashton and director Frank Waterhouse. They all knew, and Kyle knew, that if he could somehow get his team promoted, some significant difficulties in his life might just go away.

With that he was dismissed to training, and the chance to work some more with “my lads”, as he was starting to call them. They had the chance to do something nice for Kyle, too.

The manager was on £45,000 per year. Promotion would earn him an extra £3,500 plus a fifteen percent wage rise in League One. So Oxford was playing for Kyle too, in a way, though he dared not say anything. Most of the players had promotion bonuses in their deals as well, so there really was no need to make a fuss. Even after seven months in the job, extra money was always very nice to have.

Everyone had something riding on the two-legged tie.
# # #
I hate Luton... give it to them!
Come on Cain, get the lads firing and on to Wembley!

"Kyle Cain's Yellow Army!"
Thanks for the kind words and Po Red, I appreciate your first post here.
___

Kyle had to tell Ssewankambo he couldn’t go home. That was hard, and easy at the same time.

The on-loan defender had been called up to Sweden’s u-21 team for matches to be played during the playoff. And for the first time he could remember, either as a player or a manager, a national callup was turned down.

Kyle wasn’t required to let the player go, and after a meeting with the young man, Kyle denied permission for the callup.

“We need you here,” Kyle had told the player. “You’ve come a long way and you are a big part of this team. If you wouldn’t be mortally offended, I’d like to keep you here for the Luton tie.”

“Wouldn’t miss it,” Ssewankambo grinned. That was a great thing to hear – and see. The enigmatic midfielder had proven to be a handful at times, petulant and wondering why he wasn’t in a higher league – but now that he was playing for something, he was right there with the team.

Right where he should have been, in fact.

But as the days marched on toward match day, Kyle had less and less time for Jenna and Allison – and less time to think about Stacy. He was throwing himself into work and that was to be expected. He had a lot of it to do.

It didn’t help matters that Luton’s new boss, David Flitcroft, got into the mind-game act on the Wednesday.

“We’ve got some nerves in our camp,” he told BBC Oxford in a pre-arranged conference call with the managers. “It’s a big match and we have a lot to play for, and some of my players need to understand that.”

Kyle, for his part, wouldn’t be drawn, and that led to a miniature war of words.

“I think that’s just a mind game,” he said when his turn came. “David Flitcroft is a professional manager and he knows how to stop things like that, so I have no doubt that we’ll see a Luton side that is ready to play and ready to take our scalps so I don’t put a lot of stock in that.”

Of course, the media was always going to have fun with a statement such as Kyle’s, but he knew it was true and he wasn’t shy about saying so.

So the days leading up to the match were filled with a manufactured feud between the managers. Flitcroft was a decent enough guy and he knew that the media-inspired set-to meant nothing as well. So the two simply prepared their teams for the match.

And along the way, Kyle got to spare a thought for Micky Adams of Tranmere – or more accurately, formerly of Tranmere, who got the sack for failing to hold onto the playoff spot Kyle’s team had taken from them.

That was no fun. Micky Adams was a good manager to Kyle, and to blame him for Oxford’s surge wasn’t fair in his eyes.

The Birkenhead club had had a good season, but not good enough to meet expectations, so the result was Micky needing to find a new club. That was hard, but it was also part of the game.

No matter how good a guy someone is, someone else in the league is going to have a hand in getting him fired. Enough people had done it to Kyle the year before, and as such the shoe was on the other foot in this case.

His time would come again, he knew. It comes for everyone.

But in the meantime, as he loaded up the team to head to Luton on match day, he had more important things to worry about.
# # #
I honestly do not ever recall having to turn down someone to play for their country at any level in Football Manager at all, how very interesting and certainly update worthy!
1
It was a first for me too. I couldn't let the player go. He means too much to the team at this point in time and he took it surprisingly well.
___

8 May 2015 – Luton Town (22-9-15, 6th place) v Oxford United (22-10-14, 5th place)
Sky Bet League Two Playoff Semifinal First Leg – Kenilworth Road, Luton
Referee: Lee Probert


It had rained the whole previous night. As the Oxford coach turned onto Ivy Road for the final approach to Luton’s grand old stadium, Kyle wondered what the pitch would look like.

The answer was, not very good.

As the team headed to the changing room, Kyle went to the pitch for an inspection. A discussion with Flitcroft and referee Lee Probert led to the decision Kyle expected – the pitch was a mess but the match would be played.

“Wear your long studs today, lads, you’ll need them out there,” Kyle advised. “You’ve got a slick track today and it’s going to be wet and muddy, especially in the penalty areas.”

Luton’s pitch, not the artificial one which had caused such controversy in the 1980s, was a mess. It didn’t bode well for teams which liked to get the ball onto the floor – but Kyle had built Oxford to be a direct team and as such he felt the attack wouldn’t be too badly hindered provided the team had decent footing.

That was debatable, though, as the teams prepared for kickoff and made sure that the right studs were on their boots.

“Don’t let this pitch bother you,” Kyle advised them. “I want you to keep your minds set on the things that got you this far rather than what the pitch looks like. You have done brilliantly to get here, you have earned your place and you have earned the advantage your play gives you in this tie. Don’t be the player who gives that advantage away. I know you can do this – and as always, work hard for yourselves, work hard for your teammates and above all, work hard for your shirt. It’s a team game, lads. Remember that and we’ll head home happy. Hands in, and let’s go.”

The players formed a circle in the middle of the changing room, Wright led them in a brief cheer and they lined up in the hallway.

It was there that Kyle had his first face-to-face meeting with Flitcroft after the controversy of the week. He didn’t see anything in it and neither had the Luton boss, so the handshake between rivals was heartfelt if perfunctory.

They weren’t going to wish each other luck, but neither were they going to be at each other’s throats. The lines began to move and the teams took to the pitch in an annoying drizzle that seemed ready to add to the soup on the pitch.

Kyle had one more surprise for Luton. He started Potts at right back, though he hadn’t played in that position as a member of the Us.

He had been scheming for a way to have Potts and Skarz on the pitch at the same time, with both of them primarily left full backs. But Potts could also play the right, and after a conversation not only with Potts but also Meades and Grimshaw, Kyle made up his mind. The West Ham man would play on Oxford’s right flank with Meades and Grimshaw thus freed up for other duties.

Kyle felt it made Oxford more flexible. There was certainly no harm in that.

As one might have expected, the match began tentatively. The poor footing had a lot to do with that and while the players tried to figure out how to make cuts and find space without sliding, play was very ragged. Oxford earned the first corner in eight minutes when Potts’ cross was headed behind by Hatters skipper Steve McNulty.

The first good chance of the match came a few minutes later through the home team’s midfielder Jordi Ortega. Only the finish was lacking on a wonderful little sequence of passes and Ashdown collected far more comfortably than he should have on a weak effort from near the penalty spot.

Jayden Stockley’s aim was thrown off by Dunkley, who charged down his effort in nineteen minutes and deflected it behind for another corner, but Oxford was starting to find its feet a bit more and was starting to look brighter.

Wright, who had suddenly turned into a goal-scoring machine in the latter stages of the season, nearly put Oxford on the board first with a great header from their first corner of match, only to see Ortega clear off the line to keep the game scoreless.

That brought the crowd into the game and if nothing else, it took some of the damp out of the air. The Us were finally punching at their weight and the pace of the game picked up considerably.

Ortega celebrated his great defensive work by nearly getting booked for ramming Maddison to the floor just outside the penalty area, but the midfielder missed the free kick wide and play resumed.

For all his skill, Maddison hadn’t hit the target on a set piece for as long as Kyle could remember – and fixing the set piece issue would probably put the finishing touches on a fine lower-league attacking group. They needed a dead ball specialist, but since Oxford really didn’t have one, the hope was that the teenager would somehow figure things out.

Nathan Doyle stymied Hoban with a clean block tackle six minutes before the break and Wright returned the favor, seeming to slide nearly to Watford while successfully challenging Luke Rooney just outside the penalty area. The slide mark he left was nearly ten feet long, Kyle judged, and that didn’t bode well for the rest of the match since it had started to rain again.

The best Oxford move of the half came right before the interval, when Lee-Barrett was called into action twice, first to save from Hoban and then again from Hoskins, who stole a backpass and went in alone, only to be robbed by the keeper.

Probert blew for halftime and Kyle had the chance to address his men, happy with the way they had come on over the latter part of the first half even if they hadn’t scored.

“Again, you’ve put yourselves in position to succeed,” he reminded them. “I’m pleased with what I’ve seen here but there is better in you. If you come out of this place with a win today you’ve got one leg in the final. You know that, but I do not want you to forget it.”

Yet, the second half started as slowly as the first. It was past the hour mark before the first decent chance arrived, after Ortega had left in favor of Pelly Ruddock. It came through MacDonald, who was left unmarked after Lee-Barrett pushed Hoban’s rebound right onto his foot. Yet the Scot fired into the side netting, throwing his head back in frustration and jabbing at his head as he ran back up the park.

Flitcroft went to his bench again in 69 minutes, burning both his remaining substitutions. Off came Stockley for Ricky Miller, and off came Andy Parry for veteran Abdoulaye Faye. The 37-year old Senegalese was on for stability and leadership and provided both.

Oxford was getting opportunities, but from range, as Luton moved to a 5-1-2-2 alignment, stuffing the back line with five and an anchor man to defend in depth. It was a safe decision on a sloppy pitch.

Yet, Flitcroft was out of substitutions and Kyle held the upper hand in that regard. Unfortunately, it was a substitution Kyle didn’t make that cost his team dearly.

It was O’Dowda, who took off on a run down the left flank in 77 minutes only to overstride, slipping on the wet turf with his ankle turned. Grabbing at his leg, O’Dowda rolled back and forth on the pitch and Kyle nearly went into apoplexy.

He was about to take off O’Dowda, and had he moved a minute sooner, the valuable winger would have been just fine. Now it was too late, and Hylton came on for him as O’Dowda was carried off.

He never liked to lose a player, but O’Dowda was one-third of the best midfield trio in League Two and was a vital part of the Oxford attack. Hylton slotted into his spot on the left, and Kyle removed the exhausted Wright in favor of Andy Whing, with a note to Dunkley to drop the defensive line back to compensate for Whing’s rather noticeable lack of pace.

Molasses would move faster than Andy Whing on this pitch on this day, so Kyle was taking no chances. And then Oxford was celebrating, as Luton made a ridiculous defensive error.

It was Michael Harriman who made it, dispossessing MacDonald on the right and then rolling a back pass toward Lee-Barrett which only made it as far as Hoban, who ran onto it and scored from a sharp angle to the keeper’s left ten minutes from time.

It was a lucky goal, and sometimes those are the kinds you have to have to win matches on the edge.

The relief was palpable on the Oxford bench. It was a lead, away from home, with ten minutes to play on a sloppy pitch. Kyle immediately signaled for Grimshaw, bringing him on for MacDonald and changing to 4-2-3-1.

Ssewankambo provided the next good chance, though, in 86 minutes, with a scorching half-volley that Lee-Barrett palmed away with a desperation dive to his right. That sent Luton away, with Luke Wilkinson finding Scott Griffiths down the left, and his ball into the right channel split Potts and Whing like they had been dissected.

Ricky Miller ran onto it, left the tiring Potts in his wake, and beat Ashdown to the wide side three minutes from time to get Luton level and completely deflate the Oxford bench.

While the crowd went understandably nuts, Kyle was left to remark that even though you do the best job you can to hold the lead, sometimes the other guy makes a great play. In Miller’s case, it was the first one of his season.

The 26-year old striker had played for a staggering seventeen different clubs in the in ten years including five stints with Stamford, and this was his first goal for club number eighteen, Luton.

Not only that, it was the first goal he had ever scored in the Football League, and it had come at the worst possible time for Oxford United.

Five minutes later, it was all over. A one-nil win had been well and truly thrown away, and it would all come down to the home leg now.

Oxford United: Ashdown: Potts, Dunkley, Wright (captain, Whing 77), Skarz, Ssewankambo, MacDonald (Grimshaw 81), Maddison, O’Dowda (injured, Hylton 77), Hoban, Hoskins. Unused subs: Clarke, Bevans, Meades, Mullins.

Luton Town 1 (Ricky Miller 87)
Oxford United 1 (Hoban 80)
H/T: 0-0
A – 10,110, Kenilworth Road, Luton
Man of the Match: Ricky Miller, Luton (MR 8.0)
GUMP: Patrick Hoban


# # #
Conceding so late is heartbreaking but still looking good heading into the next leg despite the injury
This was a very tough one to swallow. The team played well but as sometimes happens in this game, did not get what they deserved.
___

“You guys know I’ve always been a glass-half-full guy, right?”

For some reason, nobody believed Kyle as he stood before the press after the match. There were positives – of course, having the second leg at home meant that a win before the Oxford faithful would send the Us to Wembley – but in terms of momentum, the tie was a difficult thing to judge.

Luton had been statistically outplayed. Oxford had twelve attempts at goal to six for Luton and eight shots on target to four for Luton – twice their hosts in both categories, and had even had more of the possession.

There was really no reason to have to settle for a draw, other than an inspired pass to a journeyman who had scored his first goal for his club.

“It’s annoying to concede so late,” Kyle said. “Everyone knows that. And it isn’t the first time this has happened to us, which is doubly annoying. We simply have to figure this out. It’s no longer optional.”

“Otherwise, are you satisfied?” Churchill asked.

“The result is what satisfies when you get to this stage,” Kyle said, trying not to sound irritated. “I’d take one shot on target if it gave us a one-nil win. I think anyone would.”

Lord’s report arrived at that moment and Kyle’s frown grew more severe.

No chance of return before end of season
, Kyle read. It was only a twisted ankle but with only two weeks between the first leg and the final, it was going to be a big ask.

Eleven goals and eleven assists were gone from the wing position. There was really no way to make them up. Kyle would have to come up with something different.

“Callum is done for the season,” Kyle announced. “What a shame.”

There was no harm in people knowing that, since it would have been obvious at the next training session in any event.

Kyle sighed and ran his fingers through his hair, pushing a sodden mass of blonde turned brownish by the wet off his eyes.

“What do you do?” Vic asked.

“We have the next man come up,” Kyle said, using the popular phrase. “Next man up.”

“But surely O’Dowda was a key to your hopes?”

“All eighteen players are key to our hopes,” Kyle corrected. “We have seventeen of them left in this roster plus another one we’ll be moving in, and no, I’m not prepared to say who that person will be as yet.”

“Any thoughts on who should be favored for the return leg?” That was Churchill, leaving the door wide open.

“Oxford, of course, what am I supposed to say?” Kyle answered. “We’re heading home but I think we’re completely useless? Of course I like our chances. I like these players and I like what they’ve done together. They deserve the chance to play for something and now they will get that chance.”

Then Jeremy Walsh from BBC Three Counties, which regularly covered Luton, kept pressing Kyle on whether he didn’t agree that Ricky Miller deserved his man of the match award.

“You know, if it were my business to praise someone else’s players, which it isn’t, I’d say something, but since it isn’t my business, I won’t,” Kyle said.

That led to a discussion round the bramble bush where Walsh kept asking the same question and Kyle kept saying he wasn’t going to answer.

The man had persistence, but he was starting to ruin things for everyone else because he was only kicking Kyle in his most sensitive footballing spot – his team’s inability to protect a late lead.

Kyle thought that stacking six outfield players and a keeper in front of goal should have been enough to stop most teams, but as an attacker he thought that on general principle. It was all or nothing with strikers.

But the talk about Miller was really annoying to him. So he said so.

“You know, I’ve never walked out of a press event in two years in this business, but you’re making me consider it,” Kyle said to Walsh. “I said, no comment.”

The reporter glared at Kyle, but figured that he wasn’t going to gain any more purchase by going where he wasn’t wanted. So much for that.

It wasn’t a fun trip home. That had been wrecked by Ricky Miller and one good ball down the channel. Yet the tie was far from over.

# # #
Whelp, at least you've got an advantage going in to the second leg. It is a shame that they equalised in the way they did though
1
Really tough news to take mate!
1
O'Dowda has been a gem this season, he'll be a big loss. Perhaps a chance for a youngster to step up to the mark? Let's hope it doesn't force too much of a tactical tweak...
1
Physical violence should be an option in press conferences haha
1
Nothing like hitting that "no comment" button four or five times after drawing a match you shouldn't have drawn to lead to some fun writing....
___

The word was that the Kassam was going to be packed for the second leg. That shouldn’t have surprised anyone.

In fact, the Tuesday match officially sold out on the preceding Friday when Luton announced that its entire allotment of away tickets had sold in an under an hour.

That meant a crowd of well over twelve thousand was expected for the second leg, but Kyle didn’t have time to worry about that.

His message to the team on the Saturday, the day after the first leg, was about defending. That was a bit odd for the manager of the “Flying Circus”, but he had a point to make.

“You went two whole matches without allowing a shot on target in the runup to this tie,” he told them. “We are going to get back to that in training and we are going to be better in our own third. If they don’t score on Tuesday, you are going to Wembley. It’s just that simple.”

As the players stretched out prior to beginning the workout, Kyle walked up and down the rows of players to make his point.

“We’re going to work on it today, we’re going to work on it Sunday, and we’re going to work on it Monday, and then we’re going to do it on Tuesday, lads. Because that’s what is going to win you this tie. We’re going to be good at the back, solid at the back, and when they break on your back line, we’ll hit them for pace and rip their bloody hearts out.”

He had it figured out, this version of Kyle Cain. Gone was the timid manager of Torquay, afraid to alienate and afraid to say the wrong thing. This manager was different.

A spring breeze gently cleared Kyle’s words from the air and felt warm against his face. The rain had cleared out right after the match and it was, by all accounts, going to be a beautiful evening at the Kassam.

Yet the weather was also of secondary concern to Kyle, who wanted his players to work as hard as he was working. He knew that wasn’t possible, but it was a nice thought.

The Kassam pitch was going to be in better shape because of that weather, though, and that was to Oxford’s benefit. Injuries were killers at this point of the season.

Virtually random thoughts raced through Kyle’s mind as the team worked out in front of him. It was stressful work. It was constantly on his mind and starting to rob him of sleep at night. It was Torquay all over again, but on the opposite end of the spectrum.

He needed some relief, and Allison tried to provide it.

She dragged him to dinner on the Sunday evening after a late and short training session. She showed up at the front desk and waited there until he left, not even bothering to call.

“I knew you’d say no,” she teased after he asked her why she didn’t message first.

Kyle shrugged. Allison knew him better than she might have realized.

So off they went, to a quiet evening tucked away in a hole-in-the-wall bar with the lights turned down low.

This was about letting him unwind, and it was about letting him look at her if he wanted to do it. And, being Kyle Cain, he did.

“Nothing has changed,” Allison said. “I just want you to know that. And even if you don’t pick me, nothing will change.”

Kyle looked at her, wearing a tight-fitting black and white top that left no doubt as to her shape, and something didn’t process in his head.

“That seems odd, if you don’t mind my saying so,” he said.

“What, that I want to be around you? I’m in no hurry after my divorce, Kyle, and I can be choosy. I have no idea what you’re going to do with your wife but I’ll tell you that it won’t stop my friendship with you, it won’t stop me wanting to be with you and it won’t affect my feelings in any way.”

Kyle wasn’t used to women talking to him like that. That was odd too.

He finally decided to enjoy her company and finally the conversation turned to the recent ‘family’ dinner with Miles and Jenna.

“I think Jenna is quite charming,” Allison said.

“She is. You see why she’s my best girl.”

“And Miles’ too, I trust,” she replied. “And if Stacy isn’t your best girl, that makes me happy.”

Kyle looked at her. In sales parlance, she was ‘going for the close’ as hard as he had ever seen her try.

“Allison…”

“…I’m making you uncomfortable,” she said, finishing his sentence for him. If there was anything Kyle hated more than Diana Moore, it was someone trying to finish his thoughts, but in Allison’s case he made an exception.

“No, you aren’t,” Kyle said. “Instead, you’re getting my attention and that seems to be what you want. But you need to be patient awhile longer. I need to have a heart-to-heart talk with Stacy. There’s an unborn child involved here and I have to take that into consideration.”

Allison nodded, but leaned in to make another point. She did that for a reason as well.

“But you don’t need to live your life for someone else anymore,” she told him. “Shouldn’t that be the lesson of your relationship with Stacy? She’s been awful to you since you took this job, she is openly sleeping with another man and now that she feels guilty, she thinks she can just take you back? Is that right?”

Kyle looked down at his food and nodded his head.

“That’s about right,” he said. “I don’t like how she treated me but she is the mother of my baby and I’ve got a responsibility. She knows that. Even if she doesn’t have me, she’s going to get a substantial amount of what’s left of my money, so who knows? Maybe she thinks she can control me. I have to think it all through.”

That wasn’t something he would have said ten years ago. Maybe, finally, Kyle was growing up.

Allison looked downcast. “Then I won’t get my chance,” she sighed.

“Don’t say that,” Kyle said, reaching across the table to touch her hand. Her look of genuine surprise showed Kyle that he had struck home with his thought.

“Allison, I may be a lot of things but I’m not an idiot. At least, not any more. I remember what happened between us and I remember that I liked it a lot. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life, Allison. You aren’t one of them.”

“So what am I supposed to do?” she asked. “I mean, I told you I’m willing to wait. But for how long?”

Kyle realized that his intention to be kind had made things even more difficult for him. That was exactly the opposite of his intentions, but then it had always been that way.

“Soon,” he finally said. “I can’t say exactly when, but soon.”

# # #
Off-season trip to London to sort some business out I say!

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