I'm sorry I didn't answer right away. I had to go and have a bit of a think.
You already know that I find it hard to give my trust. You might have an idea why this is, but I think it's past time I laid my cards on the table.
Cassandra's father, Ray, was a good man in many ways but when he drank it was like living with a different person. To begin with I tried to tell myself that it wasn't him, it was the alcohol saying those hurtful things, making those threats. But after a while the good times when he was sober stopped outweighing the bad times when he wasn't
I did a moonlight flit with Cassie one night when he passed out. He's tried to find us, sent messages through a mutual friend that make him sound like the kindest man in the world. But I know what he can become and have never replied.
Needless to say, this has left me with a few trust issues. Especially where drink is concerned. You might have noticed me offering you a drink when we first met. This was more a test than anything. You don't know how happy it made me when you turned it down and stuck to cups of tea for the evening. I've should also confess that I've been making a note of the levels of all the bottles in the drinks cabinet before and after the nights you stay over. I'm so relived you're not a drinker. This is a big tick in the box.
Cassie seems to like you and that's a big thing. Maybe even the biggest. It's hard to tell with a child that young, but I'm sure she's been affected by the rows I had with Ray. I call them rows and that makes them sound quite mild. They were anything but. Her crying was a constant background to his shouting. After he went to sleep I would go in to see her. It's really horrible to see your own child flinch from you.
I'm dwelling on the past more than I intended to in this letter, but my point is Cassie's acceptance helps your case a lot. I've had boyfriends in the past that she wouldn't even look at. It sounds silly but I think that the fact that you look so different from Ray really helps.
And you are good with her. You play with her because she wants to play, not just to kill time or wheedle your way into my bed. There's a big difference and believe me. I can see it. It means a lot. If you move in, you will be moving in with both of us, not just me.
And I won't deny it, the toys certainly help! She loves them. You've become her own private Santa. We don't have a lot of money, as you know, so you being so generous with your stock is wonderfully kind.
I've gone around the houses a little in this reply, but I suppose I wanted to let you know exactly why I've been so cautious so far. This might also go some way explain my hesitance in other areas. Maybe I can try a little harder there too.
So in answer to your question, (it seems so long ago now doesn't it?) I would love it if if you would move in with me and Cassie!
I'll see you after work. I'm nipping to the butchers so I might be a little late.
The letter was originally published here